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Ruth is gonna read - that's a given!

2017 Books

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Jan 3, 2:52pm Top

Thank you lesmel, for setting up the group. I like a nice quiet corner with controllable traffic.

I've only got a few minutes left on the library computer, so I' do the housekeeping tomorrow or the next day. I had to "use or loose" annual leave, so I'm nestled in at home taming the piles and eating comfort foods.

Last year's reading was listed HERE.

I may have a bit of clean up there as well. Tallying at least.

Watched The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. I enjoyed it, but I swear that film nowadays is sacrificing story for action. It was hard to follow, but Depp was fun.

Jan 3, 3:00pm Top

>1 2wonderY: Amen to a quiet, controllable corner. Heh

>1 2wonderY: I loved The Lone Ranger for the sheer audacity of the stunts. I think there was about two minutes of plot in the entire movie. Maybe five.

Jan 5, 5:50pm Top

>1 2wonderY: My ears prick up when I hear that a movie is boring. I assume there is a chance that it has a story.
I'll be lurking.

Edited: Jan 9, 10:24am Top

Glad to have you both checking in.

January 5

I've started several more serious books, but I've finished a bit of fluff. J.K. Rowling's wizarding world : movie magic : extraordinary people and fascinating places - 1.

I also spent some time enjoying The steampunk user's manual : an illustrated practical and whimsical guide to creating retro-futurist dreams - 2, though I did skip the illustrations section. I like the mechanicals, the literature and especially the costuming. The literature chapter has an exceptionally good page of advice for any author. One of the items listed is "Make it personal." Now, I'm not a writer, but I think that defines precisely what attracts me to certain stories.

Also watched and enjoyed Finding Dory and an oldy We're Not Married.

Jan 5, 8:16pm Top


Edited: Jan 9, 1:36pm Top

>5 fuzzi: Hi! Pull up a chair.

I almost forgot to list the film The Good Dinosaur. VERY cute, especially the opening scene.

Jan 5, 9:33pm Top

Gonna keep track of books sampled, but not finished as well.

I was looking for Mort on audio and found Mort(e) instead.

Most of the reviews here are positive, but I tossed it quickly. Purportedly from the perspective of a cat, the first simile/metaphor is most definitely from a human's perspective, unless cats are bothered by splinters under their nails. Perhaps this was meant to be funny, as the cat soon after realizes that it's toes are shorter than another cat's, and I think it is supposed to signify that it has been de-clawed, and the cat thinks it would have had to have remembered such an event, but doesn't. And then we're supposed to welcome the giant man-killing ants. Yeah, right. You'd run too, nose pinching all the way.

Edited: Jan 9, 10:44am Top

Two books involving Monty Don, celebrity gardener:

Extraordinary Gardens of the World - 3 represents still shots from garden visits filmed for a BBC series. It’s a coffee table sized book and the photos star. Looking at the credits, there are 8 photographers, and Monty does have the bulk of the credits. So, he chose the gardens, hosted the TV series and wrote the copy as well. The chapters break out the types of gardens – personal, spiritual, natural, botanical, historical, edible and communal. It’s an abbreviated print version of the TV shows; there is no learning, just enjoyment.

In Garden Mania - 4, Monty merely contributes the Preface. There are a couple of pages of text at the beginning of each section that don’t really inform, and then the book is given over entirely to illustrations from antique and rare garden pattern books. Garden architecture, statuary and other specialty features alternate with engravings of the grand gardens of several centuries ago. The book itself is textbook sized and soft covered and with heavy paper stock. It’s not comfortable to browse, as one is constantly in fear of breaking the binding while holding the pages open. However, visual treasures abound. This would be a good reference book for persons doing visual art work.

Since I finished up last year with Snow Treasure, I was curious just how accurate the fiction was. I was pleased to locate a new book on the subject, Gold Run - 5, but sad to discover that McSwigan's tale is not even close. Turns out the gold never left the control of the bank, and traveled by train and lorries to the battleships that carried them to Scotland. Pearson is not a good story teller. I found the book repetitive and pedantic. There was plenty of real tension and drama in the story, but the effort fails to draw it out winningly.

And the movie that stood out this weekend was a B-style Icetastrophe. Implausible science, wooden acting, but interesting special effects.

Also watched the mini-series The Sons of Liberty, written and directed by Kari Skogland. (title touchstone not working) I really enjoyed bad-boy Samuel Adams, but I thought all of the characterizations were way too trite and possibly inaccurate. I know for a fact that Ben Franklin came to separation from England by a long and torturous personal route; he didn't just chirp up and say "What a good idea!" Pushes me to further reading though, so that's a good thing.

Jan 9, 10:40am Top

>8 2wonderY: Oh man! McSwigan's book makes it sound like the kids were national heroes. I kinda hate when authors -- particularly children's/young adult authors -- twist a historical event so completely out of shape it doesn't resemble the real event at all.

Jan 9, 10:47am Top

>9 lesmel: But I forgive her for telling a much more compelling story. Snow Treasure is one of my favorite childhood books.

Jan 9, 10:59am Top

Oh, and I watched The Desolation of Smaug. I wasn't certain I had already. Several favorite characters to follow.

