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Avidmom's 2016 Reading Quilt

Club Read 2016

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1avidmom
Jan 1, 2016, 4:33pm Top

3avidmom
Edited: Jan 3, 2016, 9:28pm Top

Favorite reads of 2015

FICTION
East of Eden by John Steinbeck Another Steinbeck tops my list, no surprise there.

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories by Truman Capote I especially loved A Christmas Memory and think I read it at least 2 or 3 times before having to send it back to the library.

In The Mountains by Elizabeth Von Arnim An incredibly slow moving story of one's woman transition from heartbreak and loss to life again. There's something very healing about it. (But maybe not for the easily bored.)

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain My big surprise of the year. It really wasn't on my list of things to read but my aunt loved it and sent it to me as a gift.

One of my goals this year was to read SF, a genre I had most definitely stayed away from (with the exception of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series - which is more humour than sci fi). I had to kind of "force" myself into reading SF, but I'm glad I did because I discovered a real love of the genre.

The Martian by Andy Weir OK. Not being a science geek, the science-y spots of this book bored me (maybe if I had read this is a kid I would have been more awake during science class) but I loved the main character's snark. It's a surprisingly funny book. Also, any book whose opening line is "I'm pretty much f****ed." has my vote.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov I loved the way Asimov wove small, short stories into one big picture here.

NONFICTION
I Must Say, My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short Absolutely loved every minute here, I must say! Short has such a great attitude toward life and he's had some major heartbreaks to get through. I also loved introducing my kids to Ed Grimley via YouTube don't you know?

Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy After being inundated with cats and more cats in our neighborhood, I started watching "My Cat From Hell" on Animal Planet. The bald, tattooed, bespectacled, rock n roll/hippy cat guru grabbed my attention right away. Somebody like that has to have quite a story to tell and he tells it well.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai Probably the most important book I read all year.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson During my Breakfast At Tiffany's/Audrey Hepburn phase. This is about the making of the movie. Loved it.

Favorite musical autobios: Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Life by Carlos Santana and Between A Rock and A Hard Place by Pat Benatar

Favorite self-help: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (Probably the only self help book I've found worth the time it took to read it!)

Favorite humour: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

One of the most ambitious reads last year was reading the entire Bible (the Protestant version) cover to cover. I started the NT some time in January and the OT ???. Admittedly, I skimmed over some parts of the OT (mainly in Leviticus and all those genealogies), but I did read them. I didn't study my reading, I just did a one foot in front of the other kind of thing until I got to the end.

4mabith
Jan 1, 2016, 4:50pm Top

Such a great header image!

5avidmom
Jan 1, 2016, 5:09pm Top

Thank you. Makes you wanna put your PJs on and find a good book and a cat (or a dog or both), doesn't it?

6NanaCC
Jan 1, 2016, 6:28pm Top

I've had my pjs on all day. (Just one of those hang about and do nothing days - well reading of course). I've placed my star, and leaving quietly.

7avidmom
Jan 1, 2016, 6:31pm Top

>6 NanaCC: Haha! Oh good, so it's not just me doing the whole pajama thing! Thanks for stopping by.

8AnnieMod
Jan 1, 2016, 7:18pm Top

That is why I decided to eat lunch (checks the clock), I mean dinner out - makes me get dressed today:)

9mabith
Jan 1, 2016, 9:32pm Top

I sometimes wish I had the confidence to leave the house in pajamas. Pajamas or dressed like Marleine Dietrich are the two states I'd like to exist in.

10kidzdoc
Jan 1, 2016, 9:33pm Top

Happy New Year, avidmom! Cheers to another year of good reading and better company.

11avidmom
Jan 1, 2016, 11:27pm Top

>8 AnnieMod: I hope that it was worth getting dressed for! :)

>9 mabith: Never could leave the house in PJs.

>10 kidzdoc: Cheers to you too kidzdoc!

12avidmom
Edited: Jan 15, 2016, 2:27pm Top



Creative Cats by Marjorie Sarnat

I spent my first day of 2016 in my pjs and coloring.
You know, 'cause I'm a grown up.
I guess "adult coloring books" are the rage now; they are a lot of fun!

13Nickelini
Jan 4, 2016, 12:35pm Top

>12 avidmom: Is this a picture you coloured, or did you grab it off the 'net? I'm colouring too (not a stretch for me as I'm also a stamper, and there is a lot of colouring involved with that). I'm enjoying seeing how others have coloured the book I have (The Enchanted Forest) and I'd like to share my pictures too, but I'm not sure of the most painless way to do that.

14avidmom
Edited: Jan 4, 2016, 12:52pm Top

>13 Nickelini: The page was a free sample off the net that I printed (the real book should be here soon!) then colored myself with some very inexpensive Crayola and/or Crazy Art colored pencils I found at Walmart (the supply there was very limited!) The colors don't show up too well here. They're a bit faded.

There is a group on FB "Coloring Books for Adults" that I joined yesterday. They share their pics and tips on what the best colored pencils are, etc. It's worth just looking at the art there!

I have been embroidering/cross stitching/and doing crewel work since my early teens - which I think is just another version of coloring. I am not too familiar with "stamping" - sounds like fun though. (Do you have pictures to share of your stamping? I'd like to see that!)



15Nickelini
Edited: Jan 4, 2016, 1:28pm Top

>14 avidmom:

Here is a card that I stamped back in 2006 that involved lots of colouring.



It was published in Somerset magazines Stampers Sampler. I had about a dozen of my cards published back in 2003-2006, but I don't submit anymore.

16avidmom
Jan 4, 2016, 2:16pm Top

Wow! That is gorgeous! I love those colors. I'm so glad you shared it with me. :)

17Nickelini
Jan 4, 2016, 2:36pm Top

Thanks. So how did you get your picture on to LT? All the ways I know how to do it are a bit awkward.

18avidmom
Edited: Jan 4, 2016, 6:12pm Top

I wish I knew an easier way to get pics. I scanned it into my computer then went to my profile to the "add pictures" and got it and then posted it here the same way I do book covers with that whole copy/paste the image address and pasting it in between the "" in the html code

19RidgewayGirl
Jan 4, 2016, 3:51pm Top

I'm working my way slowly through The Enchanted Forest and in the meantime, I've added her other two coloring books and I was given one of elaborate pictures of animals. It's an engrossing and relaxing hobby and I should spend more time on it.

20SassyLassy
Jan 4, 2016, 4:01pm Top

Wonderful images here already; everything set for another year of delight. I'll be following once more.

21avidmom
Jan 4, 2016, 6:16pm Top

>19 RidgewayGirl: That seems to be a rather popular one. It certainly is relaxing. I love my embroidery projects but they usually involve so much setting up, reading patterns, etc. etc. and colouring is just grab your pencils/pens and go!

>20 SassyLassy: :) Thanks for stopping by!

22Nickelini
Jan 4, 2016, 6:32pm Top

>18 avidmom: I could do that, but I don't like my scanner. I'll experiment with my digital camera. Thanks!

>19 RidgewayGirl: Have you put your finished pictures on the internet? I think I'm going to post to a blog, but I'm going to do a few more pictures first.

23avidmom
Jan 4, 2016, 8:54pm Top

>22 Nickelini: I didn't even think of using a digital camera!

24janemarieprice
Jan 5, 2016, 8:06am Top

Interesting discussion here. I've seen these around recently but didn't know a whole ton about them. I'll be curious to see more of your work.

>21 avidmom: I'm interested in getting into embroidery. I've been looking around a bit but haven't found a good starter project. Any recommendations?

25Poquette
Jan 5, 2016, 1:45pm Top

Coloring sounds like fun. It would make a nice change from Sudoku!

