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Vivienne's Year of the Cat

This topic was continued by Vivienne's Year of the Cat - 2nd Quarter.

2017 Category Challenge

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Edited: Mar 5, 3:13pm Top

The Year of the Cat will be my 4th Category Challenge. As usual, I can also be found at the Club Read group: Vivienne's Club Read 2017

My goal is to read at least one book per month in each category. 12 categories, 12 months.

Some of my categories are from CATs that were suggested but didn't make the cut. They inspired the theme. I decided to limit AlphaKIT to mysteries only.

With 25 in BingoDOG, that makes for a total 157, which might be wishful thinking.

My aim is to reduce the number of unread books that fill my shelves. To encourage that, I'm awarding a letter grade:

A for books I Already own - double A if I have owned it since before 2015
B for books I Borrow from the library or friends
F for new purchases - or a Fail in getting books off my shelves

I will aim for at least 80% As

1. Dust collectors - TBR owned for more than two years
2. Recommendations
3. Series
4. Translations
5. Biography
6. History / historical fiction
7. Calendar memos - Books related to commemorative days on the calendar
8. Alpha-Mystery-KIT - AlphaKIT limited to mysteries
9. CATwoman
10. AwardsCAT
11. RandomCAT
12. BingoDOG

Edited: Mar 5, 3:14pm Top

Dust collectors
Chosen from books that have been on the TBR shelves for more than two years

January: Quite honestly by John Mortimer
February: Mortal Coils by Aldous Huxley
March: The lark in the clear air by Dennis T. Patrick Sears

Edited: Mar 3, 2:05am Top

From LTers and other friends and family

January: My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - recommended by ridgewaygirl
February: Dead ground in between by Maureen Jennings - from an author bullet from rabbitprincess
March: On Canaan's side by Sebastian Barry from bookbullets

Edited: Mar 16, 2:50pm Top

I'd like to limit this to series I'm already reading, but I'm not excluding new series

- Ruling Passion by Reginald Hill (Dalziel & Pascoe)
- The curious case of the copper corpse by C. Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce)
- Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey (Peter Diamond series)
- Smiley's People by John le Carré
- A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin

Edited: Mar 12, 2:03pm Top


January: The terracotta dog by Andrea Camilleri, translated from Italian by Stephen Sartarelli
February: A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman, translated from Swedish by Henning Koch
March: The Dinner by Herman Koch, translated from Dutch by Sam Garrett

Edited: Apr 2, 12:29am Top

History / historical fiction

- The journal of Hildegard of Bingen by Barbara Lachman
- Innocent heroes: Stories of animals in the First World War by Sigmund Brouwer
- Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières
- Classic John Buchan Stories by John Buchan

Edited: Mar 23, 4:12pm Top

Calendar memos
Books related to commemorative days on the calendar

January 25 - Robert Burns Night: The naming of the dead by Ian Rankin
February 14 - Valentine's Day: The pursuit of love by Nancy Mitford
March 8 - International Women's Day: Roast Beef, Medium: the business adventures of Emma Chesney by Edna Ferber
March 1 - St. David's Day: Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs

April 1 - April Fool's Day:
April 2 - International Children's Book Day:
April 25 - ANZAC Day:
May 24 - Commonwealth Day:

Edited: Apr 6, 3:30pm Top

Alpha-Mystery-KIT - AlphaKIT limited to mysteries

Jan: M & S: The locked room by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Feb: W & H: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Mar: E & K: End of Watch by Stephen King
Apr: I & D: Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes
May: C & T
Jun: Y & N
Jul: B & G
Aug: O & F
Sep: U & P
Oct: A & V
Nov: L & Q
Dec: J & R

Edited: Mar 20, 8:47pm Top


January - Classics: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
February - Debut books: Harry Potter and the sorceror's stone by J.K. Rowling
March - Genre, Mystery from ALA Reading List: The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny

Edited: Mar 15, 4:45pm Top


January: Family Album by Penelope Lively - Costa shortlist 2009
February: Unless by Carol Shields - Canada Reads nominee 2011
March: Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear - Macavity Award 2006

Edited: Mar 16, 2:52pm Top


January - Search and Rescue:
- The art detective: fakes, frauds, and finds and the search for lost treasures by Philip Mould
February - Mine, Yours, Ours:
- Three weeks with my brother by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks
- For your eyes only: Ian Fleming and James Bond by Ben Macintyre
March: The Luck o' the Irish
- An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

Edited: Apr 2, 12:30am Top

3. With a colour in the title: The white cat and the monk: a retelling of the poem "Pangur Bán" by Jo Ellen Bogart, Illustrated by Sydney Smith
5. One word title: Calibre by Ken Bruen
11. Book about books: People of the book by Geraldine Brooks
13. Read a CAT: February CultureCAT - Public health: Being Mortal: ageing, illness, medicine, and what matters in the end by Atul Gawande
14. Author shares my initials: An ordinary decent criminal by Michael Van Rooy
15. Owned for more than 5 years: Last bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
16. Science related: Why we make mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan
17. Author was born in 1930s: Shake hands forever by Ruth Rendell (born 1930)
21. Animal in the title: The Pigeon Tunnel: stories from my life by John le Carré

Oct 25, 2016, 4:45pm Top

Love this - both your topics and pictures. The one for historical fiction had my laughing. What exactly is the calendar memos category for?

Oct 25, 2016, 4:57pm Top

Aaaw, the pictures! :) Have fun reading!

Oct 25, 2016, 6:06pm Top

Love your set-up and your pictures! I too am wondering about the Calendar Memos - is it for Group Reads?

Oct 25, 2016, 6:13pm Top

Awww kitties! Looks like an interesting reading year ahead!

Oct 25, 2016, 7:57pm Top

Thank you all for visiting! The calendar memos should explain itself as I get going, but first up in January I have marked two possibilities: 25th for Burns Night - Eleven Pipers Piping by C.C. Benison would be a good choice, or any Scottish tale; on the 26th we have Australia Day so an Australian book will fit. I haven't decided yet. Maybe I should add "possibilities" under the headings.

Oct 25, 2016, 8:51pm Top

What a clever challenge. Love your topics and pictures, especially for the dust collectors and BingoDOG.

Oct 25, 2016, 9:24pm Top

>18 VivienneR: Ah, it's becoming clear. :)

Oct 25, 2016, 10:46pm Top

very nice set up and pictures

Oct 26, 2016, 6:46am Top

I like your categories, and of course all those lovely kitty pictures. Especially the history one. Caramba!

Oct 26, 2016, 12:55pm Top

Nice cat-egory challenge! :)

Oct 27, 2016, 5:50am Top

Very cute! Good luck and good fun with it!

Oct 27, 2016, 10:51am Top

This is great - love your set-up!

Oct 27, 2016, 11:01am Top

It's purrrrfect!

Oct 27, 2016, 11:09am Top

Thanks everyone! Good to see so many visitors. Can't wait to start reading.

Oct 27, 2016, 3:55pm Top

Love your set-up and pictures. Looking forward to seeing what you read. (and maybe a BB here and there)

Nov 8, 2016, 4:10pm Top

I'm in love with the pictures for >7 VivienneR: and >9 VivienneR:! They're perfect.

Nov 9, 2016, 1:35am Top

Thank you, they are my favourites too!

Nov 9, 2016, 9:39pm Top

Love your set up, I think this should be a perfect challenge for 2017.

Nov 10, 2016, 10:13am Top

Thanks Kristel, I'm looking forward to starting my 2017 reading.

Nov 16, 2016, 10:11pm Top

Ah! I set up a "calendar challenge" myself; but I haven't set up a theme yet!
Love yours! :-)

Nov 20, 2016, 1:01pm Top

Great set-up! Always nice when a thread has furry critters on it! :)

Nov 20, 2016, 4:36pm Top

Thanks, Eva!

