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Joe's Book Cafe 11

This is a continuation of the topic Joe's Book Cafe 10.

This topic was continued by Joe's Book Cafe 12.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: May 3, 2012, 4:23pm Top

Painting by August Macke

Welcome back to the cafe! We have pastries, pie, comestibles of all kinds, tea, coffee, beer, wine and other libations from around the world, peace and quiet to read if you'd like that, and plenty of book chatter (and other chatter) if you're in the mood.


1. Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee
2. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
5. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
6. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
7. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
8. Fall Higher by Dean Young
9. Habibi by Craig Thompson
10. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
11. Malice Aforethought by Frances Iles
12. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis
13. Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes


1. Mister Blue by Jacques Poulin
2. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
4.. A Distant Neighborhood by Jiro Taniguchi
5. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
6. All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley
7. The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy by Bill Simmons
8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
9. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
10. Strangers in Paradise Pocket 6 by Terry Moore
11. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
12. Thirty-three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
13. Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman


1. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
2. Echo The Complete Edition by Terry Moore
3. Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum
4. The Siege by Helen Dunmore
5. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
6. Fault in Our Stars by John Green
7. A Zoo in Winter by Jiro Taniguchi
8. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
9. Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill
10. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson


1. Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
3. Force of Nature by C.J. Box
4. Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
5. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
6. Finder Library Volume 1 by Carla Speed McNeil
7. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
8. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


1. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Apr 23, 2012, 11:17am Top

Wonder by R.J. Palacio was an excellent YA/middle reader title that I'll review shortly. I'm currently reading and enjoying Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, a novel recommended by RD that is based on the Mahabharata.

I'm also reading the second Catwoman graphic novel relaunch, which is even grittier than the first one, and I'll be picking up a mystery, maybe the second Karin Fossum after Don't Look Back.

Apr 23, 2012, 12:17pm Top

Back to key lime pie, a subject of paramount importance in my life: NEVER is real key lime pie any color other than the cooked-condensed-milk color, a species of off-gamboge. Adding food coloring and whipped cream or whatever it is that makes the fake stuff frothy is a sure signal that non-key lime juice has figured in the preparation of the pie. It's perfectly okay as a lime pie, I suppose (he said, trying out magnanimity for a change of pace), but it is not KEY lime pie.

So glad you're enjoying The Palace of Illusions!

Apr 23, 2012, 12:38pm Top

Another great cafe painting! Nice new thread here, Joe. I need some breadfast, please--cook's choice!

Apr 23, 2012, 12:47pm Top

Ah! I love the educafition I's gettin' here. OK, From now on my Key Lime Pies will be pure, without any green.

"Its hard to be green".

Apr 23, 2012, 1:10pm Top

Eh, you all can keep your lime pies, key-type or otherwise. I've never taken a shine to the things. *shrug*

I'll have a grilled cheese sammich, please, with rye bread and a mix of smoked cheddar and gouda. And a coke. Thanks.

Apr 23, 2012, 1:58pm Top

I know coffee is the drug of choice here but I'd like to offer up some famous Rice to Riches rice pudding from NYC.

Apr 23, 2012, 2:09pm Top

OK, now that I could eat. Maybe even in one sitting. But NYC is a long, long, long ways away from the little corner of the pacific northwest where I live.

Apr 23, 2012, 3:33pm Top

>3 richardderus: I've learned you're a man of strong opinions, Richard, and I'm not surprised that they extend to key lime pie (which is a matter of paramount importance to many of us, right up there with apple crisp/crumble, for example).

In my ongoing education, I had not heard of gamboge, or knew that there could be a color that is off-gamboge, but that seems about right. Pale yellow? The sun somewhat obscured by mist? Moon light the color of yellow onions?

The moon then, cruising from behind
a screen of eucalyptus across the street,
covers everything, everything in sight,
in a heavy light like yellow onions.

(Garrett Hongo)

A yellow scarf whose color over the years has lightened to an off-gamboge? Oops, got back to the beginning there.

The Palace of Illusions - five husbands? Really?

>4 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! I like the colors August Macke uses. I suspect he's used off-gamboge more than once, for example.

For breakfast, the chef suggests Eggs Benedict a la Broken Yolk Cafe in San Diego, with today's Garuda coffee and the juice of your choice.

>5 maggie1944: Poor Kermit is probably feeling blue over all this diss-ing of green, Karen. I'm waiting for someone to weigh in with a favored key lime pie recipe.

>6 scaifea: Well, I never. Diss-ing of green is one thing, diss-ing of key lime pie is quite another, Amber! Good thing you're so well-liked here - this one really cuts close to the bone.

Recovering nicely, our chef is on the ball and sending you your grilled cheese sammich on rye, with the cheese a mix of smoked cheddar and gouda. Yum. And an iced coke to wash it down.

Apr 23, 2012, 3:44pm Top

the things i learn at Joe's. wow.

cool piccie, JW. i'd never heard of Macke so went and looked him up. i especially like garden gate.

and gamboge. gawd, RD, you would know gamboge. how too marvelous of you. did you know it's what's used to dye the cloth used in the robes of Buddhist monks? i'd never heard of the stuff. i thought they used saffron.

and speaking of spirituality-type things, The Palace of Illusions sounds just the ticket. the narration on audible.com sounds like a good one as well.

while i'm pondering these things, i'd like a healthy slice of bacon gruyere quiche and an outrageously good organic salad, please. please ask the chef to put some grey salt in a wooden salad bowl, rub the entire bowl (+ salt) with a clove of garlic and assemble the salad therein. a nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing would be great. and croutons. and a hunk of sourdough from the City with butter. can you tell i'm ravening?

Apr 23, 2012, 3:45pm Top

>7 mjs1228: Thanks, Maryann! I'm a pushover for rice pudding, and this is a new variety for me. *leans over with spoon, then remembers manners* Our chef is suggesting it be put together in a yin yang design, but it may be too oozy for that.

>8 maggie1944: We'll work on getting a cafe version of it going, Karen, so you don't have to travel that far. It does look spoonworthy, doesn't it?

Apr 23, 2012, 3:58pm Top

>10 mirrordrum: August Macke is a good 'un, ain't he, Ellie? I like that garden gate one. Here's another one I like, The Lady in the Green Hat: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=august+macke+painting&view=detail&id...

Gamboge is used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks? Jeez, I learn a lot at this cafe, too. If this were Jeopardy, I would have said "what is saffron" and bombed out entirely.

I certainly can second RD's recommend of Palace of Illusions based on what I've read so far. This may be as close as I ever get to reading the Mahabharata, and she sure makes it interesting.

OK, our ravening, crowlacious friend, the chef salutes your enthusiasm and says here comes your healthy slice of bacon gruyere quiche with an outrageously good organic salad. As to the latter, the chef put some grey salt in an off-gomage wooden salad bowl, rubbed the entire bowl (+ salt) with a clove of garlic, and therein assembled the salad. Our house dressing, a nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, is on the side. With a bunch of house-spiced croutons. And a hunk of sourdough from the City with salted butter. Bon Appetit!

Apr 23, 2012, 5:20pm Top

Love the Macke, Joe. Will pass on the rice pudding, however. Jim and I have very strong opinions on Key Lime Pie, too, by the way.

Good thing I'm at work, otherwise I'd be at the refrigerator hoping something good has materialized there since I last looked.

Apr 23, 2012, 5:38pm Top

Too far behind to catch up.. sp just staking out a spot...

Apr 23, 2012, 5:45pm Top

Hi Joe- Nice to have the owner back! Nice new thread and a beautiful painting by Macke, who I had never heard of. Will explore.
Funny, when I first saw you mention Palace of Illusions, I thought cool he's reading Paul Auster, thinking it was Book of Illusions, which I have not read but own. So, now I have it right and POI sounds really good. Hey, it's an RD rec!

Edited: Apr 23, 2012, 6:04pm Top

>13 ffortsa: You know, Judy, I've also had coffee enthusiasts say, "Love the joe, Mac." Thanks for loving the Macke.

We'll consider the rice pudding passed, and will ponder whether your and Jim's strong key lime opinions are pro or con.

Yes, work keeps me away from the refrigerator, too, although it hadn't occurred to me that might be a good thing.

>14 mckait: Good to see you, Kath! Consider your spot staked. *starts making "Kath" sign*

>15 msf59: It's good to be back, Mark, thanks! Yeah, Macke has taken a bit of a back seat to his impressionist/expressionist contemporaries, and he has some beautiful paintings. He deserves to be better known, seems to me.

You know, I've never read Paul Auster, and probably should fix that some day. POI is grabbing me, that's for sure. Yes, RD mentioned it recently and I'm glad he did - I never would've found it on my own.

Apr 23, 2012, 6:52pm Top

Congrats on thread #11 Joe - your cafe rocks and even more so when the prop is home! The Rice to Riches looks like a 1000 calories a bite- I want some!

Apr 23, 2012, 7:04pm Top

Oh I have Palace of Illusions sitting on my shelf Joe. It's been there since RD and Caro recommended it. Maybe this new mention of it will prompt me to pick it up.

Apr 23, 2012, 7:20pm Top

Morning (love saying that just to throw you a bit :)) I'm in need of the mid morning sweet treat (that differs from the noon sweet treat, the mid afternoon sweet treat and the post-dinner sweet treat), so I think I'll take some of RDs very tightly defined Key Lime Pie.
Just so you know, I'm back on caffeine now too so hit me with a double shot anything! (please)

Your top pic taking an age and a half to load, but the top half of it looks bright and cheery.

Apr 23, 2012, 7:23pm Top

Yeah, other people pretty much answered it but key lime pie should be yellowish, not green.

Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe, just a memory of key lime pie made by my grandmother with key limes from the tree in the backyard. It doesn't get any better.

Apr 23, 2012, 9:27pm Top

Lovely painting, Joe! Hope you're having a good week.

Apr 23, 2012, 9:49pm Top

Five husbands, all brothers.*eep*

Ellie, I had no idea the color gamboge would cause such a kerfuffle!

For those less resourceful than Ellie, this is gamboge.

Edited: Apr 23, 2012, 11:08pm Top

it's not the color, dear, it's the word that causes the commotion. words i don't know cause hiijus kerfuffle in my head. this is why the goddess made Google. you, also, are part of her scheme as you bring me unknown words to kerfuffle mein Kopf. love it. thanks for the color, though. actually, looks a lot less orange (marigold) than what i think of as saffron, e.g. these are Laotian Theravedan monks in their
gamboge robes:

Apr 24, 2012, 12:29am Top

Lovely color!

Please send a nice calming cup of tea to the corner table, in the back. I'm back there with my new (used, refurbished, free) iPhone trying to learn its ways. Talk about kerfuffle! Mein kopf, aussi (oh my aching head, in German and in French) (insert one eye brow skowl here)

Apr 24, 2012, 12:32am Top

Glad to see you safely home, Joe, and happy that your trip went well. Looking forward to hearing more about The Palace of Illusions, the little bit you've mentioned so far sounds intriguing.

Since I am shortly going to be off to dreamland I will pass on a coffee, maybe a glass of warm milk and a cookie before I go would be nice.

Edited: Apr 24, 2012, 4:02am Top

Evening Ladies/Gents

Is this the point shd attach the Males vs Female colour guide ???? ( one day i will find out how to upload pics on LT) ....

in the meantime Whittakers hokey pokey chocolate in stock ? - I know its only recently out but it is divine with an after dinner cuppa .

Apr 24, 2012, 9:17am Top

:P Megan >19 Ireadthereforeiam: with ya on the loading :(

Thanks for the sign though Joe! I will try to pop in and visit it :)

Did you have a nice trip?
( that always sounds like a taunt, as it has been used that way toward me often enough..
klutz that I am :)

Apr 24, 2012, 9:49am Top

>17 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! That rice pudding does look about 1000 calories a bite, doesn't it? We've got some for you. We're working on a zip ray that will disperse the calories without any effect on the deliciousness.

>18 brenzi: I'm about 1/2 way through Palace of Illusions, Bonnie, and I'm pretty sure I'll be joining Richard and Caro (didn't know she was a second recommender!) in commending it to you.

>19 Ireadthereforeiam: You know, by the time I read it, Megan, it actually is morning! So this works well. Some RD circumscribed key lime pie is heading your way, with a double shot Cafe Breve.

Sorry about the slow load. Those extra bytes make the Macke look really good, but can make the cafe door stick a bit for some folks.

>20 Morphidae: Well that's a memory well worth sighing over, Morphy. Pie made with key limes from your grandmother's tree in the backyard! It doesn't get any better than that. You've got me thinking about my grandmother, who didn't have a key lime tree but otherwise was wonderful.

>21 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! It was a great weekend with my pa, and being back on LT is a pleasure.

>22 richardderus: I'm now embarked on the "don't mess with Panchaali" part. That gamboge is well worth the kerfuffle.

>23 mirrordrum: Walklover is probably going to see the Dalai Lama (and others) tonight, as YCA is performing at the gathering here of the Nobel winners. Lucky lady. When she was considering what to wear, I suggested a monk's robe wouldn't go amiss. Didn't have a chance to explain about gamoge.

>24 maggie1944: We've got some excellent chamomile, Karen, good for keeping the pulse rate down while dealing with new electronic gizmos.

