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

Smiler's Miscellany: Part Eight

This is a continuation of the topic Smiler's Miscellany: Part Seven.

This topic was continued by Smiler's Miscellany: Part Nine.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

Join LibraryThing to post.

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

Edited: May 31, 2012, 11:33pm Top

I got so excited when I found the magazine cover above that I had to blog all about it: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/05/03/happy-mayflower

Currently reading, listening to,
and (very) slowly browsing through:

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Carol Squiers
The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson by David P. Silcox
Amsterdam Stories by Nescio
Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories
Katherine by Anya Seton
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (tutored read)


Favourites of 2012 (4.5 stars and up)
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
L'Assommoir by Émile Zola
Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes
Troubles by J. G. Farrell
Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig
Fear by Stefan Zweig
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig
My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

12/12 Challenge
1. The First Half 1901-1951 6/12
2. Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie - 18th & 19th Century Classics 5/12
3. Picked for me - chosen from my shelves at random by LTers 6/12
4. Guardian Knows Best - Guardian 1000 5/12
5. The Dark Side - Crime & Mystery 7/12
6. Going Places - International authors & places 5/12
7. Young at Heart - Children/YA/Fantasy 8/12
8. Hot Off the Press - Published since 2011 5/12
9. Visual Treats - books on art, photography, design, or just beautiful books 2/12
10. Beyond Fiction - non-fiction 6/12
11. Litérature Française - read in French 3/12
12. From My Treasure-Trove - off the shelf (acquired before 31/12/11) 5/12
Total read: 63/144

Edited: May 31, 2012, 11:42pm Top

Books completed in May
70. ♫ The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark ★★★ (review)
71. ✔ Queenpin by Megan Abbott ★★★½ (review)
72. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye ★★★★ (review)
73. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes ★★★½ (review)
74. ♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri ★★★½ (review)
75. ✔ The Glass Room by Simon Mawer ★★★★⅓ (review)
76. Selected Poems by Carol Ann Duffy ★★ (review coming soon)
77. ♫ The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux ★★★ (review coming soon)
78. ♫ Stettin Station by David Downing ★★★★½ (review coming soon)
79. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (rating & review coming soon)
80. ♫ The Maze Runner by James Dashner (rating & review coming soon)
81. ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen (rating & review coming soon)
82. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (rating & review coming soon)

My rating system:
★ - hated it (may or may not have finished it but listing it for the trouble)
★★ - it was just ok
★★★ - enjoyed it (good)
★★★★ - loved it! (very good)
★★★★★ - all-time favourite (blew me away—will read again)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf

Edited: May 31, 2012, 11:34pm Top

Suggested reads for May

The Worst Hard Time (to coincide with Steinbeckathon)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (12/12 GR)
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (Virago Modern Classics GR)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (Tutored by Liz)
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (12/12 Picked for Me)
The Observations by Jane Harris
Tibet Through the Red Box by Peter Sís
Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac

May Murder & Mayhem options:
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley
The Long Fall by Walter Mosley
Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh
The Last Child by John Hart
The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
Stettin Station by David Downing
Acqua Alta by Donna Leon
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
Queenpin by Megan Abbott

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library
℮ = eBook

Edited: May 31, 2012, 11:35pm Top

2012 Planning


January: Cannery Row (208*) - Ilana/Smiler69**
February: The Wayward Bus (288) - Mark/msf59
March: The Winter of Our Discontent (304) - Lynda/Carmenere
April: The Moon is Down (112) - Linda/lindapanzo
May: The Grapes of Wrath (496) - Ellen/EBT1002
June: Of Mice and Men (112) - Brit/weejane
July: East of Eden (640) - Ellen
August: The Red Pony (112) - Ilana
September: In Dubious Battle (384) - Mark
October: Tortilla Flat (224) - Tania/wookiebender
November: Travels With Charley and The Pearl (256 + 96) - Ilana
December: Sweet Thursday (288) - Mark

* approximate # of pages
** names indicate who will be heading up the threads.

Anyone is welcome to join in at any point, for as many or as few books as is desired.

Group Reads
January: Orange January, The Secret River by Kate Grenville (75ers), Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
February: Fantasy February, The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
March: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (12/12), The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
April: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (12/12), David Copperfield (75ers), The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
May: May Murder & Mayhem, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (12/12), A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (Virago Modern Classics), Persuasion by Jane Austen (Tutored)
June: River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (75ers), Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (12/12, tutored read), Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
July: East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (12/12), Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (Virago Modern Classics)
August: The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Middlemarch by George Eliot (12/12)
September: In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (12/12)
October: Blindness by José Saramago (12/12), Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
November: Travels With Charley and The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
December: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)

Books my fellow LT pals picked from my shelves for 12/12:
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood - Picked by MickyFine
Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac - Picked by bucket yell
The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger - Picked by msf59
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Branddon - Picked by avatiakh
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré - Picked by casvelyn
Arabian Nights: Four Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Marc Chagall - Picked by Donna828
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Picked by DragonFreak
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver - Picked by calm
No Great Mischief by Alasdair MacLeod - Picked by KiwiNyx
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer - Picked by DeltaQueen50
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - Picked by Deern
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - Picked by LauraBrook
Blindness by José Saramago - Picked by Whisper1
Caravan of Dreams of Idries Shah - Picked by PiyushChourasia
The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud - Picked by -Eva-
Candide by Voltaire - Picked by Fourpawz2
Native Son by Richard Wright - Picked by EBT1002
Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman - Picked by bohemima

Edited: May 8, 2012, 10:58pm Top

Books Read in 2012:

1. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin ★★★★⅓ (review)
2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett ★★★★ (review)
3. ♫ Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ★★★ (review)
4. The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★¾ (review)
5. ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palaniukh ★★★½ (review)
6. The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF's 40th Anniversary by Reading Is Fundamental ★★★★ (review)
7. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
8. ♫ To Fear a Painted Devil by Ruth Rendell ★★★⅓ (review)
9. No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey ★★★¾ (review)
10. ♫ Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick ★★★★ (review)
11. From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón ★★★ (review)
12. ♫ On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry ★★★★½ (review)
13. ♫ The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo ★★★ (review)
14. ♫ Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson ★★★★⅓ (review)
15. ♫ Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd ★★★★½ (review)
16. Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk ★★★★ (review)
Madlenka's Dog by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
Madlenka Soccer Star by Peter Sís ★★★ (comments)
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney ★★★★ (comments)
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say ★★★½ (comments)
17. ♫ The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West ★★★⅞ (review)

♫ Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
♫ Soulless by Gail Carriger

18. L'Assommoir by Émile Zola ★★★★½ (review)
19. ♫ The Quiet American by Graham Greene ★★★ (review)
20. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole ★★★★ (review)
21. ♫ The Difference Engine by William Gibson ★★½ (review)
22. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
23. ♫ Rebeccaby Daphne du Maurier ★★★★⅓ (review)
24. Drawing from Memory by Allen Say ★★★ (review)
25. The Secret River by Kate Grenville ★★★★ (review)
26. Le vieux chagrin by Jacques Poulin ★½ (review)
27. The Seeing Stone by Holly Black, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★⅞ (review)
28. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
29. ♫ Doomsday Book by Connie Willis ★★★ (review)
30. ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac ★★★★½ (review)
31. ♫ The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark ★★★¾ (review)
32. ♫ The City & The City by China Miéville ★★★★ (review)

33. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh ★★★★½ (review)
34. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman ★★★★ (review)
35. On Cats by Doris Lessing ★★★★ (review)
36. ♫ Dracula by Bram Stoker ★★★★ (review)
37. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck ★★★ (review)
38. ♫ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ★★★★½ (review)
39. ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ★★★★⅛ (review)
40. The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman, Illustrated by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
13 Words by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman ★★★★ (review)
41. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 3: The Black Prince to Henry VIII 1327-1547 by Christopher Lee ★★★★ (review)
42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes ★★★★½ (review)
43. Troubles by J. G. Farrell ★★★★½ (review)
44. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon ★★★★⅓ (review)
45. ♫ Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley ★★★★⅓ (review)
46. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura ★★★ (review)
47. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi ★★★⅞ (review)

48. ♫ Death and Judgment by Donna Leon ★★★½ (review)
49. The Last Song by Eva Wiseman ★★★★ (review)
50. ♫ Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
51. ♫ Fear by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
52. A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré ★★★★ (review)
53. Call for the Dead by John le Carré ★★★½ (review)
54. The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sís ★★★½ (review)
55. ♫ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ★★★★ (review)
56. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler ★★★★ (review)
57. ♫ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller ★★★★⅓ (review)
58. My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault ★★★★★ (review)
59. Selected Poems by Roger McGough ★★★¾ (review)
60. ♫ The Great Poets: W. B. Yeats ★★★½ (review)
61. ♫ Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
62. Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis ★★★★ (review)
63. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
64. ♫ Running Blind / The Visitor by Lee Child ★★★★ (review)
65. ♫ The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré ★★★⅓ (review)
66. ♫ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark ★★½ (review)
67. ♫ Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper ★★★★ (review)
68. The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger ★★★½ (review)
69. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery ★★★⅓ (review)

Books with touchstones are rated 4.5 stars and up.

Edited: May 31, 2012, 11:36pm Top

(Some of the) Books I'd like to read in 2012 (ambitious list, as always)

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
Blindness by José Saramago
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
✔ ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac
The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
✔ ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Branddon
Arabian Nights: Four Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Marc Chagall
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
No Great Mischief by Alasdair MacLeod
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
✔ ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Le Grand livre de la tendresse by Jacques Salomé -unfinished
Caravan of Dreams of Idries Shah
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Candide by Voltaire
Native Son by Richard Wright
Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
Une page d'amour by Émile Zola
Nana by Émile Zola
Pot-Bouille by Émile Zola
Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola
La joie de vivre by Émile Zola
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Troubles by J. G. Farrell
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Queenpin by Megan Abbott
✔ ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
✔ ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
Moon Palace by Paul Auster
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Jamrach's Menagerie Carol Birch
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Call for the Dead by John le Carré
A Murder of Quality by John le Carré
✔ ♫ The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
✔ ♫ Running Blind by Lee Child
✔ ♫ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Music & Silence by Rose Tremain
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
✔ ♫ Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library
℮ = eBook

Edited: May 29, 2012, 11:00pm Top

Books Acquired in 2012

1. ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen (Au) - Read in May
2. ♫ Just Kids by Patti Smith (Au)
3. A Murder of Quality and Call for the Dead by John le Carré (CI) - Read in April
4. ♫ Soulless by Gail Carriger (Au) - Unfinished
5. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (BD) - Read in February
6. An Ermine of Czernopol by Gregor von Rezzori (BD)
7. A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Cornell Cappa (BD)
8. The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey (BD)

9. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (BD) - Read in March
10. ♫ Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Au) - Read in February
11. ♫ Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Au)
12. At Large and at Small — Confessions of a Literary Hedonist by Anne Fadiman (CI)
13. Emma by Jane Austen (White's Fine Edition) (BD)
14. Hella Jongerius: Misfit by Louise Schouwenberg (CI)
15. The Bay of Angels by Anita Brookner (BWB)
16. Leaving Home by Anita Brookner (BWB)
17. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 1 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Read in February
18. ♫ Dracula by Bram Stoker (Au) - Read in March
19. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 2 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Read
20. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (White's Fine Edition) (BD)
21. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (White's Fine Edition) (CI)
22. Emma by Jane Austen (Penguin Threads) (BD)
23. The Secret Garden (Penguin Threads) (BD)
24. Black Beauty (Penguin Threads) (BD)
25. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (BD)
26. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (BD)
27. ♫ Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Au)
28. ♫ The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (Au)
29. ♫ 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Au)
30. ♫ Middlemarch by George Eliot (Au)
31. ♫ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Au) - Read in March

32. ♫ Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Au)
33. ♫ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (Au) - Read in April
34. ♫ Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories (Au)
35. ♫ Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
36. ♫ This Sceptred Isle, Volume 3: 1327-1547 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Read in March
37. ♫ Elizabeth I by Margaret George (Au)
38. ♫ I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Au)
39. ♫ Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Au)
40. ♫ The Once and Future King by T. H. White (Au)
41. ♫ The Great Poets: W. B. Yeats by W. B. Yeats (Au) - Read in April
42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (Au) - Read in March
43. ♫ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Au)
44. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Au) - Read in May
45. ♫ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Au) - Read in April
46. ♫ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Au)
47. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (Au) - Read in March
48. ♫ The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll (Au)
49. ♫ Pavane by Keith Roberts (Au)
50. ♫ Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson (Au)
51. ♫ A Burnt-Out Case by Gramam Greene (Au)
52. ♫ Death and Judgment by Donna Leon (Au) - Read in April
53. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes (Au) - Read in May
54. ♫ An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (Au)
55. ♫ The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats compiled by John Kavanagh (Au)
56. ♫ Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (Au)
57. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 4: Elizabeth I to Cromwell 1547-1660 by Christopher Lee (Au)
58. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 5: Restoration and Glorious Revolution 1660-1702 by Christopher Lee (Au)

59. ♫ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (Au) - Read in April
60. Paul Klee: Selected by Genius, 1917-1933 (CI)
61. The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (BD)
62. Amsterdam Stories by Nescio (BD)
63. ♫ Life by Keith Richards
64. ♫ The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
65. ♫ Birds of a Feather Jackeline Winspear
66. ♫ White Butterfly: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley
67. The Observations by Jane Harris
68. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
69. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (pre-order)
70. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., Illustrated by Maira Kalman
71. Karl Blossfeldt by Hans Christian Adam
72. Selected Poems by T. S. Eliot
73. Selected Poems by W. H. Auden
74. Selected Poems by W. B. Yeats
75. Selected Poems by John Betjeman
76. Great Fashion Designs of the Fifties Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney

77. Great Fashion Designs of the Forties by Tom Tierney (BD)
78. Classic Fashions of Christian Dior by Tom Tierney (BD)
79. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (BD)
80. ♫ Sons by Pearl S. Buck
81. ♫ The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
82. ♫ The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Read in May
83. The Sun King by Nancy Mitford (BD)
84. ♫ Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
85. ♫ Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
86. ♫ A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd
87. ♫ Frederica by Georgette Heyer
88. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Folio Society Edition) (eBay)

Au = Audible
BD = BookDepository
CI = ChaptersIndigo
BWB = Better World Books

Edited: May 22, 2012, 9:40pm Top

Books Read from My Shelves in 2012

1. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (entry date: 2011-09-09)
2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (entry date: 2008-12-16)
3. ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palaniukh (entry date: 2011-03-09)
4. ♫ Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (entry date: 2011-09-18)
5. Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk (entry date: 2009-05-20)

6. L'Assommoir by Émile Zola (entry date: 2010-10-15)
7. ♫ The Difference Engine by William Gibson (entry date: 2011-06-11)
8. ♫ The Quiet American by Graham Greene (entry date: 2011-10-30)
9. ♫ Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (entry date: 2011-06-16)
10. The Secret River by Kate Grenville (entry date: 2009-05-26)
11. ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac (entry date: 2011-06-23)
12. ♫ The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark (entry date: 2011-03-30)

13. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (entry date: 2008-11-12)
14. Troubles by J. G. Farrell (entry date: 2011-09-14)
15. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (entry date: 2011-02-18)
16. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (entry date: 2011-01-13)

17. ♫ The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré (entry date: 2011-03-12)
18. The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger (entry date: 2010-08-26)
19. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (entry date: 2010-10-12)

20. Queenpin by Megan Abbott (entry date: 2011-05-05)
21. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (entry date: 2011-05-30)
22. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (entry date: 2011-03-09)

May 3, 2012, 10:35pm Top

Hi Ilana - lovely colourful and very pink start to the thread.
regarding Mary Hooper, her Velvet is similar to FG but possibly not quite as good. It's about the craze for spiritualism and features a cameo with Arthur Conan Doyle. Her other books are set in the 16th century, I've just started listening to The Betrayal today.

May 3, 2012, 10:54pm Top

Perfect picture for May!! I love reading through all of your stats and lists. Congrats on Thread #7!

Edited: May 3, 2012, 11:21pm Top

#9 Kerry, yes, very VERY pink indeed. I just had a look again and found it maybe a big too much? I love pink, and I love flowers, and the boys might not find it too much to their liking, but so be it. :-)

I just had a look, and see they have quite a few of her books on Audible, including Velvet and The Betrayal, By Royal Command (which got very poor ratings) and Newes from the dead. The library on the other hand only has the latter, but I'll no doubt look it up. The others go on my wishlist awaiting another Audible sale.

#10 Glad you liked the image Mamie. As I said above, I was very excited to discover The Mayflower magazine. I'll have to start hunting them down on eBay. As if I needed ANOTHER publication to spend my money on!

May 3, 2012, 11:31pm Top

Lovely images from the Mayflower on your blog page, so bright and bold.
I had just started typing that I was sure you had read more than 3 books in April.....duh! Of course the list immediately above is just ones from your shelf, then there's the 20 or so that you actually read :)
Happy new thread :)

May 4, 2012, 12:54am Top

Hi Ilana, I love the pink beginning to your thread, so warm and inviting. By the way, congratulations on your 7th thread of the year, I love coming here as I usually learn something new about art, poetry and, of course, books!

May 4, 2012, 5:25am Top

Nice new thread, Ilana!

I enjoyed the baseball analogy at the end of your previous thread. Can I assume that there will be more sports talk here? ;-)

May 4, 2012, 5:25am Top

I LOVE the pink, perfect color for May! I don't need it in my direct surroundings (clothes, furniture) but love it on book covers, postcards, pictures.

And to contradict what I just said, my living room walls are painted in a pale pink. Not my idea, the landlady did it and she reacted not too friendly when I asked her if I could change it. Seems it had taken the painter forever to get the right shade. I got quite used to it now, but the first thing all visitors say is "PINK WALLS!"

A belated thanks for your comments on my "Hedgehog" review, I forgot to comment on your old thread. I didn't know that what irked me so was "Frenchness", but I am more likely to recognize "Germanness" and like you with the French am often very much aware that it is flowing in my veins. Can't help it... Anyway, I noticed everyone here loved the book so much and I felt bad and guilty for not feeling the same, so I added the friendly review to the bitchy one.

Re. Suite Francaise: as far as I remember it is Holocaust-free and almost battle-free, though not free of tragic events. Still less you would expect. This is what made the book so special for me, how the author looked at the impact the war had on those normal people in Paris and in a small village, how she had started to interweave their stories, and how she even expressed pity for the young German soldiers, who had to act strong and self-confident, being the occupiers, while many of them were just insecure, basically nice boys.

May 4, 2012, 6:47am Top

Nathalie is right pink is the perfect colour for May - very striking, very feminine start to your eight thread Ilana - congrats and I look forward to keeping up with you at my usual pace.
btw you are safely in 6th place after 4 months hiding in 7th!

Edited: May 4, 2012, 8:01am Top

Ilana- Congrats on the new thread. Very warm and spring-like. I'm glad you enjoyed The Gods of Gotham. I've requested the audio from my library.
Here's the M & M thread:

May 4, 2012, 9:37am Top

HI Ilana! Love the pretty new thread

May 4, 2012, 11:10am Top

Yay for May flowers! Nice start to the thread, Ilana.

Glad you liked The Gods of Gotham. It does look intriguing.

I'm another one who liked Suite Francaise, for the kinds of reasons Nathalie mentions.

May 4, 2012, 11:25am Top

Ilana, well, I skimmed the last 49 posts on your prior thread and am just checking in here.

My postcard collection continues to grow at an obsessive pace; more about that later.

I need to go back and see what baseball analogy Darryl is referencing......


May 4, 2012, 11:27am Top

Oooh, pretty flowers to start off your new thread. I'm not a "pink" person - except when it comes to flowers and cotton candy! I hope to be able to keep up with you this month.

May 4, 2012, 12:46pm Top

What gorgeous flowers, Ilana! And so nice to see on such a grey day - the end of a super grey week.

May 4, 2012, 12:55pm Top

Ilana, I LOVE the Mayflower Magazine covers and the information about John Childs and Floral Park, Long Island on your blog post. My parents lived in Floral Park when they first got married. I always find history interesting and was amazed to hear how Childs had so many acres of land devoted to flowers in that area of LI in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Today that area is right on the edge of NYC and very built up to say the least. I did a quick read through of the Floral Park entry on Wikipedia and they said Childs bought up a ton of land in the area and then named all the streets after flowers. How neat.

May 4, 2012, 1:51pm Top

Hi Ilana!
It's such a grey day here today - the pink sent a spark of life into my living room :)
Flowers finally starting to come out around here - things are starting to look a little green.
Gotta go check you blog soon - but lunch first!
Have a great day ;-)

May 4, 2012, 9:53pm Top

I'm just barely emerging from a five-alarm migraine which more or less disabled me completely today. I am ever so grateful for small mercies though, because I was able to read through the pain and have been making steady progress on The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, which was recommended by Darryl and which I completely agree is an amazing book.

#12 Hi Megan! I didn't do very well in terms of reading from my shelves in April. Hopefully I'll improve on that performance this month, though I do seem to be on track for a goal of 54 books off the shelf, which I think was a realistic one, considering the rate at which I've been buying books this year!

#13 Hy Judy, I'll have to drop by your thread too soon as I've been missing a lot. I hope you'll find plenty of interesting things on this thread this month too. I can't vouch for how interesting it'll be, but there's bound to be variety!

#14 Can I assume that there will be more sports talk here? ;-)

My prediction Darryl: zero percent sports talk to be found on this thread this month, but plenty of other stuff, at least if things go as I'd like them to! ;-)

#15 Nathalie, I have a long history with the colour pink. I was very much a girlie girl until the age of thirteen; into ballet, had a pink and grey themed bedroom with teddy bears and dolls, loved wearing pink... then suddenly, I swore off pink FOREVER in my teens, when I took to wearing mostly black. Then as an adult, I went back to wearing pink on occasion, but always with a touch of irony because I never forgot how vehemently I was against this colour going through my adolescence. No pink walls in my apartment, though plenty of other colours there, but I do have a hot pink set of curtains in the living room, as you can see on the picture in my profile page. When my mum moved into her new apartment last year, she complained about a pink room and lots of old fashioned wallpaper, but every time she sends me pictures of her home I think it looks just lovely.

Thanks for your comments on Suite Française, that actually encourages me to want to read it sooner than later. As for The Elegance of the Hedgehog, I still have no idea what I'll say about it in my own review, or how I'll rate it. I guess I'll find out as I write it, as often happens!

#16 Hi Paul darling, this place sure wouldn't be the same without you, so very glad to see you dropping by. Of course I'm always glad to see everyone who leaves messages behind, but I never know what to expect from you, that's for sure. 6th place eh? You've got to be kidding, though I know you're not. To think I got discouraged from following Stephen's thread because it moved too fast for me! Yikes! I'm not sure I like that—I was finding my 7th place spot very homey actually!

#17 Mark, I think you'll love The Gods of Gotham. I look forward to seeing what you have to say about it. I wouldn't be too surprised if it ended up having a sequel considering how the ending is handled, and here again I look forward to your opinion.

I sought out the May M&M thread yesterday, but have yet to catch up with all the action there! I'll make my way over by the weekend for sure, thanks for posting it here.

May 4, 2012, 10:01pm Top

#18 Thanks Chelle, I almost went with a black and white photo, to celebrate Richard Avedon's photography, which I've been slowly admiring for a good while now, but thought that May just HAD to be colourful.

#19 Hi Joe, nice to see you in these parts. Your thread is another place I look forward to catching up on soon, I'm sure I've been missing plenty of goodies!

#20 Ellen, I did see that you'd received your set of Beatrix Potter Postcards. Congratulations! They must be quite lovely. I don't believe you have my snail mail, but I wouldn't mind being on that mailing list! ;-)

#21 Donna, you're always welcome here, whether you manage to keep up or not!

#22 Charlotte, glad to add a note of cheer to your grey day. It's been very grey here too, though I can't say I mind it because sunshine and migraines just don't mix well... we've been getting rain regularly and the trees are loving it!

#23 Pat, I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog post and the info about Floral Park. Do you know if any of the streets in the area kept their original flower names?

#24 Hi Claudia, hope you had a great lunch, and glad to put a bit of pep in your step with that image. It'll be there all month whenever you need a pop of bright colour, though you've got plenty of exciting stuff ahead this month for sure!

May 5, 2012, 5:20pm Top

Love the bright flowers for your May thread, Ilana. They certainly pop on the page and given that it's been grey here all week, including today, it's a very welcome splash of color.

Hope you're having a nice weekend

May 5, 2012, 5:31pm Top

Hi, Ilana.

Talk about bad timing on the migraine! We've already got a rowdy classroom over at the Persuasion thread. I've looked sternly through my glasses at them and tapped the desk with my pointer several times, but I'm not sure how long I can keep them under control!

(But seriously, don't you worry about that. Take your time and get better, and I'll see you when I see you.)

