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Streamsong Shiny new thread in 2013

This topic was continued by Streamsong Shiny Second thread in 2013.

75 Books Challenge for 2013

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Edited: Dec 30, 2012, 5:26pm Top

Welcome to my shiny new thread!

In this part of Montana, great horned owls are the first sign that winter will end. They start calling as their breeding and nesting season begins mid-January (although a few overly optimistic owls started singing during a warm spell in November this year).

They love my creek bottom and from the middle of January and continuing into February I am surrounded by hooting--mostly by wide awake night owls who can be somewhat sleep disturbing, but also during the day.

I love my January owls!

Edited: May 5, 2013, 12:44pm Top

I read a wide variety of books, split about evenly between fiction and non-fiction and spanning an eclectic mix of about any topic imaginable. I'm taking part in the 2013 ROOTS challenge and have set a goal to read 50 books from Planet TBR this year.

To further my new reads, I'll join in with Morphy's Green Dragon group reads and am a member of a RL book club.

Right now I'm swimming in a sea of started-but-not-completed books (eek my profile says I have 18 books in progress--most non-fiction). I have several LTER books, several group and and several tutored reads --and I keep wanting to pick up something new.

The books I'm actively reading right now include:

Warming the Stone Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (audiobook in the car; ROOT - added to Planet TBR in 2008)
Vicious Wolves and Men in America by Jon T. Coleman (library)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (library) RL book club selection
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin March RL book group. (Purchased 2013)

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius --real life book club read (acqd 2013)
Quotable Book Lover by Ben Jacobs - from MT TBR (acqd 2006)
Various People's Bible Commentaries - trying to work my way through the Bible

several books of short stories for a short story challenge:
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Best of Montana's Short Fiction edited by William Kittredge
Snows of Kilamanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

and some I have been reading for months but still plan to finish:
Elegant Universe by Brian Greene - lurking on tutored thread
Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer started in group read
Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels started in group read
Shakespeare's Sonnets lurking on the tutored thread
Awakening the Buddha Within been working on this one for 6 months or so
Toxic Criticism

Happy reading everyone!

To get myself to dig deeper into the stacks of the unread oldies on the shelf, I'm not only a member of the ROOTS (Reading Off OF The Shelves) group but I added an additional point challenge for myself based on how long the poor book has remained neglected on the shelves of Planet TBR

Here's how it works:

1. ROOTS entered into LT in 2006 --7 points
2. ROOTS entered into LT in 2007--6 points
3. ROOTS entered into LT in 2008--5 points
4. ROOTS entered into LT in 2009--4 points
5. ROOTS entered into LT in 2010--3 points
6 .ROOTS entered into LT in 2011 --2 point
7. ROOTS entered into LT in 2012-- 1 point
8. ROOTS not previously entered into LT but which have been around the house pre-2013 (many of these are pre-2006)--1 point

Edited: May 8, 2013, 5:45pm Top



1. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 4.0/5; (acq'd 2012 ROOT)
2. Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle 4.0/5 (Reread- owned since 1970's)
3. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See 4.0/5 (library audiobook)
4. Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley purchased 2013
5. The Last Unicorn graphic novel -Peter S Beagle and Peter S Gillis - library


6. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson audiobook (acq'd 2012 Yay! a ROOT)
7. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Ann Lamott (acq'd 2013)
8. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (library)
9. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (acq'd 2012 another ROOT)
10. A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization by Brian Griffith (LTER 2012 ROOT!)


11. - Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin (purchased 2013)
12. - Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter (Barnes&Noble.com Literature by Women--library)
13. - Jhereg by Steven Brust - (Feb group read; library)
14. - Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman by Susan Cummings (LTER 2012; ROOT-Yay!)
15. - Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe by William Rosen audio book (ROOT 2012)
16. - Phillipians Colossians Philemon - Harlyn J Kuschel (ROOT pre 2006= 7 ROOT points--Yay!)
17. - State of Wonder - Ann Patchett -audiobook- Literature by women (library) 2.5/5
18. - Comeback - Dick Francis (ROOT acqd 2006 = 7 ROOT points Double Yay!) 3.8/5
19. - The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson - (library) 3.8/5
20. - Luke The People's Bible Commentary by Victor H. Prange (Yay! Another pre-2006 ROOT! = 7 points!) Reread?


21. - A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman (library but liked it so well I purchased my own copy)
22. Kings People's Bible Commentary by Arno J. Wolfgramm (Planet TBR pre 2006 = ROOT 7 points. Yay!)
23. - Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era by Autumn Stephens Book 11 from Planet TBR--acquired in 2007 = 6 ROOT points
24. Ezekiel People's Bible Commentary by Kieth Bernard Kuschel - (Planet TBR #12/50; pre 2006 =7 ROOT =47/160 points.)
25. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - library
26. Morning at the Burned House by Margaret Atwood (library) Atwood April
27. West of Here by Jonathan Evison- audiobook - library


28. - Warming the Stone Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estes - ROOT #13/50 audiobook - acq'd 2009 =4 points Total: 44/160; May TIOLI #18
29. Leviticus People's Bible Commentary by Mark J Lenz - ROOT #14/50 acq'd pre-2006 = 7 points. Total: 51/160
30. - Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain - audiobook - library

SUMMARY of Books read in 2013

13 - Books Read from the towering MT TBR (owned prior to Jan 1, 2013)
1- Rereads from my shelves
12-Books from library or borrowed
3-Books acquired 2013

21- Dead Tree Books
7- Audiobooks

11 - Fiction
--4 - classics/1001
--5 - contemporary fiction
--2 - fantasy/sf/sff
--1 - fictionalized memoir
--1 - mystery
--5 -Christianity
--1 - Memoir
--2 - Religion (not Christian, or not exclusively Christian)
--3 - Science
--1 - Travel
--1- Psychology
2-Books of Short Stories or essays
1 -graphic novel
1 - poetry
0-Other (plays, ?)

12- Male Authors
11- Female Authors

19 - Authors that are new to me
10- Authors I have previously enjoyed
1- Rereads
Multiple books read in 2013 by same author:
--Peter S Beagle (2)

Nationality of Author:
1- Australia
1 - Canada

Birthplace or residence of Author if different from nationality:
1--Sri Lanka

Language Book Originally Published in:

Of the books I've read this year:
7 - cataloged into LT 2006 or before
1 - cataloged into LT 2007
- cataloged into LT 2008
1 - cataloged into LT 2009
- cataloged into LT 2010
- cataloged into LT 2011
6 -cataloged into LT 2012
1 - acquired previously but uncataloged until 2013 (have lots of these!)
3 - acquired 2013
11 - borrowed from library

**28**-Total number of books acquired this year (not necessarily read, but total number newly owned by me): bought, gifts, trade, followed me home, ER (everything but library and online)
**4**- Number of books acquired this year that I have finished reading
**4** Number of books acquired this year that I am currently reading

BOOKS ACQUIRED 2013 (✔ = Read)

✔ 1. Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley January book club selection
2.***Reading*** Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (March book club selection)
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
✔4. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott pure whim, had read a good review on LT
5. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander III --pure whim
6. ***Reading*** Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (February book club selection)
✔ 7. Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin Morphy's Feb group read
8. Mottled Lizard by Elspeth Huxley
9. Spirit Tailings: Ghost Tales from Virginia City, Butte and Helena by Ellen Baumler - FOL salesrack
10. The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins--group read here on LT
11. Photo History From Yellowstone Park by Bill and Doris Whithorn - FOL salesrack
12. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson- FOL salesrack
13.Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles - Fitzpatrick, John S FOL salesrack
14. ***Reading*** 1 & 2 Thessalonians People's Bible Commentary by David P Kuske (fill in a hole--next to be read)
15. Understanding Arguments by Robert J Fogelin - (Coursera class)
16. The Third Son by Julie Wu - LTER book
17. Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines Booktopia 2013
18. Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker Booktopia 2013
19. Teaching at the Top of the World - Marilyn Forrester - library sale rack
20. The Long Farewell - Michael Innes- library sale rack
21. Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party - Alexander mcCall Smith - library sale rack
22. Fima - Amos Oz - library sale rack
23. Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - Jonathan Evison - Booktopia 2013
24. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin Because there it was on the FOL sale rack LOL
25. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls and there it was-- a pristine copy at Goodwill; More LOL
26. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn on the FOL shelf and the August book club selection (so you see I didn't add anything to Planet TBR with this one as I have planned on reading it since December when we voted on books. Just being thrifty, y'know)
27. ***Reading***Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez--didn't think the one from the library would make it in time for my book club
✔ 28. A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman --enjoyed the library copy so much I purchased one to take to Booktopia for signing
29. The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley -- Bellingham Booktopia
30. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twang Eng -- May RL Book Club

Edited: Mar 8, 2013, 2:17pm Top

Link to my 2012 thread and books read

Book title meme! Use titles from books you read in 2012 to fill these in

Describe yourself: Stones from the River
Describe how you feel: Packing for Mars
Describe where you currently live: Beauty
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Night Circus
Your favorite form of transportation: Riding Shotgun
Your best friend is: Fighting Angel
You and your friends are: Unbridled Spirits
What’s the weather like: Ill Wind
You fear: The Coroner’s Lunch
What is the best advice you have to give: Heart and Soul
Thought for the day: Hope in the Unseen
How I would like to die: Tea With the Black Dragon
My soul’s present condition: Children of God


SUMMARY of Books read in 2012

103- Books Read
45 - Books Read from the towering MT TBR (owned 2011 or before)
26 - Books from library or borrowed
83 - Total number of books acquired this year (not necessarily read, but total number newly owned by me): bought, gifts, trade, followed me home, ER (everything but library and online) as of 12/17/2012

46 - Fiction
51- Non-Fiction
4 - Books of Short Stories
1- graphic non-fiction
2 - Other (plays, poetry,)

76 - Dead Tree Books
21 - Audiobooks
1- online (haven't made the plunge into ebooks yet)
1 - online audio

57 - Male Authors
46- Female Authors
1 - Anthology of male and female authors

64 - Authors that are new to me
31 - Authors I have previously enjoyed
8 - Rereads
1 - anthology - some new some old

Nationality of Author:
70 - USA
1 - Canada
15 - England
1 - Egypt
2 - France
1 - Germany
1- India
1- Iran
2 - Ireland
1- Israeli
1 - Italy
2 - New Zealand
1 - Tibet
1 - Wales

Birthplace or residence of Author if different from nationality:

2 - China
1- Dominican Republic
1- France
1 - Germany
2 - Iran
1 - Japan
1 - Lebanon
4- Southeast Asia
1- USA

Book Originally Published in:
1 - Arabic
95 - English
3 - French
1 - German
1 - Italian
2 -? (Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World; Inheritance of Loss)


Of the books I've read this year:
17 - cataloged into LT 2006 or before
5 - cataloged into LT 2007
11 - cataloged into LT 2008
__ cataloged into LT 2009
__ cataloged into LT 2010
17 - cataloged into LT 2011
4 - acquired previously but uncataloged until 2012 (have lots of these!)
51 - acquired 2012 (including those from library)

Dec 29, 2012, 9:33am Top

Starred for great things to come.

Dec 29, 2012, 11:03am Top

Happy New Year!

I'll be interested in your take on the Griffith ER book (Galaxy of immortal women. It sounds fascinating, and yet how can one cover Chinese history or mythology in one book?

Dec 29, 2012, 11:38am Top

Welcome back!

Dec 29, 2012, 11:55am Top

Hi Morphy--Thanks for stopping by. I've dug out my oooooolllllllddddd--mid 70's-- copy of The Last Unicorn and am all set for your January read.

markon--Thanks for stopping by. I've been reading the Griffith book for months now and having trouble getting through it. Unfortunately, it's an unhappy marriage of scholarly thesis and references to pop culture like the US TV show Survivor and Harry Potter. I'm not sure the other reviewers actually read the thing. (Or at least not very carefully!) Lots and lots of footnotes so it might be useful as a bibliography of original sources.

Jim--your dedication is amazing as always. Thank you for all the time you spend for this group!

Dec 29, 2012, 1:02pm Top

I love Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens! Let me know What you think of it

Edited: Dec 29, 2012, 1:38pm Top

Hi gagagirl--Have you been following the group read for TOTC? I am behind in my reading due to a family emergency, but the first thread is here:


Dec 29, 2012, 6:20pm Top

Hi Streamsong! I think it's about time I started following your threads, so here I am. :) Can't wait to see what you think of A Tale of Two Cities - I seriously need to read that book someday soon.

Dec 29, 2012, 7:02pm Top

Discovered and starred!

Dec 30, 2012, 1:40am Top

Glad to see you back with us again, Janet!

Dec 31, 2012, 12:49pm Top


Jan 1, 2013, 11:03am Top

#3: "Describe where you currently live: Beauty"

You got that right! I love that beautiful picture of the Great Horned Owl. They are winter visitors here in my neck of the woods, but I hear them more than see them. We were fortunate two years ago to have nesting Barred Owls in one of our trees. I loved to watch the babies pouncing on insects to hone their hunting skills!

Happy New Year, Janet. I am so impressed with the number of books in progress that you have. I loved my reread of A Tale of Two Cities in December.

Jan 1, 2013, 11:37am Top


I love your book theme, especially the last one *grin*.

Jan 1, 2013, 1:39pm Top

#8 by streamsong> Did someone say there is a group read of The Last Unicorn? WHAT? WHERE?

Happy New Thread!

Jan 1, 2013, 6:49pm Top

Thanks fuzzi! I super excited.

Jan 1, 2013, 8:10pm Top

Hi Janet. I also loved the pictures of the owl and the nest. I rarely hear them where I live but it reminded me a little bit of listening to the bullfrogs in the pond behind us in the spring.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't finished A Tale of Two Cities yet or is struggling with having too many books going at the same time!

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 8:59am Top

Wow--thanks for all the New Year's visits.

Glad you found me, Eris, Lor, Stacia & Rachel, Bianca and Leah!

Donna & Pat, I can't take credit for the owls photos--they are both (hopefully) stock photos from the internet. The lower one of the nest supposedly has a bit of owl that you can see. I'm not sure if I see it or not. :-) We had a very bass owl hooting on December 30th--he sounded large enough to pick up a hobbit. It was night, but we couldn't spot him with the red flashlight. One of these days I will buy a night vision binoculars to watch wildlife.

Yes, I definitely want to finish up books this year. Several of those partially read's were ones that I found I wasn't terribly interested in, but for one reason or another don't want to drop entirely.

Tale of Two Cities started out slowly for me, but is picking up steam.

Yesterday was planned to be a quiet day of tree taking down and reading. But DD and I went to see Les Mis at a movie theater about an hour away. Wonderful movie. I can't remember the last time a movie literally made me tear up. For some reason, it doesn't get to our small town for another couple weeks, but I would like to see it again.

Jan 2, 2013, 9:13am Top

I seem to cry at everything these days but at least with Les Mis I was prepared for all the boohooing. It was beautiful but I don't think I'm ready to see it again for a while. I need to be tear free for a bit.

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 12:47pm Top

The tearing up at Les Mis surprised me because I've seen several stage productions and have several different recordings of the music.

Have you seen the Nick Patera one man show? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9IWAxSpgKA

Jan 2, 2013, 10:37am Top

I haven't seen it. I will have to watch it when I get home today.

Jan 2, 2013, 5:13pm Top

Thanks for posting the link to Morphy's thread--because it isn't in this group, I would have missed it otherwise!

Love to hear about your owls!

Jan 3, 2013, 10:20am Top

Hi Roni (and Leah!);

Here's the link to the other reads Morphy is doing this year in the Green Dragon:


Last year the reads were all fantasy; this year there is a mix of genre's.

