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Rebeccanyc Reads from the TBR Again . . . or Does She? Volume 2

Club Read 2016

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Edited: Dec 31, 2016, 2:07pm Top

Currently Reading


Read in December
56. Entry Island by Peter May

Read in November
55. A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri
Abandoned: Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
54. A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd

Read in October
Abandoned: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
53. A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd
52. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Read in September
51. Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
50. The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
49. Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd

Read in August
48. Search the Dark by Charkes Todd
47. Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
46. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope (started in July)
45. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
44. Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (started in July)

Read in July
43. Let It Bleed by Ian Rankin
42. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas
41. Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin
40. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (started in June)
39. The Black Book by Ian Rankin (started in June)

Read in June
38. Strip Jack by Ian Rankin
37. Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
36, An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
35. Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin
34. The Glory of the Empire by Jean d'Ormesson (started in May)

Read in May
33. Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
32. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
31. This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas
30. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

Read in April
29. My Happy Days in Hell by Gyorgy Faludy
28. The Chessmen by Peter May
27. The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved by P. V. Glob
26. The Lewis Man by Peter May
25. A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water, Green Sky by Mavis Gallant
24. The Blackhouse by Peter May
23. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Edited: Oct 17, 2016, 5:16pm Top

List by Country of Books Read (Nationality of Author)

The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved by P. V. Glob

England and the UK
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
Black and Blue by Ian Rankin
Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin
The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
The Black Book by Ian Rankin
Strip Jack by Ian Rankin
Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin
Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
The Chessmen by Peter May
The Lewis Man by Peter May
The Blackhouse by Peter May
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas
Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
The Glory of the Empire by Jean d'Ormesson
This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas
Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand by Fred Vargas
Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas
Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas
The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas
Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas
The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

My Happy Days in Hell by Gyorgy Faludy

The Caller by Karin Fossum
Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum

The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol
Peasants and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin

South America, Central America, and the Caribbean
Reasons of State by Alejo Carpentier
The Chase by Alejo Carpentier

Massacre River by René Philoctète

USA and Canada
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd
Search the Dark by Charkes Todd
Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water, Green Sky by Mavis Gallant
Come to Me by Amy Bloom
Augustus by John Williams
Butcher's Crossing by John Williams
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George

Edited: Oct 17, 2016, 5:16pm Top

List by Time Written of Books Read

21st Century
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd
The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas
The Chessmen by Peter May
The Lewis Man by Peter May
The Blackhouse by Peter May
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand by Fred Vargas
The Caller by Karin Fossum
Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas
The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum
The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George

20th Century
Search the Dark by Charkes Todd
Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
Black and Blue by Ian Rankin
Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin
The Black Book by Ian Rankin
Strip Jack by Ian Rankin
Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin
The Glory of the Empire by Jean d'Ormesson
Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
My Happy Days in Hell by Gyorgy Faludy
The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved by P. V. Glob
A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water, Green Sky by Mavis Gallant
Reasons of State by Alejo Carpentier
Come to Me by Amy Bloom
Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas
Augustus by John Williams
Massacre River by René Philoctète
The Chase by Alejo Carpentier
The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas
Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas
Butcher's Crossing by John Williams
The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

19th Century
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Peasants and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
The Warden by Anthony Trollope

Edited: Jun 21, 2016, 10:44am Top

Project TBR Explanation and List (adapted from 2015 thread)

Last year, for my 9th Thingaversary in July, I decided to read 10 books from my TBR rather than buy 10 new books. In thinking about my Thingaversary, not only did I reflect on the enormous difference LT has made in my life, from "meeting" other booklovers to reading books I would otherwise not have tried or even heard of, but I also realized how enormous my TBR has grown. So I decided not to buy new books for my Thingaversary, as has become the tradition, but to look through my TBR (virtually) and identify 10 books that have been on my TBR for more than a year that I will try to read over the remainder of the year. I called this Project TBR and I achieved my goal (in fact, I read 11 books form my TBR). These are the books I read.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands or War of the Saints or Discovery of America by the Turks by Jorge Amado
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Mario Vargas Llosa
Flaw by Magdalena Tulli
Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo
Island of the Lost by Joan Druett
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar
The Girl with the Golden Eyes and Other Stories by Honoré de Balzac
The Harp and the Shadow

Needless to say, it wasn't easy to narrow the books down. Today, I have 634 books in my Hope To Read Soon Collection, and this mostly includes books acquired since I joined LT; there are many more unread books on my shelves that predate LT. From these 634 books, I've put 154 into a Project TBR Possibilities, based on a feeling that I would like to read these sooner, rather than later. This was still too many, so I struggled and put 42 in a Project TBR collection, based on feeling that I would read these sooner than the others. (I kept the books I read in this collection, so the actual total is 52.) Of course, this was still too many, so I have narrowed it down to these 20 titles, all subject of course to how I feel at the moment that I need to choose a new book. I hope to read these -- or others -- over the course of this year. My "rule" is that I can substitute any book for any other one, as long as it has been on my TBR for over a year. (Nearly all of these titles are by authors I might not have read if it weren't for LT, and some are direct LT recommendations.)

Project TBR
Collected Tales or Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol
Reasons of State or The Chase by Alejo Carpentier
Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
Heart of a Dog or Diaboliad Other Stories by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies
My Happy Days in Hell by Gyorgy Faludy
The Land Breakers by John Ehle
the Heart of Midlothian by Walter Scott
Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells
The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories by Nikolai Leskov
Butcher's Crossing or Augustus by John Edward Williams
Anthills of the Savannah or A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe
The Birds of the Innocent Wood by Deirdre Madden
Why Translation Matters by Edith Grossman
The Third Tower by Antal Szerb
The Essential Tales of Chekhov or Peasants and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
The Bad Girl or The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Story of the Stone by Cao Xuegin
Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
In the Freud Archives by Janet Malcolm

The World of Odysseus by M. I. Finley
The Bog People by P. V. Glob
The Obscene Bird of Night by Jose Donoso
Palinuro of Mexico by Fernando del Paso
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Come to Me by Amy Bloom
Massacre River by René Philoctète

I am committed to making a (small) dent in my TBR this year.

(Some touchstones are wrong but I only got Harry Potter options. I'll try to fix them later.)

Apr 9, 2016, 10:10am Top

Welcome to my new thread. I expect to finish What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours today and hope to review it tomorros.

Apr 9, 2016, 11:39am Top

Enjoyed catching up, of course I always enjoy your reviews. I just read your last five from Trollope. Carpentier, Amy Bloom and two from Vargas. Not sure which I'm most intrigued by. I do love that you picked up a book you've owned since 1994. Finally, nice new thread!

Apr 9, 2016, 12:40pm Top

I'm a fan of Oyeyemi, will look out for your comments. Gorgeous cover too.

Apr 9, 2016, 9:55pm Top

Always a worthy goal to shrink mount TBR a bit! I'm working on the same goal, since I utterly failed at it last year.

Apr 10, 2016, 10:55am Top

>7 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan.
>8 charl08: Well, Charlotte, read on!
>9 mabith: Good luck with your goal, Meredith.

Edited: Apr 10, 2016, 11:31am Top

23. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

I loved Mr. Fox, had issues with Boy, Snow, Bird, and am lukewarm at best at this collection of Oyeyemi's short stories. On the one hand, Oyeyemi is very imaginative and creative, and has characters who are diverse in their racial makeup and gender identity. On the other hand, for the most part, I failed to engage with either the characters or the plots. Part of this is the magic like talking puppets or a key that when thrown into a fire causes a fire at the apartment it opened. In fact, keys and locks pay a large role in these stories (as the cover blurb notes, but it's hard to avoid noticing). In the first story, for example, two very different women have keys around their necks; there is a surprise ending that I won't reveal. The second story features a house called The House of Locks in which the doors don't stay closed unless they're locked. Some of the characters reappear in different stories. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this collection; in fact, I thought of giving up without finishing it but I persisted because I wanted to like it.

Apr 10, 2016, 12:42pm Top

>11 rebeccanyc: Considering how I already feel about short stories (not my cup of tea), I'll take this one off the library wishlist.

Apr 12, 2016, 11:29am Top

>12 ursula: Echoing Ursula. There are exceptions, but I'd much rather settle in for the long haul, and these don't tempt me otherwise. Thanks for the warning!

Apr 12, 2016, 12:05pm Top

>12 ursula: >13 cabegley: In general, I enjoy short stories, but in small doses. Often, I don't like short stories as much as novels by the same author.

Apr 13, 2016, 10:43am Top

24. The Blackhouse by Peter May

A friend lent me this mystery because she knew I was looking for a new series. It is more action-packed than most of the mysteries I read, and I couldn't put it down. When a man is gruesomely killed on the Hebridean island of Lewis, detective Fin Macleod is sent back to his home, from which he escaped 18 years earlier, because it resembles a gruesome murder he is investigating in Glasgow. The book includes flashbacks, narrated in the first person, as Fin recalls his years on Lewis. His recollections include a childhood crush on a girl, his best friend, his horror at being selected for a centuries-old tradition of spending two weeks on a "rock island" and killing thousands of seabirds that they take home and eat, the horrors of that trip, a teenage prank gone very wrong, and a bullying child who grows up to be a man nobody likes but who it turns out has a caring side. The childhood bully is the person who was murdered, These all figure in the very convoluted plot. I have to say I figured out the person who did the murder, but I was left at a loss for why; at the end, all was revealed. May has a talent for leading the reader through the plot, foreshadowing at times, although he sometimes seems to be showing how much he knows about life on a Hebridean island (although it is mostly interesting). I will continue reading this three-volume series and maybe other mysteries by May.

Apr 13, 2016, 10:58am Top

I have The Black House on my tbr. I should see if I can find it.

Apr 13, 2016, 12:26pm Top

>15 rebeccanyc: I had added The Blackhouse to my wishlist based upon a recommendation by Lois. Thank you for the reminder.

