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thornton37814's 12 in 12 - second thread

This is a continuation of the topic thornton37814's 12 in 12.

The 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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Edited: Mar 16, 2012, 9:21pm Top

This thread is continued from: http://www.librarything.com/topic/122988

Here are my categories along with the quantity I will be reading for each and a brief description:

1. United States Mysteries (12) - These are mysteries set in the United States. I suspect most of these will be books in series I'm currently reading.

2. British Mysteries (12) - These are mysteries set in the United Kingdom. I suspect most of these will be books in series I'm currently reading as well.

3. Europe Endless Challenge Books (12) - These are books that will fill categories in my Europe Endless Challenge. My thread is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/71175. As you can see, I have many countries to fill! I will probably read more than 12 for the challenge, but hopefully some will fit other categories.

4. Non-Mystery Fiction (6) - Fiction books that are not mysteries. I hope that I read more than 6, but initially I will put the rest in my bonus category for overflows.

5. Juvenile & Young Adult Books (6) - Books whose target audience is younger than adult!

6. TIOLI-Inspired Reads (6) - Books that I decide to read for one of the Take It or Leave It Challenges on the 75 books group.

7. Food and Drink (6) - Fiction and non-fiction books about food, drink, diet, or growing or raising food.

8. Religion (6) - Fiction and non-fiction books about religion, religious figures, faith, religious history, etc. I'm leaving this one intentionally broad.

9. History Non-Fiction (6) - I'm defining history broadly so that I can also include religious history, social history, local history, as well as history of specific eras, etc. I have a huge to-be-read pile that encompasses all of these.

10. Biographies or Diaries (3) - I don't read enough, so this is my encouragement to read more!

11. Death and Dying (3) - As I looked through my to be read list, I noticed several books dealing with things like obituaries and cemeteries.

12. Cats (3) - I love my cat, so in his honor, I want to read 3 books about cats!

And anything that doesn't go into one of those categories or which only fits a category that is already filled will go into an overflow category called Potpourri until all 12 categories are filled. Then I'll start some bonus categories.

Edited: Apr 12, 2012, 5:31pm Top


1. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming - completed 3 Jan 2012
2. A Murderous Glaze by Melissa Glazer - completed 9 Jan 2012
3. Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier - completed 22 Jan 2012
4. Town in a Lobster Stew by B. B. Haywood - completed 4 Feb 2012
5. A Deadly Row by Casey Mayes - completed 12 Feb 2012
6. A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams - completed 20 Feb 2012
7. The Memorial Hall Murder by Jane Langton - completed 3 Mar 2012
8. Bedeviled Eggs by Laura Childs - completed 8 Mar 2012
9. Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris - completed 9 Mar 2012
10. Agony of the Leaves by Laura Childs - completed 15 Mar 2012
11. Old World Murder by Kathleen Ernst - completed 18 Mar 2012
12. Dead Angler by Victoria Houston - completed 21 Mar 2012

Edited: May 15, 2012, 7:51am Top


1. The Excursion Train by Edward Marston - completed 18 Jan 2012
2. The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths - completed 21 Jan 2012
3. The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan - completed 24 Jan 2012
4. The Evil That Men Do by Jeanne M. Dams - completed 2 February 2012
5. A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow - completed 6 February 2012
6. Dissolution by C. J. Sansom - completed 16 Feb 2012
7. In the Blood by Steve Robinson - completed 27 Mar 2012
8. Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton - completed 9 Apr 2012
9. A Most Contagious Game by Catherine Aird - completed 13 Apr 2012
10. Ghost Walk by Marianne MacDonald - completed 24 Apr 2012
11. Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander - completed 7 May 2012
12. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear - completed 15 May 2012

Edited: Apr 8, 2012, 9:13pm Top


1. Journey to Portugal by Jose Saramago - completed 16 Jan 2012
2. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks - completed 23 Jan 2012
3. The Miss Stone Affair by Teresa Carpenter - completed 29 Jan 2012
4. The Siege by Ismail Kadare - completed 9 Feb 2012
5. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - completed 21 Feb 2012
6. Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson - completed 25 Feb 2012
7. The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania by Herman Kruk - completed 3 Mar 2012
8. The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross - completed 4 Mar 2012
9. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel - completed 10 Mar 2012
10. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - completed 3 Apr 2012
11. This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich - completed 8 Apr 2012
12. Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon - completed 8 Apr 2012

Edited: Apr 23, 2012, 8:59pm Top


1. The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan - completed 6 Jan 2012
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - completed 14 Jan 2012
3. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie - completed 16 Jan 2012
4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck - completed 25 Jan 2012
5. The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini - completed 7 Apr 2012
6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - completed 23 Apr 2012

Edited: Apr 25, 2012, 6:59pm Top


1. Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery; illustrated by Jean Cassels - completed 21 Jan 2012
2. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss - completed 16 Feb 2012
3. The Jumping-Off Place by Marian Hurd McNeely - completed 29 Feb 2012
4. Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter - completed 14 Apr 2012
5. Little House by Boston Bay by Melissa Wiley - completed 14 Apr 2012
6. Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan - completed 25 Apr 2012

Edited: May 18, 2012, 11:19am Top


1. Straw Hats and Bicycles by Brian Lawrenson - completed 1 January 2012
2. And Justice There Is None by Deborah Crombie - completed 13 Feb 2012
3. The Moche Warrior by Lyn Hamilton - completed 27 Feb 2012
4. Pasta Imperfect by Maddy Hunter - completed 2 Mar 2012
5. The Damascened Blade by Barbara Cleverly - completed 5 Mar 2012
6. Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom - completed 18 May 2012

Edited: May 18, 2012, 2:38pm Top

Category 7: FOOD AND DRINK

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver - completed 10 Mar 2012
2. Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier - completed 11 Mar 2012
3. Death by the Glass by Nadia Gordon - completed 29 Mar 2012
4. Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke - completed 31 Mar 2012
5. Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle - completed 23 Apr 2012
6. Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck - completed 13 May 2012

Edited: May 3, 2012, 8:25pm Top

Category 8: RELIGION

1. The New Testament (New King James Version) - completed 9 Feb 2012
2. The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry - completed 11 Mar 2012
3. Sunday Is For God by Michael McGowan - completed 14 Apr 2012
4. The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots by Tamar Myers - completed 26 Apr 2012
5. By Faith Alone: One Family's Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism by Bill Griffeth - completed 28 Apr 2012
6. The Rila Monastery by Hristo Hristov and Georgi Stojkov - completed 3 May 2012

Edited: Apr 12, 2012, 9:47am Top


1. Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams - completed 7 Jan 2012
2. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson - completed 13 Jan 2012
3. Record of the Organizations Engaged in the Campaign, Siege, and Defense of Vicksburg by John S. Kountz with an introduction by Timothy B. Smith - completed 14 Jan 2012
4. Sustaining the Cherokee Family by Rose Stremlau - completed 30 Mar 2012
5. The Little Red Guard by Wenguang Huang - completed 6 Apr 2012
6. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell - completed 11 Apr 2012

