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SylviaC's 2017 Reading Extravaganza!

The Green Dragon

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Jan 10, 4:48pm Top

Just trying to insert some enthusiasm into a year that has gotten off to a rough start. After a bad bout of pneumonia, today I finally feel like there might be some life left in me. I'm as caught up on the threads as I'm ever going to be. I wasn't able to make comments on individual threads, but I do follow them all. So know that I am lurking, even if I haven't said anything. I'll be more involved in the coming days.

I read for pleasure, roughly equal amounts of fiction and nonfiction, and am quite willing to abandon any book that I'm not enjoying. I read paper books, ebooks, and audio. I only write a proper review if I really have something to say about a book, but I'll always give at least a brief reaction. My star ratings are based on how much I enjoyed the book.

The Chalet School Group is here: LibraryThing Goes to the Chalet School

The New How To Do Fancy Things In Your Posts Thread

Jan 10, 4:53pm Top

F in Exams by Richard Benson. One of those collections of wrong answers to exam questions. I'm not sure whether this was my last book of 2016 or my first of 2017, because it was just in that hazy while-I-was-in-the-hospital period. It was the lightest thing I could find on my kindle.

Jan 10, 4:53pm Top

Poppies for England by Susan Scarlett (pseudonym for Noel Streatfeild). My real first book for the year. This is the first of Streatfeild's books that were written for adults that I have been able to find, and I will be looking for more. It has a little more edge and romance to it than her children's books, but is still quite light and enjoyable. It takes place in 1946, as England is adjusting to the aftermath of World War II. The Corner and the Binns families are old friends and neighbours who have always been involved in the theatre. They put together a family variety show to perform at a newly reopened holiday camp. While the book includes romances for some of the young people, the theme that interested me the most was the re-integration of the two fathers into the family and the community. Both men had spent five years as prisoners of war, and were thrown back into families and a society that were no longer familiar to them. Meanwhile, their families had to adapt to include the men who they had learned to do without. While by no means an in-depth exploration of the problem, it made an interesting background to the story.

Jan 10, 5:29pm Top

Glad to see you back. Hope your recovery continues apace and that the rest of the year is plain sailing with lots of good books along the way.

Jan 10, 5:33pm Top

>4 Peace2: Can't improve on that, so ditto!

Jan 10, 5:50pm Top

It is great to see you back on the threads. I will be watching for your feet sticking out from under the curtains.

Jan 10, 5:52pm Top

Hey welcome back. Healing thoughts from me.

Jan 10, 6:17pm Top

Great to see you! I hope you are feeling better!

Jan 10, 6:20pm Top

Welcome back. Glad you are feeling better.

Jan 10, 6:58pm Top

Welcome back! Hurry and get betterer!

Jan 10, 6:58pm Top

>3 SylviaC: I'm excited to have caught a book bullet right between the teeth! I loved Streatfield's childrens' books and this mature version sounds lovely.

Jan 10, 8:08pm Top

Welcome back! Good to see you posting again :)

Jan 10, 8:10pm Top

Welcome back, my dear! :o)

Jan 10, 8:42pm Top

Good to see you back. Sorry to hear you were so sick. Hospitals suck.

Jan 10, 8:58pm Top

Starred your thread!

And I hope and pray you continue to improve. I sympathize, I've had pneumonia, NOT fun.

Jan 10, 9:27pm Top

Getting through pneumonia is no joke. I've had it. Glad that you are beginning to feel normal again.

Jan 10, 10:25pm Top

So glad to hear your voice again!

Jan 11, 4:38am Top

It's lovely to have you back! I hope that 2017 improves quickly after the poor start. At least your reading has begun with a good book. I really need to read more of Streatfeild's books for adults.

Jan 11, 7:12am Top


So glad you're better.

Jan 11, 8:43am Top

Belated Hippo Gnu Ear

Jan 11, 9:41am Top

So glad you are back! Have a round on me. *a round of what, you say? well, whatever you like round*

Jan 11, 10:28am Top

>21 MrsLee:

SylviaC should probably avoid the PGGBs until she recovers. Of course, a couple of rounds might just be the cure.

Jan 12, 7:37pm Top

Thanks for the welcome back, everyone!

Maybe the PGGBs better wait until I'm off the "good" cough medicine. In retrospect, I probably should have had one as soon as I experienced my first symptoms. That would have driven away any nasty germs.

Jan 12, 7:59pm Top

In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker. One of my SantaThing books. I really liked the look of this, with time travel and history, but it didn't live up to my expectations. It seemed promising in the beginning, but then it didn't really seem to be going anywhere interesting. I gave up about halfway through and flipped ahead, but didn't see anything to draw me back in. Part of the problem may be that anything about the Spanish Inquisition and religious intolerance in general is a big turnoff for me. And the romance plot wasn't convincing. You can't win them all.

Jan 12, 8:17pm Top

>24 SylviaC: I have this one on my TBR list, mainly because I got the first book for free several years ago, but I haven’t been in any hurry to get to it. Now at least I know I probably haven’t been missing out, so thanks for that. ;)

I read one of the author’s shorter fantasy series, starting with The Anvil of the World, a couple years ago. I liked it fairly well, but had several complaints. I liked the other two books a bit better.

Jan 12, 9:23pm Top

>25 YouKneeK: It does have a lot of very good reviews, and my SantaThing person loves the whole series, but it just didn't work for me. And I really wanted to like it.