>25 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! I'll keep you posted on POI. Warm milk and a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie coming up, assisted by some time jiggery.

>26 roundballnz: You stumped us, Alex. We can't get ahold of Whittakers Chocolate Hokey Pokey yet. We can get you other NZ co's hokey pokey, but not that one yet. Will this do until we can get the Whittakers?:

Edited: Apr 24, 2012, 9:59am Top

>27 mckait: *stumbles* Yes, that was an excellent trip, Kath!

We had a great time. It was good for Walklover and me to slow down the city racing impulse, and have a pretty train ride through Michigan to Ann Arbor and back, and the visit with mon pere was a success all around. Heard tales of the family and his growing up that we'd never heard before, among other things, and we marveled at the many unlikely connections that had to be made before my Bostoner pere met and wed my Ann Arbor mother, connections that culminated in the Navy sending him to Ann Arbor to study naval architecture and her brother who served with him on his destroyer having another brother invite him for a swim.

Anyway, he's sharp, healthy and in good spirits, finally getting over, as much as possible, losing the partner he had been married to for 63 (!) years.

Apr 24, 2012, 10:19am Top

Gamboge is the color's name, but the orangey-saffron gamboge robes are so named after the biological source of the dye. Which, before being used as dye, is naturally the color that is called gamboge.

That wasn't very convoluted, was it? *sigh* I think these things, and they sound simple and logical to me, but that's because I already know them. I read my explanation over again and think, "oh well, anyone who isn't interested will have skipped on anyway."

Kerfuffle is weird, too? I wonder, did I grow up speaking some weird dialect of English and not know it?

I've actually fallen in love again. Kim Stanley Robinson is The Man. The Lucky Strike, a good short piece by him, was published in the same volume as an interview with the man. My kinda guy. Wonder where I can find one like him that isn't married.

Apr 24, 2012, 10:21am Top

22> Yep, take the brightness out of that and it's exactly the color of Key Lime pie.

No time to stop today, I'll just take a strong drip coffee and be on my way to earn the Science Diet (that's what I tell Abby when I have to head out the door every morning -- someone has to earn the Science Diet!!).

Apr 24, 2012, 10:21am Top

Joe - want to help out with the Whittaker's Hokey Pokey

By the way try to get that zip ray express delivery to me - I need the help mate.

Edited: Apr 24, 2012, 10:36am Top

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a YA/middle reader novel that has a lot to say about kindness. When's the last time you read a good book that did that? And, inevitably, it has a lot to say about cruelty, too. August "Augie" Pullman is a 10 year old who lost the genetic lottery and has a severely deformed face, one that can make those unaware gasp, and even the prepared flinch - a reaction he always notices, even when every effort is made not to. A number of times he is referred to as an orc, and one classmate meanly compares him to Darth Sidious in Star Wars, whose face, after being struck by Sith lightning "just kind of melts."

What pulls at the heart is Auggie, under that face, is just a normal kid, wanting normal things. But his appearance, the effects of his condition, and the many surgeries he has needed and continues to need, all make him the center of his family's attention, and noticed wherever he goes. Palacio does a commendable job of depicting all this. His parents are real, funny, and doing better than anyone could ask or expect. His pretty sister Olivia loves him and cares for him, and only occasionally longs for some attention of her own, and some time with friends who won't turn chilly when they find out about Auggie. Her one friend who loves and understands Auggie has become estranged.

The main events of the book are triggered when his parents decide to stop homeschooling Auggie and instead mainstream him at a smallish private school. The principal, Mr. Tushman, is the knowing butt (okay, pun intended) of jokes, and is a real mensch who actually is excited about Auggie attending the school. Auggie is rightly scared, and how he fares among the natural cruelty of many children is a major driver of the plot. At times those around him seemed more like high schoolers than middle schoolers, but that didn't detract from the enjoyment of this well-told story.

Auggie understands his plight. "Hey, the truth is, if a Wookiee started going to the school all of a sudden, I'd be curious, I'd probably stare a bit! And if I was walking with Jack or Summer, I'd probably whisper to them, hey, there's the Wookiee." He loves how his face matters not a bit to their dog Daisy. His principal understands his plight, too, and the ongoing tension between cruelty and kindness. And all that can be learned from it.

Apr 24, 2012, 11:58am Top

Oops, some posts snuck in while I was writing that review. Here we go.

>30 richardderus: I'm just gonna figure gamoge is an interesting golden-yellow color and leave it at that. Others may be more ambitious.

I wonder, did I grow up speaking some weird dialect of English and not know it?

The answer is yes, and thank goodness you did.

>31 EBT1002: Who knew the color of key lime pie was unbrightened gamboge, Ellen? The things one learns.

We've got some strong drip New Guinea Highlands for you this a.m., cuppa to go. How does one earn the Science Diet, anyway? Now that I understand gamboge, more or less, new questions are coming to mind.

>32 PaulCranswick: Is that the Whittakers, Paul? Alex will be happy, as will the rest of us from the sounds of it.

Yes, we're working feverishly on that zip ray. "No cal" has got to be way better than "low cal", although we all may need some zip ray-less cals to keep us healthy and mobile. That would be a nice problem to have.

Apr 24, 2012, 12:35pm Top

>33 jnwelch: Thumbs-upped your very tempting review, Joe, despite the fact that sooner I would die thank you please than read the book.

After so many nauseated days, I am *pining* for my chili cheese fries and a DT. Send some over, please! (Hold the onions and jalapenos, though, not quite ready for the full monty.)

Apr 24, 2012, 12:58pm Top

Great review of Wonder, Joe; I've added it to my wish list, as I read another compelling review of it elsewhere.

Apr 24, 2012, 1:31pm Top

>35 richardderus: despite the fact that sooner I would die thank you please than read the book., LOL! A high compliment indeed, Richard.

OK, the lark's on the thorn, and you're ordering chili cheese fries, and I finally feel all is right with the world. Coming up, sans onions and jalopies, with a nicely chilled Delirium Tremens. I may join you in having one of the latter.

>36 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. I know there was a very positive review of Wonder in the NY Times, which, added to LTer recs, convinced me.

Apr 24, 2012, 5:24pm Top

BB hit me! This is probably a book I'd like to read, and then I'd like to force my great nephew, aged 11, going on 48, to read it.

Apr 24, 2012, 5:33pm Top

30 - Kerfuffle is one of the great English words - I wonder, did I grow up speaking some weird dialect of English and not know it? - without a doubt so did many of us !

32 Now that is the real deal ......

Edited: Apr 24, 2012, 6:24pm Top

>38 maggie1944: Oh, I'm glad, Karen. You'll like it, I imagine, and I'd love to hear the reaction to it of your way ahead of his years great nephew.

>39 roundballnz: I love the word kerfuffle, Alex! It's right up there with codswallop for me.

OK, we now have a confirmed Whittakers chocolate hokey pokey sighting! The chef is much relieved.

Apr 24, 2012, 6:09pm Top

Nice Thread Eleven, Joe! I love the intro painting and the kerfuffle about Key Lime Pie. In fact, I'll take a slice of whatever color you have hanging around. It's the flavor that matters to me.

Apr 24, 2012, 6:27pm Top

>41 Donna828: Thanks, Donna! Yes, there's been a lot of kerfuffle about Key Lime Pie. A flavorful slice of the preferred unbrightened gamboge color is coming your way - you get that good flavor, and the circumscribiferous denizens will remain unruffled and unkerfuffled. Or at least will remain unruffled and unkerfuffled about that particular issue. :-)

*throws on togs and runs for the train*

Apr 24, 2012, 7:45pm Top

Hi Joe- Good review of Wonder. Sounds very moving and reminds me a little of the film "Mask". I'll have to add it to the list.

Apr 24, 2012, 9:50pm Top

Taking a seat in the booth by the door.

Congrats on the new thread Joe

Wonder sounds worth a look. Nice to see some other Grups on here who like to read YA

Apr 25, 2012, 4:30am Top

>40 jnwelch: "codswallop" another great word - also great fun to use on young kiwis !!! not that i would do something like that .....

BTW - The Avengers movie is very cool - for those that go don't forget to stay for the clip after the credits :)

Apr 25, 2012, 9:17am Top

Ahhhh you've seen the Avengers movie already?!?!? *jealous*

Apr 25, 2012, 9:54am Top

>43 msf59: How's it going, Mark? I'll be over to your place once I get the java going here.

Yes, take a look at Wonder, it's definitely worth a peek. I can see a connection with Mask via the facial deformity and ostracistic (word?) reactions, but otherwise you'll find it quite different.

>44 magicians_nephew: Thanks, James! Good view in that booth. Yes, I'm a Grup who reads a fair amount of YA (just what is YA periodically gets debated on LT - is The Book Thief really YA, for example?) Wonder is definitely worth a look. If you're like me, you'll get caught up in Auggie's story.

>45 roundballnz:, >46 dk_phoenix: I'd probably mystify any young kiwis around me with "codswallop", Alex. Of course, they'd also wonder why I'm calling them a young flightless bird in Chicago.

I'm with Faith re the Avengers movie - green with envy (kind of a mini-Hulk). Thanks for the tip on the credits. You know, I grew up reading Marvel comics, and it's fun to see all these movies coming from them now.

Edited: Apr 25, 2012, 10:38am Top

Thumb for your review of Wonder!
I have been so busy lately that I think I will find a table in the corner ,order a coffee and sit and read for a while.

Apr 25, 2012, 10:53am Top

>48 ChelleBearss: I like the thumb, Chelle, thanks! I know what you mean; stopping to sit and read sounds mighty good right about now. We're featuring the Sumatra Blue Batak today, and a cuppa is heading your way.

Apr 25, 2012, 12:01pm Top

Oh, boy! It has been too many days in a row that I have not been able to sit and read. Maybe later today, please let me have a cafe au lait to go, and I'll run off. Going to the library...

Apr 25, 2012, 1:36pm Top

*looks up from The Lies of Locke Lamora*

...hmm? More kerfuffle about what? Oh, I see, less kerfuffle, okay. How about some carrot cake and a large large cafe au lait? Can't stop reading this delightful romp for a real lunch.

Apr 25, 2012, 1:51pm Top

Hi RD- A buddy of mine at work just finished The Lies of Locke Lamora and loved it. Of course I recommended it to him, (smug bastard) but I have not yet read it.
Will be watching for your lofty thoughts.

Apr 25, 2012, 4:18pm Top

>50 maggie1944: Cafe au lait for your library run up and waiting on the counter, Karen. Yeah, there should be a "sit and read" break built into every day. I at least get some time on the train every day.

>51 richardderus: Carrot cake and a double large cafe au lait coming your way, RD. I'm going to be very interested in your end of the book take on the delightful romp. I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora, tried it, and just couldn't get interested. Your view may help me determine whether to try again.

>52 msf59: It has a lot of fans, Mark. As mentioned above, I haven't read it either, although I gave a try maybe a year and a half ago. I'll be watching with my lofty thoughts telescope, too.

Apr 25, 2012, 5:41pm Top

I could not "get into" The Lies of Locke Lamora either. I guess I am just not good at the whole suspension of disbelief thing.

Apr 25, 2012, 8:59pm Top

Okey Dokey Hokey Pokey.
People actually say this here.

Apr 26, 2012, 1:53am Top

Okay, what I really need from a cafe right now is some peace n quiet. I'll just take that booth at the back, the one with the slightly torn burnt orange vinyl seat cover, and if I can have a bottle of ale and be left alone to read back there, that will be perfect.

What's that you say? Plate of french fries? Well, sure. They go well with dark ale and David Copperfield. Thank you very much.

Apr 26, 2012, 7:53am Top

whoa. was just shot out of bed by vicious but speedy t-storms. thought i'd be useful till things quiet down.

here's some Pliny the younger
from my old stomping grounds at the Russian River.

and a plate of piping hot fries to nosh whilst reading DC.

also putting on a couple of pots of coffee (Sumatra and Peet's anniversary Blend 2012) and scuttling back to bed.


Apr 26, 2012, 9:17am Top

>57 mirrordrum: Thanks for taking care of things, Ellie, and getting the coffee going! Hope the vicious but speedy speedied on its way and left some peaceful sleeping behind.

>54 maggie1944: I'm pretty good at suspending disbelief, Karen (in fact I usually experience that several times a day), but I couldn't get into The Lies of Locke Lamora either.

>55 Ireadthereforeiam: I say Okey Dokey Hokey Pokey at home, Megan, and Debbi and the kids think I'm being my usual loon. Now I can explain it's the New Zealand in me. Of course, that may just support their original conclusion.

>56 EBT1002: I brought some duct tape for that torn vinyl seat cover, Ellen. Ah, reminds me of cafes of days past. Settle in and take a load off. I'm glad Ellie could help you get some comfort food with that peace and quiet.

Apr 26, 2012, 10:03am Top

Hi Joe- Coffee please! Make it robust! Nice day out there, at the moment.

Russian River looks mighty tasty! I'll be back later in the PM to try one.

Apr 26, 2012, 11:41am Top

We've got some robust Peet's Anniversary Blend for you this a.m., Mark. We'll hold some Russian River for you. Enjoy the day - it is a nice one out there. What audobook do you have going?

