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Marie's 2017 Challenge v.1

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 4:05pm Top

Welcome! My name is Marie and this is my eighth year with the 75ers. I'm an academic librarian living in South Carolina with my active duty husband (Air Force). We belong to a tiny dog named Finn and a giant cat named Neko.

Previous Threads:

75 Books Challenge in 2010
75 Books Challenge in 2011
75 Books Challenge in 2012
75 Books Challenge in 2013
75 Books Challenge in 2014
75 Books Challenge in 2015
75 Books Challenge in 2016

Edited: Jan 1, 7:47pm Top

Books Read In 2017

1. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
2. Still Life by Louise Penny
3. John Tyler by Gary May
4. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
5. March: Book One by John Lewis
6. March: Book Two by John Lewis
7. March: Book Three by John Lewis
8. Arabella by Georgette Heyer
9. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

10. Dumplin by Julie Murphy
11. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
12. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
13. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

14. Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
15. Shadow of the Moon by Karen White
16. Fun House by Alison Bechdel
17. 1984 by George Orwell
18. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
19. Story of My Life by Helen Keller

20. The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson
21. Sold by Patricia McCormick
22. Free to Make: How the Maker Movement is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds by Dale Dougherty
23. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
24. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
25. The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters by Christine Negroni
26. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
27. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
28. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
29. An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley

30. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
31. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
32. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
33. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
34. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
35. Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
36. Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

37. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doule
38. The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA by Doug Mack
39. Theft by FInding: Daries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris
40. It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright
41. The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
42. His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
45. Demelza by Winston Graham
46. Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham
47. A Soldier's Sketchbook: The Illustrated First World War Diary of R.H. Rabjohn by John Wilson
48. Warleggan by Winston Graham

49. The Black Moon by Winston Graham
50. The Four Swans by Winston Graham
51. Birdy by William Wharton
52. Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean
53. This is What a Librarian Looks Like by Kyle Cassidy

54. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
55. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
56. Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King
57. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
58. What Happened by Hillary Clinton

59. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
60. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
61. The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner

62. The Library by Stuart A.P. Murray
63. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
64. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
65. La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
66. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

67. Otherworld by Jason Segel
68. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
69. Excellent Daughters by Katherine Zoepf
70. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
71. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
72. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
73. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
74. Longitude by Dava Sobel
75. Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

Dec 21, 2016, 4:02pm Top

I am resolving to take more time for LT in 2017. I think I can, I think I can.

Dec 21, 2016, 4:09pm Top

Yes I am sure you can, Marie :-)
Happy reading in 2017!

Dec 21, 2016, 4:37pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 21, 2016, 5:02pm Top

La la la *covers eyes* I can't see you until 2017!

Dec 21, 2016, 5:55pm Top

Great that you'll be back with us again 2017, Marie.

>1 rosylibrarian: I certainly can relate to 2 & 4 in the Bookworm guide. xx

Dec 22, 2016, 6:07am Top

Hi Marie!

Dec 22, 2016, 6:49am Top

>5 FAMeulstee: Happy reading to you, Anita!

>6 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. It's good to be back. :)

>7 Morphidae: See you in 2017!

>8 PaulCranswick: 1 happens to me more than I would like.

>9 DianaNL: Hi, Diana!

Dec 22, 2016, 7:27am Top

Hi Marie! I'm going through and starring threads for 2017.

Dec 22, 2016, 7:27am Top

Hi Marie!

Dec 23, 2016, 10:00am Top

Hi, Marie!

Dec 29, 2016, 6:12am Top

Happy New Year!

Dec 29, 2016, 11:31am Top

>1 rosylibrarian: I relate to...all those panels in the bookworm's guide!

Dec 31, 2016, 8:17am Top

Dec 31, 2016, 9:20am Top

I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.

Thank you for also being part of the group.

Jan 1, 2017, 7:21pm Top

Yay for being back again this year! I plan to be a regular around here. :)

Jan 2, 2017, 7:46pm Top

Hi, Marie! I'm adding my star and hope you have a great year of reading.