Edited: Jan 13, 10:01am Top

>24 SylviaC: I had issues with that book as well, didn't finish on first reading, and it's unfortunate because while it's the first book in her Company novels, it's also probably the worst. Maybe she got better with experience? Anyway they are quite enjoyable, many charming and well crafted. I'd like to finish them all some day. Some Kage Baker fans prevailed upon me, and I did give her another try, to my pleasure.

Jan 13, 3:17pm Top

>27 stellarexplorer: Perhaps I'll revisit the series someday, because the concept is certainly intriguing.

Jan 13, 4:19pm Top

I enjoyed In the Garden of Iden but I can see that it might not be everyone's cup of tea. And again, SylviaC, I'm glad to see that you're beginning to feel a bit more like your normal self.

Jan 13, 6:42pm Top

Welcome back, Sylvia!!

Jan 14, 6:18am Top

Welcome back - glad to hear you're on the mend.

Jan 15, 5:34pm Top

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. This was one of my SantaThing books, and I'm trying not to let them pile up like I have in the past. I'm not reading the Discworld books in order, so I didn't mind that this is one of the later ones. I could tell that I was missing some backstory, especially to do with Vimes and with the newspaper, but still felt that the story stood very well on its own. I liked the characters and the way the story unfolded, although I didn't get many surprises.

Edited: Jan 15, 9:50pm Top

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Another SantaThing book. A fitting follow-up to Monstrous Regiment. When I was a teenager and young adult in the 1980s and 90s, we believed that the battles had already been fought, and we were living in a world of equality. As the years pass, I'm seeing that equality and social justice are elusive, and the battles are far from over. In succinct and engaging language, Adichie demonstrates the existence of gender inequality, and encourages us to work towards cultural change. I passed the book along to my daughter, though I don't know if she's old enough to care about the issue yet. Maybe it would be more to the point to give it to my son. I think I'll do that.

Jan 16, 1:28am Top

Very glad you're feeling up to it. Years that start like that can only get better, right?

Jan 16, 6:22am Top

>24 SylviaC:, >29 jillmwo: I too liked In the garden of Iden but I can see why it wouldn't work for everyone. Mendoza is not terribly likeable and the plot is slow moving. The immediate sequel is narrated by Joseph and is much easier to get into.

>32 SylviaC: Glad you enjoyed Monstrous regiment. That was the book which got me back into Discworld after a few years of not reading Pratchett.

Jan 16, 2:33pm Top

>34 Meredy: Thanks! I keep telling myself that. My breathing and energy have improved a lot in the last few days, which certainly brightens one's outlook. Unfortunately, I'm still coughing enough to have either pulled a muscle or cracked a rib, which kind of slows down the recovery process.

>35 Sakerfalcon: I was able to get past Mendoza as a prickly teenager—she had been through a lot, after all. It was Nicholas that I couldn't connect with, and once he became the focus of the plot, I lost interest. A book narrated by Joseph sounds like it would be interesting.

Jan 16, 3:51pm Top

>36 SylviaC: :o( I do hope you've got some decent pain meds. :o(

Jan 16, 11:02pm Top

>37 clamairy: It seems to be taking the edge off, anyway. Coughing aside, it's remarkable how often one bends and twists over the course of even a very quiet day. But even with this complication, I feel far, far better than I did two weeks ago.

Jan 18, 12:51pm Top

Glad you're feeling better, at least well enough to read! :)

Jan 18, 5:29pm Top

Glad that you are improving. Pneumonia is tough on the body.

Perhaps this will help your recovery along:
Happy National Cheese Lovers Day Here Are 10 Reasons Why You Should Drop Everything and Celebrate, for the purposes of this holiday, we'll make you an honorary American - I couldn't find an equivalent Canadian holiday at any time, much less when it is needed to hasten your recovery.


Jan 18, 6:50pm Top

Edited: Jan 18, 7:19pm Top

>40 MDGentleReader: Sweet cheeses! There will be one good thing for me to celebrate that day, at least.

(I know, I know... I'm dangerously close to the line there.)

Edited: Jan 19, 7:13pm Top

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher. Audio. I turned this on expecting it to be some pleasant background noise, but I ended up being delighted and entranced. As in the movie, the droids steal the show. There is much more introspection here than in the movie—more opportunities for soliloquies. I definitely recommend the audio format for this one.

Jan 19, 9:27pm Top

>43 SylviaC: Uh oh... Too late to run away screaming, isn't it?

Jan 19, 11:01pm Top

>43 SylviaC: Yup.

"What light through yonder flashing sensor breaks?"

"—True it is,
That these are not the droids for which thou search'st."

Jan 19, 11:28pm Top

I can borrow the ebook through OverDrive. Not the audio, sadly.

Jan 20, 8:28am Top

>46 clamairy: Too bad, the audio definitely adds something. Especially for R2D2. But text should work fine if you enjoy reading Shakespeare.

Jan 20, 2:21pm Top

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. The last of my SantaThing books. An alternate Regency England in a world full of magic. I found it a little slow to get going, but I loved the characters, and the plot was interesting. I thought the author hit just the right note with the setting. It never feels modern, but there's no excessive use of regency slang, while fashion is mentioned but not dwelt on. So it felt regency, without whacking you over the head with it.