26avidmom
Jan 5, 2016, 2:39pm Top

>24 janemarieprice: I think it depends on what kind of embroidery you want to do. Crewel works with yarn and a bigger needle but the stitches (for the most part) are pretty plain. Cross stitch is also pretty easy (just x stitches over and over). There are pre-stamped cross stitch projects where you are just covering over the x's printed on the fabric which is great for beginners; or you can start off with a blank piece of Aida cloth (which is a whole 'nother subject!). The hardest part about counted cross stitch (where you start with an absolutely blank cloth) is following the pattern. The fun part of counted cross stitch is watching the picture come to life from absolutely nothing. Then there's just "plain old" hand embroidery where you can do whatever kind of embroidery stitches/colors you want. My grandma started me out with some pillow cases, dresser scarves, etc. (Here you just cover over the printed line on the fabric however you choose.) Those are fairly inexpensive and kind of a neat way to experiment with different embroidery stitches.

Most kits will come with all the thread you need, the right size needle, sometimes a hoop, and a little instructional guide on how to make the stitches. And I really like this lady's tutorials on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9qRaSmahtM

I think your best bet is starting with any kind of starter kit, maybe something small to medium to begin with. Invest a bit in something to organize all your stuff in (organize first, THEN start!) and a little scrap piece of cloth to practice your stitches on first and go for it! I like the Dimensions kits the best.

27mabith
Jan 5, 2016, 3:53pm Top

>24 janemarieprice: There are some nice pre-hemmed bookmarks in Aida fabric, which you use for cross stitch and blackwork, and probably some Etsy sellers or craft stores sell kits with them. We have a needlearts group here on LT and we always want new faces there!

28avidmom
Jan 5, 2016, 6:04pm Top

>25 Poquette: It is addictive!

>27 mabith: OH, I'm heading over ....

29AnnieMod
Jan 5, 2016, 6:12pm Top

>24 janemarieprice:, >26 avidmom:

I almost always seem to have issues with Dimensions - I love their kits but for their bigger projects, I always run out of thread for some colors. And finding additional thread is not as easy as if you go for a DMC project for example :) The small Dimensions ones are the way to go though - just make sure it is not one of those that have 100 different kinds of stitches on a very small area - I love those but they are not for beginners.

I also would say not to start with a stamped one - it creates bad practices and expectations and makes it harder to switch to counted projects. Just my 2 cents :)

30avidmom
Jan 5, 2016, 6:45pm Top

>29 AnnieMod: The stamped cross stitch patterns annoy me because sometimes the Xs aren't the same size and sometimes the ink shows through no matter what you do. I think the Dimensions Gold kits are a bit more advanced, aren't they?

My intro. from stamped cross-stitch to counted was a major leap. My aunt fell in love with this particular pattern and asked me if she would buy it would I do it for her. Of course, YES! But I had never done a counted cross-stitch project before so when the kit came with all its lovely thread, instructions and a giant paper pattern along with a giant piece of blank AIDA cloth I almost fainted! Fortunately for me, one of my dad's friends - a tall skinny cowboy type - got me started. HA!

So this was my first counted cross stitch project. It took a whole entire summer way back when and it was quite a learning experience.

My work is with my aunt but I found this pic. on the internet (from here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/108368972/emie-bishop-cross-n-patch-doxology)



31AnnieMod
Jan 5, 2016, 6:55pm Top

>30 avidmom:

Yeah, the few Dimensions Gold that I have are a bit more complicated than some of their other lines - a lot of french knots and all kind of other weirdnesses. Janlynn and Bucilla are the other two named kits that I like -- they also have lovely designs.

I started way back with petit point (the standard for needle point designs in Bulgaria) and resisted the cross stitch for quite a while :) These days, when I get around to it, I do mostly cross stitch - too hard to find anything else here and I do not feel like collecting all the threads for some of the old patterns I am sure I still have somewhere... Although I may change my mind - the latest thing I decided I like is a pattern only so I need to collect the threads anyway... so we will see :)

That looks lovely! :)

32avidmom
Jan 5, 2016, 10:59pm Top

>31 AnnieMod: "Weirdnesses" - that's the word for it!

Once I started counted cross-stitch, I started collecting patterns like they were going out of style. Now I have a sewing basket full of cross-stitch books, patterns, etc.

Thank you! It was a beautiful project (and the deepness of the reds don't show up here well) and it even had a little story about where it came from on the pattern. I loved doing it for my aunt ('cause she was always one of my favorites) but, oy vay, not for beginners!

33mabith
Jan 6, 2016, 9:07pm Top

I think the main thing with counted cross stitch is starting in the middle of the pattern and the middle of the fabric. Plus for me working from a pattern on a computer or tablet screen is a zillion times easier than working from a paper pattern. For one really complicated pattern I did where all the 'symbols' were alphabet letters (which was really hard for me to read) I actually blacked over each square after I'd stitched five or six to keep myself from getting lost. No way I was getting halfway through a Christmas present only to find a giant mistake that couldn't be rectified.

34Nickelini
Edited: Jan 7, 2016, 11:58pm Top

>14 avidmom:, >15 Nickelini:, >16 avidmom: After our conversation, I decided I'm going to eventually post my colouring pages to my currently-dormant art blog. Here is a link to the page on my blog showing the stamped cards that I had published: http://nickelinitestblog.blogspot.ca/2011/03/my-career-as-published-stamping-art...

(Just thought as an arty person, you might be interested.)

35AnnieMod
Edited: Jan 8, 2016, 7:49pm Top

>33 mabith:

Bottom left corner for me. Or the first stitches on the lowest line of the pattern if it is not rectangular. And a pencil to black every pattern symbol that I had stitches. :) Habit from the petite point - and I am so used to it that I cannot even think of starting in the middle.

36avidmom
Jan 8, 2016, 2:12pm Top

>33 mabith: That's the one prob. with cross stitch.... if you're off even by 1 you gotta start all over. I discovered something called the "parking technique" which I will try next time I do a cross stitch pattern.

>34 Nickelini: I can't wait to see more of your stuff! :)

>35 AnnieMod: It does seem strange to start from the middle.... but that's the way I was taught. The hardest part for me is usually just starting!

37mabith
Jan 8, 2016, 3:32pm Top

For me starting in the middle meant I was way less likely to accidentally start at the wrong place and end up with too small a margin of fabric on one side. It is different if you're marking things on the fabric, of course. Though, one stitch off definitely doesn't always mean start over for a lot of patterns, half the time no one else will notice the mistake and you can just alter the pattern a bit and move on. Though that happens rarely in my stitching now versus when I first started.

I do a lot of text and border patterns, and with those starting in the middle is the smart way to go, because then you have a number of reference points to go by when starting the other lines of text or working on borders. It's easier to slightly alter a border design if you've made a mistake on the text than to alter the text if you've made a mistake on the border. Likewise with making a border smaller if you've cut your fabric too small (stitching the middle first gives you a much better guide to that).

38SassyLassy
Jan 8, 2016, 7:29pm Top

>30 avidmom: Do you have a thread in the Needlearts group. I see you are a member, but I don't see a thread. This discussion is raising all kinds of questions for me.

>34 Nickelini: Lovely cards. I hope you do more.

39AnnieMod
Edited: Jan 8, 2016, 8:09pm Top

>36 avidmom:

Oh I know - all books for beginners are saying the same - find the center, start there (and all instructions... - it kinda makes sense if you want to center it but some old fashioned counting to see where you need to start does the same :). I tried once. Gave up in a few days, went to the corner and did it my usual way :)

Ha - this technique has a name :) I usually use it on crowded area that changes colors too often :) Of course then moving it when I forget just how many needles I have may be painful. Plus you do not always need to leave a needle if you are good with threading your needle all the time - because of the left to write and down to up, I cannot leave them hanging with needles too much because this is where my hand need to be to keep the linen). Oh well - good luck if you decide to try it :)

40cabegley
Jan 8, 2016, 10:13pm Top

A couple of years ago, you read and reviewed Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath, which I picked up and enjoyed. I passed it on this week to my almost-13-year-old, who is engaged like he hasn't been for quite some time. Any recommendations for when he finishes this one?