Apr 14, 2016, 10:06am Top

>16 RidgewayGirl: >17 NanaCC: Glad to have reminded you.

Apr 14, 2016, 10:48am Top

The Blackhouse sounds interesting--and my library has it!

Apr 18, 2016, 8:26am Top

Great review of Reasons of State from your last thread, Rebecca. I still need to read The Lost Steps, but I'll add this other novel by Carpentier to my wish list.

I'm not inclined to read anything by Helen Oyeyemi, based on lukewarm reviews of her books here and elsewhere.

Edited: Apr 18, 2016, 10:50am Top

<24 I was recently in Scotland without access to LT trying desperately to remember the Scottish crime/mystery writers so often praised by LTers, but nothing came to mind. The nice little independent bookshop explained that all the mainstream people were scattered through general fiction, but pointed me to a special Scottish writing section. When I started reading your review I thought 'Bother, this would have been perfect', but then as I read on I felt as I did when reading the backs of those books in the Scottish writing section - the daunting prospect of lives of unrelenting misery. I don't know why Scots having a bad time always seem to me to be having a much worse time than other people having a bad time. Perhaps because one seems to hear less often about Scots having a good time, the misery seems so predictably awful. Was The Black House full of unrelenting misery? Should I overcome my prejudice?

May's Lewis trilogy was adapted for TV by the BBC. I think I only caught bits of it.


Apr 18, 2016, 12:19pm Top

>20 kidzdoc: Thanks for stopping by, Darryl. I liked The Lost Steps better than Reasons of State. And I loved Mr. Fox by Oyeyeni, but I feel she's gone downhill since her storied debut.

>21 Oandthegang: The Blackhouse was filled with misery, but not unrelentingly. I'll have to thinks about Scots having a good time, but I've only read mysteries by them so far and they tend to be depressing! It was an originally Scottish friend who lent me this book, and she is not miserable! Thanks for the link; maybe I can get it from Netflix.

Apr 18, 2016, 12:55pm Top

Rebecca, now almost finished What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and I'm impressed with Oyeyemi's writing style, but I don't think the short story is something she's good at. The stories seemed overly long and unfocused. I think I'll try one of her novels. That seems like a better fit for her meandering style.

Apr 18, 2016, 1:26pm Top

>24 laytonwoman3rd: Hmmm...might be one for me....

Apr 18, 2016, 3:03pm Top

>23 RidgewayGirl: Glad to have your confirmation of my impression, Kay. I loved Mr. Fox, as I said in my review and elsewhere, and had issues with Boy, Snow, Bird.

>24 laytonwoman3rd: ? What book were you referring to, Linda?

Apr 19, 2016, 9:53am Top

Oops...wrong link! (How did I manage to link to the post I was creating?? Ah...I see, I used your book number instead of the post number. *sigh*) Here's what I MEANT to say:

>15 rebeccanyc: Hmmm...might be one for me.

Great reviews, Rebecca. You always give enough information about the book that I can get a pretty good idea whether I ought to try it.

Apr 19, 2016, 11:04am Top

Thanks, Linda.

Apr 19, 2016, 11:12am Top

Seconding the quality of your reviews for making it easy to judge if I'll like the book, Rebecca!

Edited: Apr 19, 2016, 3:24pm Top

25, A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water Green Sky by Mavis Gallant

I'm a huge fan of Mavis Gallant's short stories, so I snapped up this book which contains all two of her novels (the second is novella length, but it packs in so much it feels like a novel). In both works, Gallant exhibits her marvelous insight into people at odds with their families, their lovers, or the world.

A Fairly Good Time tells the story of Shirley, a Canadian living in Paris, a devoted friend of various likely and unlikely people. At the start of the novel, she returns from a night spent at a friend's who was threatening suicide (after an abortion the previous day -- abortion was very much illegal in France at the time) to find her French husband not at home. She didn't tell her husband where she was because she didn't want him to know about the illegal abortion because he could be implicated. (Although she is in her 20s, she was previously married to a man who, as we find out, died in an accident on their honeymoon.) She first meets a friend of her mother's and realizes she is supposed to be at her husband's mother where they're celebrating the return of his sister. She also hasn't any money so she borrows some from the man who lives upstairs of her apartment and goes to a café. There she meets a very strange girl, Claudie, who doesn't seem to have money to pay for her meal (and her dog's meal); Shirley pays for her and accompanies her home, at Claudie's insistence, and meets her very strange family, including the son she had when she was a young teenager who is being raised by her parents as their child.

In the words, of Peter Orner, who wrote the introduction to this NYRB edition, Shirley is "brave, exuberant, bewildered, wounded, fickle, mistake-prone, meandery." The story involves Shirley, of course, her mother (via letters), her husband Philippe, his family, Claudie and her family, the quasi-concierge, the man, James, who lives upstairs, and various other characters; Gallant probes, in her typical way, all these relationships. In one chapter, Shirley herself writes a letter to Philippe (which she never sends) about where she was that Saturday night she didn't come home, about James, about what happened with her first husband, and how she happened to write her mother a personal letter.

A few quotes.

" 'You're about like you always were. Reading instead of listening. Life isn't books.' " Said by a friend of Shirley's mother to Shirley. p. 39

She expected the end of the world and would not eat an egg unless she had first met the hen. Thought about Shirley's mother by the father of her first husband. p. 213

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and was rooting for Shirley all the way.

Green Water, Green Sky tells the story of Florence (Flor), who descends into mental illness. The story opens in Venice with her aged 14, her mother, and a 7-year-old cousin, George, and an incident which has meaning for George, but not for Flor. The scene switches to Paris, where Flor, from the US, lives with her husband Bob, also from the US, and her horrifying mother, Bonnie. It is there that her mental illness becomes obvious to her and her husband and mother (Flor is becoming so "queer," as her mother writes to her sister). It is painful to watch Flor as she gradually becomes sicker. Then the scene switches to the summer when Flor met Bob, in Cannes, while her mother has a strange relationship with a man who has fabricated his life and family history while worrying about Bob, who is (gasp) Jewish. The final section brings George back, now 19, at a dinner with Flor's mother and husband; Flor herself is absent, in some kind of "rest home." The interaction between them is pure Gallant, with everyone thinking and talking at cross purposes.

A quote especially apt for LTers.

And yet, how she had read! She had read in hotel rooms, sprawled on the bed -- drugged, drowned -- while on the other side of the dark window, rain fell on foreign streets. She had read on buses and on trains and in the waiting rooms of doctors and dressmakers, waiting for Bonnie. She had read with her husband across from her at the table and beside her in bed. (She had been reading in a café, alone, the first time he had ever spoken to her. He had never forgotten it.) She had read through her girlhood and even love hadn't replaced the reading only at times. p. 294

Apr 19, 2016, 5:15pm Top

That sounds fascinating Rebecca - love the bookish quotes. Added to the wishlist.

Apr 19, 2016, 8:02pm Top

Nice review of A Fairly Good Time, Rebecca.

Apr 20, 2016, 5:39am Top

It was one of your threads a few years ago that introduced me to Mavis Gallant's short stories, and I'm glad to have made that acquaintance! Love the quote.

Apr 20, 2016, 10:46am Top

Thanks, all!

Apr 21, 2016, 9:38am Top

>29 rebeccanyc: Love the quote Rebecca at the end of your excellent review.

Apr 21, 2016, 10:24am Top

26. The Lewis Man by Peter May

This mystery finds Fin McLeod newly returned to the isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, following his divorce and resignation from the police. He is ostensibly rehabilitating his parents' home, but maybe, just maybe, he is hoping to renew his interest in Marsaili whose husband dramatically died in the previous novel and who he has loved since they were children. The story opens with the discovery of a body in a peat bog; it is initially thought to be an Iron Age man (note to self: read The Bog People) but in the autopsy, a tattoo of Elvis is found so this is just a murder victim. Because DNA profiles were taken in the previous novel, the murdered man is found to be related to Marsaili's father, Tormod Macdonald. But Tormod Macdonald turns out to be an assumed name and, because he is advanced stages of dementia, nobody can ask him about his family. And that relates to one of my problems with this book, for present-day events alternate with Tormod's memories of his horrifying life before he assumed the name of Tormod. I had to suspend disbelief because, although these memories are fascinating and essential to the plot, nobody in an advanced state of dementia could have such coherent and detailed memories. Everything moves along at a rapid pace, and May definitely held my interest as the story built to its conclusion. I am eager to read the third, and so far final, book in this series.

Edited: Apr 28, 2016, 10:07am Top

Project TBR: Book #9 (on TBR since 8/1/08)

27. The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved by P.V. Glob

I have been eager to read this book since it landed on my TBR in 2008 (well, maybe not that eager) but, alas, it was not as interesting as I hoped. Glob is a lively writer, but at a certain point he itemizes bog bodies found in Denmark (he is Danish) and elsewhere in northern Europe and that is a little boring, at least for me. What are bog bodies? Peat bogs have certain properties which preserve bodies (it turns out by essentially tanning them) and peat diggers come upon them when they dig down to the levels at which they were "buried." It turns out that many of the bog bodies didn't die naturally and in his last chapter Glob speculates that these were sacrifices to a fertility/earth mother goddess. I have no idea if this has stood up to later analysis because this book was written 40 years ago, but Glob cites Tacitus for part of his rationale.

The most interesting parts of the book for me were the opening chapters about the discoveries of the Tollund man and the Grauballe man and descriptions of them and what happened to them, and then the chapters about how Iron Age man (and woman) lived in northern Europe and what happened when they died, despite the speculation. It turns out that most dead bodies were initially cremated and then buried, so the bog bodies are unusual, and not only because they met death by having their throats slashed or hanging or otherwise unnatural means. Were they sacrifices? Glob thinks so.

The NYRB edition is enhanced by many photographs, most of the bog bodies, but some of where they were found and some of what was found with them.

Apr 23, 2016, 12:58pm Top

I am not sure I want to read about bog bodies.