Edited: May 15, 2012, 8:53pm Top


1. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - completed 11 Jan 2012
2. The Diary of a Southern Lady edited by Katharine M. Jones; diary of Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin - completed 26 Jan 2012
3. Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall by Eve LaPlante - completed 15 May 2012

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 4:51pm Top

Category 11: DEATH & DYING

1. The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson - completed 27 Jan 2012
2. Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen - completed 25 Apr 2012
3. The American Resting Place by Marilyn Yalom - completed 30 Apr 2012

Edited: Apr 29, 2012, 8:58am Top

Category 12: CATS

1. Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat by Lynn Manuel - completed 14 Apr 2012
2. Gracie the Lighthouse Cat by Ruth Brown - completed 14 Apr 2012
3. Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffy, and Laurie Myers - completed 28 Apr 2012

Edited: May 15, 2012, 7:54am Top


1. The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume - completed 2 Jan 2012
2. Maphead by Ken Jennings - completed 7 Feb 2012
3. Beastly Things by Donna Leon - completed 16 Mar 2012
4. The Hangman by Louise Penny - completed 19 Mar 2012

Mar 16, 2012, 9:12pm Top

This one goes in my "Potpourri" (or overflow) category:

Beastly Things by Donna Leon - Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates a man whose body is found in one of the canals. The man suffered from a rare disease which affected the upper portion of his body. The man's identity leads the investigation to a slaughterhouse. Brunetti is convinced that the key to the murder lies there, but with no one talking, he's having difficulty developing the case. It's an interesting case. Although the outcome is somewhat predictable, the author managed to maintain my interest. There are a couple of subplots that add some interest to the novel in just the right places. This has become one of my favorite mystery series because the Venetian setting makes for interesting plots and because Brunetti and his wife are such interesting characters. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 4 stars.

This one is scheduled to release April 17, according to the information on NetGalley.

Mar 16, 2012, 9:28pm Top

Wow.... you are quickly filling your categories! How many books have you read so far this year?

Mar 16, 2012, 9:30pm Top

I've just discovered that I failed to put a book in my thread here that I completed on March 11. I wondered why it wasn't on either my non-mystery fiction or religion reads. I'm going to put it in the religion category since that's the one that is the furtherest behind at the moment (unless I go back and re-categorize a few of my other reads).

The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry - This is the story of an Irish Catholic woman and Jewish man who fell in love with one another. She began pregnant and was encouraged by her priest to give up the child to an orphanage run by Catholics with the understanding that the child would likely be adopted by an American family. Years later after she and her lover are married and have a child, she becomes aware that the boy is still in Ireland at the orphanage. She and her husband attempt to regain custody of their child, but they are met with resistance. Will they succeed in their efforts? What will happen to the child?

This is not a story for everyone. The abuse suffered by the child is extreme, and it's definitely not for the squeamish. The writing was a bit uneven. The characters were not as developed as they could have been. It's a scathing indictment of the homes for unwed mothers and orphanages run by the Catholics.

This review was based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Mar 16, 2012, 9:38pm Top

Would anyone care to try one of BK's new chicken strips smoothies?

By the way, one of the professors did call, and they denied having them. Originally the sign just said "chicken strip smoothie" but they did change it after he called to make the strips plural.

Mar 17, 2012, 7:56am Top

Ew. I don't know if you saw, but there was a picture going around the internet of what the "chicken" looks like that they use at fast food restaurants and it looked disturbingly similar to a strawberry milkshake. Gross.

Mar 17, 2012, 2:21pm Top

Hey Lori --

I suspect The Whipping Club is not for me - to dark. I noticed on your old thread that you've expanded your Religion category to include fiction - I did the same thing.

It's very cool that you're on the award committee for a books of religious non fiction. What types of non fiction - history, ethics, personal devotions, etc.?

Mar 17, 2012, 8:48pm Top

It's not for devotional literature. It's supposed to be something that is scholarly enough for the academic community but has a wide enough appeal for the public to enjoy. That limits the number of nominees and finalists drastically. This is actually the first year this particular award will be awarded.

Mar 17, 2012, 8:58pm Top

20> By the way, The Whipping Club was really not my type of book either. I had seen it on someone's thread here. It sounded better than what it turned out to be.

19> That fast food chicken doesn't sound very appealing either. Maybe they really are using it for smoothies too. YUCK.

Mar 17, 2012, 9:13pm Top

Something not quite as unappealing, but close. In the store today I noticed a bag of Duncan Donuts coffee with an unusual flavor - strawberry shortcake. I'd rather have the shortcake with coffee, not in coffee!

Mar 17, 2012, 9:38pm Top

There are many good reasons to avoid fast food!

You're already on your second thread!

Mar 17, 2012, 10:10pm Top

I think I'll take the strawberry shortcake on the side too!

Yes, Alison, I'm on thread two. I think I've been reading up a storm. Is that why we've had so much rain lately?

Mar 18, 2012, 10:30pm Top

Another U.S. mystery:

Old World Murder by Kathleen Ernst - Chloe Ellefson has just taken a job as collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. On her very first day, a woman comes in wanting back a bowl that she had donated to the State Historical Society in 1962 which had been transferred to Old World Wisconsin when it opened in 1977. Chloe, having just arrived on the job, puts the woman off and gathers her contact information. As she's driving home, she comes upon the woman's wrecked vehicle. Why was the bowl so important to the woman? Chloe vows to find out. There isn't a murder until well after the midway point in the book. This book is weak in character development. Chloe is troubled by her past and severely depressed, but the manner in which this is revealed is not satisfying to the reader. There also seems to be a lot about Officer Roelke McKenna that remains hidden from the reader. Ultimately I was not satisfied with the manner in which the main plot involving the bowl or the subplot involving gambling unfolded. It's just a so-so read in a series that looked like it might hold great promise. I'm not in a hurry to read the second one in the series. 2.5 stars.

Mar 19, 2012, 7:59am Top

23, 25 I don't know. I've been drinking Green Mountain Coffee's "Blueberry Cobbler" flavor, and I love it. But, then, I absolutely love flavored coffees.

Sorry the last book was so-so. Hope your next one is better!

Mar 19, 2012, 8:42am Top

I think I'm going to read that Louise Penny novella next! I know it will be a winner!

Mar 19, 2012, 5:40pm Top

For my overflow category called "Potpourri":

The Hangman by Louise Penny - Penny has written a novella featuring Gamache and Beauvoir investigating a man who is found hanging in the forest near Three Pines. It's a short, quick read which was written for a project encouraging literacy in Canada. The plot lacks the layers that her longer novels have, but it's still an interesting puzzle, particularly for such a short work. I liked the manner in which the author wove in a few of the Three Pines characters, but I must confess to missing appearances by some of the others. 4 stars.

Mar 20, 2012, 11:56am Top

>29 thornton37814: I need to get ahold of The Hangman. Even with the simplification for the literacy project, it sounds good.

Mar 20, 2012, 10:51pm Top

I have to read Penny soon. I see all my Canadian friends love her.

Mar 21, 2012, 10:33am Top

And a lot of Americans, too!

