This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

kac522's 2017 Reading

75 Books Challenge for 2017

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 9:26pm Top

Welcome to my 2017 reading place. The past couple of years I've been able to read 75+ books, which astounds me every time I think of it.

On this thread I'll keep a chronological list of the books I've read, and keep track of those ROOTs (TBRs on my shelf since 2016 and earlier). I'll also loosely participate in some challenges (AAC, BAC, RandomCAT, AlphaKIT and my own Dewey challenge). My 2017 Category Challenge thread is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/243968

My ROOTs ticker:

I'll also try to finish Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, which has now become a two year project. I've read into the Fourth Volume (of 9), so will try to finish this classic in 2017.

Welcome, and have a Great Reading Year in 2017!

Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 9:22pm Top

2016 has been a tough year for a lot of us. So much emotion and angst, anger and disgust. And I know that a lot of people have taken the challenge to read more about the differences and challenges that our world faces. I may dip into that once in a while too.

But right now I have the need for some reading that takes me away; that makes me think about brave and kind people; perhaps fluff, perhaps escapist, yes. So 2017 is going to be a bit of a random reading year for me, with 1) pleasure and 2) reading LOTS of books off the shelf being the optimal goals. Last year I bought twice as many books as I read, and over half of the books I read were library books! The TBR piles are growing out of control.

I'm also thinking about reading more series. Some of my thoughts lean toward these:

Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series
Georgette Heyer's historical fiction
Patrick Taylor's An Irish Country Doctor series
Some Agatha Christie
Some of the many Willa Cather books on my shelf

Edited: Jan 2, 2:16am Top


Books marked with a ♥ were especially enjoyable; books marked with an R are "ROOTs", books brought into my house before 2017.


1. Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau R
2. Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays by Joseph Epstein ♥
3. Audiobook: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson ♥ R (this was a re-read/re-listen)
4. The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles R
5. Audiobook: Frozen Assets by P. G. Wodehouse read by Simon Vance
6. Village School by Miss Read ♥


7. Kindred by Octavia Butler
8. Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer R
9. Garden of Broken Statues by Marianna Tax Choldin
10. Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer R
11. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
12. The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose by Rebecca West
13. The Mother's Recompense by Edith Wharton ♥ R


14. Village Diary by Miss Read ♥
15. Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami ♥
16. Animal Farm by George Orwell
17. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope ♥ R
18. Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
19. Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie R
20. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

21. Storm In the Village by Miss Read
22. Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer ♥
23. Audiobook: Bleak House by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Vance ♥ R
24. The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen R

25. Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
26. Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny by A. S. Byatt
27. The Odds by Stewart O'Nan R
28. Over the Gate by Miss Read

29. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
30. My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

31. A Midwife's Tale: The diary of Martha Ballard by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich R

32. Mrs Griffin Sends her Love and other writings by Miss Read

33. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
34. A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith
35. Edith Wharton: Short Stories Dover Thrift Edition by Edith Wharton
36. The Macdermotts of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope R

37. A Tidewater Morning by William Styron R
38. Audiobook: Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, read by the author ♥
39. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer R
40. An Ancient Castle by Robert Graves R
41. Audiobook: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, read by the author R

42. Murder At the Vicarage by Agatha Christie R
43. The Tempest by William Shakespeare R

44. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome R
45. The Trials of Phillis Wheatley by Henry Louis Gates Jr. R
46. The Duke's Children (restored edition) by Anthony Trollope R
47. Imagined London by Anna Quindlen R
48. The Piano Lesson a play by August Wilson R
49. A Tranquil Star stories by Primo Levi R
50. Bones & Murder by Margaret Atwood R
51. A Suppressed Cry by Victoria Glendinning R
52. Treasure Island by R L Stevenson R
53. Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
54. The Two Heroines of Plumplington by Anthony Trollope R
55. Saving Mozart by Raphael Jerusalmy R
56. Profiles in Courage by John F Kennedy R
57. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman R
58. Falling Slowly by Anita Brookner R
59. Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson R

Dec 21, 2016, 9:43pm Top

>2 kac522: I love all of those series! I'm likely to dip into most of them at some point during the year.

Dec 21, 2016, 9:49pm Top

>4 cbl_tn: Yep, definitely my goal: books that I'll LOVE, so thanks for the confirmation!

Dec 21, 2016, 10:58pm Top

Welcome back! Sounds like a good plan.

Dec 22, 2016, 7:19am Top

>3 kac522: That's a great idea to mark which books came from your shelves. I'm afraid my number will be dismal, but I always have good intentions. :)

Dec 22, 2016, 7:37am Top

I'm not familiar with the Irish Doctor series, but I'd not call the others fluff. Classics are never fluff, right?

Dec 22, 2016, 8:30am Top

>7 rosylibrarian: I mark the book to be sure that my ticker is accurate. The ticker is for the ROOT challenge--you can find us under GROUPS-->2016 ROOT Challenge. It's a group in which we encourage each other to read all those TBR's on the shelves. Each participant sets an individual goal of ROOTs (aka TBR's) to read for the year, and all the individual goals are totaled to create a group goal. Come check us out! We'll be starting a new group goal in late December for 2017.

Dec 22, 2016, 8:38am Top

>8 The_Hibernator: Sounds good to me! I guess I've had enough Reality TV politics this year that I have no desire for Reality Reading. Besides, I think time needs to pass to give a better historical perspective and to reflect on these events from a longer lens.

Dec 22, 2016, 11:26am Top

Lovely to see that you'll be back again in 2017, Kathy. I predict at least 500 posts over here next year.

Dec 22, 2016, 3:21pm Top

>11 PaulCranswick: whoa, I'm not sure I'm that chatty, Paul, but I'll do my best. :)

Do you celebrate Christmas? If so, hope your holidays are relaxing.

Dec 28, 2016, 9:49pm Top

January planned reads:

AAC-Kindred, Butler
BAC-The Last September, Bowen
RandomCAT--Search & Rescue-Lest Innocent Blood be Shed, Hallie
Alpha Kit "M"-My Life in Middlemarch, Mead
Alpha Kit "S"-Shosha, Singer
OCC Book Club - The Iliad, Homer

All are TBRs except for Kindred, which should be here from the library any day now.

Dec 31, 2016, 8:15am Top

Dec 31, 2016, 9:22am 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.

Dec 31, 2016, 10:56am Top

Happy reading in 2017, Kathy!

Jan 2, 2017, 3:36pm Top

Happy New Year, Kathy!

I'm looking forward to your take on My Life in Middlemarch.

Jan 2, 2017, 5:52pm Top

Now that 2016 is officially GONE, here's a summary of my 2016 reading:

Best reads of 2016 (in no particular order--touchstones available here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/209668#5388620):


March, Books One, Two & Three, Lewis (3 books)
Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot, Himmelfarb
A Story Larger than My own, ed. by Burroway
The Carols of Christmas, Gant

Fiction--couldn't just pick a few; again, no particular order:

Return of the Soldier, West
The Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy
Moby Dick, Melville
The Good Earth, Buck
The Noise of Time, Barnes
A Whole Life, Seethaler
The Prime Minister, Trollope
The Professor, Bronte
Diary of a Provincial Lady series, Delafield

2016 Reading Stats:

88: Total books, broken down as 83 books/ebooks, listened to 5 audiobooks
also 2 short stories read from a collection of Joseph Conrad

Of these 88 + stories:
29: from the TBR shelves prior to 1/1/2016 (missed my goal of 30)
11: from my shelves purchased in 2016
1: borrowed from a friend
Everything else from the library

Of the 3 ebooks, 2 were from the library, 1 purchased prior to 2016.

46 Male authors
42 Female authors
1 mixed (male + female author)

Overall I think I did well with the male/female ratio; was disappointed that I didn't make 30 TBRs; and am happy with my overall reading total, which is the highest to date.

Jan 2, 2017, 5:53pm Top

Interesting to note: of the 15 books I've named as my best of the year, 7 came from LT--either as part of the BAC challenge or direct recommendations from great LT people via their threads. LT has definitely influenced my reading choices!

And that tradition continues...despite the fact that I named a whole long list of books for January up in message 22, I'm ACTUALLY right now reading Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau as part of the Virago Chronological Group Read Project, which is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/245181#5864570

Another book I never would have read, if not for LT (Thank you, lyzard!)

Jan 7, 2017, 8:25pm Top

At least you are still persevering on Clarissa. Some of your series reads and authors mentioned in the second post caught my attention. Some of those are favorites.

Jan 8, 2017, 6:44pm Top

>19 kac522: Great to see that LT and the BAC in particular has played a role in reading recommendations, Kathy.

Jan 8, 2017, 10:23pm Top

Happy New Thread, Kathy! Looking forward to following your book life for another year!

Jan 9, 2017, 3:40am Top

Lori, Paul, Mark--Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by!

>20 thornton37814: I need to get back to our dear Clarissa; been side-tracked with Deerbrook and then I have to tackle The Iliad. I may go back to my method that made some progress last year: I set aside Sunday evening reading just for Clarissa, so I may take that up starting next week (sounds like a diet, I know)....

>21 PaulCranswick: Hey Paul, I have many more books on my shelves from the BAC than from the AAC, and the rest are names that are new to me that I want to try. I think maybe that's because in past years I read so many of the AAC authors in high school, college and young adult years, that most are familiar to me, and I'm sort of been there, done that for many.

>22 msf59: But speaking of the AAC, THIS YEAR's AAC list has several new authors for me that I've wanted to read (Butler, Alexie); books on the TBR (O'Nan, Styron, short story collections); and authors I want to re-visit (Hurston, McBride, Hemingway). Hemingway has so many classic works that are just part of the American "canon" that I can't skip him, even though my past experience of a couple of works hasn't been the greatest.