Jan 21, 5:02pm Top

>43 SylviaC: No. Just...no.

How is your chest/rib feeling? And you in general?

Jan 21, 7:19pm Top

>49 Morphidae: I'm coming along nicely, thanks. I actually made a brief foray into Walmart today with my husband. And the weather is nice, so I can walk outside more. The rib has dulled to a mild background ache, plus random chest pains due to coughing. Biggest frustration at the moment is laryngitis, which is seriously limiting my conversational ability. Almost a month now. Good thing it's quiet season on the farm, so my husband can easily cover chores without me.

Jan 21, 7:28pm Top

>50 SylviaC: Biggest frustration at the moment is laryngitis, ...Good thing it's quiet season on the farm

I see what you did there. I am glad the illness has not dulled your sense of humour. :-)

Keep getting well!

Jan 21, 9:51pm Top

>43 SylviaC: you got me with that one. but 630 minutes?! I might have to read it.

Hope you keep improving!

Jan 21, 11:13pm Top

>52 Jim53: It definitely isn't 630 minutes—maybe for he whole series. It's only 3hr 31min.

Jan 22, 8:58am Top

I hear you on the laryngitis.

I get it every time I get a cold.

Jan 22, 10:30am Top

>43 SylviaC: I believe that my husband got that one for Christmas (in print) I may have to go dig it out. (If only to see which of you is ultimately right about it -- you or >49 Morphidae:. Of course, Jim53 may get to it ahead of me...)

Jan 22, 11:42am Top

>51 pgmcc: That may or may not have been intentional.

>54 Morphidae: I've had to hold back so many smart remarks because I have to save the remnants of my voice for the important stuff. I have some people that I need to phone to assure that I'm recovering, but they would be more alarmed than reassured if they heard me try to speak.

>55 jillmwo: I gave my son a box set of three last year, but I haven't been tempted to read them in print. I may read the first book in print now, to catch some of the stuff that I might have missed in audio. The original Star Wars movie is the only one I've seen (and I've seen it a few times), so I'm not likely to pursue the series any farther. I actually downloaded the audiobook for my son when it was on sale at Audible quite a while ago, and only chose to listen to it myself because I wanted something short and pleasant sounding for background noise. I didn't expect to get caught up in it.

Jan 22, 12:28pm Top

>56 SylviaC: When I get laryngitis, it's after the cold. So I basically FEEL fine, but I sound like death warmed over. People totally freak. "OMG, are you okay?" "Yes, I'm fine. Just laryngitis." "Have you been to the doctor." "I'm okay. It's just laryngitis." So, yeah, I get you.

Jan 22, 8:30pm Top

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell. Quick and fun. Lives up to the recommendations. The three women showed a surprising amount of complexity considering the brevity of the book. Initially, none of them seemed particularly appealing, but I quickly came to appreciate each of them. I hope that Judith eventually manages to get rid of Arthur.

Jan 22, 9:06pm Top

>58 SylviaC: I'm glad you enjoyed. If you're planning to read the second might I suggest you take a breather with a few other books between them. (I wish I had.)

Jan 23, 11:33am Top

>59 clamairy: I'll do that!

Jan 29, 12:02pm Top

1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal by Christopher Moore. Our book club librarian selected this one for the first book of 2017, because Canada is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation this year. The book was dry in places, and the reader was assumed to know a lot more about political systems and Canadian history than this particular reader could recall from school history classes. My favourite parts were the descriptions of the personalities, backgrounds, and motivations of several of the Fathers of Confederation. Some of the information on historical political systems and political manoeuvring was beyond my grasp, but the author did have some interesting comments on how our parliamentary system has changed between Confederation and the end of the 20th century. Not something I would pick up again to read for fun, but I did learn some stuff.

Feb 1, 9:28am Top

>61 SylviaC: Is that a different Christopher Moore than the one who wrote Secondhand Souls and other such hilarious books? I can't imagine him writing something dry.

Feb 1, 10:21am Top

>62 MrsLee: Oh yes they are quite different!

I just had a look at their author profiles photos. This is the humorous Moore:

Feb 1, 11:45am Top

Yes, quite different, indeed! They seem to be equally prolific, but the American Christopher seems to have about 154 times as many readers. Can't imagine why.

Feb 1, 10:02pm Top

Feb 4, 10:42pm Top

The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth. Audio. A fast paced and funny spin through English word origins. It's like a long chain of etymology that loops right back around to its starting point. I had a great time reading it in audio, but would have been able to absorb more of the information and wordplay if I had read it in print. I highly recommend it for word nerds.

Feb 5, 4:20am Top

>66 SylviaC: I had that as my audio in the car last year - didn't take long to get through and made me laugh and be startled at times as to how things were related. A good one. Our library has another by the same author that I've been contemplating borrowing (too many books, too little time) called The Horologicon.

Feb 5, 5:08am Top

>67 Peace2: I picked up The Horologicon some time ago on a sale. It's great for dipping in to, but not so great that one gets sucked in for a start-to-finish read.

Feb 5, 5:19am Top

>68 hfglen: Good to know - maybe not one to borrow with a time limit then? One to look out for though.

Feb 5, 5:45am Top

>69 Peace2: Not to borrow with a time limit, but a definite keeper if the price is right (secondhand or bookstore sale).