Apr 23, 2016, 2:49pm Top

>36 rebeccanyc: I read this book some time ago and found it interesting, although what I really wanted to know was the 'why' of it all, which Glob couldn't really explain. Then in 2003 I went to an exhibition of The Bog People http://media.historymuseum.ca/bog_e.htm in Hull PQ, just across the river from Ottawa. The idea of going to an exhibit centred on dead bodies was disturbing, but the supporting material was really quite interesting and I managed to skirt most of the remains.

Here is an article on the treatment and display of the bodies in Europe versus in North America: http://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/bog/exhibit.html

Apr 23, 2016, 3:38pm Top

I recently read The Blackhouse, and liked it a lot. Thanks for reminding me to look for the other two.

For those looking for a more darkly-humoured (with equal emphases on both the dark and the humour) take on Scotland and Scottish crime, I recommend Christopher Brookmyre.

Edited: Apr 23, 2016, 7:19pm Top

Hmm I read the bog book ages ago but I remember more or less experiencing what you describe, interesting, yes, but oddly disappointing. He was, I suppose, being very careful to document not speculate.

Oh I love Mavis Gallant and I haven't read either of those novellas.

Apr 24, 2016, 10:19am Top

>37 baswood: Understood!

>38 SassyLassy: Thanks for the links, Sassy. Very interesting. And I agree, Glob didn't get to the 'why;" he could only speculate.

>39 ljbwell: Thanks for the recommendation of Brookmyre. Have you read Denise Mina?

>40 sibyx: The NYRB edition of the Gallant just came out, Lucy. I'm on their email list so I maybe got advance notice.

Apr 24, 2016, 12:20pm Top

>41 rebeccanyc: I've read Garnethill. I liked it, but it's, how can I say, um, *far* from a cheery read. I keep meaning to read more of hers, but need to be in the right headspace.

Small warning with Brookmyre - I enjoy his books a great deal, but the language can be crude - you get used to it, though (and that comes from someone who can find that facile and get put off by it).

Apr 24, 2016, 12:44pm Top

>42 ljbwell: If you mean you only read the first book, please do read the rest of the trilogy. It's pretty much the most satisfying ending ever.

Apr 24, 2016, 2:51pm Top

>43 .Monkey.: Exactly - only the 1st so far. Now I'll keep an eye out for the other two.

Apr 28, 2016, 10:27am Top

28. The Chessmen by Peter May

In this last of the Lewis trilogy, Fin Mcleod is living, uneasily, with Marsaili, his childhood sweetheart and has been hired as security director for a huge estate. Poachers who operate on an international scale and send the fish overseas are his target, but the owner has also asked him to get Whistler, another childhood friend, to stop his poaching, which is only for food for himself. With Whistler, after a storm that drains a lake (too complicated to explain), he finds a single-engine airplane that went down 17 years ago, famously killing a local musician who made good internationally with Celtic music. There is a body in the plane, and it has its skull bashed in, so this is a murder scene. Fin calls the cops, but Whistler melts into the landscape. What is going on? As in the other two mysteries in this series, there are chapters in which Fin recalls his childhood and teenage years. He acted as a roadie for the band, who were all local kids, witnessing the tensions among them over the beautiful singer. There are various subplots and all is revealed at the end, including why Whistler was so shocked when he saw the body in the plane. I am eager to read more Peter May, who wrote two other series, but they are sadly out of print. Maybe with success of the Lewis trilogy, they will be reissued.

Apr 28, 2016, 1:47pm Top

Intrigued by your review of Mavis Gallant. I've never read anything by her.

Apr 29, 2016, 10:11am Top

>46 janeajones: I read Varieties of Exile first and was hooked!

May 1, 2016, 7:09pm Top

>29 rebeccanyc: I've had a huge collection of Mavis Gallant's short stories in the pile for years, maybe I need to bring it forward a bit.

Some good reviews as ever Rebecca.

May 2, 2016, 2:38pm Top

>29 rebeccanyc: I haven't read Mavis Gallant for a long time but I have Montreal Stories on the tbr pile and now I'm looking forward to it even more, thanks to your excellent review of A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water Green Sky.

May 3, 2016, 12:01pm Top

Thanks, Caro and Vivienne.

May 3, 2016, 1:15pm Top

Project TBR: Book #10 (on TBR since 1/1/13)

29. My Happy Days in Hell by György Faludy

What an amazing book! Faludy, a Hungarian poet, is a storyteller, who tells stories whether he is fleeing Hungary in advance of being arrested by the fascist government;escaping from Paris to Montaubon and then to Casablanca ahead of the Naizs; arriving in New York and enlisting in the US Army; returning to Hungary to live uneasily in the Soviet bloc; or arrested and thrown in jail and then sent to a forced-labor camp. I found some of the stories delightful and some absolutely horrifying. Throughout it all, Faludy discourses on philosophy, politics, literature, art, and poetry.

Faludy called this "my happy days in hell," and he maintains an eerily optimistic view of all that befalls him, even when he is being starved almost to death in the forced labor camp. Probably that stood him in good stead. Of course, being a poet, he writes, well, poetically. And he introduces various characters so that the reader feels he knows them too.

I can't itemize all the adventures, good and bad, that he had over the years this book covers, roughly 1938-1953, but I can quote him extensively.

While attempting to take a train to leave Paris.
"This relatively rapid progress was due to the determination of Lorsy, who pushed forward like a tank. When Bandi had warned him indignantly to keep his head, the historian replied that his head was in the right place: whatever, Bandi might think, it was the duty of every humanist to proceed with the maximal brutality in order to save himself, because in saving himself, he was saving the idea of humanism." p. 65

After leaving Morocco for the USA
"The African euphoria, the picaresque life, was now over. My year of happiness in Morocco had fed on innumerable sources; the most important of which was that had, at last, found my one and only, made-to-measure environment, the environment that fitted my character like a glove. This was true of the desert where, between the two concave lenses of heaven and earth, on a stage without scenery, I stood in the birthplace of dualist religions and was compelled to ponder at length, though without result, on the great questions of life and death, being and not being, good and evil -- something I had always yearned for without having found the time for it amidst the duties, occupations and even pleasures of everyday life. But it was also true of the desert's opposite, the marketplace of Marrakesh, the busy squares of Tangier, the tohu-bohu of the tea houses after midnight where life was a medley of knifings, love-making, funerals, bargaining, quarrels, gossip, the strange exhibitionism of a world in which the beggars on the street corners conversed like philosophers and philosophers copulated in the street like dogs. It was true of my Arab friends, first of all Amar, but also of the robber prince Sidi Mohammed and the Sudanese merchants with the donkey, the storyteller in the marketplace and the slipper-maker from whom, after hours of anecdotizing, I bought a pair of sandals." p. 193

Anticipating his arrest in Hungary
". . . while I was thinking that it didn't matter at all if they hung me in a ragged shirt, while it mattered a great deal that my last dinner should be all a last dinner should be." p. 283

in the early days of the forced labor camp
"It soon became clear to me that I owed both my physical and spiritual resistance chiefly to this way of behaving, which was partly yogi-like, partly monkish and partly schizophrenic. . . . My day-dreams embraced the widest variety of subjects, some themes returned every hour, others I carefully avoided; the problems of my captivity and future, for instance, and memories from my past life. Mostly I restricted myself to the intensive but cool observation of the surrounding flora . . ." p. 376

In the later days of the forced labor camp
"I insisted on conversation in order to preserve a certain degree of human dignity while we were slowly starving to death; Egri, on the other hand, believed that our conversation would save us from starving to death." o, 432

Obviously, Faludy survived the forced labor camp, but barely. Relief came after Stalin died in 1953, and the camp eventually closed.

As I said at the beginning, this is a remarkable book -- for the events it describes, but even more for the emphasis on dignity and humanism, and its digressions which form an integral part of the memoir.

May 3, 2016, 1:22pm Top

>51 rebeccanyc:

This sounds fascinating.

May 4, 2016, 4:41am Top

>51 rebeccanyc: Not a book I'd heard of Rebecca. Great review. Another to add to the toilet roll length list!

May 4, 2016, 4:45am Top

>51 rebeccanyc: I'd seen this one in a bookshop but not picked it up. Will now do so. Love the cover too.

May 4, 2016, 4:46am Top

>51 rebeccanyc: I've had this book on my wish list for some time. Glad to know you liked it.

May 4, 2016, 12:12pm Top

>52 AnnieMod: >53 Caroline_McElwee: >54 charl08: >55 deebee1: I spotted this book in a bookstore years ago and snapped it up -- and read it now for my TBR challenge and the current Reading Globally theme read on Writers at Risk. Thanks for stopping by.

May 4, 2016, 12:45pm Top

>53 Caroline_McElwee: And so you keep your TBR on a toilet roll?

>51 rebeccanyc: Fascinating review Rebecca about someone who definitely sees his glass as half full.

May 4, 2016, 3:30pm Top

Major book bullet for My Happy Days in Hell.

May 12, 2016, 9:22am Top

>51 rebeccanyc: That bullet hit me too, Rebecca.

May 12, 2016, 9:48am Top

sounds good - on to the wish list!

May 13, 2016, 10:44am Top

>57 baswood: >58 mabith: >59 laytonwoman3rd: >60 torontoc: My sister was visiting so I've been negligent in getting to my thread, but I'm glad you all are intrigued by the book. It was remarkable and easily one of the best books I've read this year.

May 14, 2016, 4:23pm Top

>57 baswood: the list is as long as a toilet roll, actually, probably a pack of nine Barry!