May 5, 2012, 7:09pm Top

We've been spoiled today, it's been beautiful out and warm enough to walk around in just a long-sleeve t-shirt, which was rather nice as I took Coco on our weekly walk to the library. The day started out not so very brilliantly, with headache still on the menu, but it's gotten better now, so while I feel rather "out of it", at least I'm not in pain. And as I said on my blog once, "a day without pain is a good day". In this case, a HALF day without pain, is a good half day, but I'll take whatever comes my way!

Here's what I brought home:

(un)Fashion by Tibor & Maira Kalman - a book of photographs showing people around the world just being themselves. Photos very much in the same vein as those in Colors, for those who know the Benetton magazine that was designed by Tibor Kalman
The Grapes of Wrath - the DVD of the movie, directed by John Ford (to coincide with the Steinbeckathon)
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, illustrated by Murray Kimber (part of the Visions in Poetry series)
Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
Les fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire - an audio version of a selection of 22 poems

#27 Hi Caro, thanks for dropping by. Seems like lots of people are in need of a pop of colour, so it makes me doubly happy that I devoted time and effort to find this image, along with the other gorgeous covers I posted on my blog (the link is below the top image, in case you didn't see it).

I wish you a good dose of sunshine soon!

#28 Oh my, sounds like I've been missing lots of goodies! I'm off to check out the thread now!

May 5, 2012, 9:51pm Top

I started reading (listening to and following on Project Gutenberg) Persuasion by Jane Austen today as a tutored read, with Liz sharing her expertise on all things Jane Austen and early 19th century. If anyone is interested in following along or making comments, the thread is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/136698. Just please make sure not to post anything about the book that is beyond the chapter I'll have covered last! I'll probably be going quite slowly with it, at it's a whole different experience listening to/reading a book while looking out for bits to ask questions about and making notations.

Finished The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes, which was good, but not nearly as entertaining as A Rage in Harlem. All the same, there's a good chance I'll persevere with this series because it's very entertaining and filled with dark humour. Now I've started on The Voice of the Violin, the 4th Detective Montalbano book by Andrea Camilleri. Both of these are my contributions toward May Murder & Mayhem, though I've yet to catch up on that thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/136175).

I had to go downtown this evening to return some books for refund. I mentioned photographer Karl Blossfeldt before on a thread of mine, and went ahead and ordered several books of his work so I could compare and choose. I finally went with an out of print gorgeous Taschen edition. Today was the last day I could still apply for a refund, and though I had trepidations about taking the subway and making my way downtown on a Saturday evening, I went. No incidents getting there, but on the way back, some stupid kid who couldn't wait for people to come out of the wagon rammed right into my shoulder and I was furious. I need to learn to either
a) accept that many people are rude and aggressive
b) stop taking public transit or
c) remember to do plenty of breathing exercises while I'm commuting.

It's truly a painful experience every single time there's an incident, and I'm starting to believe my friend Kim, who told me I seem to attract that kind of thing and probably need to learn some kind of lesson from it before I can move on. What scares me the most are the thoughts that go through my head when someone makes inappropriate contact with me. I just hate the person I become and keep wondering where all my anger comes from exactly, but as I was making my way home, I didn't have to think long and came to the conclusion that I have a LOT of unresolved issues with what I put myself through in my teen years, and my anger at myself gets directed at whoever happens to be rude to me, which... living in the city, there are plenty of candidates for. I just wish I could let it all go. The past I mean. I've tried writing about it, made several starts and of course it quickly got uncomfortable and painful so haven't managed to keep at it.

Sorry: my feeling-sorry-for-myself moment here. Moving on to other things now.

May 6, 2012, 8:57am Top

Oh! I've been saving a check mark for ages, and you are using it for the perfect thing, to show books actually from your tbr shelf! Brilliant!!!

As always I love your lists and choice of artwork.

May 6, 2012, 10:18am Top

Hi Ilana! Thank goodness your migraine went away. Everytime I get one, I need to take a prescription which relieves the pain - but then I have to recover from the med. So, I have a similar issue by still feeling "out of it" even after the pain is gone. :P~ Such is life.

I never got the chance as a young girl to do the "pink thing". I'm thinking I worked my way thru that issue by dressing my first daughter very girlie - lots of pink. I do enjoy pink even now. It shows up in my wardrobe frequently. (Wardrobe is a strange word for my conglomeration of clothes. *sigh*)

Now that Mom is moving in a little more than a week (yikes!) I have a lot to do. I hate packing, moving, getting re-settled. I imagine Mom is a bit jittery about it too, though she seems some excited.

We are having some pretty weather - Loki is asking for a longer walk today Why not? :) Hope you have a good one...

May 6, 2012, 10:59am Top

#31 Lucy, you're welcome to copy my idea, it just seemed like a logical choice to me, but I'm sure it can be used in many other clever ways.

#32 Claudia, I've been thinking about you lots and lots lately and really think both your mom and you (I'm especially concerned about you) will greatly benefit from this change. I think it'll take a lot of pressure off you, which can only be a good thing. So yes, I'm sure it's a lot of work right now, but it's all for a great cause.

Speaking of clothes, I just put through a monster order at J Crew. I really shouldn't have, but it's been a long time since I've bought clothes, and since I never know what will fit and/or look good on me, I always order more than what I know I'll end up keeping.

We're having a beautiful day here too, so I'm sure I'll be tempted to take Coco for a longer walk too.

May 6, 2012, 6:52pm Top

Some kids just need a smack .... I'm sorry if I'm offending parents out there who think I'm a cruel monster, but seriously.... I'm seeing so many more rude kids these days, rude even to their own parents. The hubster's best friend and his wife are really nice people and supposedly really smart (he's a physicist and she's a scientist in cancer research and they're both PhD holders), but they have holy terrors for children. They allow them to run, scream and jump everywhere, even when they're out in public, don't chastise them if they interrupt conversations, and haven't even instituted a time-out process. We can't quite figure out why they're being so lax in the discipline department with their kids.

Hope your shoulder isn't bruised by the rude boy, Ilana.

Speaking of J Crew ... I just bought a pair of cute ballet flats from them in a nice seafoam. :-)

May 6, 2012, 7:31pm Top

#34 I talk with my friend Kim about the whole problem with parents not disciplining their children often, since she used to be an elementary school teacher and knows firsthand about that. I think one of the issues is that "anything goes" these days. There no longer seems to be any moral or social code to dictate what is and isn't acceptable and most people are completely lost and clueless when left to decide for themselves—and parents are no exception. It must be hard for you seeing your husband's friend's kids running wild... I know I'd have to roll my tongue in my head MANY times not to say anything. Seems intelligence with parenting doesn't necessary correlate with IQ-type intelligence.

I'm dying to know what shoes you got from J Crew. I was just with a friend who wanted me to show her what I ordered, so have the tab for the site open right now. I just typed "seafoam" in the search box, but didn't find anything!

May 6, 2012, 7:56pm Top

Having a bit of a strange day today. Had a dream about visiting my mom the other night (it was definitely a strange dream and a strange visit that didn't leave me wanting to go in real life...), and it left me thinking I should at least call her, since it's been ages since we've talked, and seems she won't or can't pick up the phone to call me, probably because it's too expensive to telephone from France. We only talked for about 20 minutes, with part of the conversation being taken up by politics (my least favourite topic) because the election results were coming in live at that time. She kept asking me "and what else?", and I honestly don't have much to report, other than I read a lot and take my art classes and am tired all the time. So while I thought I was in a good mood before calling her, by the end of the conversation I was in tears. I said "sometimes I think I'm fine until I talk to someone and realize I'm not doing so great after all". And she said "well, it's better to find out so that way you can deal with the issue and move on." Trouble is, I don't seem to be any good at moving on.

I was really blue after, but thankfully a friend contacted me and asked me to go for a walk since it was (is) a gorgeous day out today. I brought Coco along and we had a nice, almost 2-hour walk along Lachine Canal, after which we had ice cream cones and hung out a bit at my place. Again, I thought I was doing much better, but the second I was alone, the pall of gloom came right back to harry me. I had to return a call to my aunt, who'd left a message while I was out. She's just come back from a trip to Europe and wanted to tell me how her visit went with my mom. Seems my mother seems to have gotten a second wind and is glowing, leading an active life with lots of friends and acquaintances everywhere. I didn't know what to make of that. Whenever I read her blog (called something along the lines of "a writer's mind"), I certainly don't get the impression it's written by someone who is very happy. But this leaves me thinking the problem must be with me. Speaking to certain people reminds me that I'm really not doing so well, and that sucks. I should want to make changes, but I just don't have the energy to. So where am I supposed to go from here?

Sorry for all the downer posts lately. I'm just feeling terribly discouraged.

May 6, 2012, 8:17pm Top

Ilana - I hate the scrum of the underground and it certainly doesn't seem to agree with you too much either! Good manners and respect for people's personal space are a basic human courtesy that succeeding generations seem to appreciate less and less. Don't know whether my observation is based on real life or getting older!
Loneliness does pall a bit Ilana and I think the combination of spring and your mum have put you into a stir crazy feeling - a holiday is calling out to you - Malaysiaa perhaps?!

May 6, 2012, 8:21pm Top

"Five alarm migraine" -- great phrase (which I am going to purloin) but a horrible experience. Glad you are recovering from that. I had my own version of it about two weeks ago and was ready to kill myself after three days.

I'm about to re-read Wolf Hall; thought I'd check in with you and see if you are still thinking about June for the tutored read? After I finish the re-read this month, I'll feel more on top of the material (although reading Bring up the Bodies has certainly reminded both how good Mantel is and how vividly she captures that era.)

May 6, 2012, 8:35pm Top

#37 Paul, every time I complain about "kids who have no manners", I'm reminded of every time I've read a comment to that effect in books throughout the ages. I think we only notice those things as we get older, and it seems it must be part of the human condition to behave rudely, since people have always done it and don't seem ready to stop anytime soon...

You may be right about me needing a change of air. A vacation does sound mighty appealing.

#38 Purloin away Suzanne! I didn't think I was making it up when I wrote it, so I don't feel a sense of ownership in any way! It's just I had a rating system at one point, with a five point migraine being of the sort that is likely to kill a person. Do you know of anyone dying from migraine? Somehow, it doesn't seem so far-fetched to me...

I meant to contact you about Wolf Hall to say that yes, I look forward to reading it with your tutoring in June. Glad you've beat me to it, as I always enjoy visitors of course!

I've just started reading Persuasion with Liz and am learning how to go about the business of being a tutee. If you want to get an idea of what you're in for with me, feel free to visit that discussion thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/136698. Just hope it won't discourage you from doing this with me! :-)

Edited: May 6, 2012, 8:40pm Top

Becoming acutely aware of other people's failings (we, of course, don't have any!) is also a side-effect of living alone, or only with well-mannered pets. Like you, I find I am much more sensitised to, and intolerant of, various annoying behaviours than I used to be - and I can't block them out, either.

On a brighter note--- Yes, the more the merrier for Persuasion!

May 6, 2012, 8:42pm Top

(we, of course, don't have any!)

hahaha well said Liz

May 6, 2012, 9:23pm Top

Ilana - I can tell you one thing... I have never felt any sympathy, tenderness, understanding or warm fuzzies from my Mom. I've been trying to please and connect with her for years. I think she feels if she is anything but tough as nails/strong as steel/in control/unemotional with me, I will respect her less? or not be tough enough myself? But, it hurts. I want soft hugs and empathy sometimes. It's hard to reach out and get nothing back.

I think part of moving on is having someone who cares for you say, "Oh, poor poor Ilana - my sweet baby - nevermind the rest of the world. I love you just as you are." followed by copius hugs...

On my way! :-)

May 6, 2012, 9:45pm Top

I did know someone in college who killed herself because of migraines. She was 20 and engaged to be married. What runs in my family is a kind of migraine that can be tied to stroke-related issues. My grandfather died of a stroke when he was suffering a migraine (in his early 80s); my mother has been smitten by Bell's Palsy, and struggles with the fallout to this day. So I keep my fingers crossed.

Cee, that's dreadful. Yes, we all need someone to tell us that; even when we've been stupid or idiotic, to tell us that that doesn't matter as much as we do. I remember someone once asked me who I took problems to, in order to get help or emotional support. I actually didn't have an answer. I still don't. It's like the forms that fill out asking for emergency contact. I simply put N/A or none.

May 6, 2012, 11:04pm Top

#40 My solution is just never getting out of the house again! I could probably arrange for that to happen. I DID do that for roughly the two first years of my sick leave, before it became "long term disability". That's also more or less why I ended up getting a dog—to force me out of the house. But honestly? There's no place like home, and that's a fact. Mind you, LT is a nice home away from home too. :-)

#41 Much agreed! Only in my case, I see practically nothing but faults...

#42 Claudia, I had no idea it was like that with your mom. That makes me really sad for you.

I think I remember sharing nice hugs with my mom once in a while, and at one point she used to wake me up by gently stroking my hair and face when I was a teenager and going through harrowing times... I think she does try in her own way, but she's definitely never been the warm and fuzzy type. It's funny, because I just now watched VEEP after watching Game of Thrones. It's a new show with Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing the vice president with lots of biting humour. Tonight she had her college-going daughter visiting and they were showing that whole dynamic. While my mother has never been anywhere near as glamorous as this character, she was involved in politics for a good part of her life and I often felt like that was more important to her than I ever was. Some people are just about "GO GO GO" all the time, and that works for them and all the power to them, but it just irks me when they imagine that everyone should/can be on the same level. And yes, some of us do wish the world was a nicer place instead of having to "put up with it because life is shitty" as my mother might say.

You're a sweetheart Claudia, and I think you're awesome. Sending copious hugs your way. xx

#43 After I wrote my comment I was going to come back and edit it, but didn't have time before my show started. I remember several times having migraines that lasted for weeks and being in constant pain 24/7 to the point where I often thought about killing myself too, but I didn't mean it in terms of such terrible repercussions, but just in the pain itself kind of causing complete meltdown. Sorry to hear about your family health issues and really sad about that poor college girl. Chronic pain is no joke, be it physical or emotional, and I know what I'm talking about. Don't you have friends who can provide emotional support? I've always relied on therapists personally, but of course one needs to be able to afford one, which isn't a given by any means. When I couldn't afford one, I mostly relied on the comfort of strangers on the internet. True story. For the record, I never know who to put down as an emergency contact either, so I hate that question. I guess I could put down my father now that he lives here, but he's just not the kind of person I want taking over in case of emergency.

All right. Today is pretty well a write-off. Hopefully the week will bring happier tidings. If not, we always have our beloved books, right? About to take Coco for a walk now while listening to The Voice of the Violin and then off to bed and on to chapter 3 of Persuasion before getting back to The Glass Room, which I'm really loving. I can certainly see why it was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize.

Edited: May 6, 2012, 11:10pm Top

I was made redundant about three years ago and spent a year unemployed. I often went days without seeing or speaking to anyone*, and was perfectly content. Being dog-less, I did have to force myself to go for walks - although that said, I got a lot more regular exercise then than I do now.

*Electronically, of course, I had LOTS of company. I always laugh when people claim that the internet desocialises you. They have no idea what kinds of friends and support systems are out there.

May 6, 2012, 11:22pm Top

I don't know why it is that so many people devalue electronic relationships by comparison with RL ones. Seeing someone in person is no guarantee that you'll get along any better. I've always been so used to having relationships conducted long-distance (my mom more or less raised me on the phone), that it's really the same deal to me.

May 7, 2012, 1:43am Top

Sorry for all the downer posts lately. I'm just feeling terribly discouraged.
No real words of comfort to offer; it does seem that you're in a spell of the blues these days. Still, send me a PM with your snail mail address, and a post card or two will meander your way.

I'm just thinking, it seems like the last couple of months has been a bit of a roller coaster for you--- your relationship with your mom and your dad, neither being easy, have each presented you with disappointments of late. Not surprising disappointments, but still...... I don't know where I'm heading other than thinking that it's not so surprising that you've been fighting the blues. From this distance, it seems like you might be at a crossroads with acceptance about what those two relationships are never gonna be...... It might be sad to let go of the faint hope for something deeper, something more grounded, but maybe it might bring some resolution and (I take a deep breath here) freedom to face forward without that hope holding you back?

Ugh, I get off my therapist soapbox here. I don't even know if what I'm writing makes any sense. Too late on a Sunday night, but..... just my thoughts.

Hugs to you and Coco and Mimi and Ezra. As always. :-)

May 7, 2012, 11:51am Top

Thanks for your comments Ellen. I think they're very relevant and probably do apply to my case. I guess I'm a slow learner when it comes to certain things, and my emotional intelligence is probably always going to need extra prompting.

Again, my apologies for all the downer posts. Whenever I look at the top image, I think I really have no business sharing such dispiriting stuff. I'll try to stick to book news until things sort themselves out. For now, I'm off to my watercolours class. It's a beautiful day again and supposed to get quite warm. Guess I'll have to take out my summer wardrobe soon!

Have a good day everyone!

May 7, 2012, 3:00pm Top

Ilana, no need to apologise for the downer posts (although I prefer to think of them as honest posts). I agree with Ellen, the last few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster for you and it's understandable that you are feeling discouraged. I've often struggled with feeling more blue after having gone out to socialise with people (today is a good example) and I think, as you said, it's the reminder that my life isn't 'normal' and, for me, the increased sense of isolation that comes with that. It's partly that I wouldn't really know how to put things into words and partly, I think, that 99% of my friends have very small children who consume a huge amount of attention (I have an increasing respect for mums and dads of young children) so that it's very difficult to have a conversation more than two sentences long before you realise the small child has found yet another potentially dangerous/breakable object to play with or has started to cry because you just took the said object away from them and therefore needs distracting with peekaboo or silly faces. So, rereading that I'm not really sure if that's helpful or not, but what I meant was, you are not alone in feeling that way and knowing that may help. If it doesn't, feel free to discard.

And your mum, bless her. *Sarcastic mode* Move on? Gosh, what helpful advice. And have you, you know, just tried not feeling depressed? That always works a treat for me.*End of extreme and possibly offensive sarcasm*

Going back to books, I really enjoyed your review of the Stefan Zweig book on your last thread. Hope you enjoy your watercolour class today and there are no more horrible incidents en route. Off to lurk on the Persuasion thread.

Edited: May 7, 2012, 9:58pm Top

#49 although I prefer to think of them as honest posts

Thanks Heather, that is indeed a much kinder point of view. I don't remember a time when my life hasn't been a rollercoaster to be honest. These days, it's not quite the hair raising ride it's been in the past either, but I'm much more sensitive as a result of all I've put myself through.

I think I know what you mean about the sense of isolation that comes when your friends have small children who take up all the attention. I've lost many friends to children along the way, because our interests and priorities became too much at odds to maintain the relationship. People naturally tend to convene with others who are living similar lifestyles in RL. They do the same online too I suppose, though online it's possible to minting a community simply based on shared interests, which is what we have here on LT and why people from all walks of life can get along so well, something you're not likely to see in RL and which makes this group that much more interesting, imho.

I had a good class today. The day started with a migraine and I couldn't take my sunglasses off during most of the class, but about halfway through making art operated it's magic on me and the headache receded, which was a blessing. Now I get to rest for a couple of days before my marathon class on Thursday. We did an interesting exercise today of painting white shapes on a white background, which was very difficult, though I was quite happy with what I managed. I took plenty of pictures and will try to post them on my blog very soon, but not tonight, as it's already getting late and I'm determined to continue working on getting to bed at a reasonable time...

I may try writing a review for The Elegance of the Hedgehog now, which was my last April read. If that flows, then good. If not, then I'll spend the next hour visiting threads instead. Either way, the next hour is devoted to uninterrupted LT time!

May 7, 2012, 10:04pm Top

Yay for the magic of art! Yay for some gorgeous weather you've been having lately! Boo on the headaches and melancholy. Ilana, I like to share my bad moods, too, so don't stop on account of me. Maybe we should have a Gripes and Grumbles Thread where we could vent to each other occasionally. I hope the 5 Alarm Migraine stays away. It's hard to be cheerful when your head is exploding!

I have The Glass Room to read one of these days. It looks like I have a good time ahead of me. I'll be watching for your review. I'm a Hedgehog fan, too! Eager to see what you thought of it. It certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea.

May 7, 2012, 10:50pm Top

Ilana, this is the one I bought : http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/shoes/ballets/PRDOVR~67290/67290.jsp

I call this seafoam because of the blue and white in it ... reminding me of the frothy foam atop the blue seawater.

Edited: May 7, 2012, 11:37pm Top

69. L'élégance du hérisson / The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery ★★★⅓
(Read for 12/12 #11: Litérature Française - read in French)

7 Rue de Grenelle is one of the better addresses in Paris. In this elegant building, there are eight luxury apartments inhabited by families of the upper class bourgeoisie, a concierge called Renée, and a very unhappy twelve-year-old tenant called Paloma. The novel is told via the alternating voices of Renée and Paloma who both keep journals and contrary to outward appearances actually have quite a lot in common. Paloma is very sensitive, has to make efforts not to score the highest marks in class, passionate about Japanese culture, and feels completely alienated from her politician father, her neurotic pill-popping mother and self-involved older sister, which she considers to be insufferable snobs. When we first meet her, she has already formed a plan to journal her pensées profondes (deep thoughts) until comes the time to kill herself on the day of her thirteenth birthday. She intends to leave chaos and destruction behind, because she has also resolved to burn down the family apartment before doing away with herself. Renée on the other hand quite happy with the state of her life, which she has neatly split into two distinct parts for the past 27 years. She presents an outer persona of the stereotyped concierge by maintaining a frumpy appearance, pretending to watch tv all day and being none too clever, while her secret self is a bright autodidact, a passionate consumer of literature, philosophy, foreign movies and gourmet foods, with high grammatical standards. Renée is a widow and has had little to no friends in her life, but has a standing date with Manuela, a cleaning lady who works in the building with whom she has formed a true bond over a regular ritual of tea and pastries. What will eventually bring Paloma and Renée together is the arrival of a new and fascinating tenant who takes a liking to both Paloma's and Renées unaffected ways.

The first thing that struck me about this novel is how very French it is, and I wondered whether the references to Parisian prototypical personalities translated well into other languages and cultures. The character of Renée was an interesting one, very profound and saddled with a difficult past, coming as she did from a dirt-poor family where the parents barely knew their own children by name. I enjoyed the way she recounted her play-acting as the dumb concierge when dealing with the tenants, which greatly contrasted with her great intellect, but grew a little bit annoyed with Barbery's insistence that the reader should be greatly surprised to discover a concierge with so much culture. But then again, the French are very class-conscious and very attached to their ideas of what a person's role and aptitudes should be, and none more so than the wealthy who insist on maintaining a clear divide.

Next, I was quite daunted with just how intense the novel was. Between Renée's philosophic ruminations, which granted, are served up along with plenty of amusing incidents about her dealings with the tenants, and Paloma's angst-ridden observations on her admittedly amusingly flawed family members, the novel, which from the outset sounded like it had an amusing premise demanded the reader's full attention and intellect. Thankfully, things did lighten up quite a bit, at least temporarily with the arrival of the new tenant, Mr Kakuro Ozu, which was a great and much needed relief. I couldn't help but think that Barbery felt like she had a lot to prove and was compelled to demonstrate the extent of her culture and understanding of human nature, perhaps because something about this novel seemed a little bit forced, especially when one considers the ending she opted for, which I'm still trying to make my mind up about. Had she written herself into a corner and decided there was only one way to conclude, or rather, was she trying to demonstrate how vital it is that we pay attention to life's every minute detail? I don't know, but the impression I'm left with is that it was a bit of a cop-out.

Did I like this novel? I honestly can't quite say. I was hoping that I'd be able to figure it out by writing this review, but I'm still undecided. I can honestly say that I'm glad that I read it, because it presented interesting characters and interactions, though perhaps this wasn't the optimal timing for me to read an existentialist treaty on life and death, half of which is seen through the eyes of a brooding adolescent, having been there, done that; it wasn't much fun this time around either.

May 7, 2012, 11:49pm Top

#51 Yay for the magic of art! Yay for some gorgeous weather you've been having lately! Boo on the headaches and melancholy. Ilana, I like to share my bad moods, too, so don't stop on account of me.

Well said and thanks Donna. I just feel sometimes that it's ironic that I call myself "Smiler" and try to show pretty and beautiful things when I'm so often carrying my own little dark cloud inside. But I promise it's not false advertising, because I do, I do, I truly DO smile a lot, no matter what! :-)

I'm afraid you might be a bit disappointed with my TEotH review. It took me over an hour to write, which isn't that long, but it was quite concentrated, and if I wasn't exhausted already, I certainly am now! But I'm glad it's done and that I put in the effort. The novel deserved at least that much, imho.

#52 Great shoes lady!!! I thought I'd seen every item on the site already, but I'd somehow missed those. I ordered two pairs of the Ceces, because they're apparently very comfortable, which none of my ballerinas are, no matter how gorgeous. One pair in suede, one in leather, both fun colours (sapphire blue and gallery green), though I've promised myself I'm only allowed to keep one pair!