Edited: Jan 25, 2013, 1:27am Top

And the first book finished for the year:

1. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A classic that I had not previously read; I started to read it as part of a group read in December.

This started out a bit slow for me, but I found it more and more engaging as I continued onward. I loved the characters and the plot was rich in twists, turns and coincidences in its story of love, betrayals, and Revolution. The historical details gave rich life to England in the 18th century as well as the details of the French peasants' hardships and the terror of the French Revolution. 4 stars

-Book 1 of 50 from my shelves. (49 books to go).
-Book acquired 2012--catagory 1 = 1 point (159 points to go)
-Briefly listed on the 1001 list in 2006

Jan 6, 2013, 10:50am Top

beautiful owl!

Jan 12, 2013, 1:58pm Top

Photos taken by DD yesterday after our storm:

Jan 12, 2013, 2:05pm Top

HI Janet, them photos are incredible. However, the horses in the background still look fairly happy :) Are they yours?

Wish you a remaining lovely weekend :)

Jan 12, 2013, 2:12pm Top

Hi Bianca--thanks for stopping by and the complement on the photos. I'll be sure to pass it on to my daughter!

Yes, the horses are some of mine (still have far too many!!). We raised all three of these.

Jan 12, 2013, 2:13pm Top

29: Beautiful, though perhaps inconvenient.

Jan 12, 2013, 2:17pm Top

Yes, it's not supposed to get much above 0 F today.

Jan 12, 2013, 4:00pm Top

Absolutely gorgeous pictures! Glad I don't have to try to get around in it.

Jan 12, 2013, 6:11pm Top

The snow is beautiful!

Jan 12, 2013, 9:14pm Top

Beautiful pictures! I see why you are called "streamsong". That looks like a heavenly place to live.

Jan 12, 2013, 9:51pm Top

Is that an Appaloosa I see in the photo?

Edited: Jan 12, 2013, 9:55pm Top

Hi Janet. Your daughter's pictures are stunning. I'm reading a book right now called Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm that I think takes place near where you live. It's nonfiction and is about a winter he spent in the wilderness in Idaho just along the border with Montana. He's been talking about getting out for a break to Darby or Hamilton. It was interesting to be reading the book and then seeing your daughter's winter photos. The scenery is beautiful but I can't imagine living alone in a tent in that weather.

Jan 12, 2013, 9:57pm Top

Gorgeous pictures, Janet. I hope you can mostly stay inside where it's warm. Of course, you have to take care of those beautiful horses first!

I'm glad you ended up liking A Tale of Two Cities. I know Dickens can be quite wordy, but I still enjoy his books.

Jan 13, 2013, 12:00pm Top

Hi Everyone and thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you all enjoyed my daughter's photos!

Hi Roni--the snow isn't actually too bad to get around in. There actually is only about 6 inches on the ground. It started out very wet which is why it ended up sticking to the trees the way it did. Having the fairy-looking snow covered-trees in is actually very unusual for us--the wind usually has it on the ground .

But then, I do have a 4-wheel drive pickup truck and a tractor to help me with the driveway. :-) (My poor Honda Civic was struggling this time around).

Lori and Carol--yes it's very pretty--especially when the mess is covered by snow. :-) There are some odd things going on with perspective so that the creek, although close to the house, isn't quite as close as it appears in the pictures. DD was shooting from the top of a 12-15 foot high dam at the back of the property--which definitely gives us the waterfall sound all year round.

Lor, yes, at one point I was seriously into Appaloosas. All the horses on the place are Apps although some are solid and some, like the bay leopard in the pic are very loud and all variations in between. I still have a stallion, although I haven't had foals for several years.

Pat, yes I have read Indian Creek Chronicles and it does take place close to here (although in the mountains rather than the valley). The Ex was a wilderness ranger when I met him way back when I was in college. He did 10 day backpacking swings looking for problems in the wilderness and I went with him as a wilderness volunteer. But staying by myself in the winter sounds terrifying to me. I even avoid ice-fishing.

Donna, right now I am very spoiled because my daughter-in-college is home and helping with the chores as well as with my elderly parents. (Probaly why I'm not getting much reading and LT time). I liked TOTC enough to pick up another Dickens later this year.

Jan 13, 2013, 12:03pm Top

I love the pictures of the snow. I love snow. The problem is that I live in Texas.

Edited: Jan 25, 2013, 1:27am Top

2. The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle

This is a reread of a book I've owned since the 70's.

While I've always enjoyed the humor and wordplay in this book, when I first read it while I was in my 20's, I thought it a bit cynical.


Now in my my mid-50's I can see the truth in the anti-fairy tale elements. A hero can be a hero to his utmost; a unicorn can be noble and brave; and yet they can still have regrets. That's not to say the possibility of 'happily ever after' doesn't exist at a later point beyond the story, but even with 'happily ever after' one can still regret dreams that had to be cast away.

4 stars
-Morphy's Mighty Monthly Group Read

Jan 14, 2013, 4:59pm Top

Hi Janet, wonderful review of The Last Unicorn and I very much agree with your assessment :)

Jan 16, 2013, 9:40am Top

Hi Bianca--thanks for stopping by. It's interesting how books 'wear' as we get older, isn't it? I've been thinking I should suck it up and reread The Great Gatsby which is the one book that I HATED when I was in high school.

I've received a copy of the graphic novel version of The Last Unicorn from Interlibrary Loan. I've never read a graphic novel--although I read the graphic non-fiction Persepolis and Persepolis II last year. I thought I'd like to know what graphic novels are **like** even if I don't make them part of my main fare. So I ordered this one to do a bit of comparison between the standard novel and the graphic.

Currently reading:

and my audiobook in the car:

and my LT ER book which I am DETERMINED to finish and review in January:

Jan 16, 2013, 9:46am Top

Ah, you're reading Ship of Fools too! I'm nearly at the end of it now (probably about 80 pages to go).

Jan 16, 2013, 9:48am Top

I've just started Part 2--I'm really loving it.

The Barnesandnoble.com Literature by Women message board is having a group read on it this month, but so far there is no activity over there. :-(

Jan 16, 2013, 9:55am Top

Honestly, I wouldn't consider the graphic version of The Last Unicorn as a fair representation of the form. It's more like an art experience. It's lovely. It's like a movie on paper.

Most graphic novels that I've read had a lot more in common- in layout and styling- with regular comic books. Few have the feeling that I believe The Last Unicorn manages, especially if you are lucky enough to get ahold of the deluxe edition which is HUGE.

But it's not a BAD introduction into the form, it might just set your expectations a bit too high.

Jan 16, 2013, 10:22am Top

Leah, I had a quick look at it last night as we were watching a movie (with subtitles, so I couldn't read much of the book).

The lamplight was at an angle that made the pictures absolutely glow--so I can see why this one is a favorite of yours.

Off to work.......

Jan 16, 2013, 2:34pm Top

Found and starred! Beautifull pictures and you really life in a wonderfull environment.

Edited: Jan 18, 2013, 10:20am Top

Once more I'm doing a two-pronged approached to reducing Planet TBR--read more tomes that I already own and buy less. The LT catalog says I have 350 TBR's as of January 1st--and I know I have a LOT uncataloged.

Yesterday, I received the first book of the year that I have purchased; so 17 days into the New Year, I have popped the cherry. The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley is the January book club selection and I waited too long to get one from the library.

I've created a new ticker for books acquired--a smooth tongued serpent being chased by a pile of money. Let's see if I can keep the number of books acquired less than the number of books read this year. I did achieve it last year, but only by a slim margin.

Jan 18, 2013, 10:01am Top

Hi Janet! What a great ticker for your book acquired. Are you freezing these days? It's been quite cold here for weeks and we're all getting cabin fever, especially our dog.

Jan 18, 2013, 10:05am Top

Hello Janet, just flying by to wish you and your family a lovely weekend :)

Jan 18, 2013, 10:13am Top

Hi Pat--Yup, single digits at night, 20's during the day. We still have our snow from last week's storm. I think it's supposed to get into the low 30's today. I hear you about the cabin fever! My Siamese cat is entertaining himself by stalking and pouncing the new cat. I dug out my cross country skiis for the first time in a few years and will give that a shot this weekend so I can be outside a bit.

I am eating my heart out over the flowers on the Gardens & Books Spring thread.

Jan 18, 2013, 10:14am Top

You, too, Bianca! Have a great weekend! It's a 3 day weekend for me as Monday is Martin Luther King Day.

Jan 18, 2013, 1:15pm Top

Thanks for the link to that thread, Janet. And have a great 3 day weekend.

Jan 21, 2013, 10:22am Top

Those are beautiful snow photos! I hope you can read and relax on your day off.

Jan 21, 2013, 10:46am Top

Janet, you inspired me to keep track of my purchases as well...thank you!

Jan 21, 2013, 12:42pm Top

OOOOO, you've already bought a book. I ALMOST bought one a few days ago, but I resisted the urge. Must remember the library. Must remember the library. (Not to mention the hundreds of unread books at home.)

Jan 25, 2013, 2:49pm Top

Uh, oh it's much worse than that. Yesterday I returned DD to college. Then I stopped at Costco to pick up the necessities of life-- healthy fruits and veggies and cat litter- and four books leaped into my cart.

Team of Rivals I may have avoided the group read, but now my book club has chosen it for their March book and I decided I would save money by buying it now at Costco.

Les Miserables The 1001 group has picked this for their next group read, and while I'm not active on the group, I often lurk along.

Now, you'd think those two behomeths would keep any sane person occupied for months, but since the barrier had been broken, I also bought:

Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott since I'd read a really favorable review on someone's thread about this really short book on prayer.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander III, MD I'm interested in the intersection of God and science and bought this on a whim. But reading the reviews now, it sounds like there isn't much science and not even very much about his near death experience in the book.

Ah well.

Mostly it was a binge because it makes me sad to think that DD will graduate in June, get a job for a year (she has one lined up) and then go on to graduate school; it may be a very long time before she is home for a month again. :-(

At least with DD back at school, I will have more time for reading. But for now, the snakey 'books acquired' ticker is in front of the 'books read' ticker.

Jan 25, 2013, 3:57pm Top

Leaped into your cart, hmm?

Sounds like how my car drives me to the used book store and the thrift shops, where I am forced into buying more books...oh, the shame!

Jan 25, 2013, 4:11pm Top

59: since the barrier had been broken
Yes, that's always the danger point.

Edited: Jan 26, 2013, 12:16pm Top

But at least I finished an audiobook while driving yesterday:

3.Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

This is the sequel to Lisa See's Shanghai Girls, which ends on a cliffhanger when daughter, Joy, runs away from problems at home. She idealistically heads to Communist China of the 50's to help build a new country during Chairman Mao Tse-Tung's Great Leap Forward.

I’ve enjoyed Lisa See’s portraits of life in China in her other books and this one is no different. It is filled with well-researched details of life in the beginning of Mao’s regime. We see China from the viewpoints of one of Mao’s elite artists, average city dwellers in Shanghai and peasant workers on a farming collective. It is one of the most vivid descriptions of the resulting famine that I have ever read.

The novel has enough twists to be a page turner, although like other reviewers, I felt the happily ever after ending a bit contrived. Recommended for those interested in historical novels or China. I would suggest reading Shanghai Girls first.

I listened to this on audiobook and was not fond of the reader. The book is very long—13 hours-- and the reader chose to read at least half of it in a strained, tear-laden voice. It’s an emotional book with stressful incidents in the characters’ lives, but 6 hours of someone fighting back tears is waaaaaay too much. 4 stars

--book from library

Jan 26, 2013, 12:31pm Top

Thanks for that great review of Dreams of Joy, Janet. I read Shanghai Girls for a book group a couple years ago and liked it but didn't love it. It did turn out to be a great book club discussion though. Not sure if I'll read the sequel but then again I'm tempted by your comment that:
It is filled with well-researched details of life in the beginning of Mao’s regime. We see China from the viewpoints of one of Mao’s elite artists, average city dwellers in Shanghai and peasant workers on a farming collective. It is one of the most vivid descriptions of the resulting famine that I have ever read.

On second thought, I think I'll take Dreams of Joy out of the library and give it a shot.

Edited: Jan 26, 2013, 5:26pm Top

Hi Pat--It took me several months until I read the sequel. The cliffhanger ending at the end of Shanghai Girls made me mad. I hate cliffhangers! DD listened to snatches of DoJ while we were in the car; she felt the historical incidents were pretty accurate. The famine is not discussed in China and is apparently left out of history taught to Chinese students.

Edited: Jan 29, 2013, 11:10pm Top

So because this is nasty, snow January and I have cabin fever, I signed up for the Coursera class from the University of Edinburgh called "Introduction to Philosophy". My brain has only an empty closet filled with cobwebs where the philosophy knowledge should be ... and I loved the nice Scots accent of the presenter. :-) It starts this upcoming week. Emails about the class say there are 80,000 students worldwide signed up for it. I have trouble imagining how it will work with that many students trying to listen to lectures, but I'll let everyone know.

And then... the local adult ed classes were announced. Twice a year several of the local high schools offer classes by local experts. The cost is only $2.00 for class hour and subjects range from useful (computers, woodworking), to fun (pottery, scrapbooking, quilting, line dancing) to lectures. I signed up for two of the lectures.

The first is a 5 week class on China's Rise to Power. The first class covered China from the late 1800's to Sun Yat Sen. DD went with me to the first class for the fun of it. More great discussion on the way home. DD really enjoyed living in Shanghai last year and would like to have a career there.

Edited: Dec 21, 2013, 9:33am Top

And the second adult ed class I signed up for was on wolves. This one is really fun.

Here is where I live:

I live 3/4 of the way up river of the valley south of Missoula. It's called the Bitterroot Valley.

To the west is the Clearwater National Forest,the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. According to the instructor, this is over 3 million acres of contiguous wildlands--most of it in Idaho--, making it the largest contiguous wildland in the lower 48 with only Alaska having a larger wild area in the US.

I'm having trouble making the map show exactlly what I want, but just beyond the the lower right edge is Yellowstone National Park.

Now for the fun part. In the valley I live there are 13 wolf packs. This makes the wolf density greater than that of Yellowstone National Park which is famous for its wolf population. Wolves and wolf management cause huge controversy in the valley.

No, I've never seen a wolf in the valley, although I had a mountain lion about six feet outside my front door last year.

As part of the first class, we watched the movie "Wolves of Yellowstone" which was awesome although it did show a half dozen wild animals being torn apart by wolves. It's a grim reminder that no matter how beautiful they are, they are also very effective killing machines. Contrary to European and Russian wolves, however, there are no documented human deaths by wolves in the lower 48. A researcher was probably killed by wolves (possibly a black bear) in Alberta, Canada just to the north of us a few years ago.

The next class will feature the wildlife biologist who specializes in the area wolf packs--so I will have more info if anyone wants to hear more. The final class will look at wolf lore and mythology.

Jan 26, 2013, 6:13pm Top

What wonderful posts, Janet. I definitely want to hear more about your classes. They all sound very interesting.

Online classes sound like they could be really good and it's amazing how many people signed up for the one you'll be taking. That's one thing I really want to try this year (an online course) so I'll be eager to hear how yours goes.

And thanks for letting us know where you are on the map. I was pretty sure that's where you lived from things you said before but it's nice to know for sure. I never really thought about how close you are to Yellowstone. Such beautiful country.

Jan 27, 2013, 12:00am Top

Janet, I want to live vicariously through your wolf descriptions. Do continue!

Jan 27, 2013, 12:26am Top

I would love to keep hearing your wolf info!

Thanks for showing us the map of your area. It looks like beautiful, rugged country. I would love to ride there someday.

Jan 27, 2013, 7:11am Top

Wow, love reading about 'your' wolves. I really think they are great.