41avidmom
Edited: Jan 8, 2016, 10:54pm Top

>37 mabith: I will probably always start in the middle for the very reasons you described. but I do hate trying to figure out if I have found the "real" middle on the fabric (maybe I'm a little OCD'ing there ;)

>38 SassyLassy: OK. I confess, I really only joined the Needleart's group because I wanted to post a comment on mabith's thread (I love that little fox at the top!) But I will probably set up thread there soon... feels wrong not to and maybe I could get some encouragement there. :)

>39 AnnieMod: I'll let you know how it goes (right now my project is a crewel pattern - if and when I ever get to it). That parking technique, I gather, would really depend on the pattern. I have a little magnetic strip where you can pre-thread all those needles and grab 'em when you need 'em.

>40 cabegley: I'm so glad you and your son liked it! It is a fun one. My son was the one who loved that book so much. The next one he read was Otherwise Known As Rowan Pohi - which he kind of liked, but not as much as "Tux". People have suggested The Absolute True Diary of A Part Time Indian which I haven't read yet but I remember reading a lot of good reviews on it.

42Helenliz
Jan 9, 2016, 7:11am Top

I do cross stitch (amongst other crafty things I dabble in, as the state of the spare room will testify to) and I will do either start in the middle or count from one corner depending on the pattern and material. So for a completely plain material, I usually fold it in half each way (that's the middle) and then start at a convenient point in the middle of the pattern. But I've done quite a few afghans now as baby blankets and where the weave is patterned into squares, I tend to start each square by reference to top left hand corner.
Oh, the excitement.
And no one ever notices a mistake except you. My most glaring miscount was a sampler, where it *looks* like an intentional asymmetry, as after I spotted the error on one corner, I repeated it on the other 3. But to me it just looks wonky and wrong.

43mabith
Edited: Jan 9, 2016, 4:24pm Top

>41 avidmom: Totally with you on obsessing over the real centers. Though these days I'm much less parsimonious with the fabric, so it's not quite so vital. We will encourage the heck out of you in Needlearts!

>42 Helenliz: That's why I hang so little of my own work. Even if there are no mistakes I start criticizing how I should have done something differently.

44avidmom
Jan 9, 2016, 12:46pm Top

>42 Helenliz: We are all our own worst critics! I don't see a thing wrong with your sampler. It's gorgeous. But I know what you mean.

>43 mabith: I have 4 things hanging up in my house (and a few things in my sewing basket that need to be framed and hung up). Sure they're not all gorgeous or perfect (back in the day I framed in cheap cheap frames). Hang your stuff up, enjoy them, let other people enjoy them and tell your Inner Critic to shut up! (Easier said than done!)

45avidmom
Edited: Jan 10, 2016, 2:13pm Top



The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I didn't love this book like I thought I would. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I was expecting something different. I'm not sure. I've been trying to think what my problems are with this book and I think it's simply the fact that I just couldn't for the life of me find all the characters here believable or likeable. The character of Manon, the main character's long lost love that he's been pining away for for some 21 years, irritated me. (Reading her diaries proved the most painful for me.) The whole unread letter ploy struck me as odd too. (Just couldn't reconcile his "I miss her so much I quit living" and "I won't read her letter because I'm so hurt." with each other.) I think it made me see the main character of Jean Perdu as a coward. While I liked the idea of a book "apothecary" and a book barge and a trip down the Seine, so much of the plot seemed terribly contrived. The romance between Max and Victoria (how convenient!); the bizarre entrance of Samy into the story, to name a few

Some of the writing here is gorgeous, though, and very sweet. And that's the problem.... it's wonderful to read little lovely sweet melodramatic poetic passages, but they don't quit here. It was a bit much for me. But that's the part of me speaking that's very jaded. I was literally rolling my eyes a bit here and there.... between enjoying the lovely descriptions of the French countryside and food and the sometimes poetic descriptions of life and love. Then again, it would get to the point where it was just too much and I would find the whole thing a bit nauseating.

I can see why so many people love this book. And I also can see why so many people don't. This book is for all the romantics and poets who are still out there among us.

I think I would rate this a solid 3.5 stars on a good day, when my outlook on life is rosier. And a wobbly 3 stars when I am in a more jaded frame of mind.

46detailmuse
Jan 10, 2016, 3:06pm Top

I Must Say kept popping up when I'd look for digital audio downloads but I'd ignored it till I saw it in your list. Enjoying it, even laughing out loud sometimes.

Also enjoying the stitchery talk. Haven't done it for decades due to carpal tunnel and I think coloring would bother my hand too. I'm leaning toward getting back into jigsaw puzzles, so many fun and beautiful images now.

47avidmom
Jan 10, 2016, 5:39pm Top

>46 detailmuse: I'm glad you like it! He has such a great attitude toward life, doesn't he? I especially love his sit down and give your life a report card. So funny.

I have to watch it too as I have some pain issues as well with my wrist/elbow, etc. I use a hand glove/wrist like this when I do my artsy stuff: http://www.michaels.com/10155425.html#q=gloves&start=6 and it helps a lot. They have similar stuff at drug stores, etc. but the one I got at Michael's is my favorite.

I also found a thing called Penetrex on Amazon (very expensive, but works and you don't need to use a lot).

Jigsaw puzzles are fun! We did quite a few when I was a kid, an Oreo cookie one, San Francisco at night, and then we were almost murdered by my uncle when we gave him the "Flat Banana" 1,000 piece puzzle. L0L. He did finish it though. :) They are fun but I simply don't have anywhere to put one now. :(

48cabegley
Jan 11, 2016, 12:38pm Top

>41 avidmom: Thanks for the recommendation! We have The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, so I'll pass that one along to him.

49NanaCC
Jan 12, 2016, 7:42am Top

My family loves puzzles too. The 1,000 piece ones are the best. We have puzzle caddies which hold the puzzle on a flat sturdy cardboard that fits into a folding 'holder' similar to an artist's portfolio. It slips under the couch or a bed, and the puzzle stays put. I got them at a company called Bits and Pieces.

50RidgewayGirl
Jan 12, 2016, 2:12pm Top

You were much kinder to The Little Paris Bookshop than I was, but I agree on the eye-rolling. I'm surprised my eyeballs face the right direction, I was rolling them so hard.

51detailmuse
Jan 12, 2016, 3:25pm Top

>47 avidmom: Interesting: a glove rather than a brace/splint. My hands get numb on long bike rides and that glove might work.

52avidmom
Jan 12, 2016, 7:57pm Top

>48 cabegley: Looking forward to your (or your son's) thoughts on The Absolute True Story. I was chatting with my son over FB (he is away at University) and said other people had read the book here and how it made me want to reread Two Parties, One Tux again and he said "That book is with me. It speaks to my soul." LOL!

>49 NanaCC: Thanks for the info! Now if only I could find a couch or bed here that doesn't have a boatload of stuff under it already.......

>50 RidgewayGirl: I think it would have been a much better book if she would have just "dialed it down" a bit!

>51 detailmuse: Love mine. Haven't tried them for anything outdoors-y, just embroidering.

53japaul22
Jan 12, 2016, 8:02pm Top

>49 NanaCC: that's a fantastic idea for the jigsaw puzzle case. I'm filing that info away for when I have more free time.

54brodiew2
Jan 15, 2016, 7:28pm Top

>30 avidmom: Oh does that bring back memories. I thank you for reminding me of such a great hymn. :-)

55avidmom
Jan 15, 2016, 9:09pm Top

>54 brodiew2: You know, strangely, I had never seen or heard the "Doxology" before until I worked on that project.