Apr 26, 2012, 1:08pm Top

I'm chilly. I want warm apple cider with cinnamon stick, please, and some hot fresh yeast rolls with a lot of butter on the side. Just bring the pan, that should hold me.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a lot of fun!

Apr 26, 2012, 1:13pm Top

On audio, I'm doing thirteen Reasons Why. It's short, I should be done with it tomorrow and then onto the 4th Jackson Brodie, got to get started on a little M & M.

Apr 26, 2012, 1:14pm Top

I just picked up the Dutch translation of The Lies of Locke Lamora up at the library this afternoon.

Apr 26, 2012, 2:36pm Top

I've dropped by for an early lunch, in the mood for some Corn and Bacon Chowder and some nice crusty rolls. We are having another dreary, rainy day here.

I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora and I am planning on soon picking up the next one Red Seas Under Red Skies. Sorry, you didn't get caught up in the adventure, Joe & Karen.

Speaking of adventure, I am just finishing The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival - have been glued to it's pages!

Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 3:47pm Top

me II c&b chowder & rolls. i'm cold to the bone and more bad storms forecast for tonight. i need to fortify myself.

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." Juan Ramon Jiminez

i found the above quotation while trying to see if it's true that, as Dimitri Pavlov says in the siege, you can only fold a piece of paper 7 times. after trying it with various papers myself, i realized that my hands wouldn't be up to the task even if it weren't true. off to Google. it's not true and was first disproven in 2001 by high school student Britney Gallivan. with formulae and a theorem even.

oh lordy, this chowder is gooooooood!

//edited to change disproved to disproven. just sounds better even though the spellchecker dislikes it.

Apr 26, 2012, 5:26pm Top

>61 richardderus: Gotcha, RD! Big mug of warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick, and a pan of hot fresh yeast rolls with oodles and lashings of butter on the side. Stay as long as you need to warm up.

BTW, just finished Palace of Illusions. What a finale!

>62 msf59: Ah, glad to hear it with Thirteen Reasons Why, Mark. Look forward to your comments. Yes, I've got to get on the stick with M & M. I've got the latest Precious Ramotswe going in Alexander McCall Smith's charmer series about the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

>63 FAMeulstee: Good luck with The Lies of Locke Lamora, Anita. Maybe we can figure out the divided responses.

>64 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy! The chef is whipping up some corn and bacon chowder, and we've got those nice crusty rolls for you while you're waiting.

I know, hard to figure re TLOLL. We'll see whether people's ongoing comments and RD's anticipated lofty review will help clear it up.

>65 mirrordrum: Another Judy order coming up, Ellie. We'll get you well-fortified and back to room temperature. Glad the chowdah lives up to its billing.

Hah! I remember the 7 folds 7 times in The Siege. Of course a student figured out how to disprove it. That's something our favorite son would love to take on, I'm sure. He's sent us two drafts of his senior thesis full of bizarre charts and tables and fathomable, but barely, computer lingo.

Got to leave early today as we're taking friends to the last Bulls regular season basketball game. And then the high drama playoffs start. Can't wait!

Apr 26, 2012, 5:44pm Top

>57 mirrordrum:
your flaggon reminds me of Balzams, the national Latvian drink....terrible stuff. Made from fermented grass and bark by the taste of it and also used medicinally. Seeing as this joint stocks everything I just know you'll have this Joe.

Apr 26, 2012, 5:47pm Top

I just posted this on my thread, but thought it was worth to be seen by more people, I guess the Cafe is a good place for that:

This really touched me today, in Norway Thousands gather to sing song Breivik hates and also Thousands of Norwegians Defy Confessed Killer Breivik in Song.

And found a video of it at YouTube: http://youtu.be/rF3HJS65Vk8

Apr 26, 2012, 5:51pm Top

>68 FAMeulstee: excellent, I hope he heard every word they sang and that it gripped his heart

Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 5:56pm Top

No this is isn't me at my computer (although it could be), but this is a fine brew, Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA, out of Ipswich MA. We salute you!

Apr 26, 2012, 5:58pm Top

> 69: I hope so too!

Apr 26, 2012, 6:45pm Top

Corn and Bason Chowder!!! That sounds so good. I want, I want. I think I'll change my plans and made some of that, for real, for my Sunday Soup Night. Meantimes, a cuppa tea and my regular table. Need to rest. Knee biters have worn me down today.

Apr 26, 2012, 9:02pm Top

Last week's "Mad Men" took Our Hero to an upstate (Upper New York State) Howard Johnson's circa 1966.

All the formica and the plastic and the banks of neon.

Made me want to run screaming back to the cozy ol' Cafe

Apr 27, 2012, 7:52am Top

The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of the only books I was able to finish even though I disliked it. As the hostess of a monthly fantasy read, I felt obligated to finish it. Dark, depressing, over-the-top torture. NOT my thing.

My review:

Lynch is a good writer when it comes to his pacing, dialogue and story telling - yet I could barely finish this book because of the violence, torture and language. A couple times I got annoyed at the author when the time changes became manipulative. Lastly, I didn't like the main character. He didn't have enough positive qualities to negate the bad. Not recommended except for those who don't mind graphic and depressing stories about criminals with few redeeming qualities.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:53am Top

Meanwhile, I'm having "girl issues" and need a warm blanket, hot chocolate and a croissant (or two, maybe three, four?) for carbs.

Apr 27, 2012, 9:49am Top

>67 Ireadthereforeiam: We're prepared for any Latvian visitors, Megan, as you guessed. Except we keep Balzams in the medicine cabinet. A Latvian fan said, "We drink it as a medicine for coughs and colds. After a couple of sleepless nights try a double shot of Balsams with a couple of paracetamol and you sleep like a log." So there you go. We can bring a pillow to the booth if you like.

>68 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Great to see a diverse crowd singing that song. What a horrible evil man. Our hearts go out to his victims, the survivors who have to try to put their lives back together, many of them with injuries, and Norwegians generally.

He apparently cites Timothy McVeigh as one of his inspirations. The capacity of an individual to wreak devastation these days is scary.

>69 Ireadthereforeiam: Agreed. I can't speak Norwegian, but apparently tolerance, compassion and inclusion are inimical to this guy.

Apr 27, 2012, 9:51am Top

I'm not have "girl issues" but I'll join you in the hot chocolate and croissants! Almond croissants are my favorite, but I'll worry down a plain one with butter. :-)

Edited: Apr 27, 2012, 10:13am Top

>70 msf59: Thanks for tipping us off, Mark, to one of Ipswich's finest, Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA. Weird name, but it looks like a good one. I feel like I visited Ipswich back in my Boston/Cape Cod days, but I probably was too young for a Flagraiser.

>71 FAMeulstee: Agreed, Anita.

>72 maggie1944: That chowder sounds mighty good, doesn't it, Karen? Perfect for Sunday Soup Night.

I should have known that ankle biters get older and turn into knee biters. We've got space for them in the kids' room if you need a break.

>73 magicians_nephew: Woo, yeah, those Howard Johnsons were a sore for sighted eyes, James, or something like that. Those colors and all the plastic were cringeworthy. This can be your refuge from garish orange green formica assaults.

>>74 Morphidae:, 75 As you can tell, Morphy, I never got far enough in Lies of Locke Lamora to make the kind of comments you have, but it fits how far I got, including the unappealing central character. I have to admit, I don't normally go out of my way to find books that feature "graphic and depressing stories about criminals with few redeeming qualities".

I know we have some fans of it we'll probably hear in rebuttal.

Boy issues seem quite different from girl issues, so I'm pretty clueless, but for sure we can supply a warm blanket, some excellent hot chocolate and a carbalicious basket of croissants (you can figure out how many you want). This nice kid hopes this helps:

Apr 27, 2012, 10:10am Top

>77 EBT1002: You've got it, Ellen! We have the almond croissants if you want them, but we'll start you off with plain ones with butter, along with the HoCho.

Hope all is well out there in Seattle. Cool but clear here in the heartland.

Apr 27, 2012, 10:18am Top

I was one of the love it brigade for Lies of Locke Lamora and its sequel. Still eagerly awaiting the 3rd book but as Mr. Lynch has been posting more regularly on his LJ account then I hope it sees the light of day before the end of next year.

Apr 27, 2012, 10:33am Top

>80 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks, Dave! Good to see you.

What is appealing/love-inducing about LOLL? What redeems the main character? As you can tell, I'm curious - this one really generates a divergence of opinion.

Apr 27, 2012, 10:40am Top

mmmmm almond croissants! None better~

Apr 27, 2012, 11:07am Top

can't stop

Apr 27, 2012, 11:30am Top

I'll join the crowd in the back, in the corner, under the blankies for hot choco and almond croissants. Must hurry, as I leave soon for the Dentist!! oh, woe! How I hate the dentist, however, he is near a favorite Starbucks and I think I've enough credit on my Starbuck gold card to treat myself to sweeets, post Dentist. Serves him right for ...

ok, I'll go to the corner.

p.s. Seattle's weather is typical for spring: rain, sun, rain, wind, sun, rain, wind, and on until about July 11th.

Apr 27, 2012, 11:38am Top

>>82 mckait:, 84 Almond croissants coming up for Kath and Karen, with side of blankie and hot choco for Karen.

Good idea to reward yourself after a visit to the dentist, Karen. I've got to give our family dentist credit - he overcame my much better half's denta-phobia, and my kids and I don't mind going there. There's good music, friendly staff, and he's got a sense of humor.

>83 richardderus: You're in the right place, RD. Don't "bye", stick around and read.

Apr 27, 2012, 1:00pm Top

It's a Bro-mance between Locke and Jean and I do like me a good thief character and this is one of the best I've read. Fantasy with a darker edge sits quite well with me also as I was reading this and Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself around the same time.

Apr 27, 2012, 6:14pm Top

>86 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks, Dave. Intriguing. You know I read a fair amount of fantasy, but I couldn't get traction with The Blade Itself either.

I'm heading for the train. Pie's on the counter.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:09pm Top

"After a couple of sleepless nights try a double shot of Balsams with a couple of paracetamol and you sleep like a log." So there you go. We can bring a pillow to the booth if you like.
Im there. The stuff may taste like engine oil (and look like it) but its powers are world renowned!

Dentist talk! *runs screaming from thread*

Apr 27, 2012, 7:30pm Top

It's in Seattle. I recommend going there once we've depleted Joe's cafe inventory.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:30pm Top

Joe my morning is in crisis as Erni has just informed me that we are out of coffee sachets and it is to be instant until Monday - nice strong arabica robusta if you don't mind saving my morning mate.

Apr 27, 2012, 7:40pm Top

Hi Joe- I liked the first 2 First Law books and look forward to finishing the trilogy. I'll also give Locke Lamora a try.
I also said this to you on my thread: I finally finished Lone Wolf and ended up liking it. Some terrific illustrations. Very cinematic. Can't believe that was 1st printed in 1970. Next up, I'm delving into Alice in Sunderland, thanks again to you.

Apr 27, 2012, 9:27pm Top

EBT1002 - I need you to PM me the address for that sign!!! As soon as you can do it!!!

After dentist treat was a cheese danish, no chocolate croissants left there. Dang.

Apr 28, 2012, 9:49am Top

>88 Ireadthereforeiam: Thanks, Megan. Maybe some Balsams before the next dental visit?

>89 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. I'm going to pass this pie cafe tip onto #1 son for when he relocates to Seattle in the fall. And I'm making a mental note for when we visit him!

>90 PaulCranswick: Nothing worse than no coffee in the house, Paul, when you're starting your day. We've got an espresso blend for you that uses Sethuraman Estate robusta beans. Should pop open your eyes!

>91 msf59: Thanks, Mark. They just may not be my flavor for indecipherable reasons. I'll try to read a few pages of the Joe Abercrombie and see whether my mind changes.

Glad you liked Lone Wolf! Those illustrations really are terrific, aren't they? Yes, you can see why they got adapted for the movies. The whole series remains at that high quality level. It's a classic.

Can't wait for your reaction to the one of a kind Alice in Sunderland!

>92 maggie1944: Serious Pie got my attention, too, Karen! Sorry you were left with cheese danish; after a disappointment like that, the chocolate croissant is on us.

Apr 28, 2012, 9:52am Top

Sonia Vergara is a strong argument for male heterosexuality.

Just sayin'

Apr 28, 2012, 9:55am Top

Thank you, very much. This is the most accommodating cafe I've ever visited, and it makes me happy every morning. I have learned that Serious Pie is a pizza joint, run by one of Seattle's finest chefs. Or if not finest, at least one of the most famous: Tom Douglas. I think I'll have to schedule a visit.

Apr 28, 2012, 10:20am Top

The thought of no coffee in the place to start the day is seriously scary stuff...

Apr 28, 2012, 12:41pm Top

>94 richardderus: Ain't that the truth!

>95 maggie1944: Our pleasure, Karen! And good to know about Serious Pie. It's on my to be eaten list now.

>96 mckait: I know, Kath, I know. We're going Latin America today, with Peet's Cafe Domingo:

All right, off to NY we go . . . Pie (some serious pie) is on the counter, and the proprietor is taking his computer, so all should be well.

Apr 28, 2012, 1:57pm Top

Have a good time Joe
I'll have some pie and coffee.