So thanks, Mark--Kindred is all set to go after The Iliad. Unfortunately, my book club obligation has to come first. I tried listening to The Iliad on audio, and despite the great Derek Jacoby, my mind completely wandered off. Oh well, off to the wars....

Jan 9, 2017, 7:47am Top

Wishing you good luck with Clarissa! I am not sorry I read it, although I was also relieved to finish it. :)

Jan 9, 2017, 3:33pm Top

As I always say about Clarissa, few novels are more gruelling, but you will never forget it! :)

Jan 11, 2017, 11:38pm Top

>24 ursula: & >25 lyzard: I think the thing about Clarissa is that it is SO repetitive. But maybe after this absence of reading, it will re-acquaint me with the story.

Jan 21, 2017, 9:52am Top

>25 lyzard: & >26 kac522: I am not sure that "gruelling" is a good quality to add to your reading.

Have a great weekend, Kathy.

Edited: Jan 21, 2017, 11:06pm Top

>27 PaulCranswick: Actually Clarissa is heaps easier than The Iliad. I'm struggling with The Iliad and am only 1/3 done after 2 weeks; it has to be finished by Wednesday, book club discussion day. I'm trying to figure out why I need to read about Greeks slicing each other up for 600 pages. Even War and Peace has some peace. And no god interference, either.

Jan 21, 2017, 11:52pm Top

>27 PaulCranswick:

I was referring to the story itself, not the length / approach. :)

Jan 26, 2017, 1:53am Top

The Iliad is finished. Not exactly a close reading for the last 150 pages, but I got the main idea. I am so over war and gods at this point. I am reading some total fluff: Village School by Miss Read. Such a relief.

Jan 26, 2017, 8:15am Top

>30 kac522: Oh, I'm sorry to hear it. The last book of the Iliad is the most powerful and way more engaging than the middle bits with all of the battle scenes.

Jan 27, 2017, 9:43pm Top

>31 scaifea: Yes, I have to admit that the end was better than the previous 600+ pages. But I'm not sure it was worth it. I apologize to Homer fans out there.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:34pm Top

January is almost over and I have yet to write up a single book I've read this month. Not that I've read that many. So here are some short summaries of the books this month. Rather than stars, I'm just putting a single ♥ next to titles I really enjoyed:

1. Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau

Type: fiction
Completed: Jan 2017
Original publication date: 1839
Challenge(s): AlphaKit M, ROOT, group read for the Virago Chronological Read
Format: My ebook (Nook)

I had never heard of Harriet Martineau before this group read on LT. Martineau is an interesting bridge between Austen and Eliot/Gaskell, with a moral sensibility but a more modern approach and feel. The feeling of small town life is almost claustrophobic here, where every comment or action provokes another comment or action, and it's just hard to hide from the narrow mindedness. I didn't love the book, but I did enjoy reading it and the preachy parts didn't go on too long. I think I'd like to read Martineau's nonfiction, if I can find it anywhere.

2. Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays by Joseph Epstein ♥

Type: short essays
Completed: Jan 2017
Original publication date: 2016
Challenge(s): My Dewey Challenge: 800s (814.54)
Format: library book from Chicago Public Library

A lot of fun. I looked forward to reading a few of these each night before going to bed. Each essay is no more than 3 pages, and the topics run from shoes to books to dogs to language. He rambles on about stuff going on in his neighborhood, his growing up years in Chicago, and even thoughts outside his little world in Evanston. It's a big book, but a lot of laughs. Thanks, Mr. Epstein, for bringing some sunshine to me at the end of these dark days.

3. Audiobook: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson ♥

Type: fiction
Completed: Jan 2017
Original publication date: 1818
Challenge: ROOT (re-read/re-listen)
Format: My audiobook on CD

I've read this umpteen times and this was my second listen to my CDs of the wonderful Juliet Stevenson. Stevenson does such a great job with the minor characters--they're all so distinct, you can't mix up one for the other. Austen's dialogue works so well in audio format--the more I listen to her novels, the more I have to think she wrote her books with reading aloud in mind.

4. The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

Type: epic poem (I think)
Original publication date: this translation: 1998; from circa 800-600 B.C.E.
Completed: Jan 2017, with great difficulty
Challenge: ROOT, for my RL book club
Format: book from my TBR shelf

I had very little interest in this overly epic poem of Greeks slicing up Trojans and vice-versa, with numerous gods interfering at every turn. I found the gods particularly annoying, because they make sure that no mortal is in control of his/her own fate, even in a small way. But I think what I disliked the most is that there wasn't a kind, good soul in the entire 600+ pages. OK, maybe that old Nestor guy was too old to be entirely nasty, but everyone else was just filled with vengeance. Like a Trump tweet, except in a zillion characters, and I needed more of that like a hole in the head. Even at the end, Achilles can't even give back Hector's body without getting some gifts, some payback. Sheesh. Glad that's over and I can move on with my life.

5. Audiobook: Frozen Assets by P. G. Wodehouse, read by Simon Vance

Type: fiction (humor)
Completed: Jan 2017
Original publication date: 1964
Challenge: none
Format: Audiobook via hoopla from Chicago Public Library

Amusing shorter book that gets increasingly hard to follow as the story goes along. But that didn't matter much, as there are a lot of clever lines that keep you smiling. Listened to this while doing work on the computer, so I didn't quite get the entire storyline, but like I said, it doesn't really matter.

Edited: Jan 27, 2017, 10:46pm Top

Currently Reading:

Village School by Miss Read

Coming Up:

Kindred by Olivia Butler (AAC)
Lest Innocent Blood be Shed by Philip Hallie (RandomCAT)
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen (BAC)

Jan 28, 2017, 9:33am Top

>32 kac522: To be fair, I suppose he is an acquired taste. But that last book gives me goosebumps every time.

Jan 28, 2017, 10:19am Top

>34 kac522: I found the Miss Read books delightful when I read them back in the 90s.

Jan 28, 2017, 10:28am Top

>33 kac522: Austen's dialogue works so well in audio format--the more I listen to her novels, the more I have to think she wrote her books with reading aloud in mind. What an interesting thought, Kathy. You may be right. Didn't the Austen family entertain themselves with readings and performances at night? She may have grown up with that idea.

Jan 28, 2017, 1:27pm Top

>35 scaifea: To be fair on my end, I don't think this was the right time for me to read this book. Plus I rushed through it to finish by a deadline.

>36 thornton37814: Which is where Miss Read comes in! Finished Village School last night and it was a welcome delightful antidote to Homer. I'm going to use the series as "in-between" books: when I need a book to make me smile!

>37 jnwelch: Joe, I just love Stevenson reading anything, but I think Austen works particularly well. I'd recommend Persuasion especially (as far as I know, P&P and Lady Susan are the 2 she hasn't recorded). And yes, the Austens did read aloud to each other, from what I've read.

By the way, the Miss Read edition I got from the library was another Academy Chicago book.

Jan 28, 2017, 1:36pm Top

>38 kac522: Academy Chicago. Wow, that brings back memories. They did a great job of bringing out little known gems.

Jan 28, 2017, 3:20pm Top

>35 scaifea: To be even more fair on my end, I should fess up to being a classicist, so of course I love Homer. *grins*

Edited: Jan 29, 2017, 12:53am Top

>39 jnwelch: Yep, the Millers liked those off-beat British books, didn't they? I'm hoping CPL bought a lot of the Miss Read books in the series to keep me going for awhile.

>40 scaifea: Is The Odyssey a little less gruesome? I supposedly read it in high school, but have no recollection of it. Since I bought the 2 volume Fagles translation set, I'd like to get some use out of my purchase, if there's more to it than revenge. Plus I would like to give Homer another chance.

Jan 29, 2017, 11:14am Top

>41 kac522: Yes, it's less gruesome. Well, sort of. There are gory bits, especially toward the end, but for the most part it's about Telemachus coming of age and Odysseus' journey home.

Jan 29, 2017, 11:10pm Top

>42 scaifea: Sounds reasonable (if war isn't the main point), plus it looks shorter. One of these days....

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:38pm Top

6. Village School by Miss Read ♥

Type: fiction
Completed: Jan 2017
Original publication date: 1955
Challenge(s): None
Format: library book from Chicago Public Library

Charming tale of village life, told from the schoolteacher's viewpoint. Miss Read is generally kind and loves her pupils, but she's not a saint. The village people have their own quirks, but are mostly lovable. I'm so glad to have found this series; they will make the perfect comfort read between more challenging books.

7. Kindred by Olivia Butler

Type: fiction
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication date: 1979
Challenge(s): AAC January
Format: library book from Chicago Public Library

I am not a science fiction fan, so I had a hard time with this book, even though many would say it's not strictly sci-fi. It is time travel, and I just couldn't suspend my disbelief in the whole premise. That being said, the book certainly was a page-turner, and brought up many questions about race and identity. Dana, our heroine, travels from 1976 back to a Southern plantation in 1819. Coincidentally (or perhaps by design) she has arrived at the place where her slave ancestor, Hagar, will be born to the white master's son and one of his slaves. Well-researched, I found myself wishing that it had just been an historical novel about that period.. And the one piece I wanted Butler to explore, that of comparing herself, her personality and her likeness to these distant ancestors, one white and one black, was completely missing. Or coming to terms with having a white ancestor who was a slave-holder. Or being the descendant of a raped slave. None of these are even approached in the book. Overall, not bad, but it could have been much more.

Feb 3, 2017, 11:01pm Top

Next up:

Either Village Diary by Miss Read or Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer; the latter fits the Feb AlphaKit

and later...in no particular order...