May 8, 2012, 12:53am Top

Hi Ilana. Sorry TEoTH wasn't a good fit for you at this point in time. As I've said, I read it on vacation on Vancouver Island in August 2010 and, while that was before I had found LT and therefore before I was very good (not that I am now) at making notes about what I read, I recall enjoying it. But I was in a very good emotional space that week.

I wonder what is up next for you?

Waiting for that PM so I can send you post cards, my dear. xo

May 8, 2012, 5:16am Top

#54: when I'm so often carrying my own little dark cloud inside
I like this expression a lot, although you use it for something sad, but it is so true. We all do that from time to time, and maybe some circumstances play a role that your dark cloud has been growing lately.

It's springtime and everyone is expected to be happy. New beginnings everywhere, you might get the feeling that your life isn't moving much/ not enough right now, while a standstill in winter is not so bad. At least that's what I often feel. I like spring and summer, but fall and winter fit my moods better.

Then there's the isolation - another thing that becomes more palpable in spring when everyone is out and happy. You might ask yourself if you really want to go out more or if you just think you should want it. And you're already doing so much! I find your activities really inspiring. Just look at all the art!

You're right about the children. I hear my friends with kids maybe once or twice a year and we can never have long talks. It's just two different worlds right now, but it might change again once the children are older.


I like your review a lot. I am still not sure what Mr Ozu's role was, he felt like a mirror to me who threw back Renée's and Paloma's reflections to them and so showed them how good and meaningful their own lives were.

May 8, 2012, 6:10am Top

54: "I'm afraid you might be a bit disappointed with my TEotH review."

Au contraire, Mademoiselle, I loved your review. You nailed my ambivalence which I overcame because I so loved the character of Renee. She reminded me that we too often judge people by their outward appearances. I'm happy to see Renee will play a small role in my next book, Gourmet Rhapsody. Thanks, Ilana. I hope you have a great day!

Edited: May 8, 2012, 9:05am Top

Truly an excellent thoughtful review of the Barberry -

Socializing for introverts (are there any extroverts on LT?????) tends to leave one on the debit side. One of the many reasons I took up my listening exercise (write about an act of listening every day) was to combat the fact that I get so swept up in other people's lives and emotions, always need to 'help' or 'connect' (I'm doing it right now, btw!!!!!!) that I end up depleted - and - ironically in the process haven't always done what the talking person really wanted me to do - which was just to listen non-judgementally to whatever they had to say --- I have found that when I carry my consciousness of this into a social situation and maintain my intention to stay in active listening mode, I can leave a social gathering more or less the same as when I arrived. I think non-empathic people take advantage of empathic people all the time -- and most empaths are 'introverts' -- possible the words are more or less interchangeable????

May 8, 2012, 10:16am Top

wow - interesting reading here!

You did a great job on the review... and it reminds me I want to read this one.

:...carrying my own little dark cloud inside... "
yup, me too. I think I am afraid to come out from under it and be blinded by the light.

Will be interested in your white on white... glad you are enjoying you art more and more.

May 8, 2012, 10:20am Top

Ilana - The Elegance of the Hedgehog - a novel to admire rather than like seems to be the import of your thoughtful review. I would take that I think. x

May 8, 2012, 10:24pm Top

It's been a long and very full day. Appointment with my therapist during which I had plenty to discuss, as those who read my thread regularly can imagine... a good portion of the session was actually taken up by my concerns about Ezra. I've been seriously considering giving him away lately. His lack of proper potty manners wears on me every day, and even though he makes up for it by being more affectionate than ever, I just don't like him. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE him. But I just don't like him for being such a rude kitty. My therapist, who is a huge animal lover, suggested that if I can't find someone to give him away to, I might consider a more permanent solution. She knows how miserable that cat has made me over the years and says I shouldn't suffer for a pet. But I just can't bring myself to consider such an option. I don't even kill bugs for heaven's sake, and as I said, I don't think I have the right to play God over a creature that has as much right to live as I do.

Coco got groomed today and looks like the prince of the plush toys. I got him a new tiny little bed, since the one I had was purchased large so that both cats could fit in it. Then also a leash in brown with a turquoise polka dot pattern. Adorable. But. I had quite a turn when I went to pick him up, and things almost went horribly wrong. I can't say more for now because I'm completely wasted with fatigue and will need to turn in earlier than usual tonight, so the suspense will have to hold till tomorrow.

Tonight I worked on putting up a blog post; my review of The Global Forest with a few extra editorial comments and a new twist at the end. Here it is if you're curious: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/05/08/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-abou...

I was going to post my "white on white" artwork, but that too will have to keep...

May 8, 2012, 10:54pm Top

#55 Ellen, sounds like you were in an optimal headspace to fully appreciate The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I can see that if I had been too, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more, because it certainly had a lot going for it. But I don't think the ending would have cut the mustard for me in that case either. What did you think of it?

#56 Nathalie, I try not to be fatalistic about these things, but I do believe some people are born with a ray of sunshine stitched in, while others have been grafted with an expandable storm cloud. Then, there are those who have a bit or a lot of both. I used to be in the later camp, in both cases at the extremes of the two states of mind and feeling. But I've always been prone to melancholy and no amount of "just try to see the bright side of life" or moving around and doing things seems to push it away once it's set in. For some reason, I'm thinking about Lincoln right now. Probably because of Lincoln's Melancholy, aka Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, which I haven't read yet, but which, when I discovered the title, made me pause and consider. Heather (souloftherose) wrote a fantastic review about that book last year, which is still at the top of the book's main page. Somehow, being reminded that even great men and women who have become prominent figures in history suffered the same affliction helps me accept my nature better, which makes the melancholy that much easier to bear, if that makes any sense (?)

All the examples you've given about spring and isolation being cause for more distress are right on the mark for me. I was just saying to someone this week that it's not infrequent that I'll feel much worse on gorgeous sunny days, when the expectation that I should feel happy is enough to send me into an even deeper funk. For the same reason, I seem to do better on rainy days, as I did today, even though I did have a pretty heavy session with my psychologist (Coco and I took a slow walk home in the rain through one of my favourite parks and it was wonderful). And yes, I too have grown to appreciate fall and winter for the fact that introspection is considered a more natural state of mind during those seasons.

My review of TEotH was strongly influenced by the two you wrote. I had them both in mind as I was writing it and was kind of having a conversation with the "you" who wrote it at the time and felt like I was responding to it in a way. Don't know if that makes sense? Good comment about Mr Ozu. I'll think about that, but you seem to have put your finger on it.

#57 Hi Donna, I'm glad and relieved that my review wasn't a letdown for you and that I managed to convey something you could identify with. That alone makes writing reviews (writing anything for that matter) seem like a very worthwhile activity indeed!

#58 Socializing for introverts (are there any extroverts on LT?????) tends to leave one on the debit side.

There might be extroverts on LT, stranger things have been known to happen (!) but I'm on the same page as you—socializing, while it's something I'm constantly told I need to do more of, definitely takes a lot out of me. I'm like a sponge and take in people's energy all the time. Haven't yet figured out how to protect myself from that. I guess that is one of the greatest challenges for empaths. It also means that there are certain people that I have to stay well clear of, because while everybody has problems and struggles in life, some people just seem to be vampires and take up the energy of those they talk to. Have you ever noticed that? What is up with that?

#59 Claudia... my heart goes out to you. Why do you think some of us fear the light so? Interestingly enough, we both suffer from migraines and are thus literally made to suffer from too much light sometimes. I haven't read any studies on this, but I'd be willing to bet that the incidence of depression among migraine sufferers is very high. Which makes me wonder which of the two comes first. One of the chicken and egg questions... whaddaya think?

#60 Paul, interesting take on my review. Is that what I was saying? You may be exactly right. At least, that was so in my case, at this particular junction of my life, but had I read it at another time I may have reacted to it very differently, as happens with so many readers. For this reason, I tend to want to recommend it because whatever I think about it (which is still unclear in my mind), I do think it's a novel that has a great deal to offer. I can't remember just now, have you read it yet or not? Not clear from your comment. xx

Right. That's it for me folks. Thanks for visiting commenters and lurkers alike! :-)

May 8, 2012, 11:03pm Top

Before I forget:

Finished The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri today and quite enjoyed it.
Also received a new edition of The Sun King by Nancy Mitford, published by NYRB Classics.

May 8, 2012, 11:04pm Top

Ilana - Your therapist is a bit drastic with the Ezra solution surely? Looks like you should try to find alternative accommodation but beyond that surely not? I actually don't like cats at all which I have surely mentioned before but couldn't bear the thought of pressing the off button in the case of the still fairly immobile cat, Bambi, we have at home.
I haven't read The Elegance of the Hedgehog yet but it is on my shopping list.

May 9, 2012, 4:09am Top

Hm... I know next to nothing about cats, but is that potty thing not usually kind of a protest reaction? Does he have a jealousy problem with Coco? Maybe he would be happier in a place where he can be the only pet?

I can't believe your therapist's suggestion! Apart from everything else she knows you'd surely develop guilt feelings over that which then means more appointments? Or maybe she just wanted so see your reaction, so the suggestion was part of the therapy? Sorry if this sounds confused, but as Paul says, it' just so drastic, especially coming from your therapist.

May 9, 2012, 6:55am Top

Hi Ilana- Good review of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I listened to it a couple years ago and remember really enjoying it.
Hey, I'm nearly finished with The Shape of Water. It's a lot of fun. Have you listened to these?

Edited: May 9, 2012, 8:22am Top

I've dealt with depression for over 20 years. I've learned that it tends to come and go in waves. Are you on medication? Meds helped me at times but what really put me on the right track after 20+ years of meds and off and on therapy was DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It's a skills-based therapy originally aimed at borderline personality disorder but they found it helped with anxiety and depressive disorders as well. I'm pretty much off anti-depressants now though I still deal with anxiety issues.

I'm homebound due to mobility issues but even as an introvert I find I need SOME social interaction. It's why I joined a church. I needed some type of community. Occasionally I go to a Sunday service, but mostly I do the social stuff like church dinners and a monthly book club.

Also, I had a neighbor who had to put down a cat because after many years, no matter what she did, she couldn't get the cat to stop going to the bathroom all over the place. She is a very kind person, didn't want to pass the issue on to another person, and it was with the blessing of our local vet. We've used the vet for almost 20 years and they would never have done it for frivolous reasons. Not to say you should consider it, but rather, it's not a solution that is considered totally unreasonable and beyond the pale.

May 9, 2012, 2:40pm Top

#64 Paul, I've been with my therapist for over a decade and trust her implicitly. She knows full well that I only do things as they suit me best and would never blindly follow her suggestions, but I think she mostly is trying to make me see that I shouldn't put myself under the obligation to stay in bad relationships even with my own pets. I have a long history of trying to "save" animals and men both and getting overwhelmed and used in the process. While I don't think I could live with myself if I went ahead with that particular suggestion (I can't ever spell out the words!), it is true that Ezra's problems are the #1 reason that cats are put down. Nobody wants an animal who is that unclean, and the trouble is that bringing them to shelters only a) potentially passes the problem on to someone else and b) puts the animal through tremendous stress, especially since if potential adopters aren't aware of the problem, they are likely to bring the animal right back to the shelter again, or decide to put him down themselves.

An old work relation who once babysat him while I went on a trip to Europe had told me that she and her husband would very much like to adopt Ezra if I were ever to part with him. I no longer have her coordinates and she no longer works with my former employer, but have been trying to obtain them in the past couple of weeks. I don't even know that I'd be willing to let Ezra go to another home, but considering how upset he makes me on a regular basis, it's something I need to at least seriously consider.

#65 Nathalie, yes, you're probably right that Ezra's is a behavioural problem and that he would likely be happier being the only pet somewhere. I also think that he's just not all that happy living with me. For some reason, I believe he's happier with men, as I remember how playful he got whenever I happened to have a man in my life that he could spend time with. I think my psychologist's suggestion is part of the therapy. Her thinking is that I need to do everything possible to ensure I'm happy with my life and should avoid people and situations that unbalance me as much as possible. But of course she wouldn't encourage me to make a decision that would end up making me more miserable in the end.

#66 Mark, I actually read The Shape of Water and book 2, The Terracotta Dog in the French translation, which I didn't think was all that great. Then I listened to the next two books on audio narrated by Grover Gardner (in English) and thought that was pretty great. He does a really good job, but then, I've also grown more familiar with the characters in the meantime, so it's hard to say whether that's the main reason I enjoyed them more. With book 5, I'll be returning to the French translation again, since the whole reason I got into this series to begin with was because my mum sent me Excursion to Tindari as a gift saying she thought the French translation was the best. We'll see how I feel about it when I get there.

#67 Hi Morphy. I've known for a long time that the inappropriate kitty behaviour is a common enough reason for people to put down their animal. Over the years, quite a few friends and colleagues, even the animal lovers among them, have suggested I consider that option. I'm seeing the vet with all three of my kids on Friday, and I'll discuss my options with him again. I think I'm ready to try putting Ezra on Prozac or some other anti-depressant, as I've heard it works with many cats with this kind of behaviour. I've resisted doing so till now because trying to give Ezra medication is no joke, but I'm willing to give it a shot before considering other options at this point.

I used to be strongly opposed to taking medication, but I've had to put my reservations aside these past 5 years. So the answer is yes, I am on medication, and in fact, take rather high doses of anti-depressants (certainly much higher than what a family doctor would be able to prescribe). But because I'm considered bipolar, and not simply suffering from unipolar depression, I also have to take mood stabilizers to prevent the "uppers" from sending me into the stratospheres of mania. I've never heard of DBT till now, but I'll look it up online.

I've heard of many people say they've joined churches for the social interaction, and that makes a lot of sense. If I believed in organized religion, I'd consider doing that too, but I wasn't raised to and I've never felt a calling and don't feel comfortable in this kind of setting, where I feel like an outsider more than anything else. On the other hand, I believe in the power of creativity, which I guess is my source of spirituality and one of the reasons I take art classes. Making art is important, but the socializing aspect is just as important for me. At the end of the day, all that matters is finding solutions that we're comfortable with, and I'm glad you've found something that works for you. Home might be where the heart is, but getting out and about on a regular basis is equally important.

May 9, 2012, 3:02pm Top

I started listening to The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux last night. He is the author of The Phantom of the Opera, which I also got on audio from my library. I'm listening the original French and the narrator is amazing—very enthusiastic and expressive, which works well here. I just noticed that this book is listed among the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, which seems rather odd. It is a murder mystery after all!

May 9, 2012, 4:28pm Top

Hi, Ilana. I have The Mystery Of The Yellow Room on my shortlist TBR (though not in French, of course), too, as Leroux is considered another important figure in the development of the detective novel. I hope you enjoy it! And by the way, I've seen The Phantom Of The Opera on kids' books lists, too - obviously placed there by someone who's never read it! (Or thinks from the adaptations that it's "romantic", sigh.)

May 9, 2012, 4:44pm Top

Oooh, the Leroux sounds wonderful!

May 9, 2012, 5:26pm Top

#70 Liz, I don't remember at all where I'd seen it mentioned originally, but I vaguely recall reading somewhere that bit you mention, about it being an important novel in the history of detective novels, which is one of the reasons I sought it out to begin with. I thought 1001 Children's Books was a book (it is obviously, now that I tried the touchstone). I don't know who the author, Julia Eccleshare is, but I wonder what her selection process involved?

#71 Yes, it's an interesting premise. An attempted murder in a sealed room and nobody has seen the murdered go in or out, with only a bloody handprint on the yellow wallpaper as a major clue. This is obviously before the days of DNA and blood testing...

May 9, 2012, 5:58pm Top

Hi Ilana - just stopping by. I feel something of your pain with Ezra's toilet issues; our cat started spraying some time after we got her whilst she was still an indoor cat and it felt like it was slowly driving me mad. In the end I managed to find a cat litter she tolerates and discovered that she likes having two litter trays (one for number ones and one for number twos). I'm sure you've tried things like that - just wanted to say that I can understand something like that really getting to you.

I've seen some kind of pheremone sprays at the vets which are supposed to calm cats down - I wonder if it would be worth asking the vet if they think that might help Ezra? I don't think humans can smell them and it would certainly be easier to plug something in than to try and get tablets into him.

#61 Sorry to hear you had a bad turn. Hope you and Coco are ok.

The Mystery of the Yellow Room definitely sounds intriguing.

May 9, 2012, 8:32pm Top

I had a kitty named Casey. I inherited her from a friend who found her behavior to be very trying. I thought it was the friend's problem. I thought (oh so humbly) "if you just paid enough attention to that cat, she'd be fine." Well. Casey was a piece of work. On the one hand, she would sit in my lap and look up at me with adoring eyes, purring happily. But she peed on a down comforter. She peed on a guest's overnight bag (jealous? you think?). She peed on a few other things. Still, I had her for about 12 years. When we added Abby to the family, Casey was, well, she was pissed off. Then, after we lost Dorian, we added Edgar (no need to say much about that perfect cat to this group), and Casey was just unbearable. She was aging, and becoming more difficult to manage, and we took her to the vet. At first, the vet looked at me like I had lost my mind, but when we explained that Casey had been in our lives for 12+ years, that she had been well-loved and well-cared-for (this was apparent by looking at her), she allowed us to make the decision to end her life. Now, mind you, she was starting to develop health problems, but I know in my heart of hearts that I would have spent the money and the time taking care of those same health problems if Edgar had developed them. If it would have meant more time with Edgar. But with Casey, we had to evaluate our quality of life, and our honest assessment that she was unhappy, deteriorating, and had been given a really pretty wonderful life with us ---- anyway, we came to terms with it. I would have tried to find another home for her first, but it just seemed like giving the impending medical expenses and behavioral problems to someone else.
Oh, I'll add that I gave her kitty prozac (Amitriptyline) once a day and that did help with the peeing and other destructive behavior. Did that for years.

Whew, long post. I guess my only point is to encourage you to take your time with the decision and explore your options for Ezra. I, too, feel like we take on a responsibility when we take on an animal, and they're not just here for our convenience. But I also know there are limits.

Take care, Ilana.

May 9, 2012, 9:12pm Top

#73 Pheromone sprays. Right. I remember someone else suggesting that to me a few years ago, so I will ask my vet about that. Thanks for stopping by Heather, it's always nice to "see" you. :-)

#74 Ellen, I'm glad you've shared your story about Casey here. I really DO love Ezra (I just don't like him, as I've said before), he truly is gorgeous and has the most astoundingly large eyes I've seen on a cat. As I said to my therapist, I don't feel I have the right to play God with him and decide when his end should come, but then I also catch myself hoping that he won't live to be too old. I am feeling hopeful that medication or pheromones might solve our problems. It can't have been an easy decision for you to have Casey put down, but I would have done the same in your situation. And yes, if Mimi had serious health issues in her old age, I'd surely opt to try to extend her life. As it stands, I don't know that I'd do the same for Ezra. I have all three pets on health insurance with a large deductible to keep the payments affordable, but it means that if anything major happens, I'll be able to afford the vet bills. I've thought sometimes that I should save a few bucks and take Ezra off the insurance, but even that seems cruel to me. I'll hope for the best for now, and keep taking things one day at a time, as I always do. I do know I don't want to be one of these people who are made to suffer endlessly for an animal that doesn't give much in return. Ezra, bless his heart, has been asking for affection and attention more than ever these days, so he must know mommy isn't very happy with him...

May 9, 2012, 9:14pm Top

Is Ezra an indoor cat? I don't know if that would be contributing, necessarily, but I understand that behavioural problems of this kind are more common amongst indoor cats.

May 9, 2012, 9:31pm Top

Liz, he was for the first two years, until he started peeing in front of all the doors and basically forced me to let him out. The peeing stopped for a while, but came back eventually.

May 9, 2012, 9:40pm Top

I understand how difficult and frustrating this must be for you - and how it feels when they come looking for attention after doing something that makes you want to tear your hair out. I hope you can find a happy solution.

May 9, 2012, 9:48pm Top

Here's a bit of artwork I just posted on my blog: http://createthreesixty5.com/2012/05/09/white-on-white/
The above is just the first step of the project.

May 9, 2012, 10:31pm Top

I've had various behavioral issues with all my cats, but... The ones I could bear to part with (probably) are the ones that would have difficulty with new humans. Tigger, for instance, can be reckless and destructive -- he has a biting and scratching habit, for instance, that emerges as part of what he defines as "play", that would make it hard for anyone else to care for him. He doesn't do it deliberately, and over the years has revealed a very affectionate streak, as well -- he tends to follow me around the house and curl up beside me wherever I happen to be. Molly is at the other end of the continuum -- even after nearly 10 years, she won't let me bend down and pick her up to cuddle, although she's happy to cuddle on her terms -- if I sit down somewhere, she will arrive on my lap. I've never really bonded with her -- she is a cat's cat. But she is also tightly bound to Jasper, her adoptive brother, so... I don't think I could put any of them to sleep -- Jasper's illness will be a real test of how I can cope with what needs to be done.

Cool white on white!

May 9, 2012, 10:38pm Top

Lots of female cats don't like to be picked up - it squeezes them where they don't care to be squeezed. My Kara doesn't, but on the other hand she is lap-appropriating to the point of excess. :)

May 10, 2012, 1:01am Top

79> Very nice.

I'm glad you're going to try meds and/or pheromones for Ezra.

Edited: May 11, 2012, 8:29am Top

Yes. I've heard meds can do wonders for cat behavior problems.

I'm not Christian nor am I "into" organized religion, but they seem to have the most supportive communities. I Googled "liberal Christian denomination" and went with the most liberal I could find in the area. It's a lovely church, very tolerant and supportive even of this unapologetic Pagan. I stick to the services that are more about God and spirituality and stay away from the "Jesus-y" services like Easter and Christmas.

What I found most helpful about DBT was the information on emotions - what they are, the physical reasons, how they work, and how to deal with them. When you know that the crazy feeling you have has a chemical reason and that the worst will be over in four to six minutes if you just "ride" it and not fight it, it helps a lot.

May 11, 2012, 9:08am Top

Iliana, slipping in down here to say hello and wish you a happy and relaxing Friday. I will be back after I catch up on your thread. It's been a crazy week for me, and I am behind. I'll be back in a bit!

Edited: May 11, 2012, 1:03pm Top

I took the day off from LT yesterday—when I got back home from my painting class (which went very well by the way), followed by grocery shopping, I was in full zombie mode. Don't even remember what I did with my evening after a nice long walk with Coco, but I do know I ended up going to sleep a full hour earlier than my usual and still feeling exhausted after sleeping in late. Dinner consisted of chips and beer as couldn't even be bothered to take soup of the freezer and stick it in the microwave. I did finish The Glass Room in bed (my 75th by the way!) and immediately started on The Worst Hard Time. Didn't get past the introduction though as I soon fell into a deep slumber, but it's very promising

I listened to I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert, read by Tom Hanks a sometime this week. It seemed pretty irresistible when I saw it on Audible for just $1.49 (it's less than 10 minutes long), and while the intro with Colbert and Tom Hanks was a hoot and TH was an awesome narrator of course, the story itself didn't do much for me. I concluded that maybe you needed to be an American to really appreciate it. Not saying more about it as I'd spoil the ending otherwise.

Off to the vet's with the animals shortly. It's always an interesting experience taking a taxi with all three, each cat in his/her own carrier bag and singing very loud songs of deep sorrow. It's a gorgeous day out, and there's a lovely park right next to the clinic, so I'll be taking a nice walk with Coco once their ordeal is over while the vets hold the kitties for me. Too bad I can't take all three on a walk, or I would.

Edited: May 11, 2012, 12:58pm Top

#80 Hi Suz, thanks for sharing about your cats. I love hearing how other people cope with their difficult pets. It's a fact that I won't be putting Ezra down while he's in the prime of good health. Don't think I could ever forgive myself if I did. I don't think it's fair either to pass on an animal with serious issues to another owner without their knowing about the problems, but we do have several no-kill animal shelters here that cater to all kinds of problem animals, which I would consider eventually, if things don't improve in future.

#81 Liz, I didn't know that about female cats. My Mimi is incredibly affectionate and sleeps on top of me every night, but she too refuses to be picked up and turns into a wildcat (she who is so sweet and well-mannered usually) if I try to pick her up. I don't hold it against her. She's probably the most even-tempered and cheerful creature living in this household (me being one of said creatures of course!)

#82 Yes, that's on the very top of the agenda very shortly.

#83 Morphy, you're not the first non-religious person I know of to have joined a church. Even my father, who barely believes in God even, joined a synagogue for a while because he liked singing in their choir. He didn't participate in any of their other activities, and nobody pressured him to do so. It's a very progressive synagogue, so much so that I've sometimes considered checking them out for myself a few times. All that to say that I completely understand and respect your choice.

DBT sounds interesting. So true about feelings only lasting a short time. I keep forgetting that. They just seem to be so all-encompassing. Must try to remember that.

#84 Mamie, you're welcome anytime. No need to ever apologize for being behind here since I'm the first offender when it comes to neglecting threads around here.

Right! We're off! I'll be back later to report on the day's events and visit a few threads.

