• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

DorsVenabili's 75 in 2012 (Part Two)

This is a continuation of the topic DorsVenabili's 75 in 2012.

This topic was continued by DorsVenabili's 75 in 2012 (Part Three).

75 Books Challenge for 2012

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 4:34pm Top

My first second thread! How exciting!

Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 2:03pm Top


Read in January:
1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami (audiobook)
2. A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan (ebook)
3. The Gospel Singer - Harry Crews (print book)
4. The Orange Eats Creeps - Grace Krilanovich (print book)
5. Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer (audiobook)
6. Diary of a Bad Year - J.M. Coetzee (print book)
7. Hand Me Down World - Lloyd Jones (print book)
8. The Kinks' The Village Green Preservation Society (Thirty Three and a Third series) - Andy Miller (audiobook)

Read in February:
9. God on the Rocks - Jane Gardam (print book)
10. Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) - Joe Harvard (audiobook)
11. The Good Terrorist - Doris Lessing (print book)
12. The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty (print book)
13. Life and Times of Michael K. - J.M. Coetzee (print book)
14. American Salvage - Bonnie Jo Campbell (print book)
15. Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion - Janet Reitman (audiobook)
16. Zoo City - Lauren Beukes (ebook)

Read in March:
17. County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital - David Ansell (audiobook)
18. The Enormous Room - e.e. cummings (ebook)
19. Woman on the Edge of Time - Marge Piercy (print book)
20. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea - Barbara Demick (audiobook)
21. Lost Memory of Skin - Russell Banks (print book)
22. The Lives of Animals - J.M. Coetzee (print book)
23. Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems (The Blackwell Philosophy Series) - James B. South, Ed. (audiobook)
24. The Old Man and Me - Elaine Dundy (ebook)

Read in April:
25. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua (audiobook)
26. The Pride of Chanur - C.J. Cherryh (print book) Not Rated
27. Bad Intentions - Karin Fossum (ebook)
28. City of Night - John Rechy (ebook)
29. Library and Information Center Management - Robert D. Stueart and Barbara B. Moran (print book)
30. Information and Records Management: Document-Based Information Systems - Robek, Brown, and Stephens (print book)

Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 1:44pm Top

Read in May:
31. The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson (audiobook)
32. The Caller - Karin Fossum (audiobook)
33. Jake’s Thing - Kingsley Amis (print book)
34. The Flatey Enigma - Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson (audiobook)
35. The Roots of the Olive Tree - Courtney Miller Santo (print book) (Booklist)
36. A View of the Harbour - Elizabeth Taylor (print book)
37. The Keeper of Lost Causes - Jussi Adler-Olsen (audiobook)
38. In the Heart of the Country - J.M. Coetzee (print book)
39. The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald (print book)
40. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi (print book)
41. On Writing Well - William Zinsser (print book)
42. The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham (audiobook)

Read in June:
43. The Prisoner of Heaven - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (print book) (Booklist)
44. Hyperthought - M.M. Buckner (audiobook)
45. The Red House - Mark Haddon (print book)

Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 4:48pm Top

I think I'm going to lighten things up around here for the next month and a half. I'm approaching the end of my semester, with three large projects to work on, and won't have as much reading or LT time. Plus, I started physical therapy today for my cervical spine nightmare, and that takes up time. In early May, I'll be back to prize winners and lots of Coetzee and Iris Murdoch, but for now, I'll stick to some lighter stuff.

I'm currently reading The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy - a Virago Modern Classic - which may or may not be light. I'm not sure yet.

Mar 21, 2012, 4:30pm Top

Kerri - congratulations on the new thread. Guess since I was last on the old one I should be first on the new!

Mar 21, 2012, 4:44pm Top

Thanks for the visit, Paul!

Mar 21, 2012, 4:50pm Top

And I was second to last on last one so will claim second place here :)

Good plans to lighten up for a while before heading back into prize-winner territory.

Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 5:19pm Top

Kerri: Good luck with your coursework and your back. Take care and happy reading. Love the dog. He reminds me of my granddog.

Edited: Mar 22, 2012, 9:20am Top

#7 - Hi Megan - thank you!

#8 - Thank you, Beth! I love that you have a granddog!

Mar 22, 2012, 9:41am Top

I hope you're enjoying The Old Man and Me! I liked that one and The Dud Avocado.

Mar 22, 2012, 2:29pm Top

Lighter reading seems like a good idea, Kerri. Wishing you much luck with your big projects. :)

Mar 22, 2012, 8:27pm Top

Kerri: Actually I have two granddogs, Charlie and Lola. I'm hoping that they are not the only "grands" I get.

Mar 22, 2012, 9:37pm Top

Ohh congratulations on your second thread! Sorry to hear about your cervical spine nightmare! I've got a compression fracture in my thoracic spine - T5 to be precise. It causes me a fair bit of pain off and on. Take care!

Mar 23, 2012, 9:21am Top

#10 - Hi - thanks for stopping by! I've read about 40% of The Old Man and Me and, so far, I'm enjoying it. I've been reading that The Dud Avocado is better, but I wasn't aware of it. Darn!

#11 - Hi Micky! Lighter seems like the way to go right now. That's for sure.

#12 - Hi Beth! I hope you get the other kind of grand kids too! By the way, I had pictured you at around 30, for some reason. You must have a young soul!

#13 - Hi Deb! That sounds dreadful. Mine is three herniated discs between C4 and C7 (I think that's it - I don't have my MRI report with me) and one is impinging on my spinal chord and I have numb fingers in my left hand. The pain in my neck/shoulder/arm area has improved, but the numbness and weakness in my left arm/hand hasn't. Hopefully I don't need surgery, but it sort of looks like it.

Mar 23, 2012, 9:30am Top

Kerri - so sorry to hear about your cervical spine problems - hope the physical therapy helps.

Mar 23, 2012, 12:20pm Top

#15 - Thanks, Calm. Don't you have a similar issue? Have you had the surgery? This is the one they're talking about for me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_cervical_discectomy_and_fusion.

Mar 23, 2012, 12:30pm Top

Yes I've got cervical spondylosis (one of the vertebrae is misshaped and presses on a nerve) but it affects my right side and no I haven't had surgery - I have a phobia of hospitals

Mar 23, 2012, 2:18pm Top

#17 - I'm so sorry to hear about your hospital phobia. While I don't have that particular issue, I do find the idea of spinal surgery quite frightening.

Mar 23, 2012, 2:20pm Top

Kerri: Thanks so much. I will be 57 soon. Maybe it's the teaching and constant contact with youngsters that makes me sound younger? Or maybe I'm immature :) I'll have to get my daughter to send me a picture of Charlie and Lola so I can post them.

Mar 24, 2012, 8:47am Top

One of my coworkers had a similar-sounding spine problem (in her neck) causing pain and numbness in her hand and arm. She had the surgery around Christmas. She had to be out of work for about 6 weeks but is doing great, is pain-free, and can feel all her fingers!

Mar 24, 2012, 9:03am Top

#19 - Hi Beth - Definitely not immature! I'm not really sure why I thought that. Anyway, yes please! post dog pictures! As you can tell, I love posting dog pictures.

#20 - Hi Carly - That's good to know. I've heard it has good outcomes. My doctor said, for a desk job, I'd probably be out for two weeks after the surgery (hopefully not 6. Eek!).

Mar 24, 2012, 2:22pm Top

Kerri - all the talk of illnesses is doing wonders for my hyperchondriac wife whom I inadvertently mentioned the spondylosis that Calm so terrifyingly described - she has a habit of perceiving symptoms of any illness mentioned - being a gentleman I of course failed to mention the cervix and her description of the pain it was causing to her elbow was smileworthy.
Have a lovely weekend and a pain free one too.

Mar 24, 2012, 4:49pm Top

#22 - Oh, Paul - You can always be relied on to keep it classy. That's for sure. : )

Mar 24, 2012, 6:49pm Top

Dreadful things back problems. I hope you can get proper pain relief and that any surgery you may or may not get will completely fix it all. That would be ideal I guess wouldn't it.

Today Ive got one of those twingey back/neck things that means you cant turn your head one way or move freely, it is doing my head in (so to speak). All I can think about is for it to be gone. I imagine back pain to be like that, but more painful and more long lasting :(

Mar 25, 2012, 8:22am Top

#24 - Hi Megan - Thanks for the kind words, and I hope your twingey thing improves! I hope that I can get this issue worked out soon, either through physical therapy or surgery. It's severely cramping my style!

Mar 25, 2012, 4:33pm Top

Hi Kerri. If you needed an excuse for some light reading (and I'm not sure anyone should feel they need one really) then lots of projects and physical therapy sound like very good ones to me. I have a copy of The Old Man and Me amongst my unread Viragoes so I will look forward to your thoughts.

Sorry to hear about your cervical spine problems. I hate having even the slightest of back aches and I can't really imagine how bad a more serious condition may be. I hope the PT or surgery helps.

Mar 25, 2012, 5:14pm Top

Hi Kerri! Good luck with your school work and your spine treatments! Hope everything goes well for you

ps Cute doggie!

Mar 26, 2012, 7:01am Top

Hi Kerri! Sorry to hear that your spine problems are so difficult. I would not look forward to surgery either, but then again, I've heard people say wonderful things following surgery for a herniated disc problem. I've got similar problems with my left fingers - numbness and things -but they tell me it's to do with compressed nerve in my elbow. I dunno!

I hope you are feeling okay! Getting old sucks. Of course I stopped having birthdays after 29...;)

Mar 26, 2012, 8:15am Top

#26 - Hi Heather - Thank you! I'll probably finish The Old Man and Me this week. So far, I'm not blown away, but I'm enjoying the setting and its early 60s time capsule quality.

#27 - Hi Chelle! Thanks and glad to have you back. I'll stop by your thread soon to see how the move went.

#28 - Hi Deb! I know! I'm almost forty now (just turned 39) and I'm starting to fall apart! It's just like they say. : )

Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 8:46am Top

Oh, you are just a youngster Kerri!!! Wait until you're my age - 29 and holding. ;)

Mar 29, 2012, 7:05am Top

#30 - Ha! I might hold at 39. I think 39 is the new 29, right?

Anyway, it's been a crazy week! My dream is to finish this godforsaken paper tonight and then have Friday evening to relax and write quick reviews for the two books I just finished. I also haven't been able to visit threads, and hope to do that too! Ahhhhh!!!

Mar 29, 2012, 12:19pm Top

Kerri: Good luck with the paper and I hope you find back relief.

Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 1:15pm Top

Hi Kerri. I hope all goes well with the spine therapy.

I read The Old Man and Me a couple of years ago and was quite entertained by it but like you, not blown away. I have The Dud Avocado on my shelf to read so am encouraged to hear that it's considered her better one!

Edited: Mar 30, 2012, 1:05pm Top

#32 - Thanks, Beth!

#33 - Hi Dee! I might get to The Dud Avocado at some point, but there are so many other Viragos that I'd like to read first. Any suggestions? Here are the current candidates for my 12 in 12 Virago category:
*The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter (own)
*Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
*Jane and Prudence - Barbara Pym
*Faces in the Water - Janet Frame
*The Diviners - Margaret Laurence
*The Life and Death of Harriett Frean - May Sinclair
*Angel - Elizabeth Taylor
*Harriet Hume - Rebecca West
*The Quest for Christa T. - Christa Wolf
*Family History - Vita Sackville-West
*Good Behaviour - Molly Keane

Anyway, I finished my paper last night! It's actually due tonight at 11:59pm (on a Friday night? really?!), but I wanted to have one evening to relax before I start on the next two projects. Tonight I plan to take it easy, write some reviews (maybe), figure out April TIOLI, and have a couple beers. Yay!

Mar 30, 2012, 6:18pm Top

Kerri: Have a lovely Friday evening -- books and beer sounds like a winning combination.

Mar 30, 2012, 7:11pm Top

>34 DorsVenabili: the only one of your list I have heard of is the Janet Frame one (Faces in the Water), I loved it. So of course that one is my recommendation :)

Mar 31, 2012, 10:56am Top

#35 - Thanks Beth! I ended up watching the Bulls game, rather than writing my reviews. Oops! It was a nice evening anyway. Perhaps I'll write them quickly before I start on school work.

#36 - Hi Megan - Faces in the Water sounds really good! I may try that one this month.

Mar 31, 2012, 11:13am Top

I made a few Amazon purchases this morning! It seems like a lot, but they were all purchased with recently acquired gift cards:

*War Trash by Ha Jin
*Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen
*Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
*Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman
*Company Parade by Storm Jameson
*The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell
*City of Night by John Rechy
*Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum

Print books (graphic novels):
*Palestine by Joe Sacco
*Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995 by Joe Sacco

So, obviously, that "keep it light" plan has been thrown out the window. I'm not even really sure what I meant by that anyway. Ha!

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 11:51am Top

34: Kerri, I'd either forgotten or not noticed that you were reading Viragoes as a 12 in 12 category! It looks as if you have some great possibilities, there.

I love Barbara Pym and Excellent Women is my favourite of hers. Jane and Prudence is very good too.

I would also highly recommend Good Behaviour which is delicious, nasty and moving! Read it and you will see what I mean!

The Magic Toyshop was one of my favourite books when I was about eighteen but I haven't read it since and don't know what I would think of it now.