Apr 28, 2012, 5:58pm Top

Hi Joe! A very lazy day for me, how about a big bowl of spicy chili con carne to help perk me up? I have some at-home work that needs doing, and the couch, a nap, and a book are incredibly tempting. See you next week, I can hardly wait to see you and your crew!

Edited: Apr 28, 2012, 6:33pm Top

The beagle has landed.

>98 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! You got it, cuppa Cafe Domingo and your choice of Caramel Apple pie or coconut custard. Both excellent.

>99 LauraBrook: Good to see you, Laura! Lazy days are my favorite.

Looking forward to seeing you at the meet-up! We've got that big bowl of spicy chili con carne for you:

Apr 28, 2012, 6:37pm Top

Joe- You guys have a great time in NY! Ooooh, I love the Sophia!

Apr 28, 2012, 6:40pm Top

Thanks, Mark! Should be a blast. Yeah, she's something else, isn't she?

Apr 28, 2012, 7:13pm Top

>97 jnwelch: uh huh, she gorgeous. And I love her accent. I find myself speaking in her accent to Little Lenny when Im trying to distract him into stillness. "Aii, La-nee, stay steeeel!". lol

Apr 28, 2012, 7:33pm Top

Have a great trip, Joe.

Apr 28, 2012, 8:06pm Top

Oh phooey. Jim and I are out of town this weekend! Bad timing. Are you staying past Sunday night?

Apr 28, 2012, 8:20pm Top

Hope you are having a great trip!

Apr 28, 2012, 8:22pm Top

Bon Voyage, mon Ami!

Apr 28, 2012, 11:27pm Top

The chilli con looks delicious mate and is one of my absolute favourite meals. If I make it over to Chicago next year I would love a big bowl of it. Have a great time in NYC mate.

Apr 28, 2012, 11:54pm Top

I am at work tonight, Joe. Would you deliver a veggie pizza? I would like a ton of a blend of Parmesan and Provolone cheeses on top :)

Apr 29, 2012, 8:24am Top

Joe- Terrible news about Derrick Rose, huh? What horrible timing.

Edited: Apr 29, 2012, 8:37am Top

>103 Ireadthereforeiam: I love the accent, Megan! That's a crack-up. Lenny somehow must wonder what the heck is going on.

>104 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! It's started out nicely, after arriving yesterday evening. A walk down to Times Square (amazingly, Walklover, my Massachusetts honey, had been elsewhere in NYC but not there) and a simple dinner at a diner we liked (mac & cheese and potato skins). Our waiter was from Sri Lanka, and a great guy.

Today we see some old friends and have brunch at Landmarc, which is Marc Murphy's Tribeca restaurant for the foodie denizens. (He's a judge on Chopped and probably is on other shows). Then we go to a show called Other Desert Cities with Stockard Channing and Judith Light.

At various points I have to buckle down and do work stuff, but we're wrapping it around the fun.

>105 ffortsa: Hi, Judy! That's right, I should have thought of that! We're going back on Tuesday after a work thing, and I'm tied up a good bit of Monday, but we are planning a trip to the Strand at some point that day. Any possibility there?

>106 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! So far it is. We're in the midst of a series of short trips, with Wash, D.C. and Boston coming up. It's fun to be back in NYC. I used to work in a bookstore here down in Soho, when dinosaurs still roamed the streets.

>107 maggie1944: Thanks, Karen! The voyage is tres bon so far, and about to get even more so. We're going to see old pals and my god-daughter today. She turns 13 in the fall. She's an avid reader, and her heroes include Jane Austen and George Eliot.

>108 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! We'll find you a big bowl of chili con if you can make it to Chicago, for sure. Thanks for the good wishes.

>109 alcottacre: Yes, we can deliver, Stasia. Luckily the time jiggery aspect isn't too tricky for Texas. Veggie pizza coming your way with a ton of blended Parmesan/Provolone on top. We'll add a couple of Diet Cokes in case you need them.

Apr 29, 2012, 8:35am Top

>110 msf59: Oh, it's just a heartbreaker with Derrick tearing an ACL yesterday, Mark. He's such a good young guy, and he's just been used as an injury punching bag this year. And of course the Bulls went from having a really good chance to win it all to not much chance to survive the next round. Darn it. This is when the Greeks used to wonder what they had done to offend the gods.

Apr 29, 2012, 8:40am Top

Jim and will be working Monday, and Jim has something on at the 92 nd street y afterwards. If you plan to get to the strand after five pm, let me know. I'll pm you,my phone.

Apr 29, 2012, 11:32am Top

Ohhh, The Strand. How I'd love to be there with you. One of these days I'll make a cross-country tour of bookstores I'd like to visit -- while they're still in business! In the meantime, I'll have to be content with my twice-yearly trips to Denver's The Tattered Cover. I hope you're able to take in a Broadway play while you're in New York, Joe. I've heard good things (from the book author) about Peter and the Star Catchers.

Apr 29, 2012, 12:21pm Top

Oooh a bookstore tour...Harvard Co Op. The Strand. Poliitics and Prose in DC. Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. Are there bookstores in Chicago? Bound to be at least a Buns and Nubile...Then on to the Tattered Cover. Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. City Lights in San Francisco. LTer Jerry's Village Books in Ukiah, California. Powell's. Elliott Bay Books.


Apr 29, 2012, 12:38pm Top

Let me know when one of you makes it to Powell's in Portland, or Elliott Bay in Seattle, and I'll meet you there and buy you a cafe au lait!

Apr 29, 2012, 2:19pm Top

I've been missing your thread, Joe .... so glad to be back.

hmmm... have you considered setting up a little bookstore as part of your cafe?

Apr 29, 2012, 8:24pm Top

>113 ffortsa: Thanks, Judy. Next time!

>114 Donna828: Love to have you join us at the Strand, Donna! I've never been to The Tattered Cover, and want to go there asap.

We did go by the street that the bookstore I worked at here was located - Spring Street, and the bookstore was called New Morning. Good times, although I was a maximum idiot back then.

It was a bit off-Broadway, but we saw Other Desert Cities with Stockard Channing, Judith Light and Stacey Keach, and it was terrific. We're still talking about it. Well-written, well-acted, thought-provoking. There's a trifecta for you.

>115 richardderus: I used to hang out in the Harvard Coop a whole lot back in the day, Richard. Great bookstore.

Yes, we have a bunch of good ones in Chi-town. 57th St. Books, The Book Cellar, Myopic, Powell's (unrelated to the Portland one, as far as I know), Sandmeyer's, Unabridged, Women and Children First. I wish I could add Barbara's, the one I used to manage, but they discontinued the big stores and went niche size. Too bad - they were the best of all, in my totally unbiased view.

Anderson Books in suburban Naperville is a book destination for a lot of bibliophiles, too. The authors tend to like to go there for book signings.

Lots of Buns and Nubiles, yes. Borders all gone - and that's where I got to hear Walter Mosley read, darn it.

I love Elliot Bay Books! We're going to be seeing a lot more of it, with #1 son moving out there.

>116 maggie1944: I'm a total fanboy about Elliot Bay Books, Karen, although I'll admit to missing their old, eccentric digs. I do like their new store, and the good news is it's in the neighborhood where our best son ever plans to live.

Powell's in Portland is in my future, some way, somehow.

>117 cameling: There's our Caro! Good to see you back in the cafe! Loved the pictures of you and Roni. We got our Chi-town get-together coming up shortly thanks to Mr. Mark. Just a short flight away from your part of the world, don't you think?

A little bookstore as part of the cafe sounds like a great idea! Walklover and I have often talked about opening one up, and it wouldn't cost much to do it here in the cafe. :-)

Did I mention we saw my god-daughter today? She's unbelievable - 12 years old, and she was reading the one Bronte she hadn't read, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I told her she was way, way ahead of where I was at her age. She writes beautifully, too. I told her dad I'm looking forward to her first bestseller.

I managed to lose my prescription glasses while wearing my suns, we're not sure how or where. So I'm going to have to play the celebrity card with the work stuff I'm doing. Oops.

Apr 29, 2012, 8:48pm Top

Hm. I think I missed an entire thread worth of Joe's Book Cafe. Been *BUSY*.

But not so busy that I'm not reading books. :) And (YAY!) my MIL is coming to Sydney tomorrow, so I've got a built in babysitter for a week or so. (Apparently it's Miss Boo's seventh birthday in a week. I've been so busy it almost slipped my mind! Time to stop fretting about work, and start fretting about cupcakes and bike shopping and party bags...)

Time to make a shortlist of movies to go and see...

Apr 29, 2012, 8:57pm Top

>119 wookiebender: Good to see you, Tania! And good to hear someone say Yay! about their MIL. Cool re Miss Boo! Keep us posted on your movie reviews.

Apr 29, 2012, 9:42pm Top

Oh, my MIL is pretty good fun. And she *likes* cleaning, so the house is positively sparkling after she visits for a week. (I only feel slightly guilty...) The kids love her, and now that she leaves me to do the cooking, it all works out well. (She used to do EVERYTHING around the house, and, frankly, she's a pretty poor cook. I left her once with some delicious lamb cutlets and green beans, thinking drooling thoughts about a nice grilled lamb cutlet and some steamed green beans, and came back to an unholy baked mess of horror. WHO BAKES GREEN BEANS UNTIL THEY ARE GREY?? Ahem.)

Best of all, she works her way through my Mt TBR (several books a day) and culls some of the poorer reading choices for me. ;) Ooh, must put the current library books near her comfy chair for when she arrives tomorrow...

And just checked the library online catalogue, and I've got to be reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers next, there's quite a queue forming behind me... Will pause on Testament of Youth (again!) and get stuck into that one tonight.

Apr 29, 2012, 10:46pm Top

Bookstores! In Chicago! Go know from this, bookstores in a place like Chicago.

My Jewish grandmother, from Minneapolis, just possessed me for a moment.

Apr 30, 2012, 1:01am Top

hey, Joe. hope you two peripatetics are having a wondrous time. :)

Apr 30, 2012, 6:57am Top

Hi Joe- I started Alice in sunderland. It's not what I expected but it is highly enjoyable. Part history, bio and fantasy. Very interesting. But another major chunkster!
Enjoy your last full day in NY.

Apr 30, 2012, 8:30am Top

>121 wookiebender: A MIL who the kids love, loves to clean, lets poor cooking fade out of the picture, and culls poor reading choices skillfully - no wonder you're happy at her arrival, Tania! You should consider renting her out.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is eye-openingly good. Hope you like it.

>122 richardderus: A Jewish Norwegian, RD? Go figure.

>123 mirrordrum: We are peripatetically having a great time, Ellie, thanks! Some mighty nice weather here has enhanced the experience. What a play we saw yesterday. Plus a get-together with old pals, their much better halves, and their daughters, for a good meal. Plus a fine Italian end of the day dinner.

I've started the first Dance to the Music of Time, but have found it a slow entry so far.

Today some responsible actions are required, but the Strand and probably a revisit with a pal are on the agenda.

>124 msf59: I can't imagine Alice in Sunderland being what anyone but the most well-informed expected, Mark! It's unlike anything else I know of. I didn't find it chunkster-ish, for some reason, not like a Blankets, for example, so it may fly by faster than you think. I'm glad you're giving it a whirl and finding it highly enjoyable.

Good day ahead here once I take care of a couple of things.

Apr 30, 2012, 9:00am Top

Tania, you're very lucky in your MIL! All families should have such fine coordination.

Joe, we saw Other Desert Cities when it was up at Lincoln Center and yes, it is a wonderful and thought-provoking piece, isn't it. And Elizabeth Marvel is one, too. A marvel, that is. One of our New York treasures.

Have a fine day today and at the Strand. The rain won't come until you leave, lucky you.

Apr 30, 2012, 9:17am Top

>126 ffortsa: Ah, Elizabeth Marvel, that's the name I was trying to remember. Thanks, Judy. Yes, she was key - the whole house of cards would fall if she gave a weak performance. I'm glad you saw it. It was Linda Lavin at LC, right? Were there other cast differences? This cast was very strong, we thought.

We're thanking the weather gods. It looks like another beaut out there. We're hitting the pavement soon.

Apr 30, 2012, 10:31am Top

I think the rest of the cast is intact, or at least it was when they moved it to Broadway. Stacy Keach played the father, Stockard Channing the mother. According to one report, Marvel was supposed to be replaced by Rachel Griffiths - if so, I'm glad it hasn't happened yet. And Thomas Sadoski continues to play the brother.

Apr 30, 2012, 10:47am Top

Thumbs up for Myopic Books. A friend of mine took me there the last time I visited her, and we got lost in there for nearly two hours.

Is it true that the Around the Coyote Arts Festival is no more?

Apr 30, 2012, 12:08pm Top

When the meet-up gets scheduled at Elliott Bay Books, I'm in! I agree, Joe, that the old digs had more character, but they have done a nice job of creating a good feel in the new spot. And it's easier for me to get to from work or from home..... And I might join Karen in taking a road trip to Portland for that Powell's gathering.

Oh, and way back up there at pie, I should come clean that "Serious Pie" is actually Tom Douglas' pizza joint. And it's marvelous pizza.

When is this amazing son of yours moving to Seattle, Joe?