The Last September, Bowen (Jan BAC)
Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, Hallie (Jan RandomCat)
Shosha, Singer (Jan AlphaKit)
The Odds: A Love Story, O'Nan (Feb AAC)
My Brother Michael, Stewart (Feb BAC)
At Mrs. Lippincote's, Taylor (Feb RandomCAT)
Hillbilly Elegy, Vance (RL bookclub)
Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia, Choldin (written by a friend & she will be giving a lecture)
and an Edith Wharton (Feb AlphaKit)

with some comfort reads in-between. All of the above, except the Mary Stewart & Hillbilly Elegy, are from the gi-normous TBR.

Edited: Feb 4, 2017, 11:45pm Top

Went to the Arlington Heights Library Book Sale today. I brought 14 books to donate, but of course, I picked up just as many as I donated:

Battles at Thrush Green and Emily Davis by Miss Read - woo-hoo--what great unexpected finds!
Home: a memoir of my early years by Julie Andrews -- always loved Julie Andrews--I wanted to BE her, or at least sing like her.
An Ancient Castle by Robert Graves -- a short story/novella found in his papers after he died
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gillman -- been wanting to start this series and now I have my own copy
Hiroshima by John Hersey -- a classic I've never read
The Devastating Boys by Elizabeth Taylor -- I've been collecting Elizabeth Taylor whenever I find one; this is a Virago edition, so double find!
Stoner by John Williams -- nyrb edition -- lots of hype about this one--been on the radar for some time
A Theft by Saul Bellow -- a shorter Bellow, new to me
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford -- Dover Thrift Edition -- another classic
Treasure Island by RL Stevenson --Dover Thrift Edition -- yet another classic I've yet to read
An Eye for an Eye by Anthony Trollope -- library discard which appears to be in better condition than the copy I have (haven't read yet)
The Manor and The Estate by I. B. Singer -- another library discard that looks like new--probably never checked out-- again, a copy in much better condition than the current one I own, still unread on my TBR. Maybe the shiny new-like copy will give me incentive.
March by Geraldine Brooks -- another one on the radar

All for $7. Not bad.

Feb 5, 2017, 9:58am Top

Wow, that's quite the haul!

Feb 5, 2017, 10:03am Top

Morning Kathy! Happy Sunday! Great book haul. March was my first Brooks. Good introduction.

Feb 5, 2017, 2:56pm Top

>46 kac522: I count one less than those you came in with so you are ahead! Great haul. I love the Mrs Pollifax mysteries. Have you read them before?

Feb 5, 2017, 6:43pm Top

>47 drneutron: Thanks--I thought I did pretty well, considering that the giant room of books was sorted into "Non-fiction" and "Fiction." And most of my fiction finds were in the "non-fiction" section--go figure! Small paperbacks were 25 cents and large paperbacks & hardcover were fifty cents. It was actually $6.50, but I rounded up to $7--I'm such a philanthropist :)

>48 msf59: I've only read one other Brooks, Mark: Caleb's Crossing. I liked the writing and the concept of the book, although some of the events stretched my ability to believe. I've heard so many good things about March that I had to pick it up. I also have People of the Book and Year of Wonders on the TBR.

>49 Familyhistorian: Meg, I picked up Mrs. Pollifax strictly on recommendations I'd read on LT--I'd never heard of this series before. So needless to say, I'm psyched!

Feb 6, 2017, 12:19am Top

>50 kac522: She is a delight. I am sure you will enjoy her.

Feb 6, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>46 kac522: Nice haul from the book sale, and how wonderful you were able to pick up two in the Miss Read series!

Feb 14, 2017, 9:06pm Top

>51 Familyhistorian: Thanks--I have Mrs. Pollifax set to read in-between some tougher books coming up.

>52 thornton37814: Sometimes I wonder how many great books I've missed at past book sales because I just wasn't aware of the author! Especially older titles, like the Miss Read books. Thank goodness for libraries!

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:55pm Top

8. Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer

Type: fiction
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication date: 1923
Challenge(s): AlphaKit Feb "H", ROOT
Format: paperback from my shelves

A clever diversionary (is that a word?) read, but so far I haven't been blown away by Georgette Heyer. Maybe because I'm starting with the Georgian books, but these little spats between powdery heroes and heroines amidst other flirtations just don't do much for me. I need a little more thought, a little more feeling. I hope that materializes in some of the other Heyer titles I have around here on my TBR. Normally I'd give up, but I've heard so many good things from all you Heyer fans out there on LT, that I'll eventually read more.

9. Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia by Marianna Tax Choldin

Type: memoir
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication year: 2016
Challenge(s): My Dewey Challenge--not yet catalogued.
Format: paperback from my shelves, autographed by the author

Full disclaimer: the author is a friend of mine, so this is not an unbiased review. This memoir focuses on the influences in the author's life that brought her to her love of Russia, language, and ultimately, her commitment to freedom of expression. Brought up in an academic household, Marianna had a passion for all things Russian as early as high school. This memoir brings together all the disparate pieces in her life that brought her to her work as a faculty librarian specializing in Slavic Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana. Over the span of 50 years, she visited Russia over 50 times, working with her librarian colleagues in the Soviet Union. In the course of her research, she uncovered how prevalent and "silent" much of the censorship was in both Imperial Russia and the later Soviet Union, and she worked to open up the exchange of ideas between the United States and Russia when the Soviet Union began to fall. Her theme of "Broken Statues" is a small park she stumbled upon in Moscow, where broken and neglected statues and monuments of once mighty but now out of favor Russian heroes were literally dumped. This is her way of finding those things in Russia's past that have still not been dealt with by the government and its people.

My only criticism of the book, actually, is the title, which doesn't give the impression that this is a memoir. I kept waiting for the censorship part, and there was so much more of Marianna's life. But by the end, you can see that she is trying to tell you how the events in her life brought her to her work, and influenced the decisions she made and the values she holds. Marianna has written several scholarly books on censorship in Russia, but she wanted to reach a wider audience with this memoir. I think if I had understood this from the beginning of the book, I would have enjoyed it more. Still, it's a fascinating story of a brilliant woman, and I could hear her voice in every sentence.

Feb 14, 2017, 10:05pm Top

Currently reading:

Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Coming Up:

Hillbilly Elegy, Vance
Village Diary, Miss Read
The Last September, Bowen

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:42pm Top

10. Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Type: fiction
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication date: 1974
Challenge(s): AlphaKit for Jan (S); ROOT
Format: paperback from my shelves

Written in 1974, this later novel of I.B. Singer is set in 1930's Warsaw prior to Hitler's invasion. The narrator is a writer and re-discovers Shosha, a girl he loved as a boy from his old neighborhood, who is, at best "simple" and perhaps mildly mentally retarded. The novel takes us through the writer's life just before and up until his marriage to Shosha, encountering all kinds of characters. It's interesting how Singer weaves into conversations philosophy, fascism, socialism, Torah, you name it. Generally our narrator (Aaron) listens to these rantings from the people he meets and we learn very little of what he thinks. Nearly all of them eventually circle around death and/or God. Everyone it seems in this Poland is sure they will die at the hands of Hitler and there is a fatalism throughout the book. Interesting descriptions of the ghetto and its characters, from the most holy rabbis to the most evil charlatans. This was a good (not great) book, and it did make me think, and I'm still trying to figure out whether Shosha represents (for Singer) innocence/goodness in a broader sense amidst a world of impending doom. Or whether this was just a story.

Edited: Feb 18, 2017, 7:54pm Top

Currently reading:

Hillbilly Elegy, Vance
The Mother's Recompense, Edith Wharton

Feb 18, 2017, 8:19pm Top

Happy Saturday, Kathy! Beautiful day in Chicagoland, eh?

I hope you enjoy Hillbilly Elegy, as much as I did. That one has been getting lots of attention.

Feb 18, 2017, 9:41pm Top

>58 msf59: It's interesting, Mark. I appreciated the beginning chapters, where he describes the migration from places like Kentucky to a little bit northern plaes like middle Ohio. I also was thinking how much the "save face" thinking (i.e., don't talk bad about mothers, defending your kin, etc.) is somewhat like the current gang thing going on in Chicago. They say that a lot of the shootings are "retaliatory" in nature--you said something bad about me or my family on Facebook, so I'm going to get revenge. And how he made it through junior high and high school with all that nonsense going on in his family is remarkable. I'm a little over half-way done.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:43pm Top

11. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Type: memoir
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication date: 2016
Challenge(s): My DeweyKit; for my RL Book Club
Format: hardcover lent to me by a member of my book club

This 21st century rags-to-riches memoir by a young 30-something of "hillbilly" descent is open, forthright, and a page-turner. Vance makes no excuses for who he is or where he comes from. He starts out with a general description of the migration of Appalachian whites to Rust Belt cities, their culture and their values. He then relates his own personal story, and he has a lot to be proud of.

But his story didn't get much empathy from me. Lots of people are poor; some of these poor people overcome tremendous odds to become successful; and many of these same people have even greater battles with society: skin color, language barrier, immigrant status, physical disabilities, gender identity, to name a few. And lots of these demographic groups are in (and have been in) "crisis" for generations.

This is not to make light of Vance's accomplishments, despite his Kentucky accent. But in his quest to attain a higher social class standing, I think Vance could have broadened his perspective to reflect on how he is more like his fellow-Americans than different from them. This is where Trump, et. al., are dangerous: they emphasize these differences and incite jealousies and hatred, rather than encouraging us to see our similarities in our struggles, and rejoicing in everyone's successes. I'm glad J. D. Vance isn't another O.D. statistic, but this book could have been so much more.

Feb 21, 2017, 5:12pm Top

Hi, Kathy.

Heyer: try The Grand Sophy. You have to be a little patient waiting for Sophy to enter from stage right, but it's still my favorite Heyer so far. Her Regency novels (I think I'm up to a dozen or so) have all been a pleasure to read.