Edited: Jan 17, 9:06am Top

After picking it up a second time, fairly raced through A Murder of Mages - 6. It has interesting characters, lots of them. The secondary characters all seem to have valid lives that could be explored. Adequate complexities and a tense plot. I'll probably read more from this author.

I'm in the midst of several more books, but haven't been able to finish much yet. But I have another long weekend ahead.

Found all but one of the library books in my house. Still one not yet accounted for.

Edited: Jan 17, 9:06am Top

The Queen of Katwe - 7 is a look into the most abject poverty and insecurity in one of the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Crothers beefs up Phiona Mutesi's story by giving us backgrounds of some of the supporting cast. It doesn't detract in any way; it helps to enrich this affirming story of a missionary who connects with the slum children with soccer and then chess. Phiona moves quickly to international chess competition at half the age of her teammates. Published in 2012, I want to know how they are all faring now. Ah, Wikipedia says Phiona is still competing, but not internationally. There is a film version of the book coming out soon.

You've Been Trumped makes me angry at how the businessman mischaracterizes people who oppose him and runs roughshod over others' rights. This is the same landscape and people from the 1983 film Local Hero, but with the opposite ending.

Mousehunt starring a young Nathan Lane. Not impressed. More like Caddyshack than Babe, the film they tried to compare it to.

Edited: Jan 17, 4:09pm Top

It’s been a reading weekend!

Enjoyed one, so I thought another would be good. Harry Potter: The Character Vault – 8 was disappointing. It covered much of the same territory of costume, wands and makeup as the other book.

The Economics of Inequality – 9 was briefer and less descriptive or definitive than what I expected. It is strictly an economist’s discussion and poses all in questions. Lots of graphs and statistics which don’t interest me. Learned just a couple of things. Piketty is dialoging about income re-distribution (natural or engineered) and the notion of ‘effiecient’ wage inequalities. He also seems to be challenging the capital/labor equation. I think he is trying to re-define labor as a type of capital.

Very much enjoyed The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist – 10 by Michael Phillips. Published in 1998, some of the information may be outdated. But there is an excellent description, accompanied with drawings, of pruning goals spread out over the life of a tree. The section on pests and control measures was interesting, and will be referred to again later. I at least know what to observe. I’d be interested in reading his updated thoughts, particularly on mowing and mulching vs. interplantings. His descriptions of cider varieties especially made my mouth water.

And then I perused Wild Fermentation – 11 and enjoyed even more talk about exciting foods and beverages. Katz makes the interesting observation that these life-processed foods are on a continuum of decomposition, and it is taste, informed by culture, which determines at what point food becomes “rotten.”

In audio, I’ve been listening to Our Man in Charleston – 12, a Britain’s view of the start of the US Civil War. I found it extremely informative, being derived from primary source documents of the time period. It conveys how nuts the slave holding society was, and how they self-justified. It made me curious about Britain’s abolition history and the history of cotton production, and you may see further titles here along those lines.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler – 13 was only available as an ebook. Thankfully, it was short, as the only way I could download it was my iphone. For some reason, I can’t get the files to open on my laptop. Grrr. The Churchill Club was a gang of middle school boys who were disgusted by the lack of resistance to the Nazi invasion of their country, Denmark. They began stealing Nazi weapons and gradually moved up to sabotage, destroying vehicles and factories. After spending time in prison, they had difficulty finding entrance into newer resistance groups that formed in response to their heroism. There is a good bibliography, here’s hoping I can access some of it. This book is also from a primary source, interviews with the leader, Knud Pedersen.

The politics of this past year have made me so uneasy. We seem to be repeating a lot of the path Germany forged to the Third Reich. So I am reading a few books, not on the war, but on the internal conditions of the 1930s.

Republic to Reich: The Making of the Nazi Revolution consists of ten essays by German historians, and proved too dense for me. I stepped back and read a Time-Life summary, The New Order -14. I find that with that background, I can possibly go back to the first book and read with more success. The parallels are creepy.


Stan Lee’s Lightspeed is really bad. The best part is when the hero is outfitting himself with costume at a sporting goods store, with the help of the stoner clerk.

Little Boy is very odd. It mixes Christian values with a Rhonda Byrne mentality verging into the magical. The young boy is challenged by his priest to perform the corporal acts of mercy in order to bring his father home from the Pacific War. The parts where he befriends another societal outcast - a Japanese gentleman - are good, but then he gets the credit for “moving a mountain” when he stands by the beach drawing his father home with his will, and there is an earthquake. His nickname, given to him by the town bully, also plays into the Hiroshima bombing. We see people dancing in the US street while Hiroshima burns.

Magic in the Moonlight is worth watching, not for the story, which is banal, but for the screen filled with saturated color, and the scenery of southern Europe. Surprisingly, most of the clothing is rather boring (with just two exceptions) and makes the actors look washed out in comparison.

Jan 16, 11:17pm Top

>13 2wonderY: The Queen of Katwe was one of my favorite films this year. The life in an African slum was so different from anything else I have seen.

