Jolerie's all things Bookalicious
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My name is Valerie and this is my fifth year (on and off) with this wonderful group. I am a proud mom of two by day and book hoarder by night. When I'm not busy wrangling my two boys (or their dad..ha!) I usually have my head in a book or in a pile of laundry....or in a pile of dishes....
There is no specific genre that I avoid or dislike and am pretty much open to any book because being a family with one income, reading books truly is the most cost efficient way for me to travel. Places to go, people to meet and I get to do all that most of the time in the comforts of my home. Given previous years though, it seems that my reading habits tend to lean a lot towards SF, Fantasy, YA, and Historical books.
I can't wait to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Feel free to drop a line and let me know you've been around! :)
5 Stars: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE??
4 Stars: So, so, very hard to put down...
3 Stars: Purr...I'm content...almost...
2 Stars: Anxiously eyeing the next book in my pile...
1 Star: Fire fodder...BURN BABY BURN!!
Currently Reading ☛:
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Currently Listening ♫:
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
On Deck for January
☛ (Tree Book) :
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Book #1)
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
Favourite Reads of 2012:
1. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (Fiction)
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA)
3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy)
4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Fiction)
5. Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum (Fiction)
Favourite Reads of 2013:
1. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (fiction)
2. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (YA/SF)
3. Uther by Jack Whyte (historical)
4. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (historical)
5. A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher (fiction)
6. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction)
Favourite Reads of 2014:
1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (historical)
2. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical)
3. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville (historical/fantasy)
4. The Martian by Andy Weir (science fiction)
5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (YA)
These are books that I'm currently in the middle of with hopes that at some in my life I will be able to check them off as completed!
Alan Bradley – (YA) Flavia de Luce Mysteries (1/6) Next: The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
Alastair Reynolds - (SF) Revelation Space (3/7) Next: Diamond Dog/Turquoise Days
Anne Bishop – (F) The Black Jewels Series (3/9) Next: The Invisible Ring
Anne Rice – (F) Vampire Chronicles (3/10) Next: The Tale of the Body Thief
David Whitley – (YA) Agora Trilogy (2/3) Next: The Canticle of Whispers
Diana Gabaldon – (FN) Outlander (6/9) Next: An Echo in the Bone
Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Legacy (6/9) Next: Naamah’s Kiss
Jenna Black – (YA) Faeriewalker (1/3) Next: Shadowspell
Jessica Day George – (YA) Princess of the Midnight Ball (1/3) Next: Princess of the Midnight Ball
John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard – (SF) The Chronicles of the Invaders Trilogy (1/3) Next: ?
Jules Watson – (H) The Dalriada Trilogy (1/3) Next: The Dawn Stag
Kady Cross - (YA) The Steampunk Chronicles (2/4) Next: The Girl with the Iron Touch
Kate Mosse – (H) Languedoc Trilogy (2/3) Next: Citadel
Kazu Kibuishi – (GN) Amulet (3/?) Next: The Last Council
Kerstin Gier – (YA) Ruby Trilogy (2/3) Next: Emerald Green
Lisa See - (FN) Shanghai Girls (1/2) Next: Dreams of Joy
Marion Zimmer Bradley – (F) Avalon Published Order (2/7) Next: Lady of Avalon
Orson Scott Card – (SF) Ender’s Universe (8/10) Next: A War of Gifts
Paolo Bacigalupi - (YA) Shipbreaker (2/3) Next: ?
Pearl S. Buck – (H) The House of Earth Trilogy (1/3) Next: Sons
Pittacus Lore – (YA) The Lorien Legacies (3/4) Next: The Fall of Five
Robert Jordon – (F) Wheel of Time (9/13) Next: Crossroad’s of Twilight
Shannon Hale - (YA) Princess Academy (1/2) Next: Palace of Stone
Stephen Hunt – (F) Jackelian (1/6) Next: The Kingdom Beyond the Waves
Ted Dekker – (YA) The Lost Books (4/6) Next: Lunatic
Terry Brooks – (F) Shannara Heritage Tetralogy (1/4) Next: The Druid of Shannara
Terry Brooks – (F) The Magic Kingdom of Landover (3/6) Next: The Tangle Box
Tom Rob Smith - (FN) Child 44 Trilogy (0/3)
Up to date Series – waiting next book
Peadar O Guilin - (YA) The Bone World Trilogy (2/3) Next: TBA
And this is to prove that I am indeed capable of finishing something that I start...
**Bolded ones indicate my favourite series**
Alison Goodman – (YA) Dragoneye (2/2)
Ally Condie - (YA) Matched (3/3)
Anna Carey – (YA) Eve (3/3)
Amanda Hocking - (YA) Trylle Trilogy (3/3)
Arthur C. Clarke – (SF) Space Odyssey (4/4)
Beth Revis – (YA) Across the Universe (3/3)
Brenda Rickman Vantrease – (H) The Illuminator (2/2)
Cornelia Funke – (YA) Inkheart Trilogy (3/3)
Cynthia Hand - (YA) Unearthly (3/3)
D. M. Cornish – (YA) Monster Blood Tattoo (3/3)
Donita K. Paul - (YA) Valley of the Dragons (3/3)
Douglas Adams – (SF) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (7/7)
Francine Rivers – (H) The Mark of the Lion (3/3)
Guy Gavriel Kay – (F) The Fionavar Tapestries (3/3)
Guy Gavriel Kay – (F) The Sarantine Mosaic (2/2)
Jack Whyte – (H) Camulod Chronicles (9/9)
Jacqueline Carey – (F) The Sundering (2/2)
James Dashner – (YA) The Maze Runner (4/4)
Josephine Angelini - (YA) Starcrossed (3/3)
J. K. Rowling – (YA) Harry Potter (7/7)
J. R. R. Tolkien – (F) The Lord of the Rings (3/3)
Kaoru Mori – (GN) Emma (7/7)
Kenneth Oppel - (YA) The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (2/2)
Kiersten White - (YA) Paranormalcy (3/3)
Kristin Cashore – (YA) Seven Kingdoms Trilogy (3/3)
Lauren DeStefano – (YA) The Chemical Garden Trilogy (3/3)
Libba Bray – (YA) Gemma Doyle (3/3)
Madeleine L’Engle – (YA) The Time Quintet (5/5)
Lois Lowry – (YA) The Giver Quartet (4/4)
Meg Cabot - (YA) Abandon (3/3)
Megan Crewe – (YA) Fallen World (3/3)
Patricia C. Wrede – (YA) Frontier Magic (3/3)
Philip Pullman – (YA) His Dark Materials (3/3)
Philippa Gregory – (H) The Wideacre Trilogy (3/3)
Philippa Gregory – (H) The Tudor Court Novels (6/6)
Robyn Miller/David Wingrove – (F) Myst (3/3)
Rick Riordan – (F) Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5/5)
Robert Scott & Jay Gordon – (F) The Eldarn Sequence (3/3)
Scott Westerfeld – (YA) Leviathan (3/3)
Stieg Larsson – (C) The Millennium Trilogy (3/3)
Stephanie Meyer – (YA) Twilight Saga (4/4)
Susan Cooper – (YA) The Dark is Rising Sequence (5/5)
Suzanne Collins – (YA) The Hunger Games (3/3)
Ted Dekker – (F) Circle Series (3/3)
Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee – (F) The Book of Mortals (3/3)
Terry Brooks – (F) Original Shannara Trilogy (3/3)
Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins – (FN) Left Behind (13/13)
Timothee de Fombelle - (CH) Toby Alone (2/2)
Tony DiTerlizzi - (YA) Wondla (3/3)
Tricia Rayburn – (YA) Siren (3/3)
Veronica Roth – (YA) Divergent (3/3)
So this year, 2015, I will attempt to participate in Mark's AAC and Paul's BAC! Reasons are so that I have some help getting some of those books off mount TBR and secondly just to expand my reading repertoire. Books will be from my own personal library and from the public library, if I don't already own it. I know there are some fantastic authors and books that I have yet to read, so this is an awesome opportunity to read with other LT friends and join the fun. :D
American Author Challenge
January: Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter ✔
Feburary: Henry James - Daisy Miller
March: Richard Ford - Canada
April: Louise Erdich - The Round House
May: Sinclair Lewis - It Can't Happen Here
June: Wallace Stegner - Crossing to Safety
July: Ursula K. LeGuin - Earth Sea Series
August: Larry McMurtry - Lonesome Dove
September: Flannery O'Connor - Wise Blood
October: Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
November: Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer
December: E.L. Doctorow - The March
British Author Challenge
January: Penelope Lively - Moon Tiger✔/Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of a Day✔
February: Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
March: Daphne Du M. - Rebecca/China Mieville - Perdido Street Station
April: Angela Carter - The Magic Toyshop
May: Margaret Drabble - The Red Queen
June: Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
July: Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
August: Iris Murdoch - The Bell
September: Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
October: David Mitchell - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
November: Muriel Spark - Momento Mori
December: Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
**Finishing the Wheel of Time books (9/13)
**Running a 5K either on my treadmill or outside when the weather is nicer - I'm currently training with the C25K program (halfway done!)