Jan 2, 2017, 11:24pm Top

Happy New Year! (dropping a star)

Jan 3, 2017, 4:26am Top

Hey Marie, love that opening cartoon. My favourite one of hers is the girl going spend, spend, spend in a bookshop.
Can't imagine why...
Wishing you a great year of reading.

Jan 5, 2017, 10:35am Top

Happy New Year! I'll be scarce until next week. I am spending the week in Colorado with my sister's family. Today I am celebrating my 30th birthday with them. See you later twenties!

Edited: Jan 5, 2017, 12:26pm Top

I love the comic in your first post. The mispronunciation I've run into a few times. Especially with character names...when a movie is made from a book, or even if I stumble across the audiobook, I'm horrified by how wrong THEY have the pronunciation of the name ;)

And Happy Birthday!

Jan 5, 2017, 10:59am Top

>22 rosylibrarian: Have a happy big 3-0!

Jan 5, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Happy birthday, Marie! And have a wonderful time in Colorado!

Jan 5, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Happy birthday, Marie!

Jan 5, 2017, 2:21pm Top

Happy Birthday!

Jan 5, 2017, 3:38pm Top

Happy birthday, Marie! My sampling of 30 so far has been good, I think you'll like it. ;)

Jan 5, 2017, 3:59pm Top

>22 rosylibrarian: as a survivor of my 30s I can attest to their awesomeness. I'm only just out of them, so can also attest to the next decades awesomeness...call me fickle! I'll take any decade I can get :)
Happy birthday.

Jan 11, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Happy belated birthday! Hope it was good :)

Jan 12, 2017, 7:55am Top

>23 Sean191: It happens to me more than I would like it to. :)

>24 Morphidae: >25 scaifea: >26 kgodey: >27 aktakukac: >28 MickyFine: >29 LovingLit: >30 Apolline: Thank you!

I'm back from Colorado, and settling back into work, life, LT, etc. Every time I go visit my sister I am convinced that Colorado is where we will end up after my husband retires from the Air Force in 9-12 years. That seems both far away, and no time at all.

Jan 12, 2017, 8:11am Top

Wrapping up 2016...

2016 Challenge

Books read: 81
Pages read: 24,433

Fiction: 38
Non-Fiction: 42

(The same as 2015, crazy!)

Top 5 (in no order):
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
The Train by Georges Simenon
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Jan 12, 2017, 10:40am Top

>31 rosylibrarian: Hope the back to work adjustment goes smoothly.

Jan 12, 2017, 1:28pm Top

1. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

I joined a book club at the end of last year put on by the Forever Young Adult folks, and this is for January's read. We don't meet until next week, but I am looking forward to the drink fueled discussion.

The Serpent King follows three high school seniors as they stand on the cusp of graduation. Dill is the son of an incarcerated pastor, Travis is the son of a drunken father, and Lydia has two wonderful parents who make sure she wants for nothing. This unlikely cast of friends struggles to figure out what the next step is, and battles their insecurities and jealousies of each other.

I have to admit this book started out very oddly. Dill's father is not only incarcerated, but something of a wackadoodle who used to bring snakes into his church to... I'm not even sure what. Test their devotion? It was an odd plot line, but eventually the book found its groove and I found myself enjoying their friendships.

And then... the thing happened. The thing I can't talk about because it pivots the book in an entirely new direction that I did not see coming. I can't even tell you how it made me feel because that might spoil the book. I was crushed, and may have shed tears. Why?! Why the best character?!

Anyways, it's a surprising book, and a 4/5 for me. I'm interested to see what this YA author does next.

Jan 12, 2017, 2:05pm Top

Oops, missed your birthday last week! Belated Happy Birthday, Marie, and glad you got your first book under your belt.

Jan 12, 2017, 3:13pm Top

Congrats on your first book of the year! I thought about joining an FYA book club a couple years ago when they first started but couldn't find the group when they had a meeting so didn't actually make it happen. Basically, I'm terrible at actually joining things.

Jan 13, 2017, 7:26am Top

>35 ronincats: Thanks, Roni!

