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Nov 18, 2016, 2:59pm Top

the books we couldn't resist and had to bring home with us.

Nov 18, 2016, 3:13pm Top

I've just unpacked In the Land of the Golden Fleece -- travel writing a la Rebecca West (in fact, the author became HG Wells's lover after West left him). This is an early account of her travels through Georgia during its brief period of independence. Odette Keun also wrote My Adventures in Bolshevik Russia, which I also tracked down. I think I mentioned that on the other site.

Here's an excerpt:

The first impression was one of whiteness--the delicate whiteness of new silver--made by the vast dry beds of the rivers. The rushing water that flowed in narrow threads between the great smooth stones was milk-white, and the orange blouse of a passing peasant would break suddenly into this monochrome paleness like the should of a horn quickly silenced. Like an old face, tanned as leather, and crowned by waving hair, rose a perpendicular wall surmounted by silky-soft ferns. Filtering through the leaves of lime trees to the ground, the light rested in shadowy pools; two low, compact houses, leaning together like twins, flamed poppy red, and a row of cypresses, standing out against the softness of the clouds, seemed to be keeping guard in sentry boxes hung with blue. Nothing happened: there were no events except the constant play of colour.

Keun is Dutch. She comes across as very uppercrust European adventuring among the wild lands.

Nov 18, 2016, 3:46pm Top

OOH. From everything I've heard, she was a nut. Dying to read this.

Nov 23, 2016, 8:16am Top

A Brush with Nature: Abstract Naturalism and the Painting of Life by Alex Beard. Well of course I did... hey, it followed me home.

Nov 23, 2016, 8:23am Top

>4 lisapeet: Ha! I'm taking credit for that!

Nov 23, 2016, 8:39am Top

And I'm totally blaming you for it!

Dec 13, 2016, 8:57pm Top

In the mail today - with no note - Exposure and Behold the Dreamers. I've read the latter and thought it was fabulous -
I may regift. But no indication of who sent it or where it came from.

Dec 13, 2016, 11:08pm Top

'Twasn't me, though I do have a pile of stuff to go out to you. Hey, if you saw my weekday post office you'd understand why I never get ANYTHING in the mail.

However. Because I am, literally, a book whore, after walking by the reviews shelf and stroking this every day for a week I broke down and asked the art books editor if she had anyone to review this, and if not didn't she think I would be an IDEAL match for the subject matter. Fortunately, she agreed.

Explorers' Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery and Adventure, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert, "A celebration of exploration told through the finest visual journals of some 70 explorers from the 16th century to the present day."

This is the American cover—Chronicle is publishing it over here:

It's very pretty. I think 250 words by January is a completely fair exchange. And I can think of several people here who should put this on their lists.

Dec 13, 2016, 11:12pm Top


Edited: Dec 16, 2016, 11:04pm Top

Yikes, Lauren, from me, as Guardian bonus. Sorry for lack of attribution. Yes, please do regift.

Edited: Jan 2, 2017, 4:53pm Top

Oh I did well at the indie's annual 25% new years sale! Got most everything I wanted (With all the talk about The Lauras, I'd assumed it would be out - its not until February. Ah well....)

So: Fiction

Commonwealth Ann Patchett

Swing Time Zadie Smith

Kindness of Enemies Leila Aboulela

Moonglow Michael Chabon

If You Follow Me Malena Watrous

Non fiction

The Best American Travel Writing

Time Travel James Gleick

The Daily Show Jon Stewart

Im going back later to see if I can find Dava Sobels Universe, and pick up some kid books. Waiting for the rush to be over....in the meantime, I think I have enough to read for a little bit....

ETA Got it!

Jan 4, 2017, 1:15pm Top

I did well this holiday book-wise. Now, the hard part is having to choose what to read when.

The Lonely City - is what I started with. Also on the pile

Beryl Bainbridge - a juicy bio from Miriam for the swap!

Behold The Dreamers and The Lauras - from Kat

Hag-seed from my nephew

Upstream from my book club exchange

For the Kindle - I bought myself

The Gloaming, Hot Milk and The Little Red Chairs

oh -- and News of the World

There are others that I'm not remembering off the top of my head......

Jan 4, 2017, 1:17pm Top

Oh yeah! War and Turpentine - also from Miriam which I am excited to start.

Edited: Jan 12, 2017, 11:39am Top

I clicked on News of the World because someone was talking about it in the What Are You Reading? thread and I got David Copperfield by Charles Dickens! This touchstone thing is picky.

Jan 12, 2017, 3:49pm Top

>14 karenwall:

Not picky, just broken. I've had a request to fix it for almost a year now:


Jan 12, 2017, 10:54pm Top

>13 LuRits: Some folks are reading War and Turpentine over in the Reading Globally group. I'm not one of them, though it looks good.

Jan 13, 2017, 9:34pm Top

In the mail today, a box of books from a sales rep friend who knows what I like, including something called Rooted: The Best New Arboral Nonfiction, a collection of essays that ran in Harper's and The Atlantic. Also, Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie - part nature, part travel, part poetry, totally my kind of thing -- and a copy of The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook, because my mom had a copy I looked through over the holidays. This is a book with twenty different latke recipes. Irresistable.

Edited: Jan 13, 2017, 9:52pm Top

Thanks, lorax.

Jan 13, 2017, 11:50pm Top

Ooh, Sightlines looks nice.

So our galley dumpster at work is right by one of the doors out. I was rooting through on my way downstairs to get lunch and found an ARC of a book I've been seeing on a lot of year-to-come lists and that looked pretty interesting, Animals Strike Curious Poses (plus that awesome cover). Grabbed it, stuck it in my mailbox, and went on downstairs, thinking, "Oh shit, I'm never going to get that song out of my head now." Then I walked half a block and went into the Lot Less store and "When Doves Cry" was PLAYING ON THE PA SYSTEM. Time to get out the tinfoil hat for real?