**Reading at least 25 OTS books/end total of 75 books or 25,000 pages (whatever comes first)
1. Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds 4*
2. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively 3.5*
3. (L) Amulet - The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi 4*
4. (L) Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami 4.25*
5. (L) The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini 4*
6. (L) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 4*
7. (L) ♫ Bird Box by Josh Malerman 4*
8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 4.5*
9. (L) The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness 3.75*
Hello friends! Lovely to see everyone again, Katie, Mamie, Jim, and Ellen. :)
Good luck with all your challenges this year Valerie! I'm glad you're back. It's kind of funny, I've read almost all of your favorites from 2012 and none of them from 2013 or 2014. I should probably change that.
Hi Valerie. You left one for me, so I'll leave one for you. Starred. Good luck this year.
Dropping off a star and looking forward to following your reading adventures this year!
Happy New Beginning, Valerie! It is so nice to have you back in the fold. You really fit in around here. I love being around "sunny" people.
Heya Valerie, merry 2015, I'm looking forward to sharing some BAC books with you. And I hope you enjoy Flavia de Luce, I just started reading books from that series in December, she's brilliant!
Dropping my and looking forward to your readings. Happy New Thread, Val.
Hi Rachel. A New Year coming up means lots a fresh start and so many good books to get to. I hope your 2015 is filled with lots of good reading and even better conversations about them. :)
Thanks Jeff! Looking forward to see what books you get your hands on this year.
The same to you Kerri. Wishing you and extremely bad-ass year. ;)
Aww..Mark. I'm thrilled you don't think I'm a grumpy dumpy scrooge. ;)
Megan, I look forward to continuing the series at some point since I really did enjoy the first book. I just don't like starting a series that isn't already finished, but I have a feeling this is going to be one of those series that just keeps going on and on so I might as well start sooner rather than later.
Barbara, I look forward to sharing our book love in 2015!
Great to see you Nancy. Will be waiting to check out your new thread as well. :)
Hi Joe! I'm patiently waiting for the cafe to open, but no pressure of course. ;)
Hi Caro! Will do the same when you have your thread up and running. Can't wait to see what other pics of camels you find his year. :)
>21 jolerie: I'm planning to wait until Thursday for the new one. We'll see - the old one is starting to get unwieldy!
>22 jnwelch: I shall do all I can to assist in it's unwieldiness, with as many unwieldy offerings as is unwieldly possible.
Boo to "grumpy dumpy scrooges"!!
BTW: I will also be reading Moon Tiger!
You brought winter to you thread! YAY! I love your thread topper. I am now ready to settle in for another year of Valerie-fun reading!
Nice new thread, Valerie! I'm glad to see that Burial Rites made your Best Reads of 2014 list, since I'll read it for Orange January in a week or two.
Needless to say, I'll be with you for the duration, Valerie. God willing.
Hey Valerie! I'll be keeping an eye on your thread and borrowing some ideas if you don't mind :)
Have a great start into the new year tomorrow!
Can't wait Joe! You know the cafe is always a must stop and hopping place for old and new friends. :)
You are nothing if not helpful Jenny. ;)
Yay for sharing a book Mark. Will be curious to see how we both react to the book.
Well being that I'm in the middle of winter wonderland Lori, I thought it would be fitting. Especially since we've been having a rather mild winter so far...the heavy stuff is sure to hit us sooner or later. :)
Darryl, I'll be curious to see your reaction on it. There are a few of us Lters who quite liked it. Not light reading by any measure...but good nonetheless!
So glad to have you Paul!
It's great to be back again Heather. :)
And a wonderful New Years to you and yours, Anne. Let the BB's fly. :)
Hi Jenn! So wonderful to see old friends again..hehe
Hi Valari! Please go ahead and borrow since I pretty much borrowed my thread from someone else at some point. Glad to have you join the challenge and looking forward to some great readings this year!
Valerie, I love the thread topper. I love snow (pictures)! We are still waiting for a big snow here. Just an inch or two at a time so far. I'm looking forward to another year with you!
Happy new thread, Valerie. Looking forward to seeing what you and the monkeys get up to this year.
Thanks everyone for visiting and all the New Year wishes!
I can't believe 2015 is just around the corner.
Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful New Year! Here's to a year filled with sharing life, laughter and of course the thing that connects us all...them books!! :D
Valerie to you and yours
Happy New Year from your friend in Kuala Lumpur
Thanks Paul! Looks like a rockin' city! :)
Okay it's kind of sad seeing everyone wrapping up their 2014 threads. It would be such a SAD goodbye except you turn the page and behold everyone is saying HELLO on their new 2015 threads!! Such a wonderful feeling that we can do this all together and it's not really a good-bye at all. Sorry, I'm blaming all the sappiness on the fact that it's New Year's eve...ha! Let the festivities carryon. :D
HAPPY NEW YEAR, VALERIE! I look forward to continuing book conversations!
Happy 2015, Valerie!! wishing you and your family much happiness in the new year!
Happy New Year Valerie! I see Burial Rites on your list of top reads for 2014. I forgot how much I liked that book.
Thanks for visiting and the wonderful wishes, Rachel (x2), Peggy, Roni, Bianca, Lynda, Roberta, Mamie, Joe, John, Mark, Amber, Kerri, Ellen, Kim, Calm, Bonnie, Barbara, and Mary!
The New Year is finally here so let the reading fun begin! :)
Total books read: 9
Total pages read: ☛ 2610
Total audiobook hours: ♫ 7hrs 42min
Average rating: 3.86
Science Fiction: 0
Female authors: 5
Male authors: 4
New to me authors: 6
Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
2014 Final Roundup:
Total Books Read: 76
Total Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 25,111
Total Audiobook Hours: 13hr 1min
Science Fiction: 4
Series started: 4
Series completed: 10
New to Me Authors: 38
Male Authors: 35
Female Authors: 42
Favourite Reads of 2014:
1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (historical)
2. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical)
3. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville (historical/fantasy)
4. The Martian by Andy Weir (science fiction)
5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (YA)
The Martian's on my top 10 favorites for 2014 too, Val. If I fave'd only 5, it would be on that too. I'll have to check out your other top 5s.
Mary, I've seen The Martian on many top of lists for 2014 so it's pretty safe to say that it was a hit. A perfect combination of suspense, surprise, humour and human ingenuity. I realize that my top list actually doesn't consist of only my 5 star ratings either. :)
On Deck for January
☛ (Tree Book) :
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (BAC Challenge)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (BAC Challenge)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCuller (AAC Challenge)
Amulet - The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi (Book #3)
Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Book #1)
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
#1 Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Rust Belt, Resurgam, Mother Nest
Series: #3 of 7
Notes: space opera, alien, machines, xenocide
Books noted: n/a
It was one of the earliest and most chilling lessons of space warfare: in space, the dead were often difficult to tell from the living. Page 55
From some point in the distant future, a warning has been passed along. Something, someone is systematically eradicating all sentient beings, humans included. The Inhibitors, also known as the Wolves, have one mission and that includes guarding the universe from the evolution of intelligent life. Their goal is clear, their method is ruthless, but their purpose is shrouded in mystery. War is inevitable, survival is paramount, and the question of who the real enemy is continues to plague every single faction embroiled in this clash of galactic proportions.
In a 600+ page book that spans billions of years with infinite space and time as the backdrop, you can expect that the story will take a bit to rev its engine. The beauty of a space opera is that it has the luxury to set the stage, to give you the context and history of the unfolding story. There is a lot of science and often times in my case, the science flies right over my head and lands somewhere beyond the realm of comprehension, but what Reynold does well is his ability to cultivate a big and complex enough story to sustain all that mumbo jumbo. All the characters, humans and machines alike have their turn in the spot light so you definitely walk away with a nothing less than a intricate, multi-layered story. Fans of space opera should definitely give the Revelation Space series a try. Recommended for science fiction junkies.
Happy New Year Valerie. May it be filled with light, laughter and many great books!
Hi Kerri! Haha, I don't know if tracking series has been such a good idea for me. Makes me realize how many I have on the go and it drives me nuts. I hope I can finish a couple of them this year before I start any new years, but that might just end up being a hopeless cause. ;)
I'll be curious to see what your reaction to Burial Rites will be when you get the chance to read it. The Invention of Wings seems to be an underrated book around here. I wonder if people associate it to The Secret Life of Bees and however they reacted to that one. The two books are completely different in my opinion with TIoW being the superior one by far!
Heya Mark! I'm still waiting for the library copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter to come in and I'm trying real hard to be patient. Hope you are having a great weekend my friend!
Thanks so much Linda. Wishing the same for you as well! :)
Hi Valerie! Um... 72 posts on your thread and no monkey photos? Just thought I'd mention it...
I love the picture up top, Valerie. I wish we got snow like that here in Texas (even if it does freak people down here out!)
Congrats on finishing your first read of the year. And a chunkster to boot.
Haha..you crack me up Anne!