>36 MickyFine: I am terrible at joining things too, except that the woman who runs our FYA club used to be a GA at the library I work at. She got her MA and started teaching high school, but we stayed in touch, and she convinced me that I needed to join. It's actually pretty awesome because the FYA people send question prompts, which helps give it a bit of structure and then you can stick to them or not.

Jan 13, 2017, 12:11pm Top

>37 rosylibrarian: That does sound pretty awesome. Hope your meeting next week is good. :)

Jan 14, 2017, 3:53pm Top

2. Still Life by Louise Penny

I wanted something cozy when I flew to NV/CO, so I took this along with me because every single LT member ever has raved about this book. Or, so it seems.

I should preface this by saying I'm not the world's biggest lover of mysteries. I read them every now and again, and usually go meh, and then go on about my reading. This book was a cut above meh, but I still didn't quite find myself enraptured with it. I think part of my problem is that I get so confused by all the different characters, and in this case, I kept getting confused by all the different detectives.

I will say this for this book. It made me want to spend time in Canada. I found the dialogue about English and French culture in Canada so interesting. So, what do you guys think? Does the series get better? Should I stick with it? Does anyone have any recommendations for books set in Canada that would be just as fascinating?

Jan 14, 2017, 4:30pm Top

>39 rosylibrarian: I have tons of Can Lit I can recommend. Any particular areas of the country you want it to be set in?

Jan 16, 2017, 7:58am Top

>40 MickyFine: Well, I guess that's part of my problem. Beyond the bigger cities in Canada, I am not familiar with any particular parts of Canada. Every year we think about planning a trip up there, and then something else comes up. I guess what I found so interesting in Still Life was their discussions between the "French" and the "English" of Canada. I guess I always thought the two cultures lived in harmony up there, but the book hinted at issues.

Jan 16, 2017, 8:12am Top

3. John Tyler by Gary May

I'm still plugging away at the President's Challenge. After the election I had to take a step back from thinking about it, but I feel renewed in 2017. So renewed that I just requested all of the March books co-written by John Lewis from the library. I read somewhere that sales have surged, and it fills me with glee.

I digress. John Taylor was a lousy President, but an interesting person. He was never meant to be President, but his predecessor lasted for about a month before succumbing to illness. To his credit, the peaceful exchange of power set a precedent for today's Vice Presidency. He was also the first President to get dumped by his own party, which I found fascinating. (Can you imagine such a thing today? Even the Republicans won't get rid of Trump.)

President Tyler was known for a few more things. His second wife and First Lady was the youngest First Lady in history. (She was in her early twenties, and he was over 30 years her senior.) He was obsessed with Texas, and bringing it into the Union. And finally, the real kicker. After an unsuccessful peace conference, Tyler abandoned the United States and joined the Confederacy. (This was long after his one term.) I mean, c'mon.

Jan 16, 2017, 9:18am Top

>41 rosylibrarian: Quebec is a very special place and there's long-running tensions between that province and the rest of the country. Their last referendum on separating from Canada was during my lifetime (1995). However finding fiction on the topic (and in English) might be trickier.

As for Can lit that really gives you a sense of place I'd say The Shipping News (Newfoundland) and The Garneau Block (set in my city of Edmonton) are a couple titles I've read in the last few years. If you want to dig into more the 49th Shelf has some great lists.

Jan 16, 2017, 10:06am Top

>42 rosylibrarian: Nice review! Tyler and Buchanan are two of my favorite examples showing that the US can survive Trump. :)

Jan 17, 2017, 3:41pm Top

>42 rosylibrarian: My favorite John Tyler fact is that he fathered 15 children. I didn't know he eventually abandoned the US and joined the Confederacy, though!

Jan 18, 2017, 5:12pm Top

>39 rosylibrarian: Well, if it makes any difference I gave Still Life 7/10 stars and A Fatal Grace 8/10 stars. And a book has to be pretty darned good to break that 8 star barrier.

Still Life micro-review: "I can see why Penny is popular. The characters and charm make this a fun read. The style was a bit simple for me though. It might be because this is a first book. I've been told that the books get even better. Also, one of the secondary characters really annoyed me and I'm not sure what the purpose was of including her except as a foil for the chief inspector. Recommended for cozy mystery readers."