Mar 21, 2012, 5:20pm Top

Completing my U.S. mysteries category with:

Dead Angler by Victoria Houston - Retired dentist Paul Osborne has gone fly fishing with the female chief of police, Lew Ferris. However, that log they spotted turns out to be the body of one of Doc's daughter's friends who has recently moved back to the area. At first glance, it appears to be a case of accidental drowning until the dentist takes a peak at the girl's mouth and notices that all the gold fillings have been removed after her death. The dentist is quickly deputized by the chief since the usual forensic examiner is out of town. I'm not into fishing, and although it had more references to fishing than I really wanted to read, I still enjoyed this first installment in a promising series. I do wonder how Chief Ferris has so much time for fishing with her job and the shortage of deputies. I found myself really liking Chief Ferris although her character is still not fully developed in my opinion and another supporting character named Ray who is certain to figure in future installments. 3.5 stars.

Mar 24, 2012, 10:54pm Top

Tonight I got to see a bunch of people I had not seen in about 23 years. I moved to away from the Memphis area to Ohio and then back south to the other end of the state. Some of these folks remained in the Memphis area; others, like me, had moved away. It was neat to see a lot of my fellow church members at an anniversary celebration for the church.

Mar 25, 2012, 5:15pm Top

It sounds like you had a lot of fun!

Mar 25, 2012, 7:17pm Top

That's great - it can be wonderful to see old friends.

Mar 27, 2012, 1:26pm Top

One for my British mysteries category:

In the Blood by Steve Robinson - Jefferson Tayte (J.T.), a professional genealogist, has been hired to find what happened to the Fairborne family that returned to England in 1783. He has an unrealistic deadline of one week given to him by his client considering all the problems he's encountered researching this line already. Documents are missing, having been stolen, just about everywhere he goes. When he arrives in England, his actions are not so much research-plan driven as they are clue-led based on what the person trying to thwart his plans wants him to do. There is one point where Tayte even leads someone from whom he is trying to gain information to believe that he might share the results with them, even though it is obvious that his contract with his client does not state that it can be shared. I found most of the story line to be somewhat implausible although it did make for a lot of action. The manner in which the story alternated between the past and present did not work well. I would have preferred for the story to unfold as the genealogist uncovered it. This book was quite a disappointment for me. 2 stars.

Mar 30, 2012, 8:09am Top

In my Food and Drink category is a contender for worst read of the year:

Death by the Glass by Nadia Gordon - For whatever reason, this book didn't work for me. Sunny McCoskey owns a restaurant in the Napa Valley, but instead of spending the time at her own restaurant, she is spending all her time at another one in the area where one of the owners turns up dead. In spite of overwhelming evidence that the owner merely suffered a heart attack, she is determined to pursue her own investigation because she's convinced it is murder. I found the characters to be lacking as well as the mystery itself. I am pretty sure that I have another book downloaded by this author on my Kindle from a time they were offered for free or cheap. I won't be reading it. Life's too short to waste by reading books you don't enjoy. This one came close to being abandoned. 1 star.

Apr 1, 2012, 2:35pm Top

I can't remember if it was this author or another, but I didn't like another that took place in Napa. I borrowed it from a friend so I can't even go back to see who wrote it but it was also disappointing. It's like the authors figured the location was enough to make it interesting. A shame.

Apr 1, 2012, 8:08pm Top

There is another "wine" series out there that is okay, but not great. It's by Michelle Scott. I will probably read some more in the Scott's series if I come across them, but I deleted the other book by Nadia Gordon that I had downloaded to my Kindle.

Apr 1, 2012, 8:29pm Top

I'm getting behind on my reviews. I finished these on March 30 and March 31 respectively.

For my History non-fiction category:
Sustaining the Cherokee Family by Rose Stremlau - Stremlau has produced a well-researched and documented study on the Cherokee and their family relationships. She explains how the government tried to make the Cherokee conform to the American notion of a family rather than the Cherokee model. She explained how the allotments given in Indian Territory were awarded to males when it would have made more sense to award them to the female based on Cherokee culture. She showed inconsistencies in the Dawes Rolls and explained how there was not a uniform method of determining blood percentage. It's a fascinating read, and I'll be writing a longer review for an upcoming issue of Tennessee Libraries since the copy was provided by the journal for review. 4.5 stars.

For the Food and Drink category:
Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke - Hannah and her sister barely avoid being part of a huge pile up during wintry conditions. The driver of the bus for the Cinnamon Roll Six, a jazz ensemble, dies in the accident. The rest of the group and their "entourage" that is riding the bus go to the hospital to be checked out. It's not long before one of them is murdered in the hospital. Meanwhile, Hannah's ex-boyfriend Norman is about to make the mistake of his life by marrying Dr. Bev. Everyone is hoping that someone will be able to break them up before the wedding takes place. The stories somehow work well together in this installment. There are several recipes that sound quite promising. I'm especially wanting to try the green chile cheddar biscuits! There was one minor element to the plot that I did not feel was adequately resolved. It's still an enjoyable read for fans of the series. 3 stars.

Apr 2, 2012, 2:15pm Top

Let us know how the green chile cheddar biscuits turn out!

Apr 2, 2012, 8:41pm Top

I will! I may grill chicken tomorrow night, and those biscuits would be perfect to go with them! I guess I forgot to make a copy of the recipe, but I can do that quickly.

Apr 3, 2012, 1:24pm Top

I've been waiting for your review of Sustaining the Cherokee Family - it sound very good. Now that I'm back in the Southeast, this is the kind of book I can get through the library; I never would have gotten a hold of it where I used to live. Thanks!

Apr 3, 2012, 7:59pm Top

Cheddar and green chile biscuits from Joanne Fluke's Cinnamon Roll Murder.

The review: I prefer Southern biscuits, and I think they need more cheddar. I didn't have salted butter, so I substituted unsalted, but I really think they needed that extra salt.

Apr 4, 2012, 8:13am Top

They look good...maybe I should go find breakfast.

Apr 4, 2012, 4:20pm Top

Interesting article on the value of reading (with some interesting stats): http://donmilleris.com/2012/04/03/want-to-do-meaningful-work-keep-reading-litera...

Apr 5, 2012, 4:28am Top

interesting stats - I wonder if those people who don't read books follow blogs, read magazines etc?

I have a work colleague who doesn't read because "books aren't real" - he doesn't like Fiction full stop, and seems to have no curiosity to read non-fiction - this is an attitude I just don't get.

I travel a lot with work and find that bus, train and plane journeys go a lot faster with a good book & it always surprises me to see many people just staring into space I do wonder what they think about, some of the trips I take are 3-4 hours long with no in flight entertainment...

Apr 5, 2012, 11:39am Top

Finished this one a couple of days ago for my Europe Endless Challenge for Denmark:

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Classic children's book that tells the story of the rescue of Denmark's Jews during World War II by way of sea to Sweden. It is written through the eyes of Annamarie who has Jewish friends that her family helps to rescue. Lowry does a superb job telling the story in a manner that will interest younger readers. 4.5 stars.