Jan 14, 2017, 12:18pm Top

>17 southernbooklady: Ooh that cookbook sounds good!

Jan 18, 2017, 5:44am Top

Oh, my mailbox was stuffed today! Got johannes Cabal the Necromancer and Elizabeth Chadwick The Summer Queen and the Winter Crown. The first one is cracking me up, just what I need right now; the other two I have been eagerly awaiting for a while. More good reading!

Jan 28, 2017, 10:27am Top

Just picked up a copy of Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life by the always fantastic Claire Tomalin

Jan 28, 2017, 11:11am Top

I was embarrassingly greedy at ALA Midwinter last weekend, to the point where I shamefacedly shipped books back to the office rather than try to fit them all in my carry-on:

The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing - Margot Livesey
Lonesome Lies Before Us - Don Lee
Celine - Peter Heller
Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation - ed. Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Working Artists - Donna Seaman
The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller
Standard Deviation - Katherine Heiny

Jan 28, 2017, 11:25am Top

Boy, that Essex Serpent book is everywhere.

Jan 28, 2017, 3:27pm Top

I've got Celine and The Essex Serpent on preorder. I loved Heller's first two.

Jan 29, 2017, 11:35am Top

Purchased as a Kindle Special this morning, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, which I saw listed among the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" list while pre-ordering Amberlough: A Novel by Lara Elena Donnelly.

Until I finish my book purge, I'm only buying Kindle books.

Jan 29, 2017, 12:24pm Top

I love Katherine Mansfield.

Jan 30, 2017, 5:48pm Top

>22 southernbooklady:

oooooooooooooo. I just got that Katherine Mansfield Project book for Christmas. I smell a theme coming on ......

Jan 30, 2017, 6:24pm Top

>28 LuRits: That's a beautiful little book, Lu. SP sent it to me as part of the Guardian Book Swap and I read it on the plane coming home from my folks. Then again when I got home. And now I'm into some of Mansfield's stories, which are intense.

This is why I live my life with books as constant companions. Even in literary territory I think I know fairly well, there are discoveries and overlooked treasures at every turn. I somehow got through life with Mansfield as a name on the periphery of my reading life. I can't believe what I was missing.

Feb 7, 2017, 12:06pm Top

The postlady brought me a copy of Adrienne Rich's Collected Poems: 1950-2012 this morning.

Feb 7, 2017, 4:03pm Top

Ohhh, green with envy.

Edited: Feb 9, 2017, 11:17pm Top

Our local indie had all the NY Review books on sale so I picked up:

The Tenants of Moonbloom

The Ten Thousand Things perfect for the Reading Globally theme of Benelux books

Envy Yuri Olesha

The Radiance of the King

Feb 12, 2017, 6:34pm Top

I have acquired an insane amount of books lately - whether it was from the Book Page shelf, stuff from LT Early readers program or dear friends sending me some new titles - I am looking at you, Lisa P!, or just a spree at the local cheapy used bookstore

In no particular order

Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints
The Kindness of Enemies
Man V Nature
The Bricks that Built the Houses
The Comet Seekers
Human Acts
Woman No 17
The Gloaming
You Should Pity Us Instead
For Time and All Eternities
Shadows on the Lake
Letters to a Young Muslim
Old News
Even Dogs in the Wild

Oh brother.

Feb 13, 2017, 1:42pm Top

My favorite used book store, which I unfortunately pass every day on my way home, has a ton
of original copies of Ed McBain novels in mint condition. Now they aren't moving off the shelves because I just don't think young people know the great Ed McBain. So I started buying them,but
i have a serious book hoarding problem so I'm switching to the kindle copies which are actually
considerably cheaper.It's painful because the covers from the sixties are so much fun but...Last year they had almost all of the Jim Thompson's which I bought,but I just can't do this anymore.

Edited: Feb 17, 2017, 11:42pm Top

I got a book today that made me really happy.

Did anyone here have the Ed Emberley Make a World books when they were kids? They were drawing books that showed you how to make absolutely everything, from animals to vehicles to food to buildings to appliances, using basic shapes as building blocks, and even though I was a very artistic kid who drew all the time on my own, I loved these with a passion. I spent hours and hours drawing these great panoramic sagas on blocks of that giant computer paper with punched holes on each side... I was a very inward, kind of lonely kid who spent a lot of time by myself, and I have these very serene memories of spending an entire day drawing out of those books, literally making worlds.

A couple of years ago I was at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with Miriam and saw this great big coffee table book by Todd Oldham on Ed Emberley in the gift shop—remember, Mir?—and though it was totally swoony I wasn't going to spend that kind of money. But I did moon over it, and went home and put it on my wish list. And then today it just appeared on one of the giveaway shelves at work, along with a bunch of other books—someone cleaning out their desk or something, who knows. Anyway, I grabbed it up and schlepped it home, and just paging through it this evening has cheered me up enormously. I love seeing his busy little universe, and his other artwork as well—it brings me back in a way that's probably nicer than my actual childhood.

It occurred to me, too, that there's really no one left who knew me very well when I was a little kid. I had one best friend until high school; she's dead. My dad's dead. My mom's so demented she isn't really sure who I am. And that would be it—my brother and sister are 15 and 13 years older than me and were out of the house by the time I was five. We weren't close to family—I'm close to my cousins now, but not then. And all my childhood books and toys were lost. It's a strange feeling, kind of an adrift sensation... nothing to anchor me to who I was when I was five, or seven, or nine. So something like that book, that takes me back in an almost visceral sense, is a neat thing to have.

Feb 18, 2017, 8:32am Top

>35 lisapeet: I do remember! In fact, as soon as I saw the image in your post I instantly had an image of you in that bookstore stroking the pages. I'm so pleased you have it! Yay for discard piles and lucky finds.

Edited: Feb 18, 2017, 9:18am Top

I love posts like that, Lisa. Don't ever stop writing them.