56VivienneR
Jan 17, 2016, 3:27pm Top

Interesting discussion on crafts. You are all so talented.

>45 avidmom: Good to see your review of The Little Paris Bookshop and >50 RidgewayGirl:'s response. I have since crossed it off my wishlist :)

57avidmom
Edited: Jan 17, 2016, 7:21pm Top

>56 VivienneR: I sent The Little Paris Bookshop to my aunt and she called last weekend to tell me she was "loving every minute of it." Trust me, if she didn't like it, she would tell me!

58avidmom
Feb 3, 2016, 12:00pm Top

I guess it's time I update my thread. A few years ago I took an online class in Medical Coding through our University and even went so far as to sit for a 5 hour timed test (!) through the AAPC and passed it as well. That was a few moons ago and now the U.S. has finally decided to catch up to the rest of the world and upgrade to the new ICD-10-CM codes ...... which meant I had to take a test on the new codes (fortunately on-line). I passed the test but in the process of studying I found some rather amusing new codes in ICD-10-CM:

http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/20-bizarre-new...

That's just a few of 'em, while coding I found "struck by lizard" as well.

Hey, is that where the term "leaping lizards" comes from?

Hmm......

59avidmom
Feb 3, 2016, 12:15pm Top


Grace Revolution: Experience the Power to Live Above Defeat by Joseph Prince

This was a good read and I did come away thinking about things in a different way than before. I like Joseph Prince and his overall grace message so I wasn't expecting anything profound or earth shattering here (kind of heard it all before) but there were some new ideas in here that I found very interesting. I get rather tired of evangelical preachers (of the TV variety sort) who continually ply their audience with platitudes and feel-good messages but don't really back anything up Biblically. That's what I like about Prince, he goes a little deeper into the Biblical text than most. So I rather enjoyed this book when Prince focused on "teaching", and found myself getting a little annoyed with all the testimony after testimony. Nothing wrong with including people's personal stories, and, of course, is probably a necessary component of a book of this sort, but I did find them a little tiring after a while. Maybe there were just too many for me? Or maybe I just don't need convincing.

Understandably maybe not everybody's cup of tea, but this is the best book by Prince I've read so far.

A solid 4 stars from me.

*************************************************

I don't read too many Christian-ese books (maybe a scattered few throughout a year) but why can't the authors put something else on their book covers besides their pictures????



60Poquette
Feb 3, 2016, 2:58pm Top

Apropos of >12 avidmom: above and coloring, I just saw this at the NY Public Library site — in case you run out of ideas!

Link to NYPL "Color Our Collections"

Note the links to other online sources.

61avidmom
Feb 3, 2016, 3:15pm Top

>60 Poquette: Thanks for that! Very cool.

62SassyLassy
Feb 4, 2016, 10:55am Top

>58 avidmom: That's amazing. Do you know why it took so long to implement ICD-10 in the US?

63avidmom
Feb 4, 2016, 5:54pm Top

>62 SassyLassy: When I started my class a few years ago, it was going to be "next year"... and that went on every year for a few years. It was continuously delayed (by Congress). From what I can gather, the States lagged behind because it would require an upgrade to software in all the healthcare settings and a retraining of the people who are coders - for starters. ICD-9-CM codes were specific, but not nearly as specific as the ICD-10-CM codes that require a pretty decent knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology. You needed to have a basic fundamental knowledge of A&P before to code, but ICD-10-CM requires a bit more of a solid knowledge of A&P and to be able to gather a bit more detail from patients' records. So even the doctors are probably having to adjust to putting more details in their records.

The AAPC (where I got my credential) finally said that all their members who had a CPC or higher needed to pass an ICD-10-CM assessment by Dec. 31, 2015 (or gracefully they extended it to Feb. 2, 2016) or else their credentials would be revoked.

I didn't want to lose mine - even if I'm not using it at the moment. :)

64dchaikin
Feb 6, 2016, 10:00am Top

>58 avidmom: noting Y92.241

65avidmom
Feb 6, 2016, 12:46pm Top

>64 dchaikin: Be careful! LOL. And here I am thinking about going to the library today .... Uh oh.

66avidmom
Feb 6, 2016, 8:31pm Top


Creative Haven Mehndi Designs Coloring Book: Traditional Henna Body Art

I love butterflies (as my boys would say, "Mom, you're such a girl!") so I rather enjoyed doing this one.
A free downloadable sample from the Dover website.

67avidmom
Feb 12, 2016, 1:42pm Top

"The kindred points of heaven and home," continued Mrs. Arbuthnot, who was used to finishing her sentences. "Heaven is in our home."

"It isn't," said Mrs. Wilkins, again surprisingly.

Mrs. Arbuthnot was taken aback. Then she said gently, "Oh, but it is. It is there if we choose, if we make it."

"I do choose, and I do make it, and it isn't," said Mrs. Wilkins.




One day Mrs. Wilkins, due to the misery of her loveless marriage and the un-lovely weather in London, is drawn to an advertisement to let a castle in Italy that promises a lot of sunshine and wisteria. She accosts the equally miserable and pious Mrs. Arbuthnot and convinces her to share the expenses and escape from their lives for one glorious month. They decide to advertise for two other women to come along and share expenses and meet the curmudgeonly and oh-so-proper Mrs. Fisher and the very beautiful Lady Caroline. The month in Italy proves very healing and surprisingly, romantic.

Last year I read von Arnim's In The Mountains and loved it. Books written like this usually bore me to pieces, but for some reason, Elizabeth von Arnim manages to pull it off, and very, very well. She writes mostly about the inner thoughts of her characters and while not much is going on externally there is very much happening in the inner lives of all of her characters. There is an undercurrent in her writing, judging by the two books I have read by her so far, of the Divine healing power of nature, "In the warmth and light of what she was looking at, of what to her was a manifestation, and entirely new side of God, how could one be discomposed?" and a very dry sense of humour. "Ought they to pay him? Not, they thought, if they were going to be robbed and perhaps murdered. Surely on such an occasion one did not pay."

My only complaint of the book is that it does seem to end rather abruptly.

Also, I think it should come with a warning. I have a terrible urge to pack up everything and go on vacation, preferably Italy. Short of that I'm finding it very hard to not go and spend every last penny I have on flowers.

A slow moving book like this is probably not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who can handle the slow-to-a-crawl pace, it is a lovely vicarious vacation and a great lighter read when your soul longs for a "gentle read."

I would give it a solid four stars.

68brodiew2
Feb 12, 2016, 3:37pm Top

>67 avidmom: I have not read the book, but I remember the film very well. It must have been very well adapted because I had the desire to pick and go to Italy shortly after seeing the film.

69avidmom
Feb 12, 2016, 3:52pm Top

>68 brodiew2: I watched the movie this morning and though they had to change things here and there for the sake of time and clarity, I thought they did a great job of capturing the book. My favorite part of the movie was Joan Plowright as Mrs. Fisher.

70AlisonY
Feb 13, 2016, 5:43am Top

>67 avidmom: was laughing reading your review, as it really does give you an urge to disappear off to Italy for a great adventure in that lovely castle.

And I agree with your comment on the cover of that Prince book - it just screams cheap and tacky.

71Helenliz
Feb 13, 2016, 12:42pm Top

>67 avidmom: Also, I think it should come with a warning. I have a terrible urge to pack up everything and go on vacation, preferably Italy. Short of that I'm finding it very hard to not go and spend every last penny I have on flowers.
This response I recognise. I'm currently reading this and have taken to browsing the holiday advertisements in the weekend magazine!

72rebeccanyc
Feb 13, 2016, 1:02pm Top

I loved The Enchanted April -- and was surprised by loving it.