May 11, 2012, 1:17pm Top

Congratulations on reaching your first 75 for this year, Ilana. Hope your trip to the vet goes well. I admire you taking all three at once. I remember how difficult it was for me to stuff one cat into a carrier and get him to the vets!

May 11, 2012, 1:45pm Top

Congratulations on finishing your 75th book this year! My next book will be my 75th and I'm doing my usual thing of reading 4 books at once so even I'm not sure which one it will be. Perhaps Wolf Hall - that would be a nice number 75.

"each cat in his/her own carrier bag and singing very loud songs of deep sorrow." :-) but also aww. The only time Erica seems to want me to hold heris when the vet is about to inject her with something. Good luck!

May 11, 2012, 2:00pm Top

Ok, I'm back, and feeling ever so much better since I am all caught up. First, I loved your review of Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have started it twice, and put it down twice, but think it was mainly due to just not being in the right mood for it. I will try again but not right now. About the kitty I have no advice as we have poodles due to allergy issues, although I do love cats. Follow your heart, I say, as you are the one who has to live with your decision - I do think you have the right to decide not to live with said kitty if he is making you miserable. And the trip to the vet - I am trying to imagine traveling to the vet with our four poodles, and while the images I'm creating are amusing, I do no t think I would actually survive the experience with my sense of humor intact. Amazing that you do it with two kitties and Coco! A woman of many talents!

And reaching 75 already?! Congrats to you! I hope today was kind to you.

May 11, 2012, 6:40pm Top


May 11, 2012, 6:47pm Top

Good job reaching 75 already! You are rocking!

May 11, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Things went ok at the vet's today. No need for shots, since they found out that the feline leukaemia shot is effective for 3 years, so doesn't need to be renewed yearly as it was previously. They've all maintained their weight and the vet said they seemed in perfect health. However. I asked about Coco's teeth, and just as I thought, he recommended some work should be done since he has a serious tartar and gingivitis problem. He also said it's not infrequent they discover some issues when they do X-rays, so I shouldn't feel guilty if I found out he's been in pain this whole time. Oh my. We did a pre-op blood test today, so this should all take place in the next couple of months. It'll cost a whackload of money of course. I got Ezra the pheromone stuff, which cost another whackload of money. It's plugged into the wall, so I should see improvements within a few days. If not, we'll get him a prescription for anti-depressants.

All these expenses mean I'll have to cut back somewhere. On books maybe? We'll see if I can manage that. My mom is having serious computer troubles since her machine is a dinosaur, so I've offered to get her a new one, because no way can she afford one herself. Neither can I for that matter, but it would help me assuage guilt issues and I have credit. Only thing is... another whackload, since she's also always been on Mac computers, but I'll be looking for a used MacBook Air, which is the cheapest model available (all things being relative...). Of course, that'll cost approximately the same as a plane ticket to go visit her...

I uploaded a video I made today of Mimi having her dinner. She has the cutest habit when she eats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGnyuXjdWA

May 11, 2012, 10:24pm Top

Ilana - congratulations on making it past 75 so quickly. Can appreciate the expense of trying to look after the pets given the Bambi trials recently but hopefully it would reduce the number of books which keep you company. Otherwise I'll have to arrange a help parcel to be sent to you from tropical climes. Have a restful weekend. x

May 11, 2012, 10:50pm Top

#87 Judy, I find it's actually less hassle to bring them all at once. Once they're in their carriers, I can manage Mimi's 8 and Ezra's 10 lbs, with Coco on his leash. It ends up saving on time and cabfare, AND I get a small rebate at the vet's for a group visit! I MUST visit your thread soon. Something tells me you reached 75 ages ago!

#88 Heather, I'm usually quite fussy about keeping my books read list exactly in exact order, but I must admit I cheated a tiny bit in this case. I had finished the Carol Ann Duffy poetry collection a bit earlier yesterday, but since I really did not enjoy that much, I decided to make The Glass Room my 75th. I thought it was a much better candidate! :-)

Mimi especially screams her lungs out so loudly when I take her to the vet's, I always end up apologizing profusely to the cab driver and giving extra tip!

#89 Mamie, today I saw this woman walk into the clinic with a stroller, in which I wrongly assumed she had a small child. Instead she had two teeny Yorkies, both very cute. I thought the woman was a bit of a weirdo though... I mean a stroller, really?! But then I overheard her telling the technician one of the two had a collapsed trachea and had a hard time breathing. That sounds pretty serious. I wonder if I'd be willing to carry Coco around like that in similar circumstances though... Maybe an idea for your 4 poodles? ;-)

#90 Thanks Jim!

#91 Thanks Chelle. I always feel like I 'cheat' my way to 75 with all those audiobooks, but a book's a book, right?

#93 Thanks Paul. No way I could have made it this quickly without the above-mentioned audiobooks; there have been 39 of them so far this year. As for reducing my book consumption, we shall see. I've gone into debt for far lesser passions...

May 12, 2012, 12:05am Top

Ok, Ilana, now I am laughing my head off because I am picturing myself with one of those strollers made for twins, but instead of babies I have four toy poodles strapped in there! Too funny! Glad you made it to and from the vet with minimal fuss.

Edited: May 12, 2012, 12:11am Top

#95 Mamie, I was wondering about this woman's sanity with just a normal stroller. But a twin one?? Doubly whacky! :-b

eta: I just found the following doing a quick google

It's actually a dog stroller sold on this site where they have a post called 16 Reasons to Use a Dog Stroller

I bet you'll be using a stroller yet, Mamie! :-D

May 12, 2012, 12:13am Top

Well, I do have four, and she had only two! If I'm going to do crazy, I want to do it right!! I watched the video of Mimi, and that is the sweetest thing! What a delicate eater she is - you could take her to a five star restaurant, and she would do just fine.

May 12, 2012, 12:16am Top

Ok. I should really be getting to bed, but I'm on a roll with this stroller business (get it, "on a roll"? yuck yuck)

I found this great image, which had me thinking just maybe, I might think of getting one?

But this blogger has the right idea asking readers to Please, please don’t put your poodle in a stroller. Please. Seems it's all the rage in Palm Beach. Eeeeek!

May 12, 2012, 12:18am Top

#97 What a delicate eater she is - you could take her to a five star restaurant, and she would do just fine.

You should see the smile on my face following that comment. Am I a proud mama or what?! She is my princess. Once I get that cat/dog stroller, I'll be rolling to the nearest five star eatery with my princess. Coco can wait outside in his compartment. Ezra? He has bad manners, so he stays home, no stroller for him. LOL

May 12, 2012, 12:23am Top

Those photos are cracking me up! ANd to think all this time we have been using leashes - so archaic!

May 12, 2012, 6:32pm Top

Oh my! Is it ever quiet over here! I think I can hear my own echo... :-)

Busy busy day. This is the first chance I get to sit in front of the computer, other than checking my email earlier. Took Coco out for a lovely walk on this sunny and warm day (even put on some sandals for the occasion). Made some pie dough for the chicken pot pies I'm making each day, one step at a time.... they WILL get baked eventually... Now my dad is about to show up, as I invited to come watch Hugo with me, since we missed it at the cinema. In the meantime, finished The Mystery of the Yellow Room, which I'm sure would appeal to many, but didn't do that much for me finally. Off to make salad with tomatoes that are about to give up on life if I don't use them (they're organic too, so no way am I tossing these out—worth their weight in gold!). Will start listening to something else, probably M&M related. I'm dying to stick around here, visit threads, etc, but it'll have to wait.

Cheers! Hope everyone's having a lovely weekend!

May 12, 2012, 6:33pm Top

#100 Good, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos Mamie, they made me laugh and I was hoping they would crack you up too. Mission accomplished! ;-)

Leashes... I know, totally old school!

Edited: May 13, 2012, 12:03am Top

I feel completely unmoored, and all of the sudden, lonelier than ever. I never feel lonely. Or if I do, I'm not aware of it. But spending a few hours with my father left me feeling completely insecure. It's not even anything specific I can describe, it's just his general way of being. I try, I do try, but rarely get anywhere I want to go. The good news is we both enjoyed Hugo.

A few books came into the house this week, which I forgot to mention. The first three are from the latest Audible sale on trilogies—3 audiobooks for 2 credits. One can mix and match, which I took advantage of. I'm tempted to get three more, like maybe the next two from the Australian trilogy by Courtenay? But what if I don't love the first book?; same deal with The Maze Runner; they also have the Sally Lockhart series by Philip Pullman, of which I read book 1 and have book 2. Should I get book 3? The Bartimaeus trilogy: have book 1, but will I love it enough to continue? The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld: I have books 1 and 3 (book three was an ARC), it got lots of great reviews, but do I go for that? So many options... and I don't like to spend my credits willy-nilly. Here's what I did get:

80. ♫ Sons by Pearl S. Buck (the follow up to The Good Earth)
81. ♫ The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
82. ♫ The Maze Runner by James Dashner
83. The Sun King by Nancy Mitford (this is the new NYRB edition)

Now it's time for some reading in bed. I have a family brunch tomorrow morning... a bit nervous about that. Only very seldom do I get to see any family. Hopefully it'll go well.

May 13, 2012, 12:17am Top

Ilana - got and have read the first two of your recent purchases. The Nancy Mitford is also around in my old boxes somewhere I think.

Here's hoping you have a stress free family get together.

May 13, 2012, 8:09am Top

Ilana- I hope you are feeling a little better today. Hugs. I really enjoyed both the Maze runner & Leviathan. The only thing I recommend with the latter, is to also follow along with the print book. There are some wonderful illustrations that accompany the text. I NEED to get to the 2nd one in that trilogy.

May 13, 2012, 8:27am Top

Poodles in strollers? Oh dear, should have seen it coming, I guess!

Glad your cats are all healthy.

My latest tooth strategy since brushing a dog's teeth is just too much -- I get the littlest 'kong' toy, but some toothpaste and some hard biscuits broken up and stuffed in so they are hard to get at and give it to Posey to chew and hope that will help..... she certainly spends hours chewing away. I haven't even said anything to the vet - we'll see how it goes.

I love Mimi's eating method. So lady-like! And she makes it last!

May 13, 2012, 11:56am Top

Hugs, Ilana. Hope the family brunch goes ok tomorrow. Presumably your Dad and others?

May 13, 2012, 10:46pm Top

The family brunch was quite nice. My cousin (from my mother's side) just moved to a stunning new apartment just 10 minutes or so from my place and she hosted a little get-together to celebrate her new home and mother's day. So her mother was there, as well as my favourite aunt (not her mother unfortunately, though we both agree we prefer that aunt since she is the sanest out of that bunch of siblings). That aunt's very much grown son and he husband was there, so just a snug little group of 6. I hadn't talked to most of these people for the better part of 5 years, but all went well and nobody put me on the spot asking me what I'm doing with my life these days. Coco came along and behaved like the prince he is. Then I got back home in the early evening and finished preparing the individual chicken pot pies I started making in steps during the week. My was it ever a lot of work! So there goes my day. Now I'm ready to conk out. But first, finishing a chapter or two of Persuasion, then another chapter or two of The Worst Hard Time. Then, blessed sleep.

I'll be working on reviews some time this week before I forget all about the first 6 or 7 books I read this month...

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and happy new week!

May 13, 2012, 11:00pm Top

Ilana, I'm so very happy that all went well at your get-together today! I can't believe you came home and finished making your chicken pot pies - YUM!! That's a lot of work, but you will be glad when you are enjoying them - good comfort food. I am also reading both Persuasion and The Worst Hard Time and enjoying both immensely. I am following the tutored read that you are doing with Liz, and you are asking really great questions. It has been fun and educational to follow along. I hope the rest of your evening goes well, and that you have pleasant dreams.

May 13, 2012, 11:00pm Top

#104 Hi Paul. The brunch itself was stress-free. Getting myself ready was a different story, but nobody minded me being late (after I'd changed outfits 3 or 4 times) and Coco was a big hit.

#105 Mark, I remember both you and Judy (DeltaQueen50) giving high praise to The Maze Runner, which is why I decided to purchase it. I don't think I'll get the audio of the 2nd Leviathan book. If I love the first one, then I can just borrow the 2nd one from the library... I do have it in print so I'll be able to enjoy the illustrations.

#106 Lucy, sounds like you've got a great way to get Posey to brush her own teeth! I was brushing Coco's on a daily basis at one point, but then I finally accepted the fact that they're so bad that daily brushings aren't going to do him much good at this point. He'll be going through a major procedure soon. After that... I still don't know if I'll be willing to brush them every day, though Coco wouldn't complain because he loves the toothpaste so much he's willing to put up with my clumsy interventions. I'll just have to try out you kong trick!

My Mimi is very much ladylike, yes—glad you agree! The vet couldn't believe how slender she still is at her age (she's still a baby to me at about 4 and a half), but then when I got her, she looked like a supermodel. Having her spayed spoiled her lines a little bit with that dragging belly that happens to them, but she's still a showstopper as far as I'm concerned. :-)

#107 Thanks Heather. The family brunch was great. It was all family on my mum's side, so my dad wasn't there.

May 13, 2012, 11:06pm Top

#109 Hi Mamie! Looks like we both posted at the same time! How neat that we're reading two of the same books right now! I've enjoyed a few of Liz's tutoring gigs before, though this is the first time I get her to myself. I'd followed along with Madeline's threads before, much like you're doing with mine now. I find Liz so patient and so generous with her knowledge... it's really quite wonderful. Each thread I've followed with her has been a really fun experience that made the books that much more interesting to me. Glad you find I'm asking good questions... I was a bit nervous about being a 'good' tutee at first, because I found that Madeline had been so thorough that I didn't think I'd do as good a job as her; I'm very much aware that others benefit from these threads and want to make it as informative as possible for the lurkers out there!

I'm off for the night now! Thanks for dropping by!

May 14, 2012, 3:15am Top

Good to hear the Mothers day gathering went well & was relatively stress free .......

May 14, 2012, 6:45am Top

My husband and I both got a kick out of watching your cat eat. Has she always eaten that way?

May 14, 2012, 7:52am Top

Hi Ilana- A good but somewhat slow episode of Game of Thrones, but it was great to have Jamie Lannister back. He was one of my favorite characters from the books. Did you notice that the actress who plays Ygritte, the Wildling, with Jon Snow is from DA?
I also loved the sequence with Tyrion and Cersei. The quiet moments really work on this show.

May 14, 2012, 8:32pm Top

Ilana! That sweet little Mimi is unbelievable ;-)
Do any other cats in the world eat like that?
It was so cute I had to watch it 3 times.
She is very beautiful...

Back later - Mom is driving me nuts. sorry

May 14, 2012, 11:44pm Top

#112 Hi Alex, yes it went quite well, and it was nice to be reminded that I actually have a family. We're not exactly close-knit, so family get-togethers are all too rare... although there's a very nice one coming up this summer I've just been invited to today.

#113 Hi Morphy, I'm glad you and your husband enjoyed the video. I don't know why it had never occurred to me to film her before. I've had Mimi for close to 4 years now, and I don't remember her eating that way much before about a year or two ago. I got her at the SPCA—she was the first cat that caught my attention. She was sitting up at the front of the cage, very alert yet laid back, and looking like she was waiting for something to happen. I took her into the little room and fell in love with her because she seemed to have an amazing personality. All the same, I took the time to look at many other cats, just to be sure of my choice, but she was obviously the one for me. One of the things that struck me about her, other than how friendly and affectionate she was, was how supremely elegant she was too—all slinky and with a gorgeous way of moving. She's lost a bit of that as she grew out of her teensy adolescent body, but as you can see by the way she eats, she'll always be a true lady! :-)

#114 Mark, I didn't notice that Game of Thrones was slow last night, but I guess you're right. There wasn't that much going on as far as moving the major events forward, but at the same time, every character was going through some fascinating moments, with plenty of drama. I loved Arya's interactions with Lanister. That whole relationship wasn't in the book and I find it an interesting addition and keep wondering where it'll lead to. I didn't remember the dragons being stolen from Danaeis (?), though of course they were, otherwise she wouldn't have been invited to the house of... what is it? Shadows? Me and my faulty memory! The exchange between Tyrion and his sister was really interesting and quite touching. Actually seeing a soft side to that awful woman is new. I really liked that part too. And yes, first thing I noticed about that wildling girl was she was one of the maids in Downtown Abbey. She's very convincing in her role too!

#115 Claudia! Please don't apologize! I'm just so happy to hear from you. Once again, I've haven't been keeping on top of the threads lately, so need to catch up with the events in your present life. Sorry to hear your mum's driving you crazy. I'm guessing she must be stressed about the changes ahead?

Thanks for your comment about Mimi. I think she's a great beauty too and have taken countless pictures of her, quite artsy ones too. She also has a beautiful soul. I've never known such an even-tempered and all around happy and kind cat before. She tends to be my favourite because of that. Maybe I'll learn from her someday...

Edited: May 14, 2012, 11:50pm Top

Another loooong day. We did some really interesting things during our abstract watercolours class.

I end up spending quite a lot of time on the Persuasion thread lately, putting together my questions to Liz as I read along.

Tonight I had one of my chicken pot pies for dinner and... OMG was it ever delicious!!! All that work was definitely worth it. I was sure I'd ruined the pie dough with overmixing, but it's tender and flaky and buttery and just great. The recipe for the filling called for dry Sherry, which I didn't have, and I can see how that would be a great addition, but it's still quite yummy without it! Nice to know all that work was worth the effort.

I started on the audio of Stettin Station in the evening, read by Simon Prebble (one of my favourite narrators). Nice to be back in John Russel's world, even though it's quite a nasty one, as it's set in Germany during WWII, but I find the writing really excellent.

I should be tucking in to bed now, but will lurk on a thread or two before tuning out .

May 15, 2012, 12:33am Top

I'm glad you're enjoying The Worst Hard Time. I thought it was terrific and it's certainly adding to my enjoyment of The Grapes of Wrath.

I LOOOOOOOOVE the YouTube video of Mimi having her dinner! What a dainty little princess she is! I know I would take to her immediately.

The Grapes of Wrath finally elicits John Steinbeck as the automatic touchstone. I guess we finally overruled the "other" option.... :-)

May 15, 2012, 11:33pm Top

#118 Hi Ellen, The Worst Hard Time certainly makes for great reading. I just finished part 1, which covers the 1920s and the fever of speculation that went on then. Things have taken a bad turn in the last couple of years of the decade, but things are about to go very very very wrong for everybody very shortly. Yikes.

Glad you loved the Mimi video. I'm sure you'd love her to bits. I wanted to draw her tonight, but she wouldn't stay in place. Of course, when I gave up trying and took up the computer, she immediately settled herself in. *Sigh*. I do love my little dollface.

I'm so glad to know the touchstone for The Grapes of Wrath is finally behaving as it should. I'm not sure how that is determined exactly, but, one more victory for Steinbeck! Yay!

May 15, 2012, 11:43pm Top

The day started slooooooooow, with me sleeping in mostly. No energy. None. Then I got up, took Coco on a lovely walk, accompanied by a neighbour with 2 dogs, one of which just got major surgery the other day to remove two tumours (as I found out today). It cost him 4K, which he begged, borrowed and stole (well, maybe not the last part), even though his dog is 12 years old and there are no guarantees that she is scot-free. But oh, how I do understand. Makes me all the more happy that I decided to take on health insurance for my kids though, because things are bound to come up eventually.

When I got back home, I had one of my landlord's daughter help me distribute fliers in all the mailboxes on my (very small) street. They changed the garbage and recycling collection day recently and didn't inform anyone properly so that basically, there's been garbage on the street sitting there for days on end because people don't know when to put it out. I decided to do something about it after grumbling about it for the past couple of weeks, so typed up a French/English flyer, made 60 copies on coloured paper at Staples, and we were done distributing it in just 15 minutes tonight. I felt incredibly proud of myself, even though there are no guarantees that the students living here, who don't generally give a... darn about these things will actually comply to the new schedule. But hey! At least I did something besides complain for once!

Did I mention I make one MEAN chicken pot pie? Had another serving tonight and boy am I glad all the effort was worth it.

Stettin Station is proving just as engrossing as the first two books in the John Russell series by David Downing. I'm already halfway through after just one day of listening. The other books in the series haven't been made into audiobooks yet, so not sure what I'll do after this one.

Right. That's it for me, taking Coco off for a last walk and ending my day with The Worst Hard Time.


May 15, 2012, 11:54pm Top

Okay, enough!! You post that chicken pot pie recipe, and be quick about it!!

May 15, 2012, 11:55pm Top

Ilana - no energy? but plenty of walking the little fella, distributing leaflets and making delicious pie surely disproves your point. Understand your neighbour and his pooch - I don't care for the cats at home but even my surly self will not allow the veterinarian profession to take the easy way out. It is an expensive principle though!

Looking forward also to my next Downing as the first one was top notch.

Please send me the pot pie by DHL!

May 16, 2012, 12:04am Top

What Liz said!

May 16, 2012, 2:41am Top

Those chicken pot pies sound good, Ilana.

Edited: May 16, 2012, 11:40am Top

Hey Ilana!
Am finally caught up with all that's been happening in your life. I, too, loved the video of Mimi at table (and the unexpected benefit of hearing your voice. Weird how I almost think I know what everybody on LT sounds like and looks like, never thinking that really I don't at all.) And your troubles with Ezra. I know last summer when Willie was making life pretty miserable with all of his inappropriate peeing - the worst was when he peed out the window right through the screen - I was almost at my wits end. Did not know how I was going to live with it if it turned out that it was going to be the new order of things and knowing that I could never put him down or 'give' him away. I don't know what can be done about Ezra - wish I did have some useful ideas. How old is he anyway?

Also pet insurance - how foresighted of you! I've thought of insurance for Willie, but then decided that I was too late - that Willie is too old for me to get him insured and that, instead, with my next kitty I would revisit that option.

Hope you enjoy the Nancy Mtiford book. I read it a couple (3?) years ago and liked it a lot.

Am so jealous of all you people who can watch Game of Thrones not on dvd. The first disc from last year has been at the top of my Netflix queue forever.

And yes - I too crave that chicken pie recipe and add my voice to the clamor.

Hope you and the children are having a good day....

May 16, 2012, 10:28am Top

I do love chicken pot pie. ♥

Edited: May 16, 2012, 3:52pm Top

Ok, by popular demand, I got the chicken pot pie recipe from here: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chicken_pot_pie/
Don't say I didn't warn you about how much work it is! Mind you, I sort of added to the workload when I decided I couldn't live without a bottom crust, so I doubled the recipe and rolled out twice as much dough, but it was worth it.

I had an appointment with my OT to go to, which I should be at right now, but I called to reschedule. I only got out of bed less than an hour ago, couldn't drag myself awake and we're expecting major thunderstorms this afternoon, so I've been feeling quite odd. Lots of nightmares and headachy, but I know I'm lucky that I can stay home and rest, unlike most people. I made myself some French toast (have I ever mentioned I make the BEST French toast?) served with fresh fruit salad and yoghourt. And café au lait.

My big plan for today is to try to write up all the reviews I'm behind on. And read. And visit some threads.

I received an ER book from the March batch yesterday called A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman. It's a "literary psychological thriller set on three continents" post WWII. Mamie would appreciate that it has a deckled edge.

May 16, 2012, 4:06pm Top

#121 Yes ma'am! Done! :-)

#122 Paul, you make me sound like I was really active yesterday, but really, all I did was walk and chat for half and hour, then stuff paper in mailboxes for fifteen minutes, then ATE pot pie, which I'd prepared over the last week. Then again, I might have had a little burst of energy considering all the sleeping I'd done!

I do adore you Paul, but those pot pies were so labour intensive that I refuse to separate myself from any of them. I'm sure SWMBO can make some equally delicious ones for you, if not better even. I must get dry sherry for next time I decide to embark on the chicken pot pie-makinig adventure, but other than that, I don't think they can be improved upon. Mine are also 100% organic, which I'm sure adds to the overall flavour. ;-)

#123 Let me know how it turns out for you Mamie!

#124 Heather, my biggest challenge will be not to devour them all in just one week. I've frozen several so they'll hopefully last me for a little while.

#125 Hi Charlotte! Lovely to hear from you! So wait, how did Willie's peeing problem resolve itself? Ezra is about 9. For a long time the peeing thing was on again then off again, but it's been "on" nonstop for the past few years now. I got some ridiculously expensive pheromone plug-in which I set up close to the cat litter, but as far as I can see, it's having NO effect whatsoever. I'll be calling the vet and the next step will be putting him no anti-depressants. And upping my dose too so I can cope with that stupid cat (only joking, sort of).

Goodness knows when I'll get to the Nancy Mitford. I don't have it down to a predictable schedule, but generally it does seem to take a while for me to get to any book that comes into the house. It'll be my first book by her probably, though I have several others on my wishlist.

#126 It's such great comfort food. Which I guess technically means it's not really a spring dish, being filled with butter as it is, but who cares? :-)

May 16, 2012, 5:53pm Top

Did someone mention deckle edged pages? I simply ADORE them! Thanks for the recipe, Ilana. I can't wait to try that, but I think I will have to as my food processor is packed in the POD. WAH! And they look really delicious, too. Had you made this recipe before? I would want a bottom crust, too, so that's good to know the pastry doubled just fine. And it serves 6 - that's one for each of us. Now, about that French toast...