Jan 23, 3:19pm Top

I've been spending time rooting through my shelves, identifying books that I no longer need to own; which, of course, requires that I dip in somewhat. I've also overdone the winter library thing, with 52 items and 3 digital items on my card. So also sampling some of these to determine which I can pass back. My SIL has an Audible account that I finally am able to access on my phone.
Ahem...too many riches.

I've listened to most of Off to be the Wizard - 1/2 point, narrated by one of my favorite readers, Luke Daniels, and I keep hoping it will fulfill its promise, but I'm about to dump it.

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon - 15 is a comfort re-read and a good place to hang out when you're depressed. I've been listening to the audio for the first time.

The fiction book taking up my time in print is The Glass God. I'm about 3/5th of the way through. Sharon has just called on the Magicals Anonymous crew en masse, so the pace should be picking up.

Over the weekend, I curled up with film:

Top-Bar Beekeeping makes the system look doable.

Local Hero is a fiction about a rich tycoon who tries to buy up a whole rural coastal town in Scotland for industrial development. Unlike real life, the tycoon falls in love with the place and endows an environmental studies institute instead.

The Musketeers is a BBC series, and I gave it up. They take too long to tell the same story as better films. And the visuals do not appeal to me - too dark.

Good Neighbors, also a BBC series, is a re-visit. Mr. and Mrs. Good decide to quit the middle class lifestyle, but not their suburban home. They turn their entire lot into a mini-farm, much to the chagrin of the neighbors. I am so impressed by the accurate visual detail given to the set. The entire yard corresponds to the season and the storyline. Fun!

Jan 23, 5:43pm Top

I haven't read the Callahan books in years. I think I'm afraid the suck fairy might have got at them. I used to love them though. The earlier ones anyway. I didn't care much for the later novels.

Jan 23, 5:46pm Top

Oh, and I first read "Top-Bar Beekeeping" as "Bar-Top Beekeeping", and had a mental image of beehives in a drinking establishment.

Jan 23, 5:48pm Top

The bees wouldn't mind.

Jan 25, 1:42pm Top

>17 SylviaC: I've got almost the entire Spider Robinson shelf. My daughters read them early and frequently too. I finally had to explain to the older one that Callahan's Place is usually found in places other than drinking establishments. I found mine with a women's group at church.

The Princess Diarist - 16 is a short but sweet read. The audio is read by the author, and it was a good visit. Carrie Fisher is witty, and her journal entries from 1976 reminded me of my own crushes of the same general time period.

Jan 25, 2:08pm Top

>20 2wonderY: "...Callahan's Place is usually found in places other than drinking establishments."

That's the truth!

Jan 26, 12:09pm Top

I couldn't settle to sleep last night. So I read Witches of Lychford - 17 instead. I was surprised at the tiny size of the book, having only read one other Cornell, London Falling. It was certainly more accessible and each of the three main characters are interesting. So, as a matter of fact, are most of the subsidiary characters. I do believe I'll plan to revisit Lychford.

Jan 26, 4:53pm Top

I thought about you the other day! There was a book about gardening...can I remember the book? of course not...I spotted. I knew I should have taken a pic of the cover. Darn it! I can't even remember where I saw it now. Ah well. At least know there was a little spark of thought for you out here in Texas over the weekend. :)

Jan 28, 2:23pm Top

>23 lesmel: That must have been when my thumbs were tingling. ;^)

Edited: Jan 31, 10:39am Top

Tossing books left and right at my house, but not actually spending much time reading.

I'll probably just skim the rest of Balook - 18 but take the whole credit (see half credit at message 16). Turns out this is much less about the re-engineered extinct mammal than his human companion. I think Balook has appeared perhaps 4 times so far, with no significant interaction. I'll be discarding my copy.

Abandoned Places: A Photographic Exploration of More Than 100 Worlds We Have Left Behind - 19 is a stunning collection. Wow!

I misplaced the novel I'm reading before sleep, so I reached into my convenient Vorkosigan pile and read Borders of Infinity, but only the short story. I thought I had the complete novel in Miles, Errant. I've decided to replace these collections with the original books, in hardback when possible. Consequently, I ordered three titles today and will eventually discard M, M & M.

I've been ordering children's books illustrated by Maggie Downer wondering if her magic with The Wind in the Willow translates to other materials. It really doesn't. There are sparks, but not any consistency.

in film:

Having just read The Princess Diarist, I turned to Star Wars: A New Hope and realized I don't like it that Lucas added a scene with Jabba the Hut.

Elsewhere on LT, Firefly has been under discussion, complete with photos of Mal. Mmm- mmm. Spent yesterday watching most of the series, while also doing book sorting.

Jan 31, 10:42am Top

I like round numbers, so I'm going to count as done The Glass God - 20. I found it again and will maybe finish it this evening. It is so cute, presenting typical horror and fantasy tropes and then dousing them with normality. I love Sharon Li.

Jan 31, 12:37pm Top

>26 2wonderY: That might be a book bullet. I'm reading a totally campy sci-fi romance (Touched by an Alien, Koch) right now that makes me want to go back and read Accidental Goddess, Sinclair

Jan 31, 1:04pm Top

Trade you bullets.