We are all about the babies, aren't we, Amber!
Hi Stasia! If you hate snow, Calgary is definitely not the place to live.....it can snow pretty much anytime of the year and some years it feels like winter just never leaves..haha. I take it in stride. :D
Thanks so much Laura
Thanks Micky! One down...74 more to go..hah!
Hi Valerie! Just checking in with my pal! Thankfully I have the day off today. It is wicked cold out and will unfortunately be that way all week. Ugh!
Hi Bianca! I did read The Museum of Extraordinary Things last year and I remember it being quite good. I can always count on Hoffman for a really solid story. Have you read The Dovekeepers? I think that is my favourite one of hers.
Yay for having a day off Mark! Keep warm and snuggle with a good book. We are having crazy cold weather this week and some more snow on the way as well so I'll join you in that misery... :/
Yep, I read The Dovekeepers as well and absolutely loved it. Oddly enough, that one got quite bad reviews, apparently the voices weren't distinct enough etc. I thought it was brilliantly written.
>82 Oberon: If you hate snow, Calgary is definitely not the place to live.....it can snow pretty much anytime of the year and some years it feels like winter just never leaves
It is nice to have some Canadian participants so that the Minnesotans don't look like outliers when we regularly gripe about the weather.
Hi Valerie! I am finally doing my rounds and managing only a few each time, seeing as there are just too many that I want to follow this year! A dilemma we are all aware of, I bet :)
I hope the snow doesn'tget too bad for you!
Hi Valerie! Finally made my way to your thread! I'm sort of like Megan, doing just a few threads at a time, so it's slow going. Among your favourites, I'd really like to get to The Buddha in the Attic, Flight Behaviour (for the AAC maybe?), The Invention of Wings and of course, The Martian (which EVERYONE seems to love in this group!) this year. Quite intrigued about Gretel and the Dark as well. That one intrigued me as soon as it came out, just because of the title. Do you have a review on it? I have mixed feelings about keeping track of my series reading too at this point, because it all seems to move at a snail's pace for the most part. Kinda discouraging, but then some series suddenly lift off and I get pretty excited about changing the entries over and over again. So I'm really undecided there. Decisions, decisions... ;-)
It is strange that it didn't get better reviews Bianca because it wasn't a short book by any means so I thought the characters were pretty fleshed out. I guess each reader will react differently but I thought it was one of her stronger if not her best book!
We can freeze our butts off together, Erik. Misery loves company..haha!
Lovely to have to you Megan! I admire you for your staunch principles of not starting till the New Year...hehe! The snow is not that bad. It is the cold that gets to me. Oh my that cold...brrr!
Wonderful to have you Ilana! I'm honoured to have you here even though I know you are otherwise busy with other things in your life. ;)
That is a great list of books that you have yet to read and I'm sure there is a number of winners there when you have the time to read them. They are all 4* and above reads for me. I did post a review of Gretel and the Dark back on one of my 2014 threads. You can read it here
Looking forward to follow your reading this year, Valerie. Are you planning to do more audiobooks this year?
The Remains of the Day also remains my favorite. In fact it's the only one I've read by Ishiguro...so, ehh...well, it was very good. What a perfection of style in the portrait of that butler. Excellent.
Hi Valerie, I am here to place my star and catch up with you. Looks like you are off to a good start this year. I was a very lucky lady at Christmas and received a lot of new books, including The Martian which I am really looking forward to.
Happy to have you Carsten. I definitely want to do more audiobooks this year but the only time I can listen to them is when I'm working out so it's a bit slow going. When I do get a chance to listen though, it's absolutely wonderful!
I will be getting to The Remains of the Day at some point this month and I'm excited since it seems to be a favourite of so many people here.
Hi Judy. I saw around the threads that you decided not to have a thread this year and I'll be sad, but I know that your health is priority for you. Hopefully we can both work on being fitter and healthier in 2015 together. I look forward to you popping in and out this year when you can.
You are in for a treat with The Martian! :)
#2 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
Setting: London, Egypt, Europe
Notes: life, history, memories, love, loss, BAC Challenge (January)
Books noted: The Iliad (Homer), The Aeneid (Virgil), Dombey and Son (Charles Dickens)
The power of language. Preserving the ephemeral; giving form to dreams, permanence to sparks of sunlight.
Claudia's ambitions drive her to recount a history of the world and in doing so she will also share with us the story of her life. It is a story of the events that have shaped her into the person she is today. It is also more importantly a story of the people who have come and gone, drifted in and out, shared and taken a portion of essence that is Claudia. It is a truth of the world as she is and the delicate tension between how the world shapes us and how we in turn shape the world we live in.
This Man Booker Prize winner is undoubtably a beautiful piece of writing. It is neither rushed nor frivolous. It is methodical, contemplative, intentional, and Lively demonstrates her gift of poetic expression with a deft hand. My only struggle? For all the beautiful writing and my awe of her talent, I just couldn't connect with Claudia, or any of the characters for that matter. I always felt like they were just outside my reach, a bit standoffish, and ultimately unconnected. Ambivalence towards the character in a story is death to a reader. I will most likely seek out other Lively books because she is a talented writer and hopefully this was just a one time issue and not a theme I will come across with all her books. Recommended for the sheer force of her writing.
Ahem. May I point out that there are STILL no monkey pictures here? ;-)
The Remains of the Day is such a wonderful book. I hope you love it as much as many of us did, Valerie.
Haha..you guys are such rascals! :P I actually have to find my camera since the boys decided to play hide and seek with it and so no pictures at the moment and plus they are refusing to stay still for longer than 30 secs....ha!
C25K Update: Week 5 Day 3
Brisk five minute warm-up, then job two miles (20 minutes!!!) with NO WALKING.
If you have been following my training journey you will have seen my post lamenting the fact there there is no way on earth I could go from running 8 minutes straight to 20 minutes straight. Impossible I say. Insanity I say! I was thinking up creative ways to ease my way into it. In the end I was too lazy (how ironic) and just decided to go for it and see what would happen. Guess what? I DID IT. Yup. 20 minutes straight and my legs did not fall off, contrary to all my visions and nightmares. And the best part? I've done it more than once. I am beginning to feel some pain in my joints and hips but a trip to the chiropractor and a massage later, I'm feeling okay again. Onward we go! :D
>71 jolerie: I hear you on the series! I have to find a better way to track them on my thread though. I just never keep up with (or check) FictFact. It's sort of out of sight, out of mind.
I've not read The Secret Life of Bees, but I did the Booklist review for The Invention of Wings. Otherwise it probably wouldn't be something I gravitate towards, but I'm glad I read it.
>89 jolerie: Wonderful comments! Sorry it didn't completely grab you. I loved it.
>94 jolerie: Yay!
>89 jolerie: That's the problem I had with my Lively read as well, I could appreciate it as a good piece of writing and I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel any emotional connection with the characters.
>94 jolerie: Amazing, you go! I'm very impressed. I keep meaning to start but the weather is awful and I'm ill so it's not looking good. I'll probably still be procrastinating in six months.
Fantastic review of Lively's Moon Tiger, Val! Yours is the third review of her work I've read today ... all different books!
Hi Valerie! Good review of Moon Tiger. I should be able to start my copy, in the next week or so. We'll see how I feel about it.
Ishiguro made a comic? Why didn't I know this? Hmmmmmm?
Kerri, I'm the same way. Having to manage another site outside of LT is just going to end up cutting into my limited reading time and I can't have that...ha! I'm happy with the simple list that I have going here and my goal is to whittle that down before I read any more new series.
Did The Invention of Wings fit into the historical genre that you were looking into during the latter half of 2014?
I do feel bad that Moon Tiger didn't grab me. My feelings towards it were pretty similar to my reaction towards Behind the Scenes at the Museum. I wonder if my problem is British authors?? I hope not.
Thanks Steve! Cheerleaders are always welcome here. :)
I'm glad I wasn't alone on that Jenny although it is a tad concerning because I remember you read a different Lively book....so now I'm wondering if I'm going to feel like that with all her books?
Don't feel bad. I procrastinated for years.......when the time is right and you set your goals, I'm sure you will make progress then!
Haha..thanks so much Barbara!
Mary, I'm going to clump you into the group with the other rascals. ;)
I found you and I'm so happy you are finally here!
Thanks Nancy. I keep seeing reviews for other Lively books that I want to read. The premises seem more promising and more up my alley. We will see what the rest of the year holds. :)
Mark, I'll be interested to see what you make of it. I think you are more literary minded than me..ha!
Why? Because he didn't. Mental fart on my part..haha! I had to go back and check and it's Kazu Kibuishi and not Ishiguro. My bad. I hope I didn't disappoint you with my brain lapse!
Ishiguro is quite talented and wide-ranging, so I would not have been surprised. I heard his new one, has fantasy elements to it. Go Ishiguro!
Have you read him?
Hi Valerie - Stopping by to say hi. Good luck with all your 2015 challenges.