I pulled the Kindle chain on George Saunders' first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, by an author I love. Before I go on my little rant here, I want to preface it by pointing out I've been a reader and supporter of his since Civilwarland. I was totally psyched about his first novel and had every intention of buying the hardcover to add to my collection. Sorry, but no. There's no way I'm paying $30.00 for a 368 paged book, no matter how much I admire the writer. WTF Random House?!? I believe in supporting writers but that's just f$^^%$#g highway robbery.

Feb 18, 2017, 9:18am Top


I've been wanting to read Malcolm Nance's book The Plot to Hack America for a while now. Get it today on Amazon for the Kindle for $1.99.

I've seen the author on a lot of cable shows since the election, and he is one very smart, articulate and connected individual (or as Bill Maher said last night, he knows where the bodies are buried). I get why this one's been made affordable for all.

Edited: Feb 18, 2017, 9:58am Top

>35 lisapeet: I have never heard of this book but looking at the image, I know I need to have it or at least browse through it - will have to check bookfinders. Glad you found it!

Feb 18, 2017, 10:03am Top

>37 Pat_D:

I just ordered the hc Saunders and it was $16.80. Or am I missing what you are saying?

Edited: Feb 18, 2017, 10:17am Top


Amazon had it listed for 29+

I had it bookmarked from way back when, but when I type it in new in the search bar it comes up $16.80.

Off to cancel the Kindle order. Thanks, deeg.

Feb 18, 2017, 11:46am Top

Thanks, all. But just to be clear, that image isn't from the big book—I think it's from Make a World or one of his drawing books, just to show how they worked. Ed Emberley is about his entire career as an illustrator, so it's got some stuff from his drawing books but that's not all.

Speaking of George Saunders: How Buddhism Made George Saunders a Better Writer—though it's not really all that much about Buddhism. He seems like such a decent guy, though—I saw him read at The Story Prize event (which he won) a few years ago, and really liked how he was.

Feb 18, 2017, 12:12pm Top

>35 lisapeet: I remember Ed Emberley books from when I was a kid, I think we had one on drawing animals and one called "The Big Red Book"? The geometric approach appealed to my left-brain nature, and my mom countered it by sending me to take drawing classes at our local art gallery.

Feb 18, 2017, 3:55pm Top

So one thing I've learned from having a badly sprained ankle is that I do not do well with enforced idleness. At. All. I indulged in a little retail therapy to make myself feel better, picked up a copy of Explorers Sketchbooks, which is just as beautiful and tantalizing as lisapeet said it was. There's nothing like paging through travel diaries and sketchbooks when you are supposed to stay off your feet for several weeks.

Also from the postman lately:

When Winter Come: The Ascension of York by Frank X. Walker -- I think I spoke about his book Buffalo Dance on the old site. Also a collection of short stores by Isaac Babel, Odessa Stories (I get all greedy and acquisitive about Pushkin Press books) and a little collection of essays from the Southern writer, John Lane, called Weed Time. This last was recommended to me by Drew Lanham, whose book The Home Place was just fantastic.

So I've got plenty to read, but I'm still horribly restless. My onions need weeding and the turnips need thinning, dammit.

Feb 18, 2017, 6:28pm Top

I bit the bullet and ordered the Saunders through Powell's Indiespensable program. It cost me $39.99, but it's signed, comes in its own slipcase, and I get other goodies. It doesn't arrive until the 22nd.

Feb 19, 2017, 3:53am Top

I groaned out loud with jealousy when I read that, April. Lucky girl. That'll be a collector's edition some day.

He's appearing down south from me today at Books and Books in Coral Gables, but that's a two-hour drive, and there's no way I can make it.

Feb 19, 2017, 8:35am Top

That is SUCH a DG purchase! If only it came with a fold-out map of the Lincoln bedroom!

Glad you got it for less, Pat -- it might have been a recent discount because it's gone to "bestseller" status on Amazon.

Feb 19, 2017, 8:53am Top

Aw, I'm going to miss the fold-out map since I've libraried up the ebook. Maybe a copy will show up at work at some point, since there's already a four-month hold queue.

Nicki, glad you liked the Explorers' Sketchbooks—I wasn't quite as laid up as you were when I read it, but as someone stuck with semi-permanent armchair travel it did the trick.

Feb 19, 2017, 11:33am Top

You never know, it might come with a fold-out map of the Lincoln bedroom. They don't tell you what the extra goodies are going to be. I'll report back when I get the package.

Feb 19, 2017, 12:07pm Top

Oh, hah... I read DG's post as saying that it did. Now I feel a bit better about my e-version.

Edited: Feb 19, 2017, 8:18pm Top

I also bought the Audible version of the Saunders because the cast is amazing. It looks like everyone in the world wanted to be a part of it. I think I will read along and see if that works for me.

Feb 21, 2017, 12:34pm Top

Has everyone received their copy of Lincoln in the Bardo, yet?

I'll be starting mine tonight.

Feb 21, 2017, 9:14pm Top

I haven't. (grumble, grumble) Powell's website says it should arrive on or around the 22nd, but when I actually check my account it still says On Order. What the heck does that mean? Did they ship a bunch of books to Saunders for him to sign and he hasn't gotten the books back to Powell's? Doesn't Powell's have the author go to the main Portland store or warehouse and have them just sit there for days and sign books? I think that's what happened to Edan Lapuki when she had to sign a gazillion copies of California.

Feb 21, 2017, 9:42pm Top

Well if it's any consolation, April, I don't get mine for another four months. Though I guess sooner if a bunch of people read fast.

Feb 21, 2017, 10:04pm Top

April, Are you getting the "Indiespensible" one from Powells? I was drooling over that, but they sold out fast.

Feb 21, 2017, 11:50pm Top

I have it on my Kindle. Considering getting it in audio as well, but waiting till I finish Ragtime, to see if I feel like listening to another that requires some amount of focus.

I might have posted this already, but I'm reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing it is really quite good. Not The Door good (by which I measure all thing now), but still excellent and lots of for the brain to toss around plus music!.