Feb 5, 9:57am Top

>66 SylviaC: I'm glad you enjoyed it. I bought it last year (when it was really cheap) and I did start listening to it at one point but got dragged off by something I borrowed and haven't gone back yet. This should nudge me a bit to finish it.

Feb 5, 10:56am Top

>67 Peace2: >68 hfglen: I'd like to pick up both books in print or ebook format.

>71 clamairy: That would be when I got it, too. Almost all of my Audible books were bought on sale, as I just have the basic $9.95/year, 0 credits membership. The one that they offer you when you try to cancel your regular membership.

Feb 5, 2:29pm Top

>72 SylviaC: I don't even have that! I just use my Amazon Prime account to buy stuff when it's on sale.

Edited: Feb 7, 11:47am Top

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. Just a lovely, lovely, quiet book, full of kindness. After spending a year sunk in depression after the death of his wife, 69 year old Arthur Pepper discovers a mysterious charm bracelet hidden in his closet. He sets out to find out the significance of the six charms, and learn more about his wife's past. He ventures far out of his comfort zone and meets different people who all have their own stories, and predictably, learns a lot about not only his wife and himself, but also about his family and friends. The copy I read was an Overdrive ebook, but I'll be looking for my own copy because I can see this becoming a comfort read.

Feb 7, 9:36am Top

>74 SylviaC: Onto the wishlist it goes!

Feb 7, 10:02am Top

>74 SylviaC: >75 MrsLee: It does sound quite good.

Feb 7, 2:16pm Top

>66 SylviaC: a definite bullet for this one and also The Horologicon. In the mean time, I must return to snudging when I'd rather be sprunting.

Feb 7, 6:09pm Top

>75 MrsLee: >76 clamairy: Arthur Pepper is good for if you're looking for something low-key and soothing, but it has enough humour and depth to it to keep it from getting boring.

>77 Jim53: Google provides an... interesting...variety of definitions for snudge and sprunt. I'll go with the more innocuous ones.

Feb 7, 10:24pm Top

>78 SylviaC: OMG. "Interesting" is not enough warning.

I'm just sayin'.

Feb 7, 10:26pm Top

>78 SylviaC: >79 Morphidae: Ha! Not looking. Nope.

Feb 8, 8:31am Top

>78 SylviaC: I was using them in their most innocuous meanings: "running around looking busy when you're not" and "chasing girls around the haystacks after dark." As Mr. Forsyth says, wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a time where that was common enough to merit its own one-syllable word? Assuming, of course, that the girls were willing participants.

Feb 8, 9:29am Top

>78 SylviaC:, >79 Morphidae:, >80 clamairy:, >81 Jim53: I looked! No blushes in the definitions I found, but it is interesting how the meaning of words changes, huh?

I'm thinking sprunt probably worked the other way as well, at least when I was a girl. It seemed we girls did a lot more chasing than the boys did. They seemed to be more interested in snudging (sharing an emotional moment after consuming a case of beer).

Feb 8, 5:01pm Top

Oddly, I had never encountered either term (snudge or sprunt) before I tripped over them in here. I suspect I've been living a really sheltered existence.

Feb 8, 9:10pm Top

There is a Sprunt Street here in Durham. I had always assumed that it was named for some illustrious resident, but I may have to do some more digging.

Feb 8, 10:54pm Top

>84 Jim53: I wonder if there were many haystacks in the vicinity?

Feb 9, 8:49am Top

>85 SylviaC: Here it's more likely that the young ladies were chased around piles of tobacco leaves.

Feb 9, 9:10am Top

>86 Jim53: LOL Same here! I live in 'Shade Tobacco' country. The leaves are grown exclusively for the outer wrappings of hand-rolled cigars.

Feb 11, 4:11pm Top

>74 SylviaC: That sounds like a delightful novel.

Feb 11, 5:05pm Top

>88 diana.n: It was!

Feb 11, 6:29pm Top

>87 clamairy: One of which I contentedly consumed with a friend this afternoon. Another thing to like about Connecticut!

Feb 11, 8:33pm Top

>90 stellarexplorer: I like the way they smell. Every time I've tried to smoke one however I've woken up the next day with the taste of long dead varmint on my tongue.

Feb 11, 9:02pm Top

There was another definition for sprunt that no one has mentioned yet. I wonder why? It's quite pointed.

Deflation comes to mind.

Feb 11, 9:06pm Top

>92 nhlsecord: Somehow I don't think you're talking about footballs.

Edited: Feb 11, 9:12pm Top

You are right! How did footballs come to your mind?

I've just seen some more definitions. I love George Carlin's use of the word. I don't mean his use of it, just his imagination.

Edited: Feb 11, 9:13pm Top

I live in New England. (For those who don't pay attention to American sports, the recent super bowl winners have been found guilty in the past of not properly inflating footballs to their own advantage.)

Feb 11, 9:14pm Top

Are footballs short and stiff in New England? Oh - is that where Deflategate happened?

Feb 11, 9:30pm Top

Yup! And they're meant to be stiff, but they aren't short. ;o)

Feb 11, 9:38pm Top

Well, we'll see who else of our interesting friends here will catch this drift :-)

Feb 11, 11:56pm Top

>91 clamairy:
What does a long-dead varmint taste like?

Feb 12, 3:27am Top

A runt is often short, but I don't know about a sprunt.