I haven't read Angel but as you know, I am a Taylor fan so would expect it to be good!

Margaret Laurence seems to be very well thought of but I haven't read any of hers yet.

I really do hope you enjoy your Viragoes!

Mar 31, 2012, 12:53pm Top

#34 - Fantastic! Thank you for the suggestions. Those are all quite high in my order. I wasn't sure about The Magic Toyshop, but I found a lovely edition in a used book store a while back that I couldn't pass up. I think some of her other novels are more highly regarded though, right?

Edited: Apr 12, 2012, 9:26am Top

Title: Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
Editors: Rod Carveth and James B. South
Publication Year: 2010
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #6 (March 2012): Read a book with a title word that is a heterograph/homonym
Stars: Three

This series of essays about the popular television series Mad Men is divided into four parts: “Problems of Knowledge and Freedom,” “The Problem of Meaning,” “Mad Men and Ethics,” and “Mad Men and Social Philosophy.” Written by a wide variety of philosophy scholars, the essays vary in quality, content, and purpose. Some use the series as a way to explain particular philosophical concepts (with the emphasis on the concepts), while others are more focused on interpreting the series and its characters. I prefer the latter essays. Some of the highlights for me are “The Existential Void of Roger Sterling” and most of the book's fourth part (“Mad Men and Social Philosophy”), where race, feminism, and friendship are explored in great detail. I give it three stars, because I think there is a bit too much overlap in the content of several of the essays and it is lacking in some areas that I would expect to be present (essays on economic philosophy from more varied perspectives, maybe a little something on alienation, etc.). Moreover, I had to listen to an essay by an Ayn Rand fanatic. Really?! That never helps. So overall, meh.

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 1:09pm Top

40: Probably, though I have a feeling The Magic Toyshop is an easier read than some of her others. Wise Children is a popular and readable one, though I don't think I enjoyed it as much as some.

Is it the Virago anniversary hardback edition of The Magic Toyshop that you bought? I couldn't resist that one when it first came out.

Apr 1, 2012, 5:59pm Top

#42 - Yes! That's the edition I purchased. The other two I'm considering are Nights at the Circus and The Passion of New Eve.

Apr 1, 2012, 6:27pm Top

Title: The Old Man and Me
Author: Elaine Dundy
Publication Year: 1964
Format: Ebook
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 4 – Virago Modern Classics
• TIOLI #10 (March 2012): Read a book where the title format is "X (person) and Y (person)”
Stars: Three

A young, American woman tells the story of her extended stay in early 1960s London. While there, she meets a very rich, eccentric old man and succeeds in wooing him. Their tumultuous, love/hate relationship proceeds over several months as they visit lots of jazz clubs and pretentious restaurants, take copious amounts of pills, visit snooty country homes, and constantly point out the differences between English and American culture. I won’t give too much more of the plot away, as the story contains one or two interesting twists.

While I enjoyed the novel as a historical snapshot, I don’t find that it has anything important or enduring to say about life, love, or human nature that remains relevant today. The main characters lack sufficient depth and, overall, the novel is more style than substance. Some of the scenes of class tension are interesting, but other than that, it’s more a quaint look back in time than anything else. While reading this I found myself wondering quite a bit about the author’s purpose. Was the intent to create a slightly risqué and shocking (for the time) popular novel, or was it a failed attempt at serious fiction? I have no idea. I may try another of Dundy’s novels at some point, but this was a bit disappointing.

I should also point out that I read the New York Review of Books edition of this novel, which was edited by the author in the 1980s. Her introduction states that her edits consisted mostly of cutting down on slang and unnecessary “ughs.” While I’m thankful for that, I suppose this is technically not the Virago Modern Classics edition, but I’ll count it as one anyway.

Apr 1, 2012, 9:10pm Top

Ohh great new purchases! I really enjoyed Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. You are correct, Margaret Laurence is a very well thought of Canadian author. I'm not sure if I'd read any of her books, but I do have The Stone Angel out of the library right now, though I'm not sure I'll get to it in time. Happy Reading!

Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 11:29am Top

#45 - Thanks Deb! While I haven't purchased the Barbara Pym or Margaret Laurence yet, I do hope to get to them at some point this year, particularly Excellent Women, as I've heard so many great things about it.


I was just reading over my hastily-composed review of The Old Man and Me and I'm not 100% happy with it. I would like to point out that I don't believe all novels have to say something profound in order to be good or worthwhile, but my point is that I really couldn't tell what the author was trying to accomplish and I found myself preoccupied by that while reading it. Oh well.

Apr 2, 2012, 10:39pm Top

Just stopped by to tell that in the book that I read about the public librarian in Free For All , still happily works in a public library after more than 20 years, so I think working in a public library would not be so bad, depending on the person. I think - but I can't find the notation at the moment that his daughter is working on / has her degree in Library Science. That would indicate to me that Don Borchert is enjoying his work as a librarian.. :)

I am never happy with my reviews, Kerri, if that helps. I think your review of The Old Man and Me is excellent!

Apr 3, 2012, 4:16am Top

>41 DorsVenabili: Moreover, I had to listen to an essay by an Ayn Rand fanatic. Really?! That never helps. So overall, meh.
lol, now that is funny!

Apr 3, 2012, 7:05am Top

#47 - Absolutely! Many librarians love working in public libraries. I admire them (and use my public library regularly). My point is that my coursework has focused on other types of libraries and information centers. And actually, in my area, most public librarian job postings are for children or young adult librarians, and I don't really have a knack for working with young people.

#48 - I never pass up an opportunity to slam ole Ayn!

Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 11:04am Top

March 2012 Reading Statistics

Number of books read: 8
Average rating: 3.6
Number of pages: 2,255
Favorite read: County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital by David Ansell
Least favorite read: The Enormous Room by e.e. cummings

Decades (published in):
• 1920-1929: 1
• 1960-1969: 1
• 1970-1979: 1
• 1990-1999: 1
• 2000-2009: 1
• 2010-2019: 3

• Fiction: 5
• Non-Fiction: 3

Owned/borrowed (from human)/library:
• Owned: 7
• Borrowed (from human): 0
• Library: 1

• Print book: 3
• Ebook: 2
• Audiobook: 3

Author country:
• South Africa: 1
• United States: 7

Author gender:
• Female: 3
• Male: 5

Literary prizes/book lists represented:
• 1001 Books to Read Before You Die: The Enormous Room by e.e. cummings
• Nobel Prize for Literature author: J.M. Coetzee

Apr 3, 2012, 4:59pm Top

Very impressive stats, Kerri!

I enjoyed your review of The Old Man and Me. My Virago edition also has an introduction by the author, saying she's edited it and cut out unnecessary ums and errs, so I expect you do have the same version.

Apr 4, 2012, 6:05am Top

#51 - Oh good! Thanks for clarifying that.

Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 9:54am Top

Title: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Author: Amy Chua
Publication Year: 2011
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #15 (April 2012): Read a book with a wild mammal (i.e. no pets) in the title
Stars: Four

I’ve wanted to read this since hearing an interview with Amy Chua on NPR. As it turns out, it was a great audiobook choice, with Chua reading it herself.

The author has taken a lot of flak for this book, where she pits traditional Chinese parenting (relentless pursuit of success and perfection, no frivolous activities allowed, no compromise) against what she calls Western parenting (more permissive, more choices given to the child, preoccupation with the child’s self esteem).

As her parenting journey starts off, Chua is committed to raising her two American daughters the Chinese way. Both girls are musical prodigies (piano and violin), are at the top of their class, and speak fluent Mandarin Chinese. However, after constantly battling her rebellious younger child for many years, she finally relents and loosens up a bit (…a bit). So a major point of the book is that, while Chinese parenting tends to produce successful, driven children, it doesn’t always work, particularly with certain personality types and within the larger American culture.

I honestly don’t understand why Chua has been demonized, unless people haven’t actually read the book. It’s both brutally honest and told with a subtle sense of humor and self-deprecation. It's a memoir, not a parenting advice guide. Does Ms. Chua frequently come across as a crazy person? Certainly. And she would be the first to admit that. Moreover, I don’t have children, so she’s not insulting my way of life in any way. But still, give this lady a break. She clearly loves her children and they clearly love her.

Apr 5, 2012, 11:11am Top

Kerri: Nice review. I also heard her on NPR, and thought she was funny. She commented that all of the criticism surprised her because she didn't mean to be serious. I wonder if the people who criticized her had actually read the book?

Apr 5, 2012, 12:33pm Top

#54 - Thanks, Beth! I doubt they've read it. I remember there being some really sensationalized headlines about it, and I'm sure that didn't help. For example, "Amy Chua: 'I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!'" or "'Chinese Tiger Mother' Amy Chua -- Is Her Parenting a Form of Child Abuse?"

Actually, as someone who wishes she had had a bit more structure in her childhood, part of me envies her daughters.

Apr 6, 2012, 7:37am Top

Ohh enjoy Bad Intentions! :) I must admit, it is dark... and I loved The Caller too!Creepy stuff for me! I loved it!

Hmm I've not read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Now that my kids are 27 and nearly 22, I suppose it's too late. As you say, perhaps it's best to read the book before criticizing the author. That said, I had kind of "Tiger Parents" and I tried not to be that way with my two. My younger son has been dating a Chinese girl for several years, and her parents purposely left Hong Kong to get away from what they regarded as overzealous schooling. Even so, both of the daughter's have an M. A. and Serenade is just graduating with her B.A this month. Since my area is about ? 60 % chinese, I can attest to the pressure put on the kids to achieve academically, musically and obey their parents. Great review though, and I will take your advice and perhaps actually read the book! Happy Easter!

Apr 6, 2012, 9:23am Top

#56 - I started Bad Intentions this morning on the train and I'm enjoying it so far!

Yes - I would totally agree that many of Chua's actions were over-the-top. Chua also seems to realize this and has made major adjustments to her parenting style. I think people assume she's saying that Chinese-style parenting is the only way, but I didn't get that at all. I think she's trying to find some kind of happy medium in there - structure is good, but intense pressure and complete disregard for a child's feelings is bad and can backfire horribly. However, she doesn't really get to this point until later in the book, when angry readers may have already flung the thing across the room. So there's that.

Apr 6, 2012, 9:40am Top

Title: The Pride of Chanur
Author: C.J. Cherryh
Publication Year: 1981
Format: Print book
• 12 in 12: Challenge 8 - Female-authored science fiction
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #7 (April 2012): Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012
Stars: Not Rated

I was so excited when I picked this up at the library! Feline-like aliens with earrings and colorful pants flying around on space ships. How could this not be awesome!? But I absolutely HATED IT, and it’s my fault. I didn’t realize it was action-adventure sci-fi. I’m not a fan of action sequences and that’s really all there is here. Paragraphs made up of sentence fragments, describing jumps, escapes, and space chases. Quite frankly, it was torture to get through. Since action-adventure is just not my genre, I don’t think it’s fair for me to review it (maybe it's really good? I have no idea.), so I won’t.

Apr 6, 2012, 2:36pm Top

>58 DorsVenabili:: It's been a long time since I read that one, but I remember liking it a lot. It probably helps that action-adventure sci-fi is near the top of my pyramid of reading pleasures.

I do know what you mean about Cherryh's style, though, and I recall it being a barrier for me in some of her other works. She seems to delight in chopping sentences down to the bare necessaries. She also inserts alien jargon without any introduction or explanation.

When it works, her style has a hit-the-ground-running effect, immersing you in her imagined world in a way that I don't think I've encountered from any other writer.

Sorry it didn't work that way for you. Hope your next is better.

Apr 7, 2012, 9:40am Top

#59 - I'm glad you enjoy her. I really wanted to! I agree that she has a tendency to throw in jargon without explanation. There was also a side thread throughout the novel about a conflict happening on the planet that I never fully understood and in the end just sort of stopped trying. Oh well.

Apr 7, 2012, 9:42am Top

Kerri: I'm not much of a SF reader. I thought you were very adventurous to even pick up the Cherryh book. I hope your next read works out better for you.

Apr 7, 2012, 9:52am Top

Hi Beth! I'm a big sci-fi fan, but I've managed to avoid this particular sub-genre my entire life. I'll have to go back to reading the inside flap more carefully and not getting distracted by cute aliens.

Edited: Apr 8, 2012, 5:52pm Top

Title: Bad Intentions
Author: Karin Fossum
Publication Year: 2010 (English Translation)
Format: Ebook
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 6 - Newer stuff - fiction published in 2010 or later
• TIOLI #1 (April 2012): Read a book with a title in which the last letter is in rolling alphabetical order
Stars: Four

What a page-turner this was! As my first Scandi-crime novel, I didn’t know what to expect, but I found this book difficult to put down. Axel, Reilly, and Jon - close friends since childhood - share a disturbing secret. As this secret begins to unravel, each character’s personality flaws are revealed. Rather than a crime novel with lots of twists and turns, Bad Intentions explores the psychological effect of the event on the main characters and the very different ways they process what has happened. Fascinating. I recommend this, and I believe there may be a place in my reading life for this genre.

Apr 8, 2012, 6:15pm Top

Oh! I am so glad that you enjoyedBad Intentions! Thanks for letting me know! Yes! There is a place in your reading life for this genre!!!! :) For really creepy , try The Caller. Woot! Less creepy is Calling out For You but still a fascinating yarn! Karin Fossum is the Queen of Scandi -Crime. Happy Easter, by the way!