Edited: Feb 22, 2017, 1:01pm Top

Yes, Nancy, I'm getting the Indiespensable one. I lucked out and happened to check the Indiespensable page while they still had copies available. I checked my account and it still says it's ON ORDER. I'm in a bit of a panic because I'm going to Seattle for the weekend and if the box gets left on my front deck snow from the roof may very well slide off and bury the package. I'm tempted to call Powell's and find out what's going on. Also, I hate that everyone else was able to get it on the publication date. I guess I'm used to Amazon having it on your doorstep on the day it's released to the public.

Edit: I called Powell's and now the shipping date is March 1. The man I spoke to said that sometimes they have problems getting the other items they ship with the book from their manufacturers. Phooey! Well, at least it won't end up under a pile of snow on my front deck.

Feb 23, 2017, 8:30am Top

Might be small comfort, April, but that edition is worth waiting for.

Feb 23, 2017, 10:55am Top

>58 Pat_D: It will give me a chance to finish Wolf Totem. The minute it gets here I'm going to dive right in.

Feb 26, 2017, 3:30am Top

New Elizabeth Strout due in April:

Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
Link: http://a.co/1ShbL9j

Edited: Feb 27, 2017, 3:51pm Top

I got Lincoln in the Bardo on audio today, because everyone's raving about it. It'll have to be one I listen to in the car, rather than the books I listen to as I'm going to sleep. But I think I'll start it today. It has 166 narrators, so I am really wondering if that's going to be overwhelming to listen to.

ETA: I also just picked up a book called The Given World by Marian Palaia. At B&N's employee recommendations shelf, a lady named Donna said it was her "handsell of the decade" and that's all it really took. I know how fun it is to handsell books you love when you work in a bookstore, so I was convinced. Hope it's as good as she thinks!

Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 6:34am Top

I liked The Given World—the plotting, the language, the way life doesn't hew to a narrative arc, and the way it takes some of us more time than others to acquire that necessary ballast to make it hold together. Sometimes it felt more like linked short vignettes than a novel, but it held together pretty well.

Edited: Mar 3, 2017, 11:57am Top

Good gravy, I just bought 14 books with birthday money. I don't need ANY...but there you have it.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman - Jill Lepore
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson
My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout
The Sun is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space - Janna Levin
Eileen - Ottessa Moshfegh
Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri (I'm going to punch myself if I already have this)
The Sellout - Paul Beatty
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
The Door - Magda Szabo
Brazzaville Beach - William Boyd
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics - Carlo Rovelli
The Good, The Bad, and The Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat - Tom Cox (R.I.P. The Bear)

And I have about 40 more science books I really want to get. Sigh...

Mar 3, 2017, 12:00pm Top

Nice haul, Happy Belated, Julie.

The Chiang is great, but you knew that.

Mar 3, 2017, 1:43pm Top

Nice haul although I want to drop Otessa Moshfegh on a deserted island and leave her there. Why does anyone think she is all that? Makes me mad.

Mar 3, 2017, 2:01pm Top

>66 laurenbufferd: Lisa, sent me Eileen and I haven't read it yet. Maybe I won't now.

>64 JulieCarter: Nice haul! I'm pleased to see The Door on your list. Loved that book.

Because of D.G. I picked up Ghachar Ghochar today. I like short.

Edited: Mar 3, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Because of you, Mir, I just bought The Door.

Eileen is fine - a bit misery-pornish, as Lisa P would say but clever enough. I didn't find it to be anything special and I don't get why Moshfegh is the flavor of the month for so many.

Mar 3, 2017, 8:34pm Top

>68 laurenbufferd: Yeah, it's short and worth a read. I think she's more annoying than her writing... she should stop giving interviews already, or maybe rethink her patter.

I adored The Door—interested to hear your take on it, Lauren.

Mar 3, 2017, 10:08pm Top

The Door is great, weird, different.

Lots of people love Eileen and lots of people really, really don't. Somebody famous recently said they loved it, and I was surprised. Of course I can't recall who it was, but I'll report back when it dawns on me in the shower.

Edited: Mar 7, 2017, 5:13pm Top

I was surprised by how under impressed I was with Eileen. I thought the depiction of the femme fatale friend was vbrilliant but the self-loathing which was incessant and the ending was very weird. I agree that Otessa in interviews comes across like a total flake. Didn't she say recently that she believes she is a witch? And how Eileen got nominated for a Booker totally floored me.

Mar 11, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Well, I just won't read any of her interviews! I am not against misery porn, as it is often called. Lots of those books work for me. I have a good sense of humor and I love to laugh IRL, but I really lean towards darker books, in most senses of the word "dark." I don't think Eileen is at the top of my TBR right now (just too many books!), but I'm still positively inclined toward it so far, and I will avoid the author herself. :)

Mar 11, 2017, 3:12pm Top

I really liked Moshfegh's style - there is something similar to the grimmer or more gothic stories of Shirley Jackson or Jean Stafford about it. It's kind of old-fashioned and edgy all at once. I just never got why she was so touted as the best new thing. Interesting, yes. But for me, not much more.

Mar 13, 2017, 2:35pm Top

Is she worse than that annoying woman who wrote Sweetbitter? She was intolerable in the interviews I read, and I will not be reading that book.

Mar 13, 2017, 4:21pm Top

It's terrible. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME.

Mar 26, 2017, 10:05am Top

Next week I'll be moderating a discussion in the Reading Globally group on Non-European, Non-North American travel writing. I hope some of you who like travel lit will join in.