Apr 30, 2012, 2:12pm Top

I wrote my review of Behind the Beautiful Forevers at last. OY VEY. How much I hate the writing, so so so much; every one of the four stars is for the important, necessary story. It's in my thread,post #131.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 4:59pm Top

>128 ffortsa: Thanks, Judy. Judith Light slid into the aunt's part (Stockard's sister) and we thought she was excellent. Thomas Sadowski as the brother, too. At the beginning both of us wondered about Stacey Keach's rather restrained portrayal, but by the end, when secrets get revealed, it was clear what was behind the initial restraint.

>129 kidzdoc: Yes, we love Myopic, too, Darryl. You're right about the Around the Coyote arts festival; it is no more. What a shame. We loved it at the beginning in particular, where a good part of it was in the artists' homes in Wicker Park. It eventually got more large scale than we liked, and then fizzled out, blaming funding. I hope some day folks revive it in its more grass roots form.

>130 EBT1002: Wish I could join you and Karen for a Powell's road trip, Ellen! That should be a blast.

Yes, a denizen tipped us off Serious Pie is a pizza joint. Good pizza?

How did you know our son is amazing? Did I mention that? I can't believe I let it slip out (several times). Did I mention our amazing daughter (lots)?

Jesse sent us a text this morning that he "just took {his} last class ever!" I wonder. Anyway, he's a happy guy. Finals and his thesis defense are over soon, then he graduates around May 20. We get him for the summer, and then he's off to Seattle in the fall, I think September. We're not sure how he's going to handle the apartment hunt yet.

>131 richardderus: You're rough on Boo's writing in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Richard, and you're more knowledgeable about that than moi. To me she did a great job of conveying the detail. It is an important and necessary story, that's for sure. Not exactly an economy lifting all boats.

Apr 30, 2012, 4:59pm Top

Strand haul:

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick (read it years ago and want to again)

The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst (gathering for the long Australia trip)

The Grapes of Wrath for the Steinbeckathon

They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer (enjoyed another mystery by her)

Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins (his latest out in paperback)

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (well-reviewed graphic novel)

Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine (ditto)

The Luck of the Bodkins by P.G. Wodehouse (one of his I haven't read)

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (recommended by Ellie as a entry into Pratchettland)

Walklover found a comparable number, then we had to leave to meet someone for lunch or we may have had to rent a U-Haul.

Apr 30, 2012, 5:14pm Top

Great haul, Joe! I really want to make it to The Strand one of these days. Hmm, conference in Newport, RI, next October and folks are telling me the only reasonable way to get there is to fly into NY or Boston and use ground transportation for the remainder. I'm already thinking about adding a couple of days to the trip to head north for some leaf-peeping. Maybe a trip into Manhattan is also called for......

Do you serve "Breathe Easy" tea at the cafe? With a little honey, perhaps?

Apr 30, 2012, 5:24pm Top

Thanks, Ellen. Gosh, we were in Newport, RI years ago and for the life of me I can't remember how we got there. We sure didn't have to go through what you're being told to do. I hope a reasonable route surfaces. Adding extra days is always a good idea as far as we're concerned - leaf peeping in October sounds excellent, as does a trip to Manhattan and the Strand.

Yes, my much better half is a big fan of Breathe Easy, and we always keep it on hand. Coming up with a little honey in it:

Apr 30, 2012, 5:35pm Top

Ahhhh. Thank you. Now back to my nap.

Apr 30, 2012, 6:36pm Top

133> very good entry into Prattchettland - heard it rumoured the early books are to be reissued this year with new covers

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 6:50pm Top

I knew I was in the right tribe. I've been a fan of Breathe Easy for years and always worried that my friends would all abandon me as a "weird" little old lady who drinks medicinal teas. It is so good, and helps with the stuffinesses so well! I'll lift a cup with you all!

We really can have a meetup at Elliott Bay even before Joe, and his aforementioned marvelous son, are in Seattle! Wouldn't that be fun? Of course, we shall just be an "advance" team, checking out the facilities. And the tea. And some books. And planning a future event in Portland's Powells. Shall we do it?

Apr 30, 2012, 7:18pm Top

>136 EBT1002: *quietly places do not disturb sign on table*

>137 roundballnz: Good to have additional confirmation, Alex. The early, middle and late books all seem to experience continuous popularity here in the States.

>138 maggie1944: Glad you can join us in breathing easy, Karen.

Sounds like a plan re Elliot Bay. Good luck!

Apr 30, 2012, 7:26pm Top

>138 maggie1944: Yep, I can see that advance planning is in order. We might also need to give Molly Moon's ice cream, around the corner, a try so we can give first-hand advice to the amazing son. I'd hate to steer him wrong.

No, really, I'm in!

Apr 30, 2012, 7:33pm Top

Hi Joe- Nice book haul! I loved the Spies of Warsaw. I really need to get back to more of his books. I also really enjoyed Anya's Ghost. Grapes speaks for itself. I think I have at least 3 different copies around here somewhere.

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 7:46pm Top

Some of the flavors at Molly Moon:

Apr 30, 2012, 7:47pm Top

salted caramel with hot fudge sauce.

just sayin'.

honey lavender with lemon curd sauce goes down pretty nicely, as well.

Apr 30, 2012, 7:55pm Top

We went to Molly Moon's last summer and loved it!

Good to hear re Spies and {Anya's Ghost, Mark - the latter was kind of a flyer, so I'm glad you liked it. I may have to dig into Grapes sooner rather than later.

Apr 30, 2012, 8:06pm Top

Oh, what a treat you have ahead of you with Pratchett!

Have to say, I'm not a fan of Behind the Beautiful Forevers so far. Seems to pack none of the punch of non-fiction, as well as packing none of the punch of fiction. A lose-lose, this "narrative non-fiction" in my books. (Er, no pun intended.) Will give it to page 50 before I decide to put it to one side.

Apr 30, 2012, 8:29pm Top

I second Ellen's shout out for salted caramel and hot fudge....but adding a dash of peanut butter. ;-)

Had a bacon turkey tomato and basil sandwich for lunch so I needed something more substantial for dinner. Made a chicken and potato curry, grilled eggplants and toasted some garlic naan.

Apr 30, 2012, 10:24pm Top

Oh, my! Salted caramel and hot fudge... Let me run get my calendar. I must schedule a "field trip".

Meanwhile, I've had a looooooooooong day, and I think a cup of tea, with some nicely buttered toast is what I need. Retiring then, to the corner table, to the reading...

Apr 30, 2012, 10:26pm Top

#112: Ack! Not Diet Coke!! Only Diet Pepsi for me, please.

Apr 30, 2012, 11:19pm Top

For the first time since auntie died, I made meat loaf tonight! Served with spoon bread and green beans. Now I need dessert...thinkin' maple walnut ice cream with a double cappucino.

Apr 30, 2012, 11:51pm Top

>147 maggie1944: I'll meet you at Elliott Bay, with a side trip to Molly Moon, whenever you say.....

May 1, 2012, 7:04am Top

>145 wookiebender: I liked Pratchett's outing with Neil Gaiman very much, Tania, but was unsuccessful with a Discworld book. Fingers crossed on Wyrd Sisters.

Hope Behind the Beautiful Forevers gets you in the first 50. It's worth it.

>146 cameling: It all sounds good, Caro. Salted caramel, hot fudge and some peanut butter in particular. :-)

>147 maggie1944: We'll bring over to your table your cup of Darjeeling tea, with some buttered toast pronto, Karen. Relax after a long with a lot of o's day!

>148 alcottacre: Oops, I misremembered our culinary strategerie, Stasia. Diet Pepsi it is!

>149 richardderus: Congrats on the successful meat loaf ensemble, Richard! We've got your maple walnut ice cream with a double cappucino coming up.

>150 EBT1002: Hmm, that sure sounds good. Look forward to when we can join you.

The proprietor will be out of touch until tomorrow - work, travel, Bulls game when we get back. So enjoy the premises, there's pie on the counter.

May 1, 2012, 8:35am Top

We'll do our best to carry on. Thanks for leaving such a good selection of pie.

*puts on a pot of American coffee* (good enough in a pinch)

May 1, 2012, 2:06pm Top

ahhh what nice people here.......

May 1, 2012, 11:34pm Top

Mmm, pie.

(Sorry, Behind the Beautiful Forevers improved, but not enough for me to care about finishing it. Too many books I'd rather read on the pile.)

May 2, 2012, 12:27am Top

Stopping by to say hi! I see that you read Trail of the Spellman's in April - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

May 2, 2012, 8:17am Top

>149 richardderus:: Richard, if you ever find yourself in Southern Ontario, I'll make you some of my homemade maple walnut ice cream, made fresh with real maple syrup and toasted walnuts. It's Very Good. :D

May 2, 2012, 9:44am Top

>152 maggie1944:, 153 Thanks, Karen and Kath!

>154 wookiebender: Happy about the pie, Tania, sorry about Behind the Beautiful Forevers. But at least you gave it a try.

>155 vancouverdeb: Yes, I get a real kick out of the Spellman series, Deb, and that was a good one. It also advanced the story arc in some significant ways.

>156 dk_phoenix: That sounds awfully good, Faith. Yum. Do you make maple walnut fudge? I'm a pushover for that, too.

I'm all over the place with books right now, with the Strand haul and Bitterblue and Insurgent coming in. Right now I'm in the last quarter or so of The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, and a ways into Luck of the Bodkins, a P.G. Wodehouse I haven't read.

May 2, 2012, 12:42pm Top

I'm kinda all over the place too: My copy of Robert Caro's new book The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power has arrived. I have been loving Caro's work since I first read The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York many, many years ago. I've read the three preceding books on LBJ and am in awe of Caro's research and his writing style is not too shabby, either! So along with the Chinese gold miners story, and several other books I have started, now I'm into LBJ's life, again.

Pass the coffee pot. I'm off to my corner to read.

May 2, 2012, 3:11pm Top

Good for you, Karen. I've never read Caro but I've read that he's awfully good. You're on a nice nonfiction run. Pot o' coffee on your corner table. Happy reading!

Edited: May 2, 2012, 6:19pm Top

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is unlike any book I've read before.. It begins with the main character and her brother being born in fire in a religious ceremony, with it foretold that she will change the course of history, and he will avenge their royal father. Had I picked up (on Richard's recommendation) a fantasy, or a romance, or some hybrid creation?

Nope. This novel is derived from the Indian epic The Mahabharata, and has a vast scope that Homer would have enjoyed. The author has prized loose the female story threads from the epic and rewoven them into a compelling novel. Although there are many fantastic occurrences along the way, the story is driven by basic human urges - love, ambition, pride, vengeance and resistance to oppression. Princess Panchaali will not be treated as a dependent girl, and mostly successfully insists on receiving a man's education like her brother Dhri. Over time she'll prove the cleverest and most dominating of them all, save perhaps for the divine incarnation Krishna, who cajoles and criticizes her, in a kind way, from a loftier perspective. She increasingly realizes how important his presence is to her, and I always found his appearances in the book uplifting, too.

Important promises are made and broken, a kingdom is stolen by trickery and through weakness, and vengeance is sworn. Panchaali improbably is married to five husbands at once, as is foretold, and finds her way to the dream-like Palace of Illusions created in the desert, beautifully described by the author. Some who are high are brought low, and fight to regain what they had lost. Panchaali balances her own thirsts for revenge with her obligations to her husbands and her people, and struggles with exchanging her ardor and anger for the more tranquil and far-reaching views provided by Krishna. She has a strong voice and develops a prickly reputation because of it. Like a reverse Helen of Troy, her curse on the unrighteous may lead to a massive war. The fight will not be over the beauty of Panchaali, but over the truth and irresistibility of her anger.

Yet we believe in and follow Panchaali for smaller reasons provided by the author - her thwarted love for another, her struggles with male oppression and court politics, her sense of honor, her love for the beautiful palace, her wisdom when faced with difficulty, her recognition of her faults.

The princess who longed for acceptance, the guilty girl whose heart wouldn't listen, the wife who balanced her fivefold role precariously, the rebellious daughter-in-law, the queen who ruled in the most magical of palaces, the distracted mother, the beloved companion of Krishna, who refused to learn the lessons he offered, the woman obsessed with vengeance - none of them were the true Panchaali.

If not, who was I?

I was caught up in the same question. And the question of how Panchaali fit within the ethical and religious threads of The Mahabharata woven through the story. Like Homer's Greek poems, this is a brave and bloody story. As epic battles rage, who are the real winners and losers? The finale of the book brings it all into a buoyant and beautifully rendered perspective that flat knocked me out.

May 2, 2012, 6:49pm Top

Hi Joe- I just skimmed your The Palace of Illusions review, because I would really like to read it at some point.
BTW- Is that book you recently reviewed Wonder, illustrated? It came up in audiobook form but if there are illustrations, I would much rather go that route.

The Bulls looked pretty lackluster, last night! Sad.

May 2, 2012, 7:18pm Top

Hi there Joe, I'm glad I got over here just in time for that stellar review of Palace of Illusions which I am hoping to get to this summer. Maybe I can think up a TIOLI challenge for it. Let me put my thinking cap on.

May 2, 2012, 7:21pm Top

#160: I really liked The Palace of Illusions too, Joe. I am glad to see the book has found another fan!