Apr 8, 2012, 6:16pm Top

Sounds like a good book! I've been seeing Fossum around the threads but I haven't read any yet ... guess it's about time I do!

Apr 9, 2012, 9:55am Top

#64 - Yes! Thanks again for the recommendation. Perhaps I'll try The Caller.

#65 - Hi Chelle! It was a good one. I hope you like it!

Apr 9, 2012, 10:18am Top

Ha Kerri do we have another inductee into the Scandi reading school? If you liked Karin Fossum I would heartily recommend Hakan Nesser, KO Dahl, Mari Jungstedt and Arnaldur Indriadason.

Apr 9, 2012, 1:51pm Top

#67 - Yes, I believe you have another inductee. Thanks for the recommendations! I'll probably get to a few more next year.

Apr 9, 2012, 2:15pm Top


I started reading City of Night this morning, in ebook format, and I'm HORRIFIED by the number of typos I'm finding! I just did a little internet research on my lunch break and apparently older books (this one was published in the 60s) are converted into ebooks using optical character recognition software that often results in a large number of typos. Has anyone else had this problem with ebooks?! I can't believe the publishers don't pay copy editors to go over these older books, once they are converted. I'm finding 2 or 3 dreadful typos per page. Stuff like "Tune Square" for "Times Square" and "weu" for "well." I suppose I'll limit ebooks to newer releases from now on or free classics (I guess it wouldn't bother me as much if it was free). I wasn't aware of this issue. It's maddening!

Apr 9, 2012, 4:53pm Top

69: Worse, there are some publshers who do OCR on public-domain documents, convert them to text, then sell the converted text as a book.

We've actually acquired a couple of these in our library, then have to discard them when we see how awful they are. Of course, we blacklist the publishers, but others keep popping up.

The latest defended itself by saying (essentially), "Sure there are typos, but our method is 99% accurate, so why are you complaining?"

We were complaining because"99%" sounds nice but translates to a typo every other line.

Apr 9, 2012, 8:04pm Top

All those typo's would get to me to, Kerri. So far the ebooks I have read have been new, so no problem. But how frustrating for you!

Apr 9, 2012, 10:48pm Top

>69 DorsVenabili: I'm HORRIFIED by the number of typos I'm finding
No need to worry about ranting about that! That is a completely valid rant topic, there's really no excuse and it would drive me absolutely batty having to read through mistakes.

Edited: Apr 10, 2012, 9:08am Top

70 - This is a fascinating topic that I don't know much about at this point. I have a book by a publisher called Kessinger Publishing (who I have since learned is unethical) and they sell out-of-copyright books that have been scanned by Google Books. Is this one of the publishers your library has blacklisted? On the other hand, I'm trying to figure out how this is different from Dover, who seems to do a similar thing (not the Google Books part), although their prices are dirt cheap. Interesting.

71 and 72 - Deb and Megan - I thought about returning it, but I'm caught up in the story now. I'm definitely going to send the publisher an email. I don't know if it will do any good, but it will make me feel better. : )

ETA: Looking at the bright side, I now have a concrete plan. I want both in my life, but couldn't figure out what to buy in print versus what to buy in ebook format. Problem solved!

Apr 10, 2012, 8:58pm Top

I'm not familiar with Kessinger, so I'm not sure about them.

I am a fan of Dover, though: they specialize in facsimile reprints of out-of-print editions. That's not an ideal solution for ebooks, but Dover's physical books are as readable as the the original editions so no complaint there.

The publishers we've blacklisted are ones like General Books and Nabu Press, which publish print editions of their OCR'd text. Which makes no sense: presumably they have scans of the original editions in order to perform OCR in the first place. Maybe they need the text files for the ebooks ... but when it comes to reprints, why not publish the scans instead like Dover does? The mind boggles.

Apr 10, 2012, 10:51pm Top

#74 - I should have pointed out - I'm also a Dover fan, especially the music scores. Regarding the blacklisted presses, I agree - why not publish the scans?! That is completely insane.

Apr 14, 2012, 8:19pm Top

Maybe they are trying to use a sharper and more readable font? That doesn't excuse a lack of proofreading, though.

Apr 15, 2012, 9:38am Top

Perfectly valid rant Kerri. If project gutenberg can produce ebooks of out of copyright books for free with only a very occasional typo then publishers should certainly be able to when they're asking readers to pay for the books. I think I've managed to avoid purchasing any with lots of typos by using the preview feature and reading reviews on amazon but I did end up reading an ebook that had the entire text in bold font which got on my nerves quite a bit. I think it's a sign that even some of the big publishers still aren't really taking ebooks seriously.

Edited: Apr 15, 2012, 9:40am Top

#76 - Hi! I don't know much about the ebook file formats, but a scan of an old book wouldn't allow the reader to look up words, etc, so I understand why they use the OCR software. They just need to hire copy editors to go over this stuff.

Edited: Apr 15, 2012, 9:46am Top

#77- Hi Heather! I think we were typing at the same time. I haven't explored any of the Project Gutenburg books yet, as I don't have many classics in my plan this year (which is somewhat unusual for me), except for Little Dorrit. But it's good to hear that the quality is high.

A text in bold font would drive me crazy as well! I've had the occasional missing page, which is frustrating. The publishers should be getting it together by now. Good grief.

Apr 15, 2012, 4:18pm Top

>78 DorsVenabili: exactly, I thought the publishers would have an interest in putting out a quality product in whatever format.

Apr 16, 2012, 6:42am Top

#81 - Hi Megan - Yes! You would think.

Apr 20, 2012, 9:11am Top

Less than two more weeks to go of the most awful semester I've ever experienced (mostly due to dreadful classes)! I've been working on my two final projects, so I haven't had much reading time lately. I hope to finish City of Night in the next few days (somewhat disappointing), and might be able to fit in one more book this month, but that's about it.

Anyway, from May 2nd to August 30, I may pull a few weeds and redecorate the living room, but other than that, I plan to devote the entire summer to reading (and doing a better job of keeping up with LT threads).

Apr 20, 2012, 10:45am Top

#82 "I plan to devote the entire summer to reading" - sounds wonderful! Sorry this semester has been so hard - not long to go now though.

This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I was rereading some of my Asimov books and I have only just realised what your user name refers to...

Apr 20, 2012, 2:12pm Top

#83 - SPOILER! ASIMOV CHARACTER IDENTITY SPOILER: Yes! Best robot EVER. You are only the second person to comment on my name!

Apr 20, 2012, 8:34pm Top

I dont get the reference, maybe I need to read me some Asimov!?

Apr 21, 2012, 7:54am Top

#85 - Hi Megan. Asimov's Foundation novels are great and I highly recommend them. Dors Venabili is the wife of Hari Seldon (the main character).

Apr 21, 2012, 7:57am Top

Kerri: I read those years ago and had completely forgotten. Great choice for user name.

Apr 21, 2012, 8:17am Top

*waving* at Kerri

Apr 21, 2012, 8:00pm Top

So glad that you get to spend the summer reading! Enjoy :)

Apr 21, 2012, 9:48pm Top

>86 DorsVenabili: ah ha, get it now

Apr 22, 2012, 7:45am Top

#87 - Thanks Beth! Initially, I was on LT just to catalog my books. I didn't join any groups until last year. Perhaps if I had known I'd be using the groups feature, I would have picked a less silly name. Ha!

#88 - Hi Stasia! Good to see you're back!

#89 - Hi Chelle! I'm definitely looking forward to it, although, right now, I'm looking outside at my sad, sad yard that needs lots of attention. (As it turns out, I hate yard work.)

#90 - Hi Megan! Yep - she's one of my favorite characters in the series.

Edited: Apr 22, 2012, 8:13am Top

Oh so now I know why you are DorsVenabli. I had NO IDEA!. I am never one to come up with cool nom de plumes. City that I live in- Vancouver - part of my name - deb. So simple minded, that is me!

Apr 22, 2012, 10:44am Top

#92 - I like your screen name, Deb! I always remember that your name is Deb and you're Canadian. Two very important things : ) Also, I imagine it keeps people from calling you "Paul" (or whatever) on your own thread! (By the way, I certainly don't mind or take offense at being called by the wrong name on LT. It's my own fault for not having a more sensible screen name. Ha!)

Apr 22, 2012, 10:55am Top

Kerri I would have to be flattered if Deb or yourself were mistaken for myself on your posts. Far too much common sense here and there for that to happen surely. What is difficult is to differentiate the plethora of Lindas!
I did have a few teeting problems to be honest last year with names being sometimes different to 'screen names'.
There is yours of course, Dejah, Peggy, Megan, Ilana, Nancy Kerry, Stasia and so on - I'm sure I muddled those up once or twice nadvertently early on.

Edited: Apr 25, 2012, 5:15am Top

#94 - Oh, I don't mind at all! I thought it was funny. I'm sure I've called people by the wrong names many times on these threads and haven't even realized it. I'm also good for leaving a specific comment on the wrong thread and also commenting and then not pressing "Post message," so the person never gets my comment.

Ok. Back to work on this godforsaken paper! We're meeting the in-laws for dinner later tonight, so I must get a great deal done by 5pm. Yesterday was such a productive day, but today, not so much...

Apr 23, 2012, 9:36pm Top

Title: City of Night
Author: John Rechy
Publication Year: 1963
Format: Ebook
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 7 - Working-class literature of the 1950s and 1960s
• TIOLI #1 (April 2012): Read a book with a title in which the last letter is in rolling alphabetical order
Stars: Three

An unnamed narrator (who shares a similar life story with the author) takes the reader on a journey from his impoverished childhood in El Paso, to stints as a hustler in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans. The novel is primarily an exploration of the gay male bar scene of the 1950s, which, according to this account, was profoundly sad, lonely, and depressing.

Does this 400-page novel have a plot? Not really! Roughly half of it consists of people and bar cataloging – endless descriptions of this hustler and that drag queen and this bar and that bar. To make matters worse, many of these passages have a rambling, pretentious, Beat-era vibe that I have a very difficult time embracing. However, within the aimless ramblings there are some wonderful short stories, where the narrator delves into specific life events of the characters. Some of my favorites are the heartbreaking story of an aging (meaning mid-thirties, at most) hustler who carries around an envelope containing photos and newspaper clippings that depict him when he was young and desirable; another is the story of a dying professor who obsesses about young men from his past who he calls “angels,” while ignoring the man who loves and nurses him during his sickness; and, finally, the story of an emotionally unstable fascist (yes, literally), S & M guy with whom the narrator unfortunately comes into contact.

I also feel like the novel could have benefited from a more thorough exploration of the narrator’s thoughts and feelings, rather than his endless description of other people. We learn a bit about him at the very beginning and a bit at the very end, where some character growth can be detected, but otherwise it feels, for the most part, like he’s a stranger. I suppose this could be deliberate, demonstrating that the narrator is essentially running away from himself and chooses to focus on that which is outside, but it certainly makes for tedious reading.

So, rather than a 400-page novel, this could have been edited down into a 200-page collection of very high-quality short stories. This was Rechy’s first published novel and it’s clearly a bit of a mess and was in need of a good editor. However, there are moments of excellent writing, and I may try something else by him, further down the road.

Apr 24, 2012, 12:11am Top

>93 DorsVenabili: I like your screen name, Deb! I always remember that your name is Deb and you're Canadian. Two very important things
True! there needs be no research to see if we have the facts straight when dealing with VancouverDeb!

Apr 24, 2012, 12:43pm Top

#97 - Exactly.

I'm off today and tomorrow to work on the never-ending paper/group project from hell and I'm currently taking a little LT lunch break (I have to say that to make myself feel better about wasting time.)

Also, my upcoming summer just got a lot better, as I received the good news yesterday that I won't need the neck surgery! So, I have three more weeks of physical therapy and then I can enjoy my time off. Yay!

Apr 25, 2012, 1:04pm Top

#98 Great news! Hope your paper/group project goes well.

Apr 26, 2012, 7:04am Top

#99 - Thanks, Heather. I'll be done Wednesday night!

Apr 26, 2012, 7:22am Top

ah ha! I see you've been outed! What a great and totally obvious username if one is as well read as Heather.

Good luck finishing your projects, Kerri. May 2nd is not too far away, so are your intended reads lined up or are you planning just to wing it?

Apr 26, 2012, 8:39am Top

Kerri: Great news about your neck and good luck with your final project. (Not that you need luck:)) So, what are you going to read?

Edited: Apr 28, 2012, 10:09am Top

#101 - Hi Lynda! Yes! I've been outed as a huge nerd who names herself after a robot : )

#102 - Hi Beth! Actually, I do need luck, so thank you.

And Lynda and Beth - Funny you should ask! Why, of course I have all my summer reading planned out. I am doing the 12 in 12 category thing, so it's pretty well-mapped out anyway, but here is what I hope to read in May:

*Jake’s Thing by Kingsley Amis
*Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
*A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor
*The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
*In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee
*A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens
*Good Behaviour by Molly Keane
*The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
*Rumours of Rain by André Brink

Those are the print and ebooks. I'll also listen to a few audiobooks for May is for Murder and Mayhem (or whatever it's called):
*The Caller by Karin Fossom (for sure)

Maybe these two. I ordered them through ILL at the library, but I'm not sure if they are any good:
*The Demon of Dakar by Kjell Eriksson
*The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Later this summer, I'd definitely like to read 6 of the Booker longlisted books, when they are announced.