To prepare I've been doing a lot of Googling, which in turn has landed me on any number of blogs and ezines, and eventually sent me on esoteric searches through the various book sites for some obscure and not so obscure names. And being the kind of person with little impulse control and a great facility for rationalizing any expenditure on books, I've been clicking. Here are some of the things that have been added to the TBR pile as a result:

Taken for Wonder: nineteenth century travel accouns from Iran to Europe

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the teaching of plants

Leg over Leg: Volume One and Two, and Volume Three and Four

Zaatar Days and Henna Nights

On the Wonders of Land and Sea: Persianate Travel Writing

Defiled on the Ayeyarwaddy: One Woman's Mid-Life travel Adventures on Myanmar's Great River

A Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African-American Travel Writing

Edited: Mar 27, 2017, 1:05am Top

>76 southernbooklady: lauren I absolutely love this topic. (reading through time and reading globally are my favorite groups - well along with a unique little gem called Bookballoon) I'd put anything in written by Muhammad Ibn Battuta Might have to do a reread of Tangerine

Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow landed in my mail box thanks to big sis.

Edited: Mar 27, 2017, 7:38am Top

Nicki, those look fabulous—please do report back. I'm definitely poking my head into that conversation on a regular basis.

New around here:

Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer, a lovely-looking graphic history of J.J. Audubon.

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures edited by the Library of Congress, with a foreword by my favorite librarian Carla Hayden. Mostly visuals and some text devoted to the history of the card catalog, with some great photos of old books. I'm reviewing this for LJ—the reference reviews editor was walking toward me with this in her hand saying, "Lisa, would you like to—" and I just cut her off: "YES."

Scraps, Wilt & Weeds: Turning Wasted Food into Plenty by Mads Refslund. Bought for me by my partner, I think only somewhat as a joke (because I hate to waste anything). It actually looks really pretty, although the few parts I've read so far look a little more time-intensive/crafty than I could actually manage in real life. Still, fun to consider.

Edited: Mar 30, 2017, 9:57am Top

In the mail yesterday was a book of poetry by Layli Long Soldier called Whereas, which I bought on impulse after reading what staff person at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill had to say about it, and also because Maggie Nelson wrote a blurb for it, and she has become one of my guiding literary lights.

Anyway, I blew an hour I didn't have going through it, and now I think I'll lose most of the weekend to the book.

It's not long, but it is dense with meaning, implication, everything. Long Soldier is Oglala, and the first part of the book is an extended meditation on the intersection -- or rather the confrontation -- of languages, of realities:

I want to write about wahpanica* a word translated into English as poor comma which means more precisely to be destitute to have nothing of one's owns. But tonight I cannot bring myself to swing a worn hammer at pverty to pound the conditions of that slow frustration. So I ask what else is there to hear? A comma instructs me to divide a sentence. To pause. The comma orders a sequence of elements the comma is caesure itself. The comma interrupts me with, quiet.

But the really searing section is the second part, the "Whereas" section, a response to President Obama's signing of the 2009 Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Americans. (No tribal leaders were present.)

Let me tell you, it is emotionally hard to read. But at the same time this...poetic retaliation to political speech is just amazing. It makes me feel like, I don't know, that art is not just some ephemeral, often feeble voice of protest, but a toolbox of glittering sharp instruments wielded in defense of what really matters.

*I don't know how to add in all the accents and diacritics

Mar 31, 2017, 10:37pm Top

The Non-European, Non-North American Travel Writing Discussion is now officially up, here:


Mar 31, 2017, 11:49pm Top

You set that up wonderfully! I'll definitely be over—I have at least a couple of books on your list.

Edited: Apr 1, 2017, 12:22am Top

Niki,its April already? Just starred that, wow we are going to have fun with this topic Oh my god, look at that list. so many to choose from, and I have lots and lots of time....

Apr 1, 2017, 12:33am Top

Saw a few I knew (Ghosh, Allende, Ibn Battutah, Pamuk), many I am interested in, and one I have just purchased on amazon Jewish Travellers in the Middle Ages: 19 Firsthand Accounts Wheeeee!

Apr 6, 2017, 10:41pm Top

Now here's an article about a book that appeals to the Luddite in me: https://hyperallergic.com/368529/the-lost-art-of-library-card-catalogues/

Apr 8, 2017, 8:48am Top

>84 Stenhammar: I'm reading that right now (see #78 above).

Apr 16, 2017, 7:28am Top

Amazon is offering The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb as a $3.99 Kindle pre-order special:

"Haunting and atmospheric, The End of Temperance Dare is another thrilling page-turner from the author reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic.

When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity...."

May 3, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Sucker for a dog book:

The Red Collar: A Novel
by Jean-Christophe Rufin et al.
Link: http://a.co/1BMN0IF

May 3, 2017, 8:52pm Top

And a Europa Edition! On payday! Clicky clicky clicky!

May 3, 2017, 9:25pm Top

I know ... French flaps.

May 3, 2017, 10:33pm Top

Hm, that looks cool. I'll keep an eye out for that one.

May 4, 2017, 11:51am Top

There's no way I could read that--just the cover is disturbing.

Jun 8, 2017, 2:00pm Top

Ha ha! One of my bookstores just sent me my copy of Arundhati Roy's book, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, along with a signed copy of John T. Edge's Potlikker Papers.

Jun 9, 2017, 10:43pm Top

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Can't remember where on LT I heard about it but it sounds pretty interesting (almost like a cross between Life after Life and the Garden of Iden...)

Jun 26, 2017, 12:09pm Top

BEA and ALA and a package from Lauren and some handselling from lovely publicists mean that I am ridiculously (but gladly) inundated:

Stephen Florida - Gabe Habash
A Doll for Throwing: Poems - Mary Jo Bang
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt
Freeman's: Family - ed. John Freeman
Brave Deeds - David Abrams
Mean - Myriam Gurba
If Clara - Martha Baillie
You Are Having a Good Time - Amie Barrodale
From Rockaway - Jill Eisenstadt
Waking Lions - Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home - Nicole Georges
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017 ed. Laura Furman
A Loving, Faithful Animal - Josephine Rowe
As Lie Is to Grin - Simeon Marsalis
Affections - Rodrigo Hasbún
A Good Cry - Nikki Giovanni (signed, to me!)
The Madeleine Project - Clara Beaudoux
Moving the Palace - Charif Majdalani
Afterglow (a dog memoir) - Eileen Myles

and from LT early reviewers, An Atlas of Countries that Don't Exist
and given to me by an LJ Mover & Shaker that we profiled, The Apple Tree, by Sandy Tharp-Thee, a children's book written in English and Cherokee, very cool

Jun 26, 2017, 12:24pm Top

I'm jealous about the Nikki Giovanni! And really interested in The Apple Tree -- thanks for listing that.