May 16, 2012, 8:28pm Top

Hi Ilana,
It always amazes me how much you do when you say you do nothing... and then the enormous amount of energy you spend on your busy days!

That chicken pie looks great - no way I will spend that much time and energy on chicken. I do think it is probably to die for... lucky you to reap the rewards of your labor ;-)

Me too, me too! I love deckle edged pages!
Peaceful night! Hugs...

May 16, 2012, 8:34pm Top

#129 Mamie, as it turns out, the food processor didn't work that well for me as doubling the recipe packed it too much, AND my butter was frozen solid. All this to say that I virtually ruined the pastry dough, but it still came out delicious and amazingly flaky, so that I'm sure making it by hand would have given similar results. I found these pastry techniques helpful and next time won't bother borrowing my neighbour's food processor at all.

The French toast: firstly, I make it using a 12 grain bread that has nice texture to it. For six people, mix 4 eggs with lots of milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp orange flower water. This last ingredient really makes a big difference. The rest, I'm sure you can figure out. This should be enough for roughly 8 slices of bread or more. I make sure the bread is well imbibed with the mixture, use medium high heat so it browns nicely but doesn't dry in the middle (soaking the bread thoroughly should prevent this). I like to serve this as I did today, with fruit salad and yoghourt and plenty of maple syrup. Yum! :-)

And now, time for some reviews!

May 16, 2012, 8:37pm Top

#130 Hi Claudia! Tonight I'm making borscht. I had organic cubed beef sitting in the freezer for a really long time and don't want to lose it to freezer burn. Didn't feel like spending time in the kitchen, but I listened to Stettin Station and time just flew.

The chicken pot pies can probably be made with store bought dough and/or in a single dish to save time. Also, you probably don't need to make your own chicken stock and use cubes instead, but then the flavour wouldn't be quite the same...

May 16, 2012, 9:14pm Top

70. ♫ The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark ★★★
(Read for Muriel Spark Reading Week 23-29 April, and 12/12 Category #6: Going Places)

Newly arrived to Peckham (London) from Scottland, Dougal Douglas (aka Douglas Dougal) is hired by nylon textiles manufacturer Meadows, Meade & Grindley, where his made-to measure position is meant to bridge the gap between industry and the arts. During his stay in Peckham, Dougal carries out "human research" on the "moral character" of the people of the area. As well as working for Meadows, Meade & Grindley, he also works for their rivals, the more prosperous Drover Willis's textile manufacturers (under the pseudonym Douglas Dougal), as well as working as a ghost writer for a retired actress and singer. Only Nelly Mahone recognises Dougal for the manipulative "double-tongued" rogue he is, but no one listens to her as everyone views her as a drunken Irish vagrant. There is speculation as to him possibly being an incarnation of the Devil, but what is certain is that DD wreaks utter havoc in the lives of his co-workers and the residents of Peckham, the least of which is influencing Humphrey Place to dump his bride-to-be Dixie Morse at the altar, as we learn from the very beginning of the story.

The above is mostly summarized from wikipedia, because to be very honest, I was quite confused through this short novel. The only thing that was clear to me was that Douglas Dougal was one very strange fellow, at times amusing, at times maddening, and utterly unknowable. His "fatal flaw", as he likes to repeat, is that he can't stand illness in any form, which makes for some funny exchanges with the woman he thinks of as his girlfriend, whom he's let down through a difficult illness (she eventually announces to him she's marrying someone else). This flaw is fairly ironic as he himself has a deformation, with one shoulder being noticeably higher than the other. I've become a Muriel Spark fan in this past year, but can't say this was my favourite work by her so far. I wouldn't recommend someone new to Spark start with this one, but fans will probably enjoy her strange humour and it's probably the kind of book which becomes more enjoyable on a second reading.

May 16, 2012, 9:18pm Top

-128 Hahaha Ilana, I thought, given how tantalising you made them sound it was worth the attempt to abuse our friendship! Will get SWMBO on the case instead.
-132 I also love Borscht too but please don't try to post it to me as it would be quite messy wouldn't it.

Edited: May 16, 2012, 10:45pm Top

71. ✔ Queenpin by Megan Abbott ★★★½
(Read for May Murder & Mayhem and 12/12 Category #12: From My Treasure-Trove)

I picked up this Edgar and Barry Award winner mostly for it’s irresistible cover a while back, fully expecting an homage to 50s and 60s pure pulp fiction and was not disappointed in that sense. Our narrator is a young woman who, putting herself through secretarial or accounting school, had taken a job at a small-time bar, juggling with the books for small-time pay. Things change drastically for our young heroine when Gloria Denton walks into the picture. She's a glamorous older dame with a figure to kill for, and a mean reputation as someone not to be messed with. Denton takes on our girl as her protégée and grooms her in her image to help her collect the earnings from various casinos, racing tracks and betting parlours. Gloria's only warning is not to fall for the wrong guy, which is of course what our heroine does promptly—falls in utter and complete lust for a complete loser: a gambling addict with major debt and the wrong sort of men breathing down his collar. Though she doesn't kiss and tell, we're given to understand that this guy has a complete hold on her budding sexuality. Of course things are bound to go very wrong with at least one person marked for a vicious murder. While this little novel delivered the goods and gave an unusual look at the underworld from a woman's perspective, I felt like I may as well have spent my time on one of the original masters of hardboiled crime, since I've yet to discover all the classics. For those who have, this is a good way to get a fix of noir.

May 16, 2012, 9:40pm Top

#134 Paul, I'm glad you've taken my refusal with such grace. Though of course you would, wouldn't you? being such an all around great guy and all! :-)

May 16, 2012, 10:20pm Top

72. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye ★★★★
(Read for May Murder & Mayhem and 12/12 Category #8: Hot Off the Press)

This historical fiction novel is set in New York city in the mid-1840s, when a huge wave of Irish immigrants arrived following the Potato Famine. It describes how the New York police force was created in 1845, and is told from the point of view of a young man, Tim Wilde, who was more or less forced against his will into becoming a policeman following tragic circumstances. Having lost his parents in a fire which consumed the family home, Tim's only remaining family is his troubled older brother Val (for Valentine), who lives a life of complete debauchery but who's political connections guaranteed him a post as a Captain of the "copper stars". For his part, Tim gets stuck on the beat of Ward 6, which is described as one of the most wretchedly poor neighbourhoods of the city. Tim is embittered about the state of his life and hates his new job, but one night things take a dramatic turn when he discovers a little girl no older than six wandering in a nightgown drenched in blood. Shortly after, the mutilated body of another child is discovered, and Tim begins to make connections which will lead him to search for what may be the city's first serial killer.

This was a great story very well told which definitely pulled me in. I'm not sure if I was more shocked by some of the gruesome scenes involving children or by the treatment the Irish immigrants suffered—evidenced not only by elements of the story, but also by texts quoted from documents published at the time. It certainly made for a fascinating read. I wasn't entirely convinced with the ending at first, but now that I've taken some distance from it, find it was very well woven into the story after all. Best of all, I got the distinct impression there would be a sequel, which I'll no doubt pounce on as soon as it's released.

Edited: Jul 6, 2012, 4:09pm Top

73. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes ★★★★
(Read for May Murder & Mayhem and 12/12 Category #5: The Dark Side)

How to describe this nutty plot? During a wake in the small hours of the morning, a preacher falls out the window from the third floor apartment and miraculously falls into a basket filled with bread sitting on the sidewalk, a shipment bound for the convenience store it sits in front of. The preacher makes his way back up to the apartment where the drunken guests are surprised to see him appear at the front door and refuse to believe his story. He invites them to see the bread basket for themselves, but when they all crowd at the window, they find another man laying in the bread, stabbed dead. A police investigation follows, during which all the attendants of the wake are questioned in turn. Of course, all the guests are connected to one another in some way, most of them have secrets to hide which are revealed in due course, but which one killed Val? Detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are out to find out.

Another fun romp into the 60s Harlem of Chester Himes, where gambling, booze, women, and strange characters are mingled in unique ways. Plenty of violence, but plenty of humour too make this a most intriguing crime series. I couldn't expect this book to be as good as the first in the series, A Rage in Harlem, but it held it's own and definitely made me want to discover the next instalment of the Harlem Cycle.

May 16, 2012, 10:44pm Top

Lots going on here as per usual. Not a fan of chicken pies myself though I might ask my kids if they want me to have a go at making those ones. Once again you have been reading/listening to lots of good stuff.

May 16, 2012, 10:47pm Top

Kerry, I can't imagine going through all the trouble of making those chicken pies if you're not keen on them yourself, which shows just how generous you are to be willing to have a go at it.

I've still got several books left to review, but it'll just have to wait as it's already getting quite late over here.

May 16, 2012, 10:58pm Top

Looking back on this last month, life is a blur. Work is consuming my energy and the addition of a new puppy equates to the fact that I have little time and energy. I feel so out of touch with my LT friends.

I quickly scanned messages on your thread. I certainly can relate to your comments regarding people who seem to suck the energy from us, and I understand how it feels to be very sensitive to others moods and energy levels.

I'm working on trying very hard to set boundaries. I am indeed a highly overly sensitive person. I always have been. I'm able to quickly pick up vibes about and from others. It is a curse and a blessing.

The chicken pot pie sounds ever so lovely and I want to make this as soon as things slow down.

Hugs to you dear one!

May 16, 2012, 11:22pm Top

Ilana, good to know about the food processor. Thanks so much for the French toast recipe - we love to do brunch, so that's a perfect addition which I will not hesitate in trying. It sounds delicious! You have been busy - lovely reviews. I have Gods of Gotham in my TBR already, but I really need to get the first in the Chester Himes because it intrigues me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - I always love reading your reviews!

May 16, 2012, 11:59pm Top

-136 Ilana I had just started blushing at the Megan Abbott book cover when I read your message - aww shucks. x

May 17, 2012, 7:06am Top

The pot pie looks fantastic! I should pass this one on to my wife, who also makes a good P.P. My request for the audio of Gods of Gotham was rejected, for some reason but I really NEED to read this one. Just my cuppa!

May 17, 2012, 11:02am Top

just letting you know that I'm lurking even though I don't have time to read in depth or say much

Edited: May 17, 2012, 2:48pm Top

Nice reviews, Ilana! Gods of Gotham sounds intriguing, and you've underscored for me that I need to give Chester Himes a try.

May 17, 2012, 3:52pm Top

Hi - just want you to know, it's the homemade chicken broth, etc. that scares me off. But you are so right about the taste. I have no fear of pie crust as many seem to... and I can't figure why.

Orange flower water? What's that and where do you get it?
Must be something that Bridget (my daughter) would know about from one of those health food stores :)

You are doing great with reading and reviews.
My reading has been almost as slow as Ron's :PPP
No time for M&M for me :(
At least I might have more time now.

May 17, 2012, 10:03pm Top

#141 Linda, I hope things slow down a little bit for you soon so you have time to enjoy each day's blessings as they come. A new puppy sure is exciting, but it's also a whole lot of work! Just like brining a newborn home, I'm sure. Thanks for dropping by, and don't worry, we'll all still be here when you have time to keep up with LT again, though for the record, I don't know of anyone who is managing to keep up with this chatty group. I tried to all of last year, and even when I spent entire days here, could barely manage it...

#142 Thanks Mamie! I was going to write more reviews tonight, but it's not going to happen. It's already getting late, and after a long day spent in the art studio with all the paint fumes, I'm just about ready to conk out!

#143 Paul, so sweet to think that Queenpin cover had you blushing! I wonder what it must be like for you when I post images of all the nudes I paint in class! I'll be posting some of those soon actually! ;-)

#144 Mark, I do agree that you'll probably LOVE The Gods of Gotham. I'm already looking forward to the sequel. Have no idea when it's coming out, but they mention it on Amazon. How weird that your reservation was rejected! They can do that? Why?

#145 Hi Ellen, thanks for delurking. I know you're a busy lady, and always appreciate your visits, no matter what.

#146 Hi Joe! I must say Chester Himes does write up some pretty funny characters and situations. I'll be curious to see what you have to say about him when you get to read some of his books.

#147 Hi Claudia, so is this it?? Has the big move happened? Guess I'll have to drop by your thread to see what the recent developments are...

Orange flower water is used in lots of Middle Eastern deserts. It's sometimes sold in supermarkets here in the world foods section. We also have lots of Middle Eastern grocery shops that stock it. I don't know if they'd have it at health food stores, but they might. I just did a quick google search and found this: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/orange-flower-water

May 17, 2012, 10:15pm Top

oooo - nice! A dessert thing for French toast. I use the same ingredients for my French toast (except the orange flower water). Now I'll have to try it. Sounds great :) Thanks for the link.

Yes. The BIG MOVE has happened and very successful. We are all happy.
I'm still exhausted. You know how that feels, right?
Sleep well tonight! I'm on my way...

May 17, 2012, 11:10pm Top

#149 Claudia, if ever you don't like the orange blossom water in your food, you can always put a drop behind each ear and wear it as cologne! :-)

Just coming back from your thread and THRILLED things are going so well for you and your mom.

May 17, 2012, 11:31pm Top

Checking in on you today - hope it was a good one, and that you get a good night's rest. Can't wait to try the French toast recipe, so must hunt down the orange blossom water. I am loving Persuasion, aren't you?

May 18, 2012, 4:44am Top

Passing thru - Have a great weekend.....

May 18, 2012, 6:56am Top

The chicken pie is beautiful and I bet tasted as good as it looked.

Orange Flower water, lovely.

Finally -- v. acute summation of The Ballad of Peckham Rye - it is a strange book, one in which Spark's interest in wickedness - not the dramatic kind, but the everyday kind - is very evident, almost 'stylized' or an allegory or something. It's really the writing, sentence to sentence that keeps it alive, no?

May 18, 2012, 3:21pm Top

Just saying "hi" for now, before I'll try and get through the 67 unread posts.

May 18, 2012, 9:38pm Top

OK - I bought "Orange Blossom Water" - please tell me that is the same thing. (It came from Beirut, I think!)
Can't wait to try it.

After putting my friends through all my agonizing over Mom - I really hope now that a good portion of my happiness is being passed on too.
Have a wonderful weekend :-)
Hugs and more hugs! xx

Edited: May 18, 2012, 11:34pm Top

It was an emotionally draining day today, what with an appointment with a psychiatrist the insurance company requested I see for an external expert opinion. All this to determine whether I'm likely or not to ever return to work because they want a gov't agency to pay part of my disability revenues. Of course, I'm too young for anyone to say I won't ever work again, but it seems that statistically (after so many years already) and considering the chronic nature of my depression, it's likely I won't. On paper, anyway. As I said, draining.

Fun appointment with my OT right after though (she's in the same medical building). We talked about ways to get me more creative... working more creativity into to my non-routine-like routine.

It's late now, so off to bed very soon.

#151 Mamie, Persuasion is growing on me, but I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it much without Liz's priceless tuition. She really helps to bring out aspects of the novel that wouldn't occur to me if I were reading it on my own.

#152 Hi Alex! Everyone has Monday off here, so it's a long weekend for us. We're expecting great weather, so everyone will be out of town probably. I'm not going anywhere though.

#153 Hi Lucy! It does indeed taste as good as it looks.

I'm glad you liked my take on Peckham Rye. Right after I finished it, I wondered what I could possibly say about it when came time to review it, because it really left me scratching my head and wondering what the heck just happened. But I can see it's a novel I'll want to revisit, because there were plenty of intriguing elements to it, and Dougal Douglas/Douglas Dougal is certainly a unique character!

#154 Hi Nathalie! Take your time catching up here. It took me the better part of a week to catch up with you, as I was reading one summary a day or so... Nothing nearly as interesting to be found here I'm afraid!

#155 Wow, that was fast Claudia! And yes, Orange Blossom and Orange Flower Water are the same. And yes, I believe it is mostly made in Lebanon. That's where mine comes from too, so you're in business. I really like using that 12-grain bread because it has a lot of texture and crunch to it, which adds to the overall experience... as opposed to chewing into mushy bread, aside from the fact that it's more nutritious. But of course, that's a matter of preference.

You haven't "put your friends through" anything. I'm sure everyone was very happy to be there for you. I'm glad they were there in any case, because I was who knows where all that time!

The weekend is looking good. Tomorrow is a day of complete R&R for me. Then Sunday and Monday I'm having guests over. So maybe my day of "complete Rn'R" will actually have to include housecleaning...


Edited: May 18, 2012, 11:47pm Top

One last thing:

there's a 48-hour sale on at Audible on a selection of titles, and I'm considering getting the following:

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (just for fun—it came up in other sales and I let it go)
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (it's been on my wishlist for a while)
A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd - it's actually the 11th book in the Ian Rutledge series, which is new to me, so I'm not sure about it, advice?
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse - after Steppenwolf I told myself I would never read Hesse again, but this is supposed to be his greatest work apparently.
Frederica by Georgette Heyer - I've never read any Heyer and would never have considered doing so before, but now that I've read some Jane Austen and enjoyed it... and after seeing glowing reviews by LTers... maybe I'll like it? There are two other titles by her on offer too: The Quiet Gentleman and The Toll-Gate. Does anyone recommend one over the others?

I also had Packing for Mars and The Emperor of all Maladies in my shopping cart for a while, but I'm not sure I'm that interested in space travel and definitely not keen on reading about cancer so... hmmm. Also don't want to spend too much, so want to limit myself to 4-5 titles.

Will finalize my purchase, but suggestions are welcome in the meantime!

May 19, 2012, 2:08am Top

Commenting while reading:

LOVE the youtube clip! I've never seen a cat eating like that. Mimi has very good manners! But how long does it take her to finish her meal?

Dog strollers: my parents had one for our Jack Russel terrier Emma. She was 20 when she died and during the last 2-3 years she couldn't walk well anymore, although otherwise she was healthy and happy. So this was the way to have her with us on walks. She never liked to stay at home alone and was very happy in her stroller - and also a little arrogant, barking at the other dogs that had to walk while she was all comfortable in her bed with wheels.

That chicken pot pie looks delicious, I'll save the recipe for a rainy weekend when I have enough time to go through all those preparation steps.

I've been looking for The Glass Bead Game in my library and in the local book shops lately, but didn't find it. I am a little scared of it, because even the greatest Hesse fans back at school described it as 'dreary'. On the other hand, maybe it's one of the Hesse books that appeal more to adult readers. I'll definitely read it some time soon. Didn't get the audible version though, as I want to read it in German.
Maybe you should try Siddharta first. It's short and also esoteric, though in a good way I thought.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 2:14am Top

So having shoved Madeline towards Gothic novels, I've shoved you towards Georgette Heyer? Excellent! :)

I'd recommend just about all of the Heyers, truly, but Frederica happens to be a personal fave - and it has a dog subplot I'm sure you'd appreciate!. Like The Quiet Gentleman, it plays games with romantic cliches. The Toll-Gate is more of an adventure-romance.

May 19, 2012, 3:27am Top

Oh yes, you should enjoy the Heyers. And I watched your clip of Mimi a few days ago and forgot to comment - very elegant.
I'm staying clear of audible at present, I have such a backlog of audiobooks to listen to still.

May 19, 2012, 3:47am Top

Hope your draining Friday allows you a lovely book-filled weekend. Interesting purchases upcoming although you're a brave one with the Hesse - I have hated his work with a passion and don't expect you'll find the Glass Bead Game any different but here's hoping to be wrong.

May 19, 2012, 8:26am Top

I join with those who weren't taken with The Glass Bead Game, Ilana. Siddhartha is a shorter, more enjoyable, and more interesting read, IMHO. But (no surprise), if Buddhism doesn't interest you at all, it may not suit you either.

I've enjoyed Georgette Heyer, too.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 2:23pm Top

Well, Nathalie, Paul and Joe,you've all convinced me that The Glass Bead Game is probably not where I want to be spending my time and money right now. I did read Hesse's Siddharta a decade ago and thought it was quite good, but was quite turned off by Steppenwolf when I read it in 2009. Not that there's comparing the two, but I have a feeling I'll enjoy Georgette Heyer more.

Gorgeous day here today, warm and sunny. I'll be taking Coco out for a walk in a bit. Haven't done much with my morning other than tidy the kitchen a little and make another batch of French toast, then stop by the Persuasion thread for my daily dose of tutoring. Someone posted a link to an interesting Guardian article which appeared today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/18/ten-questions-jane-austen

#158 Nathalie, as may be expected, Mimi takes quite a while getting through her meals, though she's not above resorting to eating directly with her mouth when she's particularly hungry!

I feel bad about making fun of dog strollers now, knowing your parents had one. Who knows? I may eat my words someday if I find I need to get one too, though I don't know if I could get over the embarrassment. Mind you, with Coco it's just as easy taking him under my arm or putting him in a carrier since he weighs just 8 lbs (approx 3.6 kilos).

I don't know why I even considered getting The Glass Bead Game since I was quite determined not to read anymore of Hesse's books. But an Audible sale does strange things to me and suddenly I start wanting books I would have never wanted otherwise!

#159 Liz, how did I know you were a Georgette Heyer fan? A lucky guess maybe? ;-)
I'm tempted to get both Frederica and The Quiet Gentleman, because both plots appeal to me, but I think I should play it safe and just get one novel for now... unless I get both and get you to tutor me through them to ensure I don't miss any of the humour! :-)

#160 You know, for all her elegance, my dear Mimi does manage to make quite a mess sometimes. She sometimes shakes her paw when it's obviously filled with pâté and gets it all over the walls and window... but it's a small sacrifice to pay for the smiles she generates in the process.

I shouldn't be buying anything from Audible either considering I have some 120 audiobooks in my "to read" collection at the moment, but then, I have 530 physical books on my tbr and that doesn't stop me from getting more of those either... and at least audiobooks don't take up any space!

#161 Paul, I thank you for steering me away from a bad decision. Life is to short and time flies by too fast to be spending it reading works one would rather pass over. At the very worst, I'll have missed a book there's a very remote chance I might have enjoyed, but that would just be one among tens of thousands others I'll never have time to read in this lifetime!

#162 Joe, I have had some interest in Buddhism, which for a time, seemed to me the only organize religion which might suit my character. It's been so long since I read Siddharta that I'll probably want to read it again eventually, but otherwise, I think I'll steer clear from Mr. HH.

Is it safe to presume that Jane Austen fans are likely to be Georgette Heyer fans as well?

May 19, 2012, 2:54pm Top

Don't worry about the strollers, Ilana. They ARE funny, and it needs some courage using them in town. God, we were laughed at so often, at least in Germany. And I know I would have laughed as well. And then Emma was barking not only at dogs, but also at people out of that stroller. She clearly felt safe and strong in there. The Italians here however quite loved it and some even took photos.

Problem was Emma didn't stay at home alone, she used to whine and bark for hours, so the neighbours complained, and my parents never educated her.

I'll read The Glass Bead Game at some point, but not right now, I have too many difficult books going.

May 19, 2012, 3:01pm Top

#164 Oh good, I'm relieved you weren't offended and saw the humour in the situation too Nathalie. That lady at the vet's was the first time I'd seen someone carrying their dogs that way. NO, WAIT!... I think I had seen someone using a stroller for their dogs once, but I may have dismissed it as just some freak that time. Now I know better. Or do I ;-)

Book news:

I finished listening to Stettin Station by David Downing last night, to my sad regret. I really took to this third instalment in the John Russell series, for the story and characters and for Simon Prebble's reading. Unfortunately, Audible has only produced these three books in the series so far, so if I want to continue I'll have to purchase the others in paper format, which isn't so bad, but will take me much longer to get to.

Started the audio of The Maze Runner. Wasn't so keen at first about the reader's approach. It's a YA novel, but does he have to narrate as if he's reading to a younger audience? I know I wouldn't have appreciated that at all even in my teens. But the buildup is working it's magic and I'm dying to find out what is going on in this strange world.

Making slow but steady progress on Persuasion, as mentioned above. I must finish it this month before embarking on another tutored read, which will be for Wolf Hall next, which I imagine will be quite a bit more demanding. I'm feeling quite nervous about it and already considering asking Suzanne (my tutor) whether she'd mind dedicating more than a month to it, since it's quite a large tome.

Making slow but steady progress on The Worst Hard Time, but don't know how many other physical books I'll be able to fit in this month, though I had plenty more planned... I'd really like to fit in the Jane Harris and Elizabeth Taylor, but we'll see...

May 19, 2012, 3:34pm Top

Hi Ilana, for some reason I'm craving chicken pot pie. My husband doesn't care for it (silly man) so I sometimes "cheat" and buy the Marie Callendar frozen version. Not too bad, but it might be worth a trip to Canada to sit at your table. Mimi can certainly join us! Lol.

There is a crazy man around here who rides his bike with his little terrier in a basket on the handlebars. It is so cute to see...but I fear an accident is waiting to happen. The dog and cat strollers look much safer.