>94 jolerie: Valerie, you are the WOMAN!!! Jog, baby, jog!!! Because of bad joints, and because I just like it, I swim rather than run, but I clearly remember the day I decided that I didn't really have to stop after every lap to adjust something or just breathe. I did it too. It's good to feel on top of something physical!
I'm glad to see some A. Reynolds love. I have enjoyed everything I've read in that particular universe although my favorite may be Chasm City. And I loved The Martian. And I hope to get to Moon Tiger this month too (says the woman who hasn't finished even one book yet this year). I remember hearing other people echo your criticism of that one in particular.
Good for you, Valerie! Oh I wish I liked running, but I just don't, so it's hard to stick with it. Maybe your journey will inspire me.
>94 jolerie: Yay, congratulations on your running success! It seems like I'm always having to work on strengthen things so I don't get wonky and sore when running - it's all good things to do, but urgh, my physio is so mean! Always with the core strength exercises.
I'm curious to see how you go with The remains of the day - so many people here love it, and I just remember the bit about the butlers, and feeling bored. I think I need to revisit it!
Nice review of Moon Tiger, Megan. I had planned to start this today, but I'll probably wait until next week to read it.
> 94 Go, Valerie!
I do not hate snow, I love the stuff! I figure if I am going to be cold anyway, I want some snow to show for it! Unfortunately, the drivers down here do not know how to drive on it. We do not get a heck of a lot of snow though. We are more likely to have ice - which is predicted for this weekend. That I do not like!
Did you have the crazy temperature swing yesterday? We went from a low of -22C Tuesday night to a high of 10C yesterday. My mind remains boggled. And now we're back to -12C as the high for today (not including wind chill). I miss Edmonton. I understood the weather there...
Hey Valerie! I was one of the few people that didn't buy into all the hype of The Secret Life of Bees. I enjoyed The Mermaid's Chair just a tad more.
So, if I like each one a little more, I have high hopes for The Invention of Wings which I'm reading later this month.
Glad you're still jogging along! Unfortunaley, Still jogging with the Wii but it's just not the same. Thank goodness for audiobooks and podcasts!
Hey Mark! I read Never Let Me Go a couple years back and loved it so I had his new book on my radar this year. Plus, I will be reading The Remains of the Day this month so I'll be looking forward to that!
Megan, you can go join the other rascals in the corner. ;)
Thanks so much Beth. I'm exciting for the upcoming year and all the good books I plan on reading..haha!
Thanks so much Peggy. I think achieving something and seeing improvement is such a good motivator. Having so many wonderful people cheer you on feels just as good!
I really liked Chasm City as well and plan on reading the rest of the series at some point. I just have to space them out a bit because the books are not short!
Anne, I never really thought I would pick up running either. Whenever I saw people doing it outside I always just thought..oh yay..look how awesome they are doing but I really didn't think I could ever do it. It's not so much fun as it just feels good to push my body and feel like I'm seeing progress!
Megan, my core is pathetic at best. I really need work on strengthening it as well. Hopefully with more time I can pick up some strength training with weights and such. Interesting reaction to The Remains of the Day. Lots of love for it around here so I'll be curious to see which side of the fence I fall on.
*Lobs a durian at Darryl! Megan is a beautiful name and I may choose it for my next life but for this one...I'll just settle for Valerie. ;) (Just razzing ya!)
Stasia, you should totally move up North to my neck of the woods. We have that white stuff in abundance and I'm perfectly happy to share it with you! :)
You know what's sad and funny at the same time? Just because we see it every year here, doesn't mean we have any better drivers...haha!
Thanks, Amber. *High-five my fellow treadmiller*.
Thanks for the support, Nancy!
We sure did Micky! Usually I get wonderful migraines with the sudden weather changes, but this time I was lucky and didn't notice a thing. Weather in Southern Alberta just never made sense to me and probably never will. I plan on retiring someplace warmer if I can help it!
Lynda, I think you will be in for a treat because I've read both books and I have to say that The Invention of Wings is far better than the other two by a mile. Better story and better storytelling all around. :)
I haven't heard of it before Joe so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I absolutely adore his drawings so I'll have to check that out and see if my library has it!
#3 Amulet - The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi
Source: Public Library
Series: Book #3 of ?
Notes: adventure, parallel worlds, mission, siblings, family, friendships
Books noted: n/a
Emily and her family are still stranded in Alledia and their mission is to find the lost city of Cielis. On their tail is an assassin sent by the dark Elf-King. The mission is fraught with risk and danger and all they have is a guidebook left behind by Emily's great-grandfather.
The story is pretty straight forward and simple but the illustrations are not. Your eyes will be drawn to the colour, the vibrant and beautiful interpretations of what an alien world would look like. Each of the GNs are quick and easy reads filled with pages on pages of pure eye-candy. Heartily recommended.
I was just looking through the Amulet books at work yesterday, trying to convince myself that they didn't need to come home with me right then. Willpower worked yesterday, but I'm not so sure about tomorrow. :)
Dropping a star, Valerie! I see you are reading Tell It to the Trees. I really enjoyed that a couple of years ago and I've since read all of her books. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
(so envious of your non-stop running! Like Peggy, I have bad joints on top of excess weight, so running is completely out.)
I can't believe I haven't posted here yet! Shame on me.
Congrats on your running success. I'm happy to walk fast...:)
>119 jolerie: those illustrations are gorgeous.
I really enjoy Badami … hope you do, too, Val. I've read Tell It to the Trees and Tamarind Mem.
Hi Valerie, I can't say I am taken with the images, for some reason they are too out there for me- although, the forest river one...maybe I need to revise my opinion!?
Laura, don't resist it. If they are calling out to you, then there must be a reason right?!? ;) They are really quick reads so I would give the first one a try and if you don't like it, no biggie. :)
Deb, I'm really enjoying the immigrant perspective of the story. It resonates so much with my own upbringing and adjusting to a new and foreign culture.
Haha, then I'm going to pray that wolves never chase you, Anne. Wouldn't want to cause you any unnecessary stress! ;)
There's a movie version, Mark?? You are a wealth of knowledge..hehe. I only knew about the movie version of Never Let Me Go. Tell It to the Trees is written by a Canadian author and so far it's shaping up to be a really good read.
Hey Roni. I'm jealous of all the artsy things you can do and at least what you do can bring you in some of that green stuff. Mine is purely to keep myself sane. ;)
No shame, Joanne. The threads are nuts. I'm still finding people that I've missed when I made my first rounds. Walking fast is good. On days when I don't feel like running, I just try to walk fast as well..ha!
Nancy, it's been an engaging read so far and one I can definitely relate to.
Nah, no need to change any opinion Megan. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? Do you generally like fantasy elements? For me the reason why I like them so much is because they are so out there....something I can never really see in the real world. I really like that kind of stuff and find it fascinating because I can be kind of a fantasy geek. ;)
Getting caught up...
So excited for you with your 20 minute run!! Awesome! I am also happy to walk fast. lol
Happy weekend. :)
Hi Val! Great job on the run. Only skimmed your review of Moon Tiger--I just started so I didn't want to influence the read. You have read a lot already! Way to go!
Wow, what beautiful pictures, paintings, cartoons, whatever for Amulet. Could be drawn to a GN - just looking at that strange world.
Keep on walking, Valerie:) I've really found the joy in walking the last few years - and also listening to audiobooks at the same time. A very refreshing way to stay active - and not so hard on your body as jogging.
>102 jolerie: Did The Invention of Wings fit into the historical genre that you were looking into during the latter half of 2014?
Good point. I suppose it kind of does. At that point, I think I was especially looking for historical mysteries though and I received a ton of great recommendations, but I'm interested in reading "regular" historical fiction too.
Oh, and I'm back on FictFact to track series. I though you should know. :-)
>119 jolerie: That is gorgeous art! Thanks for sharing.
Haha, thanks Jenn. Another one of those I wouldn't run unless wolves were chasing me huh? ;)
Hey Kim! I look forward to seeing your thoughts on Moon Tiger. It seems to be a favourite among Lively readers.
I wish I could walk more often outside as well Carsten, but given my weather, almost half the year is too cold to go outside. Oh well, I guess that's just an excuse because I've seen some dedicated runners in my area running in sub zero temps with snow falling. Those guys are insane and dedicated!
I remember all the suggestions you received on your thread Kerri and I'm so glad you asked because I added a ton to my own WL as a result.
Haha....I started a profile there I think and added a few books but then realized I just didn't want to upkeep two websites so that fizzled rather fast.
Do you know how many series you have on the go right now?
Happy Friday Everyone!
I finally found where my boys stashed my camera so finally got around to getting a more recent photo of them. Here is my obligatory monkey photo for this thread. You rascals (you know who you are) should be happy now. ;)
Yesterday these two, despite looking all innocent and cute were driving me batty and I mean batty with a capital B! Between playing ref and fishing all the stuff that J kept shoving into his mouth, I was absolutely beat. I think the hardest part was constantly feeling like I was just scolding and disciplining and saying NO all the live long day. I just felt like a bad mom in general until my oldest one came up to me near the end of the day and said, Mommy, do you just need a hug....... In that moment, I realized he was extending GRACE to me when I was having a tough day. It changed my perspective of the whole day. Parenting is never easy, but it's a calling worth me giving my very best each and every day, as best as I know how.