Jan 27, 2013, 8:40am Top

66: Oh, thanks for the map! Way cool that you can take a wolf class.

Jan 27, 2013, 8:44am Top

Once I'm done with my accounting degree this semester, I'm thinking about taking a Coursera class. Doubt it will be Philosophy though. I find the subject snore-worthy.

Jan 27, 2013, 1:01pm Top

Hi Pat--If you hadn't posted a map on your thread, I wouldn't have thought of posting one on mine. Yellowstone is actually 5 or 6 hours away--those pesky mountains get in the way of roads as you know from your experiences in Idaho. We're much closer to Glacier Park (3+ hours away) which is absolutely spectacular and has far less tourists than Yellowstone (no geysers or other geothermal features, though).

The wolves here were DNA tested and shown mostly to be wolves that have come down from Canada through Glacier Park, instead of being the ones reintroduced into Yellowstone.

Lor, Connie and Katherine--good to see you!--The wolves are fascinating and it's really a fun class.

As I said, I haven't seen a wolf here in the valley so all my info is either from other people's wolf encounters or the one class we've had so far. Attitudes of the valley residents vary from New Age the-wolf-is-my-spirit brother to ranchers that hate them and pride themselves on the time honored Montanan Triple S solution--Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up.

The instructor seems pretty middle of the road--retired Fish and Wildlife who sees the wolves as an exciting addition to the ecosystem but believes that numbers need to be kept down. BTW, he said if people only read one book on wolves, he would recommend Vicious: Wolves and Men in America by Jon T. Coleman.

SugarCreekRanch--Thanks for stopping by. For a variety of reasons, I haven't done much riding lately and very little in the backcountry (although I used to do a LOT). I think I'll join the local Backcountry Horsemen this year and find some riding buddies.

Morphy--heehee on the philosophy comment. Like I said, I've NEVER taken any philosophy course so I may join in your opinion. According to the syllabus, several classes are on the philosophy of science which is what I'm most interested in. Lots of the Coursera courses look really cool; some of them I know I wouldn't have the time to read all the suggested books.

Jan 27, 2013, 1:33pm Top

73: Vicious: Wolves and Men in America by Jon T. Coleman
Added to the wishlist so I'll remember.

Jan 27, 2013, 7:18pm Top

(74) Me too!

Edited: Jan 27, 2013, 7:23pm Top

Vicious: Wolves and Men in America is available through abebooks.com, like new condition!

Jan 27, 2013, 7:31pm Top

Your wolves class sounds interesting, Janet. I do hope that you continue to update us with the things you are learning.

Edited: Jan 28, 2013, 3:25pm Top

Thanks Katherine and Lor for your comments. I just read the preview on Amazon for Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. Uh oh. The wolves aren't the ones being vicious. The first part gives pretty graphic details of wolf abuse. The last chapter is also a bit outdated since wolves have been deregulated in Montana and two other states. I think this is one I'll borrow from the library.

Stasia--Good to see you! I hope school is going well! I've lost your thread--off to the threadbook (thank you, Jim!) to find it.

Edited: Feb 2, 2013, 9:28am Top

4. The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley

Reason for reading now: Selection by book club

This is a fictionalized autobiography of Elspeth Huxley's childhood years in Kenya immediately prior to WWl. Her parents were British upper class. Her father was a bit of an adventurer, having traveled widely and prospected for gold before choosing this venture--namely carving a coffee plantation from virgin bush in a remote area of Kenya.

Huxley is a beautiful writer leaving us with an intimate portrayal of the time and place. Yes, we do see the warts of British colonialism and paternalistic attitudes toward the Kikuyu and Maori tribes. But we also see love and respect and laughter and vivid portraits of the countryside and wildlife.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who have enjoyed other stories of this period of African history, such as Beryl Markham's West With the Night. In later years, Markham and Huxley knew each other and were in similar social groups.

4.5 stars

I also watched the 7 part BBC miniseries made from this book and would also recommend it highly. Except for the final installment, it followed the book quite closely. It was filmed on location in Kenya. The scenery, wildlife and depiction of the tribes were stunning. I will eventually acquire a copy for my DVD library.

And then, of course there are the other books that go on the wishlist because of this book. Huxley wrote approximately thirty other books. I've ordered a copy of the sequel, The Mottled Lizard. I will also be on the lookout for Elspeth Huxley: A Biography by C. S. Nichols.

--book purchased 2013

Feb 2, 2013, 9:40am Top

Tempting... but there are so many books to read! Maybe...

Feb 2, 2013, 9:41am Top

I loved that miniseries. The book was pretty good too.

Edited: Feb 2, 2013, 9:45am Top

5. The Last Unicorn: Graphic Novel by Peter S Beagle and Peter Gillis

Reason for reading now: Group read of The Last Unicorn --see post 42 for my review of the novel

Last year I read my first graphic non-fiction when I read Persepolis and Persepolis II. This is the first graphic novel I have attempted. I thought it would be interesting to compare since I recently read the novel itself.

The artwork is very nice. The colors absolutely glow in the lamp light. Different characters in the book were drawn by different artists and it was quite interesting to see the differences in their styles. There is a great interview with Peter S Beagle and also with Peter Gillis in the back of the book.

But the medium itself? It just didn't work for me. I guess I'm more of a word person. I loved all the word play and description in the novel. In the graphic novel, which, btw, was very true to the novel itself, key sentences would be spoken by the characters, but without the preceding build up by the words, the spoken lines seemed flat and I found it annoying that favorite lines were broken up by several thought bubbles. This just didn't flow for me the way the novel did.

-3 stars
-borrowed from library

Feb 2, 2013, 9:49am Top

Hey Morphy--Thanks for stopping by. I know what you mean about too many books on the mountain, already! But if you can borrow a copy of the miniseries from your library, I think you'd enjoy it.

Hi majkia--glad you enjoyed them, too. I don't have many DVDs--but this is one I think I would rewatch and enjoy.

Edited: Feb 2, 2013, 11:47am Top

And that sums up my January reading. I only finished five books (goal 100 for the year). Only one of them was off my shelf for the ROOTS challenge. (Goal 50 for the year). That one ROOT was purchased in 2012 , and I had started it before January 1st so I'm stretching things by letting it qualify. :-)

Planet TBR has grown slightly from 350 books on January 1st, to 355 on February 1st.

I purchased two more books since I last 'fessed up:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius--for the February book club meeting--thought I'd better get going on it early if I have any chance of making it through. I wanted my own copy so I could make scribbled notes in the margins.
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin--not available through the library so I purchased a used copy for Morphy's group read.

The good news is that I really enjoyed the books I did finish in January. I also have quite a few started, so I should be getting these done fairly quickly.

I'm currently reading:
-Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter for a Literature by Women group read.
-The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie for Rachel's social injustice read.
-Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott BTW she says her 4th prayer would be "Lord help me to not be such an ass" but her publisher said it wouldn't fit into the title very well. ;-)
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson--audiobook in the car

Feb 2, 2013, 10:46am Top

"Lord help me to not be such an ass" - love it! I've got her book on order from the library. It will be awhile.

Feb 2, 2013, 11:14am Top

65, 66: I'm looking forward to comments on your classes, Janet. Philosophy, China, wolves...what an interesting combination. I want to be on your team if we ever play LT Trivial Pursuit!

84: I think I've prayed versions of that prayer before!

Feb 2, 2013, 12:38pm Top

Hi Janet. I loved your review of The Flame Trees of Thika and just put it on my library list. They also have the DVD of the miniseries but I think I'll try the book first.

And I know what you mean about the flow of graphic novels. If they're too busy, I can't figure out which bubble to read next. Generally, I've liked the ones I've read but now that I think of it they've mostly been non-fiction like Maus and Radioactive.

Feb 2, 2013, 1:37pm Top

(79) I've now put The Flame Trees of Thika on my wishlist!

Edited: Feb 3, 2013, 11:25am Top

Morphy, Lamott's book is very short--more like a long essay. You could probably read it in an hour or so.

Donna--Yup. Eclectic. That's why I've never met anyone on LT whose library matches mine very well. I rarely find someone whose library has more than a 5% or 10% match with me. I've actually signed up for a couple more Coursera classes over the course of the year. The list would make you laugh.

The classes are all going well so far. The Coursera Philosophy course has over 90,000 students so the discussion message boards are a madhouse, but they are optional so I just scanned a few. The introductory lecture was good. It was about an hour long broken down into five short segments.

Not much new info in the wolf class.The FWP person was very professional so not horribly entertaining. I could digress into funny wolverine stories from the first class if any one is interested.....

The China Class-well we're up to China history after WWI and the treaties that were so detrimental to the Chinese people. The ex-CIA instructor is incredibly anti-Obama and anti-Democrat foreign policy. (Not to mention anti-gun control of course--did I mention he's now a hunting guide? ) Far right Republican is the standard political stance in this state.

Pat and Lor I'll be interested to see how you like Flame Trees (if and when you get to it!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 3, 2013, 1:53pm Top

"Funny wolverine stories" sound like . . . fun! Digress away.

One thing I'm finding interesting in Idaho politics lately is how many people seem to be Democrats in Boise. The classes I've been taking usually have about 150 people in them and, from the questions asked, the students seem to mostly be liberal leaning. Also, when Timothy Egan gave a recent talk at BSU, they were expecting 200 people and 500 showed up and his talk was billed as a discussion of the November elections so I don't think people would have come unless they agreed with him. It's probably just a phenomena of it being the most densely populated city in the state and an increasingly attractive place for people to retire to from other states (like California) but it surprises me. I noticed exactly the opposite five years ago when we moved here.

Feb 4, 2013, 12:00am Top

Bring on the funny wolverine stories!

Feb 5, 2013, 9:43am Top

I've never read the Flame Trees but loved the movie.

Feb 13, 2013, 9:08pm Top

89: I could digress into funny wolverine stories from the first class if any one is interested...
Oh, do!

Feb 14, 2013, 1:19pm Top

Hi Janet, wow looks like I finally catch up with everyone.
Loved your descriptions about your wolf class and about how many wolf packs you have got in your valley. Very impressive. I believe more and more that you must be living in the most stunning area.
Nothing much to conribute on the reading front. Therefore, I just wish you a great Thursday!

Edited: Feb 15, 2013, 11:06am Top

Hello Pat, Sugarcreek, Cindy, Katherine and Bianca! It's nice to see all of you stopping by.

I've been having muscle spasms in my neck and back due to a fall on the ice a few weeks ago. A few days later my car was rear-ended (also due to ice) sending my neck into almost permanent spasms. I have been chiropracter-ed, massaged, hot and cold packed and Bio-Freeze'd. Not to mention all those good stretchy exercises. By the time I get home from work in the evening, I'm sore enough that I take muscle relaxants, do my feeding chores and go to bed. Working in a hood (biological safety cabinet) for long stretches during the day puts my arms and neck at exactly the wrong angle.

But it's finally getting better, I think. My neck and shoulders are all taped up with kinesiology tape--just imagine me like the hot, toned and tanned chicks playing beach volleyball at the Olympics wearing the tape.

OK, so I'm 35 years older, quite a few pounds heavier and haven't played any sort of volleyball since gym class yearsandyearsandyears ago. I don't have a lot of the toned and tanned. Hmmmm. Unfortunately, only the tape actually pertains. Do I get to be a guy magnet anyway? Shoulders covered in blue stripes are kewl.

But I promise the wolverine story in the next day or two followed by **gasp** a couple book reviews. Three day weekend here in the States--although I do have to go in for a few hours on Monday.

Feb 16, 2013, 5:47pm Top

Ok...wolverine story. After all this buildup it probably won't even sound funny, but it tickled my funny bone when the instructor from the wolf class told it.

A bit of background, first, because I don't know how familiar people are with wolverines.

Wolverines are about knee high and very fierce. They are solitary, so don't hunt in packs, but a lone wolverine can easily take down a deer and if the circumstances are right, even elk and moose. There are youtube videos of wolverines taking downed prey away from from several wolves, harrassing grizzly bears, etc.

They are also really rare. Wikipedia says there are less than a hundred in the continental US though there are many more in Alaska, Canada and northern Europe. They were just nominated for the endangered species list. Seeing one is a thrill, but they have few redeeming qualities.

If you have a backcountry cabin or cache and leave food in it, a bear might break in through the bars on the windows or doors and make a mess that will take you a long time to clean up. A wolverine might break into a cabin not because you've left food, but because you've left something leather, like an old work glove, or sweaty, like that old shirt you pulled off and forgot. A wolverine will claw and chew its way into places that are bear-proof.

And wolverines have an incredibly obnoxious musk gland secretion. Many people say it's worse than a skunk--although at least it can't spray it like a skunk does. If a wolverine breaks into a rustic cabin, many people would just burn the cabin and start over. It can be very hard to make it fit to live in again.

Funny story coming next post, I promise.

Feb 16, 2013, 6:07pm Top

So our instructor said that a while back (last fall?) an FS (Forest Service) guy was out in the woods in his truck.

He's sitting there, filling out some paperwork, and suddenly a wolverine charges out of the woods and attacks one of his tires.

The wolverine continues to worry the tire and hang on to it, sort of growling.

FS guy calls his supervisor at the station and asks what to do.

Well, what could he do? You can't just start to drive off and hope the wolverine lets go without there being a good chance of hurting the incredibly rare attached wolverine.

He and his supervisor decided it wasn't a good idea to roll the window down a bit and try to drop something on its nasty little head or poke it with something. Who needs an enraged wolverine trying to climb through the window? And nobody had ever heard of one acting quite like this.

So the only thing to do was to sit and wait for the wolverine to get tired and leave--which it did, eventually.

After it left, FS guy waited a suitably long time, then got out and changed his tire and returned to the station.

My boss is notably uninpressed when I call in and tell him that I will be a bit late to work because deer took out part of my fence or a cottonwood limb fell on it. He was notably skeptical when I fell on the ice and was off a few days with a bad back. Then I had to tell him that coming in to work on my first day back, my car was rear-ended and had set everything off again.

So I think this is the perfect excuse. Next time I have to call him and tell him I'll be late, I'm going to tell him .........

that a wolerine won't let go of my tire.

Of course I might need to produce the chewed up tire to prove it.

Feb 16, 2013, 7:50pm Top

LOL! I like it.

Can you imagine that story as a nature film?

Edited: Feb 17, 2013, 2:46pm Top

6. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Audiobook, read by author.

I picked this up at last fall's (2012) library sale. Bill Bryson's books, especially Walk in the Woods have been highly rated here on LT and I have accumulated several, although they've remainded unread. This is the first one I've completed.

This is an entertaining look at Australia; its history, its geography, its people and its amazing and sometimes incredibly deadly wildlife.

I wasn't very familiar with Australia but some of the random facts I learned:

Although one hears about the 'outback' I had no idea how vast it was. Basically, there are cities on the coasts, and by far the majority of the interior is outback. The cities on the eastern and western coasts are isolated from each other and isolated from the world and even the Southeast Asian markets. The cities, of course, are modern and beautiful--even if they do seem to be lacking a bit in a sense of history.

Evolutionarily, Australia is amazing with many examples of 'living fossils' that were thought to have died out millennia past. There are animals that evolved nowhere else. There are incredibly deadly sorts of sea life and arthropods.

And the native people, Aboriginees, are an incredibly diverse collection of tribes. It is only in the last 50 years that some of the wrongs against them are being redressed and they are seen as people with rights. (Before 1967, the Australian census did not even count them as people).

This was an interesting enough audiobook, but not compelling. 3 stars

Edited: Feb 18, 2013, 11:05am Top

7. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

--Purchased 2013 after reading a great review here on LT.