May 2, 2012, 7:31pm Top

>125 jnwelch: >121 wookiebender: A MIL who the kids love, loves to clean, lets poor cooking fade out of the picture, and culls poor reading choices skillfully - no wonder you're happy at her arrival, Tania! You should consider renting her out.
Ill take her for a week any time, although, maybe you could teach her to cook first?

>142 EBT1002: maybe I could hire myself out to the cafe as a sigh writer? I do a mean chalk board.
*wonders if they would pay travel*

>160 jnwelch: wow, sounds like you really enjoyed that one, good for you.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:51am Top

#164> Oh, I think I can cope doing the cooking on my own. :) Although not much of that this week, with the built-in-babysitter nicely ensconced at home, Don & I have been catching up on our social life. Last night was "The Avengers", tonight is the new Tex Mex restaurant up the road (and the bookshop, as one of Dolores' first questions was whether I'd bought the sequels to The Hunger Games yet; I hadn't, but I'll fork out the cash now rather than later to keep her on tenterhooks!).

Sadly, this also seems to mean that no reading has happened since I put Behind the Beautiful Forevers to one side. Hm, I wonder if Don wants to bring a book with him tonight and we can just sit there and read while we nosh on food?

Oh, so tired. Not just the late night last night and early morning this morning, but I got out to boot camp at lunch and he was *tough* so I'm limping like an old woman everywhere, and my inbox is full of issues and I can't work on any of these said issues because a new email requiring attention arrives every 10 seconds... So I thought I'd pop in here and have some quiet Me Time. :) Any chance of a nice pot of chai and some of that pie...? And a quiet well padded corner to put my (aching) feet up and read a few pages of The Memory of Love...

ETA: I read Chitra Divakaruni's Mistress of Spices and was a bit dissatisfied. The Palace of Illusions sounds more like my cup of tea, thanks for the recommendation! (Hm, the title is reminding me of a Paul Auster novel, but that title has slipped my mind...)

May 3, 2012, 9:30am Top

>161 msf59: Hi, Mark! The Palace of Illusions is a good 'un.

Wonder is not illustrated. Probably a good thing, as you get to imagine how Auggie looks. Should be fine for audio.

Bulls - they looked shell-shocked from the Derrick loss, except for Noah and Lucas. Don't know whether they can pull themselves together or not.

>162 brenzi: Thanks, Bonnie! Good to see you. I don't know much about how TIOLI works, but it's a good read.

>163 alcottacre: Ah, glad to hear it, Stasia! I am another fan, for sure. One of the pleasures of LT is stretching into books I might not have found or tried otherwise.

This morning it's got me thinking of Song of Achilles, which I haven't read yet. Another retelling of an epic story. It'll be interesting to compare the two.

>164 Ireadthereforeiam: Even without cooking expertise, Tania's MIL sounds like a bargain to me, Megan. Airfare would be an issue, for sure, for me.

Did you realize you posted, "maybe I could hire myself out to the cafe as a sigh writer"? We'd surely hire you for that - I'm curious already. A sigh can feel pretty satisfying, actually. The denizens might appreciate your write-ups. Didn't Mario Vargas Llosa write one called "Aunt Julia and the Sigh Writer"?

I did really enjoy The Palace of Illusions. It felt good to get on a more epic scale than usual with such an intriguing central character.

>165 wookiebender: Your MIL sounds like a keeper, Tania. How'd you like The Avengers? We're going to go once our schedule settles down. The full Hunger Games trilogy is well worth the read.

I know what you mean about thirsting for reading time. That's my daydream re retirement - hanging out in the cafe and reading.

We've got that nice pot of chai for you with some caramel apple pie, so take a load off for a while. Memory of Love looks intriguing.

Yes, I can't tell whether I'd like others by this author as much or not (although she certainly writes well), but Palace of Illusions really hit the spot.

Paul Auster wrote Moon Palace, so that may be the one you're thinking of.

May 3, 2012, 9:50am Top

Paul Auster also wrote The Book of Illusions which has been on my TBR stack for some time now.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 6:01pm Top

If you haven't read and liked one of the Precious Ramotswe books in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I recommend giving the first one a try. They're charming and often wise.

They're set in Botswana, where the author once taught law, and feature a gentle humor and warmth that makes reading them feel like taking a short vacation from our daily pressures. They are mysteries, but typically involve the good sorting out, and outwitting, the wicked and greedy. In The LImpopo Academy of Private Detection an auto shop assistant is unjustly accused of being involved in a stolen car racket, and formidable Mma Potakwane is dismissed for shady-appearing reasons from administering the orphanage she has given her life to. Can "traditionally built" Precious Ramotswe use her clear-sightedness and resolve to save both? There's a timely surprise appearance by the author of the book she learned her detective skills from, as the some of the underlying motivations prove hard to bring to light.

These books also have wonderful characters - Precious is insightful, unflappable, maternal and tradition-observing - chastising, for example, a company CEO for chewing a toothpick in front of an out-of-country guest. Her assistant, Grace Makutsi, is inordinately proud of her high score in secretarial college and finds shoe-buying difficult to resist, but also has her own keen instincts and is fiercely loyal. Precious's solid, reliable, common sense husband J.L.B Maketoni, his auto shop assistants, Grace's stutter-prone beloved Phuti and many others brighten the stories and become welcoming friends for the returning reader.

May 3, 2012, 11:41am Top

I agree, Joe. I've found the series quite delightful, and restful, in a way that more tension-filled detective stories sometimes are not. They always refresh me.

May 3, 2012, 2:18pm Top

> 160: hi Joe, I wish The Palace of Illusions would be translated.
We have the movie Peter Brook made of The Mahabharata and named one of the pups in our D-litter Draupadi...

May 3, 2012, 2:27pm Top

Alexander McCall SmithI like his characters.. for a while.. then they get on my nerves after a few books..

just me, I am sure!

May 3, 2012, 4:17pm Top

>169 ffortsa: Glad to hear it, Judy. Me, too. He consistently keeps them at a high quality level. Refreshing is a good word for it.

>170 FAMeulstee: It should be translated, Anita. Well worth it. I haven't seen the Peter Brooks movie - did you like it? Hah, good name for a pup. In the book the author goes with Panchaali, although she also uses Draupadi and Krishnaa.

>171 mckait: I can understand that, actually, Kath. I find myself having to be patient with Grace Makutsi's umpteenth reference to her high score in school. But that's an exception for me. Overall I always enjoy reuniting with these characters.

May 3, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Joe- Two more days. Coming around quick. Good to know that Wonder is not illustrated, I'll request it right away.

May 4, 2012, 12:23am Top

#116 & #117> Ah, that's it, a mash-up in my rather mashed brain of Moon Palace and Book of Illusions. I've read the latter and liked it, and have the former on Mt TBR. Somewhere.

I did like The Avengers, but by the time I got to it, it was rather over-hyped. The plot could have been more (c'mon, the last two Batman movies gave us great plot, it's not impossible), and there was a bit too much standing around talking, but the action was good (two thumbs up for the fight choreography for the two non-super assassins in particular) and a goodly number of Joss Whedon quips in evidence. Better than Thor, but maybe not as good as Iron Man. (I didn't see Captain America or the latest Hulk.) Nice ensemble work from the cast, too. Apart from Tony Stark being the most fun character, there was a good balance between them all.

Although I am disappointed that Hollywood seems to be determined to give Loki some sort of psychological motivation for being the bad guy. He's a trickster god, he's chaos incorporated, the poster child for ADHD, why not just let him loose as he was meant to be and have some fun with that? I'm sure they could have worked in at least one "what does this button do?" moment.

Last night, no movie (there's not much on, to be honest), but the Tex Mex place we tried did frozen margaritas. And they were pretty good for something that came out of a slushy machine. The tequila soothed the brain freeze nicely.

Quiet night at home tonight, hope to (finally) get some reading done this week.

May 4, 2012, 8:33am Top

Good Friday morning, all. Rainy day here and after all the running around with kids today I hope to also have a quiet evening. For now, I'm here to grab a quick latte to-go, and go!

May 4, 2012, 9:22am Top

Noticed you mentioned Insurgent and Bitterblue-did you order them? Because that would be really great, as you could then loan them to your daughter ;)

A bunch of our older students here actually got to meet Veronica Roth and get an autographed copy of Insurgent-they were on Windy City Live with her.

May 4, 2012, 9:44am Top

>173 msf59: Looking forward to it, Mark! Let us know if there's anything we can do to help.

>174 wookiebender: Got it, Tania! Some day I should read some Paul Auster. I've just never had one of his really call out to me.

Good info on The Avengers, thanks. I've enjoyed the ones you mentioned, including Captain America, except I haven't seen The Hulk. More CGI than I like in that one. I know what you mean about a plot, and agree the Batman movies did a good job with that. There's a new Batman movie on the way, isn't there? And a Spider-Man reboot. It's going to be a summer of superheroes from the looks of it!

TexMex sounds good to me; we haven't had any in too long. A margarita would be welcome right now, although it's not normally a breakfast drink.

I'm in a bit of a funk this a.m., unusual for me. Late night last night with a so-so play (adaptation of The March by E.L. Doctorow - ambitious, but they tried to cram too much in and lost focus, seemed to me). And this has been a week full of late nights and travel. We're going out again tonight with friends when I'd just as soon stay home and read. Oh well.

>175 maggie1944: A quiet evening sounds great to me, Karen! We've got your quick latte to-go, and I hope you get your wish.

>176 seasonsoflove: You're going to be a happy young lady, Becca! Both Bitterblue and Insurgent have arrived. Your ma needs to read Fire still, so I'll read Bitterblue first and she'll start with Insurgent. So we should be ready to pass them on soon.

Very cool re your kids and Veronica Roth. Did they have anything to say about meeting her? Did she say anything about locating the series in Chicago?

May 4, 2012, 9:55am Top

Oh, no - a funk. I know what you mean, Joe. I can't take too much busy-ness in a row without craving a quiet night - or day. Last week was sacrificed to a family wedding, and I didn't begrudge it, and this weekend is a little busy, but should afford some downtime.

I've never read The March - too bad the play didn't quite fit the bill. Ragtime, on the other hand - I saw the original, quite a bit too busy and fussy, and then Jim and I saw a really lean production of it in New Jersey that was incredibly moving. We've just finished The Waterworks for one of our f2f groups - an interesting near miss, I think.

May 4, 2012, 10:40am Top

>178 ffortsa: Thanks, Judy. Yeah, you got it. It's all good stuff, but I'm craving a quiet night. And we're off on another work-related trip (to Wash, D.C.) on Sunday!

I liked the book Ragtime a lot, but never saw the play. A really lean production sounds good - I usually like those best, anyway. We saw a very lean production of The Pitmen Painters in a small theater and loved it. We are still basking in the glow of that production we just saw of Other Desert Cities, so that helps. I know nothing about The Waterworks, but I admire Doctorow's wide-ranging intellect.

I need a treat. With the chef's blessing, I'm going to have an apple fritter from The Three Girls Bakery in Seattle:

May 4, 2012, 10:45am Top

Joe- Sorry to hear about the funk! Hope it dissipates quickly. We are planning to see Veronica Roth tonight at Anderson's in Naperville.

May 4, 2012, 11:05am Top

160: that was one terrific review of Palace of Illusions, Joe. I've been saving it for the right time and, thanks to your review, that time is getting closer.

Have fun at Mark's tomorrow. A meetup is the perfect antidote for a book and/or busy-life funk!

May 4, 2012, 12:40pm Top

>180 msf59: Thanks, Mark! The apple fritter helped some. :-) I look forward to hearing your report on Veronica Roth. As I mentioned above, we've got her new one, although Walklover has first dibs.

I want to get to Anderson's some day. I know it's supposed to be an excellent bookstore, and they get the big name authors there all the time. It's a bit of a hike from where we are, but it's on my tbd (to be driven).

>181 Donna828: Thank you, Donna! Palace of Illusions is well worth the read. You're right, the meetup will undoubtedly help get me out of the busy life funk. The last one was a blast.

May 4, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Just stopping in to give the proprietor a hug! Late nights and busy days will do that--just hope it passes quickly.

May 4, 2012, 3:40pm Top

> 172: I haven't seen the Peter Brooks movie - did you like it?
I saw the 6 hours TV adaption and LOVED it!
At the time I taped it (VHS) and played so many times it broke ;-)
Now I have it on DVD.

Has it all: adventure, costumes, good looking men (and women for thos who prefer them), good story....

May 4, 2012, 4:05pm Top

>183 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. Hugs are welcome! One of those days . . .

>184 FAMeulstee: Good to know, Anita. I'll find it. This may be one where I'll wait until Walklover is off on a jaunt without me somewhere, as I'm not sure it would be her cup of tea. I was convinced anyway, but "played it so many times it broke" - hard to find a bigger compliment than that!

May 4, 2012, 4:35pm Top

>160 jnwelch:, 168 Thumbs ups from me! So glad you liked The Palace of Illusions so much.

Have fun at El Cinco de Mayo!

May 4, 2012, 5:35pm Top

Joe, sorry to hear about the funk. They do happen.
I hope your weekend brings some new energy for you.
I miss hanging out at the cafe, but work has been too busy for even the drive-through service!