A Fatal Grace micro-review: "Like most of the mysteries I prefer, this is more about the characterization than the mystery. In fact, the mystery almost took a backseat to the lively villagers of Three Pines and the Canadian Police force, especially the inspector. I liked this one more than the first, Still Life."

Jan 19, 2017, 7:16am Top

>42 rosylibrarian: That's a good one! Can you imagine?

>46 Morphidae: Well, that's good to know that it got better for you. I totally agree with you about the character of Nichol in the first book. Please tell me she doesn't come back.

Jan 19, 2017, 7:33am Top

4. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Most know Trevor Noah for his stand up comedy, or as host of the Daily Show. I actually did not know him from either place, but this book sounded interesting because it follows his childhood in South Africa during and after apartheid. Noah is just a few years older than me, but had a completely different childhood than I did. He was born half black and half white in a country that used apartheid to keep its black population in poverty, with little hope of rising in society. His mother raised him, with little help from his father because it would have been illegal for his father to have a relationship with a black woman.

In some ways, Noah experiences normal child and teenage problems. For example, he gets a date for the prom (matric dance) with a beautiful girl, and stresses out about how to look, and what car to take her in. The difference is that his issues are set against a completely different backdrop. He finds out that his date doesn't speak the same language, which isn't unusual in South Africa where hundreds of different languages are spoken. It provides a lot of comedy, but it's always tempered by the very serious issues it brings up - racism, bigotry, etc.

I listened to this as an audio book, and I would highly recommend others try it out because Noah narrating his own stories made it all the better. (South African accents are awesome!)

Jan 19, 2017, 12:29pm Top

>47 rosylibrarian: As far as I remember she's not in the second book, but I think I remember when reading about the ongoing series, she comes back as an antagonist who gets the main character in big trouble.

Jan 20, 2017, 8:01am Top

>39 rosylibrarian: It gets better! I've reached book nr 8 in the series The Beautiful Mystery. Didn't like Nichol either, and I think that some of the characters seems a bit one sided (if you get what I mean).

All in all I enjoy the series very much, and it makes me want to visit Canada/Montreal/Quebec. I wish Tree Pines actually existed, though maybe without all the murders.

Edited: Feb 1, 2017, 8:07am Top

5. March: Book One by John Lewis
6. March: Book Two by John Lewis
7. March: Book Three by John Lewis

I started book one before the Women's March, felt inspired, marched, and quickly finished the next two books. Though the situations are completely different, it made me feel extra connected to this book. It made me angry to read comments from family members and friends that people who march and protest are just throwing "tantrums". I want to shove this book in their face. Political dissent is not un-American. Everyone has a right to be heard, and sometimes it can bring about real change.

In any case, these books were stunning. The progression of the story, the intertwining of past and present day, the artwork - everything. Those involved in the Civil Rights movement were so brave. I was nervous to march in such a red state, and here they were being beaten and thrown in jail. It was eye opening, and so, so inspiring in such troubled times as these.

Feb 1, 2017, 8:44am Top

8. Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Arabella Tallent, the daughter of a poor vicar, is given the opportunity of a lifetime to spend a season in London with her godmother. She dreams of beautiful clothing, expensive balls, and of hooking a man to elevate her family's position in life. No pressure. As Arabella rides into London, her carriage falls into disrepair and she is forced to stop at a house to get out of the cold and rain. It turns out the house belongs to Mr. Beaumaris, a wealthy socialite in London. Arabella resents Mr. Beaumaris' stuck up treatment of her, and tells him that she is actual an heiress. The lie follows her to London where much hilarity ensues.

This was an enjoyable light read. It could have been a straight up romance between Arabella and Mr. Beaumaris, but the book takes twists and turns through some heavier topics - gambling addition, the plight of chimney sweep boys, and a woman's role in society. It was engaging, and the ending was tied up nice and neat. Ah, if only I could go to balls and sip lemonade...

Feb 1, 2017, 9:08am Top

9. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

This was read as part of the Our Shared Shelf book club.

I attended a rendition of the Vagina Monologues when I was in high school. I went with a few friends - boys and girls. I remember being floored. Wow, these women were talking about vaginas, and orgasms, and other things that never came up in day to day conversation. It set a baseline. Vaginas are normal, and even more than that - they are awesome!