ETA - Changed the Elizabeth Taylor novel from Blaming to A View of the Harbour.

Apr 26, 2012, 9:30pm Top

No surgery must be good news, hope that therapy can right things.

Good looking reading plans too, I look forward to seeing what you think of the Kingsley Amis one and the Iris Murdoch one.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:03am Top

#104 - Thanks, Megan! I've been very impressed with my physical therapist. I also diligently do all of my homework exercises, so I'm sure that helps too.

I'm somewhat concerned about the Kingsley Amis, but I'm determined to read all the Booker shortlisted books from 1978 and 1985. Here is a brief Amazon description of Jake's Thing: "Nearing sixty, Jake goes in pursuit of his lost libido. But is sex really worth it? As liberationists abuse him, a hostess bores him into bed – and even his wife starts acting oddly – Jake seriously begins to wonder." Ugh. So it kind of sounds like the whiny, male, mid-life (well, old here, I suppose) crisis literature that I was talking about on your thread. It will be impressive if I actually like this.

Anyway, I love Iris Murdoch. The Sea, The Sea is one of my favorite books of all time. Probably top three.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:27am Top

Great news that you don't need surgery and not long until your summer of reading. Sounds good:)

Apr 27, 2012, 8:25am Top

#103 Wow, that's an impressive reading list Kerri! Lots of books on there that I've heard of but nothing that I've read before. I loved The Sea, The Sea too although I haven't got round to reading any more Murdoch since then.

I think a couple of people from the group have read and rated Jussi Adler-Olsen quite highly (I think of them as the Scandi-crime experts) so hopefully that should be a good one to listed to.

Apr 27, 2012, 8:47am Top

Kerri: The Black Prince is my favorite Murdoch. I'll be anxious to hear what you think. I also liked The Keeper of Lost Causes. Hooray for summer reading!

Apr 27, 2012, 9:26am Top

#106 - Thanks, Calm! It's a good thing.

#107 - Hi Heather (and Beth) - Thank you! It's good to know that the Jussi Adler-Olsen is rated highly.

#108 - Hi Beth - How wonderful that The Black Prince is your favorite! Other than The Sea, The Sea, I've read The Bell, which was great and A Severed Head which was pretty good. This summer, I'll also read The Good Apprentice. Next near, I plan to do an Iris Murdoch author read, similar to the Coetzee thing I'm doing this year. It should be fun.

Edited: Apr 28, 2012, 7:25am Top

Ohhh I'm so excited about you reading The Caller! I'm just lost without my go - to author, Karin Fossum! :) She needs to catch up to my reading speed!;)

Keeper of Lost Causes was also very good -but not quite on par with The Caller....

So glad that you don't need any surgery! Bravo!

Apr 28, 2012, 9:50am Top

96: That's a fascinating review, Kerri. City of Night sounds flawed but interesting!

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Blaming. It was one of the first Taylors I read and I didn't enjoy it as much as the ones I've read subsequently but don't know whether that was the book or because Taylor is an acquired taste. It is her final book and I think it has a more serious tone than her earlier ones.

Apr 28, 2012, 10:08am Top

#110 - Thanks, Deb! I'll probably be able to try both of them this month.

#111 - Hi Dee! Perhaps I should start with A View of the Harbour then? I was looking through your thread and was reminded that you rated that one highly. It really doesn't matter, as the library system has both. So maybe, I'll start with that and try Blaming or Angel later this year. Really, I'm just determined to get to any Elizabeth Taylor novel this month!

Apr 28, 2012, 10:36am Top

I remember admiring Blaming but not feeling too bothered about reading any more Taylor after I'd finished. Now I can't get enough of her writing but honestly can't say how much that's to do with differences in the books or whether a taste for her books has somehow developed in me!

I do think A View of the Harbour might be a good one to start with though.

Edited: Apr 28, 2012, 6:02pm Top

Hi Kerri- Hey, I made it over! Congrats on the the 2nd Thread! You are in the big time now. I also loved Nothing to Envy. One of my top reads of the year. If you want to read a terrific fiction story set in North Korea, give The Orphan Master's Son a try.

Apr 28, 2012, 8:25pm Top

#113 - Hi Dee - I changed it to A View of the Harbour. That seems to be the wise choice. Now that I think of it, I may have picked Blaming for its lower page count. And that's silly.

#114 - Hi Mark - Oh yes, the big time! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll put that on the wishlist. Apart from a quibble or two, I thought Nothing to Envy was great. Fiction set in present-day North Korea sounds fascinating (and I assume horribly depressing, but I'm fine with that).

Edited: May 2, 2012, 9:38am Top

I'm almost done! I have one group presentation to give at 6pm tonight and then it's over for close to 4 months! (I usually don't complain this much about school, but this has been the most awful semester I've had to date.)


Here are my April stats - somewhat pitiful, as I was working on projects for the better part of the month:

April 2012 Reading Statistics

Number of books read: 6
Average rating: 3.0
Number of pages: 2086
Favorite read: Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
Least favorite read: Information and Records Management: Document-Based Information Systems by Robek, Brown, and Stephens

Decades (published in):
• 1960-1969: 1
• 1980-1989: 1
• 1990-1999: 1
• 2000-2009: 1
• 2010-2019: 2

• Fiction: 3
• Non-Fiction: 3

Owned/borrowed (from human)/library:
• Owned: 5
• Borrowed (from human): 0
• Library: 1

• Print book: 3
• Ebook: 2
• Audiobook: 1

Author country:
• Norway: 1
• United States: 5

Author gender (some books had multiple authors):
• Female: 5
• Male: 4

Literary prizes/book lists represented:
• Hugo Award shortlist: The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh

May 2, 2012, 9:36am Top

Good stats for a busy month Kerri. Pleased the semester is nearly over and hope you have a great break:)

May 2, 2012, 9:41am Top

I enjoyed reading your stats, Kerri. For some reason, this made me laugh:

Favorite read: Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
Least favorite read: Information and Records Management: Document-Based Information Systems by Robek, Brown, and Stephens

I think I'll stick with the Fossum then ;-)

May 2, 2012, 1:17pm Top

#117 - Thanks, Calm! I'm pleased too. My husband has promised that there will be a bomber of double I.P.A. for me when I get home this evening.

#118 - Ha! That is pretty funny. In all seriousness, I'm probably being unfair about that book (the records management text), simply because the class and instructor were awful. Painfully awful.

May 2, 2012, 4:27pm Top

Kerri: Congrats on finishing. My last day of class is May 10, and then I probably have about a week to get the grades in. So I can celebrate on May 17.

I think you still did pretty well to have read 6 books in April.

May 2, 2012, 7:11pm Top

Kerri- Congrats, my new friend! Very exciting. "a bomber of double I.P.A." Did I happen to mention I'm a big fan of beer too! That sounds great.

May 2, 2012, 7:23pm Top

>105 DorsVenabili: I have only read one of Murdoch's, An Accidental Man, and I cant say I was taken with it. But I have a Booker thing too, so would like to read The Sea the Sea

Looks like a great spread in the books you read for April, a good mix. And well dont for reading from your owned books!

On Beer: Im beginning to think that IPA's are too strong for me. My new fave is Stone and Wood. By george it's beautiful!

May 2, 2012, 7:26pm Top

I am glad to see that you are not going to need surgery. Woot for the physical therapy!

May 2, 2012, 7:43pm Top

Megan- I have to be in the right mood for an IPA but when the time is right..yeah baby!

May 3, 2012, 6:32am Top

#120 - Beth - Thank you! May 17th is coming up quickly for you. Yay, summer!

#121 - Thanks, Mark! Yeah - we're beer nerds in this house. My husband makes his own beer too. Right now he has a red ale, a coffee stout, and a blood orange wheat beer on tap. Last night I had the Firestone Walker Double Jack, which is one of my favorites. I like hoppy beer, if the hops are citrusy. Have you had the Three Floyd's Zombie Dust yet? It's amazing.

#122 - Hi Megan - I haven't read An Accidental Man, but I'll probably get to it next year for my Iris Murdoch author read. I hope you like The Sea, The Sea, if you get to it. The main character is rather unlikable, and I think that turns some people off, but I love it. I don't think we get Stone and Wood in the U.S. Craft beer is so regional, even within the U.S. I guess that's kind of neat though.

#123 - Thanks, Stasia! Three more sessions and then I'm done.

May 3, 2012, 6:50am Top

Wow! See if you made the Meet-up, I could have had you bring some of that homebrew. (the red ale sounds tasty) Hopefully next time.
Yes, I have had Zombie Dust. Three Floyds is easily one of my favorite breweries, I just wish they weren't so darn expensive.
I'll have to try that Firestone. I've heard of it but haven't indulged.

May 3, 2012, 7:11am Top

Kerri, here is a link to what makes a book a so called " cozy" and a huge list of cozy authors, alphabetically. When I first ran across the link, I was surprised at the number of books that make up a " cozy." I always thought only my mom read cozies - you know, mysteries involving dogs, cats, foods - I dunno - and then I looked... :)

Here is the link - http://www.cozy-mystery.com/Definition-of-a-Cozy-Mystery.html

May 3, 2012, 10:01am Top

#126 - Mark - I will most definitely bring home brew to the next meet up! Maybe I will find and post a photo of my husband's crazy tap system at some point.

#127 - Thanks Deb! I will check out that link. However, while I do like cats, dogs, and food, I have a feeling I might be more interested in the non-cozys.

May 3, 2012, 6:09pm Top

I prefer non - cozies myself, but it's surprising how many books are considered to be cozies.

May 4, 2012, 4:01pm Top

#129 - Hi Deb - I have a lot of research to do in this area! I'm having a hard time finding recommendations. I'll have to check out the awards lists and that sort of thing. I had an Audible coupon so I also just downloaded The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson. Are you familiar with this one? The description sounds intriguing and it was essentially free, so why not?


I'm trying to get the energy to write a review for The Warmth of Other Suns (which was excellent), but I think I need a couple more days to recover from school. That 27-page group paper (60 with all the appendices) that I foolishly volunteered to edit and format did me in. It also caused what I think will be a life-long and intense hatred for APA format, which has the most poorly written and incoherent style guide that I've ever encountered.

May 4, 2012, 4:02pm Top

Kerri: Congrats on finishing. Have you made a reading list? I'm going to do that next week -- or whenever I finish grading.

Edited: May 8, 2012, 1:53pm Top

#131 - Oh, Beth. I have a spreadsheet. It's insane. But anyway, here's what I'd like to get to this summer. It might be a wee bit too ambitious. Ha! I hope you post your list as well.

Print or ebooks
*Jake’s Thing by Kingsley Amis
*The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
*A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor
*Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
*THe Red House by Mark Haddon
*The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
*In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee
*A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens
*Good Behaviour by Molly Keane
*The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
*Rumours of Rain by André Brink
*Illywhacker by Peter Carey
*Last Letters from Hav by Jan Morris
*The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch
*The Siege of Krishnapur by J G Farrell
*The Chip Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul
*Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
*Foe by J.M. Coetzee
*Company Parade by Storm Jameson
*Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
*Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley
*The Battle of Pollocks Crossing by J L Carr
*The Tree of Man by Patrick White
*Augustus by John Williams
*Age of Iron by J.M. Coetzee
*Alias Grace by Margare Atwood
*Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman
*Chimera by John Barth
*The Master of Petersburg by J.M. Coetzee
*Family History by Vita Sackville-West
*War Trash by Ha Jin
*The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by D'J Pancake
*A Death in the Family by James Agee
*Border Country by Raymond Williams

And then 6 of the Booker longlisted books.

*The Caller by Karin Fossum
*The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson
*The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
*The Demon of Dakar by Kjell Eriksson

And then other audiobooks, probably mostly sci-fi and mysteries/thrillers TBD

May 4, 2012, 8:36pm Top

>126 msf59: Yes, I have had Zombie Dust.
We have one here called Hop Zombie, it is fully loaded with hops and was made as a joke, but people (some select people) liked it so they kept making it!

There is a fair bit of Coetzee on your list Kerri! Would you believe i have only read one of his? (Disgrace)

May 4, 2012, 9:34pm Top

Keri - you're right - that is one heck of an ambitious list. Good luck with it anyway and I hope you start with a great weekend.

May 4, 2012, 9:59pm Top

Kerri: You are ambitious. I like it. I will post mine, but it will be about half as long. Or maybe not. I always seem to have big plans.

May 5, 2012, 2:21am Top

You truly are ambitious with your list of TBR's! I have a list in my head - far less extensive , but I keep it to myself , to keep the pressure off myself! Good for you!

May 5, 2012, 2:47am Top

I like your reading list! There are several on there which I've read and loved and several more that I have on my wish-list.

May 5, 2012, 7:55am Top

Nice reading list, Kerri!

May 5, 2012, 8:10am Top

Morning Kerrie- Whoa! That's quite an impressive and slightly daunting list. Good luck with it. Some fine reading there.