Apr 6, 2012, 8:40pm Top

March 30 was my Thingaversary. I joined in 2007 so I was eligible for 5 books plus one to grow on. Today is the first day that I've been to a bookstore, and I guess I over-indulged and picked up 7 books instead of 6. (I did trade in more books than I brought back, and I didn't have to pay a cent for the books since I just used trade credit -- and I still have trade credit.) Here's my haul:

Hanging Curve by Troy Soos
Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck
Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee
Dire Threads by Janet Bolin
Farm Fresh Murder by Paige Shelton
Pretty Poison by Joyce & Jim Lavene
Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys by George C. Rogers, Jr.

Now I need to get busy reading for the weekend readathon since I spent all day out and about. I got to watch an alpaca being sheared to begin the adventure. It made me think of the Maggie Sefton mysteries.

Apr 7, 2012, 5:20am Top

Happy Thingaversary & what a cool way to celebrate!

Apr 7, 2012, 10:59am Top

Congratulations on your Thingaversary. That's a great way to celebrate!

Apr 7, 2012, 11:12am Top

Another entry in History Non-Fiction:

The Little Red Guard by Wenguang Huang - Wenguang Huang gives us a glimpse of the life of a somewhat ordinary family during the days of Chairman Mao in China. His grandmother had wished to be buried next to her husband in another province, but during the Mao regime, cremation was required; burial was not really an option. Most who attempted to honor their older ancestor's wishes would be caught and cremation would be forced. Huang's father came up with a scheme to honor his mother's wishes by getting cooperation from various extended family members, including a policeman. There was no guarantee that the burial could occur, but he hoped that his efforts would at least alleviate his mother's growing anxiety about her afterlife. Part of the plan was to build a coffin (in secret, of course). Wenguang became the keeper of the coffin, sleeping next to it in his early adolescent years.

We see some changes in government and insurrections, such as the one in Tiananmen Square, in the years following Chairman Mao's death. We also see the role that this secret coffin played in the life of this family.

It's a book that gives insight into a culture that few Americans know little about beyond rumors. In spite of its potential, I found that it was easy to put down and not a very absorbing story. That's not altogether bad in that life in communist China should make us uncomfortable. I do wish, however, that it had been more captivating.f

This review is based on an uncorrected proof provided through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

3 stars.

Apr 7, 2012, 10:28pm Top

I agree. It should've been captivating. I just finished reading Red-Scarf Girl and as uncomfortable as it was, it was hard to put down. It could've been far more uncomfortable though, although it didn't shy away from describing the suicides.

Apr 8, 2012, 6:56am Top

I'm glad you enjoyed it more than I did, Katie.

Apr 8, 2012, 6:57am Top

For my non-mystery fiction category:

The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini - Sylvia discovers that her mother's quilts are not in the attic of Elm Creek Manor but were sold years ago by her sister Claudia. With the help of the Elm Creek Quilters, she attempts to search for them. She and Andrew embark on a trip tell his children about their forthcoming marriage. Along the way they check out the tips that are pouring in from the Internet. The narrative alternates between past and present as it tells the story of Sylvia's mother Eleanor. This is probably one of my favorite installments in the series to date. For anyone looking for good, clean reads, I recommend this series. 4 stars.

Apr 8, 2012, 4:33pm Top

Good haul on your Thingaversary; may you have many more. I'm only on #3 in the Elm Creek Quilter's series, but hope to fit in a couple more this year.

Apr 8, 2012, 6:08pm Top

As you can see, I'm not that far ahead of you in the quilting series. I'll eventually catch up, but I try to stretch it out a bit. I don't want to run out of good reads too soon, and I'm behind on a lot of other series too.

Apr 8, 2012, 6:24pm Top

Marking off Greenland in my Europe Endless category:

This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich - Ehrlich spends seven years in Greenland. This book recounts her time there, living among Greenlanders and encountering the Inuits. Transportation was often by dogsled. She also takes time to share the story of Rasmussen, an early Danish explorer of arctic regions, including Greenland and Alaska. I expected more of a travelogue, and what the book offered was more of a cultural anthropology of Greenland's icier somewhat habitable regions. It did provide a good sense of the place. I found parts of the narrative more interesting than others and think that the book could have been 75 to 100 pages shorter, condensing those portions in which there was little action or which a lot of things that happened earlier recurred. 3 stars.

Apr 8, 2012, 9:14pm Top

Finishing off my Europe Endless category with my Azerbaijan read:

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon - Perhaps the best description of this story is that it is a land-based adventure story set in the Middle Ages in Azerbaijan. It is reminiscent of pirate adventures except that the only time the sea is in the picture is when the group goes to a seaside town which is being raided by the Northmen. It's not the usual type of novel that I read, but I did enjoy Chabon's command of language in describing the action and surroundings. 4 stars.

Apr 9, 2012, 7:41pm Top

For my British mystery category:

Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton - Have you ever felt like you have read a book before but know you have not because it has only recently been released? Such was the case with this book. The plot was so similar to another book I had read that I pretty much knew what was going to happen before it did. Willis Sr. has moved into Fairworth Manor to be near his son's family. He hires a young couple as live-in staff, but his daughter-in-law Lori has her doubts about them. Meanwhile, the village tea shop owner got herself into a bind by pretending to be the lady of the manor while on a trip to Mexico. Now Henrique is coming for a visit, and she has to enlist the help of Willis and others to save face. There is no murder, but there are missing and moved objects. It was a quite pleasant read, but I'd have to say it was pretty predictable if I anticipated the outcomes. I keep trying to figure out if the plot is possibly plagiarized from another, but I haven't come up with one yet. 2.5 stars.

Apr 10, 2012, 8:58am Top

Whew, finally caught up! Great reads there!

Apr 10, 2012, 1:42pm Top

Hi, Lori! I loved Number the Stars, though I think it's clearly intended for a child audience. I also enjoyed Gentlemen of the Road. My son-in-law was disappointed with it, because he was hoping for another Kavalier and Clay, and it's very, very different.

Great article about the 1940 Census!

Apr 10, 2012, 6:42pm Top

There is no doubt that Lowry's book is intended for kids, Ivy. I can see that Chabon's book wouldn't work for everyone.

I'm supposed to be at the Smokies baseball game tonight, but instead I'm home sniffling and coughing. It's not as bad as it was this morning, but it still isn't good either.

Apr 10, 2012, 7:39pm Top

One of the things I like about Michael Chabon is that every book he writes is completely different from the others. He switches genres and styles effortlessly.

Thanks for the link to Donald Miller's blog. I'm reading Blue Like Jazz now, so I'll have to spend some time there.

Apr 10, 2012, 8:05pm Top

I'm so sorry you're not feeling well tonight, Lori - I hope you're greatly improved by tomorrow!

Apr 12, 2012, 9:47am Top

Finishing up my history category with:

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell - The author's prejudices shine through in this short volume dealing with the history of Hawaii. She is very anti-missionary and very anti-United States. While I certainly do not agree with all of the methodologies that may have been utilized in the past, the author only approaches it from her prejudiced views and fails to adequately represent the other side of the story. I would love to see what someone who examined those same primary resources who wrote a truly unbiased account of the story would write. I think the story here is a worthwhile one to tell, but it needs to be told with all the viewpoints represented and not just the author's left-leaning one. 1 star.