Nov 27, 2016, 6:09pm Top

Cats are my favorite animal so very happy to see a cat theme here!

>6 VivienneR: - That cartoon is awesome! I still remember our cats bringing "gifts" home with them. I had a friend who made an interesting observation: If the cat brings home the "prey" dead, they assume you are not able to take care of yourself. If they bring the prey home still alive, they feel that you have the ability to kill the prey yourself. Thankfully, our cats always killed their prey before bringing them home as an offering, which suits me just fine after I learned about a friend who "cat sat" a Siamese cat that liked to bring home live snakes.

Nov 28, 2016, 3:13pm Top

Thanks for dropping by Lori. I truly believe your friend's theory. But live snakes! Yikes! I have friends whose cat tried to "teach" them to kill rats. He kept bringing them live rats. The got good at corralling them into a bedroom where with closed door and open window they hoped the rat would escape. Of course the cat must have thought they needed another "lesson" because the supply continued.

Dec 5, 2016, 4:05pm Top

Love all your cats Vivienne! Looking forward to seeing what you read.

Dec 5, 2016, 7:31pm Top

Thanks. It seems cats and books go together :)

Dec 9, 2016, 10:53am Top

Inspired by Roro8's point system, I've added a letter grade system to my challenge this year.

A for already owned, B for borrowed, and F for new buys.

I'm aiming for 80% A over the year - and hope all the books I've ordered arrive before Jan 1. :-)

Dec 9, 2016, 6:28pm Top

>40 VivienneR: Well, it seems to me that if you ordered them before Jan. 1 they shouldn't be a problem...


(I define by when I ordered...)

Dec 10, 2016, 2:18am Top

Sounds good! I'll go along with that!

Dec 10, 2016, 6:58pm Top

>42 VivienneR: Uh oh. Have I enabled a bad habit? ;-)

Dec 13, 2016, 7:10pm Top

>40 VivienneR:, I love it. I'm wondering why you chose F for newly bought books? Fun? Frivolous? Fabulous? I really hope you manage the 80%. I think that is a great goal. Double A - that is excellent motivation.

I managed about 50% in the A category this year.

Dec 13, 2016, 9:03pm Top

Hi Ro! The A and B reminded me of school marks and of course, F is for Failed. Not that buying books is a failure, but I have far too many (I'm too embarrassed to say just how many) unread books. It seems to have developed into a hobby!

Good for you to reach 50% in the A category. I would be happy with that, but decided to aim high. Which probably means I'll be dodging bookbullets all year :)

Dec 13, 2016, 10:02pm Top

Love the cats!

Dec 14, 2016, 12:24am Top

>45 VivienneR:, then maybe I should start all my reviews next year with "Vivienne wouldn't like this one" ;-)
I think Judy is the one you have to watch out for. I think I get more from her than anybody.
I just thought of another one for F - Fiscally damaging $$$

Dec 14, 2016, 12:51am Top

>46 hailelib: Cats are hard to resist, aren't they?

>47 Roro8: That made me laugh! I better steel myself for your reviews - as well as Judy's and a few others I can think of.

Dec 17, 2016, 1:48pm Top

Great categories!

Dec 18, 2016, 2:38pm Top

Thanks Tess, it's good of you to drop in.

Dec 19, 2016, 2:35pm Top

Puss in Boots is one of my favorite literary felines! Cats of all sorts are enjoyed in the category groups. I like your grading system for your sources of your reads. You should try to keep a GPA for the year to see how well you succeed. Here's to 2017 and more good books!

Dec 20, 2016, 1:17pm Top

Such a cute theme - can I steal the Bingo dog picture?

Dec 20, 2016, 7:30pm Top

>51 mamzel: Puss in Boots would be a good choice for the category. Actually I had The Three Musketeers pencilled in to start me off.

>52 cyderry: Of course! I'd like to have that little dog in RL!

Jan 1, 8:43am Top

Jan 1, 9:11am Top

Happy New Year, Vivienne!

Jan 1, 2:04pm Top

>54 The_Hibernator: and >55 Sace: Thank you both for the greetings. Love that graphic! I hope your New Year is very happy too!

I won't be on LT much for a little while. A couple of days ago I slipped on ice, bounced my head on concrete, and suffered a concussion. I've been advised not to use my computer, iPad, phone or tv for a while, and no housework! This is just a sneaking visit. The good news is that I'm allowed to read!

Jan 1, 2:37pm Top

Oh no! Hope you're feeling better soon. Glad that you get to read at least. :)

Jan 1, 3:37pm Top

>56 VivienneR: OH NO! Take care of yourself! I'm glad you still get to read :-)

Jan 1, 5:58pm Top

>56 VivienneR: Oh no! Take care of yourself, and we'll see you when you're feeling better!

Jan 1, 8:07pm Top

>56 VivienneR: Take care. That has to be hard, glad you can read and maybe you'll get more done by staying away. Hope your head feels better fast.

Jan 1, 10:26pm Top

Poor you. I hope it doesn't hurt too much. Enjoy your reading time.

Jan 1, 11:31pm Top

>56 VivienneR: Ouch! I hope you're resting up and feeling better soon.

Jan 2, 4:42pm Top

Nice theme! :-)

Jan 2, 6:20pm Top

Get well soon!

Jan 2, 11:15pm Top

So sorry to hear about the injury. Take care!

I love your cat categories!

Jan 3, 4:57am Top

Vivienne : I'm so sorry to read about your injury. Ice can be so treacherous, take care of yourself.

Jan 3, 8:20pm Top

>56 VivienneR: Yikes! Hope you're all better soon.

Jan 4, 1:48am Top

Thank you all so very much for your kind thoughts. My condition has improved, but I'm having difficulty concentrating on reading anything. I find myself still on the same page for a long time yet still not able to take it in. So I will have to resort to audiobooks until things improve.

Jan 4, 10:25am Top

A friend of mine had a concussion last year and is still suffering consequences from it! Hope you get over it soon. I'm glad you can still listen to books.

Jan 4, 4:07pm Top

>69 mamzel: It's surprising just how long the effects of a concussion can last. I hope I don't suffer consequences as long as your friend.

Edited: Jan 4, 4:12pm Top

For AwardsCAT January: Costa (shortlist 2009)

Family Album by Penelope Lively

I have enjoyed other novels by Lively but can't count this one among them. The topic was insubstantial: a family built on what the mother believed to be the ideal family, large, happy, close, with lots of traditions to maintain and keep them in touch with her stereotypical idea of a model family, which of course this family is definitely not. While most of the characters were unpleasant and without depth, the father, who had very little presence at all in the story, still managed to be the most unpleasant. While reading this I was reminded of the type of people I dislike most. But it was Lively's writing style, harsh and staccato with short abrupt sentences, that condemned this book for me. Two stars for this one.

After I finished the book, I discovered that I had tried it a couple of years ago and abandoned it, something I was tempted to do again this time.

Jan 5, 2:26am Top

>71 VivienneR:, that cover reminds me of Those Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney, which I liked much more than you liked yours. Five stars to you for finishing it this time.

Jan 5, 2:38pm Top

I'm sorry to read about the fall you took, Vivienne. I hope you are able to recover with no after-effects. My husband went down in our driveway just before Christmas but was lucky to avoid a serious injury, ice can take you down so quickly that you have no time to brace yourself. Hope our weather warms up soon and all this dangerous ice melts away!

Jan 5, 7:57pm Top

Just getting caught up with threads and sorry to hear about your fall. Hope you feel better soon.

Jan 6, 1:01am Top

>72 Roro8: Thanks, Ro! I deserve your stars because I truly did NOT enjoy that book! I might go back and reduce the rating as I can't think of one good thing to say about it. I'll put Those Faraday Girls on the wishlist!