Feb 21, 2017, 7:26pm Top

>61 jnwelch: I've got that one on the shelf, Joe. Will give it a try.

Feb 22, 2017, 2:08am Top

Currently reading:

The Mother's Recompense by Edith Wharton and
The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose by Rebecca West

Feb 26, 2017, 6:04am Top

>60 kac522: Interesting Kathy that Hillbilly Elegy didn't blow you away as completely as it did some of our peers. I will certainly be looking out for one of my old BAC picks Rebecca West in your upcoming reading.

I thought I had posted earlier on it but
>46 kac522: $0.50 a book is great going! Some goodies there too.

Have a great Sunday.

Feb 26, 2017, 3:39pm Top

>64 PaulCranswick: Hey Paul, thanks for stopping by! Actually I did get introduced to Rebecca West via the BAC--last November I read The Return of the Soldier, which was my first West. And it _did_ blow me away (unlike Hillbilly Elegy), so when I saw the Virago Rebecca West thread for this month, it was a great opportunity to read more. I decided on the nonfiction collection The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose, which was clever and entertaining, although not with the same emotional impact of the novella.

Hope you got some R&R this weekend, and are ready for another week packed full (I'm sure) of stuff to get done.

Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 4:27pm Top

Currently reading:
Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie
Village Diary by Miss Read
Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami
and listening to Bleak House read by Simon Vance

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:46pm Top

12. The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose by Rebecca West
Type: essays and reviews
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication dates: 1920-1979; this compilation published 2010
Challenge(s): My DeweyKAC (800s); for Virago February Read
Format: paperback from Chicago Public Library

This is a compilation of essays and book reviews that were not previously published or only published once in a newspaper or magazine. They have never before appeared in a collection of West's works. The pieces span from 1920 to 1979. and they also span a breadth and depth of knowledge of all sorts of topics: the arts, literature, science, politics, psychology, to name a few. I enjoyed these short and witty non-fiction pieces, probably the book reviews a bit more than the essays. The only other West I've read is The Return of the Soldier, which I loved. One day I may tackle one of her long novels, but this short set of works was a wonderful introduction to a brilliant woman of the 20th century.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:46pm Top

13. The Mother's Recompense by Edith Wharton ♥
Type: fiction
Completed: Feb 2017
Original publication date: 1925
Challenge(s): AlphaKIT; ROOT
Format: hardcover from my shelves

One of Wharton's last novels, finished in 1925. I loved this book, despite being a bit melodramatic. It felt honest; it felt like a woman who had learned to accept herself for who she was during the course of the novel. I'll leave others to provide a summary of the story, but what really drew me in was the way Kate went through her own soul-searching to find the right place for herself in society, in her family and within herself. I particularly felt satisfied by the ending, which seemed so appropriate to me. I've yet to be disappointed by Edith Wharton.

Edited: Mar 7, 2017, 11:35pm Top

Picked up 3 Virago editions today (at a used book store & library sale shelves):

Mary Olivier: A Life by May Sinclair
A Suppressed Cry by Victoria Glendinning
The Little Company by Eleanor Dark

I'm familiar with Sinclair & Glendinning, but Eleanor Dark is a new author to me. If anyone knows anything about this novel or any others by her, I'd appreciate hearing what you think of her work.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:48pm Top

14. Village Diary by Miss Read; second book in the Fairacre series ♥
Type: fiction
Completed: Mar 2017
Original publication date: 1957
Challenge(s): none
Format: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

I have to say I'm loving this series so far--this is Book 2 in the Miss Read's Fairacre novels, and I can't wait to get on with the next one. They are funny, honest and unpretentious. Book one was organized by the seasons; this book is organized by the months of the year. It's interesting to compare this to my own elementary schooling, which was just a few years later, but my Catholic school upbringing in a American suburb was so different! I'm also thinking of how this village life is compared to city family life as portrayed in the "Call the Midwife" series (books & TV). And I'm appreciating how Miss Read is quite happy and content as a single woman teaching in a small village, thank you very much.

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 1:19am Top

15. Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami ♥
Type: nonfiction, music, interviews
Completed: Mar 2017
Original publication date: 2016
Challenge(s): my DeweyKAC: 700s
Format: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

I loved this book and found these recorded conversations fascinating. Novelist Haruki Murakami and conductor Seiji Ozawa are friends, and they formalized these conversations a couple of years ago. Murakami is a very well-informed listener and recording collector, and his questions and discussions with Ozawa run from the generic to the very technical.

I particularly liked the beginning where they compared different recordings of the same work. (There's a link provided in the book where you can download from Spotify the recordings that they're discussing.) As fellow Japanese artists, they discuss somewhat the Japanese mindset toward music and performance vs. a Western approach. They compare the creation of a novel (Murakami) vs. Ozawa's creation of a musical statement as the conductor of a large group of musicians (i.e., the creative process of a "soloist" vs. an ensemble). Murakami pulls out of Ozawa some of the more famous events in his musical career and little-known interests, (working with Leonard Bernstein, visiting blues clubs in Chicago, instructing young and upcoming musicians) which show the wide range of interests of the maestro.

As an amateur musician (I've played piano and sung in choirs all my life), it's hard for me to tell whether it has appeal to non-musicians, but for me these were enlightening and even instructive conversations.

Edited: Mar 8, 2017, 12:37am Top

Currently reading:

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie
The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
and still listening to Dickens' Bleak House.

Coming up:

Animal Farm by George Orwell for my RL book club.

Mar 8, 2017, 9:49pm Top

>70 kac522: I love those books too!

Edited: Mar 9, 2017, 1:16am Top

>73 thornton37814: You know, I've been borrowing these from the library, but I may want to have a complete set all my own so that I can re-read them whenever! I have purchased a few here & there, but they're mostly older used copies, which I had originally planned to read and give away. May have to re-think that...

Mar 9, 2017, 6:35am Top

>70 kac522: Miss Read is someone I should go and sample, Kathy. xx

Edited: Mar 9, 2017, 12:52pm Top

>75 PaulCranswick: Well, Miss Read is sort of the Barbara Pym of village schoolteachers, if you've read any Pym. So it may not be your cuppa, but I find them delightful. Kind of like Laurie Lee in a way, too, but from the schoolteacher's perspective in the 1950's. Her language is not as lovely as Lee's, but the situations are similar.

Mar 25, 2017, 9:51pm Top

>76 kac522: Laurie Lee was an absolute favourite of mine, Kathy.

Hope everything is going swimmingly for you and yours.

Mar 27, 2017, 4:34pm Top

>77 PaulCranswick: Thanks for stopping by, Paul. Life is moving along.

Mar 27, 2017, 6:58pm Top

Hi, Kathy! Good review of Hillbilly Elegy. I liked it more than you, but I did appreciate your comments.

Good review of Absolutely on Music. I am a big Murakami fan and I have this one on my WL.

Mar 27, 2017, 6:59pm Top

Are you still thinking about attending the Great Chicago Meet-Up? I sure hope so. Let me know.

I met Joe in the city, yesterday, for lunch and a few beers. We discussed the Meet Up and how fun they turn out to be.

Mar 27, 2017, 9:32pm Top

Sounds like I liked Hillbilly Elegy better than you did, too. I appreciated the glimpses and insights into that culture, which is not one I'm familiar with. We have a friend who grew up in it, and thought Hillbilly Elegy was accurate - he said it could've been about his family.

Thanks for the helpful review of Absolutely on Music. I'm a Murakami nut, so I'll be reading it. I may wait for the paperback.

Edited: Mar 28, 2017, 1:55am Top

>79 msf59: & >81 jnwelch: I know many people liked Hillbilly Elegy. It just didn't speak to me. I have no doubt it's an accurate picture of that life, but I guess I was expecting more insight and perhaps broader recognition that there are lots of people who face these adversities. I did learn about the migration patterns and its causes for people from that area, which was useful.

>80 msf59: Mark, I'm pretty sure I'm coming to the meet-up, so send me all the details when you have them worked out. Again, thanks for asking me.

>81 jnwelch: Joe, I borrowed the Murakami book from CPL. I really enjoyed it.

Edited: Mar 28, 2017, 1:57am Top


Animal Farm by George Orwell and
The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope

Currently reading:

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie
Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer

Still listening to:
Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Next up:
Storm in the Village by Miss Read

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:52pm Top

16. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Type: fiction
Completed: March 2017
Original publication year: 1945
Challenges: RL book club
Format: hardcover from the library

Read this in high school, without comprehending much of it. Re-reading as an adult, and with a bit more background in historical events, this was a well-done "fairy tale" that could be applied specifically to the Russian experience, but clearly universal in its themes. The oppression of the press and the disappearance of characters were chilling.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:52pm Top

17. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope ♥
Type: fiction
Completed: March 2017
Original publication year: 1879
Challenges: LT Group read, ROOT
Format: paperback from my shelves

I have now come to the last of Trollope's Palliser series, and I still want more! I know some are disappointed by this last book, but I found the development of Plantagenet's character in this last book very touching. His 3 children are now young adults, and all of them make choices that grieve him deeply. He learns to forgive and change and accept. I watched the BBC series from the 1970s while reading this last book. The TV series covers all 6 books, so it was a good way to review the past events in the Duke's life while reading this last book.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 10:59pm Top

18. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Masterclass on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Type: nonfiction, housekeeping/decluttering
Completed: March 2017
Original publication year: 2016
Challenges: my DeweyKAC challenge 600s: 648
Format: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

A few good points about simplifying your possessions, but it probably won't change my life. I picked up this book from the "new books" shelf of the library, feeling somewhat inspired to do some Spring cleaning.