Apr 12, 2012, 9:52am Top

Isn't that the pits...thanks for the warning!

Apr 12, 2012, 1:23pm Top

>67 thornton37814: Have you read Moloka'i, Lori? Its focus is on the leper colony in the early 1900s, and not so much on missionaries except as they related to the leper colony, but it also covers quite a bit of Hawaiian history and legend. Very well researched, with source information. I loved it.

Apr 12, 2012, 1:59pm Top

I might have to try that one sometime, Ivy. I haven't read it, but it does sound interesting.

Apr 14, 2012, 10:29am Top

Another British mystery -- and a very good one at that:

A Most Contagious Game by Catherine Aird - Thomas Harding purchased a country estate sight unseen. He regrets having turned over the matter of the purchase to his wife during his convalescence, but all that changes when the odd placement of an electrical outlet leads to the discovery of a hidden room in the house. When they finally tear away the plaster someone had used to seal the hidden priest's hole, they find an old skeleton. With a current murder investigation, the local law enforcement is not very interested in the older crime. Thomas begins investigating on his own. This is probably going to be an all-time favorite mystery. Thomas uses the same types of principles that a good genealogist would utilize to investigate the persons living in the home at that time period and earlier. This is an absolute gem of a mystery and one that I'm sure I'll want to read again in the future. 5 STARS!!!!!

Apr 14, 2012, 7:15pm Top

I picked up several picture books that were on my library to be read list today.

For my children's and YA lit category:

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter - I loved this picture book that tells the story of Luis, a Colombian man, who takes books to remote villages via his two burros. The illustrations are delightful and have a tropical flavor. 4.5 stars.

For my cats category:

Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat by Lynn Manuel - This picture book is more for adults who love L. M. Montgomery's books than for children reading Anne of Green Gables or the other books. The story is pieced together from some of the writings in the author's journals, but it doesn't flow well. The illustrations are mediocre as far as picture books are concerned. I really liked a few of them, but there were others that left much to be desired. 3 stars.

Gracie the Lighthouse Cat by Ruth Brown - This is a charming children's story that is delightfully illustrated telling of a mother cat's rescue of her young kitten the same die that a lighthouse keeper's daughter and father rescued a family of nine that was in danger on the rocks. This tale will delight cat lovers everywhere! 4.5 stars.

For my religion category:

Sunday Is For God by Michael McGowan - This is a great picture book showing the importance of Sunday as the Lord's day. I really liked the illustrations that were made to look like they were over printed hymns, scripture texts, and other church-related things. The text shows what happens in an African-American family on Sunday morning before church, during church, and after church. 4 stars.

Apr 14, 2012, 9:32pm Top

Another Juvenile/YA book:

Little House by Boston Bay by Melissa Wiley - This is the story of 5 year old Charlotte, who eventually became the grandmother of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She lives in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Her parents were both Scottish immigrants. The grownups are all talking about the War of 1812, particularly about the blockade in the Boston Harbor. She goes to school for the first time, making a new friend. Still the war rages on. It's a nice story, but I found it less engaging the Wilder's books. 3 stars.

Apr 16, 2012, 8:25pm Top

Hope you're feeling better now, Lori. Thanks for the link to Donald Miller's blog. I loved Blue Like Jazz and have A Million Miles in a Thousand Years waiting on the shelf.

I must add A Most Contagious Game to my list! Sounds great.

Apr 17, 2012, 6:50am Top

I hope you enjoy A Most Contagious Game as much as I did. It's become one of my all-time favorite mysteries.

Apr 17, 2012, 6:56am Top

I'm not getting much reading done this week. This sinus stuff is still trying to break up. I couldn't talk much of the weekend, and I had to sing Sunday. I was doing special music and was on all the morning praise teams. The praise team was also doing a special with the handbells. The choir, of course, also did a special. Then Sunday night, I was on the praise team, and we were singing a special too. God gave me the voice to sing but not to talk so I managed to get through. Last night (Monday) and tonight, our choir is recording. I've pretty much gone straight from work to choir recording, grabbing a quick bite on the way. We were pretty late last night. I came home and went straight to bed. With all the sinus stuff, I'm extra tired. I hope I can make it through another long day, but I'm having my doubts. I'm pretty sure it will be Wednesday night after choir rehearsal (for the Night of Praise that is coming up Sunday night) before I have time to touch a book again, and I may be too tired to pick it up.

Apr 17, 2012, 10:48am Top

Sinus stuff interferes with life in a major way. Some years ago I had an infection that lasted for weeks and I lost almost all my sense of smell. It still hasn't come back! Now when I get a cold I make sure to take lots of steamy showers and drink enough hot drinks to float a cruise liner to hopefully prevent another infection. Hope you get better soon.

Apr 19, 2012, 3:51am Top

Sorry to read that the sinuses are still a problem. Sounds like life isn't giving you any chance to rest & recover, either, and all that singing! Take care!

Apr 19, 2012, 9:51am Top

If the medicine hasn't cleared it up by the weekend, I may try a neti pot.

Apr 19, 2012, 2:15pm Top

Sleep when you can. I'm hoping you're well soon. I'm glad you're still able to sing!

Apr 23, 2012, 9:02pm Top

For my non-mystery fiction category:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - We all have something to hide. Renee, the concierge of an apartment building in Paris, is afraid that the residents will discover that she is not like most concierges. Paloma, a 12-year-old resident of the building, is afraid to show her intelligence. It's not until a new resident moves in that their masks are broken. It's a beautifully-written (and translated) novel although the shifting viewpoints do take some adjustment. It's sure to warm every book lover's heart. 4 stars.

For my food and drink category:

Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle - Clare Cosi is spending the summer helping out at her friend David's restaurant, Cuppa J's, in the Hamptons. When a party hosted by David ends with the discovery of a body in the master bedroom, Clare is certain that David was the intended victim. Convinced that the local law enforcement officials are not capable of solving the crime, Clare sets out to investigate in her own way. While I missed the normal Manhattan setting, it was a nice change of venue. There were enough of the usual cast of characters present to keep it enjoyable. There's lots of coffee facts scattered thoughout the volume and a few recipes in the back. An enjoyable installment in the series. 3.5 stars.

Apr 24, 2012, 11:48am Top


I'm glad you enjoyed Elegance more than I did and I agree wholeheartedly about Murder Most Frothy.

Apr 24, 2012, 1:05pm Top

Lori, I hear you about the whole allergy/sinus issue. It's been miserable, just about everyone I talked to says it's the worst ever. It's like the meds don't even help that much. Ah well, it could always be worse:)

I really like the Coffee House series, and hope to get farther in it soon.

Apr 24, 2012, 3:09pm Top

Thanks, Cheli and Lisa. I probably have another couple of weeks before I'm completely over this sinus attack, but at least the worst is now over. I just have to take it quite easy. I'm just having to learn to slow down and rest in the evenings instead of tackling projects which will have to wait until I'm feeling back to normal.