May 18, 2016, 11:50am Top

30. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

There are a lot of new characters in this fourth of the Barsetshire series, and they have complicated relationships with each other and also familiar characters. First, there is the parson of Framley Parsonage, Mark Robarts, his wife Fanny, and his sister Lucy who comes to live with him after the death of his father. Second, there is Lady Lufton, who is responsible for Mark getting to be the parson because her son, now Lord Lufton after the death of her husband, grew up with Mark, going to school and university with him. She has plans for her son to marry Griselda, the daughter of the Grantlys (who readers of the Barsetshire will remember), but Lord Lufton falls in love with Lucy, who Lady Lufton disapproves of partly because she has no money and partly because she is lower in class. Then there is the Chaldicotes "set" consisting of Mr. Sowerby, who has mortgaged all his land to the Duke of Omnium and borrowed from everyone, and Harold Smith, who is married to Mr. Sowerby's sister who is known throughout the novel as Mrs. Harold Smith. Mrs. Smith is very good friends with Miss Dunstable (who readers of the series will remember), a heiress of a commercial enterprise who has tons of money, and cooks up a plan to have her marry her brother and cancel all his debts. But Miss Dunstable wants someone who doesn't want to marry someone who doesn't want her for her money and is intrigued by Dr. Thorne who she has met through her friends the Greshams. There are more new characters, and familiar characters, but I won't complicate things further.

Not only is this a tale of romantic problems, but it is also a tale of financial double-dealing as Mark Robarts uncharacteristically and foolishly agrees to sign a "note" for Mr. Sowerby, which compels him to pay money if Mr. Sowerby doesn't pay it by a certain date. He doesn't tell Fanny until all is lost and the bailiffs are almost at the door. It is also a political novel as the government fails partway through the novel, but not before Harold Smith gets a job in the government and as a favor for his brother-in-law, Mr. Sowerby, gets an additional church job for Mark Robarts. Meanwhile, Griselda Grantly receives a proposal from Lord Dumbello, who is the son of the woman who is the Duke of Omnium's mistress and Lord Hartletop, and is of much higher rank than Lord Lufton, so is a better catch. The Proudies and Arabins also make appearances and a very poor clergyman and his wife also play a role. It is a complex novel and i thoroughly enjoyed it, even though, having read the Palliser novels first, I miss having the same characters throughout the series. I always like it when familiar characters show up.

May 18, 2016, 12:14pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Framley Parsonage, Rebecca. The characters do make appearances throughout with a link here and there, although I haven't read the Pallisers yet, so can't compare the frequency. You will find the final book is like a grand finale with just about everyone making an appearance. I've barely started Can You Forgive Her?, and enjoying it. I keep getting distracted with other books that are supposed to be my downstairs books.

May 21, 2016, 5:03am Top

>63 rebeccanyc: Have you got the full set of the Barsetshire novels in one edition or are you reading individual editions? Enjoying your reviews

May 21, 2016, 5:12pm Top

>64 NanaCC: Thanks, Colleen. I am enjoying the Barsetshire series and will look forward to the final novel (except then it will all be over). I think you will enjoy the Palliser series once you get into it.

>65 baswood: Thanks, Barry. I am reading the Oxford World Classics editions of the Barsetshire series. I find they have excellent (and sometimes too copious) notes.

May 21, 2016, 9:33pm Top

>66 rebeccanyc: I have the complete works of Trollope on my Kindle, Rebecca. For me, it works, but no notes. That is why Liz's tutored threads were so helpful in the beginning. The benefits - not holding books of 800 pages, and the entire collection for less than $3.00.

May 22, 2016, 10:16am Top

31. This NIght's Foul Work by Fred Vargas

Despite a glaring plot error, the Vargas Adamsberg mysteries just keep better and better. In this one, two low-lifes are killed in a similar manner and only Adamsberg suspects that these weren't drug-related murders. He is interested in the dirt under their fingernails, and that leads him eventually to discover (with Matthias of the Three Evangelists) that a grave of a young woman who died accidentally was dug up, the coffin bashed in at the head, but the body left in it, and the grave filled in so carefully that it was unseen by the naked eye (hence, Matthias, an archaeologist). The diabolical plot continues from there, reaching to a new recruit who came from the next valley over from Adamsberg and has memories of an horrific attack, a new medical examiner who suggests that the killer was the nurse known as the Angel of Death who escaped from jail after killing some 30 people, and an attack on a woman who saved Adamsberg in the last novel set in Quebec. All the usual characters from the Serious Crimes bureau are there, and of course Adamsberg eventually traps the murderer.

May 22, 2016, 10:39am Top

32. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

It's always interesting to see if the author of a new (to me) mystery series and his or her detective strike a chord with me. In the case of Rankin's John Rebus, the answer is a qualified yes, and I'll try another book or two to decide. Rebus is a detective in a police station and there is a lot of police back and forth. In addition, while it relates to the plot, there is an awful lot of background information about Rebus's time in the army and particularly in the special forces. The plot involves a serial killer who is abducting young girls, murdering them (but not sexually abusing them), and dumping their bodies in public spaces. Additionally, Rebus is getting mysterious and creepy anonymous letters with knots in them, and later crosses. There is a brother who is a hypnotist like their father and a journalist who suspects the brother of dealing drugs and Rebus of being corrupt and in league with him. There is also a romantic interest. Eventually, Rebus's daughter, who lives with his divorced wife, is abducted and attention turns to Rebus and his past life. As I noted above, the jury is out on Rankin and Rebus, but will continue the series, at least for a while.

May 22, 2016, 10:53am Top

I've read about the first four or five of the Rebus novels Rebecca, and enjoyed them. I think someone said they become more complicated in the latter novels. Mostly I've watched the TVs dramatisations with Ken Stott as curmudgeonly Rebus.

Edited: May 22, 2016, 1:34pm Top

>69 rebeccanyc: I've by no means read all of them, but my impression of the later ones was that he had become a better writer. The last three Rankin published (linked to internal affairs) I've enjoyed a great deal.

May 22, 2016, 11:43am Top

>69 rebeccanyc: The first Rebus was definitely the weakest, but I'm glad I kept going. I think they keep getting better.

May 23, 2016, 7:09am Top

>69 rebeccanyc: I read Knots and Crosses a few years ago, and my reaction was qualified as yours was. I never followed up with another of his novels. Now, I remember the letters with the knots and crosses, and nothing else about the one I did read. Usually, if something about the character or set-up doesn't grab me in the first of a series, I don't get back to see if it develops into a "place" I want to go back to. I think that's probably where I am with Rankin...unlikely to go back.

May 23, 2016, 10:06am Top

>70 Caroline_McElwee: >71 charl08: >72 NanaCC: >73 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for all your perspectives on Rankin/Rebus.

Edited: May 23, 2016, 11:18am Top

>69 rebeccanyc:, just to add to everyone else - the Rebus novels definitely get better as they go along. I read a very odd interview with Ian Rankin in which he claimed he didn't realise he was writing a genre novel with Knots & Crosses - not sure I believe that as there are so many of the tropes of the genre - but I think he was still working out what he was doing at that point.

May 23, 2016, 3:13pm Top

Had I begun with Knots and Crosses, I'm not sure I'd be following the Rebus series. I read it after I'd read a few later books. He really does improve over time. If you're willing to read a series out of order (and the Rebus books are fine read out of order) I'd recommend reading either Fleshmarket Close or skipping ahead to The Complaints, which isn't a Rebus novel but the start of a new series that he then blended into the Rebus series.

May 23, 2016, 9:53pm Top

>76 RidgewayGirl: Interesting. See, now I'm waffling again!

Edited: May 25, 2016, 10:31am Top

Just posting as I just caught up with your thread and enjoyed as always. My In-laws own The Bog People and I've wondered about it. An LT author wrote a novel inspired by one find - a man who had the signs of being killed in three different ways - a ritual triple death. And he had un-calloused hands, indicating he had been privileged in some way. Curious stuff. And wonderfully Celtic/Pagan in time period - of course I mean wonderful for letting our imaginations roam, not for the poor guy.

Edited: May 25, 2016, 5:13pm Top

>75 wandering_star: >76 RidgewayGirl: Thanks! And I'm stubborn about reading series in order.

>78 dchaikin: Interesting. And thanks.

May 25, 2016, 4:43pm Top

I just finished the 11th and 12th of the Rebus series, Rebecca. I'm so glad that I read them in order because you do get character development and growth in the Rebus character. I haven't had a chance to write up any comments yet, but wanted to let you know that I still think they just keep getting better.

May 30, 2016, 11:36am Top

33. Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin

I am slightly warming up to Inspector Rebus but he still doesn't interest me as much as other fictional detectives I'm familiar with. Nevertheless, I will keep on going both because of all the comments above and because it is a long series. In this novel, a junkie dies of an apparent overdose in a squalid house he is squatting in with his girlfriend after he tells his girlfriend to hide because "they're coming" and "they've murdered me." He is found downstairs in a room painted with mystical symbols and a packet of good heroin next to him, although his girlfriend said she found him upstairs (and ran out) and an autopsy revealed he died of rat poison. He has bruises on his body, was a photographer when he wasn't strung out, and prostituted himself with men to gain money for heroin. Inspector Rebus is ordered by his boss to star in an antidrug campaign and lunches at Edinburgh's fanciest restaurant with the city's movers and shakers who are funding the campaign, thus meeting them. Needless to say, the movers and shakers have a definite role in the death of the junkie, through complicated plotting and a somewhat shocking conclusion.

Jun 3, 2016, 11:04am Top

34. The Glory of the Empire by Jean d'Ormesson

This is a very strange book. Ostensibly a history of an ancient Mediterranean empire, it is actually entirely fiction (the subtitle is "A Novel, A History"). But d'Ormesson introduces references to real historians, artists, film-makers, and musicians, as in this phrase:"of whom Heidegger and Bertrand Russell both said . . . until Bacon and Descartes," and even includes endnotes of real and fictional historians and literary figures.