73avidmom
Edited: Feb 13, 2016, 11:26pm Top

>70 AlisonY:, >71 Helenliz:, >72 rebeccanyc: Do you think maybe Arnim was secretly working for the Italian Tourism Board? LOL

>70 AlisonY: It's not just him who does the whole picture thing. With few exceptions, all the book covers have the evangelist picture on the front. Are they afraid we won't recognize that that's their book if we don't see their picture? I don't get it....

Speaking of pictures .....
I say we all get together and go here. :)

74RidgewayGirl
Feb 14, 2016, 6:00am Top

Where is that?

75Helenliz
Feb 14, 2016, 8:46am Top

>73 avidmom: go on then, I'm in. Just give me directions and I'll be there.

76SassyLassy
Edited: Feb 14, 2016, 12:57pm Top

>72 rebeccanyc: I haven't read The Enchanted April yet, but I have had the same reaction to the other books I have read by Elizabeth von Arnim.

I used to think I had read it, but then discovered I was confusing it with a dreadfully dated short story by Somerset Maugham in which three women are enjoying the winter season in the Mediterranean and decide they need a fourth for bridge: "The Three Fat Women of Antibes". Now I have another von Arnim to anticipate.

edited to add

>74 RidgewayGirl: Looks like southern Scotland to me.

77avidmom
Feb 14, 2016, 2:07pm Top

>74 RidgewayGirl: Not in Italy, actually, but Hatley Castle on Vancouver Island, BC. Oops. Fooled me again Google Images!!! (On the bright side, that's closer to me...... a little). And, even though it's NOT technically Italy, I think I would love it there.

>75 Helenliz: Hmmm.... I'll have to Mapquest it. :)

>76 SassyLassy: That Somerset Maugham book does sound incredibly similar!!!

I've always wanted to go to Scotland. We trace our family roots all the way back to there.

78Nickelini
Feb 14, 2016, 2:16pm Top

The castle above is Royal Rhodes University in Victoria, BC. I recognized it immediately because my nephew's wedding was there last summer.


(random picture off the internet, not my nephew)

79avidmom
Feb 14, 2016, 2:18pm Top

>78 Nickelini: Stunningly beautiful!!!!

80avidmom
Feb 14, 2016, 4:24pm Top

Well, Happy Valentine's Day to me I guess.... 'cause I went to the indie bookstore around the corner and 1/2 hour and $30 later came out with a few books for me and my University kid:

For the college kid:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
(My son loves this book. I've never read it.)

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (This was my idea. I figured he would need it sooner or later and it was only $1. Cool book, though. Italian on one side/English on the other.)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
(My son wants to read this one.)

For me:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The reason for the trip. I just wanted a copy of my own. My favorite Steinbeck after (or before?) Cannery Row

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
I've wanted to read this for a while, but it's hard to come by through our library system for some reason. Wasn't planning on buying this one in particular, but there it was so it came home with me. My knowledge of Soviet/Russian history is, I think, in the negative numbers so I'll probably have to fix that gaping hole of knowledge in my brain first. *sigh*

Some of these books were new, some used. I just wanted to go and support our one and only brick and mortar bookstore. :)

81rebeccanyc
Feb 15, 2016, 11:22am Top

>80 avidmom: i loved both The Count of Monte Cristo and The Master and Margarita. You have treats in store.

82brodiew2
Feb 15, 2016, 11:44am Top

> 80 The Count of Monte Cristo is also on my reading list for this year. I am hoping it will not be as challenging as it appears.

83rebeccanyc
Feb 15, 2016, 3:18pm Top

>82 brodiew2: It's eminently readable and un-put-downable!

84mabith
Feb 15, 2016, 7:13pm Top

I loved The Count of Monte Cristo as well. A wonderful adventure.

85avidmom
Feb 16, 2016, 12:28am Top

>81 rebeccanyc: I was so excited to see The Master and Margarita there but I must admit to being a little intimidated by it!

>82 brodiew2: >83 rebeccanyc:>84 My son has been wanting to read that one for a long time. I hope he likes it. I didn't realize the book would be so big (at least the paperback version he got seemed mighty chunky!)

86dchaikin
Feb 16, 2016, 10:31pm Top

I was intimidated by The Master and Margarita too, so I was surprised to find I could just enjoy it. Maybe read with a cocktail to relax? Fun bookstore stop.

87avidmom
Edited: Feb 17, 2016, 6:54pm Top

>86 dchaikin: A cocktail? Vodka maybe ;)

(Of course, I'd have to go get some first.......)

88SassyLassy
Feb 18, 2016, 3:50pm Top

>80 avidmom: Keep The Count of Monte Cristo for yourself --- it's a great read. I don't think you need to know much about history to read The Master and Margarita. It is the people themselves who make the book.

89NanaCC
Feb 18, 2016, 9:46pm Top

>80 avidmom: I agree with Sassy, read The Count of Monte Cristo yourself. It is a terrific read.

90avidmom
Feb 19, 2016, 12:27am Top

>88 SassyLassy: >89 NanaCC: Thanks for the encouragement about The Master and Margarita! I had a feeling The Count of Monte Cristo would be a great read, so I'm glad we own it now.

91avidmom
Feb 29, 2016, 4:19pm Top


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

A few weeks ago I watched the movie version of this book. It was a quirky little comedy. I liked it. I was curious about the book so I requested it from our library. The book did not disappoint. I thought it was a lot of fun and was much more detailed than the movie.

Allan lives quite a life going from a small boy in the Swedish country side who "likes to blow things up" to the Spanish Civil War to the Manhattan Project in the U.S. etc. Allan's travels takes him all around the globe where he meets many of the most important leaders of the 20th century till he ends up back at home in Sweden and into an old folks home.... where he climbs out the window and the adventures start all over again. This new adventure of his involves some new friends, an inept motorcycle gang, some stolen money, a few unintentional murders, a romance, and an elephant. Through it all, Allan doesn't let anything bother him. Things are what they are and will be what they will be.

Simple fun read with some laugh out loud moments.
I'd give it a solid 4 stars.

92avidmom
Mar 6, 2016, 2:32pm Top



Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia by Jennifer Eremeeva

I really enjoyed this book, a (free one for Kindle). It is not by any means a detailed history of Russia/the Soviet Union but for someone like me who started out with probably knowledge of the history of Russia that was maybe in the negative numbers at worst, at zero at least, it was a great starting off point. American-born Eremeeva, an ex-pat living and working in Russia, does a decent job of covering all the major events in the timeline of Russia/the Soviet Union from centuries and Tsars past to the Ukrainian/Crimean crisis and the president day macho Pres. Putin.

My interest in Russia was sparked by finally finding a copy of The Master and Margarita, at our local bookstore a few weeks ago. I have a feeling that book won't make too much sense unless I have some kind of understanding of what Bulgakov is actually writing about. I coupled my reading with some interesting documentaries found on youtube:

"Tsars and Revolutions" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEmUIfF2uAk
"Stalin: Inside the Terror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIzApqzlP3Q

Eremeeva also has a list of recommended reading on the subject at the back of her book.

93ELiz_M
Mar 6, 2016, 5:58pm Top

>92 avidmom: "My interest in Russia was sparked by finally finding a copy of The Master and Margarita, at our local bookstore a few weeks ago. I have a feeling that book won't make too much sense unless I have some kind of understanding of what Bulgakov is actually writing about. "

A passing knowledge of the Bible would also be helpful. I didn't know who Pontius Pilate was when I read TM&M...... oooops.

94avidmom
Mar 6, 2016, 6:41pm Top

A passing knowledge of the Bible would also be helpful.

Very good point as Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate show up on the first pages of TM&M! (I'm OK with my Bible knowledge; it was my big reading project last year!)