May 5, 2012, 9:32am Top

#133 - Hi Megan! Hop Zombie sounds right up my alley. I'm reading 12 Coetzee novels this year (roughly one a month, although I skipped April). Disgrace has been my favorite so far, so I think that was an excellent choice.

#134 - Hi Paul! Thanks! This is my first weekend of schoolwork freedom, so I'm off to my sister's for her birthday celebration. Today is sister day with the dogs - a walk in the forest preserve, followed by Thai food, a movie, and beers. Tomorrow, the husbands will join us for a BBQ. I'm really looking forward to it.

#135 - Thanks, Beth! I will go look for yours. Yay, lists!

#136 - Hi Deb! I'm doing the 12 in 12 challenge this year, so I have it pretty well planned out. While I'm enjoying that, I think that next year I'll just stick to 3 or 4 categories and then give myself a bit more freedom.

#137 - Hi Dee! Thanks! I did just pick up A View of the Harbour at the library yesterday, so I'll definitely get to that after The Roots of the Olive Tree, which I have to read next, because I'm writing a Booklist review for it.

#138 - Hi Daryl! Thanks. Good to see you!

#139 - Thanks, Mark! Have a great time at the Meet-up! I wish I could be there.

Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 2:10pm Top

Title: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Author: Isabel Wilkerson
Publication Year: 2010
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #13 (May 2012): Read a book with a word related to gardening in the title
Stars: Four and a half

In this captivating account of the Great Migration, Wilkerson weaves a comprehensive history of the event between the personal stories of three unique individuals who lived through it: Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, the wife of a sharecropper who migrated from Mississippi to Chicago in the 1930s; George Swanson Starling, a citrus grove worker who migrated from Florida to New York City in the 1940s; and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, a successful surgeon (and quite a character) who migrated from Louisiana to Los Angeles in the 1950s.

The migration of African Americans from the rural South to northern cities proceeded slowly between 1915 and 1970 and is commonly thought to have been caused primarily by economic hardship. However, Wilkerson conceives the event as much more complex than that. While economic reasons played a part, the motivation of Wilkerson’s three subjects had much more to do with a longing for freedom, the desire to escape the South’s rigid caste system, and the ability to pursue goals and dreams in a more hospitable climate. Sadly, the North had its own problems. While fleeing the South eliminated the ever-present threat of extreme violence, the new arrivals experienced a more covert form of racism in the North that dictated where they could live, which jobs they could take, and how much money they could make. (And it's important to point out that more than 30 years later, we have yet to solve all race-related problems in this country.)

I think we tend to forget what went on in the United States only a very short time ago. Most Americans are familiar with the big events that led up to the Civil Rights Movement, but reading about the everyday horror and humiliation that all African Americans faced while living in the Jim Crow South really hit home in a powerful way. In short, this book is wonderful, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

May 8, 2012, 11:23am Top

Sounds like a must-read, Kerri. Don't forget to add your review to the main page ;).

May 8, 2012, 11:32am Top

#142 - Thanks, Dee! I had posted the review, but the touchstone was going to a weird version. I fixed it.

May 8, 2012, 11:37am Top

143: Oh yes, that looks better!

May 8, 2012, 12:29pm Top

Hi, Kerri, dropping by. I love your end of month summaries and may borrow from you to tweak my own. That is a great summer reading list and I wish you well with it.

I loved your review, way way up, of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. That was a surprise favorite for me last year and I had a very similar reaction to it. I thought it was very very funny and self-deprecating (and if I was even a tiny bit like her I might have one child who stuck with piano lessons past age 9.)

May 8, 2012, 4:11pm Top

#145 - Hi Anne - Thanks for dropping by! I think my summer reading list may be impossible, but I'm going to try.

I'm glad you enjoyed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother as well. The audiobook was great, because Amy Chua was reading it and she did a wonderful job.

May 8, 2012, 4:32pm Top

Hi Dors, looking forward to your thoughts on Jake's Thing, I've considered trying an Amis (Kingsley or Martin) more than once but never found the right starting point.

May 8, 2012, 6:19pm Top

Kerri- Great review of Warmth. You earned a Thumb. I thought it was a fantastic book too and I learned a lot from it. I think it should be required reading in school.

May 8, 2012, 9:07pm Top

Great review of The Warmth of Other Suns, Kerri. One of these days I'll review it as well.

May 9, 2012, 6:01am Top

Kerri, your summer reading list brought a huge smile to my face. Just anticipating a summer of good reads gives me tingles. Enjoy your much earned break from school.

May 9, 2012, 6:55am Top

#147 - Hi! I'll probably get to that review in the next day or so. Let's just say that it's hard to imagine ever reading another Kingsley Amis novel.

#148 - Thanks, Mark! I agree that it should be required reading in school. I remember my high school history instruction being very war-oriented, with very little taught on social history. I remember the labor movement being completely absent as well. Hopefully that's changed somewhat.

#149 - Thanks, Daryl! I could have sworn that I read a review of yours on it a while back. Perhaps it was just comments, though.

#150 - Hi Lynda! I'm enjoying it so far, although the general state of laziness that I'm in is making it difficult to write reviews! I'm a little behind, but that's ok.

Edited: May 9, 2012, 9:55am Top

Title: The Caller
Author: Karin Fossum
Publication Year: 2009
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
Stars: Three

A prankster terrorizes a community, escalating and personalizing the pranks until unintended consequences occur. The victims react differently to the events. Some become fearful, some find strength in surviving the incidents, and others become obsessed with revenge-seeking. All of them are permanently scarred. Inspector Sejer sets out to solve the crime.

While the novel is well-written and a page-turner, I didn’t find this as satisfying as Bad Intentions. The back story of the prankster is interesting, but I felt like I was supplied with too much information throughout, resulting in a lack of suspense. I’m still new to this genre, so maybe I shouldn’t necessarily expect suspense from crime novels? I’m not sure. Anyway, I still hope to read more from this author, but this one left me a bit cold.

May 9, 2012, 2:15pm Top

Title: Jake’s Thing
Author: Kingsley Amis
Publication Year: 1978
Format: Print book
• 12 in 12: Challenge 1 - Booker Prize short-listed works from 1978 and 1985
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #16 (May 2012): Read a book set in a vacation destination city (Oxford)
Stars: Two and a half

Jake, a middle-aged Oxford don, experiences a drastic decrease in his libido. (Yes, the “thing” in the title is referring to what you think it’s referring to.) Despite all evidence pointing toward the fact that Jake is a complete bore, he apparently has always been quite the womanizer, so this turn of events is alarming. He seeks medical and then psychiatric treatment to remedy the problem, but with little success. He also enlists the help of his wife Brenda and together they engage in elaborate homework assignments and group therapy headed by the sadistic and possibly unqualified Ed. Is it a physical problem or a psychological problem, and is it worth fixing in the first place? I won’t spoil it for you.

So, putting aside the fact that one of my least favorite things to read about is middle-aged, male angst, I really tried to give this a chance. And there are good things. For one, Amis is a talented comic writer and many bits are clever and some are laugh-out-loud funny. In that respect, it wasn’t complete torture to read this. There was even a point when I was hopeful and thought a more complex study of male/female relationships might be going on. Then I read the last two or three pages (which I will avoid writing about so as not to spoil anything), and that theory was refuted. Unfortunately, the underlying assumption that women are twittering idiots without valid thoughts and feelings is present throughout the novel. (And I haven’t even mentioned the anti-Semitism!) I’m not sure what the cut-off point is for having to tolerate sexism and bigotry in literature, but I’m going to put it well before 1978. It might seem like I’m overreacting a bit, but, really, this is that offensive. No more Kingsley Amis for me, thank you.

May 10, 2012, 3:27pm Top

While I do tend to go on and on about audiobooks here, I don't think I've mentioned my new audiobook plan. It's very exciting (HA!). Since I'm not able to download audiobooks from my library (they don't participate in the downloadable media program), I joined Audible earlier this year. However, I've been listening to more and more audiobooks (I walk a lot, to and from trains) and Audible can be expensive (they do amazing marketing that gets me to buy stuff ALL. THE. TIME.), so I'm trying to use it sparingly. Then it occurred to me that I could check out audiobooks in CD format at the library! So, this new plan has been working out well and I'm surprised at how many audiobooks on CD that my library system has available. What I can't get there, I purchase through Audible. The only annoying thing is that I can't keep my place in the book like in a typical downloadable audiobook and have to write it down, but that's minor.

May 10, 2012, 3:34pm Top

Great plan, Kerri. Our library does participate, but I think my iPod is too old, so I have been downloading CDs. I haven't been doing as much listening lately because it's so easy to take my Nook to the gym and read, but now that the weather's nice and I walk more outdoors, I hope to get back to that again. I'll have to check out your recent recommendations.

May 10, 2012, 7:56pm Top

Kerri- I get a lot of my audiobooks from the library. It's a bit more time-consuming but that's not a problem. What listening device do you use? I use an iPod and I can save my place. For some reason my library e-books, will not format to my iPod, so I gave up on that. That sucks.
I have still not tried Audible. It looks to expensive.

May 10, 2012, 8:09pm Top

Kerri - three very enjoyable reviews - one you loved and I remember Mark also being warmed by The Warmth of Other Suns - one you thought OK; I have read 5 of the Fossums and they are all decent enough without really knocking me out - and one you, well, hated. I have all of Kingsley Amis' work which I bought as a young fellow having read Girl, 20 and enjoying. Must admit that I agree with you and find quite a lot of his stuff insufferable although he did write a very passable James Bond book - Colonel Sun.

May 11, 2012, 9:47am Top

#155 and 156 - Beth and Mark: Before they took away the privilege for suburban folks at the end of last year, I was able to download audiobooks from the Chicago Public Library. I remember it being a pain in the butt to get the OverDrive software to work with my computer, but I finally downloaded the right security thingy and it worked (then they took the privilege away. Boo!). I also have a fairly old iPod (4 years?), but didn't have significant problems.

With the audiobook CDs from the library, I rip it to my iTunes, listen to it on my iPod, and then delete it from my iPod and computer when I'm finished with it (I'm hoping this is fair use and not too copyright infringement-y, because I do my listening while walking and I'm not going to dig up my old Discman and drag that around!). So, when I listen to these on my iPod, I can't save my place if I listen to something else in between, where as with a downloadable audiobook, it saves my place. But maybe I'm missing something and there is a way to save my place? I'll have to look in to that. Wow. That was a tedious explanation - sorry!

Yeah - you can spend a lot with Audible, but it's much cheaper than buying the audiobooks on CD. Plus, they have stuff that the library system doesn't carry, so I'll still get my money's worth from that. And I always make sure I use my monthly token on a really expensive book, but I know they're making a ton of money off of me anyway.

#157 - Thanks, Paul! Yeah - the Kingsley Amis was definitely offensive. I'm glad to hear you're in agreement and I'm not just being ridiculously sensitive! I think I'm going to stay away from his son as well, as, from what I've read, he seems like an ass too. Interesting that Kingsley Amis wrote a James Bond book - I wouldn't have guessed that.

May 12, 2012, 3:01pm Top

Hi Kerri. Great summer reading plans and a thumb for your review of The Warmth of Other Suns. I think I've only read two from your summer list (Gillespie and I and Alias Grace) but they were both really good and there are some more books on your list that I've got my eye on. I'd like to read Mark Haddon's new novel, Red House. My bookgroup has chosen his last adult novel, A Spot of Bother, for discussion next month which I remember enjoying when it came out and I'd also like to read Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur having loved Troubles.

May 12, 2012, 5:16pm Top

#159 - Hi Heather! Thanks for the thumb. I won the Mark Haddon novel through Early Reviewers (after saying I wasn't going to try for any more Early Reviewer books). The only other book of his that I've read is The Curious Incident..., which, oddly enough, I wasn't thrilled about, although I know people loved it.

May 12, 2012, 5:25pm Top

Kerri: The Amis book sounds awful. Thanks for reading and reviewing so I don't have to. I'm just starting County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital -- I think you recommended it?

Edited: May 12, 2012, 6:36pm Top

#161 - Beth - Jake's Thing WAS awful!

Yes - I loved County: Life, Death... and I hope you do too. Although, if you're not listening to it, via audiobook, you won't get the added bonus of Balki (Bronson Pinchot) from Perfect Strangers doing the reading. Seriously, he is the best audiobook reader I've encountered yet. Go figure.

May 12, 2012, 8:07pm Top

Kerri: No, I am reading it. The first few chapters are very compelling -- although they are raising my blood pressure. But I can identify with Ansell's crusading spirit, as someone who also wanted to change the world on graduation from college (I joined the Peace Corps).

May 13, 2012, 1:07am Top

Our library does CD audio books too, but they cost $2 to get out. And I cant think of how Id listen, as dont walk enough these days (bad feet) and car journeys are not long enough to get in a good section. Maybe in bed?

May 13, 2012, 7:23am Top

#163- Hi Beth - Yeah - it will definitely make you mad. Just wait until he starts talking about "patient dumping." Where were you sent for the Peace Corps?

#164 - Hi Megan - The $2 charge is interesting. Do they charge for any other library services there? If not for the walking, I definitely wouldn't get through as many (if any) audiobooks.

Also, I hope both of you have a lovely mother's day!!

May 14, 2012, 1:07pm Top

I'm hoping to get to The Warmth of Other Suns later this summer.