>73 DeltaQueen50: and >74 dudes22: Thank you, Judy and Betty! I thought the effects were wearing off and suddenly they are worse again. But it has only been a week, so I'm hoping for the best.

Judy, that's exactly right, you have no chance to brace. And I was out in the open with nothing to grab onto, even if I'd had time. The dryer vent comes out above a small roof so the new snow melts, drips onto the ground, forms ice and is covered up by the new snow. I should know better than do laundry on a night when it's snowing. I was trying to clear the ice before my unsteady husband, who has Parkinson's, ventured near.

Anyway, I got one more book read. This one for translations.

The terracotta dog by Andrea Camilleri

Another great mystery from Camilleri featuring Commissario Montalbano who comes to an agreement with mafioso Tano the Greek. Their meeting precipitates a much bigger investigation than anyone could imagine. My only complaint about Camilleri's writing is that the profanities come across as even more crude than they are generally. I wonder if this is because of the translation or if his characters are just as vulgar in Italian.

Jan 6, 6:22am Top

>75 VivienneR: - I picked up a few of these at the FOL sale in anticipation of starting them this year.

Jan 6, 3:02pm Top

>76 dudes22: That's where I got mine too! Then they languished on the shelf for a long time. This one was the best I've read so far.

Jan 6, 3:21pm Top

Oh no! Hope you recover soon. Happy New Year!

Jan 7, 5:17pm Top

>78 VictoriaPL: Thank you, things are improving slowly. And a Happy New Year to you too!

Jan 9, 11:27pm Top

A slow start this year, but I got two finished this weekend:

Category: Dust Collectors:

Quite honestly by John Mortimer

Although a bit predictable, Mortimer has written an entertaining story that pokes fun at a number of groups including the justice system's ineffective attempts to rehabilitate released convicts. My favourite character was the bishop who is disappointed in God for supporting President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. It makes one wonder how the bishop is handling the result of the 2016 US election.


Category: RandomCAT

The art detective: fakes, frauds, and finds and the search for lost treasures by Philip Mould

Philip Mould, Antiques Roadshow expert, gallery owner, and authority on British portraiture shares some stories about his experience in the business. They are entertaining recollections, accurately explaining methods to discover the origin and history of a painting. My favourite story involved the research into an unusual portrait of Elizabeth I.

Jan 12, 3:48pm Top

Category: CATwoman January: classics by women

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Not my favourite Austen, but an excellent read for fans of the author or genre. Austen's work is timeless, especially in the portrayal of young people, so it is no surprise that there are so many retellings of her stories.

Jan 12, 6:14pm Top

>81 VivienneR: Not my favorite Austen either, but it's so much fun! And Henry Tilney is adorable. :)

Jan 14, 1:22pm Top

>82 christina_reads: I enjoyed all the characters. That's one thing where Austen was genius.

Edited: Jan 14, 1:24pm Top

Category: Recommendations. This recommendation came from ridgewaygirl.

My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

There are times we are in a position when our guard is down and we may speak of things formerly restrained in silence. Lucy Barton's lengthy stay in hospital was one of those times. Her mother's unexpected visit of several days meant old memories surfaced, old issues were faced. It did not necessarily mean things were resolved, but that they were recognized. Although her mother could not say that she loved Lucy, it was obvious. Lucy Barton's story about the human condition is melancholy yet tender, without becoming sad or harrowing.

Strout has a way of using words to paint a picture that the reader cannot but completely comprehend. When she writes about something so inconsequential as a wiggle of the fingers, it becomes part of the story, a story that would be bereft without it.

Jan 14, 2:15pm Top

>84 VivienneR: -- I almost picked this up at the library today. Maybe I should go back.

Jan 14, 2:16pm Top

>84 VivienneR: a BB for me!

Jan 14, 9:24pm Top

>85 dudes22: and >86 tess_schoolmarm: I know this book doesn't appeal to everyone because it's slow-moving. However, I enjoyed it a lot.

Jan 14, 11:26pm Top

The only reason I didn't pick it up was because I had left my TOB list at home and wasn't sure if it was on it or not.

Jan 15, 7:47am Top

Plan to read it for next month.

Jan 15, 12:08pm Top

I hope you both enjoy it. It is thought-provoking. I'll look forward to your opinions.

Jan 15, 2:59pm Top

Getting caught up here and saw mention of your slip on the ice. Glad to see you are doing better and recovering. Falls like that are always scary. I get nervous the first frost-up of every year, mainly because of the different sidewalk surfaces we have in town... some are very slippery when a thin layer of frost lays on the surface.

Glad to see you are enjoying the Inspector Montalbano books! Such fun reading!

Jan 16, 1:29am Top

Thank you, Lori. I remember extreme winter conditions in Victoria - a city not known for winter conditions!! My problem was that my dryer vent is in a spot that melts snow off a low roof, which drips onto the concrete patio. I usually keep it clear of snow so that we don't get an ice rink. But one night when we had a substantial snowfall I happened to be doing laundry. The result was that the patio was thick with snow and ice had formed underneath. My husband has Parkinson's Disease and is a bit unsteady, so I was clearing the snow, ready for some ice melt, so that he wouldn't fall. However, he is good at caring for an invalid.

I'm looking forward to more Montalbano. He's a great character.

Jan 18, 1:38am Top

Category: Biography

Escape from the land of snows: The young Dalai Lama's harrowing flight to freedom and the making of a spiritual hero by Stephan Talty

Talty begins with a brief history of Tibet and the method of selecting a Dalai Lama then the story proceeds as exciting and daring as any adventure story. My knowledge of Tibet and the Dalai Lama's exile was fairly basic so I found well-researched story to be enlightening and interesting.

Jan 20, 12:52am Top

Category: Calendar memo January 25
In honour of Robert Burns and Burns Night

The naming of the dead by Ian Rankin

Another great story set in Edinburgh. It coincides with the G8 summit meeting and the London terrorist attack in 2005, which gives it some realism. Neither Rankin nor Rebus in all his squalid glory, ever let me down. Being in charge of the case, Siobhan Clarke was in command and acquitted herself well.

Jan 21, 2:09pm Top

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT January: M & S

The locked room by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

This was my first by the authors but it certainly won't be the last. I really enjoyed the view of Sweden in the 1970s, the comic humour of the characters, and the calm, methodical Martin Beck in contrast with Bulldozer Olsson. A locked room mystery is difficult to pull off but there is great reward when it works as well as this one. The irony of the ending was a very nice twist.

Jan 23, 10:08am Top

>95 VivienneR: I got hit by a book bullet. To be honest, I have an earlier one in the series on my wish list from another book bullet.

Jan 23, 12:54pm Top

>95 VivienneR: - Book bullet for me too!

Jan 23, 1:02pm Top

>96 thornton37814: & >97 LittleTaiko: I guess I should have started at the beginning of the series, but I'm just glad I found them. I've had a few by the author on the shelf since a FOL book sale a couple of years ago. Glad the bullet hit the mark!

Jan 23, 2:12pm Top

Category: Series - January

Ruling Passion by Reginald Hill

This story describes the development of the relationship between Dalziel and Pascoe as well as with Pascoe and Ellie. The crime had a personal element for Pascoe and he struggled to remain professional. But although it begins well, the story became somewhat muddled and lost impetus. Not Hill’s best work.

Edited: Jan 24, 1:52pm Top

Category: BingoDOG 17: Author was born in 1930s

Shake hands forever by Ruth Rendell

This was a page-turner that I read in one day. However, it's difficult to imagine a detective being taken off a case, and the investigation halted, just because the prime suspect complains that he's being harassed, which is what Chief Inspector Griswald did. Wexford had to carry on investigating covertly, with the help of his nephew.