95avidmom
Edited: Mar 16, 2016, 10:47pm Top


Mad Women by Jane Maas

My son started watching "Mad Men" last year and since I had a friend who was an extra on the show (you could see her walking about the Sterling Cooper offices in the background; once she even had A LINE!) I started to watch too. At first it was more for the "Where's Waldo" kind of game I was playing, but I found myself getting really drawn in to the goings on of Don, Betty and the whole Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) clan - especially naive go-getter Peggy Olson, who finds herself unexpectedly promoted from secretary to copywriter in the first few episodes of the show.

Jane Maas, one of the most prominent advertising copywriters to grace Madison Avenue in the 60s and beyond, was constantly fielding questions from "Mad Men" fans: was it really like that?; was there really that much drinking? (every Mad Men mucky muck has his own wet bar in his office); was there really that much sex? and on and on.... Her book is an answer to all of these questions. Some of the answers were very surprising and some downright shocking, especially compared to today's politically correct/anti-sexual harassment/anti-drug policies that are enforced in the workplace. It was such a different world back then; not close to a different era in the work place for women, but probably closer to another planet! Still, Maas brings about a very clear argument that as far as women have come in the workplace in theory, in reality, the situation is quite a bit different and that the guilt and frustration that working women felt in the 60s are still just as palpable today as then.

My favorite part of the book though was her (thankfully) short (but still too long) tenure working for Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean. "But don't believe everyting you've read about Leona. She was worse than that." Some other people make brief appearances here too: actor F. Murray Abraham; Michael Collins, the astronaut; and Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl.

Although a bit disjointed in spots, I found it a very interesting read.

**************************************************​

Maas mentions this risque ad from back in the day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cx7xECjGnU

96avidmom
Mar 20, 2016, 6:23pm Top


Double Indemnity by James Cain

I was really impressed by this story. Huff is an insurance agent who goes out for a routine insurance call and falls hard for the lady of the house (later to be known as the "House of Death"). Once they figure out that their feelings for each other are mutual (which doesn't take that long at all), they go about setting up her husband's accident insurance policy and his subsequent murder in such a way that they can collect on the "double indemnity" clause and run away together. For such a short little story, 118 pages, a lot of little twists and turns take place. It is classic crime noir of the late 30s/40s era that has a delicious and slightly creepy ending. I ended up liking it much more than I thought I would.

My son had to read this for his college English class. I can see why.

*****************************************



"Double Indemnity" starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson

I found this on TCM long before I read the book (which I liked better than the film adaptation). We watched it together on one of our "family movie nights" and cracked up through the whole thing because of the dialogue that relied heavily on the word "baby" and this particular line "They know more tricks than a carload of monkeys." It was definitely a dated movie, but a good one nonetheless. The movie is, alas, different than the book. Things wrap up rather nicely and conveniently and there really is no creepy ending as in the book, but maybe a more moral one perhaps (?) What I really loved about it was seeing Fred MacMurray who usually is known for playing the squeaky clean, somewhat goofy character, transform into this conniving, scheming, selfish dark one with just enough of a conscience to make you like him. MacMurray, who had reservations about taking the role, said it was one of his favorite roles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKdcYnlkhx8 (A little scene)

TCM comments:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpcKCvBB6O8

97rebeccanyc
Mar 21, 2016, 9:55am Top

I love the movie of Double Indemnity -- good to know that the book is even better.

98RidgewayGirl
Mar 21, 2016, 12:17pm Top

I'll look out for a copy of Mad Women. I loved Mad Men so much - the sets, the costumes and mostly Peggy.

99avidmom
Mar 21, 2016, 4:18pm Top

>97 rebeccanyc: My son liked the movie better than the book. But I liked the unexpected twists the book took.

>98 RidgewayGirl: I loved the show for all the reasons you listed, plus I love the way they deal with all the big historic events of that decade. (By the way, my friend's one line ("Oh my God!") was on the episode "The Grown Ups" about the JFK assassination.) I am binge watching it on Netflix and am liking it better the second time around. And seeing Jon Hamm play the "Rev. Wayne Gary Wayne" on the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" just floors me. He is so funny.

100dchaikin
Mar 22, 2016, 3:11pm Top

Mad Women sounds terrific in concept. Interesting that LT rating are kind of mixed. I would try it on audio.

>96 avidmom: never heard of double indemnity. Sounds fun.

101RidgewayGirl
Mar 22, 2016, 3:49pm Top

>99 avidmom: Have you seen the Mad Style posts over on Tomandlorenzo.com? I actually read a few seasons of those before watching the actual series. They discuss the costuming in great detail and it is fascinating.

102avidmom
Mar 22, 2016, 6:20pm Top

> Whether you go audio or not, the book is a very short one.

Double Indemnity is fun!

>101 RidgewayGirl: Cool site! Never heard of it before. I just finished reading their thoughts on the Mad Men finale, but will go back and look around some more.

103brodiew2
Mar 23, 2016, 11:45am Top

>96 avidmom: Double Indemnity is classic noir. I have not read the book, but have been a huge noir film fan. Stanwyk show her incredible range as the femme fatale here. In other noirs such as 'Sorry, Wrong Number', she is the victim.

104avidmom
Mar 24, 2016, 12:51am Top

>I haven't seen "Sorry, Wrong Number"yet. I'll have to keep my eye out for it. I haven't seen (or read) too many film noirs but the few I have seen I've enjoyed immensely. They are so much fun.

105avidmom
Apr 2, 2016, 2:43am Top

106Nickelini
Apr 2, 2016, 3:27am Top

Nice.

107avidmom
Apr 2, 2016, 12:48pm Top

I would love to have that in real-life poster form and hang it on a wall!

By the way, what's your favorite?
I've always been partial to the Fahrenheit 451 line.

108RidgewayGirl
Apr 2, 2016, 2:43pm Top

That would look wonderful on a wall.

109ELiz_M
Apr 2, 2016, 5:24pm Top

>107 avidmom: The best, imo, opening line is not represented in >105 avidmom:.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded." The Crow Road by Iain Banks

110brodiew2
Apr 3, 2016, 12:45am Top

Very cool. I love the accompanying art work as well.

111SassyLassy
Apr 3, 2016, 9:47am Top

>109 ELiz_M: That was a great line and a great book.

>107 avidmom: My favourite opening line is "They're all dead now" from Fall on Your Knees. It struck me just the right way when I started the book and drew me right in. Margaret Atwood mentions this line in her essay Descent: Negotiating with the Dead in Afterword: Conjuring the Literary Dead, a book I just discovered this morning but shall have to get. Some really good writers discuss death and some really great fiction. How about Margaret Drabble on Arnold Bennett, or Alan Sillitoe on Joseph Conrad, or Cynthia Ozick on Henry James?

In another part of the forest, the 2015 winner of the Bulwer-Lytton contest for worst opening line was Joel Phillips, with Seeing how the victim's body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the bumper of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, officer "Dirk" Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase "sandwiched" to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.

112valkyrdeath
Apr 3, 2016, 6:21pm Top

>105 avidmom: I love that, the artwork is wonderful! It would look great on a wall.

>107 avidmom: The Fahrenheit 451 opening line is a favourite of mine too. Another one I love that isn't on there is "Marley was dead: to begin with" from A Christmas Carol.

>109 ELiz_M: I don't know that book, but that line would certainly grab my attention.

113lilisin
Apr 7, 2016, 4:33am Top

>105 avidmom:

That was a great illustration. It made me want to visit the books I've been avoiding and to revisit the books I've already read and either liked or disliked. I've been reading so much in French and Japanese lately that I've forgotten how good English can sound in a book.

Ahh... too many things to read!

114avidmom
Apr 7, 2016, 7:48pm Top

>108 RidgewayGirl: & >110 brodiew2: & 112 If I ever find an actual print or poster, I'll let you know. My search came up with 0.