But start with Stray Souls, where you quickly meet the whole delightful cast. A possible weakness of The Glass God is it's reduced call for the Magical Misfits. So far, Kevin, the germophobic vampire, has only appeared once.

We get to hear a bit about the business end (accounting and supply) of the Scylla Sisters, and we've been to the Sunrise Spa and Tanning salon, where we see "a desk on which sat a single orchid, designed perhaps to reassure the visitor that their feng has been truly shuied."

Feb 1, 9:07pm Top

You're doing great! I'm off to a slow start this year.

Feb 2, 7:02am Top

>29 fuzzi: 'Tis the season for me. Little else to do.

I finished a re-read (actually a listen) of Grave Peril - 21; a project trying to determine what elements are present here that make Dresden such an appealing character.

Feb 2, 2:42pm Top

I'm probably not going to pick up much speed if I read as I've planned: I am determined to start reading my large collection of Sharon Kay Penman books!

Maybe I should make a thread...

Feb 2, 3:05pm Top

>31 fuzzi: What do you mean? You have a thread going, eh?

I must not have been very much awake this morning, as I forgot that I finally finished The Glass God - 22. Parts were a bit tough going, but most of it was an inability to stay awake for many pages once I'm settled in bed.

housekeeping notes at a Magicals Anonymous meeting:

"If you're wearing a chameleon spell on arrival, can you please be careful about recharging the sigils before you leave. I get he need to be discreet, but we've had a couple of you putting your sigils in the microwave to recharge and I gotta remind you its' six hundred watts for your average chameleon recharge, and our microwave is seven hundred watss so if you could just keep an eye on that, that'd be great."

Feb 2, 6:12pm Top

>32 2wonderY: lol, I have any number of threads going, ha!

Feb 4, 1:36pm Top

Another audio book read - Born Standing Up - 23. It was good to visit with Steve Martin for a short while. The book was brief and yet covered some interesting times. Martin read it himself.

Feb 4, 3:25pm Top

>34 2wonderY: I have seen online several references to Steve Martin this week, and now yours. Hmm.

Edited: Feb 7, 9:18am Top

Grabbed a mystery/romance book I saw mentioned somewhere on LT and enjoyed it this weekend. Murder with Peacocks - 24. I think part of my enjoyment was the fact that it was a large print version, and I could read it without eye fatigue. This is the first of a series, and the heroine is billed as an artisan ironworker; but she has taken the summer off, so we see no work references. Too bad. It was also billed as very funny, which I found over-rated. The family was over-the-top quirky, but not particularly humorous, and the romance was predictable. I doubt I'll read more.

I've got half a dozen other books started, but not making much progress.

film: I watched Groundhog Day (of course).

Feb 7, 12:18pm Top

>36 2wonderY: I was never able to get into that series, even though several people who share my tastes love it. And I'm with you on print size influencing my enjoyment of a book—that matters more all the time!

Feb 7, 12:23pm Top

>37 SylviaC: If other volumes spend time with Meg at the forge, I'd be willing to read another. My daughter is a welder, and I was an ironworker myself for a couple of years.

Feb 10, 2:42pm Top

Bought (sort of) The Illustrators of The Wind in the Willows, 1908-2008 - 25, and it arrived Wednesday. As the subject is one of my favorite topics, I scarfed it up in just a couple of sittings. The book lists 90 illustrators; offers a bit of biography, some personal anecdotes and just a smidge of opinion, along with mostly B&W examples of each person's work. There are 12 glossy color plates as well. I'm thrilled to have it in hand. Oddly, after I ordered it, I had second thoughts and cancelled the order almost right away. The seller acknowledged the cancellation and refunded my charge card payment. But they shipped it anyway. When I tried to make the payment, half.com had no mechanism for it, so I contacted the seller, TusconGoodwill directly. They said, Hey! You cancelled, you owe us nothing. I told them I'd pass their good deed on.

Feb 10, 6:29pm Top

>28 2wonderY: Picked up Stray Souls, Griffin from the library. This may interfere with my getting my first wall hanging completed this weekend! Heh.

Feb 10, 6:50pm Top

I know. Picked it up again myself, read the first two pages and decided I need to own my copy. It is solid great all the way through.

Feb 17, 10:49am Top

Rounded up as many library books as I could to return, as it is just too many, and I'll never get them done. I'll make a list of them later just for reference.

This week I went to Pittsburgh for another brother's funeral. It was a good death, and gave him relief, so I'm not mourning. Though the news was still a punch to the solar plexus. But spent time on the drive visiting one on one with a daughter and then got to spend time with extended family again. No reading accomplished. Fascination with the ongoing DC political story is taking away from my reading time too.

The Battle of the Five Armies came up on my holds list, so I did watch parts of it for several evenings till I couldn't keep eyes open. Five discs with all the extra materials. Loved the last Appendix - Here at Journey's End.

Feb 17, 12:15pm Top

Sorry for your loss. Even if it was a relief, it is still a loss. Hugs.