Jan 25, 6:59pm Top

Category: BingoDOG 16 - Science related

Why we make mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan

This is an informative and often entertaining book about the psychology of decision-making and behaviour. If you are looking for advice on how to avoid making mistakes, this probably isn't the right book. However, it does have many thought-provoking sections and I may give more thought to minor decision-making.

One segment I found interesting was on the topic of finality vs the possibility of change.

"Hope impedes adaptation, meaning if you are stuck with something, you learn to live with it. Voters, for instance, have been shown to recognize the strengths of a candidate they opposed once that candidate is elected."

Looks like this will be put to the test in the US since the 2016 election results.

Jan 25, 7:43pm Top

>101 VivienneR: Hey, I just read this one too! :)

Jan 26, 1:44am Top

>102 rabbitprincess: Aha! It might have been your bullet that hit me!

Jan 29, 5:32pm Top

>104 VivienneR: You came away with some gems there.

Jan 29, 5:41pm Top

Whoa, the latest Ian Rankin at the FOL book sale?! Nice! A very good haul.

Jan 29, 5:50pm Top

Those are some great books for $5. I love the Barbara Cleverly series and am taking #5 with me when we go on vacation next month.

Jan 30, 2:44am Top

>105 thornton37814: Yes, I'm pretty happy!

>106 rabbitprincess: I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the Rankin!

>107 dudes22: I've only read one Barbara Cleverly but always meant to pick up more. Another lucky find.

Jan 30, 4:38am Top

>104 VivienneR:, Wow! That was an absolute bargain.

Jan 30, 8:31am Top

Nice haul!

Jan 30, 2:16pm Top

Ro and Victoria, yes, I did well. It helps to know what to look for, thanks to discussions here on LT :)

Jan 30, 2:22pm Top

Category: History

The journal of Hildegard of Bingen by Barbara Lachman

My love of Hildegard's music attracted me to Lachman's book but this wasn't an easy read. The author describes the year 1152 in the form of a journal by Hildegard. The text was structured to imply 12th century speech and had to be read carefully although it became clearer about halfway through the book. Added to this were extensive annotations on every page that required jumping back and forward from one to the other. The main themes were Hildegard's devotion to music and her goal to have and autonomous convent free from the paternalism of the church, in which she succeeded, being the first woman to do so. The book begins with a chronology of her life from her birth in 1098 to the beginning of this journal and ends with another covering 1152 until her death in 1179.

Remembering a time past when she gathered herbs with a friend:
"I dizzy easily in its contemplation; my head and inner senses flood with insistent light. I am filled with the figure of Disibode in the responsory: He sings himself as the greening of God's finger, transforming the entire mountain from a bleached-out, barren cone into its fructification as the plantation of God from the reciting tone of the mode, as the green creative finger refuses to rest."

Edited: Feb 1, 2:52am Top

Category BingoDOG 11: Books about books

People of the book by Geraldine Brooks

Australian book conservator Hanna Heath is called on to work on the immensely important, priceless Sarajevo Haggadah, rescued from the shelling of the Bosnian war. During her investigation, bit by bit she uncovers details suggesting stories of the 500 years of the book's life. Hannah's personal story, especially the relationship with her mother, did not ring true and much of it was unnecessary to the story. However, as a former archivist I found the fictionalized life of the Haggadah to be fascinating.

Feb 4, 2:17pm Top

Category: BingoDOG Author shares same initials

An ordinary decent criminal by Michael Van Rooy

Improbable? Yes, but highly entertaining. An ordinary, decent criminal (not the real bad kind) is determined to go straight in Winnipeg with his wife and child. Funny, fast-paced, and definitely Canadian.

Sadly the author died in 2011 at 42 years old. There are only three books in the series, but I'll be sure to read them all.

Edited: Feb 4, 6:04pm Top

Category: Series - Flavia de Luce

The curious case of the copper corpse by C. Alan Bradley

Short, but just as much fun as any other of Flavia's mysteries.

Feb 5, 7:01am Top

>115 VivienneR: Glad to hear that Flavia is still managing to entertain, Though it's going to be a while before I get to that instakment.

Feb 5, 10:36am Top

>116 AHS-Wolfy: This one could be considered a standalone, Dave. And it is very short, more like an essay. Available in e-book format.

Feb 6, 7:06pm Top

>115 VivienneR: I should be getting to that one soon. I have one ahead of it to read.

Feb 7, 5:51am Top

>113 VivienneR:, I've had that one on my shelf for a few years now and haven't got around to reading it. I notice my library has it available on their audio app so maybe I will try that version.

Feb 7, 12:40pm Top

>119 Roro8: Brooks is certainly a talented writer. And Australian! I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Edited: Feb 8, 12:25pm Top

Category: Recommendations
From an author/series bullet from rabbitprincess.

Dead ground in between by Maureen Jennings

I started with this one, the fourth in the the series, because the setting is December 1942 the month my husband was born. Ex-pat Jennings, who now lives in Canada, has recreated the English winter of 1942 with a vivid reality that transports the reader to wartime shortages, rationing, evacuees, POWs, national secrets and uncertainty about the future. This story has great characters, authentic setting, combined with a page-turner mystery and the distant memory of an earlier battle of Roundheads and Cavaliers. Jennings provides the inspiration of the story in an author's note at the end.

Another series for my must-read list!

(I have to add that I enjoyed this more than rabbitprincess but that was because the ubiquitous rabbit stew didn't put me off!)

edited to correct author touchstone

Edited: Feb 7, 1:03pm Top

>121 VivienneR: Book bullet.

ETA: It was already on the wish list--or at least the first in series was.

Feb 7, 5:08pm Top

>121 VivienneR: Ha, I'd totally forgotten about that! Must have managed to suppress the memory ;) It is a great series, though. Glad you liked it!

Feb 7, 6:41pm Top

>122 thornton37814: I had the first in the series on my wishlist too but when I noticed the setting date I had to try this one first. Now I'll go back to the first one.

>123 rabbitprincess: The rabbits were mentioned a few times (there was precious little meat available otherwise) but one sentence was a bit graphic. I thought of your tender feelings when I read it :(

Feb 7, 9:09pm Top

>121 VivienneR: I've not read any books by Maureen Jennings yet, though I love the Murdoch Mysteries series based on her novels. I do like historical mysteries, so now I'll have to put both that series and this one on my wishlist.

Feb 8, 12:09pm Top

>125 mathgirl40: And I've not seen (or read) the Murdoch Mysteries. Something to go on my wishlist.

Feb 8, 12:43pm Top

Category: CATwoman February - Debut book

Harry Potter and the sorceror's stone by J.K. Rowling

Now I know what all the fuss was about. I really enjoyed my first (and Rowling's first) Harry Potter book. I wish he had been around when I was a child.

Feb 8, 12:53pm Top

>127 VivienneR: Oh, what fun! Hope you enjoy the rest of the series too.

Feb 8, 2:37pm Top

>127 VivienneR: My daughter grew up with the series and I got to enjoy it along with her. She still loves the series and has gone twice to Harry Potter World.

Feb 8, 4:50pm Top

>127 VivienneR:, I read my first Harry Potter about a year ago too. I was very impressed and the last book was my favorite.

Feb 8, 8:12pm Top

>130 Kristelh: The last book also ended up being my favourite. Until it, the 4th book was in that spot.

Feb 9, 11:20am Top

>128 VictoriaPL:, >129 mamzel:, >130 Kristelh:, >131 LibraryCin: That settles it! I have to keep going with the entire series now! I feel like I've just joined an exclusive club.

Edited: Feb 9, 11:44am Top

>132 VivienneR: You'll be in good company!