Help. Thanks. Wow.
The three basic prayers of mankind no matter what your spiritual belief.

Lamott is a Christian, but a very liberal one who grew up in an aetheist home. This book is inclusive of prayer from many aspects and faiths and respects all those seeking a Higher Power. She quotes a bit of Runi, and talks about her Wiccan friend who was so overcome with the view at the top of a mountain, that she broke into dance-- bringing to mind the Israelites who danced after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea with Moses.

This short book is more like a longish, very wise and funny essay on the topic of prayer. It can be read in an hour or so, but I know I will return many times to soak in its wisdom.

I started scanning it to find a few of my favorite quotes for this review, and became so caught up in it once again that I went through the entire book. When was the last time you said that about a book? But here are a few of my favorite bits:

"So I prayed: 'Help me not be such an ass.' (This is actually the fourth great prayer, which perhaps we will address at another time.)"

"When we are stunned to the place beyond words, when an aspect of life takes us away from being able to chip away at something until it's down to a manageable size and then to file it nicely away, when all we can say in response is 'Wow', that's a prayer."

"When Sam was six or so, he explained to me why we call God 'God': 'Because when you see something so great, you just go, 'God!' "

I'll be sharing this one with friends and family.

4.5 stars

Feb 17, 2013, 12:09pm Top

A very nice wolverine story. I read it with a smile on my face.

Feb 17, 2013, 2:46pm Top

Thanks, Lor and Connie.

Feb 18, 2013, 10:58am Top

You know, I rarely buy books and I'm hundred-something in line for Help Thanks Wow. I'm sorely tempted though.

Feb 18, 2013, 11:23am Top

I liked the wolverine story and the review of Anne Lamott's book. I think she is a good writer and has an interesting perspective on spirituality. I might have to buy her latest book though I thought I was over her! I'm glad to hear your taped-up back is doing better, Janet.

Edited: Feb 18, 2013, 11:42am Top

Does anyone else collect books on unique or odd topics? I've taken the hint from the group called ULTB (unique library thing books) and tagged my books that don't have any matches on LT with that tag. I have about 50-60 of them in my library--mostly about local history and horses/bloodlines although a handful I suspect are just edition specific. Here's my list of ULTB

Anyway, in my last swing through the library's Friends of the Library shelves, I bought an ULTB called Photo History From Yellowstone Park by Bill and Doris Whithorn. This one cost me a whole $1.

ETA: This book isn't actually an ULTB--there is one more copy with a slightly different name that I just combined. Oh, well. Stilll a very fun booklet!

It has wonderful photos like Yellowstone Park's first administration building:

The caption reads (in part): "First Administration Building. Built on the summit of Capitol Hill by Supt Norris in 1879, this was a fort. The cupola, fashioned of up-right logs and sheathed with boiler plate, had rifle slits and was bullet proof. With hostilities perpetrated in the Park against whites by the Nez Perce and Bannock tribes the two previous years, it was still considered necessary to have protection from Indians.....Clarence Scoyen, assoicated with the park all his life, was born here and remembers that the flagpole atop drew electricity during thunder storms. The family then sought protection in a root cellar, converted to a chicken coop. The Fort was torn down in 1909."

And here is said Philetus W Norris who was the civilian park superintendent from 1872-1879:

Feb 18, 2013, 8:58pm Top

I like books like that, Janet...especially when they contain old photos.

Feb 18, 2013, 9:30pm Top

Hi Janet. I'm sorry to hear about your fall on the ice and being rear-ended. I hope you're feeling better these days. After reading the information about wolverines and the story of the Forrest Service guy, I'm glad that wolverines are rare. They sound like crazy animals.

I haven't heard of ULTB before but I'm sure I have some books that fall into that category and they're probably mostly Idaho history books. I'll have to look for that LT group.

Edited: Feb 22, 2013, 9:01am Top

Hi Morphy! I tend to read too many reviews. Some of the negative ones of Lamott's book criticize her for not being Christian enough....others for being too Christian. For me it hit the right note, and said some things I needed to hear. If you decide to read it, I hope it hits the right spot for you, too.

Hi Lor & Pat--The old books and photos are fun. I know I can't keep them all, but in the meantime ...... quite enjoyable.

Tonight's the last night for my China's Rise to Power lecture series. The teacher is still striking me as so right wing that in some ways I want to skip the class. I'll probably see it through, though, and look for some other views to help balance his opinion.

Feb 19, 2013, 3:19pm Top

On the subject of ULTBs, I've got a few physics books, especially some late 19th/early 20th century texts for which I'm the only entry. But the most interesting one for me is Police Ju-jitsu, a small paperback given to my grandfather when he joined the US Army in World War II.

Edited: Feb 22, 2013, 10:25am Top

Thanks for stopping by, Jim. Police Ju-Jitsu sounds like a really fun book! I've got some of the old science books kicking around, too. Mine are old enough to be out of date, but not old enough to be fun or interesting. Except for an old mo-gen book, I don't think I have any of them cataloged into LT.

I finished:

8. Spillover by David Quammen and
9. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

These two are about as different from each other as they could be. 500 pages of zoonotic infections versus short stories of life on an Indian reservation. Both were wonderful. I'll get reviews done this weekend (I hope), although I need to go in to work a bit on Saturday.

Feb 22, 2013, 1:18pm Top

Hi Janet. I'll be interested to hear more about both your recent reads. I've seen some intriguing references to Spillover lately and someone else just favorably reviewed The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven but I can't remember who at the moment. I've never read anything by Sherman Alexie.

Feb 23, 2013, 12:06pm Top

Hi Pat--I think it was Donna's review you must have read. She liked it very well from the beginning. It took a while to grow on me. I ended up likeing it a lot. I liked it better than several of the other 'Reservation fiction' writers I have read--although I've not read anything by Louise Ehrdrich. I picked this from Planet TBR to read as part of Rachel's February social injustice read here on the 75.

Edited: Feb 25, 2013, 12:04am Top

8. Spillover by David Quammen

Zoonosis: any infection or disease that is transmitted to man from lower vertebrates
Spillover: that time point where the disease, which may have evolved through millennia with its animal host, comes in contact with a new host, including humans, and causes their infection.

This is a brilliant book of medical detection of past and present events and predictions of ‘the next big one’. Quammen is careful not to oversensationalize the story he carefully lays out in this 500 page book.

Quammen begins his story by recounting a recent zoonotic spillover event—the outbreak of Hendra virus in Australia that killed race horses and the people. He outlines the epidemiological detective work in determining the virus, its natural animal reservoir and the mode of transmission into racehorses. He speculates why the virus made the jump at this particular time.

And then he does it again with dozens more infectious outbreaks, each a puzzle of its own. Some of these are frightening with high death rates and overly sensational headlines: Ebola, SARS, Influenza, AIDS and the not quite as deadly Lyme disease. Others are less well known but are also killers : Q fever, psittacosis, typhus and even the vector borne malaria.

Each infection has an interesting story to tell by itself. Each one adds to the store of knowledge and we find the patterns:

----The next epidemic is liable to occur from a virus with RNA as its genome rather than DNA due to its high rate of mutation and evolution.

--A human to human disease with no animal reservoir can be eliminated from the planet (smallpox)—but one that lurks within an animal host cannot be eradicated without eliminating all the members of the natural host species.

--The deadly influenza outbreak of 1918 is liable to happen again as influenza has two host species (birds and swine) whose specifically evolved influenza viruses can recombine within a single host into deadly new combinations.

--AIDS/HIV most probably entered humans from a single spillover event from an infected ape in 1908. It sputtered along hidden in humans in the jungles of Africa until certain events made it explode into worldwide prevalence in the 1970’s. It has currently caused tens of millions of deaths. Are the small flares of Ebola evidence that it is following the same path?

Finally, Quammen gives the example of tent caterpillars whose numbers increase dramatically every few years. And then their population plummets when they reach a density where a caterpillar-killing virus wipes out almost-but-not-quite all of their population. When the numbers are low enough to contain viral spread, the population of caterpillars can once more begin to rise.

And he points out the ubiquity of the human race and their exponential growth rate. As we become more and more mobile, and disturb more and more animal habitat with our increased numbers, is there any way to avoid the caterpillar’s fate?

4.5 stars I'll be interested to read more of Quammen's works.

--Borrowed from library for book club at work (which sadly I will most probably miss.)
--Personal note: As a laboratory technician, I have worked on three of the bacteria mentioned: C psittaci, Rickettsia species (RMSF & typhus), and Coxiella (Q fever). The laboratory I work for is mentioned, as well as several people I have met.

Feb 24, 2013, 1:17pm Top

Great review of Spillover Janet. I'm sorry you'll probably miss your book club discussion of it. And how interesting that you've actually worked with some these bacteria.

Feb 24, 2013, 5:15pm Top

Thanks, Pat. It was a great read.

Unfortunately I can't manage more than one noon book club .

I'm thinking I'll probably go to my regular real-life book club at the library. The choice is the people and my committment to my regular club and a book I'm struggling to read, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Or the lab book club which is new, not sure who is going to be there, and the wonderful book, Spillover.


Edited: Feb 25, 2013, 12:03am Top

9. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven By Sherman Alexie

This is the first book by Alexie that I’ve read, although I’ve read several other authors whose work centers on reservation life. I’ve found the genre tends to be bleak and shocking, focusing on the lack of opportunity and justice and the overabundance of despair. It’s a story that needs to be told, but sometimes repetition of victim-hood can lead to desensitization as to the humanity behind the stories.

While the first few short stories of this collection echoed many of these themes, I also found much more humor and love –love both of his people and their love for each other- than in other accounts. He mixes a bit of ancient times and vision quest into a magical realism element in several stories.

I was thoroughly won over by Alexie’s portrayal. He’s a marvelous spokesperson for his people and the experience of being Indian in the 20th century (originally published 1993). I will definitely look for others by him.

-4 stars
-Planet TBR-- purchased at library book sale 2012
-read for 75's er February Social Injustice reads
-TIOLI # 6--4 out of 5 vowels

Feb 25, 2013, 10:22am Top

Hi Janet! Interesting review of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven! I should read more Alexie books. Thanks for offering to let me put it on my blog, I'll do that tomorrow morning. :)

Re: The Last Unicorn graphic novel, I agree about format. I'm more of a words fan than a graphics fan. Somehow, the build-up of tension/emotion in a "normal" book is so much better! I don't think I'll ever be a big fan of graphic novels, but I AM trying to develop a better taste for them. I'll probably stick only to books that were designed in graphic novel form, though, and avoid the rewrites. At least for now. Maybe I'll change my mind later.

Feb 25, 2013, 10:46am Top

Hi Janet, very interesting reviews. I have never read anything by Alexie, but I definitely will in the future.

In regards to the ULTB - I have got some, not as many as you but some :) However, I haven't entered them yet because I have been to lazy to do it manuel *blush*. I just love old books especially the ones on local history, wildlife and plant life with photos in them :)

Mar 2, 2013, 3:39pm Top

Hi Racehl--that's an interesting point for the graphic novels that are original graphic novels. The only other ones I've read were originally graphics, the Persepolis series. You've convinced me to try again.

Hi Bianca--the old books are fun. The new books are fun. Used bookstores are fun. Buying books at in person is fun. Buying books online is fun. Poking through second hand stores looking for those treasures priced at pennies is fun. Sigh. Now you see why Planet TBR is getting larger instead of smaller.

I'm glad you're feeling better, and late Happy Birthday!

One more book followed me home from the FOL shelf at the library: Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles - by John S Fitzpatrick, a pastiche of Sherlock and Montana history including copper baron Marcus Daly. I had resisted buying it in various stores for over a year. Now, for $2 it has found a new home, and I've contributed to the library fund.

Mar 2, 2013, 3:55pm Top

"It followed me home, can I keep it?" ;)

Edited: Mar 2, 2013, 4:03pm Top

10. Galaxy of Immortal Women by Brian Griffith

I was very excited by the concept of this book and was looking eagerly forward to reading it. I gave a huge cheer when I won it as a Library Thing Early Reviewer.

But... I have been reading this book for monthsandmonthsandmonths now. I have discussed parts of it with my daughter, an Asian studies major who spent last year at a Shanghai University. All I can say, is that contrary to the majority of reviews here on LT and Amazon, I wasn't impressed by this book. So here's the review:

This book is a very ambitious overview tracing Chinese goddesses/women in Chinese religion and by doing so, tracing women’s roles in society.

Strong points: It is good overview. It has tons of footnotes—sometimes 4 or 5 per page, showing the huge amount of scholarly research that went into this project. The footnotes and bibliography will be an excellent reference.

Weak points: It badly needed an editor. The flow was odd. It could not decide whether to be an academic reference or a pop-nonfiction book on the subject.

Half a dozen academic footnotes per page made the flow too choppy to be read as a non-academic popular read. The style tended to be fact/footnote/fact/footnote/fact/footnote. Personally, I would have liked to see more discussion, but, as I describe below, some of the discussions were the weaker parts of the book.

The author apparently tried to make this book more readable by throwing in modern references. These included, but were not limited to: what he refers to as the game of Survivor (the TV show?) (p115), Harry Potter (p118), and Chicken Soup for the Soul (p 229). These will make the book seem very dated in only a few years as well as hurt its credibility as an academic reference.

Some of the discussion arguments are odd. For example, in most schools of Confucianism, there are five important relationships that consist of one group being subservient and showing deference to another. One of these is wife to husband. Griffiths argues that while women had little power under Confucianism, since some of the Confucian ideals had aspects that westerners call feminine, Confucianism shows respect for women.

For instance, on page 123: “Rather than resisting warlords by force, most Confucianists argued like women, trying to flatter their ‘lords’ into behaving with ‘humanity’.” In that one remark, Griffiths not only managed to mix Confucianism with western schools of thought, but threw in a good bit of sexism at the same time. Wouldn’t you think that an editor would catch sexist remarks, especially in a book focusing on the distaff?

Unfortunately, he goes on with this argument for several pages. (P127) “The virtues praised in these ancient legends seem patriarchal because they are typically ascribed to men. But actually these virtues resemble a list of traditional Western ideals for women. ….They embody ‘feminine qualities of kindness, harmony and selfless giving.’” And so you see, dear reader, (sarcasm is all mine) Confucian ideals cannot be considered sexist because the men embodying them had some qualities that Westerners think of as feminine.

There is also some odd word usage. For instance, the Mandarin word translated as ‘cow herd’ or ‘cow boy’ is not the same word as the American ‘cowboy’. Since many legends do feature cow boys and maidens/goddesses, I now have an odd image of John Wayne meeting various Chinese goddesses at pre-destined times throughout the year.

This one will stay in my library due to the references and bibliography. It was a worthy, ambitious project that badly needed a knowledgeable editor.

3 stars.

Some days I want to give it 3.5. After reading all the glowing reviews on it, I think I'm rating it too low.

After rereading all my notes on stuff I didn't like, there are days I think I should rate it lower.

Mostly I'm just glad I'm done with it. That's never a good sign.

--2012 ROOT (=1 point)
--TIOLI Feb #6. Read and review an unread book you received through ER or MG

Mar 2, 2013, 4:06pm Top

>>120 fuzzi: "It followed me home, can I keep it?" ;)

Too funny, Lor. I used that line several times when I was growing up. I discovered pretty young that most things like puppies and kittens (not to mention books) **will** follow you home with a little encouragement.

Edited: Mar 6, 2013, 10:54am Top

6. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson audiobook (acq'd 2012 Yay! a ROOT)
7. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Ann Lamott (acq'd 2013)
8. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (library)
9. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (acq'd 2012 another ROOT)
10. A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization by Brian Griffith (LTER 2012 ROOT!)