Fast forward to now. It feels less compelling to read it now, after watching it enacted on stage, and almost 20 years since it was published. It's almost like, well, yeah, of course. I don't need to lay on a floor with a mirror or do an oil painting of it to appreciate vaginas. I mean, I could, but my week's pretty busy. What resonated more this time was the stories of women who had known violence. I wanted to hear their stories, and know what they had been through. I wanted to know, and understand and help their plight.

So, I guess the Vagina Monologues worked. It normalized vaginas, so much so, that the book no longer feels like it pushes boundaries.

Feb 1, 2017, 12:37pm Top

>52 rosylibrarian: Hmmm. I may make that my next Heyer. Question is - does it have any of her ridiculously stupid characters?

Feb 3, 2017, 2:56pm Top

>54 Morphidae: Ermmm, well, I guess it depends on what you mean by stupid. Arabella could be a little stupid, but was a character you could root for. What book in particular are you referring to?

Feb 3, 2017, 3:07pm Top

Love the segue from March to Heyer to vaginas. Properly diverse reading.

Feb 3, 2017, 3:14pm Top

>55 rosylibrarian: The Talisman Ring was filled with idiots. I enjoyed Frederica so much it almost got 9/10 stars but there were two idiotic secondary characters that annoyed me so much that I dropped a star. A little silly I don't mind but please, don't leave your brain at home.

Feb 3, 2017, 3:29pm Top

>56 charl08: Diversity, baby - yeah!

>57 Morphidae: Ah, yes, okay. Well, Arabella's guardian in London was a bit idiotic, but she provided access to London, so she must be forgiven. :)

Feb 3, 2017, 5:27pm Top

It's been a while since I picked up a Heyer. Thanks for the reminder!

Feb 3, 2017, 5:27pm Top

>58 rosylibrarian: Agreed. Guardians can be forgiven. Especially if a little bit stupid. They are the best kind!

Feb 9, 2017, 10:51pm Top

>42 rosylibrarian: well, there's lousy presidents and then there's lousy presidents. I'm sure a not lousy one is what most people are after ;)

>53 rosylibrarian: I don't need to lay on a floor with a mirror or do an oil painting of it to appreciate vaginas. I mean, I could, but my week's pretty busy.
Lol!! Nice observation!

Feb 22, 2017, 11:23am Top

I have been absent, again. My stepmom passed away on Valentine's day at the age of 59. It was a sudden, massive heart attack, and we are all in shock. I've been in my hometown trying to help my dad, and haven't been reading.

Feb 22, 2017, 11:29am Top

So sorry to hear about your stepmom, Marie. I'm sending you love and hugs; share them as needed.

Feb 22, 2017, 11:56am Top

Oh, Marie, I'm so, so sorry. Big hugs, and I'll be thinking of you.

Feb 22, 2017, 1:21pm Top

>62 rosylibrarian: Sorry to hear of your loss, Marie. Sending hugs and good thoughts for you and yours.

Feb 22, 2017, 3:33pm Top

>62 rosylibrarian: Very sorry for your loss, Marie, sending hugs for everyone.

Feb 24, 2017, 8:38am Top

I'm sorry for your loss, Marie! Big hugs!

Mar 3, 2017, 11:56pm Top

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your step-mom. How's your dad doing?

Mar 4, 2017, 2:38am Top

>62 rosylibrarian: I'm sorry to hear about that. That is such a shock.

Mar 4, 2017, 7:21am Top

Sending my sympathy too. I'm sure your dad is very glad to have your support.

Mar 17, 2017, 10:44am Top

Thank you, everyone. It's been a really sad time, made worse by living so far away from my dad and siblings. Before she passed away, my family had planned a trip to Harry Potter World. We are going next week. It's not the trip we planned, but I am happy my dad did decide to go, if only because I selfishly want to see him.