The story is of war and peace (mostly war), depravity, religion, philosophy, literature, music, and above all about history: what it is, how we know it, controversies. About three-quarters of the book is devoted to Alexis, the son of Helen, who was the granddaughter of a previous emperor. Raised in the northern woods, he is probably the son of a philosopher who Helen had an affair with during a siege of the town they lived in. Alexis is taunted by his older (half-)brother as a bastard and leaves the town with another philosopher as a tutor after a long talk with his mother. He winds up in Alexandria where he is initiated into a religion that worships the sun and lives life as a libertine. After a scandal involving the horrific death of a temple priestess he had a forbidden affair with, he sets out for Asia determined to atone for his sins and lives a life as an ascetic, learning from all the religions of the continent. He spends years there but is summoned back to be the emperor. He ends up ruling for more than 50 years, over an empire which eventually extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific after a lot of wars and violent conflicts. Ultimately he steps down, conflicted as always.

I have just skimmed the surface of this dense book. It is a work of philosophy, exploring the meaning of history. It bogged down for me at certain spots, but in the end it was fascinating.

Jun 3, 2016, 7:53pm Top

>82 rebeccanyc: Interesting sounding book, how did it get onto your TBR?

Jun 4, 2016, 9:57am Top

>83 baswood: I get email from the publisher, NYRB, and it sounded intriguing so I ordered it.

Jun 5, 2016, 10:46am Top

ABANDONED (for now)

The Heart of Mid-Lothian by Walter Scott
SassyLassy wrote an enthusiastic review of this that led me to buy it, but alas it probably wasn't the right time for me to read it. It is a TOME (500 plus pages of story but more than 800 pages in all with notes and introduction) and I'm too distracted to read a dense story with Scottish English now. I need more readable books just now but I hope to come back to it.

Jun 5, 2016, 10:57am Top

35. Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin

I am warming to Inspector Rebus and, indeed, it was hard for me to put this book down. In it, Rebus is summoned to London to help the detectives there stop a serial killer. Rankin shows us the killer, initially and then at the end of most chapters, and we gradually realize not only how warped the killer is but also how horrific his childhood was. A beautiful psychologist approaches Rebus and convinces him that she might have insight into the mind of the killer. Rebus tries the patience of his hosts (who mostly don't like Scots anyway) but ultimately saves the day.

Jun 5, 2016, 11:03am Top

Yes, been there recently too. I had to put a book back on the shelf as being simply more than I wanted to deal with, well, actually, I think I'll never deal with it--it is in many lists of "SF classics" but it is of the witty-clever with no there-there when you get down to it, just a vehicle for showing off and a kind of adolescent silliness. There's readers that lap it up, I'm sure but not me. Then I had to put down a mystery set in the early 1800 when a young lad talked about having to pee. Just. not.

Interesting to watch you warm up to Rebus.

Edited: Jun 5, 2016, 11:04am Top

Just have to say hello in real time! Cross posting.

Jun 5, 2016, 1:42pm Top

Backing up to appreciate your review of My Happy Days in Hell, I'm fascinated by such optimism.

Jun 5, 2016, 1:45pm Top

I'm glad you are warming to Rebus. Lots more fun to come.

Jun 6, 2016, 8:29am Top

>85 rebeccanyc: Oh dear, but I do understand.

The way I approached the book first of all was to leave the introduction for the end (standard procedure with OUP). I left the footnotes to the end of each chapter, which served to lessen the distractions and as a sort of review of the chapter. The glossary I didn't really need, but I can see how it would be an enormous impediment if it was required. Scott's own introductions for some reason are usually tedious, and somewhat formulaic, but they go much more quickly after the first couple. Scott's notes I always find interesting.

I hope there will be a right time sometime.

>86 rebeccanyc: I'm another huge fan of Rebus, and the minor characters and details surrounding him. For some reason I always remember a coworker in an early book who spends his time spell checking Scottish place names to see what suggestions he receives. Then there is the music Rebus is always listening to.
I can always see Rankin's characters and settings in my mind, which helps immensely. That may explain why Vargas never really caught on for me.

>82 rebeccanyc: Sounds like a good one to pursue further on down the road.

Jun 6, 2016, 10:55am Top

>87 sibyx: I rarely give up on a book, but I should do it more. Too many books, too little time.

>89 detailmuse: As a confirmed pessimist, such optimism was amazing to me!

>91 SassyLassy: I have the Penguin edition and it doesn't have a glossary (which would just be another thing to slow me down. Scott's own introductions are included at the end of my edition, and his notes too. I too hope there will be a right time . . .

>91 SassyLassy: Right now I like Vargas/Adamsberg more than Rankin/Rebus, but then I've been in Paris many times and never in Scotland.

Jun 7, 2016, 10:27am Top

I put The Glory of the Empire on my wish list -thanks!

Jun 7, 2016, 12:19pm Top

Catching up...

Rebus: I enjoyed them very much when I read them some years ago, but I think I like Adamsberg more. Quirky wins over gritty and cynical, but it's a bit of an apples/pears comparison. Rebus vs. Fabio Montale might be more interesting to explore. (Fabio doesn't have a Siobhan, but I find his food and music choices are usually more interesting than Rebus's...)

Scott: one difficulty with Heart of Midlothian is that Scott has to explain some quite complex history and some very tricky legal concepts before he can get going with the story. To make it worse, he fails to stop when he gets to the end of the main plot, but goes rumbling on for another hundred pages or so tying up subplots and sorting out minor characters. It's a relatively short story in a very long book. But it is a great story, and a very original one, when you actually get to it. You need to be in the right frame of mind to give the author the benefit of the doubt for rather longer than usual.

Jun 14, 2016, 11:21am Top

>94 thorold: Thanks, Mark, for explaining Scott!

Edited: Jun 18, 2016, 9:52am Top

36. An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas

In this mystery, Commisaire Adamsberg is in danger physically and career-wise. After a gruesome murder takes place, various other events occur, and Adamsberg eventually goes to Serbia, where vampires play a role. There also is a mystery relating to cut-off feet, in shoes, outside the Highgate cemetery in London. All these plot lines eventually come together. I am nearing the end of the Adamsbergs that have been translated into English and that disappoints me because I love this series.

Edited: Jun 21, 2016, 1:44pm Top

Project TBR: Book #11(on TBR since 12/14/12)

37. Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac

This is a tale of sex and money, and sex for money, and incidentally love and passion, but it is primarily a tale of revenge. The eponymous Cousin Bette, cousin of Baroness Hulot, wants to destroy the baroness's family for multiple reasons. This is not my favorite Balzac, but after the first hundred pages or so it was certainly a page turner.

Baron Hulot is what we would now call a sex addict, and he throws away his fortune on the current object of his affections. When the book opens, he is seeing Josepha, an opera singer/courtesan but she throws him over for a more wealthy duke who sets her up in a palatial home. Distraught, he spies a lovely woman on his way to Cousin Bette's and Bette is happy to introduce him to Madame Marneffe, who juggles multiple lovers and befriends Cousin Bette. Baroness Hulot, Adeline, knows of the baron's adulteries, forgives him in her Christian way, but suffers mightily. The family is rounded out by a son who is married to a daughter of M. Crevel (who figures in the plot in a big way) and a daughter, Hortense. The baron has thrown so much money away she doesn't have a dowry, but she falls in love with a Polish sculptor, Wenceslas, who was a count in his home country, who Cousin Bette has been protecting because he lives in an attic in her building. Eventually, she marries him, but discovering his liaison with Madame Marneffe, she doesn't follow her mother's example of unnatural toleration, but instead returns to live with her mother.

All this is prologue (except for the Wenceslas debacle). The main plot develops three years later, and is very complex but enjoyable in a train wreck sort of way. The reader can sympathize up to a point with Bette, but not her cunning vengeance. And the reader can also sympathize up to a point with all the more ambiguous characters. It is the unnaturally good ones, especially Adeline, that are a little hard to take. It is too much for me to go into all that happens, but suffice it say some characters come to a ghastly end.

Jun 22, 2016, 7:23am Top

Well, good try with Scott. Enjoyed your review of the Balzac. Sounds a bit like Dumas (?). And, sorry you're running out of Vargas.

Jun 23, 2016, 10:00am Top

>98 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan, but not like the Dumas I've read.

Jun 23, 2016, 10:13am Top

38. Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

Another Inspector Rebus, and in this one there's no murder -- initially. Instead, a group of old books are stolen from a professor and a Scottish MP, Gregor Jack, is caught in a raid on a brothel. But was he set up? Soon enough, his wife, who had been missing, is killed -- she lived a life somewhat apart and loved somewhat naughty parties. The MP was part of a group of old school friends who still went by their school nicknames. The higher ups want to pin the murder on a crazy man who admitted to killing a woman similarly. There are several complications, but Rebus eventually solves the mystery (as we knew he would).

Jun 28, 2016, 8:25am Top

>97 rebeccanyc: Great review of Cousin Bette which you make me want to reread. That was the first book I ever read for a book club and we had lots of fun with it.

Jun 28, 2016, 9:37am Top

Thanks, Sassy. I can see why your book club had fun with it.

Jul 3, 2016, 9:29am Top

39. The Black Book by Ian Rankin

Another week, another Rebus (I am slowly reading a more serious book). In this one, Rebus is kicked out by his lady friend and has to go back to his apartment which he has sublet to students; his brother, newly released from jail, is also living there so Rebus has to sleep on the couch. When a colleague is attacked, Rebus reads his coded "black book" of investigation, and discovers that Holmes had been looking into a fire five years ago at the Central Hotel, in which a body of a man who had been shot was found. Rebus decides to look into this too, pulling the old files and talking to everybody who might have been there. After he starts investigating, his brother is attacked too, gruesomely. Meanwhile, his day job is surveillance on an office that offers "insurance". Rebus is set up when he unwittingly buys the gun that was used in the Central Hotel murder. Of course, the two strands come together and Rebus solves the case, not without some twists and turns.