Yes, this rascal is definitely happy now. What a couple of darling boys! And don't feel alone. EVERY parent experiences days like that. The proof for me was in the pudding, 30 years hence, when my very difficult and strong-willed and defiant daughter with whom I butted heads for her entire childhood turned out to be loving, thoughtful and totally wonderful. (She'd always been beautiful, talented and smart. ;) Though it looks like your oldest is exhibiting signs that you are definitely raising them right! :)
>135 jolerie: I just felt like a bad mom in general until my oldest one came up to me near the end of the day and said, Mommy, do you just need a hug....... In that moment, I realized he was extending GRACE to me when I was having a tough day. Wonderful!
Sweet photo, Val! And sweet anecdote … love that you found grace from your oldest monkey in the midst of battiness! Doesn't get any better than that, does it?
>119 jolerie: Fantastic drawings, wow, I love them and the photo of your sons is so adorable. Val, I wish you a fantastic weekend.
LOVE the photo of the boys!! Such handsome little guys. Hope it is just you and the books this weekend, Valerie. Fingers crossed.
And, yes, we've all been there, to those "I'm a Bad Parent!" days. So lovely of Monkey #1 to sense that you needed some comfort.
>135 jolerie: Oh, that's just soooo sweet! Hugs save the day again! But don't you ever feel like a bad parent, Valerie! You have their best interests and safety at heart. Now, if your whipping them, burning them with lit cigerattes or the guy from Florida who just through his 5 year old over a bridge into a river (yes, I hear it on the news all the time) then we need to talk. I can't leave w/out a ........Hug!! Have a great weekend with the family L :0)
Happy New Year, Valerie!!
I will be visiting your beautiful province in Sept/Oct for hubby's brother's wedding! We will be in Red Deer for a few days before crossing into BC for the wedding at Invermere (I think that's the resort name)
Love, love, love the photo of your kiddos! SO adorable!
That is the sweetest story. Glad your day ended on a high note! It's amazing how challenging kids can be (and I've only got one!!) but they can warm your heart with just a word or a touch!
>135 jolerie:: There are those cuties! I know cuteness doesn't mean that they stay in one place for long, Val. That's why I keep my granddaughters one at a time when I can! It works out better for everyone. They like being the star for the day around here! Those hugs are great and make up for the tiredness!
>134 jolerie: - I might run without the wolves for incentive, however, every time I have gone running in the last 2 years, I have ended up with plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I broke that foot in a weird place about 4 years ago, and I wonder if there's a connection. Anyway, I'm better off walking fast.
Love the photo of your monkeys and the sweet story. I have had many of those moments too. Of course, I usually don't feel like being hugged, but submitting to it sure changes my attitude. :)
Thanks Micky! Hugs are always welcome and appreciated around here. :)
Thanks so much for the support and encouragement, Mary. If only I had a magical ball and could look into the future to see what these 2 boys will be like....than maybe this worry wort of a mother can sleep well at night. ;)
Roberta, thanks for your message. I will definitely find your Challenge thread and follow you over there!
It truly doesn't, Nancy. Despite being young, I know I can always learn from the 2 boys. The lessons on patience, understanding, and forgiveness are endless.
Ellen, the year is still young. Lots of time and opportunity to get active later on. I know for myself, the winter months are always extra hard to find the motivation to get moving when all I want to do is curl under a warm blanket. ;)
Aww...love the picture, Barbara. How absolutely fitting! :)
Thanks Mark! I'm getting in plenty of reading and it's been the perfect way to end the week and prepare myself for the busy week ahead.
Thanks Amber! I'm glad I'm not alone in this parenting adventure. This group provides lots of company. :)
Hi Lynda! Yes, those stories are absolutely heartbreaking when you hear about them. The boys are definitely a handful but I wouldn't trade a single day with them. Thanks for the hugs my friend!
Happy New Year Chelle and to your wonderful family as well.
How fun we will be in the same province for a little bit. Bring lots of warm clothing and boots because we have a lot of that white stuff and you never know when it's going to be -30s again.....ha!
Donna, it's so precious that you have that kind of relationship with your grandkids. I know that you are building so many wonderful memories that will last a lifetime with the little ones!
Ouch Jenn! I can't imagine how much that would hurt and can see why you wouldn't run unless you were forced to...ha! Kids. Sometimes I think to myself, you are lucky you are cute.......it must be some kind of evolutionary defensive thing kicking in so their parents don't throttle them.
Happy Sunday John and to your family as well.
Thanks Stasia. :)
#4 Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami
Source: Public Library
Setting: British Columbia, Canada
Notes: family, domestic abuse, isolation, immigrants, secrets
Books noted: n/a
They failed to understand that the truth was a shifting, shy thing, like sunlight changing from moment to moment, unknowable even if you spent your life in the heart of it. The secret, as my beloved father used to say, was to watch for it from the corner of your eyes, pretending that you weren't really looking. That way, you might, if you were lucky, catch a glimpse of truth. Page 19
The affairs of a family remain strictly within the boundaries of a family home. Those walls are sacrosanct and nothing, absolutely nothing, is allowed to escape those rigid confinements. You do not air your dirty laundry, under any circumstances, and especially not to any outsiders. The Dharmas have operated under this unspoken law come hell or high water until a stranger comes knocking on their door and their world is forever breached.
The immigrant experience is in itself a frightening ordeal, complete with learning to acclimatize to a whole new world filled with new customs, new traditions. Now combine that with the struggle of a hasty, arranged marriage with a man who you quickly discover has a whole set of demons lurking in his closet, and you come within whiffing distance of the life that Suman has made for herself. A life of violence, terror, and isolation, all played out before the eyes of the children in the house. The consequence of a lifetime of witnessing a destructive and damaging love will affect the children beyond what the family could have ever imagined. A very real and plausible story and one that heartbreakingly echoes the reality of too many experiences of those who have endured domestic violence. Recommended.
I'm 28% into Moon Tiger and really enjoying it, so have had to skip your review and will get back to it when I'm all done. Cute pic of the monkeys. I'm sure all parents feel like they're not up to the task. I felt sure I'd never be a good parent when I was still at an age when that was a possibility, if only because whenever I was babysitting or had a job as an au pair I felt like I was just awful at it and sometimes even ended up crying about it (not in front of the kids though). Being a parent must be the toughest job in the world!
DO pick up Bitter Greens when you have a chance, I'm sure you'll love it!
>152 jolerie: That one sounds interesting and awfully sad. Putting it in the Swamp.
Love the pictures of your monkeys!! Boy are they cute! So glad you got a hug, just when you needed it. : ) Only a quarter of the way into Moon Tiger. I am not getting any book reading done! Argh!! Wishing you a happy Monday.
>129 jolerie: I generally steer clear of fantasy anything. That is probably why I like the forest/stream image best, it is the most real!
>135 jolerie: thank you! I appreciate the picture that the others badgered you for ;) They can test you right, the wee angels!? And at just the right moment come back to heavenly. Lol, your story is sounding very familiar.
So glad that you enjoyed Tell It to The Trees! If you need any further recommendations on the " immigrant experience" , I have a number of books I have read and so enjoyed. My son and his now fiance took a 1st year course in Can Lit, with a focus on the immigrant experience, and my daughter in law to be immigrated from Hong Kong when she was about 6 or so, so she has enjoyed reading books on that topic too.
Hey Ilana! There can definitely be rough days and patches but it is also probably one of the most rewarding things you can do as well. I think any job that asks us to give the best of ourselves, besides parenting, is usually difficult and the rewards are not always so instant, but worthwhile. I always say, teachers, counsellors, and all those jobs that require people to put others first, always instill an immense sense of respect and admiration from me because it's a choice they make every day to do what I have to do as a parent.
I will *try* really hard to slot Bitter Greens into my reading this year!
It's a worthwhile perspective to explore for sure, Steve. I hope it emerges from the swamp sooner rather than later. ;)
Hi Kim! I understand the frustration of wanting to read but not having the time to do so! I always look forward to the half hour I get before bed where I can do some uninterrupted reading, but sometimes I'm so wasted that my head hits the pillow and I call it a day. :)
Ahh yes, Megan, that would make sense why the river one would be your preference. :)
Haha..it's true! I'm convinced the little ones come with a radar where they can detect when they've pushed things too far and they quickly reign it in with the hopes that hugs and kisses will make things alright again. It usually works wonders...those stinkers! :)
Hey Deb! That is really cook that your soon to be DIL has the same experience as myself. I also immigrated with my family from HK when I was only two so the story really resonated with me on so many levels.