I've heard good things about Myles's book, but I have to admit I tend to shy away from the whole dog/cat memoir genre. Kind of weird for someone who loves to have animals around all the time, but something about idea of an entire book of somebody's interpretations of what their dog is thinking creeps me out a bit. I'm probably being unfair.

Edited: Jun 26, 2017, 3:42pm Top

I'm with you on that, Nicki, but because it's Eileen Myles I'm inclined to give it a shot.

Jun 26, 2017, 6:47pm Top

Nice list, but I'm especially interested in See What I Have Done. I just put that on my Amazon wish list.

Jul 2, 2017, 8:59pm Top

I see you got David Abrams' new book--looking forward to that.

Jul 28, 2017, 4:36am Top

Excited about this one:

Quiet Until the Thaw: A Novel
by Alexandra Fuller
Link: http://a.co/b6rcjeA

Sep 15, 2017, 9:30pm Top

So just came back from my indie's educator sale, came back with a ton of kiddie lit, plus

On Trails Which really looks like a deeg book, just sayin

Swimming Lessons (the touchstone is really off this eve)

Because I got hooked on Claire North this summer, I had to get these:


The End of the Day

and David took home a bunch of early Clive Cussler that he never read so he's a happy camper as well.

Sep 16, 2017, 6:15am Top

On Trails is very good.

Sep 16, 2017, 1:55pm Top

Ha! Figured you'd read it already :)

Oct 12, 2017, 1:37pm Top

Two new books in the mail today from my (brother's) local bookshop -- We Wear the Mask and Naomi Alderman's The Power. I blame @laurenbufferrd for both.

Oct 12, 2017, 1:54pm Top



Oct 12, 2017, 4:12pm Top

Loved Alderman's Disobedience so click goes The Power.

Disobedience: A Novel
by Naomi Alderman
Link: http://a.co/7JTaljL

Oct 24, 2017, 11:13am Top

A nice surprise in the mail yesterday from lisapeet: Botanical Shakespeare

I love the idea of having a Shakespeare garden, but alas I live in the absolutely wrong climate for it. It's great to have the illustrations, though. The picture next to "Lettuce" isn't what you'd expect -- it's not the stuff you find in gardens (Lactuca sativa), its what I call "wild lettuce" and it is medicinal.

Oct 24, 2017, 12:43pm Top

Oooo. Pretty.

Oct 24, 2017, 8:46pm Top

Lucia had a Shakespeare garden in the first Lucia book (it's Mapp-less), when she still lived at The Hurst in Riseholme. I always think of it as such a Lucia thing! I don't know what I'd do if I met someone in real life who had one other than start worshiping them immediately.

Oct 24, 2017, 9:22pm Top

Wow, Nicki, that got there quickly! Glad you like—I saw it and thought of you.

Nov 9, 2017, 9:16pm Top

This past weekend was spent at the North Carolina Writers Network's annual fall conference, which happened to be in my neck of the woods this year -- or rather, on my stretch of the beach. Wrightsville Beach, that is. As per usual, I spent most of the time volunteering at the book table, and sneaking into any poetry workshop I could get into. Picked up copies of chapbooks by several small NC literary presses I'd never be able to find otherwise, and two editions of the NC Literary Review I was missing from my collection -- one of them being the "Environmental Writing" issue that is stellar.

My favorite part of the conference was a screening of this guy's documentary:


Production sound is pretty sketchy in places, but man! An hour of interviews of young people trying to make a living as a "creative" and the risks they take, the way they see the world? Makes me feel like there's hope for us all.

Came home to find a copy of Havana Lunar in the mail (Early Reviewer book) and a collection of "Nordic" fiction The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 7:58pm Top

My copy of Kevin Young's Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News finally came in, and I'm really eager to make some time for it. I'd been sort of mooning over since I heard about it in the spring, when I interviewed Young for LJ, and once it was longlisted for the National Book Awards (before publication—waaah) I really wanted it. One of my editor friends requested a copy for me, and I'm all kinds of excited—it's a favorite subject of mine, and I just love him.

I also got a super pretty book in return for an actual review—Unpacking My Library: Artists and Their Books from Yale University Press. I'm such a compulsive shelf browser, this should be plenty fun.

And snatched off the giveaway shelves, because it's good-looking and I am a big old map geek, The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps (sounds like it'd be a good companion to Bunk).
From Hyperallergic:
Mythical islands were often copied by mapmakers, who, for instance, could not easily voyage out to the Southern Hemisphere to see if it did indeed have the giant Terra Australis continent. The Phantom Atlas includes Hy Brasil, recently the subject of a Boston Public Library exhibition, which stayed on maps for five centuries, and had tales of a sorcerer who lived with huge black rabbits and, later, UFOs. Although Brooke-Hitching features extremes of credulity, like a 40-foot “sea worm” that roamed the shores of Norway on a 16th-century map by Olaus Magnus, he also cites more recent mistakes. Sandy Island was recorded in the eastern Coral Sea by a whaling ship in 1876, and it wasn’t until November 2012 that it was deemed fictional. And in the 19th century, there were still those who believed in a flat Earth, such as Professor Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota, who in 1893 illustrated a map arguing for this planar view of the planet, which he based on biblical texts.