Essentially Kondo says hold each possession, and if doesn't "spark joy", then discard it. But before you do that, you need to put all of your possessions of a like category (i.e., all books) in one pile to appreciate all that you have. Apparently she hasn't dealt with any LT folks in Japan. I certainly couldn't fit all my books in one room! And her advice? If you haven't had time to read it, discard it. SACRILEGE! My whole TBR gone in a wink! So needless to say, I'm moving on.

When I was done with the book, I cleaned the bathroom. That's about all the spark I got.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 11:00pm Top

19. Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There by Philip Hallie
Type: nonfiction, history, Holocaust
Completed: March 2017
Original publication year: 1979
Challenges: RandomCAT Jan: Search & Rescue; ROOT
Format: paperback from my shelves

Written in 1979, Hallie tells the story of the tiny village of Le Chambon in southeast France during the Occupation of France in World War II. Along with unpublished diaries and official documents, Hallie interviewed the widow of André Trocmé, a Protestant minister in the town, who inspired its citizens to take in Jewish refugee children in direct opposition of Vichy commands. It is estimated that about 2500 Jews passed through the town, on a kind of underground railroad, on their way to Switzerland.

Although focused on saving children, some of whom lived in several children's homes in Le Chambon throughout the war, many adults and whole families were also hidden in the town, in the church, and in nearby farmhouses on the outskirts of town. This "resistance" led by Trocmé, was all with the assistance of the townspeople committed to aiding the Jews, mostly of French origin. Hallie is a philosopher, and he tells the story with an ethical approach and a conversational style, as if these townspeople were his next-door neighbors. Inspiring.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 11:01pm Top

20. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
Type: nonfiction, essays
Completed: March 2017
Original publication year: 2015
Challenges: RandomCAT Apr: Love in the Stacks
Format: hardcover from the Skokie Public Library

Four essays by Sacks, written right before he died. Insights on aging and dying. This is a very short book, which I read in one sitting at the library, and it's the farthest I ever got in one of his books.

Mar 28, 2017, 10:19pm Top

Currently reading:

Wharton, Short Stories
Read, Storm in the Village
Singer, Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter

Coming up:
Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Bowen, The Last September (BAC)
Stewart, My Brother Michael (BAC)

Mar 29, 2017, 9:03am Top

Hi, Kathy.

I enjoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall much more than I expected to. Hope it works well for you.

I'm glad we're probably going to see you at the meetup!

Edited: Mar 29, 2017, 10:37am Top

>90 jnwelch: I read Agnes Grey last year, and liked it. The other night I saw the program about the Brontes on Channel 11, so it seemed a good time to read this one. Of their novels, I only have this one, Shirley, and The Professor left to read. Jane Eyre is still my all-time favorite.

Mar 29, 2017, 1:45pm Top

Jane Eyre is a family favorite for us. I should read the others you mention.

Edited: Mar 30, 2017, 6:23pm Top

Delurking to say in response to your question re Eleanor Dark at >70 kac522:--I've read two novels by her. I read Timeless Land, the first of a trilogy of novels (historical fiction) about the founding and early days of Australia. I liked it a lot, and have the 2 subsequent novels in the trilogy on my kindle, but haven't read them yet. I've also read Lantana Lane about a group of contemporary (as of the time it was written) women and families living along a rural lane. I absolutely love it!
eta--my review of Lantana Lane is on the book page.

Edited: Apr 8, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>93 arubabookwoman: Thanks! I haven't been able to find any other books by Dark at libraries where I have access here in Chicago. I haven't read The Little Company yet, but appreciate the positive feedback. Will move it higher up on the TBR.

Apr 8, 2017, 5:59pm Top

I think I did fairly well at the Grayslake Public Library Book sale today. For $10:

6 trade paperbacks:
Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers by A. S. Byatt and Ignes Sodré
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
The Piano Lesson a play by August Wilson

{special note to Paul: 3 BAC authors!}

one audiobook:
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, read by the author

and one Grayslake Public Library tote bag to cart them home in.

Now I just need room on the shelves...

Apr 8, 2017, 6:01pm Top

Currently reading:

Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
Bleak House, Dickens, audiobook read by Simon Vance (on CD 24 of 34).

Apr 8, 2017, 7:10pm Top

Happy Saturday, Kathy! Nice book haul. I loved the Doerr & McCullough.

Hooray for Bleak House too! Possibly my favorite Dickens.

One more week, my friend! Grins...

Apr 8, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>95 kac522: Yep, I noticed! I also noticed a play by August Wilson whose Fences I recently read and enjoyed.

Have a glorious weekend, my dear.

Apr 8, 2017, 10:13pm Top

>97 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I have never read any Doerr, but have heard so much buzz about this book. Of course, McCullough I love. I have read all but 3 of Dickens' novels, and Bleak House is one of my top two--right up there with Little Dorrit. I still need to read Dombey & Son, Barnaby Rudge and The Mystery of Edwin Drood to complete the set.

Looking forward to meeting you--I think I've got the route figured out, even.

>98 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul--yes, I saw your positive feedback on Fences, which inspired me to snatch up this play. Hope you have a good week, Paul.

Apr 8, 2017, 10:23pm Top

>99 kac522: They all seem to be critical ones to be honest. My brother has been unusually patient with me to be honest as I am nearly a month behind schedule already and I will definitely need to come back to Malaysia soon to liquidate funds.

Edited: Apr 9, 2017, 4:43pm Top

>100 PaulCranswick: OK, well I'm pulling for a week where good progress is made toward your goals, how's that? Stuff like this always takes much longer than you ever think, with little complications along the way. Besides how many times have you gone through something like this? Probably zero to none, so you're doing quite well considering the learning curve. Just think--you'll have all this experience for next time! I have great confidence it will all work out in the end.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 11:34pm Top

Well, here we are in April, and I have yet to summarize February or March, so I thought I would just do a review for the first quarter of 2017:

Total Books read = 20
Non-fiction = 8; fiction = 12
Male authors = 10; Female authors = 10
Physical books = 17; audiobooks = 2; ebook = 1
Borrowed books = 10, owned by me = 10

I decided to see how these 20 books ranged by publication year. I read one book from each of the following years (unless otherwise indicated):

1979 -- 2 books
2016 -- 5 books

I wasn't expecting so many from 2016, but it did happen that way. All my 2016 books were non-fiction. No books from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s....not sure why, maybe I read them all back then?? :)

Best books of the quarter:
The Duke's Children
Absolutely on Music
The Mother's Recompense

Books that made me think:
Lest Innocent Blood be Shed
The Essential Rebecca West
Garden of Broken Statues

Books that made me laugh/feel good:
Wind Sprints
Village School

Apr 11, 2017, 12:21am Top

21. Storm in the Village by Miss Read
Type: fiction
Completed: April 2017
Original publication year: 1958
Challenges: none
Format: paperback from Chicago Public Library

Another installment in the Fairacre series. Wonderful descriptions of the natural surroundings. Not as much interaction with the children, which I missed, but still enjoyable.

Apr 11, 2017, 12:28am Top

22. Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter by Peter Singer
Type: nonfiction, essays, ethics
Completed: April 2017
Original publication year: 2006-2015; this compilation published in 2016
Challenges: DeweyKAC: 170
Format: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

I'm not sure where I first read about Peter Singer, but this collection of 82 short essays is thought-provoking, timely, intelligent and yet not difficult. Singer, born in Australia, is a bioethicist, and divides his time between Princeton University and the University of Melbourne. Best known for his strong stance on animal rights, Singer describes himself as an utilitarian (although I'm not sure what that means). His pieces are what some might call humanist: his positions do not depend or rely on a supreme being.

Most of these short essays were written for the global affairs website www.projectsyndicate.org. His topics range from animal rights, end-of-life issues, public health, happiness, politics, to name a few. Singer presents real-life problems with real-life ethical consequences. He doesn't always provide the answer, but often just raises the questions. When he does suggest answers, I can't say I always agreed, but they were thought-provoking. Accessible but not simplistic, these are essays everyone should read.

Apr 11, 2017, 12:44am Top

Currently reading:

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Apr 16, 2017, 9:14am Top

Hi, Kathy! It was wonderful meeting you yesterday!

Apr 16, 2017, 11:30am Top

What Amber said, Kathy. You've inspired me re Little Dorritt. That's going to be my next Charles D.

I loved Mrs. Tim of the Regiment. There are more Mrs. Tim books, but they were kind of hard to get hold of. Maybe that's gotten better, as D.E. Stevenson seems to be having a resurgence of popularity with Miss Buncle's Book and others.

I'm already looking forward to the next meetup!

Apr 16, 2017, 5:21pm Top

Great meeting you, Kathy!

Apr 17, 2017, 2:08am Top

>106 scaifea: Hey Amber! It was great to "de-lurk" in person. I promise I'm going to give The Odyssey a go. Caught a glimpse of Charlie and Tomm on the way out--equally adorable. And where the heck is Kenyon College? I'm usually pretty good with colleges, but have no clue on this one.

>107 jnwelch: Great to meet you in the flesh, Joe--you're exactly as I pictured you, although the pics on your threads helped a bit. Lovely to meet Becca, but sorry to miss Madame MBH. I'll have to try to make one of her story-telling gigs. My husband spends a lot of time at poetry open readings. When you get up your nerve, let me know and I can have him recommend one.

Oh and I think the next meet-up should be in Milwaukee--maybe we can do an every other year thing.

>108 ffortsa: Great to meet you & Jim, Judy. Tell Jim due to his encouragement, I picked up my Elizabeth Bowen book The Last September today (it had been languishing some days) and read 100 pages. Should have it wrapped up tomorrow.

Edited: Apr 17, 2017, 2:47am Top

>86 kac522: Great review from an LT point of view. Apparently she hasn't dealt with any LT folks in Japan. I certainly couldn't fit all my books in one room! And her advice? If you haven't had time to read it, discard it. SACRILEGE! You made me laugh.