Feb 17, 3:43pm Top

Like >43 SylviaC: said. A loss is a loss. Glad to hear you could spend time with family during this stressful time!

Feb 17, 8:48pm Top

>42 2wonderY: I'm sorry for your loss, but am glad you spent precious time with family.

Feb 18, 11:49am Top

>42 2wonderY: Sorry for your loss.

Feb 20, 8:35am Top

Thank you, friends.

Edited: Feb 27, 9:17am Top

Ha! My library list is down to 28 items and I'm returning a pile today.

Several are news magazines, which have been taking up some of my reading time.

On audio, I've been listening to Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted - 26, which got me interested in watching the show again, and The Callahan Chronicals - 27 (an old favorite) where the author makes a cameo appearance at the end as Jake's "double" from a neighboring ficton.

Harry Potter Magical Places from the Films - 28 is one of the more interesting books in the series, because I do love set design and props, especially when the classrooms are borrowed from real institutions and castles.

I've been slowly reading Ultimate Price; Testimonies of Christians Who Resisted the Third Reich - 29, a slim book, but hard to get through; but I'm nearly there.

On film this weekend, I watched Quartet and Bend it Like Beckham.

returning The Complete Gardener unread except in excerpts.

Other titles I've returned but would like to read fully are

World's Best Ciders
River of Dark Dreams
A Catechism for Business, which is not a discussion, but is a collection of Church writings meant to actually guide on specific issues. Very good!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
A World on Fire: Britain's Role in the Civil War, which was too large and too encompassing.
Garden Revolution, which I carried around, but wasn't able to extract what I needed from it.
and Global Girlfriends, a feel good book written by a micro-business supporter.

Feb 27, 11:42am Top

How did you like Bend It Like Beckham? A friend insisted I watch it b/c I'd love it...and I did. Unlike her insistence that I'd love Moulin Rouge. I nearly threw up while watching that movie b/c of the fast motion cinematography.

Edited: Feb 27, 11:56am Top

>49 lesmel: I thought it was only middling. But that's because I've seen (and love!) the director's Bride and Prejudice and Bend It seems like only a preliminary work. Her need to swirl the camera around the characters has been tamed and matured. If you haven't seen B & P - DO! It is a Bollywood feast.

Edited: Mar 6, 4:40pm Top

From Ultimate Price, I searched a bit and found a film documentary that I watched this weekend - The Restless Conscience, which describes the German political resistance and attempts to assassinate Hitler.

I sat and read the whole of the new The Hanging Tree - 30. It was an ebook, read on my iphone - ugh! I will listen to it again when the audio comes out.

I believe I'm done reading The Half Has Never Been Told -31 and counting a whole point for my effort, but not willing to spend the next several weeks on one book. It is looong and repetitive. I get the point - and it is a very good point, but hey!

Mar 9, 11:15am Top

Interim Errantry contains three works, and I've read the short story Not on My Patch, a Halloween tale, and the novella How Lovely Are Thy Branches - 32. The third, Lifeboats, a full novel, I'll save for another time. HLATB has a killer exposition that goes on for several pages. Wow!

Mar 10, 10:24am Top

MrsLee got a new book about Beatrix Potter that sounds pretty wonderful. So while I was ordering it from my library, I saw and ordered the also recently published A Celebration of Beatrix Potter Art and Letters - 33.

It presents nine of Potter's tales, including her artwork, but small, two or three illustrations and their accompanying text per page. And then other illustrators get two pages each; one to talk about Potter's influence on them, and the other to feature one of their illustrations. Mostly, the artwork corresponds to the previous Potter story.

So, for instance, Tomie de Paola drew Mrs. Tiggie-winkle having tea with Mrs. Heelis (Potter's married name.)

There are several wonderfully rendered Mr. McGregors, all in the signature style of the artists.

I could go on, but I've gotta go.

Highly recommended.

Mar 10, 5:03pm Top

>53 2wonderY: That sounds lovely! When my internet is better, I'll have to check whether my library has it, or I can get it through ILL.

Mar 13, 3:20pm Top

You won't be sorry.

A correction to my post at 53 - The nine Potter stories are not presented complete, but are "excerpts." But that's okay, as they are just there as a jumping off point for the other illustrations.

If you google the title under images, a fair sampling of the artwork can be seen.

Mar 15, 12:57pm Top

I got two books connected to the English Lake District! The art of Beatrix Potter : sketches, paintings, and illustrations came; but at the same time I got The Shepherd's View - 34 and dove right in.

It's a compact hardback book that fits nicely in the hand. Just fanning the pages gives a glimpse of wondrous landscapes, wooly faces and delightful humans. The author is native to the area, and conducts an attractive tour with his photography and charming short essays.

On sheep shows, you learn how to clean the sheep, when to cuss (when the sheep goes directly to the tractor and wallows in the oil leakage) and what to drink after the show.

He presents his family and neighbors with frank affection and humor. He's got a shepherd's bucket list that encompasses the globe. I might want to own it so I can pass it around to friends.

On the telly, I've been watching season 1 of The Librarians, but I'm not particularly enchanted. The team takes turns looking bright and then just standing around stupid.

Also, first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Room 222.