Edited: Feb 12, 9:47am Top

>99 suitable1: Vile. I'm sure there are mouth rinses to alleviate this phenomenon now, but I haven't been willing to try again. Maybe some day.

Feb 12, 10:39am Top

Poor Sylvia. She will come back to her thread and wonder how on earth it got to this point.

Still, this story goes with the flow of the conversation, so here it is. When I was young, one of my first apartments had a drawer in the kitchen, on which a previous tenant Had written in Green marker, GOOCH. Growing up, one of my friends had the last name of Gooch, and so being philosophical and not wanting to paint, that drawer became the catch-all drawer, and that is what we have called our catch-all drawer every since then.

Last night, my son's girlfriend asked what it meant, so we Googled the definition. O_O

Happily, there is an older definition by the Gooch Apparel folks which says, "The definition of Gooch is simple. Gooch is a slang term used to describe life’s best in one word. To better understand the meaning of Gooch, words like awesome, epic and sick are all rolled into one when something is Gooch. When you enjoy music, sports or art and want to express those peak moments of the experience into words, the one word is Gooch."

That is the definition I am going with for my drawer, especially since it is the one with the bottle openers and corkscrews. I'm just glad we didn't know that other meaning when we were growing up. My friend's life would have been Hell.

Feb 12, 11:34am Top

>102 MrsLee: Yikes! The thought of associating that area with corkscrews and bottle openers! :)

Feb 12, 1:58pm Top

Goodness! I turn my back for a few hours, and look what happens here! People are smoking footballs and deflating dead varmints, and sprunting with gooches and stiff corkscrew cigars! I don't know which way to look.

Feb 12, 3:35pm Top

Well, I declare! I am shocked -- just shocked, I tell you!

(so not)

Feb 12, 5:53pm Top

>102 MrsLee: *looks up "gooch" on Google and giggles*

Feb 12, 7:05pm Top

>105 jillmwo: *passes Jill the popcorn*

Edited: Feb 12, 10:11pm Top

I loved gooch! Now I can describe short distances as no farther than from sprunt to gooch.

ETA it's the new hop, skip and a jump.

or yell Guard Yer Gooch you Snudgy Sprunt!

(I hope I haven't insulted anybody. I've had a crummy day.)

Feb 13, 8:44pm Top

"Guard Yer Gooch you Snudgy Sprunt!" would make one heck of a battle cry.

Okay now children, fun and games are over. Back to work...

Overdue: The Final Unshelved Collection by Gene Ambaum, Bill Barnes, and Chris Hallbeck. As it says, this is the final collection of Unshelved comics (link goes to Unshelved webpage). Still funny, but I don't think their hearts were in it as much anymore. I would like to have seen more of Trillian, too. But well worth reading.

Ambaum and Hallbeck have started a new webcomic, Library Comic. It hasn't been going long enough for the characters to be as developed as they were in Unshelved, but I've been enjoying it so far.

Feb 14, 3:49am Top

>109 SylviaC: I have not read many comics and have read no web-comics, but my sons love all forms of comics. When we were in Boston last August they got to attend the final day of Comic Con and, as it happened, this was the first Comic Con to have web-comic producers present and my sons got to meet some of their web-comic idols. (Do not ask me for names. I can get back to you on that.) Unfortunately the web-comic artists had run out of material on the first two days and had nothing for the boys to buy, but they signed their programme for them and a couple of them drew portraits of them in their web-comic style. They were delighted.

I have often heard it said that one should not try to meet one's literary heroes for fear of disappointment but my experience has been quite the opposite: I have found the overwhelming majority of authors I have met to be lovely people. (Yes, there is that minority, but I will not name and shame.)

Feb 14, 9:52am Top

I follow a few webcomics via Twitter, email, and Facebook, as I'm sure you could tell from my Facebook posts. My son is a big fan of webcomics (when he's not watching YouTube videos of people playing video games), so we're often saying, "Did you see this one?" I have a fairly large collection of books of comic strip compilations, but I still haven't catalogued many of the older ones on LT.

I've met more of my musical heroes than literary ones, mainly because Canadian folk singers are far more likely to appear in small towns than dead authors are (or even reasonably well known live ones). I did meet Dick Francis once, though, and he was very kind. Oh, and I saw Margaret Atwood on stage last year, although I didn't get to meet her in person. She was very funny, in a deadpan way.

Feb 14, 9:56am Top

>111 SylviaC: (when he's not watching YouTube videos of people playing video games),

I could say the same for both my sons. What's with the watching other people playing video games? It must be a generation thing. :-(

Feb 14, 10:05am Top

>112 pgmcc: I don't really get it, myself. But then I'm not a hardcore gamer. Are there YouTube videos of people reading?

Feb 14, 10:32am Top

>113 SylviaC: We could start a trend.

Feb 14, 5:36pm Top

>111 SylviaC: >112 pgmcc: It's definitely a generational thing. I was talking with a friend about how one of her sons talks to the screen while he's watching someone else playing a game on youtube and how her other son is actually aspiring to be the one who everyone is watching on youtube because he can make his fortune that way...

We were trying to work out what we could sit and do and have people watch us - I'm not sure cross-stitching would have quite the same attraction.

Is watching a Youtube video of someone reading like trying to read over their shoulder? Would give a whole new meaning to a 'readalong'.