My friend, you NEVER need permission to recommend more books on my thread. I welcome them with open arms because adding to my ridiculous TBR mountain makes me giddy beyond belief. :)
Thanks Bonnie! It definitely has helped just posting my results here on LT so at least I'm accountable to somebody in the universe! Otherwise it's too easy to decide that vegging out on the couch is the way to go. :)
Hey, Valerie, love the picture. I'm following up on the discussion in Mary's thread about milkweed. Looks like you are in Zone 4 for hardiness and there are two species of milkweed that will thrive to that level:
Purple Milkweed: There are two of these, but you want Asclepias purpurascens, which is native to central and eastern US and Eastern Canada. Asclepias purpurascens is hardy in zones 3-8. Asclepias purpurascens is similar to common milkweed (discussed below) but its flowers are much darker and it is much better behaved in the garden.
Common Milkweed: Asclepias syriaca is native to the central and eastern half of the United States and Canada and is hardy in zones 4-9. It is easy to grow and does well in many different soil types.
Asclepias syriaca will be a good choice if you have the space for it outside of your garden. In a fertile garden without the competition of weeds it is invasive. Common milkweed will sprout up everywhere through underground rhizomes (and reseeding) and is hard to eradicate.
Kerri, it may not be pretty, but dang, it's a lot of fun! Or at least that is what I tell myself.... :)
Awesome sauce Roni! Thanks for all that info. I am definitely going to have a chat with my garden centre to see if they have any variety of milkweeds and if it's even growable here in Calgary. I was just thinking how beautiful it would be to see monarchs fluttering around and I realized that I don't think I've ever seen one around the city before. It could be a case of I just never really paid attention. Hopefully this will be a fun little project with the boys come springtime.
Hey Jenn. The book at times kind read like a YA book so there is no worries about the content being too graphic. The cringe worthy parts are more implied than explicit and I'm glad because the subject matter is hard for me to read as well.
Okay so time for some confessions. Besides my love for books and reading, I have another side hobby that takes up the rest of my free time. I LOVE cross stitching. There is something about a project that times a long time to finish and it's painstakingly meticulous and intricate. And the bonus is it is something I can do while watching the boys at the same time.
On my honeymoon 7 years ago, I picked up a few Disney patterns and thought this shouldn't be too hard. Well 7 years later, I FINALLY finished the pattern part of the project. Sweet! Just the backstitching left to do until I looked and realized the backstitching is probably going to take me another 7 years..haha!
Fun times I tell ya! Cheesy? Sure. Please just think of us as the Cheesy Choi's! Between Mount TBR and Mount Projects to be completed, my husband tells me I'm set for retirement. He's right! :D
Valerie - I also love to cross stitch; I'm working on a sampler for Scout now; I may finish it while she's still a child... Your boys are adorable - how old is the little one? He looks about my Scout's age.
I would like to read some Badami this year. Nice review.
Hi Valerie! Hope the week is going well. I still really like your review of Moon Tiger. I just wish you would have loved it as much as I am...
I love cross-stitch too, Val! I haven't taken up a project now for several years, and seeing yours wants to make me do so immediately! What a lovely job! I always think the backstitch will take forever, too, but it goes much faster than the main stitching.
>166 jolerie: Wow! I do not have the patience or the eyesight to do that. Duly impressed!!
Well done on the cross stitch! Seven years sound about right to me - I'm none too swift on those projects, either...
Hi Beth! My little guy is 14 and half months. I purposely didn't do any baby cross stitches because I knew I probably wouldn't finish until they graduated high school and by then I doubt they would appreciate Winnie the Poohs and such all over their walls...ha!
Mark, that is what makes this community so awesome. We won't all see eye to eye on every book, otherwise where would all the fun go?? We can still be friends. ;)
Do it, do it, Nancy! I would love to see what other people are working on. It's true. The backstitching is going a lot faster. I may be able to finish it in 6 years instead. ;)
Thanks Kim! I always make sure I'm comfortable with good lighting. Those darn squares start to blur after awhile..haha!
Haha...I don't know what it is about cross stitching Amber that makes it such a labour of love....a LONG labour of love... :)
#5 The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini
Source: Public Library
Setting: Virginia, United States, 1800s
Notes: Civil War, espionage, heroine, North versus South
Books noted: The Conduct of Life (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The word spy conjures up visions of nefarious characters who work in the shadows and sneak into forbidden places to steal secrets from a legitimate government. That is not the case here. The Confederacy is an occupying force, not a sovereign state. Page 98
Elizabeth Van Lew is a woman born into a family with both privileges and significant social standing. A proper Southern lady, Lizzie stands out from all her other peers because of her intelligence and more importantly her passionate love and loyalty to the United States of America. Her beloved country is being torn apart and being a staunch Unionist, she cannot just idly stand by and watch as brothers are pitted against brothers, neighbour against neighbour. Her actions and her courage will paint her as a treasonous villain by one side of the war, and a fearless heroine by the other. History will remember her as a woman of immense fortitude and an unwavering belief in the spirit of freedom and equality for all people.
Inspired by true events during the Civil War, Chiaverini recounts the life of one woman during a very brutal and tumultuous time of American history. By all accounts, Elizabeth Van Lew strikes an interesting subject for inspection. A woman of contradiction, she has wealth and chooses to give it freely to those less fortunate. She is free and chooses to advocate for those enslaved. She is educated and is not shy about using it to fight for her convictions. Neither married, nor a mother, she is an exception to the times and completely unapologetic about the choices she makes. The Spymistress has all the right ingredients to make a compelling and inspiring read. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a strong female character or historical fans who have an interest in the Civil War period.
Nice review ~ Spymistress sounds good, Val!
Also love your cross-stitching project. I would never have had the patience, and now I don't have the finger dexterity, much less the good eyesight I'm sure it takes.
I have to agree. The Spymistress sounds great. A strong heroine - and a historical novel. I'm all ears.
Hi Valerie, stopping by to get caught up here. Yahoo on sticking with your exercise plan! Adorable pic of the little ones and live the cross stitch. Isn't the backstitching the easiest part lf the cross stitch? ;-)
I see you have even managed to squeeze in some reading and reviewing. No BB's this visit although I have to admit The Spymistress caught my eye a bit. Looking forward to seeing what you think of the McCullers.
I'm a big fan of the Amulet series too. That's one that actually had my nephew reading for a while.
Happy Weekend Valerie!
Haha..thanks Mark. I don't think I would have ever picked up the McCullers book if it wasn't for the AAC challenge. Thanks for shoving me out of my comfort zone. :)
Nancy, it definitely got my thoughts churning. A big 4 stars in the end!
Hey Carsten! If those two things click for you, then I think you'll enjoy The Spymistress. :)
Awwww..so cute! Thanks, Barbara.
Thanks for visiting Lori! I'll try harder to hit you with those darn BB's next time round. :)
The back stitching is going quite fast but my goodness........it just never ends!
Hi Rachel. It is such a fun and fast series to read. I can definitely see how it would appeal to boys as well. I think GNs are a great tool especially for reluctant readers because there are more pictures than actual text, but at least they are still "reading". :)
Hi Connie! Lovely to have you swing by. I will find your thread and catch up with you!
#6 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Source: Public Library
Setting: Southern United States
Notes: loneliness, acceptance, racism, community, AAC Challenge
Books noted: The Vicar of Wakefield (Oliver Goldsmith)
The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone. Page 302
Set against a small southern town in the United States during 1930s is the story of several people whose lives are commonly linked by their intrinsic need to be heard. Their lives are a melodic dance that criss cross back and forth, their stories mashed and meshed together, bonded by a life long yearning to hear, to be recognized, to be understood, and ultimately to belong to something greater than themselves.
Excuse me for a second while I close my wide and gaping mouth. I am still in awe and shock that McCullers is firstly a female, and secondly only twenty three years old when she wrote this masterpiece of a debut. At twenty three, my thoughts, my head space was rather self centric, entirely confined to the provinciality of trying to graduate university with my insanity intact, while she was penning a book that dealt with the universality of a basic human need to find acceptance. She was struggling to understand racial relationships in a setting that was deeply segregated and fighting to find it's own path of identity. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter may have been focused on a few people in a small town, but the scope and depth of the themes McCuller dares to tackle is anything but small. The language of loneliness permeates the entire story, it seeps and oozes from every one of the characters and brilliantly demonstrates McCuller's ability to capture the spirit of humanity in a simple but unassuming manner. Highly recommended.
"Thanks for showing me out of my comfort zone." I see my job is done here. Saunters off into the sunset...
"Excuse me for a second while I close my wide and gaping mouth." LOL. Good review of the McCullers, Valerie. I am so glad you picked this one to read, her masterpiece.
Hopefully, you feel the same way about The Remains...fingers crossed.
Love the photo of your boys, Valerie. They're adorable!
I've got to start kicking myself out of bed early enough to get to the gym so I can get a work out before I go to the office. It's just been so difficult to motivate myself out from under the warm covers, especially when I open an eye and see snow and ice outside the window. I keep telling myself I'll start tomorrow, and then tomorrow comes and I'll tell myself I'll start tomorrow, etc. *sigh* The thing is that I know once I get myself started and get back to working out at least 4 times a week in the morning, the following weeks will be fine and I won't have a problem getting up to go to the gym. It's just always when I've fallen off the workout wagon for a spell, that making that very first start again is the hardest. Way to go, girl on your C25K training!