Mar 15, 1:07pm Top

>56 2wonderY: I grew tired of The Librarians very quickly. I don't recall now whether we made it all the way through the first season.

Mar 15, 1:15pm Top

>57 harrygbutler: I do like John Larroquette in just about anything though.

Edited: Mar 15, 2:13pm Top

>56 2wonderY: I loved both Mary Tyler Moore Show and Room 222.

Now I have Room 222's theme music going through my head...


Mar 15, 6:52pm Top

Audio book famine drove me to borrow and listen to Charmed by His Love - 35. It got me through a couple of days and I have better stuff again. I've read all that's worth listening to in the local library collection and I have to order new stuff. Sometimes my timing is off.

Edited: Mar 21, 7:40am Top

It’s still too cold and rainy to go to the cabin. First job will be mowing the meadow. So it’s another media weekend.

Still reading about World War 2; examining the interior circumstances during the rise and reign of the Nazi Party. The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge – 36 is a journal kept by a military judge during the last 18 months of the war. His duties impinge very little on the material, except to remark that overly harsh sentences for simple awol and theft charges are counterproductive.

Müller-Hill’s reason for keeping the journal is for a safe way to voice his disgust at the propaganda machine and the waste of lives that the continuing hopeless conflict exacts. Germany threw old men and women to the Siegfried Line to dig fortifications as well as Hitler Youth as young as 14, telling them to bring their own tools and food.

He shares a conclusion also found in the 1997 The Nazis; A Warning from History – 37, that burning the country down to nothing kept Germany from justifying itself. This book is nearly a word for word transcript of the BBC television series. It featured lots of interviews of a wide sample of participants in the war; many who were strangely unapologetic of their actions.

On audio, I picked up the science fiction anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination – 38, read mostly by the fabulous Stefan Rudnicki. Twenty-two authors, some big names, some classics, which hold up awesomely. L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s A More Perfect Union could have been written today; it is spot on. Other standouts are Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized list (girlfriend issues) and The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter rounds up a few classic characters, notably Beatrice Rappaccini and Catherine Moreau. “Science does not pay well; mad science pays even worse.” Diana Gabaldon’s is the only long-winded story (surprise!) and I abandoned it.

Another anthology, this time of essays, was lost for several months. I finally looked between bed and night table – ta da! Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life -1/2 doesn’t live up to expectations. Nope, not even the one by Scott Westerfeld. I’m glad I found it. I had nearly run out of renewals and would soon have had to pay for the book. One nugget of wisdom to remind my teen grands came from an essay on the Hulk – “The only way out is through.”

A particularly wonderful serendipitous find is Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25 cents at a Time – 39. Wow! Powerful messages in a modest package. Chapter 1 grabbed me; chapter 5 made me cry. Author was a reluctant volunteer at her local St. Vincent de Paul store. The “Rule” of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is:
1. Pray together
2. Help poor people face-to-face.
3. The poor are our teachers.

I’m done with Nature’s Temples: The Complex World of Old Growth Forests – 40. I read the first few chapters in full, and just skimmed the later chapters. I found most interesting the measurement of carbon sequestration. Contrary to original theory, it has now been established that the older, larger trees “sink” more carbon than younger faster growing trees.

In film, I watched Mistress of Spices, which is visually lush, but lacks a compelling story. Two stars from Bride and Prejudice co-star here too. Same producers, I believe.
Rather than read Crossing Hitler, I watched the documentary Hitler on Trial (no touchstone yet) by Justin Hardy, which covers the same ground of Hans Litten’s court challenge concerning the SA’s lawless violence.

Mar 22, 6:29pm Top

Picking up that half a credit, I'm quitting Every Heart a Doorway - 41 half way through. As other reviewers said, it's an interesting premise poorly executed.

I watched The Intouchables. It's a French film, so the subtitles were somewhat important, though the feel of the film would come through. Nicely executed, and since it was based on a true story, there was a brief glimpse and a biographic update of the real people at the very end.

Mar 22, 8:26pm Top

>62 2wonderY: I'm here, just lurking and reading. :)

Edited: Apr 11, 9:51am Top

I've been giving my full and respectful attention to The Art of Beatrix Potter - 42. There is just so much to admire. I didn't know she was a mycology scholar. And her theories on lichen were later confirmed. I'd like to imagine her unleashed from that Victorian rein that her parents placed on her.

Apr 4, 4:37pm Top

Not much reading getting done. This past weekend, I devoted my time to an old hobby - buttons. Went to the Ohio spring show and helped with the judging competition Friday, and spent the rest of the time buying buttons and visiting with the ladies. Very nice ladies collect buttons. I'll spend time in the next few weeks sorting what I bought and researching some of them. I do love livery buttons, so there is much to learn from them.

I skimmed Church of Spies - 43, but I thought it was a cheat. The author tried to make a suspense story out of very little material. The truth is, the Catholic Church failed in many directions during WW2.

I finished listening to Carry On - 44 and enjoyed it immensely.

I watched the first episode of Flash, and wasn't interested enough to go on.