Edited: Feb 15, 10:36pm Top

>112 pgmcc: >115 Peace2: My son informs me that there are practical purposes to watching videos of people playing video games. 1) to preview a game before deciding whether to spend money on it; 2) the game may not be available in a format that he can play, so that is the only way he can see it; and 3) because he knows he can never play that well.

I think there would be something quite soothing about cross-stitch videos.

Reading videos would somehow have to show us both the text of the book and the reader's reactions.

Feb 15, 10:34pm Top

And Then Their Hearts Stood Still: an exuberant look at romantic fiction past and present by Mary Cadogan. An exploration of 200 years of romance novels and short stories. In minute detail. Her classification of romantic fiction is broad, embracing the Brontës, Austen, Du Maurier, Hemingway, Heyer, pulp magazines, Danielle Steele and her ilk, Harlequin/Mills & Boon authors, and a multitude of others. The book is organized loosely chronologically by themes that were popular in different eras, starting with "Governess and Gothics" and finishing with "Sex, Shopping, and Social Responsibility." She highlights representative works by popular authors, and gives a detailed synopsis of each book or story—including the ending. I found the early chapters most interesting, but by two thirds of the way through it was starting to feel like there was just too much of the same thing. It would make a good reference book if it had an index, so that you could search for specific authors and titles. Being over 20 years old, it doesn't cover more recent trends in the genre, which has changed quite a bit since the early 90s. I enjoyed it, but it could have been pared down a bit.

Feb 15, 10:56pm Top

>116 SylviaC: I watch video games being played because I can't figure out how to do that part - but just a small part. It's kind of fascinating watching them go, especially if that person is groaning and yelling in the frustration of the thing.

As for watching someone read, you'd pretty much have to hook them up to a blood pressure monitor to get any action.

But watching cross stitch at high speed might be a new art form! A fascinator to lower blood pressure.

Feb 15, 11:06pm Top

>118 nhlsecord: He didn't mention looking for hints, but I'm pretty sure that is one of his motivations. I always preferred text walkthroughs because it's easier to isolate the small part you need. But I'm not very video oriented in general.

Feb 15, 11:20pm Top

I am currently playing Rise of the Tombraider and I am using the text walkthrough as well as 2 sets of maps and sometimes the video. This game is so very detailed! And Charlie knows if I am muttering that he should tip toe out of the room until he hears me slam my laptop shut. And then he yells "that wasn't MY fault!"

BUt I am now dealing with a death in the family so there'll be no games for a while.

Feb 16, 7:18am Top

>120 nhlsecord: I'm sorry for your loss. Hugs to you.

Feb 16, 12:04pm Top

>120 nhlsecord: So sorry for your loss.

Feb 16, 12:06pm Top

>120 nhlsecord: My condolences for you loss.

Feb 16, 10:15pm Top

The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell. I enjoyed this one too. Just the right length to fill an evening.

Feb 17, 2:34am Top

>124 SylviaC: The third one is due out this year.

Feb 17, 7:50am Top

>125 pgmcc: I'll be sure to get it when it's available.

Feb 17, 12:08pm Top

>125 pgmcc: Well, that bit of news has made my day. :)

Feb 18, 4:22pm Top

Shoulder the Sky (also titled Winter and Rough Weather) by D. E. Stevenson. This the third book in the trilogy that began with Vittoria Cottage and Music in the Hills, and I like it best of the three. It continues shortly after the last book left off, and with mostly the same characters. There are a few references to events from the second book, but can really be read as a standalone. This was one of the first two D. E. Stevenson books I read when I was about 12 or 13, and rereading it now after many years, I can see how I got hooked on her writing. It has very little in the way of action or excitement. It is just the story of a young couple settling in at a sheep farm in Scotland, and their friends and family. It is all about the characters, their interactions with each other, and their own growth.

Feb 20, 7:23pm Top

Bel Lamington by D. E. Stevenson. I was mainly focusing on the second half, because it revisits the characters from Shoulder the Sky ten years later. This one is nice enough, but not one of her best.

Edited: Feb 20, 9:41pm Top

My Friend Muriel by Jane Duncan. The second in a long series of semi-autobiographical novels. Unfortunately, the print in my copy is so small that I ended up skimming through the book. I will probably buy the Kindle version at some point, so that I can read it comfortably. I really liked the humour of Janet's narrative voice, and thought Flash and Twice made a good pair.

Darn, I just looked at the Amazon reviews, and it seems that the ebook versions of the books are abridged.

Feb 23, 7:15pm Top

I am noting your enjoyment of D.E. Stevenson. I just wish more of her stuff was available at reasonable pricing here in the States.

Mar 1, 11:09pm Top

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw. Audio. Did not finish. Autobiography of a young man with spinal muscular atrophy. I've been looking forward to reading this for quite a while, and was really enjoying it for several chapters. Then he devoted a chapter to telling us that he wasn't like the other kids at muscular dystrophy camp, because they were immature and had poor social skills. Then a couple of chapters later, he made fun of the other kids on "the Short Bus". And in the very next chapter he talked about how stupid Challenger baseball was. Self-promotion at the expense of others doesn't impress me, so I quit reading about halfway through the book. I may continue reading it sometime later, because I am interested in his story, and his writing is engaging. I'll go with the ebook version, though, so I can skip through any more derogatory parts.