I can remember the day the last book came out. I took my daughter to 4-H camp that morning with her copy (she couldn't wait a whole week to read it) and I came home, sat down in the front living room and read my copy in one sitting. When I came to THAT part I could only close the book and bawl. Monsieur was concerned until he realized what I was doing.

Feb 9, 12:19pm Top

>133 mamzel: Oh oh! I know nothing of "THAT part". I'll keep it in mind as I don't like anyone see me cry.

Edited: Feb 10, 3:15pm Top

Category: awardsCAT: Canada Reads nominee 2011

Unless by Carol Shields

Shields has a remarkable ability to write beautifully about the most ordinary lives. On the other hand, why do I not connect with her characters? Shields makes me feel she is trying very hard - too hard - to work in every angle, every nuance, of her story.

Feb 11, 7:21pm Top

Category: translations:

A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman (translated from Swedish)

My doctor gave me this book. She had just turned the last page and had to share it with someone. I know how she felt. And even though it might have a moral mixed in with the quirky humour, it's hardly noticeable. After his wife's death, Ove is desperately lonely and more than anything wants to join her, however, each attempt to take his own life misfires. As the story advances Ove and Sonja's story is told. One complaint: Backman has obviously never owned a cat and he got the feline characteristics all wrong. Never mind, the charming characters, including the cat and the curmudgeonly Ove, make up for all the transgressions. By the way, the old curmudgeon is fifty-nine!

Category: biography:

Michelle Obama: an American story by David Colbert

I noticed this book in the library and thought it would be a good idea to learn a little more about the (now former) First Lady. All I know about her is what I've read in news columns. This is an excellent, short biography specifically addressed to young adults. It doesn't provide a lot of detail, but is an interesting read. Michelle Robinson, who had to stand up for herself more than other girls, is not just a good example, she is a guiding light.

Feb 13, 10:50am Top

>136 VivienneR: I picked up Ove at Costco yesterday. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it (as well as your generous doctor).

Feb 13, 2:11pm Top

>137 mamzel: I hope you enjoy it too! I'll watch for your opinion.

Feb 13, 2:19pm Top

Category: mystery alphaKIT: W & H

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

A psychological mystery from a Canadian author that was very well done. Not much of a mystery about who gets bumped off, but how, and who did the deed. Unpleasant characters to enjoy hating and plenty of suspense.

Feb 16, 10:31pm Top

Category: Series: February (2)

Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey Peter Diamond series

A good police procedural set in Bath with a dash of history thrown in. When a human bone is discovered on land used by a group who re-enact Civil War battles between Roundheads and Cavaliers, the group is scrutinized. The case is soon linked to another, more recent murder case and the joint investigation becomes complex. However, Lovesey did an excellent job of keeping all the details clear and easy to follow. The tetchy Peter Diamond is his usual technophobe self, although proud to be able to make a mobile phone call, keying the number with his thumb "just like a teenager". I enjoyed this one a lot.

Feb 17, 1:18pm Top

Category: History/historical:

Innocent heroes: stories of animals in the First World War by Sigmund Brouwer

Brouwer has given us stories of Canadians in The Great War, particularly of the animals who provided support to the soldiers. Although available elsewhere, the part animals played in wartime is seldom brought together in one book as it is here. The author also includes the immense contribution made by indigenous soldiers, whose enlistment statistics were outstanding. Each story is followed by the facts that inspired the story - a format in itself is a good lesson in constructing fiction from fact. This is an excellent introduction to the part Canada played in WWI for middle school students and older. It demonstrates the value of camaraderie and respect. Each story could be taken for individual lessons and discussion.

This was an Early Reviewer win.

And a second ER win that doesn't fit in any category:

Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn

A delightful picture book about a boy who plans to sort his belongings. There are so many ways to sort: by colour, pattern, texture, rhyme? This is a lovely way to learn more adjectives, or to have fun counting. The colourful illustrations from paper cut-outs are beautiful and look like they could be picked off the page. Naturally, the "sorted" possessions at the end of the book are still in a kind of muddle.

Edited: Feb 17, 2:46pm Top

12. BingoDOG: 3. With a colour in the title:

P 3. The white cat and the monk: a retelling of the poem "Pangur Bán" by Jo Ellen Bogart, Illustrated by Sydney Smith

I borrowed this book from the library but intend to order a personal copy. It is a beautiful version of Pangur Bán, a poem written over a thousand years ago. The poem has been translated many times but this illustrated version perfectly captures the solitary contemplative monk and cat. An author's note details the origin.

Thanks to a BB from avatiakh

Feb 19, 2:11am Top

Category BingoDOG 13: Read a CAT: Feb CultureCAT: Public health

Being Mortal: ageing, illness, medicine, and what matters in the end by Atul Gawande

"People naturally prefer to avoid the subject of their decrepitude.” Yes, count me as one of them! Nevertheless, this was a thought-provoking book. The call for changes to end-of-life care is one that is not made often enough, or is unheard. After caring for a neighbour who died happily at home, I can attest to Gawande's opinion that the type of care matters. Our present system of containment does not meet the need. However, I was surprised that there were not any new ideas here. The reader learns more about how Gawande's knowledge and awareness developed.

Edited: Feb 20, 12:27am Top

Category: Dust Collectors:

Mortal Coils by Aldous Huxley

A lovely collection of five short stories. Hard to choose a favourite because they were all good, but The Giocondo Smile was excellent. Huxley's vocabulary is, as usual, exceptional. The reader will pick up at least one new word, or possibly many.

Feb 22, 4:53pm Top

Category: RandomCAT: Mine, yours, ours

Three weeks with my brother by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks

When the Sparks brothers went on a round the world trip they also shared memories of growing up making this a combination of travelogue and biography. They didn't learn anything new about each other, just reminisced about their family. Long segments described the recent death of their sister, leaving the brothers the only remaining members of the family, and of the health conditions of other members of their families. Nicholas became occasionally preachy. There was so little about their travels that they might have written it without leaving home. Striking a "poor-me" tone, this did not turn out to be what I expected.

Feb 22, 8:57pm Top

A second read for RandomCAT: Mine, yours, ours

For your eyes only: Ian Fleming and James Bond by Ben Macintyre

Neither a biography of Fleming nor his fictional hero, James Bond, but "a personal investigation into the intersection of the two lives". A remarkable double life that went down in history - although Bond is definitely the more attractive of the pair. This well-written and entertaining book by Macintyre is a must-read for Bond fans, whether the preferred format is print or film.

Feb 22, 11:46pm Top

>127 VivienneR:
You're so lucky who get to read them for the first time!!

Feb 22, 11:51pm Top

>146 VivienneR: Book Bullet! I love it all (Both Print and film!) I just checked out this author and it looks like he's done a lot of NF espionage books.

Feb 23, 8:35am Top

>146 VivienneR: You got me too. Fleming's Bond books are a guilty pleasure of mine.

Feb 23, 11:38am Top

>147 -Eva-: And looking forward to reading them!

>148 Tanya-dogearedcopy: & >149 VictoriaPL: It was Ben Macintyre's name that convinced me to read this one.

Feb 23, 3:47pm Top

>146 VivienneR: - This sounds great! I've enjoyed the movies overall and this would be an interesting look at the character.

Feb 23, 5:18pm Top

Oh dear, with you now reading the Harry Potter books, I might be the last hold-out! I have read the first two or three but one of these years I am going to make the complete Harry Potter series one of my challenges.