SUMMARY of Books read in 2013 as of end of February

**10** -TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2013

4-Books Read from the towering MT TBR (owned prior to Jan 1, 2013)
1- Rereads from my shelves
3-Books from library or borrowed
2-Books acquired 2013

13-Total number of books acquired this year (not necessarily read, but total number newly owned by me): bought, gifts, trade, followed me home, ER (everything but library and online)

As of 1/1/2013 350 books on Planet TBR
As of 3/1/2013 357 books on Planet TBR; 20 listed on profile as 'Currently Reading'

8- Dead Tree Books
2- Audiobooks

1-Books of Short Stories
1 -graphic novel
0-Other (plays, poetry)

7- Male Authors
3- Female Authors

6 - Authors that are new to me
4- Authors I have previously enjoyed
1- Rereads
Multiple books read in 2013 by same author:
--Peter S Beagle (2)

Nationality of Author:

Birthplace or residence of Author if different from nationality:

Language Book Originally Published in:

Of the books I've read this year:
- cataloged into LT 2006 or before
- cataloged into LT 2007
- cataloged into LT 2008
- cataloged into LT 2009
- cataloged into LT 2010
- cataloged into LT 2011
4-cataloged into LT 2012
1-borrowed from library in 2012 but not finished until 2013
1- acquired previously but uncataloged until 2013 (have lots of these!)
4- acquired 2013

Mar 2, 2013, 5:23pm Top

Nice breakdown of your library!

Mar 2, 2013, 6:03pm Top

That would've been several book bullets if I weren't refusing to accept them this year. :-) Love the wolverine story. Still all taped up?

Mar 2, 2013, 6:48pm Top

Hi Janet.

Thanks for posting the lovely opening photo of a beautiful owl!

Friends recently moved to Montana. They live in Kallispel. Is that anywhere near where you live?

We visited Montana a few years ago when we went to Yellowstone. We fell in love with Wyoming and Montana.

Edited: Mar 7, 2013, 11:39am Top

And now for March:

11. Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin
Catagory: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Reason for Reading --Group Read for Morphy's Mighty Monthly read (February). Also March TIOLI # 21: Read an author who has written in two or more genres (novels/short stories/children's fiction)
Borrowed from Library
4 stars

George Orr is afraid to go to sleep. He's plagued by dreams. But unlike others' nightmares, George's dreams come true.

He's sent by the state to a psychiatrist, William Haber, who not only believes George, he starts to use George to change the world. But the changes always come with a twist. When Haber asks George to do something about overpopulation, millions of people die in a plaque that happened decades ago. Requesting world peace means that earth must unite against an alien species who colonize the moon.

But Haber wants to have total control. He wants Orr out of the picture so he can be both the controller of the dreams and the dreamer. And nightmares ensue.

This is the first non-juvenile book by Ursula Le Guin that I've read. I remember reading Catwings to and with my kids when they were little.

I'm interested in reading more of Le Guin (but not before my own out-of-control planet of unread books shrinks a bit!)

Edited: Mar 2, 2013, 7:42pm Top

Thanks, Lor--I started dong it last year after being inspired by some yearend summaries for 2011. It's pretty easy to do book-by-book instead of all at the end of the year. In post 4 I have my summary for 2012--although the numbers don't quite add up, so I had to do it a bit differently this year.

Hi Katherine--how do you manage to avoid book bullets? Inquiring minds want to know! No more kinesiotape. My sole claim to being a hotty is gone. But it sure is nice to feel better!

Hey Linda--thanks for stopping by! Kalispell is about 150 miles straight north. I lived there when I was in 5th and 6th grade. It's the gateway to Glacier National Park so I get through there almost every year. You so need to visit your friend, see Glacier (and the Glaciers are disappearing, you know!) and meetup.

How about a photo of GNP to inspire you (and everyone else!) to visit--photo of Mt Wilbur from web:

Edited: Apr 10, 2013, 8:54am Top

My March planned reads (going to definitely, probably, sort of commit to) ✔ = COMPLETED

Most are part of the way-too-many group reads I committed to last month or library books. I have several of the ones below mostly or partially read before the March began:

--Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (real life book club; TIOLI #25- Firt word of title can be rearranged to form a word with an 'O'--(ROT); 2013 purchase) started ***reading*** 3/8/2013
✔--Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (Feb/March Science, Religion and History group read; TIOLI #1 - character whose first name starts with Jo (Dr John ...); library) ***Reading***
✔--State of Wonder - Anne Patchett (online group read & TIOLI #5-finances and medicine; library--audiobook)
--Vicious: Wolves and Men in America - Jon T. Coleman (Recommended'd in my wolf class; TIOLI #9- Read a book with a plant or plants on the cover; library)
--Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era - Autumn Stevens (Women's History Month Read; ROOTS challenge 2007; TIOLI #11: Read a book because you like its title) ***Reading***
✔--Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman: Reclaiming My Moxie After Cancer by Susan Cummings - (Women's History Month; LTER;TIOLI #11: Read a book because you like its title; ROOTS 2012) (4.2 stars)
✔ --Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin - (Feb Green Dragon group read; TIOLI #21. Read a work by an author who has written in two or more styles or genres (novels/short stories); purchased 2013) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
✔--Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter --this one I have been working on for a while! (Jan/Feb online read; TIOLI #21. Read a work by an author who has written in two or more styles or genres (novels/short stories); library)
✔--Jhereg by Steven Brust (Feb 75'ers fantasy group read; TIOLI #21. Read a work by an author who has written in two or more styles or genres (novels/short stories); library)
--Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Feb book club read- would like to finish *eventually*; purchased 2013) ***Reading***
✔ --Justinian's Flea by William Rosen (audiobook; Mar TIOLI #1-character whose first name starts with Jo-Pope John II; ROOTS -2012 FOL purchase)
--Quotable Book Lover by Ben Jacobs (ROOTS- 2006) ***Reading*** I've been working on this one for several months. I've discovered that random quotes, even about a subject I enjoy, do not inspire me.

and I dearly want to throw a few mysteries and some more women's history into the month... otherwise it will be really top-heavy on the non-fiction.....

Going to add:
(3/7) Twisting the Rope by R. A. MacAvoy (Mystery March; Women's History Month woman author; TIOLI # 4- Read a book in a series that you have already started; ROOTS--Planet TBR 2012)
✔(3/11) Comeback by Dick Francis --mystery March; ROOTS-Planet TBR 2008

And the various People's Bible Commentariies I finished:

✔ -- Phillipians Colossians Philemon - Harlyn J Kuschel
✔ -- Luke People's Bible Commentary by Victor H. Prange

Mar 3, 2013, 11:37am Top

129: how do you manage to avoid book bullets?
Combo of refraining from clicking through to Amazon where I keep my wish list, and a poor memory.

Mar 3, 2013, 11:56am Top

Heehee. I'm putting my BB's on a spreadsheet which I try not to refer to when going anywhere books might be available. I tell myself it's not a shopping list.

My biggest problem is that almost every group read looks interesting ...... sigh.

Edited: Mar 4, 2013, 3:24pm Top

I'm also working on a project that I started in January 2012 to read through the Bible using a set of commentaries, The People's Bible Commentary. Although I have mentioned this on my thread last year, I haven't yet mentioned it this year. I copied this from last year's threads:

"This year I've taken the challenge to read my Bible completely through. It's something I've never done. I've started to do it several times but gotten bogged down in the lists and begats of the Old Testament and petered out. But when a group here at LT committed to doing it, I found the following scheme which really appeals to me: http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html

The Bible is divided up into groups of books: Epistles/Law/History/Psalms/Poetry/Prophecy/Gospel. Each day you read from a different section. So far this is keeping me from bogging down.

And to make it more complicated, I decided to read a commentary series I have (People's Bible Commentary from Concordia Publishing) along with the daily reading. This series is a bit over 40 books. A good number of these are unread; some have been read several times, some partially read and discarded. If I'm successful, it will get a large number of books off MT TBR (although there are several I will have to buy to fill in the series)."

I finished about half my project last year. I'm currently on week 29 if you check out the above link. I have reasonable hopes of finishing two of the commentaries this month:

-- Philippians/Colossians/Philemon (People's Bible Commentary) by Harlyn J. Kuschel
--Luke (People's Bible Commentary) by Victor H Prange

and am also reading the commentaries on:

Mar 4, 2013, 5:23pm Top

Good job on the Bible progress Janet! It's difficult reading through some parts of it. Takes a lot of dedication.

Mar 4, 2013, 6:12pm Top

I send message #133. Years ago I took an intense bible study class. it was fascinating. The Psalms remain my favorite part of the bible. Do you have a favorite part?

Mar 4, 2013, 8:30pm Top

(133) I agree, good job!

There are some books in the Bible that just aren't as interesting as others, but one can still glean truths from Leviticus and Numbers.

Whisper1, Psalms is lovely, but Isaiah is probably my favorite OT book.

Edited: Mar 7, 2013, 11:01am Top

Hi Rachel, Linda & Lor--Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Rachel, I'm only reading 15-20 minutes a day, soon after I get up in the mornings. Not fast, but I'm getting through. I think the commentaries are really helpful in explaining the parts that are at first glance not-interesting-to-me by putting them in context.

Linda--that's interesting that you took an intense class. I've done Bible studies that focus on topics and bits and pieces, but nothing in its entirety. The intro to humanities class I took in college looked at several Biblical books (Job, Genesis, and maybe John?) as literature--fairy tales if you will. It was one of those classes where Christians were ridiculed--interestingly, Christians weren't ridiculed in any of my hard-core science classes.

Favorite part?? No idea. Some Psalms are absolutely beautiful, but I find reading the book of Psalms straight through becomes a bit tedious. Isaiah is also gorgeous. I have never really studied all the Pauline epistles before, so on an intellectual basis, that is the most interesting right now. Some of the parts of the Gospels, for instance, are so familiar that they lose their shiny and I skim over them, missing points. Another good reason to read them with commentary, I guess.

I'm on week 6 out of 7 for the Coursera philosophy course. The topic this week is the philosophy of science, which I have never taken as a class. One of the main topic questions (although I haven't started listening to the lectures, yet) is 'Does science need to be true to be good?' This one has me highly amused. We'll see what they have to say. I have no doubt what my boss would say.

The final lectures next week are on the philosophy of time travel. That also sounds fun. I think I'll need to find a Tardis shirt to wear for those.

Overall it's been an interesting way to spend the dark pre-spring nights. I've signed up for a few more, but may have to rethink since we'll be changing to daylight savings time soon which means more light in the evenings! Yay!

Edited: Mar 8, 2013, 6:55am Top

12. Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter

Catagory: Literary Fiction
3.5 stars
Reason for Reading
Online Barnes and Noble Literature by Women January/February discussion
March TIOLI # 21: Read an author who has written in two or more genres (novels/short stories/journalism)
Borrowed from Library
--512 pages

The year is 1931. A double handful of first class passengers board a German ship in Veracruz, Mexico, to cross the ocea , heading for Germany and other European ports. The characters are very diverse: upper society German ex pats returning to Germany for various reasons; a disabled hunchback, a political prisoner; a dying old man with his hostile caretaker nephew, a group of Spanish dancers (perhaps Gypsies?) who cause trouble throughout the voyage, Cuban medical students, an unmarried American couple traveling the world as artists. The steerage level below is packed with undesireables being removed from Cuba.

The ship is a brilliant setting. Each of the first class passengers have strong prejudices and antipathies. On board, they can neither escape from each other during the duration of the journey; nor do they care overly about their fellow passengers’ opinions as they are truly ships passing in the night, and will not see each other again when the voyage ends. This leads to the unmasking of all their prejudices and pride and we see all the pettiness that humans can unleash against each other, including quite a bit of casual anti-Semitism among the German passengers as they sail into their future with Hitler at the national helm.

This book is not for those who appreciate a more action driven story. The characterizations and changing points of view are very well done and this one will stay with me for quite a while, although I doubt it’s one I’ll ever want to revisit with a reread.

I’m debating whether to watch the movie made from the book. It was Vivian Leigh’s last screen performance.

This one certainly fits into Morphy's definitition that literary fiction is miserable people being miserable.

Mar 8, 2013, 10:03am Top

I got an email from Coursera about all their new classes.

Wow--they've added lots--including courses taught in Spanish, Chinese, Italian, and French. It looks like they've added more advanced courses including a couple science ones that would be useful at work.

And I see one on comics and graphic novels. I'm thinking that one might be fun, especially if we can get a LT group together for it. I'll think I'll wander over to the Dragon and post the info for that one. https://www.coursera.org/#course/comics

In the meantime, my next one of the 'old' courses starts next week: Introduction to Sustainability. https://www.coursera.org/#course/sustain

Really good stuff--but we change times this weekend. I love daylight savings time and the extra sunlight to do things outside in the evenings. So I'll see how I feel after doing sustainability--is coursera sustainable during the spring when the outdoors is calling?

Edited: Mar 9, 2013, 10:45am Top

I borrowed the book posting format I used in number 137 from **someone** (can't remember who) here on the 75'ers. I really like the way it looks and helps me find what I posted about books. So here's the next one:

13. Jhereg by Stephen Brust

Catagory: Fantasy/SFF
3.8 stars
Reasons for Reading:
75'ers Feb online group read (never said I was prompt about things!)
March TIOLI # 21: Read an author who has written in two or more genres (novels/short stories/journalism)
Borrowed from Library

With this first book of the Jhereg series, we are plumged into a world that has been going on for tens of thousands of years. Readers learn bits and pieces of its complicated history as the story moves forward.

Vlad Toltos is a despised human assassin living in a culture of an incredibly long lived, powerful race of elves called Dragearan. Toltos has a bit of magic--dubbed witchcraft to differentiate the human magical practices from the elves' sorcery. He also has a familiar; an intelligent venomous flying reptile (looks more dragonish on the book covers than the description in the book itself) called a jhereg with whom he communicates psychically.

I found the book to be satisfying and clever. The plotline was an interesting puzzle; the worldbuilding quite excellent. There were several strong women in the story, although I question Vlad's wife, Cawti, who seems to be semi-retired although we don't find out why. Hopefully, she's recovering from some dering-do adventure and not just retired because good old Vlad can't bear to see her in danger.

I'll most probably go on with others in the series. (So many books! So little time! Another hugely long series! Aaaaaaaaaach!)

(I had borrowed this book from the library as The Book of Jhereg which contains Jhereg, Yendi and Teckla).)

Mar 9, 2013, 10:53am Top

I haven't mentioned it, but I signed up to go the Booktopia gathering in Bellingham Washington the first weekend of June.

I'm really excited for Booktopia, for the LT meetup and because I've been wanting to revisit the Olympic penninsula for a while now.

No plans yet, as to how and what (other than the LT gathering). I may be traveling alone or with an adult child or two (depending on their jobs and school).

Edited: Mar 29, 2013, 9:27am Top

14. Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman by Susan Cummings

Catagory: Non-fiction, memoir, health
4.2 stars
Reasons for Reading

--Library Thing Early Reviewer;
--TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a book because you like its title;
--ROOT from Planet TBR. Acquired 2012
--March Women's History Month

Twenty years ago, Susan Cummings was diagnosed with breast cancer. These are her musings on her journey since then. As she says, “I hope the book will lighten the way--provide a little trail mix, a slightly twisted walking stick--for other cancer survivors as well as survivors of other serious illnesses and those dealing with body image issues."

That sums up this book beautifully—a slightly twisted (but utterly delightful) walking stick for others on the path. This is a quick, funny read that surprisingly hit to the core issues that many survivors have.

Since no one’s journey is exactly the same, naturally some of her worries and concerns didn’t meet mine. But the ones that did connected strongly. I laughed.