May 14, 2012, 1:56pm Top

#166 - Hi Lori - Thank you for visiting! It's excellent. I look forward to reading your thoughts once you've read it.

May 14, 2012, 2:07pm Top

Title: The Flatey Enigma
Author: Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson
Publication Year: 2012
Format: Audiobook
• 12 in 12: Challenge 6 - Newer stuff - fiction published in 2010 or later
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #19 (May 2012): Read a book set in a library or about a librarian
Stars: Three and a half

When fishermen find the dead body of a Danish scholar on a desolate island off the northwest coast of Iceland, members of the small, surrounding community receive more outside scrutiny than they are used to. It is soon discovered that the scholar studied The Book of Flatey, a fourteenth century Icelandic manuscript, and sought to solve the Flatey Enigma, which is a puzzle based on the stories in the manuscript. All of this (and more) ties into the mystery of the scholar's death and his relationship with the islands and the people of the region. And as a bonus, I received a healthy dose of Scandinavian history and legend while reading it (violent and somewhat raunchy!), as the author alternates chapters of action with stories from the manuscript that relate to the Enigma.

While a bit slow to get going and with a slightly-less-than-completely-satisfying ending, I found this to be a fairly entertaining and solid read. However, it may just be that I’ve read so few mysteries at this point, that I don’t know any better. I’m not sure. It will be interesting to read other reviews of this. Sort of recommended? I think?

May 14, 2012, 3:33pm Top

Kerri- I was messing around yesterday with my libraries e-book system and downloaded an updated Overdrive program. I was able to download the book to my hard drive and then add it to my itunes & iPod. It looks like it's working, although I haven't actually listened to a title yet. There is a treasure trove of books to get and I added a bunch to my Wishlist. We are book crazy, aren't we?

May 15, 2012, 6:25am Top

#169 - That's great, Mark! Getting that software to work is definitely not easy, but it's worth it. I wish my library participated, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be worth the expense in my dinky village. At least I've got the ILL though.

Edited: May 16, 2012, 9:41pm Top

I'm another Audible user and I also try to check out audio CDs and rip them to my computer too. We have a decent selection at my local library, and there's a pretty good selection through the Milwaukee County system. However, some of the newer/more obscure titles I need to use Audible for. I drive about an hour a day to work at one of my jobs, so that's where most of my audiobook time comes in, and I listen to them around the house too, if I'm cleaning up or doing something mindless like filing. I have the same problem you do with listening to audios on my iPod if they're not from audible. Someone left me a message on my thread about how to "fix" the problem of tracks appearing out of order (without shuffle being on), but I don't know if there is some magical way to get a "resume" function to appear when it's ripped from CDs. Anyone know anything about this?

eta: I feel like this doesn't make sense somehow - apologies, it must be all of the fresh air, my brain isn't used to it. ;)

Edited: May 17, 2012, 10:53am Top

Hi Laura - Thanks for visiting!

Your post makes perfect sense. That's exactly what I've been doing. It seems that my library system has a lot of mystery/thrillers in CD format, but not a lot of the non-fiction that I tend to read via audiobook, so those I'll continue to purchase through Audible. I haven't had the problem of tracks appearing out of order yet, but keeping my place continues to be a pain. I've just been jotting it down on a piece of paper.

May 22, 2012, 7:02am Top

I'm definitely not in a book funk, but I'm in a bit of a review-writing funk (a continuation of end-of-semester laziness?). I'll probably have a couple done by tonight...hopefully. I finished A View of the Harbour and The Keeper of Lost Causes and enjoyed both immensely.

It's also Chicago Craft Beer week, so we've been bopping around the city, collecting stickers at craft beer bars to put on our beer maps. If we are able to collect 2 stickers each from 5 or 6 neighborhoods, we'll get a VIP pass to a beer-tasting event on Friday. Yay! NERDS.

May 22, 2012, 7:52am Top

Hi Kerri! I'm glad you enjoyed A View of the Harbour and the sticker collecting and VIP beer drinking sounds great fun!

May 22, 2012, 9:34am Top

Kerri: I'm glad you enjoyed your latest reads. I have to get to A View of the Harbour soon. I did enjoy The Keeper of Lost Causes, too. Have fun with your beer drinking.

May 22, 2012, 11:02am Top

Hi Dee - I liked it quite a bit - four stars. There have been so many good reviews of it lately, so mine will be brief.

Hi Beth - Did you read The Keeper of Lost Causes recently? I'll have to look for your comments. It's my favorite mystery/thriller/crime novel to this point. The one I'm reading now, is a little "hrmpft" so far - The Devil of Nanking (also called Tokyo).

These godforsaken beer stickers! It's my job to get 4 stickers from at least two locations in my office neighborhood. I'm going out with a co-worker on Wednesday, but she doesn't really like beer, so I'm not sure how successful that will be. I think I'm going to have to stop on my way to the train for one tonight. So, if you can imagine nerdy Kerri sitting at a bar alone, reading a Coetzee novel and listening to her white noise recording, via earphones, to block out the sound. That's about what it will be. Ha!

May 22, 2012, 12:38pm Top

Kerri: I thought I read The Keeper of Lost Causes at the end of last year; I gave it honorable mention for one of the year's best. I made just brief comments. I thought it was well plotted and I liked the humor.

Good luck with the beer...you paint a very vivid picture:)

May 22, 2012, 6:21pm Top

Kerri- Thanks for the Revolution Pub info! Unfortunately Friday's event is sold out, although since I have to work Saturday, it would have been difficult anyway. We are definitely considering going down there one weekend. Sounds like my cuppa!!

May 22, 2012, 9:24pm Top

>165 DorsVenabili: libraries here (in my town anyway) also charge $2 for reserving a book as well, as it can mean transferring it from any of the city libraries. There are about 14 of them so I guess it can take some organising.

Edited: May 23, 2012, 10:34am Top

#177 - Hi Beth! I was able to get two stickers for one beer yesterday and still caught the 4:48 train. Yes!

#178 - Hi Mark - That's too bad! We got our tickets a while ago, but I didn't realize they were sold out. My other favorite beer destinations are:

*The Haymarket Brewery (Halsted and Randolf) - The beer is excellent, the food is ok. We're actually going there tonight. (Please note: there's ususally not this much beer drinking going on in my life, it's just that it's the Craft Beer Week and all.) (http://haymarketbrewing.com/)

*Hopleaf (Clark and Foster) - This is not a brew pub, but it's a beer bar and restaurant. They have an amazing selection, with lots of Belgian beer. The food is excellent too. It's always horrifically crowded though, but they just bought the space next door, so they're expanding. (http://hopleaf.com/)

#179 - Hi Megan! Thank you - it's interesting to learn about library systems in other countries.

May 23, 2012, 10:59am Top

I nearly stopped listening to The Devil of Nanking today, but then realized I'm half-way through, so my stubborn side came to life and I decided to carry on to the end. Looking on Goodreads, it has several 5-star ratings, which is unbelievable to me, as it's actually rather dreadful. The main character is implausibly weak and naive and it's taking forever for the plot to develop. Good grief!

On a good note, the Coetzee novel I'm reading (In the Heart of the Country)will probably be a 5-star read. I'm blown away so far. Which brings me to the idea of reading order. What on earth do you read after something like this?! I wonder if the books I read after a 5-tar read suffer from the comparison. I'm not sure. I'll have to choose wisely.

May 23, 2012, 7:06pm Top

Kerri- Thanks for all the precious pub/brewery info. I wish we would go downtown more often, I just get to be an old fart sometimes and don't want to deal with the hassle. I will keep those in mind though.
Have you found any of the Revolution brews in any local stores?

Are you also on Good Reads? I am, although I'm not on there as much. The people are way better here.

May 23, 2012, 10:09pm Top

Kerri: After a 5-star read, I try to choose something totally different so that there is no way I can compare. It doesn't always work, but it's hard to come back from a 5-star-read high.

May 24, 2012, 6:49am Top

#182 - Hi Mark - I don't think they sell it in stores yet. I think that's what this new facility is all about (bottling or canning to sell in stores), but I'm not sure.

I have a Goodreads account and I post most of my reads and reviews there, but I basically just use it to synch with facebook. I don't participate in groups or anything at this point. Very few of my Goodreads friends ever actually read anything!

#183 - Hi Beth! I think I'll have to choose The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald as my next read, due to its low page count, so I can get at least one more in for May. In theory I should like it (set in a small English village, about a bookshop, etc.), but I tried reading it last year and wasn't in the mood, so I stopped. We'll see.

Edited: May 24, 2012, 9:34am Top

Title: A View of the Harbour
Author: Elizabeth Taylor
Publication Year: 1947
Format: Print book
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 4 - Virago Modern Classics
• TIOLI #4 (May 2012): Read a book derived from a 75er's username
Stars: Four

This lovely novel is a snapshot of an old, decaying harbor town in post World War II England, mostly during the tourism lull of early spring. Primarily a character study of the town’s inhabitants, the author introduces us to a fascinating group of people. There’s Bertram, the amateur painter and serial flirt, who bops around helping everyone, but has a hard time with real commitment. There’s the paralyzed Mrs. Bracey, who attempts to control her two adult daughters from her sick bed. There’s Lily, the terribly sad and painfully lonely proprietor of a dilapidated wax museum (I found her story particularly heartbreaking). And, finally, there’s Tory and Beth, two old friends and current neighbors, who end up in a love triangle, although Beth is seemingly oblivious to the turmoil going on around her.

What makes the novel wonderful is the vivid descriptions and beautiful language, perfectly capturing the loneliness and desperation of the characters. There are numerous scenes of observation, with characters watching their neighbors through windows, trying to deduce their motives and intentions, often incorrectly. There’s a lot of boredom and repetition in their lives, and it almost seems a bit claustrophobic. I recommend this and look forward to another Elizabeth Taylor novel this year, probably Angel.

May 24, 2012, 2:37pm Top

Kerri: Great review; I have got to get to A View of the Harbour soon. I read The Bookshop years ago, but that hooked me on Fitzgerald. I love her little books. I have Human Voices sitting close to the top of my TBR pile.

May 24, 2012, 3:36pm Top

#186 - Hi Beth - Yes, I think you'd like A View of the Harbour!

I'm glad to hear you say that about The Bookshop. I pretty much like anything written by middle-aged British ladies that take place in small towns and are warm and quirky. It wouldn't make sense if I didn't enjoy it. I think I just wasn't in the mood the last time I tried it, which was a year ago or so.

May 24, 2012, 3:43pm Top

Title: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Publication Year: 2007
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #18 (May 2012): Read a book with a title word that forms another word when reversed
Stars: Four and a half

Returning to work after losing his partners in an on-the-job shooting (one dead and the other paralyzed), detective Carl MØrck has lost his spark, and his surly attitude is angering his co-workers. As a result, his supervisor isolates him by making him the head of the brand new Department Q. This new department is responsible for opening older cases that are thought to be unsolvable. Carl’s first case involves the disappearance five years ago of politician Merete Lynggaard. With the help of Assad, his new assistant, Carl sets out to find Merete and those responsible for her disappearance.

While at first I found myself annoyed and offended by MØrck, I was eventually able to accept him when a more complex personality was revealed. He’s kind of a Tony Soprano-like character - an incredibly vulnerable tough guy. More importantly, the mystery is fascinating, there’s lots of suspense, and the twists are satisfying. My one complaint is that a little too much time is spent on a couple of side threads that are somewhat uninteresting, compared to the main story. Otherwise, this has been my favorite mystery/thriller/crime novel so far. I look forward to the next book in the series being translated into English.

May 25, 2012, 9:09am Top

I had to abandon The Devil of Nanking. It's very unusual for me to NOT finish a book, but this was so bad that I couldn't go on. I was near the end of the 7th (out of 10) CDs and the thought of three more was unbearable. It would be hard to convince me that this book is anything more than a vehicle to sensationalize grotesque war crimes and weird sex. I felt that listening to it was causing me to lose I.Q. points!

Anyway, I started The Day of the Triffids in its place, and so far, it's much more promising.

May 25, 2012, 7:54pm Top

Ah, I've been there. In fact, I recently abandoned 2 different books (Wicked and 44 Scotland Street) because I so wasn't feeling them. What's that saying? So many books, so little time. It's so very true. Glad you are enjoying your next book! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

May 25, 2012, 8:06pm Top

Kerri- Sorry to hear you had to abandon a book and so far into it. Bummer. I hope The Day of the Triffids quickly makes up for it. I've always wanted to read that classic. Have a great holiday weekend!

May 26, 2012, 10:42am Top

Kerri: Better luck with your next book and have a nice weekend.

May 26, 2012, 6:07pm Top

#190 - Hi Laura - Thank you! It's very true that there are so many books and so little time. I should probably dump more books than I actually do, but I'm usually too stubborn. Have a lovely weekend as well!

#191 - Hi Mark! The Revolution Brewing event was a lot of fun. Getting in early allowed us to have free beers for an hour. They had a lot of their own brews, plus other local breweries - Haymarket, Finch's, 5 Rabbit, Metropolitan, Flossmore Station, and others. Yeah - I think The Day of the Triffids is going to be a good one.

#191 - Hi Beth! I started The Bookshop yesterday, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I have no idea why I couldn't get into it the last time. Truly bizarre. Have a lovely holiday!