Mar 2, 9:01am Top

It's funny, one complaint that I've heard people with disabilities make is that other people consistently portray them as quasi-saints. That their physical state erases any bad qualities they might have, reducing them to sketches of illnesses and syndromes. Maybe the writer was taking the opposite tack; bringing out his least attractive quality to show that a wheelchair doesn't erase personality faults. Just a thought although I'd probably have stopped reading, too. Running down the other guy never makes me like you.

Mar 2, 12:09pm Top

>133 Bookmarque: Well, he does end the sports chapter with the words, "I'm probably an asshole." The bus chapter was the worst, because he makes fun of the other kids' hygiene problems and socially inappropriate behaviours. He is an intelligent and articulate young man, and is very open and honest about his own physical issues (there are a lot of bodily fluids in this book), and shares numerous embarrassing anecdotes about himself. That is his choice, and the basis of a lot of his humour. But making fun of others, with constant reminders that he isn't like them, just seems mean. It's like he's trying to validate his own social superiority.

Mar 7, 10:40pm Top

The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer. One of my very favourite books, this is the first time I've listened to it in audio. I loved it as much as ever. The narrator was very good, although I had a few quibbles. But that is only to be expected when I almost know the book by heart, and have my own interpretations of the characters and dialogue firmly fixed in my head.

Mar 8, 8:14am Top

Hmm, it sounds from the reviews that The Toll-Gate is less a romance and more an adventure. And I like dialects in fiction. I may have to give this one a try.

Mar 8, 10:17am Top

Drive-by hug!


Mar 8, 10:19am Top

>136 diana.n: It is very much an adventure, with some brief romantic intervals. One of my quibbles with the audio was that I felt the narrator overly dramatised those intervals. The main character is my favourite Heyer hero. And there's a highwayman.

Mar 8, 10:20am Top

>137 Morphidae: Hug back!!!

Mar 8, 9:49pm Top

Anguished English by Richard Lederer. Reread. A standard collection of humorous errors from student papers, newspapers, signs, etc.

Mar 10, 11:14am Top

>140 SylviaC: Oh, that sounds awesome.

Mar 10, 12:54pm Top

>141 clamairy: It's fun. He's written numerous books of wordplay of one kind or another.

Mar 10, 1:57pm Top

*waves and hugs* Hi Sylivia! Just dropping in to improve my vocabulary and increase my wish list.

Mar 10, 3:48pm Top

>143 katylit: Nice of you to drop by! I hope it isn't as stormy there as it is here!

Mar 13, 10:51am Top

The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer. Reread. Audio. Sarah Thane is my favourite female Heyer character—always practical, but with an irrepressible sense of humour. I don't find the first few chapters particularly engaging, but as soon as Sarah enters the story it really takes off for me.

Mar 13, 11:03am Top

I liked this one when I read it: There was smuggling!

Mar 13, 2:49pm Top

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer. Reread. Audio and print. Georgette Heyer in audio is my preferred entertainment while redecorating, so that is why there is this sudden influx of Heyer. I finished my painting when I was about a quarter of the way through this one, so I switched to print because I was eager to read the rest of the story at my own pace (considerably faster than the audio). It had been well over twenty years since I last read The Masqueraders, and I was afraid the suck fairy might have got at it. On the contrary, I think I liked it even better than before. While I can see certain practical problems and plot weaknesses, it is still a wonderful adventure with interesting characters.

Edited: Mar 13, 6:09pm Top

Interesting. The Talisman Ring is my least favorite Heyer. I think I gave it 4/10 stars.

My favorite is Frederica.

Edited: Mar 13, 9:29pm Top

I didn't like the Talisman Ring as much either. I think my favourites are The Toll Gate, Frederica and The Grand Sophy. I've read all her books 3 times, I think.

Mar 13, 10:52pm Top

My favourites are:

The Toll-Gate
The Unknown Ajax
The Talisman Ring
These Old Shades
The Grand Sophy
The Foundling

The order varies depend on what I've read recently.

Edited: Mar 16, 10:26pm Top

So, just as an interesting aside, what do you guys think of Mary Stewart? I'm just asking because I was reading her books and Heyers around the same time and all those feelings come back at their mention, as well as a few others from that period.

Edited: Mar 17, 8:28am Top

Still haven't manned to read any Heyer yet. Soon.

>152 nhlsecord: I was a big fan of Mary Stewart back in my 'yoot.' Not just the Merlin books, either.

Mar 17, 9:24am Top

>152 nhlsecord: I like the Mary Stewart mysteries that I've read. They have just the right balance of plot, setting and romance for me, and the heroines don't rely on their man to get them out of trouble. I'm less keen on the Merlin ones but that's because I'm not keen on the Arthurian legends generally. Her children's novel Ludo and the star horse was one of my favourites when I was growing up. I read it over and over again!

Mar 17, 9:42am Top

>152 nhlsecord: Mary Stewart was an author I read in my teens, and the few books I have a foggy memory of, the memory is fond, but it doesn't make me want to grab her books today to read. That is with the exception of the Arthur books. I recently reread one of them, the first, and loved it very much.

Edited: Mar 17, 10:52am Top

I have most of Mary Stewart's books, and reread them frequently when I was younger, but there are only a few of them that I tend to revisit anymore. These days I'm most likely to read Touch Not the Cat, The Wind Off the Small Isles, Rose Cottage, and The Ivy Tree. Like Sakerfalcon, I'm not that into Arthurian legends, so didn't care for the Merlin ones. Ludo and the Star Horse is one that I never came across.