Apr 5, 9:17am Top

I do like the Origami Yoda series, but I've always listened to the audio version. Trying to evaluate whether they'd be a good fit for a grandchild, I read the fourth in the series, Jabba the Puppett - 45. It was just okay. Not sure if it is the change in format or a drop in quality.

Edited: Apr 11, 9:46am Top

Again James Rebanks; this time his first book, The Shepherd’s Life – 46. This is more serious and Rebanks doesn’t find his stride till a third of the way into the narration. He goes into great detail about farm activities, which might repel some readers; but I was with him all the way. I’ve mucked a bit with sheep myself. I cried with him when the flocks were destroyed for hoof & mouth disease.

(edited to remove a duplicate)

Lots of films

I hoped Mist: Sheepdog Tales might harmonize with the sheep farming theme, but it was cloyingly precious and was abandoned.
Playing for Keeps was mediocre. Now is Good was excellent, about a young woman with leukemia. Also watched the old Cary Grant film, Gunga Din. The casting choices were excellent. Kipling himself appears in the last scene to memorialize Din.

touchstones fixed

Apr 9, 5:04pm Top

>67 2wonderY: I saw that old movie, years ago. I didn't realize Kipling was in it!

Edited: Apr 10, 8:14am Top

Well, since Kipling died in 1936 and the film came out in 1939, it was likely an actor playing him...

That Cary Grant film was boxed with three others, so I did watch all of them. (I have a list of all his films that I copied after reading a biography last year. I do so enjoy him.) I didn't like Sylvia Scarlett at all. It was a waste of CG and Katherine Hepburn. Destination Tokyo was a fine film. All male cast, spy tension and camaraderie. And an old favorite, Arsenic and Old Lace.

And now I see I've enjoyed several films directed by Oliver Parker, so I'll go off on that tangent as well.

Apr 11, 7:49am Top

I read and enjoyed the second book in the Maradaine universe, so I thought I'd better go back and read the first one. I tried and tried, but half-way through I'm quitting. I am not engaged by the protagonist, nor by any of the secondary characters. Veranix continues to act like a clueless putz and I have no time for him. He doesn't appear to be learning or growing, and I don't even like him or have much sympathy. The Thorn of Dentonhill - 1/2.

Recalling the main character in the second book, A Murder of Mages, Satrine Rainey immediately roused my sympathy and interest. Her back story was more apparent and her actions were much more focused.

Apr 11, 7:59pm Top

>69 2wonderY: shucks...Kipling was probably my favorite author when I was in grammar school.

Destination Tokyo is one of a number of recommended older movies that I've not yet watched...maybe soon.

Apr 12, 9:00am Top

>69 2wonderY: >71 fuzzi: The number of very good movies Cary Grant made, in multiple genres, is impressive. He's certainly one of my favorite stars. I concur with your judgments on Gunga Din, Destination Tokyo, and Arsenic and Old Lace, Ruth. So far I haven't gotten around to watching Sylvia Scarlett, though; it never quite rises to the top of the viewing list, perhaps because I'm not a keen fan of Katharine Hepburn.

Apr 12, 3:08pm Top

>72 harrygbutler: This film would only make you despise her. It truly is gag-worthy.

Apr 13, 5:52pm Top

A celebration of Beatrix Potter

Touchstoning it again, as it doesn't show on the main work page that I've talked about it here.

Apr 18, 7:49am Top

On audio, listened to Fangirl - 47. I'm so glad I read Carry On first. It was important to know the story's arc; and I wouldn't have been as attracted to the Simon & Baz story from the material in this book. Good characters here too, but a much narrower story.

I'll be finishing The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper - 48 today. I like it; it reminds me of A Man Called Ove, though it's not nearly as emotionally engaging.

Hidden Figures - 49 tried to defeat me. First I ordered the juvenile version, then the CD audio had a bad disc, but I finally got the full book and finished the last section.

The Art of Beatrix Potter - 50 was a natural to order, as I've already looked at the newer publication by Emily Zach. This, with an appreciation by Anne Carroll Moore, was first published in 1955. The book is heavy and even more dense with illustration. The quality of the prints is less, but the organization of the material is excellent, both chronologically and thematically. So, a chapter of just interiors, another of garden settings, etc.

Apr 18, 9:21am Top

>75 2wonderY: Curious Charms is the next book for my 1st Mondays book club.

Apr 23, 7:13pm Top

Coming in at 620 pages, I might not have stuck if these hadn't been old friends; and I always enjoy hanging out together. Kit and Nita are gingerly exploring more than friendship in Games Wizards Play - 51. Of course, that is only a minor plot thread. Earth wizards hold a competition every 11 years showcasing cutting-edge spells by young practitioners; and the half-generation slightly older wizards who missed competing, are asked to mentor the competitors. The last third of the book contains the best material, and the climax came as a big hurray surprise.

On audio, a randomly chosen fantasy mystery, If Walls Could Talk -52 is only mediocre. Will probably not continue the series. The female protagonist is really not convincing as a renovation contractor, and the architecture and the job itself are only minor to the story. Not nearly as good as the Inn Boonsboro trilogy.