Apr 24, 2012, 4:43pm Top

Glad you liked The Elegance of the Hedgehog as I've just started it.

Sinuses! Allergies! I'm hoping you recover quickly even as I peer at the screen through my swollen, red eyeballs.

Apr 24, 2012, 7:34pm Top

I think they are horrible everywhere this year, Alison.

Apr 24, 2012, 9:28pm Top

A British mystery:

Ghost Walk by Marianne MacDonald - Antiquarian bookseller Dido Hoare finds one of her occasional customers somewhat ill. She takes him to a hospital. He checks himself out and is assisted by a man whom the nurses presume to be his son. Dido becomes concerned when she doesn't see him and mentions it to her police friend. The man shows back up in her shop, but it's only a short time later that he is found dead. Dido finds herself in an unusual position of being named his executor, even though she didn't know him well. The case is actually assigned to special branches in Scotland Yard because the man had once worked in intelligence. It's an interesting case with interesting turns of events, but I found myself disappointed in the resolution. 3.5 stars.

Apr 25, 2012, 7:00pm Top

For my Death and Dying category:

Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen - This work failed to live up to his subtitle. There was nothing "lively" about this book. It lacked cohesiveness. The author is a journalist who uses far too much verbiage to arrive at a point. The author even misspelled the name of a long-time Tennessee senator, and her editors failed to catch the problem. If you are interested in some of the topics covered, skip the book and read a magazine article. 1 star.

For my Juvenile & YA category:

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan - 88-year-old Billy, the grandfather of 10-year-old Jake, wants a sod house rebuilt. He explains to Jake that they are "kindred souls." With the help of an old book on sod houses, the family sets out to build Billy a sod house while he is recuperating in the hospital. There's a dog that is important to the story as well. If you are looking for something with the same spark of the author's Sarah, Plain and Tall, this book will not meet your expectations. If you want a nice story about his boy and his grandfather, this would work well for young readers. My biggest criticism is that the book really needed some line illustrations to truly appeal to the target reader age. This book was received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written. 3 stars.

Apr 25, 2012, 10:29pm Top

Stopping by for a visit Lori and hope you are feeling better!

Apr 26, 2012, 1:12pm Top

Thanks, Lori. I'm better, but I'm still having to rest in the evenings instead of overdoing it.

Apr 26, 2012, 8:38pm Top

Another one for my religion category:

The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots by Tamar Myers - Although this is the third book in the Amanda Brown series set in what was then the Belgian Congo, this is the first one I have read. I suspect that it also worked to my disadvantage as I had little familiarity with recurring characters who were not as fully developed in this installment as they probably were in previous installments. I have read several books in Myers' two other series. I was curious about this series because the African setting seemed so different from the settings in her other series. What I discovered is that Myers has saved her literary writing skills for this series. I understand that this series is supposed to feature Amanda Brown, a Protestant missionary, but she seems to be a minor character in this installment. While she does a good job showing the clash between the Christian and native culture with its witch doctors, the story does not really seem to propel itself naturally. She alternates between 1935 and 1958 for much of the book, but the last fourth to a third of the book is completely set in 1958. The mystery is a fairly minor element, focusing on the murder of a Roman Catholic priest, and his subsequent fate as having been eaten by the natives in the 1935 part of the story. There is also a present-day (1958) murder of a man called Lazarus Chigger Mite. This installment simply did not work well for me. The presence of snakes early on in the book did nothing to help either! The author grew up in Belgian Congo, and her authentic depictions of the area demonstrate her familiarity with its culture. If you choose to read this book, do not neglect to read the author's insights at the end of the book. It is the most enjoyable part of the book. This review is based on an uncorrected proof received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written. 2.5 stars.

Apr 27, 2012, 3:21pm Top

I have the first 2 from that series on the TBR pile and hope that reading them first will make this one better than you found it when I eventually get there.

Apr 27, 2012, 9:35pm Top

I've heard that the first two are better.

Apr 28, 2012, 10:02am Top

Another one for my Religion category:

By Faith Alone: One Family's Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism by Bill Griffeth - CNBC anchor Bill Griffeth shares the story of his family's history in this short and highly readable volume. The author used sources from books to original records to the Internet in compiling his work, but the reader can tell that he has done his homework and that he has documented his research instead of simply relying on undocumented published trees. He has made extensive use of published local histories, some published family histories, church histories, church records, and religious works in bringing his ancestors to life. The author traveled to many of the places where his ancestors resided in order to understand their lives, and his experiences in these places are interwoven into the narrative in a way that does not detract from the story. I often read books written by journalists and am completely disappointed in them, but this is one book that far exceeded my expectations. The author's religious heritage is varied -- from the Puritans of Massachusetts, many of whom later became Congregationalists, to the Dutch Reformed and Presbyterians of New York, to Methodists, to the Christian Church, and even to the Catholic Church. As I read some of his narratives, I was certain that many of his Massachusetts ancestors probably knew some of my own ancestors because of the experiences that they shared, even though their names were never mentioned. Griffeth has done us a great service by producing a book that demonstrates the incorporation of local, social, and religious history along with the data genealogists collect to make ancestors come alive. I borrowed this from a friend, but I will definitely be purchasing my own copy as it is one that I want to own. 4.5 stars.

Apr 29, 2012, 8:59am Top

The final book for my cat category:

Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffy, and Laurie Myers - I didn't have high expectations for this book when I picked it up at the Scholastic Book Fair at our university, but it surprised me. The story line is cute and features all kinds of cats -- from pirate cats to gypsy cats and even to library cats. There are, of course, just regular everyday cats too, and the very first story in the collection of one cat and his Christmas tree is probably my very favorite, because it is exactly like a cat! This book is sure to charm older elementary readers, especially those who love and own cats. 3.5 stars.

Apr 29, 2012, 9:20am Top

Just checking in, Lori, to see how you're feeling.
You are progressing the challenge very well. Just rest today. Read.

Apr 29, 2012, 9:29am Top

Cheli - I've got most of the books pulled that I need to finish it. I am currently reading the last "death and dying" book and will probably finish it later today. It's about cemeteries. I have two British books pulled. I've identified my last "food and drink" category book and have it pulled. I've got an Amish mystery for the religion category pulled. I'm hoping to finally read the SantaThing book on Samuel Sewell that I received for the biography category. (I think the Salem witch trials count towards "murder and mayhem.") I'm looking to do some creative switching of my planned monthly reads so that I can fit a book in that Tudor TIOLI challenge. I've got the next C .J. Sansom book that should fit that nicely and fill that category. I should be able to finish this challenge before the end of May!

I've got to run put on my makeup and head to church now, but I will rest and read this afternoon.

Apr 29, 2012, 10:40am Top

I'm impressed with how well you have your reading planned. I tend to stop wanting to read a book once I single it out to read soon.

Apr 29, 2012, 12:19pm Top

Tons of books! I'm beginning to be curious about Elegance-Hedgehog after reading your review & A Most Contagious Game goes on the WL.