And I cried a bit. On your cancer journey you may lose a friend or two. Some people just can’t bear one more friend with cancer. Other friends may lose their own cancer struggle.

This is one I'd recommend to other survivors that I know--and to newly diagnosed friends; especially if they are single women.

Mar 14, 2013, 12:43pm Top

Hi Janet. I've gotten way behind on the threads in the last couple of days and am just catching up now.

In post 137, you mentioned you read Ship of Fools for an Online Barnes and Noble Literature by Women January/February discussion. Is this something open to everyone? I didn't know B&N was doing online discussions.

I think you may have gotten me to try Jhereg. I've seen alot of people reading this lately and didn't realize it was an LT group read.

I'm so glad you're going to Booktopia in Washington. I considered it but we're already planning two trips in June and now it looks like it's full anyway.

I also got Adventures of A One-Breasted Woman as an ER book so I was very happy to see you liked it so much. As usual with me, I started it but then put it aside.

Mar 14, 2013, 12:50pm Top

Janet, do you think Adventures of A One-Breasted Woman would also be good for a woman who has gone through a double mastectomy?

Edited: Mar 15, 2013, 9:10am Top

Hi Pat--Good to see you! The literature by women is online at Barnes and Noble. I was active a couple years ago and just now sticking my toe back in. There was very little discussion for Ship of Fools. But this month we're reading Ann Patchett's State of Wonderand there seems to be more participation. Here's the link:http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Literature-by-Women/bd-p/U1000

And here's the list of previous selections http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Literature-by-Women/READING-SCHEDULES-Pas...

It would be fun to have you (and anyone else!) join in.

Roni organized the Jhereg read as part of Fantasy February. It's currently Mystery March here on the 75'ers. I think Lor organized an Agatha Christie group read, but I am doing my best to ignore it. (I'm a sucker for group reads--can you tell? :-) I'm still trying to get February reads done!

Mar 15, 2013, 9:02am Top

Adventures of a One Breasted Woman: Pat, I can see why you might put it aside. The first few chapters didn't relate to me--her agonizing over why it happened and chasing macrobiotic and other lifestyles that might guarantee it would never happen again. But when it touched me, it touched me and I laughed (and cried) over some of our common experiences. You expect to lose a few freinds with a divorce, but you lose them also with a cancer diagnosis--some people have too much emotional baggage around cancer in their own life to be able to stand seeing it in one more person. And some people die while you're on your journey.

Lor, it's sort of a book for coping with being a survivor. Of being able to say 'Wow I made it through'-- and then being able to laugh about things that happened that you didn't think you'd ever laugh about. Do things look good for your friend? The book would work for someone with a double mastectomy who is able to laugh--and that may take your friend a while. I'll get the review done and then send it to you if you would like to read it and see if it might fit your friend. PM me.

Mar 15, 2013, 12:43pm Top

Hi Janet

Happy Friday to you.

Mar 15, 2013, 3:09pm Top

Mar 15, 2013, 11:01pm Top

Thanks for those links on the Barnes & Noble site Janet. I'll check them out.

I actually liked what I read of Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman but my MO is that I have about 4 or 5 books going at the same time and if something else comes along that looks good I have no discipline about waiting to start it. I think I was just reading too many other things at the same time and it got lost in the shuffle. I will finish it since it was an ER.

Have you ever read the graphic memoir Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics? I thought that was very funny. The only down side was learning that the author passed away after writing it.

Edited: Mar 16, 2013, 10:04am Top

Hi Linda --Thanks for stopping by. Always good to see you!

Marcia--More Alexie is on the list for me, too. Thanks for popping in. I hope you'll be back again.

Pat--No, I haven't read that one--and drat!--the library system doesn't have it, although I see that Amazon has very reasonable used copies. I've added it to my spreadsheet and will keep an eye out for it.

ETA: I understand about the multiple books going at a time--I do that myself!

Edited: Mar 17, 2013, 2:59pm Top

Thanks, fuzzi. At this point it's not so much the **cost** of the book as it is the time and storage space. Way too many books on Planet TBR. So I'm carefully making entries on a spreadsheet of the ones that sound super interesting.

Which brings me to my next dilemma--trying to read what I already own off Planet TBR, but getting the list of authors who will be at the Bellingham Booktopia that I signed up for--this is copied from the email from the organizers:

Peter Clines, Ex-Heroes
Peter Clines has written a “superheroes vs. zombies” novel that is original, fun, and incredibly well-told. Much like Ready Player One, this is a novel that goes far beyond the genre into which it was published, and it can be enjoyed by many different types of readers. The heroes in this book are real people with real problems of loss, relationships and fear. Ex-Heroes is available in trade paperback from Broadway Books. The sequel, Ex-Patriots, will be published on April 23, with two more books in the series to come later in 2013.

Jonathan Evison, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
Down on his luck, Benjamin Benjamin takes a class to learn how to be a caregiver, and finds a job caring for Trev, a 19 year old with muscular dystrophy. Their relationship, and the road trip that they take together, is at the center of the novel, which is by turns tragic and funny. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is available now in hardcover, and will be published by Algonquin Books in paperback on May 7th. ***My note (via Karen)--Pacific NW author**.

Ru Freeman, On Sal Mal Lane
On Sal Mal Lane is a lush, brilliant novel of childhood in Sri Lanka in the time just before the outbreak of the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war. This is one of those books that I did not want to end; I felt like I was in Sri Lanka, on Sal Mal Lane, and the characters became part of my world. On Sal Mal Lane will be published by Graywolf Press on May 14th. Ru’s first novel, A Disobedient Girl, is available in paperback now.

Caroline Leavitt, Is This Tomorrow
In this, Leavitt’s tenth novel, a 12 year-old boy goes missing from a Boston suburb, and this affects an entire community. It is once a mystery, a family story, and a novel of 1950s suburbia. Is This Tomorrow will be published by Algonquin Books on May 7th. Leavitt’s most recent novel, Pictures of You, is available in paperback now.

Rhonda Riley, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope
This is one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. It’s difficult to categorize, so let me just tell you that it’s gorgeously-written and magical. You’ll need to suspend your sense of disbelief for this one, but Riley makes it easy to do. The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope will be published in April by Ecco Books. This is Rhonda Riley’s first novel.

Jan-Philipp Sendker, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
This may be my favorite love story ever. I’ve met Jan-Philipp and he’s wonderful, and his stories of Burma will have you booking a ticket or at least dreaming of doing so. Many thanks to Other Press for sending Jan-Philipp all the way from Germany to be part of Booktopia. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is available now in paperback.

Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements
I love this satirical novel about a pre-wedding weekend and all the craziness that weddings bring out in friends and family members, especially when that family is an upper-class old-money New England clan. Seating Arrangements, Maggie’s first novel, is available now in hardcover from Knopf, and will be released in paperback by Vintage Books on May 7th.

Now if the touchstones work, I can do my research on these more easily!

Any and all comments welcome!

Just reserved A Disobedient Girl through ILL.

Mar 17, 2013, 3:10pm Top

Those all sound like interesting choices! I'm eager to hear about whichever one you pick. On Sal Mal Lane is particularly intriguing.

Mar 17, 2013, 3:46pm Top

Those Booktopia books look interesting, Janet. I hope you have a wonderful time. I'm glad some other LTers will be there, although I'm sure the Goodreads people would be welcoming. Book people are that way in general in my experience.

You have been busy with your Bible reading and Coursera studies. Is there homework (other than reading) for Coursera? I miss taking my classes at the university. I hope they offer something of interest this fall.

Mar 17, 2013, 3:54pm Top

The only one of these books that I've tried is Seating Arrangements. It was a library book and I couldn't get into it and returned it mostly unread. I can't say I tried that hard to focus on it and probably only read 20 pages at the most. I think because I'm reading increasingly more serious books as a result of being on LT, it seemed "light" to me which is not necessarily a bad thing.

The ones I would probably read for Booktopia would be something by Jonathan Evison because of the NW connection, On Sal Mal Lane because I like the description, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope again because of the description but also because I could start it in April, and The Art of Hearing Heartbeats because I like a good love story and the author is coming all the way over from Germany.

I'm also eager to hear what you decide to read. It's fun to follow your preparations for Booktopia!

Mar 17, 2013, 4:07pm Top

Well, I've signed up for the Comics & Graphic Novels class at Coursera! If no one else takes it -- whenever they decide to offer it -- at least there'll be the two of us. :)

Mar 17, 2013, 4:44pm Top

Mar 17, 2013, 7:19pm Top

Wow, Janet so much interesting reading.
However, I couldn't bypass this expression of yours "followed me home" I couldn't stop laughing and you just gave me an excellent expression to use when I bring all these new books home and I meet again with all this dismayed faces.
Yep, as you say not very helpful for our planet TBR that book shopping is so much fun.
Thanks for the link to the coursera course about Comics and Graphic Novels I will check that one out as well.

Mar 17, 2013, 10:14pm Top

ditto #157....

Many, many books followed me home yesterday.

Edited: Mar 19, 2013, 10:04am Top

Hi Marcia, Donna, Pat, Faith, Lor, Bianca and Linda Thank you all for stopping by!

The comments on the Booktopia books are very close to my own musings.

Pat, I enjoyed your comments. Seating Arrangements was at the bottom of my list.

I've ordered two older books by these authors through Interlibrary Loan: One is A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman. It also takes place in Sri Lanka. Her upcoming book, On Sal Mal Lane is one that sounds very interesting to me and I'll probably order a copy.

The second one I'm borrowing is an audiobook, West of Here by Jonathan Evison. A review by sibyx/Lucy said that it had some good history of the Olympic Peninsula. Since seeing that beautiful area (again) is one of the reasons I'm going, it sounded like a fit and I was able to get it in audiobook for my drive to and from work. I'll probably order his newer one, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, too. I think the title is an unfortunate choice. It may be wryly amusing, but I imagine many people wouldn't even pick up the book because of it. From the number of remaindered copies available on line, it's not selling as was hoped.

I'll definitely preorder The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope. It's a first time author's first book. It's receiving some great reviews and a bit of hype. The book scout in me says that a signed copy would be a Good Thing.

I've become such a cynic after my (30 year long) marriage broke up that I'm not sure I have the patience for love stories. Some of the reviews of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats compare it to Bridges of Madison County. How's that for a kiss of death?! Burma is an interesting setting and the fact that the author is coming from Germany are both on the plus side.

I've never read a Zombie novel--Cell by Stephen King is the closest. I read the preview pages for Ex-Heroes on Amazon. It's a mashup of zombies and superheros. The author feels obligated to talk about f***ing in the first few pages. Doesn't sound like my genre at all, but I am doing this to expand my reading horizons ........

Off to work..... I'll answer the Coursera comments in my next post.

Mar 19, 2013, 7:43pm Top

Hi Janet, if you really, really want to read a GOOD Zombie Novel. Go for the books by Jonathan Maberry. His YA series is absolutely fab. The first book in the series is Rot and Ruin. I just finished two other books in the series and one novella.

Why would that be a + for you that the author is coming from Germany?

Janet, I wish you a great week. *a big smile and a wave*.

Mar 20, 2013, 1:19am Top

Hi Bianca--How about if I say some very nice people live in Germany? ;-)

I'm making some assumptions about Jan-Philipp Sendker and none of them may be true.

The hype says that his book did well in Germany and Europe (have you heard of it?) and it is now being released in the US. So assumption number one is that he is a more established writer. Since he is traveling halfway across the world to launch the US edition of his book, his publisher must think it will do well here, or they would not be sending him.

I'm not sure exactly how Booktopia works, but apparently pretty soon we choose which authors we want to meet in groups of 25 listeners. I'm thinking his experience of being a writer and being published in Germany will be different than the US authors. So he will make a nice contrast (maybe) to the writers sharing their US experiences.

And thanks for the suggestion. Jonathan Maberry has been added to my list.

Donna I hate to be dumb, but is Booktopia linked with GoodReads? I have an account over there, but seldom check in.

The Coursera courses are fun. Homework? I think it depends on the course. I knew from others that I wouldn't be able to fit in all the reading and writing in the fantasy course. The philosophy course had no homework although we were encouraged to use the discussion boards and pointed towards additional reading. Quizzes could be taken over three times and you only needed a 50% to pass.

The Sustainability Course has quite a bit more lecture time and several assigned reads each week. There are also required weekly essays and you must comment on others' essays if you want to get full marks for the course. In addition, the quizzes are much more like real tests--and you have to get a 70% with only one attempt. I am such a a competitive person. I want ALL the completion badges for the Sustainability class, but alas, I just don't have time. So I may end up just listening to the lectures and calling it good.

Faith and Bianca--you know that if you guys take the comic/graphic novel course, you will have to carry me across the finish line, don't you? I know nothing at all about the subject..... but it sounds like fun.

Mar 21, 2013, 4:40pm Top

Bianca is right, the Rot & Ruin series is quite enjoyable. And it's a YA series, so it's pretty clean, too. :)

Though I DO count Cell as a zombie novel.

Mar 24, 2013, 12:08pm Top

Janet, Booktopia is promoted on Goodreads and I think the attendees are mostly GR people. Make some new friends but please don't abandon us! Thank you for the explanation of Coursera. If I don't find a class at Missouri State this fall I may check into it further.

Mar 24, 2013, 1:06pm Top

Hello Janet - what a great thread you have! I also studied the philosophy course at Coursera, so I was interested to see that you were doing that. I've just started their Ancient Greeks one, which is excellent so far (one week in). But it requires 75% in each quiz, so I am paying extremely close attention...I hope you enjoy The Ghost Map. I finished it recently and thought it was excellent.

Edited: Mar 28, 2013, 8:53am Top

Hi Rachel--Thanks for stopping by. Rot & Ruin has duly been added to the wishlist spreadsheet since both you and Bianca enjoyed it. I'm not sure it's my genre, but I'm willing to try anything. I think Stephen King is intriguing in small doses and I enjoyed Cell.

Hi Donna Thanks for explaining that. I think there are 4 or 5 LT'ers going to the Bellingham Booktopia--and of course there is a meetup planned. I'm especially happy to be meeting Karen (maggie1944) since we've been talking for several years here on LT.

Hi Susan Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to swing by your thread and see what you're reading!

Here's what I decided to order for Booktopia:

Only two older books from these authors were available through my library system:
West of Here audiobook by Jonathan Evison. Ellen had done a review and said it was a good historical fiction of the area. I'll start listening to that one today.
Also from the library: A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman set in Sri Lanka & Burma; author born in Sri Lanka

Ordered through various bookstores:
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines zombies here I come!
Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker love story (again not my favorite genre); author on tour from Germany
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving also by Jonathan Evison
Preordered: On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman
Preordered: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

Mar 28, 2013, 9:47pm Top

Hi Janet, no I have not heard of Jan-Philipp Sendker before :), but I think I will check him out once I am back in Germany.

I went to the charity shop yesterday and met very friendly books who "followed me home". Sorry, I love that expression and I started using it. LOL

I wish you a wonderful Easter weekend, Janet!

Edited: Mar 30, 2013, 3:48pm Top

15. Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe by William Rosen

Catagory: Non-fiction, science, history
3.5 stars
Reasons for Reading

--audiobook in the car
--Acquired 2012 = 1 ROOT point
--TIOLI #1. Read a book which has at least one character whose first name starts with the two-letter combination "Jo" (Pope John II)

Justinian I ruled the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565 A. D. During his reign, he fought lotsandlotsandlots of battles to reunite the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire. This part became quite confusing to me as I listened to the audiobook version and eventually I let the names and battles just sweep over me while I waved my mental white flag of defeat.

Justinian as a Christian passed laws requiring belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation with death penalties for heretics. The Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed became the sole dogma of the church. Justinian gave legal force to Church decrees, but also asserted that nothing could be done by the Church without the will of the emperor.