May 26, 2012, 6:19pm Top

I had half of a vacation day yesterday, so after eating my favorite jewelery store falafel, I stopped at a used book store. I was very restrained and only bought three:
*The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam
*Time After Time by Molly Keane
*Erasure by Percival Everett

However, over the last few weeks, I've made a few Audible purchases (all sci-fi) that I don't think I've admitted to here:
*The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (listening to now)
*2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
*A Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
*Brightness Reef by David Brin
*Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

May 26, 2012, 6:34pm Top

Kerri- Glad you enjoyed the brewery event. Sounds like a blast. I have tried and enjoyed 5 Rabbits, the rest I'm not familiar with.
Nice book haul!

May 26, 2012, 8:00pm Top

I never admit to my Audible purchases. Or my Kindle purchases. But enjoy the new books!

May 26, 2012, 8:38pm Top

Interesting buys Kerri - John Wyndham is one of my favourite writers of one of my lesser favourite genres. Hope your weekend is going great.

May 27, 2012, 7:40am Top

Greetings Kerri, Ooooo, some 4+ reads going on here an a nice little book haul not to mention the craft beer week festivities. Can you please send a piece of Chicago to Cleveland?

May 27, 2012, 8:04am Top

#195 - Hi Mark! - 5 Rabbits brewery definitely makes some interesting styles. I remember having one with papaya in it at another beer event. I don't think I tried any of theirs on Friday though. There was too much and I had to maintain my ability to walk!

#196 - Hi Anne! - I should probably stick to not admitting. Ha! I just received the great news (if I understand it correctly) that my library will start participating in the downloadable ebook and audiobook program, so that should cut down my Audible and Kindle purchases a bit....hopefully.

#197 - Hi Paul! The Wyndham is very well-done so far. I'm impressed. I'm very hit and miss with sci-fi from the 50s. I love Asimov, but some of the other stuff is just dreadful, mostly in terms of being horribly sexist (something like Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys comes to mind as an example of the dreadful).

#198 - Hi Lynda! Isn't Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland? That's nothing to sneeze at. We were there a few years ago for a football game. The beer was good, but the football game was fairly traumatic for me, as the Browns fans were rather cruel and we were seated near several obnoxious people (both Seahawks and Browns who were fighting throughout the game). Nice city though.


I hope everyone has a lovely holiday weekend! We're just going to do a bit of grilling tonight, so I'm off to go grocery shopping in a bit. I'll visit threads a little later today.

May 27, 2012, 10:34am Top

Hi Kerri: Great show of restraint re book acquisitions. I have the Gardam waiting to be read. It might be a while; I just finished Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat.

Have fun grilling; I have a niece's graduation party.

May 27, 2012, 6:44pm Top

I can't believe your libraries charge for placing a hold on a book or borrowing an audio book. I know that libraries need to raise money but I don't think they should charge for their core services.

May 27, 2012, 6:55pm Top

#200 - I'm really excited about reading a bunch of Jane Gardam novels next year. The two you mentioned will definitely be among them. I hope you have a lovely time at your niece's graduation party!

#201 - Hi Dee - Thanks for visiting! I think you're referring to Megan's library system, which is in New Zealand. I'm not sure how funding works there, but it's apparently different than the U.S. and Canada.

Edited: May 29, 2012, 9:52am Top

I certainly won't bore anyone with a review of it, but I finally finished On Writing Well! I think I've been reading it for a year. Good grief. It's a helpful writing guide, but nothing, so far, has cured me of excessive adverb use. I keep trying. Also, my edition has an outdated chapter on using a word processor that's actually sort of cute.

My review-writing laziness continues, and I currently have three to write. Hopefully, I'll get to them in the next day or so. Meanwhile, here is a wonderful song:


May 29, 2012, 9:44am Top

Very nice song Kerri.

Congratulations on finishing the book.

You're not the only one behind on the reviews ... I've got a few to write as well:)

May 29, 2012, 2:00pm Top

#204 - Thanks calm. They're really good.

You're behind too? And I think you read twice as many books as I do!

May 31, 2012, 7:36am Top

Hi Kerri - not twice as many ... if I did I would be over the 75 already!

Still haven't got around to those book comments:)

May 31, 2012, 11:13pm Top

Hi Kerri: I'll have to stop by to visit more often and browse through your threads. I see that you've read the Wilkerson book recently. That's one I'm hoping to get to, soon.

Jun 1, 2012, 6:45am Top

#206 - But close : ) Thanks to audiobooks, I'm doing much better than I expected though.

#207 - Nice to "see" you, Linda! The Wilkerson was fantastic. I hope you're able to get to it soon.


And I finally finished a review...

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 8:57am Top

Title: In the Heart of the Country
Author: J.M. Coetzee
Publication Year: 1977
Format: Print book
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 3 - Author study of J. M. Coetzee
• TIOLI #4 (May 2012): Read a book derived from a 75er's username
Stars: Four and a half

On a large, isolated farm in apartheid-era South Africa, the narrator lives with her harsh and cold father. In a stream-of-consciousness narration/diary format she describes her dreary life, alternating between past and present, and very early on it becomes clear that she is mentally unstable. Different versions of realty weave in and out of the story, and the reader is never sure what is true and what is false. The only truth that can be detected is that the narrator is consumed by a desperate loneliness and a definite lack of identity. She lives without the company of a mother or siblings, her father ignores her, and custom dictates that as a white South African, her relationships with the black farm workers must be of the master/servant variety. The latter appears to be a source of great pain for her, as she remembers playing with the farm workers’ children when she was a young girl and before her family explained to her that it is inappropriate. As usual, Coetzee does a wonderful job of illustrating how the apartheid system, and colonization in general, negatively affects everyone involved (in different ways and on a different scale, of course), with the oppressors slowly becoming rotten at the core. Great, of course, and highly recommended. I would put this right after Disgrace on my Coetzee favorites list.

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 6:47am Top

Congratulations on the review:)

Edit to add - I haven't read any Coetzee - another one on the someday list:)

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 6:50am Top

#209 - Yes! Three more to go to get caught up. Since I have more time now, I think I'm trying to spend more than 7 minutes writing them, which then causes me to procrastinate.

ETA - Disgrace is my favorite so far. They're all pretty grim and disturbing, FYI.

Jun 1, 2012, 6:59am Top

Don't really fancy grim and disturbing at the moment but he seems like one of those authors I should at least try someday.

I've got two more to get caught up on the May books and I also have one from earlier this year:( Maybe I'll feel like writing something later.

Jun 1, 2012, 7:01am Top

Morning Kerri- Sadly, I have still not read Coetzee. I need to get to this author. Hope you are having a good week.

Jun 1, 2012, 7:02am Top

In the Heart of the Country sounds like a worthwhile read. I've enjoyed (not sure if that is the right word though) the Coetzee that I've read so far.

Jun 1, 2012, 8:18am Top

Hi Kerri :-)

#181 Sometimes I struggle to find something to read after a real knock-your-socks-off 5 star read. I think I often choose something completely different and often something I don't expect a lot from - a comfort read I guess - as a kind of palate cleanser before I can move on to properly think about another book. I'm behind posting so you've probably solved the problem and found something else to read by now anyway!

#185 Lovely review of A View of the Harbour - duly thumbed.

#188 And another great review of The Keeper of Lost Causes. I've seen some other people in the group praise Jussi Adler-Olsen - I'll have to look out for it.

Glad to hear you're enjoying The Day of the Triffids - I was very impressed with it when I read it a few years ago. I keep meaning to read the other John Wyndham books I have in the TBR piles.

#209 I haven't read any Coetzee either; I have a copy of Disgrace but I'm very wary of reading it after someone told me it was really depressing.

#211 "Grim and disturbing" - yeah, don't think that's going to work for me at the moment - it can stay in the TBR piles a bit longer. One day I'll read it (along with all the other depressing literary fiction books I've picked up)

Jun 1, 2012, 8:20am Top

Great review of In the Heart of the Country, Kerri! I'm a Coetzee fan (and, like you, Disgrace is my favorite), so I'll add this one to my wish list.

BTW, the touchstone for your review goes to a book by H.E. Bates.

Jun 1, 2012, 9:16am Top

#212 - Yes - Although his novels have been excellent, sometimes it takes a little self nudge to start them, as I know what's coming.

#213 - Hi Mark! That is sad. : ) You must read some Coetzee...maybe not 12 in a year, as I'm doing, but at least Disgrace.

#214 - Hi Rhian! Thanks for visiting. Life and Times of Michael K is great as well. I liked this one slightly more, but I think Michael K is the favorite of many Coetzee fans.

#215 - Hi Heather! I finished The Day of the Triffids the other day (review to come). While it had some of the typical 1950s macho sci-fi elements, it was still wonderful. Great writing. Did this guy just write science fiction? I'll have to do some research. It was also one of the best audiobook performances that I've heard yet. Graeme Malcolm was the narrator.

#216 - Thanks, Darryl! I fixed the touchstone (I do that all the time and never remember to check them.)


I will get to more threads today or tomorrow morning and I'm determined to write those reviews soon!

Jun 1, 2012, 11:23am Top

Kerri: Great review of your latest Coetzee. I have to get to him soon. So, what's next?

Edited: Jun 4, 2012, 4:36pm Top

#218 - Hi Beth - thank you! Here's my somewhat ridiculous plan for June, with TIOLI challenge numbers indicated:

Print or ebooks:
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Challenge 8)
The Red House by Mark Haddon (Challenge 8)
Illywhacker by Peter Carey (Challenge 2)
Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee (Challenge 1)
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece D'J Pancake (Challenge 12)
The Chip-Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul (Challenge 3)
Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman (Challenge 15)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (Challenge 7)
Life by Gwyneth Jones (Challenge 14)
The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch (Challenge 13)

Hyperthought by M. M. Buckner (Challenge 14)
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Challenge 18)
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Challenge 14)
The Children of Men by P.D. James (Challenge 23)
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (Challenge 7)
Voyagers by Ben Bova (Challenge 5)

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 5:09pm Top

You are ambitious :) Tell me about The Prisoner of Heaven. Is that a new one?

Jun 1, 2012, 6:35pm Top

#220 - I know - I NEVER get to them all. The Prisoner of Heaven is coming out (in English) on July 10. I'm enjoying it. It's part of a loose trilogy that you don't have to read in order, and it takes place in Spain in the 1950s, with flashbacks to the end of the Spanish Civil War. It's kind of a mystery, but I'm not really sure what the mystery is at this point. Quite a bit of it is set in an old used book shop, so that's fun. Is anyone else familiar with this author or trilogy?

Jun 1, 2012, 7:20pm Top

Hi Kerri- Wow, you have a serious amount of reading to do this month. Good luck. I need to get a hold of the Zafon book and Binocular Vision has been high on my WL.

Maybe one of these Saturday nights, we'll meet up at Two Brothers, with our better halves and enjoy some dinner & brew. Or is it brew & dinner?

Jun 1, 2012, 7:37pm Top

#222 - Two Brothers sounds like a plan. I would call it brew and dinner! Aside from tomorrow, I've only been there once (the one in Aurora). I was at the other one a few times in Warrenville. I don't know if it's still open. But let's set something up this summer.

Jun 1, 2012, 11:48pm Top

Kerri: I read The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game, which had some of the same characters. It sounds like The Prisoner of Heaven might be a continuation or somehow related? It goes on my list -- even though I'm still trying to figure out the end of The Angel's Game.

I love your idea of reading one author through the year. I might steal it -- I've been thinking Vargas Llosa...

Jun 2, 2012, 9:19am Top

#224 - That's the same series! So far, I'm really liking this one, so I may give the others a try.

I probably won't do the category challenge next year, but I'll definitely keep track of a couple categories myself. One will be another author - I was thinking Iris Murdoch, but I think I'll do both her and Jane Gardam, alternating months. I'm also going to do a Sub-Saharan African fiction category (one per month) and a Sub-Saharan African non-fiction category (probably six books or so).

I have not read any Vargas Llosa, but have been meaning to get to him someday.

Jun 2, 2012, 10:10am Top

Kerri: When I start to think about, there are a lot of authors I would like to get to know better! Nadine Gordimer and Iris Murdoch are a couple. I've liked what little I have read of both. Nigeria has some great young writers -- enjoy. I may join you in some of your selections.

Jun 2, 2012, 10:14am Top

I somehow lost your thread for the longest time, Kerri. But I'm caught back up and enjoying all of your reading and discussions.

In the Heart of the Country: A Novel is a Coetzee that I have not previously heard of. Don't know how that happened, as he is a favorite. This one is going right on the wishlist.

I'm so jealous of all of you who can access audiobooks through the library. Mine stopped offering them when they added e-books. There must be budget problems.

Jun 2, 2012, 1:28pm Top

#226 - At some point, I'd like to give Nadine Gordimer another shot, but I read The Conservationist last year and I think I would have rather poked myself in the eye with a sharp stick. That being said, I remember reading a short story of hers in a literature course and loving it.

I've been collecting a list of literature by Sub-Saharan African authors, so any suggestions are welcome. Actually a lot of my list comes from lurking in the Reading Globally group. I think Darryl expressed an interest in joining in next year too, so maybe we can set something up here, or use the regional thread in the Reading Globally group, if people are still interested.