Apr 29, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Alison - Most of the books on my list are books that I've been wanting to get around to reading but have kept putting off. I'm not buying as many books and focusing on cutting down the TBR pile. I'm using the library more often too, but a lot of those books were already on my TBR list even though I didn't own them. I do use the library for newer things when available. I am making fairly decent progress on it. I have allowed myself to swap out a book or two scheduled for later to fit a challenge category. I tried to space out books in series as I was making the list of potential reads for the year. I don't like to read them too close to one another. So far, I haven't really come across one that I didn't want to read when it was time.

Cammy - I don't think you'll be disappointed in A Most Contagious Game. It's definitely one of my favorite mysteries of all time. I think I liked The Elegance of the Hedgehog more than some people. It was a book that I wasn't certain if I would like or not when I picked it up on the bargain shelf at McKays a couple of years ago. I'm glad the shared read finally prompted me to make room for it.

Apr 29, 2012, 5:09pm Top

>91 thornton37814: Good review of The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots, Lori! I just (finally) wrote my review and checked out yours and Carrie's. I gave it an extra 1/2* for the picture of the Begian Congo, but we all seem to be in agreement that it was disappointing.

Hope you're feeling better now!

Apr 30, 2012, 8:36am Top

Ivy, I struggled with whether to give the book an extra 1/2* for certain things, but then I decided that I probably already had given it that extra 1/2* because I really didn't like the book and would have probably given it only 2 stars had the prose not been as good as it was. Besides there were 2 snakes too many in the book for me!

Apr 30, 2012, 12:11pm Top

A problem I had with the book was the style of writing which reminded me of readings from the Bible. In my review I quoted the beginning of three sentences in one paragraph:
"So it was that..."
"And it came to pass that..."
"For it is a well-known fact that..."

Apr 30, 2012, 3:51pm Top

I can vouch for the use of a neti pot to cure and/or prevent sinus infections. Using one has made a big difference for me. Give it a try - what can it hurt?

I've looked at By Faith Alone at the library. Now that I've read your review, I'll be sure to pick it up!

Apr 30, 2012, 4:52pm Top

My final book in the "Death and Dying" category is:

The American Resting Place by Marilyn Yalom - Yalom has given us an interesting look at many different cemeteries across the United States. She begins her tour in Boston and makes her way along selected locations on the east coast such as Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia. She then makes her way to St. Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Texas and eventually to California and Hawaii. Although it fails to be comprehensive, it is representative. She discusses differences based on religion and ethnicity in burial practices as she visits each cemetery and notes the various types of markers. While her focus is on the locations mentioned, she does occasionally mention cemeteries that are similar in other parts of the country. For example, she notes that Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery was based on the garden approach used at Cambridge, Massachusetts' Mount Auburn Cemetery. The author included Hawaii in her treatment, but she failed to include Alaska, which I'm sure would have been another interesting location for treatment. She notes that most slaves were buried in forests and fields without markers or with simple markers such as stones and have been lost over time. She also points out that many of California's early Chinese persons were only temporarily buried in the United States, having been sent back to China for burial after a few years. It's an interesting look at cemeteries and burial practices. Her emphasis on the differences in burial practices based on religion and ethnicity is quite useful. She includes notes for each chapter in the back of the book although they are definitely not comprehensive and are not keyed to specific passages. Her bibliography is probably more useful in the long run than the chapter notes. While there is an index with cemeteries and persons included, it fails to be comprehensive. (Spring Grove Cemetery is omitted.) The book is prefaced with a section of black and white photographs. While there are omissions, the book is still deserving of reading. 3.5 stars.

Apr 30, 2012, 7:40pm Top

Sometimes you have to love working in a library. A student just returned 3 criticisms of Beowulf and gave me his reviews on them when he turned them in. One of them, he liked about half of it. Another he found to be a little on the dry side. Another one was totally dry and absolutely not for him. I told him to look on the bright side. They were written in modern English!

May 3, 2012, 8:26pm Top

The final book in my religion category:

The Rila Monastery by Hristo Hristov and Georgi Stojkov - This is an interesting book on the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria. It's a bit dated visually for today's readers, but the history of the monastery is very well done. The architectural portion was more interesting than I expected it to be although there were places that I felt it was a bit repetitive. The information about the carvings, frescoes, and other artwork was also somewhat interesting. There were quite a few drawings. Most of the photos were black and white. The few that were in color were done in an old process that just simply did not stand the test of time. I actually ordered a newer book on the monastery by a different author via interlibrary loan for my Europe Endless Challenge, but this is the one that came. I do not know if it is the fault of the staff at my library or the sending library. 3.5 stars.

May 3, 2012, 11:23pm Top

Are you going to re-request the other book? It sounds like modern photos would be irresistible.

May 4, 2012, 11:19am Top

I haven't decided what I'm going to do. I went ahead and used this one to meet the Europe Endless Challenge, but I haven't decided whether I'm going to request the other one later or not.

May 7, 2012, 8:48am Top

Another entry in my British mysteries category:

Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander - Young Jeremy Proctor flees to London after his father is murdered in the village where they run a printing shop. After being falsely accused of theft, he ends up in the court of the blind Sir John Fielding. Fielding takes the boy under his wings until he can find a suitable placement for Jeremy in the printing trade. Before long, Fielding is called to conduct an enquiry at the home of Lord Goodhope. A man has been shot in the library which was locked at the time. In spite of his blindness, Fielding is an excellent investigator, and Jeremy proves to be valuable to him as his "eyes." An autopsy reveals that there was another possible cause of death. An excellent historical mystery. I look forward to continuing with this series. 4.5 stars.

May 8, 2012, 9:41am Top

I liked Blind Justice too. Need to look for more, thanks for the reminder!

May 8, 2012, 1:10pm Top

>110 thornton37814: Glad to see you enjoyed the first Bruce Alexander! I haven't read any yet, but this is one of the series I hope to get to this year.

May 12, 2012, 9:00pm Top

I've been without much Internet access most of the week while at a conference. I found my laptop was too heavy to carry around in its case. I was staying with a friend whose home wireless wasn't working. My iPhone just wasn't practical for doing the type of stuff following these threads require. I'm glad Cheli has already enjoyed Alexander and that Ivy will probably soon be joining us in enjoying it.

The conference has been good. I decided to cut my stay at my friend's short and check into a hotel for the last night to be a bit closer to home! Internet access is wonderful tonight, but I won't catch up on all the threads tonight either!

May 13, 2012, 9:50pm Top

Last one in my Food and Drink category:

Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck - In this promising first installment, Suzanne Hart, proprietress of a donut shop, sees a body being pushed out of a moving vehicle in front of her store when she arrives at 2 a.m. While much of the book is spent introducing the cast of characters and seeing how each is a part of Suzanne's life, there is plenty of action as Suzanne begins investigating on her own even though she should be leaving the case to the local and state police. There's an annoying ex-husband in the picture as well as a budding romance with a state police officer. There are a couple of comical moments in the book. I'm looking forward to reading future installments in the series, but I think I'll need a few fresh doughnuts on hand to get me through the cravings! 3.5 stars.