It sounds like it was a great meet-up.

Apr 17, 2017, 6:44am Top

>109 kac522: Kenyon is a funny little place - it's very well known is certain circles, but outside of those, it's difficult to hear of it. It certainly does churn out folks who become highly successful in their fields; I mentioned the nearly-Olympic swimmer, and also among my former students are one who now writes for the New Yorker and sometimes for the NYT, and a poet who has already been published several times over.

Apr 17, 2017, 8:57am Top

>111 scaifea: Where is it?

Apr 17, 2017, 9:01am Top

>110 Familyhistorian: It was a great meet-up! Mark & Sue were such gracious and easy-going hosts, and we all just sat around and gabbed.

Apr 17, 2017, 4:53pm Top

It was great to meet you Saturday, Kathy! I'm looking forward to following your reading more closely now that I've got your thread starred.

Re Powder and Patch, I don't like the Georgian era Heyers nearly as well as the later Regency ones. Joe's recommendation of The Grand Sophy as a good one to try is spot on — it was my first Heyer as well and still one of my favorites.

Apr 18, 2017, 4:19am Top

Nice to see you were at the big meet-up over at Mark's at the weekend, Katie. I hope to be able to participate in some of those soon. xx

Edited: Apr 18, 2017, 10:30pm Top

>114 scaifea: Interesting, Amber, looks like a beautiful setting. I've never heard of Kenyon, although I've heard of Wittenberg, John Carroll, and other smaller Ohio schools.

>115 rosalita: Good to meet you, Julia! Thanks for the Heyer encouragement. At one time I bought a bunch of them, but they've been languishing on the shelves. Will give another one a go soon.

>116 PaulCranswick: Paul, how's life in Florida? Is it hot there now? Of course, you're used to the warmer weather. My son stayed home in Sheffield while the rest of the family went to Milan for Easter. His U.S. passport was stuck in the mounds of residency applications in the Home Office, so he won't be going anywhere for awhile. His wife & his kids are Italian/EU citizens, so they didn't have to give up their passports and were able to enjoy some very warm and sunny days in Italy.

May 7, 2017, 4:39am Top

It was pleasant in the morning and evenings and approaching the mid 80s in the afternoon. Dry and enjoyable.

Have a great weekend.

May 7, 2017, 8:18am Top

Happy Sunday, Kathy. Hope life has been treating you good, since the Meet up, along with those books. I want some warm weather around here. Our May has been cool.

May 13, 2017, 2:57am Top

Are you in the UK, Kathy?
Wherever you are, my dear, I hope you are having a splendid weekend. xx

May 13, 2017, 11:26am Top

Mark and Paul, thanks for stopping by. RL has been busy--not much time for reading or LT visiting.

Paul, we leave for the UK on Sat May 27 and return home on Tues Jun 6. We fly direct from Chicago to Manchester, and expect #1 son will work out the details to Sheffield. Most of our time will be with the grandkids, but hope we get a day to go to the Bronte parsonage in Haworth.

May 13, 2017, 11:30am Top

>121 kac522: Just over an hour by car to Sheffield, over the tops as they say back home. That means not taking the motorway all the way but going over the Pennine hills which is a shorter route. Don't know whether I will be in town then. A possibility.

May 13, 2017, 12:59pm Top

>122 PaulCranswick: I believe we'll be on the train, as they don't have a car. But looking forward to the hills!

Edited: May 13, 2017, 3:40pm Top

>122 PaulCranswick: Hey Paul--if you think you'll be in the UK while I'm there (May 28-June 5), I'd be happy to bring any books you might want from the good ol' USA that you can't get in the UK (poets, maybe?). Let me know...or I can leave with my son & you can pick them up later.

May 13, 2017, 9:34pm Top

>124 kac522: That is so kind, Kathy, but I didn't ought to start making lists or your luggage will be over and it'll cost you an arm and a leg! If we did coincide I would want to steal a few hours of your time to catch a bookstore in the locality that might have something neither of us have seen before. I would probably bring along John Simpson and his wife and my dear lady too.

May 13, 2017, 11:25pm Top

>125 PaulCranswick: Sounds like a plan, Paul. Let me know. But it's no trouble to bring poetry books--they're usually so slim :) Besides my hubby will probably be bringing several himself to read during our travels.

May 21, 2017, 7:33pm Top

>126 kac522: I am tempted of course, Kathy, but it would be much more of a pleasure just to meet up with you and add to our collections together!

Edited: Jun 18, 2017, 11:45pm Top

Today is my 8th Thingaversary. I want to thank everyone who has visited while I've been AWOL--Real Life has interfered with LT and reading. Of course RL did not interfere with book purchases, which I've consistently been making in the last couple of months, so I decided to forego the normal LT birthday rituals. I have plenty on the shelves to keep me occupied. Picked up some good Virago editions and a few other books on my trip to Sheffield, too.

Last night I did finish The Diary of a Nobody and started My Brother Michael, a Mary Stewart for the BAC, so I think I might be back on track.

Thanks to all for stopping by, and eventually I'll get back here to fill in the gaps.

Jun 18, 2017, 11:53pm Top

Congrats on your Thingaversary!

Jun 21, 2017, 1:11pm Top

Happy Thingaversary. I tend to buy more books in a month than the years I have been on LT so the book buying ritual seems a bit odd. I can understand why you don't want to add more.

Jun 22, 2017, 3:09pm Top

Adding my congratulations on your Thingaversary, Kathy!

Looking forward to your return from that pesky RL.

Jun 30, 2017, 10:11pm Top

Thank you Joe for stopping by. Yes, RL can be "pesky", can't it? I am hoping that it is starting to at least settle down a bit.

Jun 30, 2017, 10:15pm Top

So it's half-way through 2017 and I've only read 30 books. And only 2 in June. Miserable. But hope springs eternal, as well as my TBR piles in my house.

I don't know why, but I've had a hard time reading lately--partly RL, partly the climate in the country. I hope the rest of the summer won't be so dismal on the reading front.

Right now, my only plans are to re-read A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich for Book Club, since I'll be presenting the book at the end of July. If you haven't read it, it's a great read for the Fourth of July--the diary of an American midwife circa 1785-1812 is the starting point for Ulrich to explore women, medicine and families at the beginning of our nation's history.

Jun 30, 2017, 10:29pm Top

Haven't written a review since April (egads!), so here's a few one-liners on what I managed to read since then:

23. Bleak House by Charles Dickens--the audiobook read by Simon Vance. OUTSTANDING. I could listen to Vance read Trollop and Dickens over and over and over again.

24. The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen. I was somewhat confused in this novel about English gentry in 1920's Ireland. The movie was a little more clear. Some parts were very insightful, and others just left me flat.

25. & 28. Miss Clare Remembers and Over the Gate by Miss Read--the next books in the Fairacre series. Comforting in RL stressful times, although I was less impressed by the latter book--more little vignettes that didn't quite satisfy for some reason.

26. Peacock and Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny by A. S. Byatt. Interesting little compare/contrast study of the two decorators by Byatt. I've always loved Morris, so it was interesting to read about his life and approach to design. For the BAC

27. The Odds by Stewart O'Nan. How a marriage can be destructive, yet still two people are drawn to each other. For the AAC.

29. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith. Supposedly 1890's hysterical. I missed a lot of the humor. I found Diary of a Provincial Lady, written in the 1930's, much funnier and more accessible to the 21st century reader.

30. My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart. Started out strong, but by the end was too much thriller for me. Set in 1950's Greece, with lovely descriptions of place, but by the end I was skimming.

OK up to date. See you in 6 months...

Jul 1, 2017, 9:00pm Top

>134 kac522: I don't really remember the plots of all of the Miss Read books, but I do remember some were stronger than others.

Jul 2, 2017, 6:47pm Top

>135 thornton37814: I also enjoy her observations about children, more than her observations about adults. I think that's why the first book (Village School) is my favorite.

Aug 14, 2017, 1:48am Top

>137 kac522: Howdy, Paul. Have not been reading this summer. Just forced myself to finish the Miss Read book I bought in Sheffield... collection of miscellaneous nonfiction pieces, gathered and introduced by her daughter. I liked the tales of the kids best.

Sorry I have not been around, but I am working many hours a day right now. Trying to make what I can at these temp jobs. Reading just isn't appealing right now.

Aug 14, 2017, 2:46am Top

>138 PaulCranswick: My mojo is slowly coming back for reading, Kathy. In times of some distress I often find myself not reading. Every day a little better.

Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 12:04am Top

Real Life has put me way, way behind schedule...only 1 book in July and 1 in August. Here are mini reviews:

31. A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. This was a re-read for me and it was my book to lead in Book Club. Unfortunately it didn't go over very well; about half of those who bothered to show up didn't finish the book. I still loved it, but maybe I'm too much of a nerd. Ulrich used the life and diary of midwife Martha Ballard to tell the story of women, families, childbirth and local economy and politics in the years 1785 - 1812. I just loved the way she pulled trends and changes in America from the tiniest details of Martha's diary. (July)

It's very, very detailed--you can follow Ulrich's research, but also get bogged own in it. One gripe on this second reading--I would have liked a genealogy chart or some sort of chart of townspeople--I needed a scorecard to keep all the players straight. A great history read, especially if you're an historian or family historian.

32. Mrs Griffin Sends Her Love and Other Writings by Miss Read. Short non-fiction pieces selected by Miss Read's daughter; most published as magazine articles during her lifetime, a few never published before. Found this relatively new book in Waterstone's in Sheffield while visiting my son's family. I've come to the conclusion that I like Miss Read best when she's relating stories about teaching and the children, and less interested in the adults. (August)

33. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Somehow I never read this in high school, like a lot of people did. Again, I liked the beginning chapters, relating the stories and things that Francie and her brother did as young kids in the neighborhood. I was less interested in the "coming of age" in the latter half of the book. Still, a classic, and I can see why. My husband was reading the James T. Farrell series about Danny O'Neill (semi-autobiographical), which is set about the same time (1900s-1920s) in Irish Chicago. Also written in the 1940s looking back. Different perspective of a girl vs. a boy, and Brooklyn vs. Chicago.