Wow, a tutored read of Wolf Hall. I'll be lurking on that one. I've read it but I'm sure much of the history got lost in translation to my American brain. I found the character of Thomas Cromwell as depicted by Ms. Mantel to be fascinating. You will enjoy it so much with Suzanne as your guide.

May 19, 2012, 7:41pm Top

#166 Hi Donna! Nice to see you in these parts, as always. I'd love to invite you over to share some of my pot pies. That would be a fun LT get-together eh?

I was a bit mortified by your description of the crazy man with the dog in his basket. When I got Coco two years ago (it was our anniversary on the 17th—forgot to mention it!), I also got my bicycle AND a little basket to attach to the front so I could... take Coco around with me. I was amazed at how willing he was to get inside and travel around with me. I guess he was so happy to find a loving home and mum that he was willing to go anywhere by any means with me. I stuck to the cycling paths and quiet streets and walked through busy intersections to make sure nothing terrible happened. I haven't used my bicycle since however, and it's been sitting there forlorn and unused unfortunately.

I do look forward to my tutored read of Wolf Hall, but am also a bit daunted by it. It's a whole different reading experience and demands quite a lot more attention and time and this is a pretty big book, so... we'll see how it goes. But you'll be more than welcome on the thread of course!

I've invited my best friend Kim to come over for a birthday meal tomorrow. It was her birthday last Monday and now that we have a few nice warm (too warm!) days, we'll be able to sit on my little balcony among the trees. I still haven't decided whether I'll serve chicken pot pies or lamb chops on the grill. The pot pies are much less work at this point because I still need to clean the grill and don't know if I'll have time to now, though I have been eating them this week so it won't be as special for me. I got a bottle of wine for each possibility. Haven't had wine in ages, so I look forward to it. And of course to seeing my friend! She'll come over in the afternoon and I've reserved her evening as well, so probably won't be able to visit LT much, what with morning taken up with preparations.

Next stop: reviews. I'll do as many as I can in the next hour. Then I'm off to do chores. Or read. Hmmm... that's a tough choice! :-)

May 19, 2012, 7:54pm Top

74. ♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri ★★★½
(Read for May Murder & Mayhem)

When Montalbano accidentally discovers a murdered woman naked and suffocated on her bed, there are plenty of complications and likely suspects. One of them is a slow-witted young man who was seen at her home. Another is her husband, who was fully aware that his wife had lovers on the side. And how come she had a home built just for herself? And why did she always carry a fortune in jewels in her purse? As he questions various acquaintances and friends of the deceased beauty, he can't help but fall for her friend Anna, a younger woman who clearly likes him a lot. Meanwhile, things aren't going well with his girlfriend Livia, who is putting on the pressure to get married. I enjoyed the ride, but must admit the resolution of the murder left me quite confused. But that could be because my mind was wandering. Not an ending anyone is likely to guess at, in any case!

May 19, 2012, 8:06pm Top

Hi Ilana!
Have fun with your friend and the birthday party - sounds lovely.
Did a lot of entertaining today and now I'm pooped! And very full...
Tomorrow I think I will start cleaning out/painting the bedroom suite my Mom was in and we will go back to very very soon. We were going to wallpaper upstairs but I changed my mind. We are anxious to get back into our old room - so I'll start there. The wallpaper can wait. Truthfully, neither of us want to do it very much but I know it will look nice when done. Still feeling kinda scattered around here. It will come together someday.

I want to read Wolf Hall too - please let me know when you are doing it and where Suzanne's thread is as I might lurk a bit.
I'm totally undisciplined with my time. Think I will have to start scheduling hours of my day for things I am determined to do and NOT miss - like reading!

hugs for you and furkids xox

Edited: May 19, 2012, 9:05pm Top

75. ✔ The Glass Room by Simon Mawer ★★★★⅓
(Read for 12/12 Category #3: Picked for me - chosen from my shelves at random by LTers - chosen by DeltaQueen50)

A gorgeous and elegantly told story about a Czech couple, Viktor and Liesl Landauer who meet an architect while they are honeymooning in Venice and ask him to design a house for them. Viktor, a Jewish man, is the head of Landauer motors, and as such very wealthy, and at the end of the 1920s, he has distinct ideas about what his house should be like: the opposite of the decorative classical style of previous generations; Czechoslovakia is a new country with what is believed to be a bright future, and he wants a house which exemplifies a new way of living. The architect is more interested in creating a space, or a work of art for people to live in than anything resembling a traditional home, and so the Landauer house is built, and as it's pièce de résistance is a living room contained within walls of glass with a huge slab of onyx used to separate the space; a tremendously costly and self-indulgent design element which they nonetheless can afford. The house causes much debate among those who believe it to be a triumph of minimalist design and those who claim it to be more suited to industry than to family living. The Landauer mansion, is based on a real house: the Villa Tugendhat, designed in the late 1920s by Mies van der Rohe and it is immediately clear that it is the main character of the novel, through which we get an intimate glimpse into the Landauer marriage, with both Viktor and Liesl claiming to be absolutely transparent and true to one another, much like the Glass Room itself, though of course both have their secret loves and betrayals. They enjoy ten years in their unique home which is the centre of much attention, with frequent elegant parties to which celebrated musicians are invited to perform on the grand piano. As Hitler's Germany comes to power, Viktor is at first unwilling to accept that things are as bad as they seem for the Jews, but the family nonetheless escapes just in time to avoid deportation to the camps, leaving their beloved Landauer House behind as well as a big piece of Viktor's life and heart. But through the war, then the Russian occupation, then the creation of a communist state, the house is occupied by various tenants. They are in turn visited by Liesl's best friend, Hana Hanakova, who has remained behind and kept an attachment to the home of the woman she once declared her love to.

This is a beautiful novel, filled with a deep sense of melancholy, and unfulfilled dreams. The house as a central character, occupied during WWII and communism, was very reminiscent of Jenny Erpenbeck's Visitation, though the novels are very different in the stories they tell and the fates of the buildings themselves. While Erpenbeck's house slowly falls to ruins, the Landauer mansion eventually becomes a museum, preserved for all time. I loved this novel and was particularly taken with the story of the house itself, the Landauer family and Hana, and the complex relationships they form. I felt however that I was reading quite a different novel when the house becomes used as a gymnasium in communist times and was sorry to be taken away from the Landauers, though this is very much a personal preference, and takes nothing away from what I consider to be a fantastic piece of literature which is well worth taking the time to savour. 2009 was a strong year for the Booker Prize, and this novel definitely deserved it's place among the other selections on the shortlist.

May 19, 2012, 8:56pm Top

#169 Hi Claudia. Sorry I didn't respond before. I was busy busy with the above review.

I'm amazed at how quickly you're forming plans for the extra space you have on your hands. I guess this is normal, but why the rush?

I'm completely undisciplined with my time as well. This is something I'm very slowly working on with the OT I've started seeing several weeks ago. It'll take some time to build up anything like a workable and productive routine.

I'll for sure let you know about the Wolf Hall thread. I'll post the link to it as soon as it's up right here as hope there are lots of visitor and commenters there when the time comes.

May 19, 2012, 8:59pm Top

Talking about carrying Coco around and my mind flashed to the idea of a front pack for carrying a dog, and yes, they already make those.

May 19, 2012, 9:04pm Top

#171 LOL! :-)

May 19, 2012, 9:23pm Top

Great review, Ilana! for you!

"I'm amazed at how quickly you're forming plans for the extra space you have on your hands. I guess this is normal, but why the rush?"

Well - see - here's the story. About 6 years ago we had an addition put on our house... on the first floor a humongus master bedroom, sitting/reading room, large walk-in closet, and large bathroom - with a huge garage underneath.
I designed it myself and it was a 6 month ordeal to get it built - but it turned out just the way we hoped. In our opinion - it is awesome. It blends in beautifully with the rest of the house.
It became apparent three years ago Mom had to move in with us when she could not live alone. We gave up this "suite" of rooms which blended in with the main level of the rest of the house for her privacy, ease and safety. We moved up to the second floor in one of the guest rooms which is a nice room - but - not OUR dream rooms.
While Mom had the perfect setup and it was the appropriate thing to do - we have missed our bedroom very much.

Time discipline: If you ever figure this one out, please write a book, get rich, and let us all know how it's done! I'll want to send my copy for autographing!

Have a great weekend!

May 19, 2012, 10:15pm Top

Thanks for the thumb Claudia my dear. Always very encouraging to get one, especially when I've put my brain through all those contortions to try to get a decent impression on what is a small masterpiece. Phew! Glad that's over!

Thanks also for explaining about the home addition. That must have been such an exciting project! And I completely understand now why you'd be ultra keen to reintegrate your fantasy suite. But hey—I'm an invalid... can I move in next?? :-D

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your messages. For some reason I'm feeling incredibly anxious and depressed today and restless today. I was hoping to get a million things done around the house, which is incredibly dirty and messy at this point, so it would be nicer for Kim to come into, but NADA. Did nothing. Then there's so many things I want to do, but I also want to read and catch up with my friends here on LT, all of which I've been neglecting most awfully. Why do the days fly by so fast? It seems I've barely finished sipping my coffee in the morning that I already have to think of getting myself to bed! Arghhhh!

May 19, 2012, 11:01pm Top

Superb review of The Glass Room, Ilana! It is certainly one of the best books I've read that was nominated for but didn't win the Booker Prize, and had it been written in practically any year in this century other than 2009, it probably would have been the prize winner.

As you said, 2009 was a very strong year for the Booker, as Wolf Hall, The Children's Book, Brooklyn, Love and Summer, Summertime and Heliopolis were all superb novels, IMO. I suspect that this year will be equally as good, if not better.

May 19, 2012, 11:28pm Top

#176 Oh My! Thanks Darryl, such a compliment coming from you is indeed quite an honour!

The only books from the 2009 Booker bunch I've read so far are Brooklyn and The Children's Book. I thought the latter brilliant, but I did not like the former (from my review: "I find it offensive to suggest that Eilis Lacey is the most memorable character contemporary fiction has to offer in this day and age" I rather thought she was spineless and it got on my nerves). Wolf Hall is up next, and Heliopolis is on my TBR.

I've been meaning to visit your thread today, but am so behind on all the threads that it's taken me forever to just visit a handful today. I'll make my way there soon. I saw you added A Mind of Winter to your collections, so am guessing you also won it from ER?

May 19, 2012, 11:40pm Top

You're quite welcome, Ilana. Your comments about The Glass Room reminded me how much I loved that book. I bought his latest novel when I was in NYC two weeks ago; the reviews of it (titled Trapeze in the US, and The Girl Who Fell From the Sky in the UK) have been good, but most have suggested that it's far less meaty than The Glass Room.

You're not alone in not liking Brooklyn, and I agree that Eilis was a maddening character. However, she did remind me of people I have known in the past, so I was able to relate to her more than other readers, I suspect, and Tóibín's writing was divine.

I did win A Mind of Winter from the LT Early Reviewers program, which came in the mail today. I'll read it soon, possibly as early as this coming week.

Edited: May 20, 2012, 7:16am Top

Oh, I forgot to congratulate you on reaching the 75 book mark, Ilana. Well done!

Edited: May 20, 2012, 7:48am Top

Hi Ilana- Congrats on 75! Wow. Very impressive. Funny, I just heard about Simon Mawer the other day, when they were praising his latest, Trapeze on BOTNS. Lovely review of the Glass Room. I NEED to get a copy of that one.

ETA- I'm nearly done with What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories. This is an excellent collection and a perfect audio. I love it when they use a different narrator for each story.

May 20, 2012, 8:47am Top

I think you are just so creative, full of ideas, and talented in so many things, it's inevitable that you want to do everything. I too have an issue with time slipping by too fast - a common complaint, I'm afraid.
I know what you mean about the days flying by and still so much you want to do that's left undone. I'm getting more mellow about that - maybe it's old age. I'm trying to scale down my expectations of myself so I can take pleasure in the small things that do get accomplished.

I give you my blessing to communicate with me on your thread so don't worry about visiting mine... really. I'll come to you. If I can give you even a moment's relief, I'm happy. :)
Well, shoot! I'm happy today anyway!

May 20, 2012, 9:50am Top

Hi Ilana. I keep seeing good reviews of The Gods of Gotham so that's been added to my wishlist - thank you!

#156 Sorry to hear about the draining Friday - completely understandable though, I'm always wiped out by appointments like that.

#170 For some reason I'd got the idea that I wouldn't like The Glass Room but after reading your review I went over to the book page and saw quite a few other positive reviews from people in the group. Hmm, perhaps one to try from the library at some point?

#175 Sorry to hear your Saturday wasn't good. I often find I have days like that after days which have been particularly full/draining. I hope you have a good time with Kim today.

May 20, 2012, 10:10am Top

Wonderful review of The Glass Room. Houses as characters in themselves, it's a fascinating topic.

May 20, 2012, 2:02pm Top

Hi Ilana, I hope you are having a lovely weekend. Glad to see the book I randomly chose for you was a good read. I am another huge fan of Georgette Heyer, I often turn to her for comfort reads, so happy to see you are going to give her a try.

May 20, 2012, 6:03pm Top

Hi Ilana! Congrats on 75!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited: May 20, 2012, 6:11pm Top

Joining others in praise of your review, Ilana. I've put The Glass Room on hold at the library; I've not been familiar with Mawer, but he's been getting a bit of LT discussion of late. I'm looking at the list of Booker nominees in 2009 and there are several that I would like to read.

With your permission, I'd also like to lurk on your tutored read of Wolf Hall. I have owned it for months and still haven't gotten around to reading it..... Now that Bring Up the Bodies has been released, my sense of urgency about reading the former is increasing.....

eta: Congrats on reaching 75!

May 20, 2012, 11:28pm Top

Hello everyone, both lurkers and commenters. Thanks for dropping by today. It's been a strange day to be sure. Cancelled all plans because was in a deep funk. Spent a few hours reading in a park, which was nice. Was hoping to finish The Worst Hard Time, which I can't say I'm loving all that much... Now my eyes are stinging from fatigue, so it looks like I'm too tired to keep up with my own thread at the moment! I did try to get on earlier in the evening but LT seemed to be down for quite a while? I'll be back to comment tomorrow.

Edited: May 21, 2012, 3:21am Top

I hope you are feeling better today, Ilana.

Congratulations on reaching the 75 so early!

Are the tutored reads limited to one month? I found WH a very intense read. But it was also challenging language-wise, so probably much easier for you native speakers. I'm sure there will be much to discuss, especially in the first part. I needed to look up people and events on wikipedia constantly to understand what was going on (but again: no English history background).

I agreee with the others: great review of The Glass Room! And I need to get to those Camilleri books soon.

May 21, 2012, 7:58am Top

Sorry to hear you are struggling. *hugs*

May 21, 2012, 8:09am Top

Strange days happen. I'm sorry things didn't work out the way you hoped. Funk-be-gone hugs for you! {{{Ilana}}}

Wanna come help me paint? You can do your pictures on my walls and I'll do the windows and trim LOL

May 21, 2012, 10:20am Top

Another huzzah for your The Glass Room review, Ilana. And I love Camilleri.

>167 Smiler69: Buddhism is the only one that really makes sense to me, but then a lot of people wonder about my senses. Not sure it's really a religion; more a way of experiencing the world from my POV. Kindness and compassion, right conduct, etc., are always a good thing.

Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer - very different writing (although I haven't read much Heyer yet), but you may be onto something. I suspect there's a large overlap in readers who like both.

May 21, 2012, 1:21pm Top

I'm pretty sure this latest funk is a result with my appointment with the psychiatrist in charge of evaluating me on Friday. Being asked about all the low points in my life over a 45 minute period with no view to actually bettering my state was very dispiriting, to say the least. But hopefully the insurance company will get what they want out of it and leave me alone from now on.

I called Kim yesterday just to tell her that I hoped she didn't mind me being low and my place being in utter shambles, but when she told me she wasn't well and was having difficulty eating, we agreed it was best to put off the belated birthday celebrations to another time.

Today is a holiday here, so no watercolours class. I had originally asked my father to perhaps come over so I could draw his portrait again, but I'm not sure I'm up to that either. Still feeling quite out of sorts, and I've learned from experience that I need to feel strong when I see him, or things are all too likely to take a bad turn. So. Another day dedicated to reading, looks like.

Thanks for the thumbs on my review of The Glass Room and making it one of the hot reviews. That's always very rewarding.

#178-79 Darryl, I'll wait for your comments on The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (they've kept that title here in Canada, and I much prefer it!) before getting it myself, though I'm already looking forward to reading it. I'm sure it's still very good albeit "less meaty"; The Glass Room was a carnivore's delight, so to speak, but I quite like vegetarian meals as well! :-)

On the other hand, I won't be reading your review of A Mind of Winter until I've written my own, since I'll be reading it in near future too, though not so soon as you and don't want to be too influenced by your opinion of it in this case.

Thanks for the congrats. Must say I was quite pleased to reach 75 already, though of course poetry anthologies helped me get there that much faster.

#180 Mark, I find it wonderful that Simon Mawer is the talk of LT all of the sudden what with this new novel out now. I looked up what they had at the library and will be borrowing a couple of his older books in future (Mendel's Dwarf and The Fall), though of course I look forward to his latest effort. I'll either wait for it to come out on softcover or till the library gets a copy though—goodness knows I've got enough reading material to pass the time in the meanwhile!

#181 I'm trying to scale down my expectations of myself so I can take pleasure in the small things that do get accomplished.

Claudia, I try to do the same too, but I get the impression I'll still need quite a few years of practice before I actually fully get there. Must say on days I take my art classes, I do feel quite the sense of accomplishment, but am too bloody tired then to fully appreciate it!

#182 Heather, you couldn't pick two more different books than The Gods of Gotham and The Glass Room, but I greatly enjoyed them both and hopefully you will too.

#183 I agree it's a fascinating topic Lucy. I want to say so much more about it, because am filled with impressions on the topic, but can't find the right words, so will leave it at that for now. Only that I wouldn't mind reading more stories about houses. It's like a fulfillment of that wish that walls could talk!

#184 Judy, I'd been meaning to swing by your thread for thanking you for randomly picking a book I ended up loving so much.

As for Georgette Heyer, the last time I read a romance novel, I was 15 and in a Harlequin romance phase, to my great shame. Am not keen on the genre, but we'll see... maybe now that I've learned to appreciate Jane Austen as more than a romance writer, I'll be able to enjoy the humour in actual romance books!

#185 Thanks Laura!

May 21, 2012, 1:53pm Top

#186 Ellen, the tutoring threads are there to benefit everyone, so of course you've got my blessing to visit and comment whenever you like. The only "rule" is that visitors must respect the tutee's pace and not discuss anything that happens further ahead than what has already been covered, to avoid any possible spoilers. Granted, Wolf Hall is based on historical facts, but since I know so very little (nothing, really) about that time, it'll more or less all be new to me.

Something tells me you'll really like The Glass Room. I was really glad I followed up on Darryl's glowing review and purchased the book right away. It's very likely I may want to read it again eventually.

Interesting tidbit about the Villa Tugendhat, on which The Glass Room was based: I had a long conversation on the phone with my friend Kim yesterday and was telling her that I was quite sure she would very much enjoy this novel. Her partner is Czech and they have been there many times, including to Brno, where the villa is situated, as they have family there. Kim has a degree in environmental design, which similar to a degree in architecture, minus the engineering part. As such, she has a passion for architecture, and considers Mies Van der Rohe as a demigod. I suspected she must have visited the Tugendhat house, and she confirmed that she did and that it was one of the most powerful experiences in visiting a building for her. We discussed various aspect about the family that built it and the house itself, and it seems Mawer based himself on many factual details. Kim said she's taken many pictures of the house and will send me some, which I look forward to. I'll probably post some on my blog when I publish my review there.

#188 Nathalie, tutored reads are very different from group reads in that the tutee determines the pace and can take as long or as little time as he/she wants. I want to touch base with Suzanne about this, because I doubt very much that it'll take me just one month to get through Wolf Hall. For one thing, it's a big novel and very dense; I have no English history background either, which is one of the major reasons I need tutoring on it. But also, a tutored read requires a lot more time and attention because on needs to take plenty of notes while reading in order to ask questions. I'm also very conscious that other people are following along and/or may use the threads later on, and want to make sure I ask questions and make comments others are likely to benefit from. I'll likely only cover small portions of the book every day, so it should be very easy keeping up with me.

#189 Thanks for the hugs Morphy. Those always feel good. :-)

#190 What I said to Morphy, Claudia. Not sure you'd want me to paint pictures on your walls with me in my current mood Claudia. They may come out bleaker than anything you're likely to want to look at over time!

#191 Joe, I agree with you about Buddhism, it's probably incorrect to call it a religion as much as a life philosophy, I guess (though wikipedia says it is both). I think the things that have made the strongest impressions on me are, as you say, the emphasis on kindness and compassion, and also the respect of all life forms, the notions of karma and rebirth, and the notion that "life is suffering" make sense to me. I'm not 100% convinced about karma and rebirth, but having grown up with those notions on the periphery, I'm not willing to dismiss them either.

Edited: May 21, 2012, 2:05pm Top

Books: Finishing The Worst Hard Times this afternoon probably. Then plunging into A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor, though I'm equally keen on starting on The Observations by Jane Harris. We'll see which wins out, as I have two books by each other, both gotten recently, which I want to read asap...



I fell in love with the recently published Folio Society edition The Handmaid's Tale, a book I've read twice and think is brilliant. It won an award for the illustrations, and I was almost willing to commit an utter folly and purchase it directly from the Folio Society for a small fortune, but Heather (souloftherose), bless her soul, directed me to an eBay listing. I just got a note by the merchant this morning telling me he's mailed it to me. Very exciting stuff!

May 21, 2012, 5:39pm Top

Ilana - catching up after a hectic day yesterday that I closed my eyes upon early just to wish it away. Woke up at 4 buzzing but hoping that today does not reprise yesterday in the trials it brings. As you noted elsewhere time seems to rush by and take away from us the opportunity to do things we had expected to accomplish but I guess it should be about being able to readjust one's expectations in order to cope and then thrive. x

May 21, 2012, 6:00pm Top

>193 Smiler69: Yeah, Ilana, I'm not 100% convinced about karma and rebirth either. Seems unnecessary to me as part of the life philosophy or science or religion or whatever it is. "What goes around comes around" - fine. I could go on boringly about this, but if there's no soul, then what the heck transmigrates.

May 21, 2012, 10:59pm Top

#195 Paul, visiting your thread today, I saw you hadn't had that much of an easier day today! Hope this one which is well underway for you proves much better!

#196 You could on go about this Joe, and I assure you I wouldn't be bored at all! What do you mean by there not being a soul?

Right. I meant to read actual books today and do some art, but instead I started taking out all my summer clothes and doing a bunch of laundry, so that now I have huge piles of clothes to iron and clothes to fold, which will just have to wait. Then I got on LT and been trying to catch up with thread, and after several hours, have only managed to visit a small handful. Probably because every place I visit, there are nearly 200+ messages to take in. Then all the book bullets, which had me scrambling to check the library listings, Amazon and BookDepository... So. That's been my day. All in all, not bad, but I'm supposed to do something creative every day in our new arrangement with my OT and what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Maybe I'll spend a few minutes editing photos in view of a post on my blog... but what I really want is to crawl into bed!

Edited: May 21, 2012, 11:05pm Top

Ilana, I'm sorry the appointment sent you into the doldrums. :-(
It does sound like you might be pulling out of it; good conversation about good books can (sometimes) do that.

Very interesting discussion with your friend Kim. I want to read The Glass Room more and more. I am looking ahead at my schedule and hoping to wander up to the bookstore later this week. I think I want to buy this one instead of putting it on hold.

I will definitely lurk on your Wolf Hall read and I won't be providing any spoilers because I'm not sure I can fit that one in at the same time! But with the release of Bring Up the Bodies, I'm trying to move it up in the pile....

Sorry you didn't enjoy The Worst Hard Time as much as some of us did.

I'm glad you're getting that edition of The Handmaid's Tale via eBay! That will be a fun package to receive in the mail. The illustrations look wonderful.

Take care, dear one.

May 22, 2012, 10:43am Top

Ilana, my Dear, hello!

Love the opeing picture...you'd love my backyard flower bed, with hot pink/fuschia coneflowers and a profusion of delicate pink twilight primroses, among many other blooms.

Having given due consideration to the idea, next month I'm joining Audible. Just can't resis any longer...

Oh, and I love, love, love the Avedon cover.

May 22, 2012, 3:09pm Top

Haven't caught up with the previous posts

...just wanted to say 'ello.....i haven't forgotten you, Doll


May 22, 2012, 3:32pm Top

>197 Smiler69: OK, here goes on the 'No-soul" stuff, Ilana, although I imagine most of your thread-readers will now pull out their rugs for naptime.