A lot of you have recommended this series, and I'm glad that I tried it. I'd been kind of disappointed in some of the newer food-related cozies, but I really enjoyed the characters in this one. It's got a few flaws, but I still enjoyed it. Now, I need a doughnut, and there's not a single one in the house! I guess I'll have to find one in the morning.

May 13, 2012, 10:05pm Top

OMG - I couldn't have read that novel without a dozen donuts at least! Chocolate glazed old fashioned.

May 13, 2012, 10:08pm Top

I didn't get a single page read during my conference last week. I managed to read a couple of chapters before I fell to bed last night in the hotel room after the conference. Fortunately, now that I'm home, I can curl up with the book in my hand and the cat on my lap!

May 13, 2012, 10:13pm Top

I also love to read with my kitty purring at my side. Enjoy!

May 13, 2012, 10:13pm Top

Books are always better with a cat!

May 13, 2012, 10:42pm Top

Not my cat. He's offended that I'm not looking at him! Also, he drools when he purrs, so I have to keep moving the book away from his chin.

May 14, 2012, 12:37pm Top

The cat was just so happy to see me after I'd been gone several days to the conference. He's still sticking pretty near me today. I've started my next book although I'm also fighting a sinus headache. I took some headache medicine so I'm hoping it goes away. It's not quite as bad as it was earlier, and I can read two or three chapters before my head can't take it.

May 14, 2012, 12:49pm Top

I was just checking to see how many more I have to go here. I'm down to 3. The book I'm currently reading is for the British mystery category. I've got a biography and a TIOLI-inspired read to go, both of which are in my stack for the month. I guess I know what I'm reading next!

May 14, 2012, 2:22pm Top

Wonderful progress on your challenge, Lori! Do you have plans for another challenge when you finish?

May 14, 2012, 4:48pm Top

Really? Only 3 left? You absolutely rocked on this challenge.

May 14, 2012, 7:16pm Top

Well, I wasn't doing a full 144. I chose 3 categories of 12, 6 categories of 6, and 3 categories of 3. I will definitely stick around here when I finish. I've got a couple of ideas of how to approach the remainder of the year. One of the ideas is 12 new categories; one of the ideas is fewer, but broader categories; I've had a couple of other thoughts as well. I'll have to decide soon because I should complete the challenge this week.

May 14, 2012, 8:09pm Top

Wow, you've been doing amazingly well on the challenge! I'll look forward to seeing what you plan to do the rest of the year.

Edited: May 15, 2012, 7:53am Top

My final book in the British mystery category:

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie sets out to investigate the death of an artist (Nick Bassington-Hope) when his twin has a feeling that there may have been more to the event than the accidental death ruled by the police investigation. Her assistant Billy's daughter is fighting an illness. Maisie recognizes the need to get out of her relationship with Andrew Dene. The investigation leads them to Nick's converted railroad car properties in Dungeness as well as to the London nightlife and art world. This installment resonated more with me than previous installments in the series. I found myself wishing that I could actually see an exhibit of the fictitious artist's work! 4 stars.

Only 2 more to go!

May 15, 2012, 11:52am Top

>126 thornton37814: I found myself wishing that I could actually see an exhibit of the fictitious artist's work!

I did, too!

Maisie Dobbs is one of my favorite series.

May 15, 2012, 3:47pm Top

no, Lori, when you finish, you start thinking about next year 13 in 13! LOL!

May 15, 2012, 6:28pm Top

I'm thinking about that too, Cheli.

May 15, 2012, 8:54pm Top

My final entry in the Biographies or Diaries category:

Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall by Eve LaPlante - LaPlante, a descendant of Judge Samuel Sewall, studied his life in an effort to understand more of the man who was her ancestor. She begins with his marriage and the life which eventually led to his being selected to sit on the court as one of the judges for the Salem trials. She does a great job presenting his family life and the struggles he had with Puritanism and his own family's misfortunes. She shows his repentance of his involvement in the trials and his subsequent life. The reader is given a glimpse into what it was like to live in New England in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Drawing from Sewall's own journals as well as other primary and secondary sources, the author has successfully painted a portrait of her ancestor that will be studied for years to come. 4 stars.

One to go!

May 18, 2012, 11:26am Top

My last book in my original 12 in 12 Challenge is in the TIOLI-Inspired Reads category. This book fits the Tudor period setting category and would have been read later in the year instead of this month if the category had not come up.

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom - Matthew Shardlake takes on a case of a girl accused of killing her cousin. Although the judge sentences the girl to be pressed for her refusal to plead, Cromwell assists in a 12-day reprieve because he needs Shardlake to locate a mysterious substance known as "Greek fire" (often called "Dark Fire" because of its dark color). It is able to burn things and even works on water. Cromwell wants it for its potential use in naval warfare. Shardlake does not really want to do Cromwell's bidding, but he has no choice because of the time he has been bought on the case of young Elizabeth. Cromwell lends Shardlake a man named Barak to assist in his inquiries. A recurring character from the previous installment is Guy, the former monastic doctor who is now working as an apothecary in London. It's another great installment in one of my new favorite series. It gives me a glimpse into some of the reasons some of my ancestors migrated to America during this period. 4 stars.

This concludes my original 12 in 12 challenge. I'll start some new categories in a bit. I will probably need to start a new thread so that I can find where I need to post my completed list. I hate that I'm not at a point where I can create a continuation, so if you all want to take over my thread with chat for the next 70 messages . . . Okay, I'm just teasing, I'll post a link when I get the thread set up.

May 18, 2012, 11:33am Top

Congratulations, Lori!

I think maybe you're the first to finish?

May 18, 2012, 11:36am Top

I don't know if I am or not. I didn't do a full 12 for each category though. I knew I'd tire of some of the categories if I did so. I did 3 categories of 12, 6 categories of 6, and 3 categories of 3. That gave me a total of 81 books to read. I did have 4 in an overflow category so that gave me 85. Some of you made bigger commitments initially.

May 18, 2012, 11:40am Top

Even an abbreviated version -- and 81 books! -- finished in less than 5 months is very impressive! The first category challenge, the 888, was for only 64 books, with 8 overlaps allowed, for the entire year.

May 18, 2012, 12:07pm Top


My new thread is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/137271


May 19, 2012, 10:38am Top

Congratulations on finishing your first one. Looking forward to following your second.

Jun 1, 2012, 5:08pm Top

Wow! Very impressive!

Jun 2, 2012, 11:07am Top

Taking a break from Operation Bookshelf Reorganization. I'm hot and sweaty, but I'm rediscovering some old friends in the process. I have books sorted all over the den at the moment. It's not a pretty sight. There are some books that will end up in boxes. I really need some more bookshelves. I just wish they'd come pre-assembled!

Edited: Jun 2, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Reorganizing is a pain when you have lots of books!

Will be looking for the new thread...

Jun 2, 2012, 2:46pm Top

Oops - I posted to the old one because someone posted her this morning so it was higher up than my new one.

NEW THREAD IS HERE: http://www.librarything.com/topic/137271

Group: The 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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