Other than that, I've been reading here and there. I'll try and catch up this weekend.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:00am Top

10. Dumplin by Julie Murphy

I fell in love with this author at YALLFest last year, and bumped her up on my TBR list. I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed this book. It follows an insecure teen who struggles with her appearance, while being best friends with a pretty girl and secretly dating a pretty boy. To boot, her mom used to be a beauty queen and now runs the annual pagent. We watch Willowdean struggle to feel like she deserves their love and acceptance, while tackling her own body issues.

I think I just read that it was optioned as a movie, with Jennifer Aniston attached as one of the characters. It's one I will want to watch.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:07am Top

11. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

This was for book club. It is def not a book I would have picked up on my own. I tend to stray from alternative histories where magic is involved. I'm not being a history snob, but I've never found an author who can do it is a compelling way.

In this book, Lady Jane Grey lives in a world where her cousin, King Edward VI is dying and she is married to a man who shape shifts into a horse at night. In fact, a lot of people shape shift. Princess Mary would burn them all, while Elizabeth is tolerant of their special talent. Jane doesn't care. She'd rather read books about them... but she is suddenly thrust onto the throne by the scheming Lord Dudley. Will she get to keep her head in this retelling?

It was a fun read for what it was.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:15am Top

A very different book from the one before...

12. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I read this in one sitting on the plane from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. I wanted a book to take my mind far away from what was happening, and this book did the trick. It sucks you in extremely fast, and pulls you into a world where a man from Pakistan moves to the United States to attend college. He quickly gets a high powered job in finance, just as his relationship with a mysterious girl unravels and 9/11 takes place. The ending is extremely jarring, and the writing is superb.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:18am Top

13. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

I like Johnson, of Ghost Map fame, but this book was rather dull. The premise is that Johnson explains how six inventions changed everything. His arguments are sound, but they were kind of boring and I didn't feel like I learned anything new. It could have been my frame of mind too, so take my short review with a grain of salt.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:28am Top

>71 rosylibrarian: Hope you manage to have some fun at Wizarding World even with everything going on. I had a blast when I went to Florida a couple years ago.

Mar 17, 2017, 11:56am Top

>76 MickyFine: It is a blast! My husband I have been twice, once after each park opened. We always have such a fun time, even though the crowds are pretty overwhelming. We are going with my two nieces who are 11, and 13. Both of them have been reading the books for the first time, so I am really excited to see their reactions to everything. It will be a fun trip... everything has just been overshadowed by loss.

Mar 17, 2017, 12:08pm Top

>77 rosylibrarian: Going with your nieces at that age should make it extra fun. Are you doing the one in Florida or California?

Mar 17, 2017, 12:14pm Top

>78 MickyFine: Florida. It's nice because we can just drive down and pick up my brother on our way. :)

The husband and I are planning to binge listen to a bunch of Sherlock Holmes audio books, narrated by Stephen Fry. Is it bad I'm looking forward to that just as much as Universal? Ha ha!

Mar 17, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>79 rosylibrarian: Not at all. Stephen Fry has a wonderful voice. That should be utterly delightful.

Mar 21, 2017, 10:18pm Top

I'm currently doing a chapter a day of all the Harry Potter books. It makes me a little envious of your trip!

Mar 27, 2017, 11:41am Top

>80 MickyFine: It was delightful, and Stephen Fry does have a wonderful voice. Not quite finished with it yet.

>81 Morphidae: Every few years I listen to the Harry Potter books, but as much as I love Stephen Fry, I really love the Jim Dale version.

Mar 27, 2017, 12:58pm Top

>82 rosylibrarian: How was the trip?

Mar 29, 2017, 11:51am Top

>83 MickyFine: Good. Kind of hard. It just felt like someone was missing the whole time, because someone was. We did have fun though, and it was good to see everyone and be together. It's just tough to escape grief.

Mar 29, 2017, 1:16pm Top

>84 rosylibrarian: That makes sense. Sending along hugs.

Apr 28, 2017, 2:53pm Top

Well, let me dust this thing off. It's been almost exactly a month since I was back.

I have been reading, but to be honest, it's been a shitty year and I haven't feel all that connected to anything. My step-mother passed away in February, and two weeks later we found out my uncle had terminal cancer. They gave him 1-6 months and he only made it a few more weeks and passed away last weekend. My husband left for training a few weeks ago, and won't be back until later in May. I'm just not feeling it, to be frank.