Apr 15, 2018, 12:59pm Top

So I got myself a copy of Madeline Miller's Circe by ever-so-slightly dodgy means—in one of my many many book sale email notifications it was listed for $2.79 on Amazon on the day before it dropped, which obviously was some kind of mistake on Amazon's part, since they had it back to full price within a couple of hours. But not before I clicked! I'm assuming Miller gets regular credit for the sale and Amazon had to eat the difference, which doesn't make me sorry at all... either that or it was some kind of genius promo, though I can't imagine them needing to do that with all the good press the book has been getting. Plus I have a million Amazon points because I use my credit card for everything from work travel to vet bills to buying new appliances (hi new washer and dryer!), which usually go toward dog treats. But not in this case.

My question is: should I read Song of Achilles first? I could have sworn I had it somewhere in the house but I don't see it, not do I have the ebook, but the library has it. I'd probably go ahead and read Circe first if it's totally stand-alone, but if not I was already interested in Achilles (which is why I thought I had it) and it wouldn't exactly be a sacrifice to read them in order...

Apr 15, 2018, 5:19pm Top

I haven't read Circe, but I think you can read it without reading Song. From the description the stories overlap (obviously) but I assumed they were stand alones.

Apr 15, 2018, 10:21pm Top

OK, cool. Thanks, Mir.

Apr 16, 2018, 5:10pm Top

Hey Lisa, you definitely do NOT have to read Song of Achilles first. The only thing they have in common is the author and that they involve characters from the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Loved Circe; may be my favorite book of the year so far.

Apr 16, 2018, 7:45pm Top

Yay! And jeez... if I paid as much attention to stock fluctuations as I did book prices, I'd be a wealthy little day trader.

Apr 16, 2018, 8:10pm Top

My friend Lyle likes to say he’s all set financially because he used his savings to buy up all the Forever stamps he could when they first came out.

Apr 16, 2018, 10:31pm Top

Ha! I wanted a like button for that comment.

May 2, 2018, 8:26pm Top

>110 southernbooklady: sbl - I joined the NC Writers Network today after I found out their conference was going to be in my neck of the woods this year - Charlotte.

May 2, 2018, 9:28pm Top

>119 varielle: We should meet up at the conference!

May 3, 2018, 8:24am Top

Excellent idea. I will look forward to it.

May 9, 2018, 2:23pm Top

Theory of Bastards
by Audrey Schulman
Link: http://a.co/8fYWj7z

Edited: May 9, 2018, 3:32pm Top

I love Audrey Schulman. I'm on this one. Thanks, KW.

edit: I just noticed at Amazon that the book came out 2 weeks ago, it's a Europa, it's 416 pp long, and the Kindle version is only $6. And I haven't seen any publicity for it. I wonder why.

Edited: May 10, 2018, 3:14am Top

I'm curious, too, Nancy. I scarfed up the kindle version and also ordered the Europa edition for my shelf because, AUDREY SCHULMAN. Also, French flaps.

May 10, 2018, 5:24am Top

LJ gave it a starred review too, though I'm not sure the review is available online yet. I'm fascinated as well, and am bumping it up the pile. Bonobos!

May 10, 2018, 11:31am Top

Bonobos. Exactly.

Can't believe I missed that WaPo review. Thanks, Kat.

May 10, 2018, 2:56pm Top

Bonobos = insta click. Plus, I thought of Brazzaville Beach.

Edited: May 10, 2018, 3:48pm Top

Yesterday I received Tomb of the Unknown Racist by Blanche McCrary Boyd. It's been a long time since she's published. I loved all her others.

May 15, 2018, 11:13am Top

You know I'm a-clicking! Bonobos! Not as cute as chimps, but sexier. Or at least more sex.

Edited: Jun 1, 2018, 6:26pm Top

Just back from BookExpo. I know it was the last day and all, but I still got a strong impression of lower attendance. And there were definitely far fewer exhibitors, at least at their own booths—a lot of smaller publishers were exhibiting under the umbrellas of their distributors, and a few of my favorites (Other Press, New York Review Books) weren't there at all. I'm guessing it's a money pit and doesn't give a great return for the show price, and that most publishers would rather exhibit at the big library shows (American Library Association Annual and Midwinter, Public Library Association).

I came home with a few galleys—a lot of what I want I have already in e-galley form, which is so much easier on my shelves. Really I shouldn't take any, but I'm a sucker for a hand-sell, and there were a couple I just wanted to have in hand because... because I'm greedy.

John Woman by Walter Mosley
The Downtown Pop Underground by Kembrew McLeod (I interviewed him for an article I wrote a while back on the grant money he got to write it through NEH's Public Scholar Program, and I've been waiting to read it ever since)
Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit
Every Body Has a Story by Beverly Gologorsky (I know nothing about this one—it was pressed into my hot little hands and I never say no when a publicist I like does that)

And then on Wednesday I was at LJ's Day of Dialog and moderated that panel I mentioned (I think) in another thread about the book-length reporting, and I loved my authors all so much that at the book signing afterward I went around and collected fresh copies of all their books and had them sign them for me, even though I have galleys of everything back home and that meant I had to haul all those back with me. Fresh copies of everything except Susan Orlean's book, which I had in my bag already and really wanted her inscription on my tagged, beat-up reading copy, since I'm sentimental that way.

I also picked up two new books there, even though I had sworn up and down that I wouldn't (but OK let's get real): The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry and a new novel by Nick Arvin, Mad Boy.

Jun 1, 2018, 11:55pm Top

SO fabulous. You have a great job. I would probably hate you if I hadn't known you before you landed the great job. NOBODY deserves the great job more than you. And you're so goddamned GOOD at it and still you're such a fair-minded and generous person. Thanks for that, Lisa.

Jun 3, 2018, 7:43am Top

Thanks for that, Nancy. The flip side of the awesome job being that it kind of eats my life alive, but what the hell... that work-life balance thing is overrated, right? And really, I'd rather be doing work that's meaningful to me than just about anything else... I'm not very good at leisure anyway.

Jun 3, 2018, 11:31am Top

From the used bookstore:

No Time to Spare

The Far Side of the sky

Agent of Destiny

Fools and Mortals

Probably read the Le Guin first, and then dive into to the Eisenhower - its for a history book group next week. Tho I really want to read the new Cornwell about Shakespeare!