>185 jolerie: Nice review, Valerie! Even though I've determined that she doesn't do much for me, I too find it surprising (and impressive) that she was so young when she wrote that.
>186 jolerie: Looking forward to your thoughts on this one. I really want to get to it soon. Maybe this year at some point.
Great review of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It was already on my To Read list, but now I'm even more keen!
Mark, I'm liking the Butler already....and I barely know him. ;)
I hear ya, Caro! Consistency is key but it's always the hardest thing to do! I know there are weeks where I'm really good and I'm top of the workouts and I'm motivated. Anything, and I mean anything can throw me off the rhythm..sore joints, wrong socks, the toilet is making funny noises, my hair looks funny..now I'm just making things up to procrastinate....ha! I'm about halfway through the program and I'm surprised, but in a wonderful way that I've actually kept at it.
Thanks Kerri! I think I'm just bowled over by her mature perspective of the world. I just don't know a lot of 23 year olds who can see the world, put into words like someone whose lived and has decades of experience under her belt. Impressive indeed!
Thanks Megan! I'll be interested to see how you react to the book.
Hi Valerie, I am here to catch up and I see you are reading the AAC and BAC authors, I am already looking forward to next month when I am planning on Sarah Waters, whose books I have loved in the past, and my first Henry James.
Well said, Valerie! It is no easy task to describe the characters in THiaLH but you nailed it.
Looking forward to your thoughts on Remains as I read it several years ago and thought it pretty amazing. Not that I want to influence you in any way.
Thumbed your review of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Val. I know eh, incredible she wrote it at such a young age. I read it around 21 and decided I may as well pack in whatever ambitions as a writer I had because there was no way I was going to attain that kind of scope. I hope you end up loving The Remains of the Day. That one ended up being an all-time favourite for me, and I was glad to finally be able to watch the movie version too.
Hi Judy! I'm looking forward to next month as well because they are 2 authors that I haven't read before either. Lots of new authors in general for me this year which is awesome. :)
Thanks Lynda. No pressure at all. I like hearing why people either love or dislike their reads and then I try to not let it affect my response to it. LT has taught me that there is such a varying range when it comes to reactions and they are all valid. :)
Thanks Miss Katie. Thanks for reading it even though we know it has reviews galore recently. ;)
Hey Joe! Ballad of the Sad Cafe was a collection of short stories right? I tend to not pick up short stories because I always end up feeling like there isn't enough time for me to engage with the characters or the stories. Do give THisLH at some point and see if hits you in a different way.
Thanks for the thumb Ilana! It is always wonderful to feel validated. There has been a lot of love for The Remains of the Day and I can definitely see why even though it's still early going for me. Mr. Stevens is most definitely growing on me and his voice is quite endearing.
My friend, you have your talents elsewhere!!! I wish I could draw a quarter as good as you and I would be mighty happy with myself. You are creative and brilliant in your own unique way and I am most impressed by it!
Hi Val, just popping by to say hi, you're reading is going well I see, hope you are having a good day my dear.
Pop, pop, pop! I'm also just popping by to see what you're up to and say hi!
Hi Valerie. I love your cross-stitching and wonder if I wouldn't like a project like that. Great review of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
I've been able to resist THIALH up to now, but your review puts it in the Swamp. Thanks, Valerie!
Your boys are just too cute, Valerie!
I'm also a cross-stitcher but it's been a while since I've worked on any projects. I have a lot of Christmas tree ornaments that I've made and every year I think I'll get out one of the kits I have stored in a box and start something new but I haven't yet. I like to needlepoint too.
Nice review of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter! I had no idea she was that young when she wrote it. Reluctantly (only because the pile is ready to tip over) adds it to the TBR stack. ; )
Wonderful to having you visit John!
Hi Connie! I wish I could say something in Dutch to you to counter all this inconvenient English everywhere. ;)
Lovely to have you pop, pop, by, Mary. :)
Bonnie, I absolutely love how soothing cross stitching can be for me. It's mind numbing in a good way because you just follow the pattern and think of nothing else. Now I can pair it with my audio books and it is a match made in heaven!
Thanks, Steve. I'm guessing you have a mighty big swamp to accommodate all your books..ha!
Thanks, Joanne. I start and stop in spurts as well. Something always comes up and then I put it aside for months. This time around I just want to finish my current project because it's been too long of a process. I'll have to look up needlepoint and see what the difference is.
I know right Kim!! She has such a wise soul. Hey, that is the beauty of piles. You can always, always, start another one. ;)
>191 jolerie: I just don't know a lot of 23 year olds who can see the world, put into words like someone whose lived and has decades of experience under her belt. Nor do I! And I certainly had no idea what was going on at that age!
Kerri, I saw 23 come and go and I still don't think I have any idea what is going on...ha!
#7 Bird Box by Josh Malerman (Cassandra Campbell)
Source: Public Library
Setting: United States
Pages: 9hrs 8mins
Notes: suspense, psychological, survival
Books noted: n/a
It's better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces.
The line between life and death, sanity and madness, depends on what you can and cannot see. In the beginning the incidents were isolated and sporadic. Then it was everywhere. The reports came in fast and furious and the horrors piled one on top of the other. Malorie and the group of survivors she seeks out must adapt to this new world with their eyes closed. Something is out there and they must keep it out. Don't. Open. Your. Eyes.
This is probably one of the creepiest books I've read in the long time. Still my mind is churning with all the possibilities of what happened, how it happened, and more importantly, why? Malerman does not give us all the answers, but rather each reader will probably finish the book with their own theories and explanations of what unfolded. A part of me thinks that is one heck of a brilliant ploy and the other part is just frustrated because one way or another, I want the answers to the questions raised. Regardless, Bird Box definitely is an attention grabber of a book and will keep you turning the pages. Like a good horror movie, you want cover your eyes, and yet you can't help but peek through the spaces between your fingers because you want to know what happens next, even though you're pretty darn sure you're one good scare away from crapping in your pants. Recommended if suspenseful and ominous books pushes your buttons.
I loved your thoughts on The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It made quite an impression on me when I read it a few years ago. The loneliness and awkwardness of adolescence figured heavily on her The Member of the Wedding as well. I look forward to reading more by McCullers...and Ishiguro.
I look forward to your final thoughts on The Remains of the Day. I'm glad you were able to quickly get into Stevens' head, Val. It took me awhile. You have a real treat in store for you with Child 44. I think I missed out on some sleep when I read it!
Happy Thursday, Valerie!
>119 jolerie: I think you just got me with this GN, have to check that one out once I finished the Saga volumes.
>135 jolerie: Love the pic of your wonderful little monkeys :)
I am almost finished with The Heart is a lonely Hunter and so far, I really enjoy it. Also, I find it incredible sad.
I am also looking forward to your final thoughts on The Remains of the Day.
Hi Donna! I find Stevens an absolute riot which I am quite surprised by. There were a few instances where I chuckled out loud because the circumstances were so ridiculous, but oh so humorous! My memory of Never Let Me Go is kind of foggy, but I think it's safe to say that The Remains of the Day will probably top that one in spades.
Kim, I think it's actually a trilogy so you have two more books to enjoy! :)
Mark, it was fantastic on audio and I think the only way to go with that one because the creepy factor is way amped when you are listening to someone describe all the happenings.
Child 44 grabbed me from the beginning. You are right! I'm on a roll and I hope the rolling just keeps going and going. :)
Hi Bianca! I will have to read Saga at some point but will probably have to wait till the wait list at the library has whittled down a bit.
You are so right about the sadness in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but I think maybe that's why it can resonate with so many people because we have all experienced loneliness in our lives.
Hi Valerie, enjoy Child 44, I have it on the TBR pile and it is part of a trilogy.
John, I've only listened to the first 30 minutes of the audiobook and it got me hook, line and sinker! Really curious to see what happens in the rest of the book.
Jenny, there has been a lot of warbling about Saga so I will for sure check to see if my library has them and hopefully the wait list will not be too ridiculous. Gah, I'm not bothering with the touchstone because all it wants to do is pull up Twilight...so not the same books me thinks. :)
Haha..you are funny Caro! You already know that you will be bingeing before you even start the first book. ;)
>219 jolerie: Definitely not the same book. Stupid touchstone is driving me mad. It's bad enough it's the wrong book, but to say the two are similar?! Eesh.
Haha Jenny, I'm willing to bet some good money that they are not remotely the same. And good thing at that! :)
Wow! Excellent review of Bird Box. I have it on Kindle but it may be awhile before I get to it. I hesitate to download the audio version because you know I'm not good with that option. Was the audio fairly easy to grasp?
Valerie, you are a braver person than me. Horror is just not for me! Glad you enjoyed Bird Box . My sister is reading the trilogy of Child 44 and she loves it! I picked it up several years ago after reading some historical novels about Stalin's Russia - but I read a spoiler about Child 44. So, I did not read it. I have trouble with audio too - I envy the many of you on LT who are good at listening. I cannot multi task and print is more my thing.