Jul 12, 2016, 11:05am Top

40, The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

Mrs. Dale and her two daughters, Bell and Lily, live in the small house at Allington thanks to the generosity of their brother-in-law and uncle, Squire Dale, who lives in the big house at Allington sometimes with his nephew Bernard. Bernard's friend, Adolphus Crosbie, courts Lily; she falls in love with him and they become engaged to marry. But Crosbie betrays Lily by becoming engaged to an aristocratic, but poor, de Courcy. Lily is heartbroken but in the end forgives Crosbie, leading me to want to slap her. Meanwhile, a local young man (who is working as a clerk in London), John Eames, has been in love with Lily since his childhood. A chance encounter saving a local earl from a rampaging bull earns him the undying gratitude of the earl, Lord de Guest (and his sister), which is not insignificant.

As with all books by Trollope, there are many subplots involving lots of other characters, and many complications ensue. I am eager to read the final volume of this series.

Jul 12, 2016, 4:25pm Top

You certainly chugged off with this series Rebecca. I intended to, but didn't get further than The Warden which I remember I enjoyed more than you. I need to nudge Barchester Towers back up the pile!

Jul 14, 2016, 11:02am Top

Dear Club Read friends,

Today is my tenth Thingaversery and despite the happiness of the occasion I decided I would take this opportunity to share some bad/sad news with you. For the past two years, I have been unwell, and my health has deteriorated over this time. That's why I've been reading mysteries and readable books like Trollope, Balzac, and Zola. That's also why I've been neglecting your threads and writing shorter reviews. At a certain point, I'll delete my account, but I'll post here when I decide to do that.

It's hard to believe it's been ten years! Ten years of cataloging books, almost ten years of talking about books, and ten years of book fun! Club Read in particular and LT in general have been my home away from home. Thank you for making this possible.


Jul 14, 2016, 11:26am Top

Happy tenth Thingaversary and here's to another ten, and another ten... etc. :)

Vibing with good wishes and hope in your direction, Rebecca.

Jul 14, 2016, 12:15pm Top

I don't necessarily always agree with Lola, but on this occasion I have to echo what she said.

Very best wishes on your Thingaversary, and we'll have to try to send you lots of strength to deal with the rest, Rebecca!

Jul 14, 2016, 12:21pm Top

Warm wishes on your 10th Thingaversary, Rebecca.

Healing thoughts and empathy sent your way. May you never delete your account.

Jul 14, 2016, 1:11pm Top

Rebecca, I'm so sorry to hear this. I enjoy following your reading and learn so much from your insightful reviews and varied reading.

Best wishes for your health and hope you stay on LT for many years to come.

Jul 14, 2016, 2:18pm Top

A decade of LT and brilliant reviews, congrats!

I am so sorry to hear that your health is deteriorating. You are partly responsible for my continued, if sporadic, presence in CR and on LT -- you were so welcoming and made such a heroic effort to respond to posts in all the threads. Thank you.

I am hoping for the best possible outcome for you in the months ahead.

Edited: Jul 14, 2016, 4:31pm Top

Oh Rebecca; Indeed it is sad news, so sorry to hear that your health issues may take you away from us. I have always enjoyed following your threads and I hope I will be able to do so in the foreseeable future, but let me take this opportunity to wish you well. It won't be the same without you here.

Jul 14, 2016, 5:16pm Top

Oh Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear about that. I hope you will be around for a very long time.

Jul 14, 2016, 9:45pm Top

I'm at a loss for words. I can only wish you well. You are such special part not only of my (our!) LT experience, but of my reading experience too, which I think you know is a large part of some our lives. I'm really grateful you were here these last ten years and that you are here now. You make this a better place.

Jul 15, 2016, 2:05am Top

Sorry to read that your health has been causing you problems. Hoping that you are able to continue for many years to come. As others have said, you add so much to LT for me. I look forward to your reviews - have been so glad to have found your thread.

Jul 15, 2016, 7:03am Top

Rebecca, I am so sorry to read this news. I send you my very best wishes and wish you much good reading, and much good in everything.


Jul 15, 2016, 7:08am Top

Rebecca, I am sorry that your health has been worsening. I have always enjoyed your presence here, congratulations on 10 years! I concur with everyone else in hoping that you will continue to be around for a long time, and I'm sending my best wishes to you.

Jul 15, 2016, 8:58am Top

Rebecca, you have been nothing short of an inspiration to me since I joined LT. Although I have been largely inactive in CR the last few years, I have continued to quietly follow many threads. Yours has been primary among them and I hope will continue to be so for some time. You have all my best wishes.

Jul 15, 2016, 9:12am Top

What an outpouring of kind wishes and compliments. Thank you all.

Jul 15, 2016, 9:35am Top

What an amazing amount of reading in the last ten years and far more than the volume, what an amazing quality of books chosen. So congratulations on that and all the work you have done on LT in other ways. As others have, I have followed your reading and reviews and been inspired by many of them to read books I might not have thought of otherwise, or indeed, would never have heard about otherwise.

May you keep reading, no matter what the subject.

Jul 15, 2016, 10:17am Top

Rebecca, I'm sad to hear about your health. Thank you for everything you have shared with us through the years -- your initiative and leadership in creating various group threads/groups and administering them, your always thoughtful reading threads, your reviews mainly of books that many of us would not have learned of otherwise, your dependable presence. You have been a real inspiration. My very best wishes.

Jul 15, 2016, 6:26pm Top

Rebecca--I am so saddened to hear about your health issues. I have been on LT 8 years, and have followed your reading during that entire time. I have been inspired by the breadth and depth of your reading. And I have been amazed at how much time and thought you have invested in visiting threads, keeping Club Read running smoothly, and leading efforts in Reading Globally. I hope your health will allow you to continue to participate for a long time into the future. All my best wishes!

Jul 16, 2016, 6:29am Top

Sending you health mojo Rebecca, I'm sad to hear you have been suffering.

Ten years of LT and all those wonderful reviews. Is there a ten book purchase in the offing?

Jul 16, 2016, 6:43am Top

Rebecca, you've been an inspiration to me on LT and added so much to this community over the past ten years. Thinking of you and hoping we will benefit from your company here a bit longer.

Jul 16, 2016, 7:09am Top

Rebecca, happy ten years. Wishing you recovery and all good things.

Jul 16, 2016, 10:05am Top

Thank you to all who have posted since my previous thank you. I appreciate your warm wishes.

Jul 16, 2016, 10:40am Top

41. Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin

Rebus suspects a gruesome murder is linked to the conflict in Northern Ireland, and is asked for by a special police team dealing with these issues. Meanwhile, as a favor to a friend, he goes to see the head of a community center in a notorious slum because the friend thinks the head has gone over to the gangs. More murders occur, and more complications ensue. In the nick of time, Rebus figures out what is heppening.

Jul 16, 2016, 11:36am Top

I'm very sorry and saddened to hear about your health problems, Rebecca. You've been one of the brightest points on LibraryThing for the eight years I've known you, and you've been an inspiration to me, and thanks to you and several others my reading horizon has been broadened and enriched. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, and I hope and pray that you remain a member of this group for many years to come.

Jul 16, 2016, 5:04pm Top

I am sorry to hear your news. Your reading choices have been a great inspiration to me.Here is to your 10th anniversary and wishing you many more.

Jul 17, 2016, 12:43pm Top

My hopes for your health and well being are offered, and my thanks for your years of inspiration. Your reviews and comments have enriched my life. I pray that your health improves.

Jul 18, 2016, 9:25am Top

Thanks all.

Jul 19, 2016, 2:02am Top

So sad to hear this. I wish you all the best and lots of luck and strenght.

Jul 19, 2016, 10:00am Top

42. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas

Adamsberg must solve mysteries in Paris and Ordebec, where someone has been killed and someone else saw the "ghost riders," aka the "furious army" of dead or soon to be dead people. The two mysteries are intertwined, and all the usual characters make their appearance as well as of course some new ones. I am sad that this is the last Vargas to be translated into English.

Jul 19, 2016, 4:38pm Top

Just adding one more voice to the chorus of good thoughts for you.

Jul 20, 2016, 4:58am Top

Very sorry to hear of your health worries, Rebecca, and like everyone else I truly hope that you can remain part of LT and CR for a long time to come as it most definitely would not be the same without you.

Jul 23, 2016, 9:35am Top


Jul 23, 2016, 9:43am Top

43, Let It Bleed by Ian Rankin

The 17-year-old daughter of an important man is missing, and two young men claim to have kidnapped her, leading Rebus on a car chase, after which the young men jump off a bridge, killing themselves. Next, an ex-con shoots himself at a Councilor's meeting. Investigating, Rebus comes on a conspiracy of important men in business, politics, and even the police. All is resolved, sort of.

Jul 25, 2016, 9:01am Top

Happy 10th Anniversary! As everyone has said, you have made a fantastic contribution to LT over those ten years and it has been an absolute privilege to have known you and your readings. I am sorry that you are unwell and send many good wishes to you.
Amanda XXXX

Aug 2, 2016, 6:03pm Top

Thank you, Amanda.

Aug 3, 2016, 12:17pm Top

Rebecca - How lucky I feel to have encountered you here on LT. I find it such a warm and genuine and surprisingly intimate place--the friendships made here are quite real and very rewarding. I adore your reviews and hope you will leave them up? I joined Club Read entirely because of following you around!

Thank you for letting us all know what is happening with you.

Warmly, Lucy

Aug 5, 2016, 12:18pm Top

Thanks, Lucy.

Aug 5, 2016, 2:56pm Top

Rebecca, I'm so sorry to hear you have health issues. I've been here for over nine years and followed your posts for almost all of that time. Your contribution to LT has been significant and appreciated. I've enjoyed your reviews so much and hope they continue for a long time. My best wishes.

Aug 5, 2016, 4:34pm Top

Just catching up on threads and hearing your health news. Sending healing thoughts your way.

Aug 5, 2016, 7:48pm Top

>137 rebeccanyc: I get the feeling you aren't as caught up by Rebus as by Alex Morrow on the other side of the country. The books are uneven, but he is one of my favourite characters of the genre. Do you have more Rankin on the TBR?

Aug 6, 2016, 9:21am Top

Thanks, Vivienne and Joyce.