Let's hope the rest of the year is better...

Apr 28, 2017, 4:42pm Top

*hugs* for you Marie

Apr 28, 2017, 5:30pm Top

{{{{Marie}}}} and remember our online community is here for you!

Apr 28, 2017, 9:19pm Top

Yup, we're here for you.

Apr 29, 2017, 2:53am Top

So sorry to read of those losses in your family. Please be kind to yourself.

Apr 29, 2017, 11:54am Top

Oh no, Marie! I'm so sorry this has been such a hard year for you so far. Big hugs.

Apr 29, 2017, 4:49pm Top

Sending along massive virtual hugs for you, Marie.

May 7, 2017, 4:42am Top

Also late hugs from me Marie. xx

May 18, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Hi, Marie! How are you? Hope things are getting better!

Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 6:37am Top

It's hard to believe I have been so absent this year. I've been a devoted LTer and 75er for the past 10 years, so it saddens me that I haven't had time to dedicate to my thread, or to see what others are up to. And it's not that I'm not reading... I just never seem to get time.

Well...that's about to change...

We got orders! We're moving to England! We will probably be there late March or early April.

I've been a mix of emotions, but I'm mostly excited. I will miss the job I have here, and the friends that I have made, but I'm also ready to travel and explore. We lived in England once before, when my then-boyfriend, now-husband was stationed there until 2008, but we were young and did not appreciate our good fortune. Believe me, this go around will be different. I really can't wait.

So, there's my excuse. I've been busy, first with family issues, then with work, and now with the prospect of moving overseas. I'll try and do better, so bear with me. I hope all of you are well.

In the meantime...what books should I be reading to prepare myself for this move? I have Bill Bryson's books about living in England, but what else is there? Fiction and non-fiction recommendations welcome!

Aug 29, 2017, 9:09am Top

That's amazing, Marie! Congratulations on your big adventure!

Aug 29, 2017, 10:57am Top

Very cool for you! I know you'll enjoy your time there.

Aug 29, 2017, 11:46am Top

>96 norabelle414: That is super exciting news, Marie! To which part of the country will you be deployed? That will help inform reading recommendations. :)

Aug 29, 2017, 2:33pm Top

>99 rosylibrarian: In the Suffolk area, though we're not entirely sure where we will live.

I've been reading/watching Poldark these past few months, so a trip to Cornwall is already being formulated in my head. ;)

Aug 29, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Oooh, Cornwall trip sounds wonderful. Books that feel particularly British and always make me want to go back:

-Miss Marple mysteries (or Agatha Christie novels in general)
-Neverwhere (riding the tube in London becomes so much more fun)
-Noel Coward plays (I highly recommend getting audio recordings of these, they're a blast)

I also can recommend some TV series and such that always feel particularly British if you have the time. :)

Aug 30, 2017, 7:52am Top

>101 rosylibrarian: Thank you for the recommendations. I've only read Neverwhere, and even that was ages ago.

Yes, send TV recommendations my way! :)

Aug 30, 2017, 9:58am Top

>96 norabelle414: Ooh, that's a lovely part of the world. Wishing you a good move.

I used to go to the coast as a kid (Clacton, Cromer, Horsham), and there are some beautiful beaches away from those towns too.

Elly Griffiths' crime novels are set in Norwich and surrounds. http://ellygriffiths.co.uk/

I found this list of locally (well, they include the whole of East Anglia it seems) set books. I've read The Crime Writer which seems to have small villages down pat and is rather creepy. And The Norfolk Mystery is fun if you like historically set cosy with tongue firmly in cheek. They also mention H is for Hawk which, when I thought about it, made sense, as she talks a lot about living in Cambridge and taking the bird out in the surrounding area. I liked Waterland, and I think most of Swift's books are set in East Anglia, but recent experience recommending him says they're not to everyone's tastes. They made a film of his Last Orders with Michael Caine.


I wondered if you'd had National Trust membership the last time you visited? Might be worthwhile if you're going to be out and about exploring?