May 4, 2012, 6:08pm Top

>187 EBT1002: Thanks for stopping by during a busy time, Ellen! Yes, I imagine the weekend will help. I'm reading a Wodehouse, too, which makes it hard to stay grumpy.

Hope you have an enjoyable weekend, too.

Trainward, ho, I go.

May 4, 2012, 10:30pm Top

Joe - sorry to see on my thread and yours that you have been a bit down. Hope a train journey will perk you up (it would me). Am a fan of Doctorow (with the surprising exception of Billy Bathgate which I thought patchy) but novels into plays can sometimes fail to convert, especially if you read and like the novel you are sure to find the play slightly hollow.

May 5, 2012, 7:54am Top

*slipping in with a big bouquet of red tulips for the front counter*

May 5, 2012, 8:13am Top

Hi Joe- Another loss for the Bulls, huh? I didn't watch it but it looked like a tough one. I'll be seeing you a little later.

May 5, 2012, 11:23am Top

>189 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Much improved after a good night's sleep. Just got way over-extended - stretched out so far you probably could see through me.

Fun night out with pals at an Evanston (Chicago suburb) restaurant called Bistro Bordeaux helped, too. Watercress, endive, walnut, apple and Roquefort cheese salad, a nice Chardonnay, cod with asparagus and fiddle ferns, and brioche with caramel vanilla ice cream for dessert, plus some on-the-house muscatel - hard not to feel better after that. So quit your griping, proprietor. Plus an LT meet-up today - all right!

>190 maggie1944: Thanks, Karen! Love the red tulips - just right. It's looking a lot more like Spring in the cafe.

>191 msf59: Oh, them Bulls are snakebit, Mr. Mark. Noah got badly injured, too. What a shame after an exciting season. Miracles happen, but they're in big trouble.

See you soon - looking forward to it! Becca and I thought we'd show up a few hours early. I'm sure that would be a big help.

May 5, 2012, 12:01pm Top

I'm so glad you enjoyed Palace of Illusions, Joe ... it's one of my favorite books. I've also liked Arranged Marriage : Stories, Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart but I was disappointed with One Amazing Thing.

*waiting impatiently for photos from the MeetUp*

May 5, 2012, 12:10pm Top

>193 cameling: Glad to hear it, Caro! It's such a good one, isn't it? Thanks for the tips on some of Banerjee's other books.

I'm sure at some point the photos will start appearing. :-)

BTW, for those that are interested, there's a really good thread going on about Shakespeare's sonnets, headed up by rosalita and Cynara: http://www.librarything.com/topic/135687#3377305

May 5, 2012, 1:47pm Top

Do you find the following funny?

Regarding starving writers in 1935 or so Hollywood: "This girl said that if you make a noise like a mutton chop anywhere within a radius of ten miles of Hollywood Boulevard, authors come bounding out of every nook and cranny, howling like wolves." (How do you sound like a mutton chop?)

Regarding an earnest cousin: "The fact of the matter is, Gertrude's the soul of honour. I believe it comes from playing hockey."

Regarding unexpected news: "He observed that the young man's knotted and combined locks had parted and that each particular hair now stood on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine."

If the answer's yes, or you're a Wodehouse fan, you'll enjoy The Luck of the Bodkins. Convoluted romantic relationships, a Hollywood mogul ready to make any deal to save himself from the Customs inspector, misunderstandings, broken hearts and tearful make-ups, capers and hijinks, all on a cruise to America. If you're feeling glum, you won't after this one. I remember someone saying reading Wodehouse is like experiencing a musical comedy in a book. Can't help but smile.

May 5, 2012, 2:05pm Top

Hi Joe- I'm not sure I "get" Wodehouse. BTW- Come by anytime you want, just not before 2:45. Hee hee!

May 5, 2012, 2:31pm Top

I adore Wodehouse, Joe. I have the entire Jeeves and Wooster collection and have re-read them multiple times, and yet they still never fail to raise a few chortles and guffaws. I've also bought the DVDs. When I first watched 'House' on TV, I was shocked because I'd never seen Laurie Hughes speak in anything other than an English accent.... or appear in anything that made him look remotely intelligent. haha

May 5, 2012, 2:34pm Top

Joe - Wodehouse has dated a little without doubt. Looking forward to shots from your LT Meetup.

May 5, 2012, 5:35pm Top

Re:194. I took a look at the thread on the sonnets. It's wonderful. As it started mid March, I am weeks behind and will make no comments until later, but.must say it warms my English major's heart to read such a delightful discussion.

May 5, 2012, 9:04pm Top

>196 msf59: Hi, Mark! Great meet-up! Thanks for putting up with the likes of us. Becca has continued on the party trail with her ma while I catch up a bit on LT.

I imagine the group of "not sure I get Wodehouse" folks is large, Mark. I got hooked at a young age. I'm like Caro (see the next post).

My oops on the time. I thought it all started at 2 pm, so poor Mark got us at 2:30. We only tripped a few people and accidentally tipped over a couple of tables before others starting showing up.

>197 cameling: Yay, Caro! It's always great to find out someone else is a Jeeves and Bertie nut. I've read them all, too, and have all the DVDs, too. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are hilarious together. I know, he boggled my mind on House because I only knew him with the British accent, and dopey. :-)

>198 PaulCranswick: Don't tell anybody, Paul, but I'm a bit dated myself! I still like the old Thin Man movies and Astaire and Rogers and any number of blasts from the past. Wodehouse for me will always be timely.

The LT meetup was like a car crash in slow motion - not. Hard to believe, but Mark is even more gracious and enthusiastic in person than on LT. He and his SWMBO took great care of us. Good beer, good margaritas for those so inclined, good eats, and we even did a shot in Caro's honor. Not to mention coming away with books and lots of good ideas for future reading.

>199 ffortsa: Oh, I'm glad, Judy. I should've thought of this before. I learn something new everyday. It is a delightful discussion, and rosalita and Cynara are great tour guides. The good news is there are a whole lot of sonnets left.

It's hard to believe, but we're off on another trip tomorrow, this time to Washington, D.C. for a few days. I'll have the computer, so I'll be able to stop by the cafe and make sure we don't run out of napkins and that sort of thing.

May 5, 2012, 9:09pm Top

Joe- I had a great time too! Of course there were a few slow spots but what can you do. KIDDING!! Becca was a highlight! She fit in so perfectly and she was one of the first ones who went to my books and began studying them intently. She is such a treat. She should meet my daughter who also has a very uplifting personality.
Thanks for coming!

May 5, 2012, 10:36pm Top

It was great to see you again today, Joe.

May 5, 2012, 11:25pm Top

I need to get out to Chicago when you guys next have a MeetUp ... you all looked like you were having fun!

May 6, 2012, 7:12am Top

That would be great, Caro! We did have a lot of fun. Mr. Mark throws a good MeetUp.

May 6, 2012, 7:37am Top

I love those old movies.. the black and white ones...
Topper! And Frances the Mule? and Shirley Temple :P
Among many others.....

May 6, 2012, 11:51am Top

Thumbs-upped that fun reminder of the joys of Wodehouse! It was so fun to see photos of you Chicagoland revelers.

May 6, 2012, 12:06pm Top

Hi Joe, it was fun "meeting" your lovely daughter, Becca, at yesterday's meetup. I was there in spirit!

So you're off again. It's hard to keep a good man down -- or at home it seems. Enjoy your time in DC.

May 6, 2012, 12:10pm Top

Congrats on a fun meetup guys!

Sorry it took me so long to make my way here Joe, but I'm glad I stopped by. You reminded me how much I enjoyed the Precious Ramtswe series. I've had book #4, The Kalahari Typing School for Men sitting there for far too long, so just now put it on this year's "to read" list.

As for P. G. Woodehouse, I really wanted to enjoy him, and did like The Inimitable Jeeves in parts, but can't say I was exactly hooked either. I've got the second book Carry On, Jeeves on my tbr and will get to it eventually, but let's just say it's not necessarily going on the above-mentioned list...

May 6, 2012, 12:49pm Top

After a 20 mile run/walk, I'm in need of a hearty brunch, Joe. Steak and eggs is all I can think of right now, with a chocolate peanut butter malted milkshake.

May 6, 2012, 1:08pm Top

I think I have just about the entire canon of Wodehouse (have most of em to catalogue still) and certainly get plenty out of them still, but it is beyond reasonable argument that they would have been considered far funnier 75 years ago.

Caro - 20 mile run - are you Ellen in disguise?

May 6, 2012, 7:06pm Top

>205 mckait: Loved Topper, Kath! And I remember liking Shirley T. and talking Francis as a wee lad . . .

>206 richardderus: Thanks, RD! The joys of Wodehouse indeed. It was a fun, revelatory meetup - glad you liked the pics!

>207 Donna828: We felt your spirit at the meetup, Donna! Becca had a blast; I'm so glad she came.

>208 Smiler69: Thanks, Ilana! He manages to keep that Precious Ramotswe series at a high quality level, with good character development. I've enjoyed every one of them.

>209 cameling: You've got it, Caro! Sounds hearty indeed. Steak and eggs with a peanut butter malted milkshake coming up. I may join you in the latter when we get back. Congrats on the run/walk.

>210 PaulCranswick: I'll just have to argue unreasonably about Wodehouse then, Paul, and say I wasn't alive 75 years ago, but he's awfully funny now. Hope all is well in your part of the world and you're feeling better.

May 6, 2012, 7:12pm Top

Hi Joe- Are you in DC? When do you get back? BTW- Thanks again for the nudge on alice in Sunderland. It's one of a kind.

Edited: May 6, 2012, 9:17pm Top

Hi, Mark! Yes, we're in DC. We went to (and enjoyed) The Avengers movie this afternoon, and had a good tapas dinner this evening. Tomorrow I work and Debbi goofs off (wish I could join her, but I will later).

Glad you're enjoying Alice in Sunderland. It is one of a kind, isn't it?

I've started Bitterblue, which follows after Graceling (there was a "side-quel", Fire, in between). It's good. She sure knows how to tell a story.

P.S. We fly back on Wednesday.

May 7, 2012, 1:03am Top

Oh, my brain is in a parlous state. Too many seven year olds shrieking in enclosed spaces at Miss Boo's seventh birthday party yesterday. (As Don said: the space dolphins were deafened.)

She had a spiffing day, we hardly had to get cross at her and the constant "how long until the party" questions. An excellent party, all the girls had fun, and Mr Bear and his best mate got to have fun on the periphery. There was a slightly haunted look to their eyes when they were in the mess of girls, so they spent most of their time running around the playground and only really reappeared for food and cake.

We left the kids with my MIL and headed out for sushi train and beer for dinner. Apparently one can eat enough sushi train to be really REALLY stuffed. I think I had rice coming out of my ears. Two thumbs up for the agedashi tofu. Filling and warming, perfect for the current cold autumn weather.

So, a nice quiet corner for me today with a pot of tea and maybe some of those leftover cupcakes, please, and I'll just get some reading done. Have ditched all my serious reading and am most of the way through The Thin Man and a fair whack into my YA paranormal romance (I'm not proud), City of Ashes. All the Kirsten Cashore comments above though, I'll have to read Fire soon, my MIL has been reading it (and Graceling) this week.

May 7, 2012, 8:38am Top

Miss Boo's party sounds like a complete success, Tania, although my sympathy to you and Don and the space dolphins.

Agedoshi tofu, eh? I'll have to look into that one.

How are you liking The Thin Man? I enjoyed that one a lot, and other Dashiell Hammetts. Thanks to seasonsoflove, I've read City of Ashes, which is an interesting YA. My much better half ate up Graceling, reading it recently in 24 hours, and has Fire with her on this trip.

Pot of Fancy Ceylon tea from Grace Tea coming up, and we have apple cupcakes with caramel cream frosting for your autumn pleasure.

May 7, 2012, 9:10am Top

Happy Monday morning, all! My own coffee machine/robot has decided to go ON STRIKE, and I will be needing a good strong cuppa to get me going this morning. I am afraid I may not have time to do much reading this week. Sigh.

Edited: May 7, 2012, 12:41pm Top

209 & 210> Caro is definitely not me because I can't do 20 miles at this point!! Oy.
I have done 20 miles (on my way to 26.2), but it's been a couple of years!

May 7, 2012, 2:46pm Top

>216 maggie1944:. Hi, Karen! Coffee machine on strike, not good. We've got Sumatra Blue Batak for you, cuppa coming up.

>217 EBT1002:. She's way beyond me on that, too, Ellen, and for me there wasn't a time when she wasn't. In my case the spirit is willing, but the joints are weak.

May 7, 2012, 5:57pm Top

Hi Joe- Are you having fun in D.C. or is it strictly business? Have you read the Scorpio Races, I can't remember? I plan on starting that next.
Becca stopped by and said she's going to borrow Alice in Sunderland from you. You'll let her right?

May 7, 2012, 6:54pm Top

Joe, I was charmed by The Thin Man. Even with my brain feeling pretty whacked, it was a great read (apart from when I was so tired the words refused to stay still and I only had 20 pages left!!! Too unfair having to put it aside for sleep). Nick and Nora are great, the mystery was good, and Hammett has a lovely clean style. I'm annoyed there's only one N&N book, there were several movies, right?