You have read some fabulous books so far this year - The Remains of the Day and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I'll have to keep my eyes out for those at my local library. What a diverse reader you are! That is wonderful!
You have a great thread going here, Val. Your boys are so handsome and so precious - I love the sensitivity of the older one who offers a hug when you need it. You're obviously doing the right Mommy things.
I'll keep Bird Box in mind.....
Love the cross stitch! I have an unfinished project of 20 years or so - a lovely pink/rose painted lady somewhere in California. I have only a little left, but now when I work with the 14 count, I look up after a few minutes of work and see the grid. That's probably not good.
I wish you a happy weekend with some reading time for you!
>166 jolerie: LOL, love the confession. My lovely other is all set for retirement too. He loves listening to the radio, and reading the paper (and music biographies). With me and my tbr pile, we are set!!
Saw on Kerri's thread that you asked how to do the linking thing so I thought I'd pop by here and enlighten you.
All you do is a > followed immediately by the post number you're replying to. Then a space, and you're raring to go.
>221 jolerie: So that was > 221 (with no space in between the arrow thingy and the first number.
Happy Saturday, Valerie! I hope you can just curl up with your books and float away this weekend.
>209 jolerie: Recommended if suspenseful and ominous books push your buttons
They do. Thanks for the rec!
I enjoyed Child 44 when it first was published but never went on with the trilogy. I need to get back to it. So many books!
I'm just finishing The Heart is a Lonely Hunter on audio, and contemplating my review for The Remains of the Day. It's fun to compare experiences with so many thoughtful readers reading the same titles.
>209 jolerie: Sounds interesting! I used to like horror when I was a young person (early teens), but I became a scaredy-cat as I got older. I've thought about giving stuff like this another try though. Sometimes I like bad horror movies like The Ring, so there's that. Ha!
Lynda, Bird Box works exceptionally well as audio and it is quite easy to follow along as well. Can you d/l it from the library? I think it work work well in either format really but I did find the audio added an extra dimension of spookiness that worked really well with the overtone of the story.
Deb, I'm not usually a horror person either but I can take it in book format far better than I can in movie version. This one is more psychologically scary then anything. I can handle this kind of supernatural horror than for example what was happening in Our Daily Bread because that is the real kind of terror that we can inflict on one another instead of the paranormal kind.
I actually only picked up on audiobooks this year and I find I can't just sit there and listen either or my mind starts to wander and get distracted. I can now pair with my workouts or cross stitching and has been a perfect marriage.
Thanks Peggy! 20 years is probably the length of time that I will need to finish all the projects I've bought and have stashed in my to do one day box...haha!
I hope you give Bird Box a chance at some point and find it as engrossing as I did. :)
Megan, I've decided that I'm just not cut for having a job and a career. My goal is to proceed straight to retirement and do the things I really love. They won't earn me a cent, but at least it will keep me happy..haha!
Ahhh...thanks Jenny! That is much easier. Now I'll see if I can change my ways..... ;)
Thanks Mark. I'm aiming to float as much as I can this weekend. :)
I hope it pushes all the right buttons for you, Steve.
Hi Janet! It is very interesting to share so many reads with everyone and then to see how everyone reacts to it. I like the varying responses from loving to not caring about a particular read and seeing the reasons why.
Oh my goodness, Kerri! I got tricked into watching The Ring when it first came out and I nearly died..... I cannot handle scary movies and when it's a giant screen in my face, all the more scary. I don't handle horror well either, but this one really isn't that kind of horror. More like...what the heck is going on kind of response and the creepiness is from the fact that you just don't know what is happening. I hope you give it a chance at some point. :)
#8 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Notes: dignity, memories, love, duty, BAC Challenge, Man Booker Prize 1989
Books noted: n/a
A butler of any quality must be seen to inhabit his role, utterly and fully; he cannot be seen casting it aside one moment simply to don it again the next as though it were nothing more than a pantomime costume. Page 174
Mr Stevens is offered the unprecedented opportunity to take a holiday in the English countryside and by accepting he inadvertently embarks upon a journey of reflections that spans the time between two wars and during which he is employed by the distinguished gentleman of Darlington Hall. His musings on life, on loyalty and on love are inseparable from his identity as a butler and caretaker of a household during it's peak of activity and influence.
There is just no way to make the life and times of a butler and the repetitive monotony of his job sound exciting in any way or form. His duties are not glamourous in the least, and in the end, it really is one man's perspective of his humble position in the wider world. What makes The Remains of the Day worth reading is simply the personality and character of Mr. Stevens. There is something oblivious and vulnerable about this man who I couldn't help but find endearing and the cherry on top is that he is absolutely a riot without realizing it. His life could easily have been a story of regret, of lost chances, of what could have been, but instead it a beautifully crafted account of one man's experiences and his contemplative acceptance of the life he lived. I am now undoubtably and unashamedly a Ishiguro fangirl. Highly recommended.
>233 jolerie: I got that as a Daily Deal a while ago (or maybe in a sale) so I'll be interested to see what you think of it.
Feb review of The Remains of the Day, Val! So glad you enjoyed it so much. I read it last year or the year before, and it was on the BEST list.
Some great reviews! Have you seen the film of Remains of the Day? It is also wonderful.
>232 jolerie: I've been in the Ishiguro fanclub for a while now but I still haven't read that one. The film is really good though. :)
Ohh, Bird Box sounds creep and awesome! Although I'm not sure if I would like a book that doesn't give me all the answers by the end.
Just popping by! I love Chelle's description " creep and awesome." That is a great way to describe scary books! I'm just beginning The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and I hope I will enjoy as much as you . It is interesting that yes, I can tolerate more of the real life darkness when I read, like Stubborn Season. Maybe it's because I grew up with some family members who swore that they saw the " ghost "of a dead great uncle of mine in the mirror, and my parents swore that they heard his footsteps. LOL! I was about 7 or so and maybe I'm still afraid of a ghost in a mirror. Just to real life for me!:)
It's going good, Jenny. Not what I expected so I will see how it all ends. Just about half way through and it's still keeping my attention so that's a good thing. :)
We can form the Ishiguro fanclub of mommas, Amber. Now I'm curious about An Artist of a Floating World. Will have to hunt that one down ;)
It was a great read, Nancy. It certainly lived up to the love everyone was tooting about before I read the book. Always wonderful when that happens.
I haven't Jenn. Now I can see if I can watch it because I refuse to watch any movie if I know it was adapted from a book before I read the book. Just can't do it...haha!
Oh, Micky, you just gotta read it if you are a fangirl!
Roberta, the cover totally caught my eye as well and plus I've been curious about Ness as a writer since I haven't read the Chaos Walking trilogy, but I have read A Monster Calls, which was fantastic. He is demonstrating his abilities as a writer. I'm blown away by some beautiful passages in the book.
Thanks for visiting, Barabar even though RL is busy for you right now!
Chelle, it really bothered me at the beginning as well but after I did some researching and found some possible reasons for why he wrote the book the way he did, it made a lot of sense. In some ways I think it is brilliant. I hope you give it a chance at some point!
Deb, both types of scary, scare me. Really I have such a low tolerance for stuff like that but for some reason, when it's on book format, I can take a lot more. I refuse to watch scary movies though....... I don't know how other people do it and especially in the theatres...ha!
Kim, it's always better to discover the book you've read is the first in a series rather than the last or smack in the middle. :)
>206 jolerie:. LOL. Just tell me what you want to say and I translate it for you, so you can say it back to me!
Hi Valerie! I just removed my book from my nose and my beer from my mouth, just to pay a visit. (I am kidding about the beer)
I've had The Crane Wife on my To-Read list and I keep forgetting about it. I hope you can snag a copy of the first Chaos Walking book. I think it will be your cuppa.
I really wanted to like the Chaos Walking series, and I did until a certain moment in the first which put me off carrying on. It's probably my own over-sensitivity though! I loved A Monster Calls though.
>185 jolerie: - A thumb worthy review! McCullers really gets inside her characters!
Dodging Bird Box because I don't do creepy and probably should mention that I haven't read The Remains of the Day but I do have very vivid memories of the movie adaptation, if that counts for anything.
>233 jolerie: - Hum.... haven't heard about that one. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.
Connie, I just googled this so if I'm accidentally swearing, I apologize in advance..ha! Goedemorgen. Safe to say I just wished you good morning. Yay for the internet. :)
Mark, I'm pretty sure it is my cuppa as well, so I'll get around to it this year. I keep wanting to whittle down my in the middle of the series list a bit before it gets out of hand again.....
Oh, I'll definitely read it soon and ask you Jenny what specific moment it was that turned you off. Just based on the 3 books, A Monster Calls, The Crane Wife and the Chaos Walking series, it's pretty safe to say that Ness is quite the varied writer.
Thanks Lori! Creepy definitely isn't everyone's cuppa. It took me a bit before I could dip into it without losing sleep. ;)
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