#227 - I'm glad you're back, Linda! For the audiobooks, I've just been getting the CDs (pretty much all through ILL). My library, as of yesterday, just started participating in the downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, so I'll have to see what they have. With the CDs, there are a ton of mysteries that I can get, which is great. What I can't get through them, I just buy from Audible, which reminds me that I get my token today!

Jun 2, 2012, 11:14pm Top

Kerri - oh dear - The Conservationist is on my to-do list for the year. Looks like I'll have to keep sharp implements at a safe distance. Have a great weekend.

Jun 3, 2012, 8:26am Top

Hi Kerri- Hope you guys had a great time at the Hop Juice Fest! Wish I could have went. I brought home 6 audiobooks from the library yesterday. They all came in at once. Wow.

Jun 3, 2012, 8:39am Top

Hey Kerri! Great review of In the Heart of the Country. I've not read anything by Coetze but I think I may have picked up one or two at a library booksale. Need to check and boost it up a bit. And I admire your planned reads for June. If I make it through five I will be tickled pink.

Aah, the Great Lakes Brewery. Yes a nice place but we don't hang out much in The Flats area of town unless there is a major event going on that brings out the crowds. And everybody seems to go nuts over their Christmas Ale that I find just eh. And that's weird 'cause I hardly ever meet a beer that I don't like :0}

I too like the read one author through the year angle ah but the choices are staggering. I'll make a list take to library and see what's available, oh but then what about my babies on the bookshelves. Decisions, decisions!

Jun 3, 2012, 9:47am Top

>228 DorsVenabili: Nadine Gordimer is a favorite of mine. I do hope you give her another try. I have not read The Conservationist, which is one of her older ones, but I would highly recommend The House Gun. I think for me, this was her best.

Jun 3, 2012, 10:36am Top

Kerri: I loved July's People. I hope you're having a great weekend. Any reading now?

Edited: Jun 3, 2012, 12:43pm Top

#229 - Hi Paul! Well, perhaps you'll enjoy it more than I did. I have no problems with a challenging read (I'm a big Faulkner fan), but in the case of The Conservationist, I didn't find the effort it took to be worth it. I'm going to try her again though. Please don't poke your eye out.

#230 - Hi Mark! It was a lot of fun - great beer, great weather, decent falafel, and I'm a big Jayhawks fan, so it was great that I was able to get right up front. The stand-out guest beer was the Victory Ranch Double IPA. Two Brothers just had their basic stuff, plus the Hop Juice and Hop Juice Black. Yay for getting all those audiobooks! My library only allows 5 at at time. It's weird how they all seem to arrive at the same time, regardless of how many holds and copies there are.

#231 - Thanks, Lynda! I'm not a big Christmas ale person either, but I love the Great Lakes Nosferatu. It makes me sad that you can only get it for a short time each year. I'm enjoying the author read thing. I'm not sure who I'll pick beyond Iris Murdoch and Jane Gardam, but I'm sure something will come to me - maybe Sinclair Lewis? I'd also like to finish up Toni Morrison. I've read most of the early stuff, but nothing past Beloved.

#232 - Hi Linda! I have The House Gun and July's People and will definitely get to them some day. In theory, I should love her. I was actually really surprised by my reaction to The Conservationist. The short story that I really enjoyed was called "Amnesty" (It was in an anthology).

#233 - Hi Beth! I probably should have read July's People or The House Gun first, but I think I chose The Conservationist because it was a Booker winner. I am having a lovely weekend. I made pancakes and now I might just read (and perhaps write those reviews!). I'm still on The Prisoner of Heaven.

Jun 4, 2012, 9:37am Top

May 2012 Reading Statistics

Number of books read: 12
Average rating: 3.8
Number of pages: 3,429
Favorite read: In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee
Least favorite read: Jake’s Thing by Kingsley Amis

Decades (published in):
• 1940-1949: 1
• 1950-1959: 1
• 1970-1979: 4
• 2000-2009: 2
• 2010-2019: 4

• Fiction: 10
• Non-Fiction: 2

Owned/borrowed (from human)/library:
• Owned: 6
• Borrowed (from human): 0
• Library: 5
• Weeded (ARC): 1

• Print book: 7
• Ebook: 0
• Audiobook: 5

Author country:
• Denmark: 1
• Iceland: 1
• Iran: 1
• Norway: 1
• South Africa: 1
• United Kingdom: 4
• United States: 3

Author gender:
• Female: 6
• Male: 6

Literary prizes/book lists represented:
• Booker Prize shortlist: Jake’s Thing by Kingsley Amis and The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
• 1001 Books List: In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Jun 4, 2012, 11:57pm Top

Have you reviewed Dy of the Triffids? *looking looking*
I cant seem to see it here, what did you think. A pet scare of mine is freaky plants that grab, like Ivy....urgh! So needless to say if I read this one I will be prepared to get freaked out

Jun 5, 2012, 6:09am Top

Ooooo, I need to find out more about GL Nosferatu. Thanks for the heads up, Kerri.

Jun 5, 2012, 9:10am Top

#236 - Hi Megan - Freaky plants are the worst! Blame it on the Russians in this case. Yeah - I was going to get caught up on reviews last night, but got sucked into watching a Downton Abbey episode instead (we're only in the first season).

#237 - Hi Lynda - It comes out in September through October...for Halloween, of course.

Jun 5, 2012, 9:18pm Top

Title: The Bookshop
Author: Penelope Fitzgerald
Publication Year: 1978
Format: Print book
• 12 in 12: Challenge 1 - Booker Prize short-listed works from 1978 and 1985
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #12 (May 2012): Read a book whose ISBN has the same three numbers in a row
Stars: Four

Determined and unflappable Florence Green longs to bring books to the people of 1950s Hardborough. After some haggling with the town loan officer, she finally purchases an old, haunted house – called Old House - where she intends to live and set up the shop. Upon moving into the new space, she learns that Mrs. Gamart, the town socialite, has other plans for her and the building. Drama ensues.

Filled with well-developed and entertaining characters, this is a delightful read, with lots of clever bits and subtle humor. I particularly enjoyed (and was quite touched by) the character of Christine, Florence’s intensely serious and hard-working 11-year-old assistant. Lovely and recommended.

Jun 5, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Title: Hyperthought
Author: M.M. Buckner
Publication Year: 2003
Format: Audiobook
• 12 in 12: Challenge 8 - Female-authored science fiction
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #14 (June 2012): a One Word Titled Book by a Female Author (14)
Stars: Two and a half

The year is 2125, and the earth’s surface is uninhabitable due to pollution. Corporations rule the world, people live underground, and worker rebellions are cropping up here and there. Jolie Sauvage, the novel’s narrator, makes a living as a surface tour guide, which requires extensive use of protective gear to guard against the deadly pollution. While conducting a tour, she meets and embarks on a relationship with handsome actor Jin. Through Jolie, Jin meets Dr. Merida, a neuroscientist who is working on an experimental surgery for hyperthought, a state that involves intense sensory perception. Jin is eager to have the surgery, but things don’t go exactly as planned.

The novel starts off with a bang, and seems promising. Then it gets bogged down in a tedious, largely uninteresting, and never-ending rescue scene that seems to occupy half the novel. Meanwhile, the reader never gets a good sense of what hyperthought is, or why it might be important, useful, dangerous, etc. Further, in many ways we are supposed to believe that Jolie is a strong, independent woman, but she frequently enters a ditzy state and repeatedly blames her behavior on her female hormones. Weird. So, overall, this was a disappointment.

Jun 5, 2012, 10:37pm Top

Kerri: I loved The Bookshop, too. Sorry Hyperthought was a disappointment. On the up side, it's one less I have to add to my list ;) Have you finished The Prisoner of Heaven yet?

Edited: Jun 5, 2012, 10:56pm Top

#241 - Hi Beth! Yes, I finished The Prisoner of Heaven and liked it. I might read the other two in the trilogy, particularly if I can find them on audiobook. I can't post a review here, because I'm writing a review of it for Booklist. I'll post a link when it comes out (in July, I think?)

Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 9:43am Top

Two non-proper, mini-reviews here, and now I'm caught up:

Title: The Day of the Triffids
Author: John Wyndham
Publication Year: 1951
Format: Audiobook
• 75 Book Challenge
• TIOLI #12 (May 2012): Read a book whose ISBN has the same three numbers in a row
Stars: Four

Nearly everyone on Earth has gone blind, due to viewing a bright, green event in the sky. Evil plants and the Russians may be involved. The narrator was spared because he was in the hospital at the time, with bandages around his head. The rest of the novel consists of the narrator surviving in this strange new world and the survivors having to make difficult choices on how to structure society from this point. Wildly excellent writing, especially for 1950s sci-fi. Loved it.

Title: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Publication Year: 2003
Format: Print book
• 75 Book Challenge
• 12 in 12: Challenge 10 - Graphic Novels
• TIOLI #3 (May 2012): Read a book that has the National Merit Scholarship Program acronym letters - NMSP - within its title + author's name
Stars: Three and a half

In this graphic novel memoir, Satrapi tells of her experiences as a child in Iran during the Revolution and subsequent Iran-Iraq War. Good but not great. The only other graphic novel I’ve read is Blankets and that had a bit more magic to it, I think.

Jun 7, 2012, 9:43am Top

Hi Kerri: The Wyndham book sounds interesting. I liked Persepolis a little more than you did, but it was one of the first graphic memoirs that I read. There is a movie, too, as well as other volumes that continue her life story. So, what's next? I put Prisoner of Heaven on my wishlist; I enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game.

Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 9:58am Top

#244 - Hi Beth - Persepolis did have a really abrupt ending, but I know there are other volumes, so that wouldn't have been a proper criticism. It was almost like it spanned too much time for such a short book (even though it was only a few years), and I would have liked it more if it had a smaller scope? I think? I didn't realize there is a movie. I might check that out.

I'm almost done with The Red House by Mark Haddon and it is excellent. I'm probably one of three people on Earth who didn't like The Curious Incident and I was kind of ho-hum about picking this one up, but I'm very pleasantly surprised. I'll probably finish it today and next up will be Illywhacker, which is 600 pages long, so I'll be at that for a while.

My library has The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game on audiobook, and I put them on my library wish list. But now I'm thinking that if they're as dialogue-heavy as The Prisoner of Heaven, which was almost like a screenplay, I may want to actually read them. We'll see.

Jun 7, 2012, 10:56am Top

The Bookshop does sound like my sort of thing! I always think I've read something by Penelope Fitzgerald but I haven't- probably getting her mixed up with Penelope Lively!

I enjoyed your review of The View of the Harbour which reminded me of how much I liked the book. I'm glad you liked it too!

Jun 7, 2012, 6:39pm Top

Hi Dee - Thank you! Penelope Lively is another I need to get to some day (I always mix them up too).

Jun 7, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Hi Kerri- You are knocking out the books. Yah! I'm going to try The Day of the Triffids on audio. I've never read it.
Sorry, Persepolis didn't work for you a little better. I loved it and the next book too.
Good to hear that the Red House is a winner. I was a big fan ofthe Curious Incident.

Jun 8, 2012, 6:53am Top

Hi Mark - For The Day of the Triffids audiobook, I recommend trying to get the version narrated by Graeme Malcolm. He was fantastic!

Jun 8, 2012, 6:58am Top

Have a great weekend, Kerri! And have a wonderful time at the Radiohead show. I'm so freakin' jealous. Keep hydrated though, supposed to be HOT!

Jun 8, 2012, 7:43am Top

Hi Kerri

#217 Re John Wyndham, I'm not sure whether he only wrote science fiction but all the other books he's written that I've heard of are science fiction. So maybe?

#221 "Is anyone else familiar with this author or trilogy?" Yes! Pre LT I read and loved The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. I've been really tempted by The Prisoner of Heaven but I've bought and pre-ordered quite a few new hardbacks so far this year so I've held off (so far)....

I thought The Shadow of the Wind was the better of the two so I'd recommend trying that one before The Angel's Game. Some of his older YA novels have also been translated into English recently. I read the first but didn't think it was as good as his adult books and haven't got round to getting the other YA ones out of the library. Again, I think his YA books are loosely part of a trilogy; the first book is The Prince of Mist.

Hmm, was that TMI?

#245 "I'm almost done with The Red House by Mark Haddon and it is excellent." - Ok, will reserve from library (must not succumb and buy another hardback)

#246 Dee, I do exactly the same thing!

Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 11:19am Top

#250 - Thanks, Mark! They're always fantastic. I've seen them every time they've been to Chicago since 1998, plus two road trips to St. Louis and one to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio....I'm a super-fan...obviously.

#251 - Hi Heather! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Carlos Ruiz Zafón books. I had never heard of him and was pleasantly surprised. The one I read had an other-worldly quality that was kind of magical and the dialogue was quite good. Perhaps I'll try The Shadow of the Wind next.

I finished The Red House yesterday and will give it 4.5 stars. I was reading through some other reviews on here and Goodreads and several people hated it (what?!), but I thought it was a wonderful character study. I'll try to get a review done soon.


I suppose I should start a new thread...

This topic was continued by DorsVenabili's 75 in 2012 (Part Three).

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

987 members

229,572 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,464,553 books! | Top bar: Always visible