Buddha posited that we have no soul or no self (translation is an issue, of course), that is, our attachment to our belief that we have a permanent self is an impediment to our Awakening (or Enlightenment) and our freedom from mental suffering. It's not that easy to find plain English discussions of this idea, although there are some good books like Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple. This short blog might be helpful: http://www.allconsidering.com/2012/anatma-no-soul-buddha-nature-vedantins-buddhi... .

OK, if that's right, no permanent self/soul, then what exactly is karmically reborn. The blogger tries to address that a bit. To me the fancy footwork isn't necessary to Buddha's basic proposition. Maybe it's additional motivation to do the right things that he identifies, but that doesn't persuade me, personally.

May 22, 2012, 3:39pm Top

#194 Woo hoo!

May 22, 2012, 3:45pm Top

I'm also a fan of The Handmaid's Tale, and love the look of that edition!

May 22, 2012, 8:36pm Top

#198 Hi Ellen, that's a lovely message you've left me. Unfortunately, the doldrums seem to want to stick around for a while. Had really troubling nightmares all night, so slept in very late today, but after that I didn't stop and did a major tidying up session around the house after a walk with Coco and phone session with my therapist. It's hard to describe sometime... but it's an actual physical presence, and as such pretty creepy. Eek.

I try to get rid of a book as soon as I've finished it to make room for the others, but always keep the ones I know I'll want to re-read sometime, and The Glass Room went to the section of shelving reserved for those today. I'd say it's worth getting. I'd be very surprised if you ended up not finding it brilliant. I'll probably get Trapeze too (it goes under the original title, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky here, which I like a lot better) when it comes out as a softcover. I can rarely justify the cost of a hardcover unless it's a favourite that I want to keep for all time. I obviously decided The Handmaid's Tale was one of those!

Suz and I have confirmed the Wolf Hall read. She'll probably start up the thread sometime around Memorial Day (I had to look that one up since it's not a holiday here). I might start a little bit later, because I'll want a few day's break between the tutorial of Persuasion and that one. It's quite a bit of work being the tutee! I'll be taking it nice and slow, so you might be able to join in with me anyway. Or not. The thread will remain no matter what.

#199 Gail!!! Your flowerbed sounds wonderful! Any chance you might post a picture of it? I support your decision of Audible, but I hope you have more self-control than I do, because they have frequent sales for members, and I get sucked in every time! I love that Avedon cover too. It's taking me forever to get through that book... it's been sitting on my coffee table since last September! Maybe I don't want to finish it so I don't have to take the cover off my threads! ;-)

#200 What?!? You're not even going to read my review of The Glass Room that I slaved over? Usually when I don't have the courage to catch up with a whole thread that's gotten ahead of me, I try to at least catch the reviews of books that are likely to interest me, but I'll forgive you one way or the other. I was just kinda liking having it in the hot reviews since it's been a while and extra thumbs are always welcome... In any case, it's about time that Fifty Shades of Grey book got off there already, makes me gag seeing those books pop up everywhere you look! I even hesitated about linking the touchstone because... do I really want it appearing on my thread? Ugh!

Hi to you too. I haven't forgotten you either. How could I? You're a memorable kind'a lady! ;-)

Edited: May 22, 2012, 8:40pm Top

#201 Joe, I never claimed I was very knowledgeable about Buddhism, but this no soul business comes as a huge surprise to me. Quite shocking really. I mean... exactly, as you say, what's with all that karma business then?


Ok. I just read that blog you linked me to, and while I don't understand it all precisely, I think I get the gist of it and have to say it actually fits with my idea of the nature of the soul. For instance, this idea that the soul doesn't have an "I" consciousness makes perfect sense, since it's a part of divine consciousness which is all-encompassing.

This is where I feel uneasy discussing spirituality, because I often feel that people get caught up in semantics, when really at the base of it all, the essence of most religions is about the same thing. This coming from someone who's had no religious upbringing mind you, and who's been schooled in the "no attachment" mode of thinking. My mom was heavily into J. Krishnamurti when I was a kid (do you know about him?), and we attended a bunch of lectures about him for a while. There was even a question of us moving to England and me attending one of his schools at one point. As I understand it, what his thinking boils down to is that everyone must discover who they are by themselves (especially children) and that one cannot hold on to any one idea or habit or pre-conceived notion as a way to define oneself. He said doing so was a lazy way of going through life. I got and tried to read The Awakening of Intelligence, I think it was, over a decade ago. It was fascinating stuff, but I was going through another bout of major depression and it fairly unmoored me, so I quite halfway through. I got the following which briefly explains his philosophy from the description of Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti:

"Counted among his admirers are Jonas Salk, Aldous Huxley, David Hockney, and Van Morrison, along with countless other philosophers, artist, writers and students of the spiritual path. ...

Warning readers away from blind obedience to creeds or teachers – including himself – Krishnamurti celebrated the individual quest for truth, and thus became on of the most influential guides for independent-minded seekers of the twentieth century –and beyond."

This was pretty scary stuff for me as a kid, because I actually wanted stability and clear boundaries more than anything else! Heh. Not sure how I went from Buddhism to Krishnamurti, but there you have it.

I'm sure I've put lots of people to sleep, but hope you're still there Joe! ;-)

May 22, 2012, 9:18pm Top


I finished The Worst Hard Time yesterday. I'm glad I read it, but I can't say I had much fun with it. But then... one shouldn't expect to have fun reading a book titled "The Worst Hard Time". Heh. Any other comments I'm keeping for what will probably be a brief review.

Also finished The Maze Runner today. the second half really took off, but I can't say I was bowled over with it. The writing was really sub-par with some expressions that were so bad it made me cringe (wish I'd made note of them so I could quote them!) I can see the series must build up quite the dystopian world, but I'll get off the series now that the maze part has been resolved.

Before I jump into another audiobook, I'll listen to one or two Muriel Spark short stories, which I'm fitting in between longer books.

Started on A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor last night. I was really tired by that point and only read half a chapter, so really can't comment yet, but it's promising.

May 22, 2012, 10:21pm Top

Hello Ilana lovely! Too much to comment on after too long an absence from LT BUT fascinated to see you mention Kirishnamurti - you summarise his overall message very well. I camped in the grounds of his school in England one summer in the late 70s or early 80s so that I could hear him speak. He was amazing - "I am not your guru - we are just having a discussion." Incredibly interesting background - a protogee of the Theosophical Society. Anyhoo, loving your reviews - especially of The Glass Room which I shall definitely bump up the TBR pile! I'm sort of in transit now between the farm and Melbourne - three weeks in Melbourne and one week in the country each month. Back working in the office, which is really weird. Schlepping to and fro on public transport, having to look presentable each day. Sigh. But on the plus side I get to spend more time with my lovely daughter, Lucy, so there is definitely an 'up' side!

I'm reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson at the moment - just started it and enjoying its slow, purposeful style and pace. Will visit you again soon - promise! mwah to you in Montreal, my dear.

May 23, 2012, 2:13pm Top

Prue! What a lovely surprise! It's funny, because when I mentioned J. Krishnamurti yesterday and went searching for a list of his books here, I saw you were the only one of my LT connections who had any of his books... we must have been on a brainwave or something because it has indeed been a while since we've had the pleasure of hearing from you!

I think the time you spent at his school to hear him was around the same time we were attending conferences with tapings of his talks and considering me attending his school... that would have been around 1979 for me I believe.

Having to take public transport and looking presentable each day is my idea of hell, though I somehow did it for many years myself, but I'm sure you're managing it just fine. Must be great being closer to your daughter too.

Gilead has been on my wishlist for quite a long time now. I'll get to it eventually. Hope you continue enjoying it!

May 23, 2012, 3:22pm Top

>205 Smiler69: Hah! Yes, I'm still here, Ilana. I like your thoughts on this. I know "of" Krishnamurti but haven't read him. I like his views as you describe them.

A lot of folks get worried by the no soul/self idea - it sounds it could mean a juiceless orange, but I think it actually means a juicy delicious one that we pay attention to and enjoy, rather than mindlessly scarfing down whatever looks like an orange and then looking for the next one. Hmm, so now we're oranges? Or we're eating ourselves? Maybe I got a little mixed-up there. And I think the Chimay beer we all like applies here somehow.

Anyway, this perspective fits my views, too. When you experience that all-encompassing divine consciousness you mention, which a lot of people do at one time or another, that's where it resides, IMHO. I agree with you about not getting bogged down in semantics. What I like is Buddha gives a recipe and says, if you do it this way, you can be a Buddha, too, and experience that all the time. It's not an easy recipe to fully understand or follow, and I suspect most people who are interested don't navigate all the way through it before the lights go out. But it does provide glimpses and moments and what I see as a better life and, as I mentioned when we started out on this, its basic threads like kindness and compassion and paying attention are always a good thing. (The Zen folks would say, screw recipes and navigation, wake up!)

I'm also a fan of Taoism. But how the heck do you discuss that? "Live in harmony with the Way." OK, will do. :-)

My kids think I'm still a hippie. Hard to argue.

Edited: May 23, 2012, 4:08pm Top

P.S. At your suggestion I've started Chester Himes' A Rage in Harlem. Jeez Louise, this Jackson wouldn't spot a con if it smacked him on the head - and this one pretty much did.

May 23, 2012, 8:07pm Top

I had, in fact, not heard much of or about Krishnamurti and your description was very interesting. As for how you went from Buddhism to Krishnamurti, well, it's all about finding our way and making meaning, yes?

May 23, 2012, 8:45pm Top

#209-210 Joe, I've had Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind in my collection for longer than I can remember. Have yet to read it, but the title alone has informed a lot of my thinking. I refer to "beginner's mind" all the time with my art, which is more or less the only way I can get myself to make anything without being completely paralyzed by fear or perfectionism or whatever. One day I'll read it. I know nothing at all about Taoism. I've only heard of "The Way". Wait... was The Matrix based on Taoist thinking? I remember it being based on one of those Eastern philosophies in any case...

My parents wouldn't have wanted to take on any labels, either of them, but they were definitely on the fringes of the hippie movement and anyone looking at them would have called the hippies for sure. I rebelled by being totally conservative. Or conservative by comparison, in any case!

I'm glad you started A Rage in Harlem. I thought it was one of the most hilarious crime novels I've ever read. Like a comedy of errors, with the character of Jackson just making me shake my head all the time. I smile now even just remembering that book, so I hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I did. I'll be revisiting it for sure!

#211 I guess so. I just picked up notions of everything along the way and made up my own ideas about it all, which, nowadays has lead me mostly to a great feeling of emptiness. Not sure if it's the cause of the depression or due to the depression. One of those chicken and egg questions. But I've worked out with my OT that my way of expressing my spirituality at this time is by making art. Something I don't do nearly enough of. Hmph. In fact, I'm off to practice "beginner's mind" right now and play around with coloured papers and watercolours. Looking forward to tomorrow's painting class too.

May 23, 2012, 9:07pm Top

"... a great feeling of emptiness. Not sure if it's the cause of the depression or due to the depression..."
Good question. When you figure out the answer to that one, pls let me know :-}

Have fun tomorrow, Ilana!

May 24, 2012, 9:08am Top

#213 Thanks doll. When I get gloomy like this, the only thing for it is to do art.

Here's a preview of a detail from the painting I'd been working on these last four weeks of class. I believe it's the best part of the painting, which is a very large nude. (I'll show the whole thing on my blog soon)

May 24, 2012, 10:21am Top


May 24, 2012, 10:34am Top

my way of expressing my spirituality at this time is by making art
And you may not do "enough" of it, but when you do, it's usually quite lovely. I love the detail above.

May 24, 2012, 11:11am Top

I agree with you Ellen - know very little about art but I do know that the carefully selected portion of the nude is eye catching.

May 24, 2012, 11:20am Top

that 'detail' is so beautiful, it's a fully perfect painting for me. Still looking forward to seeing the whole thing.

Edited: May 24, 2012, 2:00pm Top

>212 Smiler69: I love Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Ilana! If you read that one, you're all set as far as I'm concerned. I've gone on and read others because I need a lot of help to figure it all out. Or to stop trying to figure it all out.

I don't think of The Matrix as Taoist, but maybe I'm missing that aspect. The Tao Te Ching is short and simple to read. Drives some people bonkers, and sings in the hearts of others. It can be translated in a lot of different ways. I've always liked Stephen Mitchell's translation, which also has a daily version available online: http://dailytao.org/.

My parents were conservative, their kids not. Seems like it works that way a lot of the time. Our kids aren't conservative either, probably because we explained it all so well. :-)

Love the painting detail! Beautiful.

Yes, A Rage in Harlem is very funny. I probably mentioned that I first came across Chester Himes when I saw the movie Cotton Comes to Harlem, based on one of his books. Also very funny.

Edited: May 24, 2012, 6:37pm Top

Ilana, that tantalising detail from your painting is just beautiful - great technique. And i agree with others; I would be more than happy to hang just that on my wall any day. You also 'painted' such an engaging portrait of A Rage in Harlem that I had to add itr to the BD wishlist. Most unfair of you as I am trying not to purchase any more books while i am saving for my holidays...aaarrgghhh. Overjoyed to see that you are painting again! mwah. Oh, and I love those gorgeous cosmos - one of my favourite flowers. Must plant some this spring....

Edited: May 25, 2012, 9:02pm Top

Many thanks Claudia, Ellen, Paul, Nathalie, Joe and Prue for your encouraging comments on the painting detail. Now I'm almost afraid to show the rest, since, as I said, this is my favourite part. I'm not sure I'm so fond of the thing as a whole, though I did take plenty of pictures of the painting in progress, and that's what I intend to post, when I get there. The only thing holding me back at this point is I also started a post on my "Smiler" blog discussing the project and showing some of the examples the teacher had shown us as inspiration, and I want to post it at the same time as I show my painting on the C365 blog. So in the process of planning all this, I've managed to discourage myself with what seems like a huge project, which it isn't really, just time consuming. I know all about "taking small steps", but getting myself there is a whole lot of work!

I may not be at my best today. Woke up with a nasty migraine, so slept in as long as I could, then when I got up felt like moving and keeping eyes open was a bad idea, so I lay down on the sofa and listened to the end of Persuasion, which was just what the doctor ordered. I followed that up with continuing on Anya Seton's Katherine, which I'm enjoying a lot and have managed to get through a third already in just two days. I'm also listening to the episode of This Sceptred Isle again, the one covering the period between the Black Prince and Henry VIII (1327-1547). This is in preparation for Wolf Hall in June, but as it turns out, the early part of the program is great as background for Katherine too, and I can attest that Seton did her research well.

They were predicting a thunderstorm tonight, which explains the migraine (that and fatigue from a very demanding painting class yesterday). The storm has arrived, so maybe relief is near. I'm not so much in pain now but feeling quite disoriented, which may not be helped by the mojito I decided to make myself this evening...

For our class yesterday, we had a male model posing for us, and the teacher took us through about 10 separate exercises helping us to master various approaches, which required us to produce 10 or so figure painting in 15 minutes each. He warned us we'd be exhausted at the end, and he wasn't kidding! I'm so grateful that I have all the time I need to rest up... so no big plans for the weekend, other than reading of course!

May 25, 2012, 9:15pm Top

This is the third day that I've given my cat Ezra anti-anxiety medication (Elavil) to try to get his issues with the cat litter under control. Anyone who's ever had to medicate a cat knows this is no walk in the park, and Ezra is particularly fierce when I try to handle him in any way other than giving him affection. It went ok the first two days, but tonight I missed my shot on the first try, and attempted to administer the pill a second time, but he freaked out and started frothing at the mouth all over the place. I thought I'd at least managed to get the pill in him, but no. Just found it discarded on the floor a moment ago, so had to start the procedure all over again. I think I've got it in him this time. Oh brother...

May 25, 2012, 9:18pm Top

Ilana - wishing you a lovely weekend. Nudes, history lessons, weather reports and health updates - please don't get discouraged with your work - if one portion of it (and that without the interesting bits!) got so much positive reaction (admittedly from untrained eyes in my case) you must be on to something.

May 25, 2012, 9:25pm Top

Catching up, hope you get the rest and reading you're needing. I pulled my mother's old paperback copy of Katherine off her bookshelves the other day. I've now 'long term' borrowed it so I can reread it at some point. She's getting The Hunger Games in return.

May 25, 2012, 10:02pm Top

Hi Ilana- Thanks for sharing a portion of your painting. Very impressive, my friend. Lovely detail. More nudes, more nudes!

Only 2 more "Games" left! Booooooo!

May 25, 2012, 10:11pm Top

#219 Thanks for the link to the daily Tao lesson. I just visited and liked what I saw. I'll try to remember to visit daily. I've gone through periods of my adult life when I've consulted the I Ching every single day, sometimes several times a day too. I had the Brian Browne Walker version, which is a simplified one, for many many years and gave a copy to many friends, including to both my parents and turned them on to it. My father gave me a copy of the Ling Chi Ching a while back, which I have yet to consult, as it's been years now since I've made use of an oracle. This is apparently a cousin of the I Ching and more concerned with daily living than the art of war, simpler to interpret too. I took it out of my "spirituality" shelf just now and put it on the coffee table. This doesn't mean I'll start on it immediately though. Indeed, I have some books that have been sitting there for well over a year... but it's a small step. ;-)

I was a huge fan of The Matrix, and wish I could remember what philosophy it was based on, according to a now forgotten source. I looked up wikipedia and see they name Plato's Allegory of the Cave, which I remember made a huge impression on me when we studied it in college, but no Far Eastern philosophies are mentioned. O well.

I just went on the libraries' catalogue to see what they had by Chester Himes and was encouraged to see they had over 40 titles. When I narrowed down the search to English titles only, there was just ONE offered up. ONE?!? All the rest are in French. Seems he's really popular in France, which I guess makes sense, since he emigrated there in the 50s. He seems to have had a fascinating life. I definitely want to keep reading the Harlem Cycle... The Real Cool Killers is next up, and will likely seek out other writings by him.

#220 Prue, I try to write all my reviews in big batches, which gives a chance to visitors on my thread to avoid the book bullets altogether if they so choose. But do know that my mission is always to get as many people as possible to read those books I've really enjoyed, and I write my reviews accordingly! :-)

There are little to no flowers in my neighbourhood, but I do like taking walks up the hill where most houses have lovingly tended gardens with a profusion of colours and greenery. Plenty of them are arranged by talented landscape artists, and every spring there are trucks with gardeners doing their thing on just about every street. One day, when I win the lottery, I'll move up to Westmount and have gardeners working for me too... then I'll gladly take care of the weeding. :-)

#223 Paul, I'm not so much discouraged by my work as perplexed as to where I'm supposed to put it. This latest canvas is quite huge—3 x 4 feet, and I don't have much room to store anything in my place, so I guess I'll be forced to finish it or find a buyer who is willing to purchase it as is!

#224 Kerry, Katherine is proving to be a great read, and Wanda McCaddon is doing a great job of the narration, as always. I can see myself wanting to revisit it in future; it's so filled with interesting details and tidbits that it's impossible to take it all in at once. I saw that a couple of Seton's books were reduced to just $4 on Amazon.ca, but didn't get them at once, so I missed my opportunity to get The Winthrop Woman really cheap, but they've still got Dragonwick and Green Darkness on special, so I'll probably get those along with Devil Water, which has been on my Amazon wishlist for nearly 5 years now...

Funny trading Katherine for The Hunger Games... talk about different universes! LOL

May 25, 2012, 10:15pm Top

#225 Only 2 episodes left? Are you serious?? What are we supposed to watch next?!

(*consults HBO Canada site*)

I'll be watching Hemingway & Gellhorn on the Monday night premiere, and I see True Blood starts June 10th, so all is not lost. And with the ending of this season of Game of Thrones, I'll have to tackle A Storm of Swords sometime soon to prepare for season 3! :-)

May 25, 2012, 10:21pm Top

>204 Smiler69: Of course i read your reviews...and visit your Blogs

I am so far behind but(t)

Rage in Harlem...i read, many years ago...loved

>214 Smiler69:......ah, those lips...

>222 Smiler69: Ezra meds......Can you get the meds in liquid form?....it's easier to administer to the side of his mouth/then rub his throat...than trying to give a shot

I know...i'm a total dumbass...but i'm here


May 25, 2012, 10:33pm Top

#228 Hey lady! Don't worry about catching up with me. I'm constantly trying to catch up with me too! Heh. No wonder I have such a hard time keeping up with everyone else eh?

God forbid I should have to give Ezra shots. I'd probably be shredded to bits by now if that were the case. I did think about it some today and wonder what other methods there are, but I'm pretty sure he'd give me a hard time with any of them. I did administer some liquid medicine for a while (for something else), and it was equally unpleasant. Let's face it, that cat is a major nuisance. But I still love him, the creep. And that basically sums up how I've conducted my love life. No wonder I'm single and loving it...

May 25, 2012, 11:21pm Top

I really have to go to bed - but do you have Pill Pockets for cats up there in Canada? Little treats you put the pill in (when they aren't looking)?
Cats can be tough - real tough!

Edited: May 26, 2012, 12:48am Top

All sympathy with your pill-popping experiences. When I was last forced to give my cat pills, I resorted to crushing them and hiding the powder in a small serving of favourite wet food - would that work?

May 26, 2012, 5:47am Top

Ilana lovely, sometimes I read your posts and feel sad. Don't let yourself be defined by your breakdown - it is NOT who you are. You are so much more. You are an artist, a writer, a wonderful friend - in both this virtual world and the real one. You WILL recover. Take the leap. Krishnamurti says that the difference between being happy and not is simply a decision. That hard and that easy. You are so adored. Truly. Have faith. You already have love.

May 26, 2012, 1:26pm Top

#230 Claudia, I think I've seen Pill Pockets here, but they won't work for my little beast. There was a time when he was much younger when he took treats, but he refuses any kind of treats now and will only eat his dry kibbles, and then the wet food I put out during the day, but only grudgingly until I put the dry food out.

#231 Liz, see above. I guess I'll just have to put on the oven mitts when I want to administer his pills. I'll get better at it with practice.

#232 Prue, I'm sorry if I make you feel sad at times. I do often feel I shouldn't post about my struggles so much, but then, enduring them in silence isn't helpful either. I often feel very blessed and very contented too, and I hope I do express that here too. Some people have a great facility for happiness and a healthy mindset. Some of us, less so, and this is where I'm at odds with Krishnamurti and co. I doubt that Emily Dickinson or Abraham Lincoln would have agreed it's simply a matter of making a decision. All too often, the artistic temperament comes wrapped up in a mercurial mind, and I haven't escaped the odds in that sense, for better or for worse.

May 26, 2012, 2:16pm Top

>226 Smiler69: The Real Cool Killers - you answered one of my questions from over at the cafe, Ilana. That's the next one in that Chester Himes cycle, and yes, I plan on reading it.

I haven't done the I Ching in a long time. I have the Richard Wilhelm translation translated (!) into English by Carey F. Baynes. Thanks for reminding me about it.

May 26, 2012, 2:45pm Top

#234 Joe, it's a bit confusing about the Harlem Cycle, because here on LT, The Real Cool Killers shows up as the second in the cycle, but on Audible and wikipedia, The Crazy Kill is listed as such, which is the order I decided to follow, though it probably doesn't make much of a difference in the end.

Your is the authoritative translation of the I Ching as you must know, with introduction by Carl Jung, is that right? I've read said introduction and parts of it on the internet, but don't have the book itself. I'm not so concerned about it as a divination system, but mostly as a tool for providing life lessons, though have often been quite astounded by the timing of specific lessons with whatever was happening in my mind and life!

May 26, 2012, 3:06pm Top

Hmm, now you've got me curious about the order of the Himes cycle. As you say, it probably doesn't matter. LT has The Real Cool Killers second: http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Harlem+Cycle.

Yes, the I Ching I have has the Carl Jung intro. To me it's always been an interesting short term guidepost - ask a question, throw the coins, find out what the hexagrams (there are two sets in the book) have to say, and also a long term perspective on what is and isn't important. I just got #6, "Conflict". That certainly fits something going on for me right now. The recommendations are good reminders. In keeping with Taoist themes, the emphasis is more on restraint and flexibiilty than charging ahead.

Edited: May 26, 2012, 3:38pm Top

Joe, I usually look to the series pages here on LT first to help me determine the order of any one series, but in this case, being curious to find out more about it and Chester Himes, I visited his wikipedia page immediately after I'd purchased A Rage in Harlem, which is how I noticed the discrepancy. For some series it makes a difference which order they're read in, thinking here specifically of the John Russell series by David Downing for example, which takes place during the course of WWII. I guess I'll find out when I read the next book in the Harlem series, but am not too worried. I'll mostly be happy if more people are encouraged to pick up on this author, because I thought he was a great find, and I have Audible to thank for that in this case, with the recent recording by Samuel L. Jackson.

As I said, I haven't done an I Ching reading in quite a long time. "Conflict" is one that came up a lot. Not surprising since at the time I was in a difficult relationship. You just reminded me to go visit the Daily Tao site and interestingly enough, today's lesson (below) reminds me of another I Ching reading which used to come up a lot for me too: #29 K'an / The Abysmal (Water).

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people's greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

The only part I don't understand is the sentence about helping...