Edited: Feb 24, 2:55pm Top

>152 DeltaQueen50: I've only made it though four-and-a-half of the Harry Potter novels. I tried years ago to read/listen to them, didn't care for them for various reasons; but decided to give it another try for the sake of my 10-yo. Ironically, she hates them more than I do! Still, I keep the books on hand. Maybe I'll binge-read the rest for a personal challenge too :-)

Feb 24, 12:35pm Top

>153 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Good to know I'm not alone. :)

Feb 24, 1:13pm Top

>151 LittleTaiko: I've heard so many bits of information about Fleming that I didn't really think there would be much of interest, but Macintyre's name drew me. Glad it did.

>152 DeltaQueen50: I doubt that I'll read the entire series. I would have devoured them when I was a youngster though.

>153 Tanya-dogearedcopy: My sister-in-law in Australia is reading the series along with the grandchildren. It was a big thing at the beginning but they have gone strangely quiet about it. I have the impression she is more into Harry Potter that the kids.

Feb 27, 1:57am Top

Category BingoDOG 21: Animal in the title

The Pigeon Tunnel: stories from my life by John le Carré

Although I've enjoyed many of le Carré's books, I knew little about the person, aka David Cornwell - until now. This book is an autobiography of sorts, made up of stories from his life as a spy and as a writer. Each chapter is a story in itself without diversions into irrelevant details, a common fault of the genre. As in his fiction, the writing is excellent - except in this case there is the addition of humour and a friendly, affable quality when appropriate. Difficult to pick a favourite chapter, but I particularly enjoyed "The Wrong Horse's Mouth" that includes accounts of his meetings with the President of Italy and with PM Margaret Thatcher. This book was a pleasure to read and I can heartily recommend it.

Feb 27, 3:55pm Top

Category: Series:

Smiley's People by John le Carré

My recent read of The Pigeon Tunnel spurred me to re-read one of le Carré's spy novels. I started Smiley's People forgetting that it is the third of a trilogy. No matter, it didn't spoil the enjoyment. It's odd that when reading le Carré's books, my mind's eye sees them in black and white.

Feb 27, 4:36pm Top

I've still never read any Le Carre (although I do have The Constant Gardener on my TBR pile, and I enjoyed the film of The Hunt for Red October). I think spying just doesn't really do it for me, somehow.

Feb 27, 6:00pm Top

>156 VivienneR: The Pigeon Tunnel was really good! I am glad you liked it. And oddly enough I am on a le Carré reread too! Mine is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I'm rereading it after the loss of John Hurt.

Feb 27, 9:21pm Top

>157 VivienneR: LOL, I see his stories in a sort of mix of black & white and khaki...

I was on a le Carré binge a couple of years ago, and keep meaning to get back to the catalogue. I think 'The Little Drummer Girl' is next on my list :-)

I picked up the recent biography by Adam Sisman on audio by accident, I was thinking 'The Pigeon Tunnel' and jumped the gun! I probably will let the biography languish in the TBR stacks until I can get a hold of the autobiography!

Feb 28, 1:20am Top

>158 Jackie_K: I have to admit that I'm not a big spy fan although looking at what I've recently read, I'm beginning to wonder :) Give me a good old whodunnit any day.

>159 rabbitprincess: I might go back to the earliest le Carré that I have on the shelf, which I believe is The Looking-glass war. But it won't be for a while. I loved The Pigeon Tunnel much more that I expected to.

>160 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Glad I'm not the only one who reads in colour (or not)!

Adam Sisman's book looks interesting. I've made a note about it so that I can check it out sometime. It's always interesting to compare a biography with an autobiography.

Mar 1, 1:32pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: February 14: Valentine's Day

The pursuit of love by Nancy Mitford

A splendid look at the lifestyle of the upper classes between the wars: the unschooled children allowed free rein by indulgent elders; the unwanted children abandoned to more appreciative relatives; the aristocratic eccentricities. All of these Mitford was familiar with and she portrays them with the accuracy of personal knowledge. These richly drawn characters could have no other origins but her own family. The dismal conditions and despair of the war contrasted sharply with what had been a dignified, blissful life for the Radletts. Linda Radlett, pursued love without being aware of what it meant. A beautifully written novel by one of the famed Mitford sisters.

Mar 1, 1:49pm Top

Summary for February

Category: Dust Collectors:
Mortal Coils by Aldous Huxley 3.5*

Category: Recommendations:
Dead ground in between by Maureen Jennings 4.5*

Category: Series:
Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey Peter Diamond series 4*
The curious case of the copper corpse by C. Alan Bradley 4*
Smiley's People by John le Carré 4*

Category: Translations:
A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman 4*

Category: Biography:
Michelle Obama: an American story by David Colbert 5*

Category: History/historical:
Innocent heroes; stories of animals in the First World War by Sigmund Brouwer 4*

Category: Calendar Memos: February 14: Valentine's Day
The pursuit of love by Nancy Mitford 4*

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: W & H
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison 3.5*

Category: CATwoman: Debut
Harry Potter and the sorceror's stone by J.K. Rowling 4*

Category: AwardsCAT: Canada Reads nominee 2011
Unless by Carol Shields 3*

Category: RandomCAT: Mine, yours, ours
Three weeks with my brother by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks 2.5*
For your eyes only: Ian Fleming and James Bond by Ben Macintyre 4.5*

Category BingoDOG:
3. The white cat and the monk: a retelling of the poem "Pangur Bán" by Jo Ellen Bogart, Illustrated by Sydney Smith 4.5*
13. Being Mortal: ageing, illness, medicine, and what matters in the end by Atul Gawande 3*
14. An ordinary decent criminal by Michael Van Rooy 4*
21. The Pigeon Tunnel: stories from my life by John le Carré 5*

No Category: Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn 4*

Year to date letter grade stats: 33 books
AA - owned since before 2015: 6 (18%)
A - owned: 21 (64%)
B - borrowed: 6 (18%)
F - new purchases: 0

So far, so good! A total of 27 books off the shelves! Unfortunately it didn't create much in the way of extra space as I kept some, and bought more.

Mar 1, 6:42pm Top

Good for you for making room on your shelves! I am being quite successful at that this year so far as well. Unfortunately I broke down a week or so ago and placed a book order, but still, I have read more that I have bought so that's a plus!

Mar 2, 1:34am Top

It wasn't a lot of room, but I'll try and keep it up for the rest of the year. Like you, as long as I can say I read more than I bought, I'll be happy. I mean, you have to buy some books!

Edited: Mar 3, 2:06am Top

These are my reading plans for March:

Category: Dust Collectors:
The lark in the clear air by Dennis T. Patrick Sears

Category: Recommendations:
On Canaan's side by Sebastian Barry

Category: Series:
A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin

Category: Translations:
The Dinner by Herman Koch

Category: Biography:
Jane Austen by Carol Shields

Category: History/historical:
Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières

Category: Calendar Memos: March 8: International Women's Day
Roast Beef, Medium: the business adventures of Emma Chesney by Edna Ferber

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: E & K
End of Watch by Stephen King

Category: CATwoman: Genres
The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny

Category: AwardsCAT: Macavity Award 2006
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Category: RandomCAT: The Luck o' the Irish
An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

12. BingoDOG:
5: one word title: Calibre by Ken Bruen

Mar 3, 2:08am Top

Category: Recommendations:

On Canaan's side by Sebastian Barry

At 89 years old, Lilly relates a sentimental account of escape from political upheaval in Ireland to the US, sharing memories measured by the number of days since her grandson Bill died. The hyperbolic language, surely invented by writers of the "Irish immigrant in America" genre, is annoying. Lilly is shown to be ill-educated, ignorant, yet this is not apparent in her flights of flamboyant prose "I carry in my skull a sort of molten sphere instead of a brain, and I am burning there, with horror, and misery." Although I can appreciate Barry's talent with words, they do not sit comfortably with Lily's persona. If the theatrical clichéd quality can be tuned out, Lily's story of her eighty-nine years unfolds more credibly. There is no doubt that Barry can create a colourful turn of phrase and tell a vivid story, but they are not my choice. Disappointing.