>109 ELiz_M: LOL! I would be hooked then. The opening line to The Martian was great too: "I'm pretty much f***ed."

>111 SassyLassy: That opening line would certainly get your attention. There's a contest for worst opening line? OH my. I think Phillips award was well deserved. Gross. (But he does have a valid point there.)

>112 valkyrdeath: I've always loved that line too!

>113 lilisin: My goodness, and if you can read in three separate languages, you'd have nearly 3 times as many books to choose from!

115Helenliz
Apr 10, 2016, 1:08pm Top

>105 avidmom: I'd just like to thank you for posting the first lines image. We were at a quiz last night and one of the puzzles was 10 first lines and 10 last lines. I got a couple that I might not otherwise have placed due to that post. Although I did still miss The Great Gatsby... But we won, so who's quibbling about one missed line.

116avidmom
Apr 10, 2016, 6:40pm Top

>115 Helenliz: Congratulations on your win! Glad I could help. ;)

118VivienneR
May 3, 2016, 12:54pm Top

Good news indeed! I've had this book on my wishlist for ages. I better make time to read it before the movie comes out.

119avidmom
May 17, 2016, 6:07pm Top


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

A few months ago I went hunting on my library's shelf for a Steinbeck book and while the Steinbeck book I wanted wasn't there, this was a great consolation prize. I had listened to the audio version of this a few years ago and just loved it. Audio books, as a rule, are definitely not my thing, but the narrator did a wonderful job. So, I thought I'd grab the old fashioned black and white paper version to see if I liked the story as much. I did. I was surprised to find, however, that I actually liked the audio version of this book better. You don't really get the doggy enthusiasm leaping off the printed page like you do with the narrator. It still proved to be a good read. Enzo is an easy dog to love. The ending is different than most "critterature" stories too. This is my favorite dog story.

120avidmom
Edited: May 17, 2016, 7:03pm Top

"Afterward, when, frankly speaking, it was already too late, various agencies filed reports describing this man. If one compares them, one cannot help but be astonished. For example, one says that he was short, had gold teeth, and was lame in his right foot. Another says that he was hugely tall, had platinum crowns and was lame in his left foot. Yet a third notes laconically that he had no distinguishing characteristics whatsoever.

We should add that all of the reports were worthless."

****************************************

"And the devil doesn't exist either?"


The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

One day the devil (Professor Woland) and his companions come to Moscow, put on a show and during their stay in Moscow wreak all kinds of havoc on the Moscovites. Knowing that the Moscovites, as a rule, are atheists who believe neither in God or in the devil himself, the devil and his entourage have a field day in Moscow and in Apartment 50, their base of operations. Only Margarita, an unhappily married woman who has fallen completely in love with The Master, an author whose novel on Pontius Pilate has earned him only scorn and ridicule from critics, benefit from Woland's deviltry.

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but was a bit intimidated by it since my knowledge of Russian/Soviet history is very weak. I was surprised to find that it was an enjoyable and immensely entertaining read on its own, without having to worry about the underlying meaning of everything. Bulgakov has a wicked sense of humor and has his characters saying so many "What the devil?!" and so on throughout the book. And the things that happen are truly wild and weird. TM&M may be a fine example of magical realism.... heavy on the magic. (Magic cream, talking/vodka drinking cats, witches on broomsticks!)

Bulgakov couldn't publish the book in the 30s, and there is a long and arduous journey from the writing of The Master and Margarita until it actually sees the full light of day. TM&M was Bulgakov's vehicle for satirizing the Soviet Stalin machine. And this is where things got sticky for me. I wanted to understand every little aspect of Soviet era life Bulgakov was pointing fingers at, but with my limited knowledge of that era I struggled a bit. Fortunately, the version I have, the Vintage International translated by Burgin and O'Connor had a commentary on every chapter at the back of the book which turned out to be most helpful at times.... and sometimes not. For instance in chapter 7 Bulgakov writes "... people started disappearing..." which at the time Bulgakov was writing, was a reference to real life events. People were disappearing. As pointed out in the commentary "... Arrests became much more widespread among the people he knew, or knew of, ..... Bulgakov's friends were not spared, and it was common to have a suitcase packed in advance in case of a knock on the door in the middle of the night. ..." Can you imagine?! So there were times that the commentary was quite helpful. There were occasions, though, when a reference would be made to something or someone I was not familiar with and I would have to go hunting up the information on my own.

This is not a book to be read once and put away. I think you could spend a whole lifetime reading, and re-reading this one and come up with some new little insight every time.

I like this review of the book: http://magic-realism-books.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-master-and-margarita-by-mikh...

And this most cool musical fact! http://www.masterandmargarita.eu/en/05media/stones.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkXIYgsvO0c

121Nickelini
May 17, 2016, 8:45pm Top

>120 avidmom: This is one that I've had in my TBR for several years just because it's on so many of the must-read lists. It was a some day book. In the past couple of weeks it's shot up to the top of my TBR pile, and I'm in the preparation stage right now. Your comments are very helpful and make me feel less daunted. Off to follow your links . . .

Thanks for the encouragement!

I'm also wondering if this is a book that religious people and non-believers see very differently.

122Nickelini
May 17, 2016, 8:57pm Top

>120 avidmom: Great links! And now I'll be humming "Sympathy for the Devil" the whole time I read the book.

123avidmom
May 17, 2016, 10:18pm Top

>121 Nickelini: That's an interesting question. I'm a Christian so know the whole New Testament Pontius Pilate/Judas story pretty well. I did like the way Bulgakov humanizes Pilate .... I was OK with that. But I did cringe a bit when he changed Judas's story and even Matthew's. Bulgakov's poetic license with the gospel didn't offend me, though. He sprinkles some Christian allusions throughout the book that I picked up that maybe a non-Christian might not.

Once you read the first chapter, you'll understand why I went off to look if there was any connection between that song and TM&M! I've always loved that song.

124Nickelini
May 17, 2016, 11:53pm Top

>123 avidmom: Ooh, your comments make me want to read the book even more. I was raised very Christian -- lots of ministers and missionaries in my family, and I even went to Bible school myself. I know the Bible really well, but at the old age of 52 I call myself agnostic, but when it comes to the religion I was raised to believe, I'm an atheist. I think I really need to read Master and Margarita sooner rather than later, considering my current areas of interest. I'm always coming up with ideas for novels to write, and recently have been intrigued by our cultural ideas of Hell vs what is actually said in the Bible. It's certainly not what I was taught, and I've gone down a research path that has led me to explore Zoroastrianism. Who would have thought that?

Bulgakov's poetic license with the gospel didn't offend me, though. And that's why we can have a conversation. The way I was brought up, conversation shut down full stop whenever something offended. I just love meaty conversations, so I'm happy you're not of that elk.

As for the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil", I didn't always like that song! But then I really, really did. My Rolling Stones phase has passed, but that's still one of my favourite songs of theirs. I saw them in Seattle in 1981, and everyone knew they wouldn't play that because "bad things happen when we do." Ha ha. Nice urban legend to get going and stoke the PR machine. Talking about rock bands from that age, I saw The Who last weekend (on my bucket list -- so great!) and I noticed the lyrics that had Biblical allusions. That's what an English lit degree will do.

Sorry, rambled on through multiple interruptions at my end. Hope it makes sense.

126detailmuse
May 18, 2016, 2:43pm Top

>120 avidmom: I too have been wanting to get to M&M. Enjoyed your review and the conversation.

127SassyLassy
May 18, 2016, 2:52pm Top

>120 avidmom: I think you could spend a whole lifetime reading, and re-reading this one and come up with some new little insight every time.

So true, although I've only read this book once, quite recently, I will return to it.