Apr 23, 8:56pm Top

>77 2wonderY: Kit and Nita are such a great series, aren't they? I loved the third section best too.

Apr 23, 9:12pm Top

>78 ronincats: I've always said this series is better than Harry Potter. Duane has a talent for pinning essential right living.

I've been trying to listen to all, but the last few haven't been available as such. And I seem to be nearing the end of the series too.

Apr 25, 11:14am Top

I've been dragging the film, Silver Linings Playbook, around for several weeks, wondering if it would be worth watching. It is. I can find faults, but it's depiction of family life as loud and rocky is spot on. Particularly liked the therapist cum football fan, Dr. Patel.

Edited: May 1, 11:34am Top

Abandoning Dark Mist Rising, The Changeover and The Everything Box - Dull!

Finished Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue -53, again on audio, and better than the print version.

Why We March - 54 is all photos, but I did enjoy every page.

Oh! New library policy - no fines! Four renewals of four weeks allowed and then if not returned within 30 days, charged for the book and a servicing fee. Not sure I like it.

May 1, 12:23pm Top

>81 2wonderY: new policy is probably cheaper and easier, instead of racking up and reminding about fines.

May 6, 9:16pm Top

I just discovered that there's a sequel to Rudder Grange, Ruth: Pomona's Travels. I picked it up at a bookstore sale today.

May 10, 1:17pm Top

>83 harrygbutler: Nice!

I'm trying to avoid book sales - did not attend the local library sale last weekend.

I'm re-reading some of the Tortall books, hoping to interest middle grand in them. First Test - 55, Page - 56 and Squire - 57.

May 13, 11:14am Top

Discarding a lot of tries. In print, The Changeover, The Iron King and Evangelical Catholicism.

Several more audios, but I don't have them in front of me.

An Iron Druid novella, from Oberon's perspective - The Purloined Poodle - 58. Read in print because the Luke Daniels audio was not available.

Watched two BBC first season TV series, not sure I liked either. Too much graphic sex and violence. 'being human' and 'The Street.'

Edited: May 15, 11:32am Top

Listened to another Iron Druid novella, Two Ravens and One Crow - 59, but not in the car, which means I might have to listen again to get the whole story.

In print, finished Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich - 60. I learned a few things, but the execution of the material was not impressive. Much of the book dwelt on the cryptic record of Hitler's drug regimen. His doctor, Theodor Morell, kept copious but messy and coded notes. The high staff use of opioids etc. was less interesting than the wholesale dosing of troops with methamphetamine during such actions as the invasion of France. Though this seems to be a truly important fact, this seems to be the first investigation of it? The author says so.

In video, watched the BBC three part series Crisis at the Castle. Enjoyed seeing the variety of owners and how they cope (or don't) with the responsibilities.

May 15, 12:50pm Top

You are doing so well with your reading, I'm still on book #1 for May. True, I did spend almost a week on a trip, and I've been working in my gardens every spare chance I have while the weather remains mild, but...

May 17, 5:38pm Top

Returning to the library:

Liturgy and Personality - not what I was looking for.

Gardenista - Very limited types of gardens portrayed. Not to my taste.

Essential Pruning Techniques - a large heavy book with lots of species, mostly ornamental. A few diagrams and photos of pruning, but mostly a photo of each species and a paragraph or two of description of habit, reason for pruning and a couple of sentences about pruning it. A major fail, in my estimation.

Epic Tomatoes - 61. I LOVE this book. It covers a great deal of material with just the right amount of detail. Yum!

Sylvia's Farm - 62. I read about half of this one, but I think I've still got half a credit to add to it. Sylvia raises sheep in the Catskill Mountains. Chapters are sometimes essay-like, but mostly autobiographic. I can sympathize with her passion and sensibilities, but a whole book was too much. Three chapters in particular were beautifully done. 'To Milk the Cow' is an essay about having to accomplish many other tasks before being able to do the one you've targeted. Moving materials from one pile to another - that's me. 'Watch and You Will Know' is about Elliot the duck. Charming. And 'Rose,' an old ewe that unexpectedly survives the catastrophe of a lost and infected horn.

May 19, 3:49pm Top

Returning to the library unread:

Hitler Ascent - not enough time in my life to read all I want to. Did read enough to feel creeped.

City Parks - essays by well-known writers, accompanied by lots of photos.

Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs - Way too big for my purposes. Huge!

The Layered Garden - Lots of luscious photos which I enjoyed, but I didn't read any of the text.

May 22, 3:44pm Top

Audio last week:

Lady Knight - 63 finishing off the Protector of the Small Quartet.

Listened to Two Ravens and One Crow - 64 but have little recollection of the plot. May listen again.

Frost Burned - 65. Again, listened to much of it in the house, which isn't a good practice. Found it just okay, perhaps for that reason.

Mostly finished A Blink of the Screen - 66 and Dangerous Women - 67 before the audio files expired.

I chatted with a young car salesman at the dealer's while the manager was researching things for me. We talked audio fantasy in great depth. Not many people I come across in this area have the names of favorite narrators at their command and can talk about their pros & cons. Quite enjoyed myself.

Group: 2017 Books

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