May 26, 2012, 4:08pm Top

Samuel Jackson would be perfect for reading Chester Himes' stories. I bet it's great.

Yes, the giving up of "helping" is classic Taoism, but hard to explain. Don't try to aggressively "help", because that isn't listening and adapting to the particular situation or what the person really needs, which is inside the person, not you as the brilliant savior. It makes me think of this one from a different translation, The Tao Plainly Stated (http://www.beatrice.com/TAO.pdf):

When a Master takes charge,
hardly anybody notices.
The next best leader
is obeyed out of love.
After that,
there's the leader obeyed out of fear.
The worst leader is one who is hated.

Trust and respect people.
That's how you earn
their trust and respect.
The Masters don't give orders;
they work with everybody else.
When the job's done,
people are amazed
at what they accomplished.

I love that - when the job's done, people are amazed at what they accomplished. You don't get the recognition for, or gratification of, being the helper, or the leader, or the master, but so what? Look at what everyone has accomplished. Give up "helping" to bask in the recognition of what a great helper you are, or for the satisfaction of confirming to yourself what a great helper you are. Just work with whomever needs it. Don't help them, be there for them, work with them. The help takes care of itself. The "problem" may not get "fixed" in the next five minutes, but the right things are going on.

How about that?

Often tougher for guys, who tend more to think in terms of fixing the problem. But tough for everybody. Particularly tough for alphas.

Edited: May 27, 2012, 9:58am Top

Beautifully put, jnw, about the helping. I've struggled with that, strong urge to set everything to rights and all that. But you can't, you can only listen and that is one of my life tasks. Bravo.

Everything Prue says, Ilana.

May 27, 2012, 8:56pm Top

#238 Joe, somehow, I completely understand the concept as you've explained it. It may be true that it's a tough mindset to take on for guys, who are used to trying to fix everything, but I'd say it's equally difficult for women, who are mostly programmed biologically to take on the role of helpers.

#239 Thanks Lucy.

May 27, 2012, 9:00pm Top

I slept, quite literally, all day today. Took Coco out for a nice walk when he woke me up out of desperation, poor dear, and came back home to finish preparing a shepherd's pie I'd started yesterday, then sat down and did some homework for my abstract watercolours class tomorrow. So no, I may not have gotten a lot done today, but I did manage to finish two things, and now about to watch Game of Thrones. Not a bad Sunday altogether.

May 27, 2012, 9:12pm Top

Ilana - it is Monday here - wish I could go to sleep and wake up at the weekend as I am expecting a tough week everything considered.

Love Joe's tao verse.

Trust and respect people.
That's how you earn
their trust and respect.

What a great addage for living one's life.

May 27, 2012, 9:21pm Top

Hi Ilana- Glad you had a restful day. As soon as my son gets home, we are jumping on "Games". ONLY 2 LEFT! Big sad face!

May 27, 2012, 10:55pm Top

Hi Ilana, between you and Joe I just had to get A Rage In Harlem! I downloaded the audible since Samuel Jackson is the reader. Now just have to find time to fit it in!

May 27, 2012, 11:04pm Top

#242 Paul, sorry to hear you're anticipating a tough week ahead. At least you've got our lot to buoy you up when things start getting rough around the edges, right?

I would say my dear Paul that you're already living your life by that adage...

#243 Mark, phew! That was some episode of Game of Thrones. I think my heartbeat hasn't slowed down yet, even though the show ended an hour ago! I hope and pray Tyrion is ok. I thought I remembered him coming to in the book, but now I'm not sure of anything. And if they could kill off Sean Bean, then they're capable of anything!

#244 Oh YAY Judy! Excellent choice. It's a really short novel, so just squeeze it in whenever you can. It's really funny and very entertaining... hope you enjoy it as much as Joe and I did!

May 27, 2012, 11:23pm Top

Ilana - Working on getting caught up here. Your thread is so popular, but I can see why with all of the beautiful artwork and wonderfully interesting commentary! I LOVED your review of The Glass Room and have added it to my WL. A thumb for your lovely review. The Folio addition of The Handmaid's Tale is gorgeous! I have not read that one before so I think I have to also add it to the WL.

The detail in your painting that you posted above is truly magnificent - you are so talented. I think just that small glimpse is so interesting that it could stand on its own.

Now I'm off to finish catching up.

May 27, 2012, 11:56pm Top

Hello lovely! Just wanted to say I hope you have a fabulous week! Sounds like a perfect Sunday, to me...

May 28, 2012, 2:52am Top

I'm way behind and just skimming through. I couldn't help but laugh at the tale of your third attempt to give a pill to Ezra. It brought back many memories of "pilling" Casey - and finding the pill in some odd place a couple of hours later. How did she manage to hold it in her mouth for so long without it dissolving (or, for Pete's sake, just swallow the dang thing, cat!)? Still, I agree that I'd do pills over shots any day!!!!! I hope Ezra comes to terms with the daily pill soon.

I'm giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up to your review of The Glass Room and looking forward to reading it (it can be one of my read-ten-before-buying-one-more books).

May 28, 2012, 3:01am Top

Hi Ilana - catching up here!

I love the little preview from your painting. Also enjoyed the discussion between you and Joe about Buddhism and Tao although I think some of it went over my head!

Sorry to hear about the problems trying to give Ezra his medication :-(

May 28, 2012, 4:52am Top

I hope that you are knocking out the zzzs as I type - first day here almost done in work terms with fisticuffs between contractor and engineer narrowly avoided. Not so much stressful as comical.

Thanks for the ethical vote of confidence! I do try to treat others how I like to be treated myself (buy them as many books as possible!) and my LT friends are definitely a source of comfort when things get a little tough.

May 28, 2012, 7:27am Top

I find it frustrating when people compare an emotional imbalance to a processing decision. I had my husband do that last night when he compared my panic attacks to his decision to stay up all night to work on a project, "Just like you have no choice when you have a panic attack, I have no choice when I get obsessed about a project." No, that's not the same at all. Believe me, if I could "decide" to not be depressed or not have anxiety, I would. You could decide to get some rest and not work on a project. People just don't get that.

Anyway. I guess what I want to say is that I understand how difficult it can be to be understood when you have mental health issues.


May 28, 2012, 8:08am Top

Hi Ilana- My wife bailed on me last night, said she was tired so we didn't watch GOT and are saving it for tonight. It sounds like it was another terrific episode.
Enjoy your day!

May 28, 2012, 12:14pm Top

Ilana, I am all caught up here now. I found the conversation between Joe and you so very interesting. Love the Tao lesson that you posted.

I hesitate to add my thoughts to the mix on the struggle with depression only because I do not have any answers, and I know that advice and good wishes can sometimes feel like pressure, no matter how well intended. I will say to you that I value you greatly. I think you are so very brave to share your struggles with us. I admire and appreciate both your candor and your artistry as you share your journey with us in words and in pictures and in thoughts. I wish for you only good things - know that you have a voice and that what you have to say matters and is being heard. That's why we all like to hang out here on your thread - because it's YOURS, and you are special to us. Take care of yourself today, Ilana.

May 28, 2012, 12:40pm Top

>240 Smiler69: Glad that made sense to you, Ilana! You make a very interesting point about women being biologically programmed to be helpers.

We went out this a.m. and got a good mattress on sale after years (too many!) of sleeping on a not-so-good mattress. It comes tomorrow, and we're really looking forward to sleeping on it.

May 28, 2012, 1:44pm Top

What a beautiful thread you inspire! ...you are indeed very special ;-)
Prue (232) and Mamie (253) have truly expressed my sentiments too.

I printed out #237/#238
and I keep reading it as I know it pertains to me. Thanks!
I need to be quiet, listen, and "give up helping" to truly help. Oy - very hard.

Hugs to you my friend!

May 28, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Hi Ilana ...sorry I've been absent for a while. Work was a vicious time crunching monster, but I'm back on LT now and using today to catch up on threads.

May 29, 2012, 2:49am Top

What Mamie said! #253

May 29, 2012, 2:37pm Top

I was away from LT yesterday. Pretty intense watercolours class, then spent time with a friend and then watched the premiere of Hemingway and Gellhorn on HBO. Can't say I loved the movie, but it was a major production with interesting moments. Tonight I'm going to go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at the cinema, which I really look forward to. Seems everyone is talking about that movie lately and as I love both Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, should be good fun.

#246 Mamie, I received my Folio Edition copy of The Handmaid's Tale yesterday. What a gorgeous book! It's been a long time since I've read that book last, so I guess I'll have to make time for it in this busy reading year. Glad you've added The Glass Room to your WL. It's a book that deserves to be discovered and talked about.

#247 Hi Prue! Hope you're having a good week too. xx

#248 Ellen, I'm developing a little ritual around the pill-giving to make the experience as pleasant as possible for both Ezra and I. Since I don't give him enough attention in general, I now take time to pick him up and give him a thorough petting, putting him on his back, then work my way to stroking his throat and open up his mouth when he least expects it and pop the pill in. He still struggles and tries to spit it out, but then I continue stroking his throat and all over as if nothing had happened. I've done it three nights in a row now and it's definitely less traumatic and more pleasant that way.

#249 Hi Heather, see above about medicating Ezra. Hopefully this will keep being a workable solution.

#250 Agree LT is a great balm for when things get rough around the edges Paul. I'll drop by soon to see what I've been missing in your daily adventures lately.

#251 I find it frustrating when people compare an emotional imbalance to a processing decision.

Very well put Morphy. In my experience, even people with mental health issues sometimes have a hard time understanding each other when it comes to that, as is the case with my mother for example, who's had more than her share of struggles, but doesn't understand or agree with how I've been coping these past few years and thinks if only I'd go out and get a job I'd stop worrying so much. Everybody has their own coping mechanisms that work for them, and I try to remind myself when I get frustrated that it's easier to judge and give advice than to imagine what it's like being in another person's shoes. That being said, I'm really grateful for all the wonderful support I've been getting with this group, including from you. Panic attacks are truly awful. I haven't had that many of them, thank goodness, but can't imagine anyone "choosing" to have one, if that were even possible. I hope for your sake your husband will eventually understand what you're dealing with. It's all too often those closest to us that have the hardest time understanding these things.

#252 Mark, it was indeed a terrific episode, and high adrenaline, oh my! So sad that there's only one episode left now... and then a whole more year of waiting. Boo too! But awesome that there IS going to be a third season though!

#253 Mamie, what a lovely, lovely message. I really don't know how to respond, other than to say that I was very touched by your words and really appreciate the sentiments behind them.

#254 Hi Joe, a good mattress is bound to make all the difference in the world. Hope your first night on it was blissfully restful with many more such nights to come. I wonder if there's a Tao lesson that would apply here? ;-)

#255 Claudia, in a way, what you did with your mom, with setting her up at Sunnybrook was a way to relinquish trying to help so much, and in the end it was probably the most helpful thing you've done for her, right? I was going to share today's Tao lesson, but it confused me so much I didn't think it was such a good idea after all. I like to pick and choose what seems most suitable at any given moment.

#256 Hi Caro! Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you, trying to catch up with threads. But if anyone can do it, I know you can! :-)

#257 Thanks my dear Prue. xx

May 29, 2012, 9:39pm Top

Ilana, I hope you liked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as much as I did. What a cast! There were a few life lessons in the movie...not of the caliber you and Joe have been discussing but a heck of a lot easier to understand! Lol.

May 29, 2012, 10:54pm Top

#259 Donna, the movie was awesome. Great cast of characters, interesting stories, and I even shed a tear at the end. It's so encouraging to be reminded that one can start over at any age...

It definitely lived up to my expectations. Maggie Smith was brilliant of course, and I think I'm a little bit in love with Judy Dench now. :-)

May 29, 2012, 11:14pm Top

I think I'm a little bit in love with Judy Dench now.

She is my hero. I will happily see any film or show in which she appears.

May 29, 2012, 11:26pm Top

Ellen, she just has this great presence, doesn't she? I just hope she's as inspiring in person as she is on screen, because she just exudes so much goodness does't she?

May 30, 2012, 12:29am Top

Oh I am so glad you enjoyed Best Marigold Hotel, Illana- it was a wonderful cast. I am a bit in love with Bill Nye, I must confess! And one could practically SMELL India! Definitely made me want to go back.....I just received the book from BD - but it has been immediately snaffled by my brother, who saw the movie TWICE. Hope you will share some more of your art soon - perhaps from your watercolour class? Mwah mwah on each cheek. (or do you do the three pecks?)

May 30, 2012, 2:00am Top

Ilana, I really loved Dench in "Shakespeare in Love" and in the old BBC sitcom "As Time Goes By."

May 30, 2012, 2:32am Top

Isn't it funny how as we get a little older the more attractive older ladies of charm and grace like Ms. Smith and La Dench become? I'm still mooning over the ladies in their 30s and 40s of course but sights are readjusting progressively (or should that be regressively!)

May 30, 2012, 6:41am Top

#265: the same here with the male actors. Can't even distinguish many of the younger actors anymore. Scary experience: when watching a TV rerun of the (tbh quite horrible) "Pretty Woman" some weeks ago, for the very first time I didn't think Richard Gere looked just "old", suddenly he looked all "mature". :-(

I wish I had a chance to see the the Marigold Hotel movie. Another one I must put on my DVD-release watchlist.

May 30, 2012, 7:33am Top

Morning, Ilana! Count me in as another fan of both Judy Dench and Maggie Smith. I NEED to see that movie! And Nathalie, I totally agree with you! My kids will name off popular young actors and I have no idea who they're talking about - when did that happen?

May 30, 2012, 8:22am Top

Can't wait to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ! I don't watch TV or movies much - but I have been exposed to Maggie Smith and Judy Dench. Love them both :)

Ilana, thanks for reminding me that the hardest thing I did for Mom was to let go. I really had no trouble letting my girls go and recognizing their independence. Of course they were strong individuals and prepared to take on the world. But Mom was a different story. I had to accept that I cannot (and should not) protect her from life even as she is declining. She was definitely NOT happy being over protected. Maybe I am learning a little at a time how to live. At this rate though, I won't make it before I die. I'll need another life. *groan*

"Pretty intense watercolours class"
You go woman!

Edited: May 30, 2012, 8:28am Top

Oh my husband doesn't think that panic attacks are choices but rather that he had "no control" over his desire to stay up all night to work on a project "just like" I have no control over panic attacks. Uh huh.

Meanwhile, I get to wait FOREVER AND EVER to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD and I'm so jealous. *pouts*

May 30, 2012, 9:59am Top

Okay, this is motivating me to talk with P and see if we can fit in a trip to the cinema this weekend.

Sadly, it's SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) right now and, even though I purchased a membership, I don't think I'll likely see a single one of the films.

May 30, 2012, 8:47pm Top

Hello, Darling Ilana. I do love reading your thread. Sometimes I spend hours reading them and then not commenting at all, but do want you to know that I follow you zealously and remain concerned and sympathetic...and admiring, of course, of your many, many talents and gifts.


May 30, 2012, 10:10pm Top

Just me

...stopping by


May 30, 2012, 10:57pm Top

My my, so many wonderful guests today! Thank you all for dropping by.
Today went by even faster than usual, and I have to think of getting to bed early because of my early morning wake-up for my painting class tomorrow, so I only have a few minutes here on LT. Nothing special to report, other than the fabulous weather we had today, sunny and warm, but not TOO with a nice soft breeze to move the scents of spring flowers around. Also received a shipment from J Crew of summer dresses I'd ordered. I decided I'd be mostly wearing maxi dresses this summer instead of shorts. More elegant. Also hides my little bulges here and there. Though I still have to dress like a slob to go to art class because of course I don't want to get paint all over my pretty dresses!

I know I should really start a new thread, but I'm still hopeful that I'll be able to fit in some reviews here before I start the new one at the beginning of June, so please bear with me!

#263 Prue, the movie was lovely, and though I've often thought of visiting India, I'm not sure I'd be able to handle the crowds and sensory overload! It was a fun and cheap way to visit via the movie theatre though!

I have a great backlog of artwork to post, just need to take time to edit photos and post them. I'll post the links here when I have anything to show, I promise!

#264 I don't remember Shakespeare in Love Ellen, maybe because at the time I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was really annoying and mostly fixated on her looking ludicrous as a man. Turns out I've always envied her, which is why she gets on my nerves so much, but oh well. As Time Goes By isn't familiar to me. I just did a quick search at the library site to see what movies and shows they had with her, and all that came up was Angelina Ballerina. Maggie Smith on the other hand brings up dozens of titles. I wonder how come? Huh.

#265 Paul, my ideas about aging have changed quite a lot as I've come into middle age, but also because of my art classes, where I'm the baby of the gang, as they tend to be peopled by older ladies with time on their hands. Always a great inspiration.

#266 I've always had a crush on Richard Gere Nathalie, but I know what you mean. The young actors also aren't familiar or interesting to me, but then, we're no longer the target audience either! ;-)

#267 Mamie, I know it happened to me when I stopped going to the cinema once a week or every month and also stopped getting issues of In Touch, US and People from my boss, who used to leave a whole pile of them on my desk every week. Now I just look at the covers for my dose of brain junk food and usually don't know any of the people they're talking about, other than Jennifer Aniston and Brangelina obviously!

#268 Claudia, I think that those who acquire true wisdom and understanding within one lifetime are pretty rare, so don't worry about it, it's not like you'll end up at the bottom of the class; I'll be right there along with you still trying to cram life lessons till the very last moment!

DO go see this movie. It's filled with good stuff.

#269 Morphi, why can't you go see it at the cinema? I understand why Nathalie can't, because she's in Italy in a town with no cinema as I understand it...
but whatever the case, DVDs come out pretty fast these days don't they?

#270 Why no Ellen? Because you're too busy?

#271 Gail! So good to hear from you. I'm glad to know you're reading me, though feel extra guilty now because I really must visit you very soon to catch up with you. I feel like I haven't been in touch with my LT friends enough this year, and I miss it. xx

#272 Hey you! Hope all's well in your world. Will have to drop by to catch up with you too soon.

Tonight, I'm FINALLY finishing A Game of Hide and Seek. It's dragged on for far too long, and I can't say I've loved the experience either. But the good news is I get to move on to another book soon! Yay! I won't let this affect my opinion of Elizabeth Taylor. I'll just have to read more of her work is all.

May 31, 2012, 9:03am Top

I'm disabled and when I go out, it's in a wheelchair. It's a pain in the butt and very uncomfortable after an hour or so. It's meant for transport not comfort for many hours. It's much easier to just wait for movies to come out on DVD.

May 31, 2012, 10:35am Top

Yep, too busy. :-P

May 31, 2012, 9:31pm Top

#274 I'm sorry Morphy, that was insensitive of me, though I did not know obviously. Whenever the movie does come out on DVD, I'm sure you'll love it!

#275 Drats!

May 31, 2012, 10:23pm Top

Had a really satisfying painting class today. The goal was to do an expressive figure painting in just one day, and I set out to achieve a certain look and more or less got it, which is a goal seldom accomplished. If I can get my blog post out about the Julie painting I did (aka lips detail), I'll finally be able to post a bunch of other work, including what I did today. Soon.

I finally finished A Game of Hide and Seek yesterday, and can't say I much appreciated the experience. In fact, I don't know why I made myself finish the book. Probably because it's by Elizabeth Taylor who's been highly touted this year and I was waiting to be enchanted by this one, but I guess I didn't pick the right book to start with. Still, won't give up on her. I can see she's a great writer, it just happens I didn't like this particular story. Or any of the characters in it. So that's that. I think I'll indulge myself a little and finally start on The Observations by Jane Harris tonight, which I've heard is very good, and which will bring me that much closer to cracking Gillespie and I open.

I'll also be starting on Wolf Hall, either tonight of tomorrow. Those of you who've been following my thread might know that Suzanne (Chatterbox) will be tutoring me on this book. Suz has started a thread called The Smiler69/Chatterbox Tutored Read of "Wolf Hall", and anyone is of course welcome to come over and lurk or comment (but no spoiler whatsoever allowed!)

Finally I think I may finish Katherine by Anya Seton either tonight of for sure by tomorrow. After that, I'll likely start on a crime mystery or spy thriller of fantasy, to offset all the historical fiction with either Restless by William Boyd, The Suspect by Michael Robotham or Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I'll purchase one of those with an Audible credit once I've made up my mind.

May 31, 2012, 10:34pm Top

Hi Ilana!
Can't wait to see your art work.
I love that you are doing so well.

Good Luck with Wolf Hall - I imagine I will be lurking.

May 31, 2012, 11:30pm Top

#278 Thanks Claudia! I seem to have a very full plate these days. I'm not sure what keeps me so busy, but I can't seem to find spare time to do anything these days. The Wolf Hall tutorial will probably occupy quite a bit of my time this month, so I don't foresee things slowing down much, but you know you can always find me over on that thread in June! ;-)

Jun 1, 2012, 1:57am Top

Sounds like your art classes are keeping you rather busy.
I'll also lurk on the Wolf Hall thread as a refresher, I still haven't got a copy of Bring up the Bodies and am in no rush to read it yet.

You might like to look at these terrifying French children's books over at The Guardian. The artwork is really interesting and there's a link to her blog with more examples.

Jun 1, 2012, 3:15am Top

Hello beautiful - goodness, even on a busy day, you manage to say hello to all your guests and tell us interesting things! Oh dear about the Elizabeth Taylor - I have Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont - I do hope it's better than the one you read!@

Jun 1, 2012, 7:09am Top

>276 Smiler69: Nah, don't think of it as being insensitive at all. How would you know? Didn't even cross my mind.

Anyway, I doubt my husband would go to a theater even if didn't use the chair. He hates the crowds and noise. Not that it is his type of movie anyway!

Jun 1, 2012, 8:45am Top

Ilana - lovely to see you buzzing with the creative juices flowing - what happened to the nude study you tantalised us with a little earlier? A lot of reading going on too which is making my head spin considering my own slothful progress. I do hope that the good vibes continue through a hugely enjoyable weekend - you deserve it. x

Jun 1, 2012, 11:40am Top

Ilana, so glad that things are going well in the art world. Can't wait to see what you've done! I will be lurking on your Wolf Hall read as I haven't read it yet either - if the library doesn't have it, I may just break down and buy it. I am behind on the lurking already as I noticed that there are quite a few posts. Better get hopping. Hope today is kind to you.

Jun 1, 2012, 11:56am Top

#280 Hi Kerry! Going through my emails I noticed that Shelf Awareness had mentioned something about "terrifying French children's books", but didn't click on the link. Now I come here to find you've given it to me to. I had to laugh, because it's so true a lot of them are very... strange to say the least. I actually read the last one, L'enfant Silence last year when I did my Benjamin Lacombe festival in the summer, and yes, was definitely mystified by it.

I loved this: "Think about this cool koala sociopath next time you are tempted to be rude to a French waiter". LOL!

#281 Prue, I think I've seen lots of positive things said about Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, and it's one I'll be looking out for too. First though I'll read Angel, which is already on my tbr.

Yes, I make a point to try and at least drop in on my own thread most every day, but feel badly that I can't visit others as much as I'd like to. Today for instance I've decided I need to start a new thread and that I MUST catch up with my reviews before I'm tempted to give up on them altogether!

#282 Morphy, I'm not fond of crowds and noise either, but I usually find that when I do go to the cinema on occasion, it's much quieter than what I anticipate. Probably because I pick days and times and movies that aren't likely to attract the big crowds. This is why I stay well away from premiere nights at the cinema—you wouldn't have caught me dead at the premiere of The Hunger Games on a Friday night I can tell you, but a few weeks later on rebate Tuesday, it was really laid back.

#283 Hi Paul. Don't forget a good half (at least) of my reading is done via audiobooks, which I listen to at times when I wouldn't normally sit down to read a book... I didn't forget about the nude painting. Just gave myself a goal to write up TWO blog posts for it (one on each blog, the one just showing the progress and the other explaining the project with images of famous artist's work the teacher showed as inspiration) and seem to have bitten off a bit more than I can chew with that one at the moment. But it's coming, I promise!

Thanks for the wishes of a good weekend. My cleaning lady Chona is due to arrive at any moment now. I'll be relaxing while she makes turns my place from a pigsty into a harbour of clean peace which I'll enjoy this rainy weekend by curling up with a couple of great books and finally watching The Grapes of Wrath.

Jun 1, 2012, 12:01pm Top

#284 Hi Mamie, I'd be surprised if your library didn't have Wolf Hall since it is such a popular book and has been out for a few years now. But I'd say either way it's probably worth purchasing.

Don't be too daunted by the thread. Suzanne has included lots of background information explaining some relevant parts of English History. I'll be asking lots of questions, but the thread will be up *forever*, so you can read it at your leisure. Today has started on a nice note, nice and easy and relaxed, with beautiful weather out. Nothing too stressful on the agenda, and I have every intention of getting rested while I also try to catch up on a bunch of odds and ends.

Hope you have a great day too!

This topic was continued by Smiler's Miscellany: Part Nine.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

986 members

229,572 messages


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




You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,087,512 books! | Top bar: Always visible