>144 SassyLassy: I'm warming up to Rebus, but the books seem similar in that Rebus gets into trouble, whether of his own making or others' actions. Yes, I have the next three on the TBR.

Aug 8, 2016, 9:25am Top

44. Black and Blue by ian Rankin

Another Rebus. In this one, a serial killer is mimicking a serial killer, never caught, from decades ago. In addition, a long-ago case, one Rebus worked on with his mentor, is the subject of a TV documentary and the case is reopened by the police. Rebus is watched all the time by another police officer and under his influence even stops drinking. The case takes Rebus to Aberdeen and oil platforms. Everything works out in the end, of course.

Aug 13, 2016, 9:56am Top

45. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

A gift gave me another detective to follow. Ian Rutledge is a shell-shocked veteran of World War I who hears the voice of a man called Hamish who he killed in his head at odd moments. Rutledge is sent from Scotland Yard to solve the mystery of a country squire (who was a colonel) who got shot while riding one morning. A Captain who was engaged to the Colonel's ward had a ferocious argument with him the night before and again when he met him on horseback. What were they arguing about and is it related to the murder? Todd (who interestingly is a mother-son team) gives a good picture of village life and of Hamish, who appears to help Rutledge by grumbling. I will read more of this series.

Aug 13, 2016, 11:44am Top

I like the Ian Rutledge series, Rebecca. I don't think that their Bess Crawford series is quite as good, although I have read a few and will probably continue.

Aug 14, 2016, 11:26am Top

Colleen, I've started the second one.

Aug 14, 2016, 1:15pm Top

I've read the first two in the Ian Rutledge series as well as No. 17, A Fine Summer's Day, which is really a prequel that fills us in on Rutledge's life before WWI turned it inside out. And it might have been Colleen who put me onto them!

Aug 20, 2016, 9:50am Top

46. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

This novel brings back many familiar characters (which I appreciated) and some new ones. It mainly tells the story of the Reverend Crawley (who readers will remember from earlier volumes) who is accused of stealing a check and using it to pay a bill at the butcher. He recalls that it came from Dean Arabin in a packet of bills, but the Dean denies that the check was in the packet. So consequently he begins to doubt himself and think that he really stole it; he sinks into a depressive state. This and the consequences of it form a big part of this novel.

The son of the Grantlys, Major Grantly, is in love with Grace Crawley, the elder daughter of the Crawleys, and she with him. This strikes horror in his parents, mainly his father the Archdeacon, who don't want him to marry beneath him, let alone the daughter of an accused thief.

But as in all of Trollope, there as subplots. The main one involves Johnny Eames who is still in love with Lily Dale, who steadfastly maintains she will not marry him even after seeing the man who threw her over twice and realizing she is no longer in love with him. John has a friend who's an artist, Conway Dalrymple, who paints pictures of real women in classical settings. Dalrymple invites him to a dinner party at another woman's house, where John meets various people who will figure in the subplots. They are too complicated for me to explain, but John goes to Italy to meet Mrs. Arabin, who solves the mystery of the missing check; John is a cousin of the Crawleys. There is also a lawyer with the delightful name of Mr. Toogood, who is related to the Crawleys too.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and am sad that I've come to the end of the Barsetshire novels, as I was about the Palliser series last year. How will I get my Trollope fix?

Aug 20, 2016, 10:54am Top

Congrats on finishing the series (or, should I say, sorry you've reached an end?). Surely there are plenty more Trollope novels...??

Aug 20, 2016, 3:48pm Top

>151 rebeccanyc: glad to see you enjoyed this one, I thought it was a delightful conclusion to the series. I still have a few Pallisers ahead of me.

Edited: Aug 20, 2016, 7:09pm Top

>151 rebeccanyc: I knew that you would enjoy the last book, Rebecca. I have yet to get to the second book in the Pallisers. (My plans went out the window, I guess.). The Forsyte Chronicles took over in the first part of the year, and grandchildren have been my focus this summer, leading to strictly light fun reading.

Aug 21, 2016, 9:38am Top

Thank you, Dan, Laura and Colleen. There are plenty more Trollopes but sadly they seem to be out of print or print on demand, which I detest.

Aug 21, 2016, 9:54am Top

>155 rebeccanyc: There are usually plenty of Trollope hardbacks gathering dust on the upper shelves of secondhand bookshops. Even Folio Society editions aren't necessarily going to set you back more than a new paperback.

Aug 21, 2016, 12:31pm Top

>155 rebeccanyc: This is one reason I really like my Kindle. I have the complete works of Trollope, and granted it isn't giving me nice pretty books on my shelves, but it did cost less than $10 for all of them.

Aug 22, 2016, 11:26am Top

47. Wings of Fire by Charles Todd

In this novel, Inspector Rutledge is sent to investigate two apparent suicides and an apparently accidental death all in the same family. It is a complicated family as the mother, now dead, married three times and had two children with each husband. Two of the children and the second and third husbands and the mother died, apparently through accidents. But was a murderer among them? Rutledge investigates, with Hamish (the voice hears) grumbling and helping. I had the murderer pegged early on, but it was an enjoyable mystery nevertheless.

Aug 22, 2016, 11:30am Top

>158 rebeccanyc: I also enjoyed Wings of Fire, Rebecca. I'll have to look for the third book in the series. I read this one in 2014, so it is definitely time to catch up with Inspector Rutledge.

Aug 22, 2016, 11:32am Top

>156 thorold: Thanks, Mark. I looked at ABE Books but the books in excellent condition from highly rated sellers are expensive.

>157 NanaCC: I am resisting getting a Kindle!

Aug 22, 2016, 12:51pm Top

>160 rebeccanyc: True. Depends a lot on how fussy you are - there seem to be a few sellers offering Trollope Society or Folio editions in decent condition (I'm usually content with VG for a reading copy) for under ten dollars each, but most of them are in the UK, so that's probably twenty by the time it gets to you. I mostly buy books like that if and when I happen to see them in bookshops, rather than ordering them. And I use Colleen's solution (or at least its Kobo cousin) a lot these days, too!

Aug 24, 2016, 10:26am Top

Thanks, Mark. A very thoughtful LT friend is going to look in a used bookstore for me.

Aug 31, 2016, 9:52am Top

48. Search the Dark by Charles Todd

In this Ian Rutledge, he is sent to investigate the murder of a woman who was "seen" by her husband, a World War I veteran, on a railway platform with a man and two children who he assumes were his; the wife and two children were supposedly killed in a German bombing of their apartments. Needless to say, this man didn't do the murder, and by twists and turns, Rutledge solves the case. I mistakenly assumed the murderer was a man who likewise was tormented by the war, but Todd somewhat pulls the real murderer out of a hat. Nevertheless, I will continue reading this series because I like Rutledge (and the voice inside him, Hamish).

Edited: Sep 1, 2016, 12:27am Top

>151 rebeccanyc: I only have the last Palliser book The Duke's Children left to read in that series. I read the Barsetshire series a few years ago, and I was hooked! Since then I've been slowly picking up stray Trollopes at used book shops and library sales. I've probably accumulated about 25 of his 45 or so novels. Penguin, Dover & Oxford have a few--last week I ordered Dr. Wortle's School (Oxford) from a local bookstore. So when I'm done with Planty Pal, I have some others to choose from.

Have you read The Way We Live Now? I haven't--waiting for just the right moment. My edition has an introduction by David Brooks, the NY Times columnist--surprising for me to see his name in a 19th c. novel, far from the campaign trail.

Sep 1, 2016, 11:41am Top

>164 kac522: Yes, I've read The Way We Live Now. In fact, I read it first to make sure I liked Trollope without getting into any series. I have the same edition you have and Brooks, if my memory serves me right, relates Trollope's story to the present and past. Plus ça change.

Sep 4, 2016, 9:00am Top

My Goodwill had the dvd's of the Palliser novels (all but no. 4 of 12), and the dvd of the way we live now with David Suchet as Melmott. They were $1.19 each!

I think they are terrific if you are a fan of the BBC films of Trollope's books.

I also scoured used bookstores formany years, a decade ago or more, and got the best copies I could afford of all the novels, the autobiograpy and the stories. I am still rereading.

I love the two early Irish ones: The Kellys and the o'kellys, the mcdermotts of ballycorran, and the Three Clerks, The Belton Estate, and Castle Richmond.

Sep 4, 2016, 11:21am Top

>166 almigwin: Miriam, I loved the BBC films of Trollope's book. I saw them via Netflix DVDs.

Sep 10, 2016, 9:57am Top

49. Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd

Another Ian Rutledge with a plot too complicated to summarize and another surprising (to me, anyway) ending. But I'm hooked on Rutledge as a character, and I'll continue to read this series.

Sep 11, 2016, 2:17pm Top

Ok, you convinced me to drop the first Rutledge into my Kindle Rebecca!

Sep 12, 2016, 3:29pm Top

Good, Caro!

Sep 18, 2016, 10:23am Top

50l The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

This is a remarkable book about a remarkable man, Alexander von Humboldt. Not only did he travel to South America for five years, climbing volcanoes and botanizing, and to Russia, but in the age of increasing scientific specialization, he was a generalist, equally at home in geology, botany, zoology, and astronomy. He wrote books that opened the public's eyes to nature and he maintained a huge correspondence with other scientists. He also was the first person to call attention to man's destruction of the earth: he noticed deforestation in South America and detailed its effects on water levels, stream flow, and climate. In the last section, Wulf covers his influence on other people, including Thoreau, Haeckel, and Muir

Wulf writes well and I was engrossed by this book. Thanks are due to the Club Read readers who reviewed this book before me, inspiring me to read it.

Sep 18, 2016, 11:22am Top

>171 rebeccanyc: I already have this on my library wish list from other reviews, but great to know you loved it too!