Aug 30, 2017, 11:42am Top

>102 charl08: Classic British sit coms: Vicar of Dibley, As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances. And if you haven't tried Broadchurch yet, it's set near Dorset so right in your new neck of the woods.

Aug 30, 2017, 8:44pm Top

>103 MickyFine: Thank you! And thank you for recommending local books. A lot of mystery/crime novels seem to come from that area. Hmmm.

No, I never had a National Trust membership. I lived in the UK for about a year while I was studying abroad in London, and then I spent the rest of the year living with my military boyfriend in Norfolk (aka stowing away in his dorm). I was very poor to say the least. I definitely want to get a membership this go around. In true librarian fashion, I am building an entire list of things I want to see/do with corresponding links and prices. Depending on what we want to see in a year, we will probably get the National Trust membership or the English Heritage one.

Aug 30, 2017, 8:45pm Top

>104 rosylibrarian: I have not seen any of those. I've been wanting to watch Broadchurch though, so I'm glad it gets your approval.

Aug 31, 2017, 3:52am Top

>74 rosylibrarian: Oh, I loved this one!

Nov 20, 2017, 7:27am Top

>105 rosylibrarian: Just catching up on threads after being absent for a long time, and for similar reasons - I'm moving back to England next year, too! Probably in July, so a bit later in the season than you :-)

Seconding the recommendation for an NT membership.

"Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister" are a little older, but they're still surprisingly insightful and relevant to the way politics is viewed. And also very funny :-)

Nov 23, 2017, 12:57pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 24, 2017, 1:56am Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Marie!

Dec 13, 2017, 9:51am Top

Well, 2017 was a bust for me as far as actively participating on LT. Here's hoping to a better 2018.

At the very least, I am going to try to update this thread with my 2017 reads, and perhaps that will set things in motion.

Dec 13, 2017, 1:25pm Top

Some years are better than others. Always happy to see you regardless of how frequently you make it, Marie!

Is prep for the intercontinental move starting to swing into gear?

Dec 14, 2017, 9:13am Top

>112 rosylibrarian: Yes! I work during the weekdays, and plan for moving during the weekends. Right now we are going through our entire house trying to figure out what we wouldn't want to store for 4+ years. It forced me to go through all the books in my house, which took me awhile. I took everything I didn't want to a used book store and got store credit, so now I have over $100 dollars in credit to spend. Thus I'm buying more books, and I feel like I never got rid of anything at all. :)

Also, I couldn't find any of my immunization records, so I've been getting series of shots... moving to a new country is so much fun! ;)

Dec 14, 2017, 10:11am Top

Great to see you back posting, Marie.

Always better late than never!

Dec 14, 2017, 10:13am Top

>114 rosylibrarian: Thanks, Paul. I resolve to do better in 2018. I'm thinking unemployment might help. ;)

Dec 14, 2017, 1:02pm Top

>113 PaulCranswick: Sounds like a fun exercise. Those used book store credits are so dangerous!

It's fun to daydream about moving to another country but the logistics are terrifying (at least to me). So much respect to you as you prep for your move. :)

Dec 19, 2017, 12:42am Top

I missed your announcement in August, Marie, and how exciting! Also, there's a great LT community there as well to touch base with.

Dec 19, 2017, 2:24am Top

>113 PaulCranswick: Ha! I empathise completely. Hope the rest of the packing is going ok.

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 10:20am Top

>116 ronincats: >117 charl08: >118 rosylibrarian: We are lucky in that the military packs us up and ships everything over, but knowing that UK houses are smaller, we're trying to go through everything with a critical eye. We're also trying to figure out what to do with all of our electronics. Some of its dual voltage, so we can use them with a converter, but others we would need a transformer and others we just need to replace with something when we get there. That part is a head ache. Also, dealing with pet export laws is a nightmare.

But! Totally worth it to have this experience, and that's good to know about the LT community there. :)

Dec 23, 2017, 4:44pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 25, 2017, 4:04am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Jan 1, 12:07pm Top

I just got back home from a week in Colorado, so belated Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to all!

Thanks to a stunning head cold, I'm laying in bed, and just set up my 2018 thread. I promise to be better, so come chat with me over here.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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