Jun 8, 2018, 5:23pm Top

by Christina Hesselholdt et al.
Link: http://a.co/2Kayxq9

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 2:02am Top

Still Life with Monkey by Katharine Weber, for the Old Farts Home library
Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngston
French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Essential Essays: Culture, Politics and the Art of Poetry by Adrienne Rich
We, The Drowned Carsten Jensen
Eggshells by Catriona Lally
Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The Passage of Love by Alex Miller
Scrublands by Chris Hammer
From a Low and Quiet Sea by Ryan Donal

The Reluctant Caregiver by Joy Johnston
Acquired reluctantly, I am not much for self-help but, for 99 cents, why not? I expect the earnestness will aggravate my already-tortured soul, assuming I have one.

Sep 21, 2018, 7:47am Top

Another Pat Barker is always a happy thing for me.

Sep 21, 2018, 1:39pm Top

Oooo, a new Patrick deWitt! Way back when, before even Sisters Brothers, I tried to convince y'all to read his first book, Ablutions, which is an unforgettable read.

We, The Drowned is excellent, Kat.

Definitely checking out the new Pat Barker.

Sep 21, 2018, 2:10pm Top

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 3:01pm Top

From Lauren's review:

"Her voice is wryly observant and wholly cognizant of the cost that she and other women have paid for the violence and abuses of war perpetrated by men. Barker’s retelling of some of the most famous events of the Iliad feels strangely relevant to today—displaced peoples, war refugees, abandoned women and children, sexual violence—and assures us that women’s voices will be silent no longer."

That's a click.

Sep 21, 2018, 6:33pm Top

Hello PatD! See link gor my status:

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 9:49pm Top

>139 laurenbufferd: Oh wow - what a perfect read after Circe and song of Achilles (I have Home Fire but haven't gotten around to it yet) Love Pat Barker, can't wait to get to it

Speaking of wars, someone hereabouts mentioned two sequels to All Quiet on the Western Front that I had no idea existed They were written in the 30s yet have the same style that made his first one so good .Really liking The Road Back about what the surviving soldiers discover when they get home. Then its on to Three Comrades ( tho I suspect I'll need a )break from war) but will certainly want to read it.

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 9:58pm Top

Oh Kat - keep writing. Hope everything works out at the place he will be going to.

Peace to you both

Sep 22, 2018, 8:49am Top

Kat, will get caught up on the blog this weekend.

Hiya', Cindy.

Sep 22, 2018, 9:36am Top

I'm about halfway through the new DeWitt—had to take a break to attend to my short story reading duties—but I was enjoying it. A little brittle, a little sweet, a little not-so-Blithe Spirit. I'm looking forward to getting back to it after I read the next 20 short story collections on my pile.

Sep 22, 2018, 3:25pm Top

Good to know. Thanks, Lisa.

Sep 22, 2018, 7:06pm Top

Yeah, I quite liked the DeWitt, though he really is one of those different-book-each-time people. It's a verrrry quotable book, though, and I was surprised how affecting it was.

Sep 25, 2018, 11:49am Top

Oh golly, I just won the Buffy St Marie memoir giveaway on Library Thing. I know what a total nerd I am but I am stupid excited!!

Sep 25, 2018, 3:23pm Top

I haven't seen that name in a long time. Congrats, Lauren.

Oct 1, 2018, 11:51am Top

Patrick deWitt has just been short-listed for the Giller.

Feb 2, 10:05pm Top

I won two books recently via online giveaways: Trust Exercise from Goodreads and corregidora from Library Thing.

Looking forward to both of these.

Feb 5, 12:51pm Top

I just read Trust Exercise and it is so crazy, I can't wait for you to read it! I think I liked it, it certainly blew my mind a bit.

Feb 11, 5:53pm Top

If I ever allow myself to finish Wild Heart, next up is Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles (as in Bowles) which from the description alone seems like an extremely this crowd kind of book but I don't remember hearing anyone talk about it over the years. And then, lord help me, Swann's Way. During the last couple of months, I've spent two biographies and one collection in early twentieth-century Paris, and am not ready to leave any time soon.

Edited: Feb 11, 6:46pm Top

I love Jane Bowles. She is--unusual.

Feb 11, 7:09pm Top

>154 Nancy_Sirvent: She is indeed. I read that years ago... and think it could do with a reread

Feb 11, 7:22pm Top

The second paragraph has this sentence, and the second I read it I was hooked:

"Even then, she wore the look of certain fanatics who think of themselves as leaders without once having gained the respect of a single human being."

Feb 12, 10:08am Top

Lisa, Your hubby gifted me with a Bowles book several years ago. I loved it.

Feb 12, 1:33pm Top

>157 Nancy_Sirvent: That's right, he did! He's a big fan.

Feb 13, 10:26am Top

"Even then, she wore the look of certain fanatics who think of themselves as leaders without once having gained the respect of a single human being."

OMG, that is EXACTLY how I would describe one of my employees. The one who informed me, after about 4 weeks of working here, that she wanted the Supervisor position, because she's a "natural born leader" and "people follow me and respect me." Uh, no girl, they don't. Trust me on this.

So I have never even really thought about reading Jane Bowles, but maybe I need to! Y'all were right about Eve Babitz, so maybe I should listen more often.

Feb 14, 1:35am Top

Hello, I am new here in this site, any recommendations on what to do or book to read first as a newcomer for my easy transition on this site? I plan to be a writer starting with my first blog post, please click the link, https://bit.ly/2SNKRpa.
Your recommendations will be much appreciated. Thank you

Feb 14, 11:32am Top

>160 mie2x: Hello mie2x and welcome to LibraryThing! I hope you enjoy using this site. As a first stop, you should visit the Authors Info page:


...it will give you some tips about using LT as an author and what is and isn't considered good etiquette on the site.

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