I'm enjoying City of Ashes as a good fun romp, although it's definitely not in Hammett's league. I did enjoy Graceling very much when I read it: my MIL read them both this week and said that Fire was rather messy plot-wise in comparison. But she didn't diss it outright, so I'll probably get to that soonish.

I have two training sessions today. One from 9am - 12:30pm. The other from 12:30pm to 5pm. Now, when is my lunch?? (I know where it is: in the fridge at home, sigh.)

May 7, 2012, 7:48pm Top

Joe, are you going to the DC MeetUp in June?

In a fruity mood this evening..... very berry smoothie should do the trick, I think.

May 7, 2012, 7:54pm Top

>219 msf59: Fun and business, Mark. Today was all meetings, but tomorrow there will be some goof-off time with Walklover. We currently plan on going over to the National Gallery and the Mall. She had a great time at the Museum of Natural History today.

We're letting Becca borrow our house while we're here, but I may have to draw the line at her borrowing Alice in Sunderland. A house is one thing, but that's a really good book. I'll have to give it some thought.

>220 wookiebender: Yay! Go Nick and Nora! Yes, you're right, Tania, only one book, many movies. And of course the Thin Man isn't Nick, but that got forgotten along the way with the movies. I'm glad it charmed you. That's a fave in our house. My wife became a big Myrna Loy fan because of the movies.

You MIL isn't wrong about Fire in comparison to Graceling, but it's still a good one. Some LTers actually have liked it better.

It's a busy day when lunch doesn't fit in the schedule. I've been known to get a bit snappish when that happens. Good luck getting through it!

May 7, 2012, 7:59pm Top

>221 cameling: Hi, Caro! Nope, unfortunately. In the beginning of June we're in Chicago, then we fly off for our Australia trip. Are you in DC in June?

A very berry smoothie sounds good! Here you go:

May 7, 2012, 8:11pm Top

Mmm... that smoothie looks perfect. I love berry smoothies.

Where in Australia are you going, Joe?

I'm planning on attending the DC MeetUp since I'll be back from travels and the hubster is still going to be away.

May 7, 2012, 8:58pm Top

Wish I could join you in DC, Caro! I'm sure you'll have a great time.

We're going to be in Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney, with side trips planned by Walklover.

May 7, 2012, 11:50pm Top

Oh, you choose a gorgeous time to be in Queensland! It's really lovely in winter. Sydney can get a bit nippier, but never Chicago-nippy, I'm sure. :)

Want a list of the best bookshops to visit in Sydney? :) Although you may be appalled by our prices, books aren't cheap here.

May 8, 2012, 12:47am Top

Trying to think of something really wonderful to order up at the cafe.....

When in doubt, go with fries. With ketchup. I never met a french fry I didn't like.

May 8, 2012, 3:17am Top

Hi Joe, I can hardly wait to get my hands on Bitterblue, you were the one that originally recommended Kristin Cashore to me, and I've enjoyed both Graceling and Fire, with perhaps a little more love to Graceling.

Edited: May 8, 2012, 7:59am Top

>226 wookiebender: Glad to hear it, Tania! We thought the timing would work out well.

List of best bookshops? Yes, please! Thanks for the headsup on prices. We've been pleased so far that the exchange rate is okay.

>227 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen! Some hot, crisp, golden fries, with the chef's tomato ketchup, coming your way. Should hit the spot. What's going on in Seattle? Did you finish Grapes of Wrath? I'm hoping to start it soon.

>228 DeltaQueen50: Welcome back, Judy! Sounds like a great trip.

I'm really enjoying Bitterblue. You'll get a kick out of it when you get your hands on it. She's a great character, and the story is hard to put down.

May 8, 2012, 5:16pm Top

For those who don't know about it from Ilana's thread, there's a wonderful Persuasion tutored discussion going on, spearheaded by Ilana and Liz: http://www.librarything.com/topic/136698#3382381 .

May 8, 2012, 6:55pm Top

Will start compiling a list of Sydney bookshops! I assume you'll be going to something at the Opera House? It's not just for opera, there's a concert hall, a drama theatre, and a smaller funkier venue for comics, etc. Since you like plays, I'll also recommend the Wharf Theatre, which is same side of the Harbour as the Opera House but the other side of the bridge, if that makes sense. :) The Sydney Theatre Company (current director is Cate Blanchett) is based there, and it's a great locale. There used to be a good restaurant at the end of the wharf too, so you could have a great meal surrounded by the Harbour and all its sparkling lights. Gorgeous. (I haven't been for a few years, so I'm guessing that there's still a restaurant there and that it's still good!)

If you're into fine dining, Quay I think is our best restaurant at the moment. Bennelong's in the Opera House itself was getting good reviews a little while ago, but it is a challenging dining location (the kitchen is very far away, apparently). My personal fave is Rockpool, their bar & grill is in a wonderful old art deco bank. Haven't been for a few years, but Tetsuya's is well worth a visit as well. What you should look out for is a "hat" (or two, or three) from the "Good Food Guide", that's like the Sydney equivalent of a Michelin star.

Oh, and high tea at the QVB Tea Rooms in the Queen Victoria Building!

Oh, and a ferry ride to Watson's Bay and then fish & chips!

May 9, 2012, 7:49am Top

Thanks, Tania! Very nice of you. I will share these tips with the master coordinator.

She and I return to Chicago today, after a late night of work-related entertaining. It will be good to be home for a bit. Then we head out in about ten days to Medford/Boston for #1 son' graduation. Can't remember if I mentioned it, but he successfully defended his thesis and is graduating with high honors. His parents are quite proud of him!

May 9, 2012, 7:54am Top

Sorry to be so absent.. I have some trouble loading this thread ...
I have to read Bitterblue.. I think I have it ordered in paperbacl? or at least on my WL

Safe travels. and say hi to Boston for me !

May 9, 2012, 8:02am Top

Thanks, Kath! You know, I'm going to tone down how much data is in the next image. Don't want you to have these loading troubles, or at least I'll try to make it easier.

Yup, Bitterblue is a kick. Perfect for travel for me - an interesting, well-told story.

We'll say hi to Boston for you, and try to report back with its response. We always like going there, and this one will be special.

May 9, 2012, 8:03am Top

Ugh, I thought I had Bitterblue on hold at the library but I didn't. I'm in 144th place. Ewwww!

May 9, 2012, 12:41pm Top

Hey Joe, came to advertise my latest: I've reviewed a thriller called An Ordinary Decent Criminal, quite quite violent, in my thread...post #19.

Now, I'll have a double chili cheese fries with double onions and every jalapeno you got. I am *starving* and it's raining and chilly, so hot food is good.

May 9, 2012, 4:24pm Top

>235 Morphidae: Ah, too bad, Morphy. I'll hope they have multiple copies so you move up faster.

>236 richardderus: Hey, Richard. I'm sure it's a good one.

The jalapeno truck just stopped by, so you may have to dig a bit to find the double chili cheese fries with double onions underneath:

May 9, 2012, 5:32pm Top

I got waylaid by a book with a memorable, but misleading, title: Tall Tales with Short Cocks. No, really, not pornographic! No no no! It's "bizarro." Oh, go look at my thread...post #26.

May 9, 2012, 7:28pm Top


Bad news chez me: my super duper super wonderful I love it every morning espresso and milk foaming machine will not be repaired for several more days! Woe is me! I am drinking drip coffee with commercial coffee creamer. Can you save me?

May 9, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Hey, at least it doesn't spew all over your counter....
Use some redi whip on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon...
Close your eyes and drink :)

May 10, 2012, 1:00am Top

Joe, I have been caught up in Doc for the past couple of days, but I plan to read chapter one of TGoW as I head to bed (now) tonight. I might try 1-2 chapters per day, allowing me to read the dozen library books I have in my possession at present. It's only May 9. We have time. :-)

May 10, 2012, 7:22am Top

maggie: Oooh, Redi Whip is a good idea; my favorite coffee creamer is a large blob of frozen Cool Whip. Mmmmm....

Oh, hi Joe!

May 10, 2012, 8:06am Top

Yeah, they have 48 copies of Bitterblue so I should have it in a few months.

May 10, 2012, 8:17am Top

Well, Joe, I guess this morning I shall have coffee with some whipped cream, real cream please, and a dash of cinnamon on top. Sounds good doesn't it?

And perhaps a cheese Danish with that too

I've been caught by another WWII story: The Rescue by Steven Trent Smith. His total title is too long for me to type here this morning but it is a story of a submarine which rescues some Americans off the Philippines, during Japanese occupation, and the capture of some secret, super important war documents! My history bones are happy to be reading about the Americans in the Philippines, how they happened to be there, etc. But so far, it is a fairly pedestrian job of researching and reporting.

May 10, 2012, 9:11am Top

Real cream. Pshaw.

Edited: May 10, 2012, 9:42am Top

>238 richardderus: Where do you find these books, Richard? That's some title. I'll find the review.

>239 maggie1944: Definitely blushworthy, Karen. Sorry to hear about your espresso/milk foam machine woes. I can see you're getting some homemade remedies here. You can also stop by the cafe whenever and get your cafe au lait until your machine is up and running again. It's on us - emergency aid.

>240 mckait: Sounds like a plan, Kath. Yes, not spewing coffee all over the counter is a plus. I managed to overload the drip coffee machine with Peet's coffee this morning, so it's mighty strong. Not a bad development, actually, as I'm still feeling it a bit from a late night and travel back. One client wanted to stay at the restaurant till we got kicked out, and I stayed with him. One in the morning with a morning plane trip back is a bit much for this guy these days.

We're glad to be home for a while!

>241 EBT1002: "Caught up in Doc" sounds good to me, Ellen. That's a book I've been thinking about trying. I'm a ways away from even starting TGoW. Nearing the end of an exciting Bitterblue, and then I've got a Philip K. Dick coming up.

>242 scaifea: Hmm, Cool Whip, Redi-Whip - what were we talking about? Oh, hi, Amber! Yes, many beverages and deserts can be made better with a skilled application of one of those two. What about real cream? Tune into a post below.

>243 Morphidae: A few months, Morphy? Ay caramba. That doesn't sound good. I've got family members clamoring, or I'd send you mine. It might be time for a Mission Impossible caper to liberate one of those 48 Bitterblues from the library.

>244 maggie1944: We've got Peet's Cafe Domingo (mighty strong) this a.m., Karen, and it's coming up with the chef's real whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. You're right, it does sound good. For some reason cinnamon seems to go particularly well with Latin American coffee, at least for me. A nice cheese Danish from Rudy's on Roscoe in Chicago is making a guest appearance this morning.

The Rescue: A True Story sounds intriguing. Did you ever read Lost in Shangri-La? It's got another one of those long titles, and it's a remarkable story involving WWII soldiers who come upon a primitive society in Papua New Guinea.

>245 scaifea: We've got your favorite not-real cream available, Amber, when you're ready. :-)

May 10, 2012, 9:54am Top

Hi Joe! Can I please have a tea and a danish. Someone forgot to turn the dishwasher on before bed and I have no coffee cups to use :(

Congrats on your son and his graduating with honors! I'm sure you will have swelling with pride at his grad day!

May 10, 2012, 10:17am Top

Joe, I started The Grapes of Wrath last night and the first, very short chapter does not disappoint. I think you'll like Doc when you do get to it. Russell's Doc Holliday is brilliant and wry. Wryly brilliant? Brilliantly wry? Ha --- both, I think. I am going to investigate the library website later today to see how many copies of Bitterblue it owns.

Edited: May 10, 2012, 11:11am Top

Karen... I make that for myself on those days when I wake up...and am not enthusiastic about the day..

My local library online ( such as it is) is not working for me today. It is saying that my number is ? something.. not expired, but whatever. I triple hate my library.. srsly. I wanted to see if they had Bitterblue..they won't of course... their newest book was purchased about the time my oldest child was born... sigh

May 10, 2012, 11:06am Top

>247 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! Yes, we swell with pride over this guy (and his sib) a lot, although we try not to let them get big-headed about it. We're always totally unbiased about them, too. :-)

With your danish from Rudy's, we've got some good Ceylon tea today:

>248 EBT1002: Glad to hear that The Grapes of Wrath is grabbing you from the get-go, Ellen. I'm looking forward to it.

Mr. Mark is a big fan of Doc, I know, and your take on its wry brilliance, or its brilliant wryness, has given it another boost for me. Not sure when I'll be able to fit it in (sound like a familiar problem?), but onto the tbr it goes!

>249 mckait: Ouch. Sorry your local library isn't doing better by you, Kath. I'm thinking maybe we need to figure out a Mission Impossible extrication of Bitterblue from the publisher.

May 10, 2012, 11:46am Top

What is Redi-Whip?

When I lack an espresso/milk machine, I put my milk in the microwave for a while. I drink 64oz of coffee at a slurp, so I use 10oz of milk and nuke it for 2min on high. It's hot and a little bit frothy at that point.

May 10, 2012, 12:13pm Top

>246 jnwelch: Nah, I always have plenty to read. I can wait.

May 10, 2012, 12:24pm Top

>251 richardderus: RD:

>252 Morphidae: OK, sounds good, Morphy. You'll like it when the time comes.

OK, everyone, please gather your belongings and move over to our next cafe. We'll bring everything else.

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