Sep 23, 2016, 10:55am Top

51. Watchers of Time by Charles Todd

A priest is killed, ostensibly because he came upon a thief stealing the proceeds of a church fair, but the monsignor is uneasy and Ian Rutledge is sent to investigate. A man is in custody but complications ensue, including a man who on his deathbed summoned the priest (even though he was Church of England) and the sinking of the Titanic. Eventually Rutledge sorts everything out.

Sep 25, 2016, 9:43am Top

Onto the WL the Wulf goes, sounds like my cuppa exactly.

Sep 25, 2016, 2:46pm Top

Lucy, I think it is.

Sep 26, 2016, 10:00am Top

I'm glad you liked The Invention of Nature as much as I did!

Sep 26, 2016, 4:07pm Top

It was your review, Meredith, that made me take it off the TBR.

Sep 26, 2016, 10:28pm Top

The merry-go-round of Club Read rave reviews is a beautiful thing. :)

Edited: Oct 14, 2016, 8:50pm Top

Thank you for your reviews of Shirley Jackson's books.

Oct 18, 2016, 11:12am Top

52. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This is a disturbing book, as a book about slavery ought to be. It starts on a plantation in Georgia, where the protagonist Cora sees and experiences many gruesome events. Later, a slave named Caesar convinces Cora to escape with him via the underground railroad. The conceit of this book is that this is a real railroad, running underground. It largely works. I admired this novel, but Whitehead's research is showing. He throws in everything but the kitchen sink, including slave catchers, an experiment in South Carolina including an "experimental procedure," terror in North Carolina, a farm in Indiana that welcomes escaped slaves, and various other important characters. My friend who gave me this book said she had Cora's voice in her head for several days, but I didn't.

Oct 18, 2016, 1:07pm Top

>171 rebeccanyc: Yet another positive review has managed to add this to my TBR pile.

Edited: Oct 18, 2016, 2:24pm Top

>180 rebeccanyc: this is top of my tbr pile for next month Rebecca, glad you found it a good read.

I can live with the research showing if I have too, though it's a great novel when it doesn't. It was a problem with the last fifth of A S Byatt's The Children's Book, but it was a fine novel, and I suspected the publisher told her it just couldn't be any longer, so she just stuffed it all in!

Oct 22, 2016, 6:27pm Top

>180 rebeccanyc: I'm starting this one now, Rebecca. Life has been getting in the way of reading lately, but I'm determined to read this before it is due at the library.

Oct 23, 2016, 10:42am Top

>180 rebeccanyc: managed to get this from the library yesterday! My library has a two-week & no renewal rule for newly published books so I will be starting it today.

Oct 25, 2016, 11:56am Top

Dear Rebecca, as you know my place over in the 75ers has the habit of being a little on the chatty side and you may remember I like to make my lists.

The subject of previous or present members of the group who don't maintain a thread any longer came up and I happened to mention your goodself and how much I missed your wonderful reviews. I wanted to drop by and wish you all the very best (and wallow in some of those reviews!) and hope that you are in good form and health. xx

Oct 30, 2016, 11:39am Top

Thanks, Sassy, Caro, Colleen, and Wandering. And thank you, Paul, for stopping by from the 75ers.

Oct 30, 2016, 11:47am Top

53. A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd

Another Ian Rutledge in which a supposed new find in an old prewar case troubles him and in which he must simultaneously solve a case in which injured war veterans are murdered.

Oct 30, 2016, 11:57am Top

Abandoned: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

A friend gave me this book because he thought I should read more contemporary fiction. Despite rave reviews on LT, I couldn't get interested in the characters and so abandoned it after 100 pages or so. President Obama is said to have enjoyed it too.

Edited: Oct 30, 2016, 12:11pm Top

>180 rebeccanyc: I was on the waiting list for The Underground Railroad at the library, and it was so long a wait that I caved in and bought it while on vacation last month. But having recently read Homegoing, and being currently engrossed in Someone Knows My Name (a/k/a The Book of Negroes), I think I'll give myself some time and space before reading the Whitehead. I don't want to saturate myself with the subject matter...I think I'll appreciate it more if I wait a bit.

>188 rebeccanyc: Even the positive reviews of Fates and Furies haven't made it sound attractive to me, and you've clinched it. I can safely forget about that one.

Oct 31, 2016, 4:05pm Top

>189 laytonwoman3rd: Glad I could spare you, Linda.

Oct 31, 2016, 7:31pm Top

I am so far behind that I can't do justice to catching up...
>171 rebeccanyc: Andrea Wulf gave a presentation about Alexander von Humboldt at the National Book Festival last year, and I immediately snapped up the book but it's been languishing ever since, a victim of various distractions.

Edited: Nov 2, 2016, 7:54am Top

Just popping in to say, hi, and that I'm thinking of you. I do like to stop in once in a while & see what you are reading. I see you are enjoying the Charles Todd books. I read a fair number of them when they first came out during my bookstore days but moved on. Read the first Vargas, but abandoned the second (I like my detectives cerebral and instinctive, not...), but I have loved all the Rankin books. I have three Polish crime novels in my TBR pile, but my reading habit has slowed to a crawl generally.

Nov 3, 2016, 7:46pm Top

I've been AWOL for awhile, so just catching up. I'm interested in the Wulf but feel much the same about the Groff as many others. Though I did enjoy her first book.

Nov 4, 2016, 2:50pm Top

Thanks for stopping by, qebo, Lois, and Jane.

Nov 22, 2016, 3:49pm Top

54. A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd

Another Ian Rutledge in which almost an entire family is shot in a snowstorm, but a 10-year-old boy is missing.

Nov 23, 2016, 4:36am Top

Sounds very bloody to me. I did download a Charles Todd a while ago, will give him a try soon Rebecca.

Edited: Nov 29, 2016, 2:10pm Top

Abandoned Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

This is a tale of a maid who has an affair with a neighboring nobleman. I abandoned it because I didn't find the characters interesting. It was a gift.

Nov 29, 2016, 2:25pm Top

55. A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri

Oh how I love Inspector Montalbano! I snapped this up as soon as it appeared. This mystery involves a robbery and the apparent suicide of a grocery store manager whose store is owned my the Mafia. It also involves the gory murder of a beautiful woman whose boyfriend is someone Montalbano had encountered on the road and had an altercation with at a gas station. Corruption is at the heart of both cases.

Nov 29, 2016, 5:55pm Top

>198 rebeccanyc: I've only read the first book in this series, Rebecca. There are so many, that I've got some good reading ahead of me at some point.

Nov 29, 2016, 6:53pm Top

>197 rebeccanyc: I was underwhelmed by this one. Liked the comedy summary though:

Nov 29, 2016, 10:24pm Top

Just stopping by to say hi because I haven't posted here in a while. Interesting response to Whitehead and good call on Groff.

Dec 1, 2016, 11:33am Top

Thanks for stopping by Colleen, Charlotte, and Dan.

Dec 1, 2016, 12:08pm Top

>198 rebeccanyc: I want to get back to Inspector Montalbano. I don't have any unread ones in the house at the moment, and my library is very hit-or-miss, so I guess I'm just going to have to buy them!

Dec 1, 2016, 7:32pm Top

>198 rebeccanyc: A new Montalbano- it's good to know that are still coming. I have only read a couple, both of which I really enjoyed. However, it was sort of by happenstance that I read them, and I feel I should go about them in a more orderly fashion, starting at the beginning.
Your enthusiasm for them always makes me think it is time to just start.

Dec 3, 2016, 3:33pm Top

>203 laytonwoman3rd: >204 SassyLassy: I'm glad I am responsible, in part, for your interest in Montalbano. You really should read then in order.

Dec 6, 2016, 5:11pm Top

>205 rebeccanyc: I agree. I read them that way. Also, Montalbano ages through the series, so it's good to follow him as he does.

Dec 17, 2016, 12:43pm Top

>106 rebeccanyc: I've been so sporadically on LT in 2016 that I completely missed this post, but I just saw your introduction in Club Read 2017 and went looking. I'm so sorry to hear about your deteriorating health. Announced calmly without fanfare, as is your way. I have long admired your thoughtfulness.

Dec 17, 2016, 11:18pm Top

>207 qebo: Katherine's post prompted me too to go and read your post which I too had missed, being rarely in these parts. I won't regurgitate what Katherine said so eloquently save to say you are esteemed in this little corner of LT.

Take good care of yourself. xx

Dec 19, 2016, 5:03pm Top

Katherine and Paul, Thanks for your kind wishes and complimentary thoughts.

Dec 20, 2016, 10:50am Top

You're an LT member I've long admired, Rebecca. Your reviews have brought much enjoyment to many members. I'm wishing the best for you, and hope to see you here for a long time.

Dec 24, 2016, 7:34am Top

Wouldn't it be nice if 2017 was a year of peace and goodwill.
A year where people set aside their religious and racial differences.
A year where intolerance is given short shrift.
A year where hatred is replaced by, at the very least, respect.
A year where those in need are not looked upon as a burden but as a blessing.
A year where the commonality of man and woman rises up against those who would seek to subvert and divide.
A year without bombs, or shootings, or beheadings, or rape, or abuse, or spite.


Festive Greetings and a few wishes from Malaysia!

Edited: Dec 24, 2016, 5:25pm Top

Thank you, Paul, for that beautiful message, and thank you Rebecca for your terrific contributions to LT.

May peace be with you and all LT-ers, and Season's Greetings from Australia.

Dec 26, 2016, 3:11pm Top

Gail and Thrin, thank you for your compliments.

Paul, thank you for your wonderful message.

Dec 26, 2016, 6:45pm Top

Dec 31, 2016, 2:17pm Top

56. Entry Island by Peter May

I didn't this Peter May as much as the Blackhouse trilogy but it was interesting. It interweaves the tale of a contemporary detective, Sime McKensie, with story of his ancestor with his name.The ancestor migrated from Scotland to Quebec under duress.

Dec 31, 2016, 2:21pm Top

The ancestor migrated from Scotland to Quebec under duress That in itself sounds like a good start.

Group: Club Read 2016

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