Mar 5, 3:19pm Top

Category: Dust Collectors:

The lark in the clear air by Dennis T. Patrick Sears

This was Sears' first novel, published in 1976, the year he died. In 1931 when Danny Mulcahy was fifteen both his parents were killed and he was left to fend for himself. With no other relatives in Alberta, he set out for his uncle's home in Ontario. He found an eccentric, who was educated, understanding and could be fierce. Sears' relates the story of Danny's coming-of-age. The writing is at times coarse, shows the author's inexperience, yet can be quite tender. Sears drew on his own history as cowboy, lumberjack and policeman. It is unfortunate that he didn't live to write more.

Mar 5, 7:20pm Top

>167 VivienneR: Oh! I'm so disappointed that Canaan's Side isn't one of his best. I've had it in my stacks for a couple of years now; and hadn't gotten around to it (always a bit embarrassing when there's a newer release out!) Maybe I'll just skip over it...

Mar 5, 9:36pm Top

>169 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Tanya, don't forget that many people liked it. In fact, I believe the majority liked it - you might be one of them! Anyway, give it a try. I'll watch out for your opinion.

Mar 6, 12:23am Top

Category: Translations:

The Dinner by Herman Koch, translated from Dutch by Sam Garrett

It's the kind of book where you can't look away - like driving slowly past a traffic accident. Every detail is important. In the early part of the book, the details may seem trivial, but then as more information comes out, it comes together. The story started in a way I thought I understood, I thought I knew where it was going. And then before my eyes it completely changed direction! By then I was utterly hooked. There are some weak spots in the plot but they are easily overlooked. This is dark, disturbing, unpleasant and shocking, but undoubtedly clever.

Mar 6, 9:11pm Top

>171 VivienneR: Read it for my f2f book club at some point last year. I thought it was very good, but it did get some mixed reviews. I think it was mainly some of the older ladies who weren't as keen. The younger ones seemed to like it. (I think that was this book where we had the older/younger divide...)

Mar 7, 12:50am Top

>172 LibraryCin: That's interesting, but yes, I can see how a mixed-generation group would see this differently. I enjoyed it (I'm in the older group) but my eyebrows shot up into my hairline a few times!

Mar 7, 2:49pm Top

>173 VivienneR: It is possible I'm mixing this up with a different book, but I think this was the one!

Mar 7, 5:41pm Top

I'm taking a BB for The Dinner, sounds like an unusual read.

Mar 7, 6:59pm Top

>171 VivienneR: I haven't read 'The Dinner' but I have read Summer House with Swimming Pool and Dear Mr. M.. I liked them both well enough to make sure I get De Greppel ('The Ditch') as soon as it has been translated into English; but because he seems to be getting better with each novel, I'm a bit hesitant about going back to his earlier, if better-known works.

Mar 7, 7:22pm Top

>174 LibraryCin: Sounds like the right one!

>175 Chrischi_HH: That was the reason I took a BB too!

>176 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I'd like to try Summer House with Swimming Pool next. But if Koch is improving with time, I should add Dear Mr. M. as well.

Edited: Mar 7, 8:49pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: March 8: International Women's Day

Roast Beef, Medium: the business adventures of Emma Chesney by Edna Ferber

Reminiscent of an old Hollywood movie, Emma McChesney is a fast-talking travelling petticoat sales"man". She is divorced and plans to put her teenage son through college with her earnings. Being mindful of the risks involved in competing with male sales reps has not made her become hardened or any less professional. Still, she knows what to expect in a restaurant pie or stew and stays with the reliable "roast beef, medium".

Written in 1913, Ferber gives the reader an idea of what life was like for business women in the early 20th century.

Mar 8, 5:31pm Top

>171 VivienneR: - I had heard a review on NPR when The Dinner first came out and then I read some people's thoughts here on LT and thought maybe it wasn't for me. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I'll read it, but I did find your comments interesting.

BTW - I hate when I'm reading a book and haven't paid enough attention to the details and it comes back to bite me later and then I can't find the place in the book that I want/need to reread.

Edited: Mar 9, 12:17am Top

>179 dudes22: The topic is very different to anything I've read before. But it's well done. I thought it was worth a try. It won't keep me up at night, but I won't forget it.

ETA If you happen forget a detail, you'll still get the story. And it's not a long book, which was good.

Edited: Mar 9, 4:51pm Top

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: E & K

End of Watch by Stephen King

More than a straight crime story, but not typical King horror. It strains credibility somewhat - but this is Stephen King after all. This is the final volume of a trilogy that could be read as a standalone because King obligingly fills in much of the history, but it will be more enjoyable as a series. The characters are outstanding and their development during the course of the trilogy is excellent.

Mar 9, 6:36pm Top

After finishing End of Watch, I wanted to turn right around and go back to Mr. Mercedes! The trilogy is my favourite Stephen King work.

Mar 9, 10:16pm Top

>182 rabbitprincess: I feel the same way. Life will not be the same without Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson.

Mar 11, 2:37pm Top

Category: History/historical:

Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières

An epic novel set in Turkey depicting the history of that country in the early part of the 20th century when a peaceful life was changed by politics and war. It's a long book, in parts more like an historical document written as a novel. I needed to check Wikipedia on occasion to get more details. It was, however, beautifully-written, compassionate and understanding.

Mar 11, 9:06pm Top

>171 VivienneR: I had a similar reaction to The Dinner that you did. Though it had received mixed reviews from other readers, I thought it was brilliant.

Mar 12, 2:23pm Top

>171 VivienneR: Brilliant indeed! The story stays in the mind.

Mar 12, 6:42pm Top

>162 VivienneR: - I need to find time to add Nancy Mitford books to my reading. They sound like a lovely way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

>167 VivienneR: - The only Barry book I have read so far is The Secret Scripture which I found to be a rather tepid read until the final 30 pages, where the author managed to redeem himself, but it sounds like his stories are geared for a specific audience.

>171 VivienneR: - Great review. When I read that one I kept waffling between disgust and riveting fascination. A good book for a book club read as I can see it generating amazing discussions!

>178 VivienneR: - I like the premise for that one!

Edited: Mar 13, 2:26pm Top

>187 lkernagh: Good to see you dropping by, Lori.

My reading list has been so varied this month. It was a bullet from MissWatson that led me to the book by Edna Ferber. Her books are available on Project Gutenberg. Dated, but kind of fun.

As you say, Sebastian Barry only appeals to a specific audience. I think On Canaan's side will be my last try, there are too many books that tempt me more.

Mar 15, 4:47pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT: Macavity Award 2006

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie's role as "psychologist and investigator" makes for an interesting combination and I enjoy the historical aspect, but the instances of her psychic abilities are hard to swallow and fit awkwardly. This was an audiobook read by Orlagh Cassidy who puts on a posh English accent but retains her American pronunciation, which is annoying, although probably not to American listeners. The Maisie Dobbs stories are a bit thin to start with so this will be my last.

Mar 16, 2:55pm Top

Category: Series:

A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin

There are multiple crimes and many characters to keep in mind, including the mystery of how Rebus scalded his hands. Rankin pulls it off, keeping up the suspense until the last page. As usual, the city of Edinburgh is a major feature. I can recommend this one.

Category: RandomCAT: The Luck o' the Irish

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

Mrs Kincade, housekeeper to the doctors, tells young Christmas carollers the story of St Stephen's Ghost. This makes her remember life as a young woman in Cork thirty-six years ago. Luckily the group of Belfast children were uncommonly familiar with Irish folklore. Although the part set in Belfast was short, I enjoyed the visit to the town where I grew up, as well as all the familiar words and phrases.