His regard for Christianity led to one of his reign's greatest achievements: the architectural advancements that led to the rebuilding of the Hagia Sophia. Since I wasn't terribly familiar with the Hagia, I looked up photographs and was stunned by their beauty.

Justinian also revised all Roman laws into the landmark Corpus Juris Civilis.

And finally we reach the plague, (probably, but not certainly the bubonic plague), which entered Constantinople in the early 540's and brought about the empire's downfall as waves of plaque swept throughout Europe for the next two hundred years, decimating available manpower for war. Additional post plague wars further broke up the empire and helped create borders of European countries today.

Plague-induced lack of manpower also affected the course of history during the Arab-Byzantine wars; at first Arab/Muslim invaders were highly successful making inroads into the relatively unguarded Byzantine and Roman empires. Then the invaders were halted themselves as they too were struck by the plague. Plague may also have facilitated the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain. Post plague wars broke up the Roman empire and helped create the modern face of European countries today.

I had hoped for more info on the plague itself, but available info seems to be scarce. Instead, this was a history of Justinian's reign; his battles, his empire and accomplishments.

Personally, I would have been better served with a print format than an audio of this book. I feel I would have to listen to this in its entirety several more times for all the info to be assimilated (but it's just not compelling enough for me to want to do this.) In addition the reader, Barrett Whitener, was not an easy listen. He wasn't monotone, as each sentence had internal pitch variances, but each sentence was pitched exactly the same. I'll avoid further books read by him. 3.5 stars

Edited: Mar 30, 2013, 3:46pm Top

Hi Bianca--Thanks for stopping by! I'll be interested to hear what you find out about Jan-Philipp Sendker in Germany. It sounds as if 'successful author in Germany and throughout Europe' may be a bit exagerated if you haven't heard of him.

I still have the majority of my March reviews to get done. Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman and Justinian's Flea were both tough ones for me to write and have created a backlog.

Mar 30, 2013, 10:42pm Top

Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe I am curious what you have to say about that one *smile*. That is one of those dusting on my TBR!

Edited: Apr 1, 2013, 2:42pm Top

Phillipians Colossians Philemon - Harlyn J Kuschel

Catagory: Non-fiction, Christianity, Bible Commentary, New Testament, Epistles
Reasons for Reading:
--Working my way through the entire set of People's Bible Commentaries which have been on my shelves probably 20 years.
--I am reading through the Bible using this sequence (currently on week 30--although I've taken since January 2012 to get here): http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html
--Acquired pre 2006 = 7 ROOT points
--TIOLI #6 Read a book whose Cover Features Easter Colors

It's actually been since November of last year since I finished any of these commentaries, and then I finished several. Since they are similar lengths, I'll be finishing a group of them--besides the two in March, I will probably finish two or three in April: Kings (including both l and ll Kings in the history catagory), Ezekiel (Prophets) and followed soon after by Leviticus (Law).

I especially liked Philemon. I don't think I had read it before and I found it and the commentary quite inspiring.

Apr 1, 2013, 8:50pm Top

Philemon is a sweet book.

Apr 1, 2013, 9:22pm Top

Justinian's Flea sounds interesting, but I certainly won't try to listen to it!

Apr 2, 2013, 11:35am Top

>172 ronincats:--good idea, Roni! I think Justinian's Flea would have been a bit of a slog for me in any format, but audio was especially bad for me. There were lots of interesting details and it was a time period that I knew little about.

Hi fuzzi--thanks for stopping by. I'm about two weeks behind in posting reviews, so I've actually been through all seven of my Biblical catagories since finishing Phelemon (and I agree--sweet!) and started my next commentary on the epistles, 1 & 2 Thessalonians People's Bible Commentary by David P Kuske today.

Edited: Apr 2, 2013, 11:43am Top

17. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Catagory: Contemporary Fiction, (Orange Prize and Wellcome Trust nominated)
Reasons for Reading:
--Read with the Barnes and Noble Literature by Women online group
--March TIOLI 5. Read a book combining health care and finances
--audiobook from the library

A drug company funds a research program deep in the heart of the Amazon where a little-known tribe seems to have found the secret of extending women’s fertility throughout their lifetimes. But the researcher, Dr. Annick Swenson, not been in contact with the company for over two years. The company decides to send a second researcher to the Amazon, Dr. Anders Eckman, to determine what progress has been made. After several months, a terse note from Dr. Swenson assures the company that their man Anders has died of a fever. The company then sends Dr. Marina Singh to investigate and to determine what progress has been made on the research.

The problem I had with this book is that the science and research details, large and small, are so far off as to be unbelievable. Every time I began to suspend disabelief –whammy kapow –another bad detail would hit me in the face. Unfortunately, many of the plot points revolve around the science that is wrong; and if the center does not hold, the plot points cannot hold. Ms. Patchett has no knowledge of what a vaccine actually is—and her anti-malarial vaccine is not a vaccine by any sense of the word. We are also supposed to believe that Dr. Swenson is keeping secrecy about what she is actually doing because no big drug company would fund a malarial vaccine as the million third world kids that die every year from malaria don’t have the money for a vaccine and the company doesn’t care about dying kids. One of the points Ms. Patchett misses, is that most militaries in the world would have an interest in a malaria vaccine—and US funding for military research has deep pockets. A drug company would make out very well with a malarial vaccine, and work on this is quite active today, although frustratingly slow as all parasite vaccine research is.

Going into a review of the book itself seems a bit like the old gag line “Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” I will say, that Ms. Patchett knows how to tell a tale. I may try another of her books, but will definitely avoid anything else she writes with a pseudo scientific setting.

2.5 stars.

Apr 2, 2013, 12:44pm Top

I've not actually read anything by Ann Patchett, but I am a big fan of her lovely bookshop in Nashville, Parnassus Books. Too bad this one had such bad detailing and hope if you get around to more that she get's it right.

Edited: Apr 2, 2013, 7:28pm Top

That's really cool, Leah. Does Ms Patchett still work in the store? Have you had a chance to meet her?

Edited: Apr 9, 2013, 11:09am Top

18.Comeback by Dick Francis

: Fiction, mystery

Reasons for reading
--My only read for Mystery March
--on Planet TBR since 2006; ROOT # 8 = 7 ROOT points
--March TIOLI #1

British diplomat Peter Darwin, (no, no relation) stops off in Florida and becomes entangled with friends of his longtime pal and bureau chief there. He meets an older couple (I refuse to call them elderly!) who are friends of his friend and are on their way to their daughter's wedding. The wedding is coincidentaly in Cheltingham, England where Peter grew up and where he plans to spend part of his leave revisiting old memories. After the older couple are brutally mugged, Peter agrees to see them to their destination in England.

It turns out that the daughter's fiance is a surgeon at a veterinary practice where horses are mysteriously dying. Human bodies also start appearing. Peter takes his few weeks leave and does a bit of nosing around ......

I enjoy Dick Francis's mysteries although they are quickly becoming vintage. They're well written and tight and unlike many writers, he gets the details right about the horses.

4 stars for sheer enjoyment value.

Apr 2, 2013, 10:10pm Top

#176 by streamsong> Apparently she works in the store fairly often and participates in several of the book groups. Since I don't live in Nashville, I only get to visit occasionally when I'm there for work and she's never been working when I was there, but I did see her as a book group was breaking up the last time I was there.

Edited: Apr 9, 2013, 11:08am Top

19. Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

: Non-Fiction, popular science

Reasons for Reading:
--LT group read (Science Religion and History);
--March TIOLI #1--Character with name starting with Jo

In 1854, London was already a city of two million people. Public works planning was in its infancy as was the germ theory of disease. Most experts believed that infectious diseases were caused by miasmas--evil stench filled air. Outbreaks of disease were common.

In late August, a single child in Soho became violently ill with cholera. Within days, hundreds sickened and died. Physician John Snow, already well known for his characterization and quantification of ether used as anasthetic, believed that the outbreak was water borne. His revolutionary mapping of deaths showed an epicenter around the Broad Street Pump. It would be many years before the causative agent could be identified in contaminated water and the miasma versus water borne infection debate would be solved, but Snow's agitation was enough to get the pump handle removed, which led to a cooling of the epidemic.

Amateur researcher Reverend Henry Whitehead also contributed to the discovery when his knowledge of the neighborhood and people led to his investigation and discovery of a leaking sewer in the house of the original ill child directly affecting the pump.

The last chapters of the book take a look at the efficiency of cities and their role in public health planning and sustainability. City planning is not a totally unrelated subject being , but needs more explanation as author Steven Johnson envisions Earth becoming a 'city-planet'.

3.7 stars. Recommended for those with an interest in science and infectious disease.

Edited: Apr 3, 2013, 8:29am Top

20. Luke: People's Bible Commentary by Victor H. Prange

Nonfiction, Bible Commentary
--Part of reading through the entire Bible with commentary
--March TIOLI #6 Read a book whose Cover Features Easter Colors
--this series has been on my Planet TBR for at least 20 years. This one is book number 9 of my ROOTS challenge (Reading Our Own Tomes) to read 50 books from my shelves. Since, I cataloged it into Library Thing, I give myself 7 ROOT points--ticker and explanation in post 2.

The last of my March books, I finished reading this one on the evening of Easter Sunday. Perfect timing to read of Jesus's crucifiction and resurrection.

I'm only spending about 15 minutes a day reading these, but they are deepening my Biblical knowledge.

Edited: May 4, 2013, 4:04pm Top

My March reads went really well! Although I am not a listmaker, it was very satisfying making the check marks in post 129. I finished 10 books, five of them from MT TBR. So here is My April planned reads (going to definitely, probably, sort of commit to) ✔ = COMPLETED

Continue to Read

--Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (real life book club March selection; moved to April TIOLI 3. Read a book with an embedded word whether scrambled or unscrambled in a single word within the title - (Team/Meat) 2013 purchase) started ***reading*** 3/8/2013
✔----Wild Women Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era - Autumn Stevens (March Women's History Month Read; ROOTS challenge 2007; moved to April TIOLI #7. Read a book with all of the letters of the word "spring" somewhere in the title )
--Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Feb book club read- would like to finish *eventually*; purchased 2013) April TIOLI 9. Read a work with a 4 syllable word on the 13th page ***Reading***
--✔--West of Here by Jonathan Evison audiobook; (library) author will be at Bellingham Booktopia; TIOLI #3 - Read a book with an embedded word whether scrambled or unscrambled (stew, her)
Plan to Read

✔-- - A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman Book by author for Booktopia 2013. (library) TIOLI #17. Read a book by an Asian American OR set in a Southeast Asian country OR written by a Southeast Asian writer
-- ***Reading*** Vicious: Wolves and Men in America - Jon T. Coleman (Recommended'd in my wolf class; moved to April TIOLI #4 Read a book with two or more people on the cover (library)
-- ***Reading*** One Hundred Years of Solitutde by Gabriel García Márquez April Book Club Selection ; TIOLI #. Read a book with a green cover (Will not finish in April)
-- **(Decided to return to library unread)** The Great Influenza by John M. Barry Morphy's Mighty Monthly Read--don't know if I'll manage this one; I've done several pop sci epidemiology already this year and this one is HUGE (library)
✔ -- - Morning in the Burned House - by Margaret Atwood (poetry) for Atwood April; TIOLI #16. Read a Book by Margaret Atwood
✔-- - The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - Barnes and Noble Literature by women read (library) TIOLI#. Read a Book with an Orange Cover

And Also Want to Read:

For Asian American and Southeast Asia Reads:

--The Third Son by Julie Wu LTER 17. Read a book by an Asian American OR set in a Southeast Asian country OR written by a Southeast Asian writer
--Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh - 17. Read a book by an Asian American OR set in a Southeast Asian country OR written by a Southeast Asian writer ROOTS 2008
--Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill 17. Read a book by an Asian American OR set in a Southeast Asian country OR written by a Southeast Asian writer (library)
--A River Runs Through It - Norman Maclean audiobook read by Ivan Doig TIOLI #13. Read a book with a 'water' word in the title ROOT 2012


--Twisting the Rope by R.A. MacAvoy ROOTS 2012; TIOLI #19 Read a book with an orange cover or nominated for the Orange Award
-- A Cat With No Regrets by Lydia Adamson ROOTS 2008; 14. Read a Book with a Green Cover

Apr 3, 2013, 12:49pm Top

Janet, that is a good (and ambitious) list of planned reads for April. Good luck to you! Hmmm, A River Runs Through It read by Ivan Doig looks interesting. I love that book and Ivan Doig!

Apr 3, 2013, 1:00pm Top

And for confession's sake: I bought far more books in March than I should have. Five are for authors for the Bellingham Booktopia. Five were just because. With the additions of a few more that were purchased previously but not added to LT, Planet TBR looks like this:

As of 3/1/2013 357 books on Planet TBR; 20 listed as 'Currently Reading'
As of 4/1/2013 366 books on Planet TBR; 21 listed as 'Currently Reading'

Yup, going the wrong way. Gotta concentrate on staying on my own planet instead of being enticed by all the wonderful group reads.

Edited: Apr 3, 2013, 3:10pm Top

Hi Leah-- Wouldn't it be fun to have enough time to actually take part in a group she led? (Where's Hermoine's time-turner when you need it?)

Thanks for stopping by, Donna. No way will I get them all read. :-( But at least the list helps keep me on track--and I have put some oldies from Planet TBR there.

I've read A River Runs Through It numerous times although it's been several years. The title story takes place in my part of the country and Norman Maclean used to stop by the bookstore I worked when it first came out. I picked up the audiobook with Ivan Doig doing the reading at a booksale. Unfortunately, it's cassette, rather than CD, so it keeps going to the bottom of the stack. I really do want to listen to it, though.

If I only had time, there are at least two more group reads this month that I'd love to join. LT is evil!!!!!

Edited: Apr 7, 2013, 2:22pm Top

> 181; Ahh, that Kate Morton book is a good one!!

Apr 6, 2013, 10:38am Top

174: I read State of Wonder last year, and actually could’ve suspended disbelief re the science if only the people hadn’t been so annoying.
177: I think I’ve read all of Dick Francis over the decades. Tried a book by his son last year and it paled in comparison.

Apr 6, 2013, 10:53am Top

State of Wonder has such a pretty cover for a disappointing book. The Ghost Map was good wasn't it? I'm reading one about Yellow Fever now in which, once again, everything was thought to cause it except the thing that did actually cause it. I sometimes wonder what we are failing to notice about diseases these days that will, in time, be incredibly obvious.

Apr 13, 2013, 12:35pm Top

Hi Janet, reading your review on State of Wonder I see that it definately is not for me. Just crossed it of my wishlist. The Ghost Map is on my reading list for this month and I am very much looking forward to it, as the book received so much praise.

I hope your weekend is going well!

Apr 14, 2013, 2:50pm Top

Just dropping in to wish you a lovely Sunday!

Apr 15, 2013, 11:42am Top

21.A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

Reasons for Reading:
-- Ru Freeman is one of the authors who will be at the Bellingham, WA Booktopia. Her next book, Sal Mal Lane is coming out this spring.
-- April TIOLI #17--Asian American author (April is Asian American history month)

Chapters alternate between Latha's and Biso's stories.

Latha's story is told in third person and covers a span of more than a decade. An orphaned servant girl, she is the same age as the daughter of the house, Thara. We see the two girls diverging from being childhood companions to a Mistress and servant. Although Thara's life has more possibilities, both women are ruled by custom and by men.

In alternating chapters, we hear Biso's story which is told in first person at a somewhat earlier time (but still during the unrest of the civil war) and takes place over a period of just a few days. Biso is fleeing her abusive husband to an aunt that she has only met a few times who she hopes will provide refuge for her family. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Biso had taken a lover whom her husband killed during the act of lovemaking. Her subsequent daughter had become the target of her husband's rage.