Currently reading:

--A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith--the latest Isabel Dalhousie installment...lots of W H Auden quotes and comfort philosophizing. McCall Smith reminds us to be kind to each other, hold our tongues, think the best of everyone we meet.

--listening to Krakatoa: the day the world exploded by Simon Winchester, read by the author--a lot of detailed geology, way over my head, but still fascinating, and so great to listen to Winchester read his own stuff.

--off and on listening to The Audacity of Hope read by Barack Obama. Essentially Obama's campaign platform. Interesting but now sounding a bit tired 10 years later. Also the situation today seems so hopeless, it's hard to get enthusiastic about his ideals when you know everything he tried to do is rapidly being undone. Still, great to hear him speaking and thinking, even if it is so long ago.

Sep 5, 2017, 12:13pm Top

>140 Familyhistorian: A Midwife's Tale sounds interesting. I enjoy books based on that kind of historical research. I haven't read Krakatoa but enjoyed Winchester's A Crack at the Edge of the World for what it explained about the geology of the area and faults in the region. The maps in the book really helped.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>141 kac522: I think you would enjoy A Midwife's Tale. There was a PBS documentary made about the book, with interviews with the author. She did this research in the early 1990s, before major computer software. She had these giant charts she created, for each person in the family and in the town, and every time the person was mentioned in the diary, what they were mentioned about, etc. This is how she kept track of how many times various things were mentioned and how there was a whole "women's economy" working in the background (women "trading" some sort of work they'd done with another woman--i.e., doing sewing for candle-making, etc.).

Also at the time, the thousands of pages of the diary were only available on microfilm, so she spent zillions of hours in the library, looking at the films.

The diary has now been digitized and there's a whole website used to teach young historians how to "do" history based on the diary and Ulrich's work: http://dohistory.org/book/

It's really radical, when you think about it--she used normal every day domestic life (i.e., non-male, non-recorded in public records) to uncover the overall social patterns and changes of the times.

Sep 7, 2017, 9:44pm Top

>142 Familyhistorian: I've put A Midwife's Tale on the wish list, Kathy. I also looked at the descriptions on PBS. Sounds like it was/is an interesting show. I can well remember doing all that in-person, go to the records, microfilm research. If the diary hadn't been brought to the fore, it probably wouldn't be digitized. So if Ulrich was doing the research today she might have to go through the same lengthy process.

Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 12:59am Top

Knocked out 2 short books:

34. A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith. My go-to comfort author. Didn't disappoint, and reminds us to step back, keep perspective, and don't be too hasty to judge.

35. Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) by Edith Wharton, for the AAC September Short Stories month.

Seven stories from various collections of Wharton's stories. My favorite story was "Xingu", and I have to quote a passage. The story is about a Ladies' Lunch Club (membership by invitation only) , "an association...of indomitable huntresses of erudition."

In this passage, Mrs. Roby, who is not quite up to the other members' standards, is being mildly chastised by hostess Mrs. Plinth because Mrs Roby hasn't read the current book under discussion, The Wings of Death. As the ladies are waiting for the arrival of the author, Osric Dane, Mrs Plinth remarks to Mrs Roby:

"I can understand that, with all your other pursuits, you should not find much time for reading; but I should have thought you might at least have got up The Wings of Death before Osric Dane's arrival."

Mrs Roby took this rebuke good-humoredly. She had meant, she owned, to glance through the book, but she had been so absorbed in a novel of Trollope's that--

"No one reads Trollope now," Mrs Ballinger interrupted.

Mrs. Roby looked pained. "I'm only just beginning," she confessed.

"And does he interest you?" Mrs Plinth inquired.

"He amuses me."

"Amusement," said Mrs Plinth, "is hardly what I look for in my choice of books."

Sep 16, 2017, 5:29pm Top

Book sale acquisitions:

The Road to San Giovanni, Italo Calvino (essays/memoir)
The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind, David Guterson (stories)
Farewell the Tranquil Mind R. F. Delderfield (historical fiction)
The Pale Horse, Agatha Christie
A Song of Sixpence, A. J. Cronin (fiction)
Nabokov: Novels 1955-1962, Nabokov; Library of America edition includes Lolita, Pnin, Pale Fire, Lolita: A Screenplay

Nov 23, 2017, 12:26pm 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 25, 2017, 11:37pm Top

>146 kac522: Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Paul. It's one of my favorite holidays--just cook and eat and be with family and friends.

Nov 26, 2017, 12:03am Top

I will attempt to catch up on what little reading I've done in the past couple of months:

36. The Macdermotts of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope (Root) Slow. Had many Trollope elements that will appear in later works: girl in love with a bad boy; a crazy old man; a horse race; a duel; a kindly, clergyman; a court scene; politics. The Irish dialect slowed the reading and it didn't grab me until the last third of the book.

37. A Tidewater Morning by William Styron (for the AAC, Root) Three intense stories from the point of view of Paul, at different ages. Styron is very stylized in his writing, and you can feel how deliberately he chooses each word. Mostly they work, but sometimes the words feel forced... they don't always flow.

38. Audiobook: Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, read by the author (my Dewey challenge) Winchester always keeps me interested, especially when he does the reading. I had no idea how important this eruption was in the history of volcanoes. Winchester draws an interesting line from the effects of the volcano on the native surrounding peoples to the Islamic militancy of today...it was a stretch, but he has some valid arguments.

39. These Old Shades by Georgette Beyer (Root) I liked this one a little better than the 2 previous Heyers I've read. The first half of the book was engaging, but the second half dragged for me...I felt that every scene was too long. The dialogue sections, in particular, were repetitive. I longed for a JA ending with a few paragraphs summarizing what happens to everyone. So many people rave about her that I'll keep trying.

40. An Ancient Castle by Robert Graves (Root, for the BAC) Children's moral tale illustrated by the author's niece. Explains right from wrong without being heavy-handed.

41. Audiobook: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, read by the author. (Root) Obviously written in 2006 with future political campaigns in mind, but still so logical, so compassionate and so clear-headed in approach. Sigh. Ya don't know what you're missing till it's gone

42. Murder At the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (Root) The first Miss Marple--I was surprised how small a role Miss Maple plays in this first book, but she is an engaging character. And nice to finish a book in a couple of sittings.

Nov 26, 2017, 12:06am Top

Currently reading:

--The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope. This is the restored version, with approximately 25% of the cuts made by Trollope now restored.

--Audiobook: The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, read by the author. Another great audiobook by Winchester.

Also given that there's only a month left to the year, and I'm way behind my goals in Roots completed and total books, I've lined up a whole lot of shorties (under 200 pages) for December, once I finish this Trollope.

I'm afraid to even think about setting goals for 2018.

Dec 1, 2017, 1:15am Top

Finished The Tempest by Shakespeare for Book club.

Dec 1, 2017, 1:15am Top

December is here and I am woefully behind in my challenges. I've read a total of 43 books, and my goal was somewhere around 85; my ROOTS goals was 35, and I've read 19. Lots of annoying RL stuff and just a lack of reading incentive this year. Oh well.

So I'm going to try to "catch up" a bit, using the strategy of this month's RandomCAT challenge: One Day:


Our challenge this month is to read a book that you could finish in one day. And I'm going to attempt to read a LOT of these "one day" books this month--maybe one every other day. I've gathered a large pile of books with 200 pages or less, all ROOTs, from my shelves, and I'm going to plow through them during December. If nothing else, it should get me close to my 35 ROOTs goal.

First, however, I have to finish the restored version of The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope; I've got less than 100 pages to go in this nearly 800 page book. So off I go to my reading corner...see you on January 1. (I may throw in some book summaries here & there.)

Dec 1, 2017, 9:56pm Top

Currently reading: Last 40 pages of The Duke's Children -- woo-hoo!
and just started for today's one-day book: Three Men in a Boat--To Say Nothing of the Dog by Jerome K Jerome

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 2:37am Top

Finished 3 Roots today:

44. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome; fiction; humor; 211 pages. (One-day book--OK--it took me 2 days) For a book written in 1889, I was amazed at how much was really funny! and I understood the humor! Jerome meanders around the travels of 3 men (and a fox terrier) and their misadventures, while including lots of old funny stories.

45. The Trials of Phillis Wheatley by Henry Louis Gates Jr; nonfiction--essay/biography; 90 pages. (One-day book) This was a lecture that Dr. Gates gave published in a slightly expanded book form. Phillis Wheatley arrived in the US in 1761 at about age 7 from Africa; was immediately bought by the Wheatley family of Boston. Once in the family she was raised and educated by the family, and about age 20 had written enough poems to publish a book. Gates takes us through her "trials", her poetry (as a black writer) dismissed by Thomas Jefferson, and her champions and detractors throughout history. It's an interesting short piece on culture, literature and race.

46. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope, restored edition. 784 pages. I read the originally published novel earlier in the year. Scholars have now restored about 25% of the book that Trollope was forced to cut prior to publication. The restored cuts make so much difference in the understanding and rounding out of the characters, their motivation, and the political nature of the novel. Well worth the time and effort to re-read this "almost new" book. ♥

Dec 3, 2017, 4:45am Top

That is an impressive trio of books downed, Kathy.

Have a lovely weekend.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:31pm Top

>154 kac522: Thanks, Paul, I am trying to make up for wasted time this summer, when I read almost nothing. I don't think I'll hit 75, but I may be able to do 35 unread older books off my shelf (Roots).