Mar 20, 8:49pm Top

Category: CATwoman: Genres - from the ALA Reading List

The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny

Ill-feelings and resentments prevent them from working effectively as a team, but that doesn't stop Gamache, and there may be enough pique left simmering for the next in the series. This was my third book by Penny, the first in audio format, and I enjoyed it more than the previous two. The audio version was more appealing to me, and I give credit to the excellent reading by Ralph Cosham that provided more of a sense of place.

Mar 21, 2:15pm Top

>184 VivienneR: Going back a bit, I know you've finished a few more books since this one, but your review reminded me that I would like to read some more Louis de Bernieres. I've only read Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which I absolutely loved, but a friend of mine read a couple of others and really raved about his writing. From the one book I've read I think I'd agree with your assessment of his writing as "beautifully written, compassionate and understanding".

Mar 21, 3:29pm Top

>192 Jackie_K: Louis de Bernieres certainly packs a lot into his books including beautiful writing. Yes, he's a writer to keep in mind. I noticed The Red Dog on the library shelves that I have added to my want-list.

Mar 22, 7:37am Top

I read Captain Corelli's Mandolin last year and really liked it. I have The Red Dog packed somewhere in a box and might try to get to it once I come across it again. It's not a very big book, if I remember correctly.

Mar 23, 2:28pm Top

Another one for March Calendar Memos: March 1 : St. David's Day, patron saint of Wales

Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs

"I'd always known I was strange. I never dreamed I was peculiar."

Won over by the hype, I had to try this YA ghost story set in Wales that sounded irresistable with its mix of fiction and photography. Although not as creepy as expected, it had a lot of teen humour, suspense and a great ending.

Mar 23, 4:15pm Top

Category: Biography

Jane Austen by Carol Shields

Insightful, although at times it seems that Shields tried to find Jane Austen in the contents of her fiction, and makes some powerful assumptions based on Austen's writing. One of these assumptions, that Austen may have been atheist based on the omission of any reference to faith in her books, is absurd. Disbelief would not have occurred to a clergyman's daughter in that era - or even later times - especially without outside influence, of which there was little in Austen's world. Despite other minor quibbles, mostly regarding a lack of focus, repetition, and financial details, this is a nice little book, useful for reference, that I will keep. Now I will follow up with a recent acquisition A Memoir of Jane Austen by her Nephew by James Edward Austen-Leigh as a comparison while Shields' work is still fresh in my mind, although without giving examples, Shields claims he "got a lot wrong".

This completes hits in all of the categories this month! My current remaining reads will be Bingo squares.

Mar 23, 5:08pm Top

>196 VivienneR: Interesting review! I really liked Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen: A Life, but it sounds like I can skip this one.

Mar 23, 5:41pm Top

>197 christina_reads: Yes, it was ok, but I can't really recommend it. There is so little known about Austen that it must be difficult to fill a biography without resorting to critiques of her works - or assumptions. But thanks for the bullet, I'll watch for Claire Tomalin's book!

Mar 27, 5:10pm Top

Another ER win that doesn't fit in any category:

Benny the biplane by Fritz Carmichael

Although many children will be interested in the life of a bi-plane, somehow this book falls a little short. The abrupt changes in jobs, ownership, and especially the sudden ending, only created the longing for an actual story. It does, however, offer hope for those downcast times when all seems lost. The text is simple enough for beginning readers, and photos are appropriate yet give the book a more grown-up look that children will appreciate.

Mar 27, 5:22pm Top

12. BingoDOG:

5: One word title: Calibre by Ken Bruen

Bruen's character Jack Taylor is a favourite of mine, so I decided to give the Inspector Brant series a try when I saw this one. The frequent obscenities are balanced by the story and writing being darkly funny. Recommended to those who can take it, however, it's not for everyone.

This made me smile: One character adopted an Australian accent after a short stay down under. He explained "You don't get over Oz. Ask Bill Bryson".

Mar 28, 7:16am Top

>200 VivienneR: I've yet to move on from his Jack Taylor books but I do have an omnibus of the first 3 books in this series waiting for me on the tbr shelves so I'm glad to see you enjoy this one.

Mar 28, 1:37pm Top

>201 AHS-Wolfy: There are only two more Brants at the local library so I'll have to buy my own if I want more than that. I'm not a big fan of hard-boiled but Bruen can really pull it off well.

Mar 28, 3:19pm Top

I love Ken Bruen as well and when I checked Amazon today, I found the omnibus of the first 3 books in the Inspector Brant series, so I think I will treat myself to that.

Mar 28, 4:43pm Top

Great idea, Judy! I'll do the same.

Mar 29, 6:39am Top

I still need to pick up the latest couple in the JT series at some point. Not yet read either Green Hell or The Emerald Lie.

Mar 29, 10:45am Top

I still have a few in the Jack Taylor series, and I suppose I should finish one series before getting into another. What stops me is that I've seen the series (a couple of times) on tv and I'm hoping the plot dims a bit in my memory before I start on the print version. Ian Glenn is hard to forget, though.

Mar 29, 11:34am Top

I think I've seen all the tv series that's aired so far. They've been pretty good adaptations of the earlier books though probably not quite as harsh as the print versions can be.

Mar 30, 12:50am Top

Yes, you are right. As well, I like that there is always some good info about Jack Taylor's music preferences. Good to listen and read. I always mean to create a Jack Taylor playlist.

Apr 2, 12:34am Top

Category: History/historical:

Classic John Buchan Stories by John Buchan

Like short stories should be, these are little jewels. I enjoyed all, but especially Divis Johnston. Excellent narration by Iain Cuthbertson.

12. BingoDOG:

15. Owned for more than 5 years: Last bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

It has been many years since I first read this but I had forgotten the solution so I was able to enjoy it all over again. It's a solid mystery with all the clues laid out clearly. In this, the first of the series, Morse is the arrogant, clever show-off that we hold dear, an act that covers his insecurities. I loved the way he often spouted about English grammar or spelling. Over the years, Lewis must have received quite an education.

Dexter, who died March 2017, and his unforgettable characters will be sorely missed.

Edited: Apr 2, 1:05am Top

Summary for March
I changed my letter grade system a little, still with the aim of reducing the tbr collection, especially the dust collectors. I'm not counting the books I buy because they immediately become "acquired", right?

March stats: 16
Year to date stats: 49

A - acquired before 2015: 9
B - acquired since 2015: 34
C - borrowed: 6

Category: Dust Collectors:
The lark in the clear air by Dennis T. Patrick Sears 3.5*

Category: Recommendations:
On Canaan's side by Sebastian Barry 2.5*

Category: Series:
A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin 4*

Category: Translations:
The Dinner by Herman Koch, translated from Dutch by Sam Garrett 4*

Category: Biography
Jane Austen by Carol Shields 3*

Category: History/historical:
Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières 3.5*
Classic John Buchan Stories by John Buchan 3.5*

Category: Calendar Memos: March 1 : St. David's Day
Roast Beef, Medium: the business adventures of Emma Chesney by Edna Ferber 3*
Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs 3.5*

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: E & K
End of Watch by Stephen King 4*

Category: CATwoman: Genres - from the ALA Reading List
The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny 4*

Category: AwardsCAT: Macavity Award 2006
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear 3*

Category: RandomCAT: The Luck o' the Irish
An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor 3*

12. BingoDOG:
5: One word title: Calibre by Ken Bruen 4*
15. Owned for more than 5 years: Last bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter 4*

No Category
Benny the biplane by Fritz Carmichael 4*

Edited: Apr 2, 1:46am Top

Continued in a new thread for the second quarter of the year. Join me here.

This topic was continued by Vivienne's Year of the Cat - 2nd Quarter.

Group: 2017 Category Challenge

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14,148 messages


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