Thanks for the 'Sympathy... ' , one of my favourite driving songs. It also made me think of Mick Jagger in The Man from Elysian Fields, a film I shall have to watch again.

Unfortunately the other link didn't work too well, but there is a huge amount on the site for as far as I could get.

128baswood
May 18, 2016, 8:13pm Top

Excellent review of The Master and Margarita and some good links.

129avidmom
Edited: May 19, 2016, 7:57pm Top

>124 Nickelini: IMHO, if listening to or reading, or seeing something that doesn't fit into someone's personal faith "offends", I question the foundation of that faith. Closed minded people who live in a bubble are the reason the world is in such a sorry state. As far as TM&M goes, though, it's more of a political book than a religious one (even if the devil, Matthew, Judas, and Pontius Pilate and Jesus are all in it!) It's interesting because Bulgakov seems to be satirizing non-faith, not faith. Oooh, I envy your Stones and Who concerts!!!!

>125 rebeccanyc: Me too! I just wish I understood it better.

>126 detailmuse: Thank you! It certainly isn't like any other book I've read before (even counting the off-the-wall weird ones).

>127 SassyLassy: I think the more Soviet history you know, maybe the more TM&M makes sense. (?) I've never heard of that movie; I'll have to check it out.

>128 baswood: Thanks!

130valkyrdeath
May 21, 2016, 10:14pm Top

>120 avidmom: I've had The Master and Margarita on my list since I first heard about it, since it sounded appealing, but then I read other things about it that made it sound daunting. Your review has reminded me of why I wanted to read it in the first place though. I really do need to get to it.

131avidmom
May 22, 2016, 5:17pm Top

>130 valkyrdeath: I think it is daunting, if you want to look at all the underlying stuff; and just plain entertaining and amusing if you just want to take it at face value.

Certainly not an easy book to forget!

132avidmom
Edited: May 22, 2016, 10:52pm Top

... You didn't know him. If you'd known him, you'd know what I mean. It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out."


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
(I love this cover!)

Kicked out of another fancy prep school again, Holden Caufield decides to get himself back to New York City where he's from but avoids going home. The whole book is a stream of consciousness narrative from Caufield who is in the middle of an existential crisis due to the fact that the world - as he sees it - is full of nothing but phonies and perverts. It depresses the hell out of him. He depressed the hell out of me. But he also made me laugh in spots, because, well, the kid's not wrong, IMHO "... I like Jesus and all, but I don't care too much for the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples, for instance. They annoy the hell out of me, if you want to know the truth. They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting Him down. I like almost anybody in the Bible better than the Disciples."

It is a short book that only spans a few days in Caulfield's life. I can see why this is considered a classic and why it was also so quickly banned in schools. I would never condone a ban of any book, but the general malaise of Caulfield's mental musings and his very grown up observations and the subjects touched upon make The Catcher in the Rye a sometimes uncomfortable read.

It was worth the time spent reading it and I would recommend it with the caveat that you have plans for something cheery and fun when you finish this one to save you from sliding into an existential crisis of your own. (Maybe a nice hot fudge sundae or something?)

I also couldn't help thinking of the famous murderers associated with this particular book. http://www.allthingscrimeblog.com/2014/12/10/killers-and-the-catcher-in-the-rye-...

And I love this guy's review (Thug Notes is so much fun!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_UIdPx4-uU

133baswood
May 23, 2016, 12:07pm Top

It is a very long time since I Read The Catcher in the Rye, and I am still having my existential crisis, perhaps I need more cakes.

134avidmom
May 23, 2016, 1:19pm Top

>133 baswood: Yes. I recommend more cakes. And ice cream. And chocolate.

135Nickelini
May 26, 2016, 2:05pm Top

>120 avidmom: Fortunately, the version I have, the Vintage International translated by Burgin and O'Connor had a commentary on every chapter at the back of the book which turned out to be most helpful at times.... and sometimes not.

I've finished the first two chapters, so I'm committed to doing this thing. Gulp. I just found out how many different translations there are. In a comparison of the first paragraph, one calls a hat a fedora, another calls it a pork pie hat, and my edition (translated by Ginsburg) describes it as "pancake-shaped." Yikes -- those are three different types of hats! And that's just the first paragraph.

So I may be reading an entirely different The Master and Margarita than you read.

136avidmom
May 26, 2016, 4:39pm Top

>135 Nickelini: Yep. I would have been totally lost without that commentary. The translation was easy to read for me. It was only the underlying stuff that tripped me up. I hope you like it; it certainly is a different kind of book!

137dchaikin
May 26, 2016, 6:51pm Top

Susie - So glad you like The Master and Margarita. It's such a fun book. And then there is all the extra stuff. (Hope you enjoy it too Joyce).

>132 avidmom: It's nice to see a sympathetic response to Catcher and the Rye. I read it way back when and kind of liked it, although I hardly remember anything. There seems to be a lot of negative energy around it now, at least I sense enough to have made me worry about my then-adolescent self who didn't hate it. Your review makes me curious about what I've forgotten.

138avidmom
May 27, 2016, 2:32pm Top

>137 dchaikin: I really wasn't expecting TM&M to be that entertaining! So glad it was.

It was my youngest kid who convinced me to read Catcher in the Rye. I read it after we watched a documentary on J.D. Salinger we found on Netflix. It seemed that a lot of people really connected with that character and Salinger (which proved problematic at times for Salinger).

I did "connect" with the character and certainly could sympathize, even empathize, with him. On the other hand, I really felt like he might have deserved a swift kick in the posterior for being so incredibly self-absorbed. And now I'm left wondering what exactly was his problem? Adolescence? Bipolar disorder? Personality disorder? Some form of autism????? He was, obviously, too smart for his own good.

I'm sure reading it as a teenager or young adult is much different experience than reading it as a bonafide (at least legally) grown up.

139avidmom
May 27, 2016, 2:54pm Top

Adding to the quilt over here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/223843

140mabith
May 27, 2016, 9:45pm Top

>137 dchaikin: I think part of the reason for negative energy around The Catcher in the Rye is that it's a go to "my favorite book" for far too many adult men, which tells me they probably haven't read a book since high school and/or haven't matured since high school. We read it in class when I was 14, and I know it felt... unfriendly to me as a girl of that age, or perhaps it felt impossible more than unfriendly, a book and journey (and freedom) only boys got to have.

>132 avidmom: Definitely a fabulous cover though!

141Nickelini
May 27, 2016, 11:22pm Top

>140 mabith: That's very, very interesting. I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in my 20s and thought "maybe I'm too old for this?" but I really didn't feel that's what it was. I didn't relate in the tiniest bit. And now that I think of it, I read Bridget Jones's Diary when I was 35 and thought "This is me when I was in grade 9!" Okay, a couple of problems there, since Bridget was supposed to be 30 and she spoke to half my age. But I got it. Catcher in the Rye, never. Is that what men are? My husband read it in his 30s and couldn't relate either.

Maybe it's an American thing. Does anyone outside of the US think this is a good novel?

142baswood
May 29, 2016, 2:07pm Top

>141 Nickelini: Too long ago since I read it.

143VivienneR
Jul 7, 2016, 10:21pm Top

>141 Nickelini: I loved Catcher in the Rye when I read it in my 40s. My son, who is much more "hip" than I, hated it. I grew up in the UK and now live in Canada and until recently was unfamiliar with most American writers (just avoided them and went with the writers I knew).

144superdealcoupon
Aug 24, 2016, 7:32am Top

This user has been removed as spam.

145kidzdoc
Aug 24, 2016, 9:05pm Top

>144 superdealcoupon: Dang. I always miss the best deals. :-(

146avidmom
Aug 26, 2016, 12:02am Top

>145 kidzdoc: Better luck next time! LOL

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