Dec 3, 2017, 8:14pm Top

Currently reading:

Imagined London by Anna Quindlen

Dec 4, 2017, 2:00am Top

Today's One-Day book:

47. Imagined London by Anna Quindlen (Root, AlphaKit Q) A mixture of literary tour, history and travel memoir. Probably a good book to read when you're there. Trollope quoted extensively.

Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 1:42am Top

Today's One-Day book:

48. The Piano Lesson, a play by August Wilson (Root, AlphaKit P). The best drama in a very short time leaves you asking more questions than answering them. This is one of those plays. The piano in the Charles family represents family history (good and bad); opportunity and enslavement; the past and the future. I was a bit puzzled at the very end, but that is where a reading falls so short of a production.

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 1:39am Top

Today's One-Day book:

49. A Tranquil Star, stories by Primo Levi (Root, AlphaKit). This is the first volume I've read of Levi. I'd always thought of him as a "Holocaust" writer. But these stories are anything but! The collection spans post-WWII until his death in 1987, and they reflect more his interest in literature and science than anything else. Levi was a chemist by trade, and many of these stories are short fantasy/sci-fi pieces, like humorous "TwiLight Zone" episodes. A poem that comes alive, a kangaroo that goes to a party, characters from books that assemble in another world, a special paint that keeps away disasters and bad luck. They all made me think.

Dec 6, 2017, 3:10am Top

>159 PaulCranswick: Primo Levi was a fascinating character. His novel If Not Now, When? is invariably in my top ten lists for best novel.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 1:07am Top

>160 kac522: I definitely need to read more Levi, Paul. Thanks for the recommendation.

Dec 7, 2017, 1:06am Top

Today's One-Day Book:

50. Bones & Murder, short pieces by Margaret Atwood (Root, AlphaKit). Taken from her larger collections "Good Bones" and "Murder in the Dark."

Dec 8, 2017, 2:28pm Top

Yesterday's One-Day Book:

51. A Suppressed Cry: Life and Death of a Quaker Daughter by Victoria Glendinning (Root, Dewey 200s). Glendinning's first published work, a very readable short history of a remarkable great-aunt, one of the first women to attend Newnham College, Cambridge.

Dec 10, 2017, 1:39pm Top

Wishing you a lovely Sunday, Kathy

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 2:55pm Top

>164 kac522: Thanks, Paul--back at you, as they say in the 'hood. I was glad to see Three Men in a Boat on your list for next year--I really enjoyed it...but now I have to pick something else from the list! But I have to say I was disappointed that my dear Miss Read did not make the series list.

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 8:49pm Top

Catching up:

Took a couple of days to complete each of these, although they could have been finished in one:

52. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (Root, BAC) My first reading of this classic. So many familiar names and references, and yet I never put them all together in the same place. Captain Silver is a very interesting character, not so much the stereotype that we are familiar with.

53. Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie. These were fun and could be read in one day. I especially liked to compare the difference between Poirot stories and Miss Marple stories. Poirot dominates his stories; Miss Marple doesn't come in until close to the end.

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 2:07am Top

54. The Two Heroines of Plumplington by Anthony Trollope (Root) During the months approaching Christmas, 2 young women challenge their fathers' ideas of marriage, class and rank. Rather typical Trollope; in this short story form he presented the problems well, but I thought the resolutions were rather forced. Not at all like the resolution of similar issues by Trollope in The Duke's Children. But of course this story is about 700 pages shorter than The Duke's Children :)

55. Saving Mozart by Raphael Jerusalmy (Root; AlphaKit)

This is a Europa edition that caught my eye. A very short novel, structured as a diary during 1939-40. It's the fictional diary of a fictional music critic who is dying in a Salzburg tuberculosis sanatorium. And although he seems ambivalent about Hitler in the beginning, by the end it is his goal to save Mozart from the Germans, or more accurately, the Germanic style of playing Mozart that the Nazis enforced. Very interesting read. Jerusalmy says at the end that all the musicians mentioned (in passing) in the novel's diary all cooperated with the Reich regime.

Dec 25, 2017, 3:30am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 4:38pm Top

Looks like you are making up for lost reading time in December, Kathy. Good luck reaching your goals and Happy Holidays!

Dec 26, 2017, 1:57am Top

>168 Familyhistorian: Lovely image and note, Paul. All the best to you on holiday in Yorkshire and in 2018.

>169 kac522: Thanks, Meg--I think I may actually reach my ROOTs goal, if nothing else, which is the most important. These stacks of books around here are starting to make me edgy--I can't read 'em fast enough.

Dec 26, 2017, 2:08am Top

56. Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy (ROOT, Dewey 900s) I started reading this book back in May and finished just before Christmas. Several of the profiled men were completely unknown to me. I did like how he chose men who "went against the grain" as it were; who felt compelled to go with their convictions, rather than their constituents. Reminds me of John McCain standing up against the Republicans against their rotten health care bill last Fall. Some of the stories were more compelling than others.

57. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (ROOT, AlphaKit). So many people have raved about this series on LT that I picked up the first book in the series. I almost picked up more, but am glad I didn't. It just didn't do anything for me except make me skim to the end. I think I would have Pearl-ruled it, but I'd already put in 100 pages, so I didn't want to waste the time I'd spent already. The whole premise is pretty improbable, and Mrs. Pollifax's scrapes just kept getting wackier and more unbelievable as the story went on. And all that 1960's politics--"Red China"--yuk. Plus I figured out the deck of cards thing almost immediately, so whatever "mystery" was in this book was over for me pretty early. Sorry Pollifax fans. Not for me.

Edited: Jan 2, 3:58am Top

Looking back over my reading in 2017, I'm not struck by a lot of "great" books. But here are a few that stood out, and that I remember as I look at my list:

--The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope--the un-cut version. Much of what made this read fantastic was lyzard's group read thread. Thanks, Liz.
--Discovering the Miss Read books--Village School being my favorite (and the first read)
--The Piano Lesson, a play by August Wilson. Probably loses impact when reading; hope I can see the play performed at some point
--Saving Mozart by Raphael Jerusalmy--a little book that surprised me with its strength
--Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson--a wonderful book to end 2017 and start 2018 in peace

--Krakatoa, the ever wonderful Simon Winchester reading his own work on audio
--Wind Sprints by Joseph Epstein--entertaining short essays from the New Yorker

and the best book of the year had to be:
Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami

Still hope to get in 1 or 2 more before the year ends.

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 12:41pm Top

Happy Holidays, Kathy!

Hope you're surviving this chill in Chicago okay. Very encouraging to see Absolutely on Music as your best book of the year. I have it, and I'm a Murakami completist. Now I'll look forward to it even more.

Dec 29, 2017, 2:53pm Top

>173 kac522: I devoured that book. I was a music major in college (a million years ago), so a lot of the discussion in the book technical but fascinating to me. I got it from the library, but it's one that I may pick up later for keeps.

Thanks for stopping by...I always follow your threads, but I'm not much of a talker. Visiting your book cafe is like stopping by a neighbor's porch on a summer evening. Just good old friendly chatting about this and that. I'm waiting for the day when you & Madame MBH open up a real brick & mortar book cafe...my MBH & I will be your best customers!

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 3:23pm Top

Ha! Thanks, Kathy. We dreamed about opening a real brick & mortar book cafe, but we've grown too old! We worked together at the old Barbara's Bookstore, and are now at the point where we like the dreaming better than actually working that hard!

As northsiders, we go to Women & Children First, Book Cellar, Volumes and Myopic these days. Maybe we'll see you and your MBH at one of those!

P.S. I love the idea of the LT book cafe thread being like stopping by a neighbor's porch on a summer evening. Thank you!

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 3:29pm Top

My MBH is now working part-time at The BookMarket in The Glen in Glenview (on the old Naval Air Station property). It's owned by the Barbara's bookstore folks. They have a lot of overstock and seconds and also a large room for community events. Apparently they don't make a profit, but the city required the developer of The Glen to have a bookstore that would host community stuff free of charge.

Almost every birthday, anniversary, etc, etc, gift from my hubby comes from W&CF. I occasionally make the big trip to the South Side to Seminary Co-op, absolutely my favorite place.

Dec 29, 2017, 3:32pm Top

>175 kac522: and the other thing I love about your thread, is that no matter how many times people repeat the same good wishes (safe travels, happy holidays, whatever), you ALWAYS find a different, clever way to respond to each one, sometimes taking me back to stuff my parents used to say. Love it, love it, love it.

Dec 29, 2017, 4:01pm Top

I love the Barbara's connection! Kudos to the city for requiring that. We're at W &CF a lot more these days - what a great store. My MBH knows one of the (newish) owners very well from the city's storytelling scene.

What kind words re the thread. We all can use some happiness, and it feels good that you love that!

Edited: Jan 2, 3:56am Top

2017 Recap:

--Finished 59 books, well short of my goal of 85
--Finished 34 ROOTs (off my shelves), almost met my goal of 35, so yay me.

41 books of fiction: 20 men/21 women
18 books of nonfiction: 10 men, 8 women

Total gender: 30 men, 29 women -- need to work on that...

Jan 2, 3:57am Top

Oh, forgot to post last 2 books:

Edited: Jan 2, 3:59am Top

58. Falling Slowly by Anita Brookner R About learning to live alone as one gets older, I guess. Not much happens, but there's a lot of internal ruminations.

59. Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson R ♥ A lovely book to end the year...written in a diary style, Mrs Tim records her times and trials between the wars, circa 1930s. The scenes in Scotland are beautiful, peaceful and full of good will and kindness. I'm going to continue with Mrs Tim, for sure.

I've added Mrs. Tim to my "best of" list in >172 jnwelch:.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

420 members

172,368 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,943,150 books! | Top bar: Always visible