Toward the end of the novel, the two stories come together.

The women are a complicated mixture of subservience, giving in to their futures with little protest, and stepping out with confidence. Each bit of independance seems to be met with custom, fate, and calamity forcing them back once again. At the end of the novel, I felt like giving a cheer--but I also wanted to know what happened next. Clearly, subsequent events would also not be smooth.

Author Ru Freeman grew up in Sri Lanka. Her word pictures about the Sri Lankan people, their food, their customs and their lives are so vivid that I felt that I could step out into Sri Lanka. Her characterizations were vivid. I cared about these women, their good choices and their stupdities.

Definitely my favorite novel so far this year. Borrowed from the library, but after reading it, I ordered a copy for myself.

Edited: Apr 17, 2013, 10:02am Top

Hello Connie, Katherine, Susan, Bianca and Roni! Thanks for stopping by my thread.

--Connie Yes, I'm quite enjoying The Forgotten Garden. Chick fic, cozy mystery and fairy tales. It's a nice break from several of the other books I am reading right now. I hadn't especially cared for the only other book of hers I've read (although I see I rated it 4 stars--is my memory or my rating wrong? hmmm), The House at Riverton, so this one is a nice surprise.

--Katherine yes, Dick Francis is sort of a comfort read for me. I haven't read any of them that I haven't enjoyed.I haven't read them all, but as I see ones that I haven't read, I pick them up and add them to Planet TBR. I have not tried out the ones by his son; it sounds like I should go right on avoiding them.

--Susan. That's definitely an interesting thought. I think I recommended Spillover to you on your thread, didn't I? If not, I do so now.

--Bianca There are lots of fans out there of State of Wonder. I just wasn't one of them. I may yet read Bel Canto because I did like her writing.

--It's definitely time for me to drop by your thread, Roni, to get inspired by your beautiful creations.

Now that I have the taxes out of the way, I hope to get caught up on a few more reviews and threads.

The book diet is not going horribly well. I'm still acquiring more books. I am happy sorry to say that I've added three to the shelves in April--nice copies of:
Please Take Care of Mom
Half Broke Horses
and Gone Girl from the library sales rack (and one little trip to Goodwill where I was dropping stuff off--I promise!). I have 4 more books ordered, but until they show up, they don't count. I still check out the FOL shelves as I enter the library--but I make myself wait at least a week before I buy the book unless it's something I absolutelyknowIcan'tlivewithout. And if it's gone, well, usually it's OK since I have a several year backlog of TBR books. Although I do wish I'd bought that copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet before it disappeared--uh oh, did I just say that?

I had mentioned Flylady on another thread. One of her sayings is that you can do anything for 15 minutes at a time. Anyhoo, Flylady is a system of cleaning, organizing and decluttering your home. So since mentioning it, I restarted it and have been fluttering along as a flybaby for the past few weeks. You enter a room, turn right and start decluttering right there for 15 minutes a day. I figure it will take me ten years to get through my house (well, maybe not quite). Here's the site if anyone is interested in following along. http://www.flylady.net/ On my trip to Goodwill last week, I left off several sacks and emerged with one small book--even though there were several more that I coveted oh so badly-- and one china saucer for underneath a plant. (I'm gradually replacing the ugly drip pans under my plants with beautiful mismatched china saucers--you wondered who bought those at Goodwill, didn't you?)

Edited: Apr 19, 2013, 3:48pm Top

22. Kings People's Bible Commentary by Arno J Wolfgramm
Nonfiction: Bible Commentary
Reasons for Reading:
--Bible Challenge started 01/01/2012 to read the Bible through along with these commentaries using a short study time each morning.
--ROOTS challenge: Reading Our Own Tomes. Book # 10 (Goal 50).This one has been on Planet TBR for about twenty years = 7 ROOT points for a total of 34:Goal 160.
--Fit into the April TIOLI catagory #9. Read a work with a 4 syllable word on the 13th page (coronation-- and probably Adonijah, possibly a couple other names that I have no idea how to pronounce)

Old Testament account of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The commentary includes both I and II Kings. I have no idea how to rate these commentaries. I have not spent much time reading many of the books of the Old Testament and I have not read other commentaries on most of these OT books.

Apr 28, 2013, 12:03pm Top

Been a while since I've been on your thread! :) I'm way behind on my reviews, too. I finished The Ghost Map a couple weeks ago and still haven't reviewed it, I think. haha. Gotta get back on the internet and way from that dastardly real life!

Apr 28, 2013, 12:44pm Top

Hi Rachel--I am so far behind. Thanks for stopping by!

I am still working through two book club books--March's Team of Rivals and May's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Both are challenges for me in completely different ways and are really slowing down my reading.

TOR--dense, rich, packed with information--having to read slowly to take it all in. I'm really enjoying it.
OHYOS--I just don't enjoy this style of writing. I've been through the online Spark notes and taken part in the BC discussion. I'll finish this one so I can check it off my 1001 Books to Read Before you die list, but I won't spend a lot of time on it.

I've also beem working on two other chunksters: The Forgotten Garden for another online group --light, enjoyable, chick lit mystery--not a lot of depth but still over 500 pages. The last is my audiobook, one of the longest I've tackled at 14.5 hours--West of Here by Jonathan Evison, one of the authors who will be at the Bellingham Booktopia. I'll get this one done by the end of the month!

Edited: May 5, 2013, 12:41pm Top

23. Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era by Autumn Stephens

Catagory: Nonfiction: Women's history, short essays
Reasons for Reading:
--Started for women's history month read in March
--ROOTS challenge: Reading Our Own Tomes. Book # 11 (Goal 50). Acquired in 2007 = 6 ROOT points. Total ROOT points: 40/160
--Fit into the April TIOLI 7. Read a book with all of the letters of the word "spring" somewhere in the title

This book has a lot right with it. There are short biographical sketches (the longest are two pages) of one hundred fifty women who followed their own paths in the Victorian era (1837-1901). There are authors, dancers, notorious outlaws and madames, sufragettes, doctors, an astronomer and clergy women. Some of these women I am familiar with: outlaw Belle Starr, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman. Others are less well known and I was happy to make their acquaintance: well known photographer Frances Johnston, who chose to do her self-portrait (the cover photo of the book) with cigarette, beer stein, a bit of leg and an intense posture.

A web site proclaims this book and its sequels to be the basis of 'Wild Women Clubs' throughout the world.

The author, however, carries the silly alliteration of the title into almost every paragraph of the book. What's quirky and fun in the title got old quickly in the context of the entire book.

Edited: May 5, 2013, 12:42pm Top

24. Ezekiel: People's Bible Commentary by Kieth Bernard Kuschel

Catagory: Nonfiction, Bible Study/Old Testament/ Prophets
Reasons for Reading
-- Personal reading the Bible with commentaries challenge
--ROOTS (Reading Our Own Tomes) challenge. Book # 12/50. Acquired pre 2006 = 7 ROOT points for a total of 47/160
--TIOLI April #3. Read a book with an embedded word whether scrambled or unscrambled in a single word within the title (like)

Edited: May 4, 2013, 10:52am Top

25. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Catagory: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Chick lit/mystery
Reasons for Reading
--Online B & N literature/books by women
--TIOLI April #19. Read a book with an orange cover, the word orange in the title, or which has been nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction (orange cover)
--copy from library

In the early 1900's a four year old child is found abandoned on a dock in Australia. She can't or won't say her name or how she got to be there. When inquiries prove futile, the dockmaster takes her home to his childless wife, names her Nell and raises her with love. On her eighteenth birthday she is retold of her origins and sets out to solve the mystery, one of the few clues being a rare, beautifully illustrated book of fairy tales.

But life again intervenes, and Nell chooses to raise her granddaughter instead of pursing the mystery of her origins. On Nell's death, granddaughter Cassandra inherits the few clues her grandmother discovered and sets out to solve the mystery.

The story is told from three perspectives and times: an orphan girl named Eliza who is taken as a ward at her cousin's house in the early 1900's; the grandmother Nell's search in the 1960's; and the grandaughter, Cassandra's search in the early 2000's.

Fairy tale themes are beautifully woven throughout. They permeate the story itself and are also featured as writings by the mysterious author of the fairy tale book clue who Nell remembers only as "The Authoress".

A complicated feel good read (is there a genre of chick lit mystery?) with a bit of romance at the end.

Edited: May 4, 2013, 11:42am Top

26. Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood

Catagory: Poetry
Reasons for Reading
--Atwood April on the 75
--TIOLI April #16. Read a Book by Margaret Atwood
--copy from library

This book was recommended by klobrien2 (Karen) earlier this year so I chose it for my 'Atwood April' read.

Everything Karen said about it is true. It's one I'll have to purchase and add to my library. She's given excerpts of several wonderful poems in various threads so I won't repeat them here. Instead I'll post parts of one of several that Atwood wrote after her father had a stroke and was in a nursing home. These touched me deeply as my father has been in a nursing home for the last year.

King Lear in Respite Care

The daughters have their parties
Who can cope?
He's left here in a chair
he can't get out of
in all this snow or possibly
wallpaper. Wheeled somewhere
He will have to be sly and stubborn
and not let on.

Another man's hand
coming out of a tweed sleeve that isn't
his, curls on his knee. Howling would be uncalled for.

(I'd love to quote the whole thing, but not sure it's allowed so I'll skip a large part in the middle and go on with:)

At eight the youngest daughter comes.
She holds his hand.
She says, Did they feed you?
He says no.
He says, Get me out of here.
He wants so much to say please,
but won't.

After a while she says --
he hears her say --
I love you like salt.

Edited: May 4, 2013, 11:42am Top

27. West of Here by Jonathan Evison

Catagory: Contemporary fiction, audiobook. borrowed from library
Reasons for Reading
--this author is one who will be at the Bellinham Booktopia in June
--TIOLI #3. Read a book with an embedded word whether scrambled or unscrambled in a single word within the title (west/stew)

This book is set in two time periods: the late 1800's and the early 2000's. These are the bookends of time surrounding the building and removal of a dam on the Elwa River in Washington State.

In the late 1800's the Olympic Peninsula was a place of building and discovery. We follow a number of residents (explorers, Native Americans, town builders, a feminist) in the area of the fictional Port Bonita as the town is built, the peninsula is mapped and explored and ultimately, the Elwa River dammed for hydroelectric power.

The 2005 sequence is peopled with close counterparts to those who lived a hundred year ago set it today's environment: the manager of the last fish-packing plant, a parole officer and his parolee who has escaped into the wilderness, Native Americans still trying in vain to fit in, an environmentalist who is hesitantly exploring her lesbian nature.

Since I listened to this on audio I can't give an exact quote, but in one section a Native American healer who is trying to help a boy who walks in two worlds and both time periods, says that we are all haunted by our pasts; by people we didn't know and choices we didn't make.

I found this novel very ambitious. Parts of it I enjoyed very much. It had dozens of characters who, while interesting, were not as well characterized as they could be. I understand this due to the length of this novel (16.5 hours on audiobook), but I think I might have been more satisfied knowing fewer characters more deeply.

I enjoyed learning some history of this part of Washington State and becoming familar with the story of the Elwa Dam and its removal.

Edited: May 5, 2013, 12:31pm Top

April's Reading Completed:

Two of the books I read in April are the best so far this year and highly recommended!

- A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
- Mornings in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood


21. - A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman (library but liked it so well I purchased my own copy)
22. Kings People's Bible Commentary by Arno J. Wolfgramm (Planet TBR pre 2006 = ROOT 7 points. Yay!)
23. - Wild Women: Crusaders, Curmudgeons, and Completely Corsetless Ladies in the Otherwise Virtuous Victorian Era by Autumn Stephens Book 11 from Planet TBR--acquired in 2007 = 6 ROOT points
24. Ezekiel People's Bible Commentary by Kieth Bernard Kuschel - (Planet TBR #12/50; pre 2006 =7 ROOT =47/160 points.)
25. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - library
26. Morning at the Burned House by Margaret Atwood (library) Atwood April
27. West of Here by Jonathan Evison- audiobook - library

7 books
3 - fiction
1 - non-fiction --short biographies of women
1 - poetry
2 - non-fiction Bible study (both started in 2012)

3 - from Planet TBR for the ROOTS challenge (Reading Our Own Tomes) - 2 acquired pre-2006; 1 from 2007

6 - purchased (total for the year: 30. As of 4/30--4 books purchased in 2013 read; 4 more in progress)
Since I'm continuing to catalog books, Planet TBR is growing even faster than my purchases. As of 4/30/2013 it stands at 375 books.

Edited: May 5, 2013, 5:11pm Top

May's Reading Plan

✔---- Warming the Stone Child by Clara Pinkola Estes - ROOTS acquired 2008
--***Listening *** - Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain (library)
--***Reading*** Vicious: Wolves and Men in America by Jon T. Coleman (Library— overdue: cannot check out again)
--Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis Morphy's monthly read (library)
--Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng Book Club --purchased 2013
--Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple B & N Lit by Women group
--The Third Son by Julie Wu LTER

Books in Progress That I May Not Get Back to This Month

Team oF Rivals –March for Brown Bag Book Club (purchased 2013)
One Hundred Years of Solitude April Brown Bag Book Club: (purchased 2013)
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius February Brown Bag Book Club: (purchased 2013)
Quotable Book Lover ROOTS Challenge

Books for the Bellingham Booktopia June 7th

✔ in April ---- West of Here by Jonathan Evison (audiobook—library)
✔ in April ---- A Disobedient GirlRu Freeman (originally from library but bought a copy for myself because I liked it so well
--Ex-Heroes - Peter Clines - purchased 2013; May TIOLI rolling series; Mayhem in May
--Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman - (preordered not received)
--Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - TIOLI-- participles? (purchased 2013)
--The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley (purchased 2013) May Mars Myths and Make Believe; TIOLI fantasy
--The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker- TIOLI particple

Various People’s Bible Commentaries:

✔ -- Law: Leviticus People's Bible Commentary by Mark J Lenz ROOTS acquired pre 2006

I obviously won't get all of these done!!!!!

May 5, 2013, 6:27pm Top

Good luck on getting as many of them as possible read!

May 6, 2013, 8:05pm Top

Hi Streamsong,

I'm a late arrival to your thread but I enjoyed going through top to bottom just now and catching up. You've gotten through some great reading already this year! I particularly enjoy your reviews.

But I have to give you special thanks and applause for bringing to my attention the Unique Library Thing Books Group!!! Thank you!!! : )

I have long thought unique or uncommon books should be available as metrics on the site, but now I have found this group I'm happy to see there is a group of members who have taken it into their own hands to log with the ULTB tag those rare works that have been catalogued by only themselves and no others.


May 6, 2013, 8:10pm Top

Wow, tons of good reading going on here, Janet! Thanks for all the additions to the BlackHole.

May 7, 2013, 9:05am Top

Stopping by to see how you are doing. :)

May 10, 2013, 1:32am Top

Hi Janet, just stopping by to say hi and to wish you a lovely weekend!
Well, and of course to gape again at all the wonderful reading you have done, since I last visited.
I hope everything is well with you!

Edited: May 12, 2013, 12:19pm Top

Hi Roni--I seem to be in a bit of a reading slump. Lots of plans, not as much reading. And not as much time here on LT.

Charles, nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words. I visited your thried--Wow! You couldn't live in a place more opposite to where I live.

Stasia, Lor and Biana--always nice to see you!

And now--trying to leap to a new thread! Hope you'll join me there!

This topic was continued by Streamsong Shiny Second thread in 2013.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2013

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