I can vividly remember the path I used to take through the fiction section of the library: Aiken, Andrews, Cadell, Francis, Heyer, Hill, Hodge, Loring, MacLean, Peters, Peters, Sayers, Shute, Stevenson, Stewart, Thane. (That took some touchstone acrobatics!) Then there were the SF, fantasy, YA, and nonfiction sections...

Mar 17, 11:24am Top

I liked Touch Not The Cat and The Gabriel Hounds. I have the first of the Arthurian ones and will have to decide after I read it if I want to search out the rest.

Mar 17, 9:26pm Top

I had this whole message typed out on my tablet and I hit the wrong button ####! So now I'm using my big computer where my fingers belong.

I think my favourite Stewarts are The Moonspinners (and the Hayley Mills movie), Thunder on the Right and The Gabriel Hounds. I also loved the Merlin books.

I'll have to look closely at Sylvia's list of authors, I'm not familiar with all of them. In the same general period I'd add Mary Roberts Rinehart and Helen MacInnes.

I still have them all, on the shelves just behind me when I read. They give me comfort.

Mar 17, 9:31pm Top

I enjoyed Mary Stewart's Merlin books many, many years ago (as I recall, the last one seemed a bit overdone), but I haven't tried her others. One more batch to add to the list. And I might get around to Heyer one of these days, when I want a break from my usual stuff.

Mar 17, 9:43pm Top

I used to read Mary Stewart in high school. I can't remember if I read her mysteries first or the Arthur books. I loved them all! I wouldn't mind rereading them some time.

Mar 17, 9:44pm Top

I also like Touch Not the Cat, and Airs Above the Ground. But her heroines tend to be a little too damsel in distress-ish for my tastes.

Mar 17, 11:31pm Top

>159 Jim53: If you do try Heyer, the three that I just read are good adventure stories. (The Toll-Gate, The Masqueraders, and The Talisman Ring.)

>161 Marissa_Doyle: I used to love Madam, Will You Talk?, but now I look at it and wonder why. Richard is an autocratic jerk, and Charity plays no role whatsoever in advancing the plot—all she does is take stupid risks and get in the way. She does get get to drive a high powered car, though.

This discussion is bringing back some happy memories not only of reading, but of the hours that I used to spend browsing well-stocked libraries and used bookstores.

Edited: Mar 18, 1:02am Top

For some reason, I am now picturing Cherryh's rather feminine Bren Cameron of the Foreigner series being chased along Greek cliffs.

ETA now that I've looked over Sylvia's list, I can add Elizabeth Peters / Barbara Michaels, and Dick Francis to my list of favourites.

Edited: Mar 22, 11:39am Top

I'm too afraid of the suck fairy to try Mary Stewart's Merlin books again but I remember enjoying them in my teens.

Mar 22, 10:36am Top

>164 Morphidae: There seems to be pretty high suck fairy potential for a lot of her books, but I would think the Marlin ones would be less likely than the others to become dated.

Mar 24, 6:23pm Top

Lakeland: Ballad of a Freshwater Country by Allan Casey. Finally, a book club book that I really enjoyed! This is a book with a message about conservation and protecting the environment. Sixty percent of the world's lakes are in Canada, and we tend to take most them for granted. I've lived three quarters of my life within sight of one or another of the Great Lakes, and they have always fascinated me. But I rarely even think of the millions of other lakes scattered all over the country. In Lakeland, Alan Casey only mentions the Great Lakes in passing, and focuses on eleven other lakes in eight provinces. The book is divided by seasons over a two-year period as he travels around the country visiting different types of lakes, with different economies and different environmental challenges. He talks to the people who make their livings on the lakes, cottagers and tourists, and those who are working to preserve them. While he is educating the reader on environmental issues, it is also a very personal journey for him, as he explores his own feelings and ideas about the lakes, starting and ending at his own family's cottage on a lake in Saskatchewan. His writing is clear and descriptive, without getting too flowery or fulsome. In the future I'll be more aware of the abundance of lakes scattered throughout this country.

Mar 25, 5:31am Top

>166 SylviaC: That sounds wonderful; the sort of book which would make me want to take a long road trip around Canada.

Mar 25, 5:09pm Top

>167 Sakerfalcon: It makes me want to see some of those lakes, and I'm not even an outdoors person.

Mar 27, 11:41pm Top

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua. Graphic novel (kind of). This was highly recommended by several people whose judgment I trust. It was loads of fun to read and I've developed a great admiration for Sydney Padua's talents. Not only can she draw and write, but she can understand and explain complicated math concepts, and has impressive research skills. This is one of the few books that I've labelled both "fiction" and "nonfiction". Normally I don't care for fictionalized biography, but this was thoroughly entertaining, and it was always perfectly clear which bits were real and which were imagined. Fortunately, I'm a fan of footnotes, so enjoyed the ones that were on almost every page (although their print size was a bit of a challenge). I think my favourite thing about the book was the way the author took two rather prickly and socially difficult people, and made them seem so darned loveable. I wish they'd had a few more thrilling adventures.

Edited: Mar 27, 11:42pm Top

Remove Child Before Folding: The 101 stupidest, silliest, and wackiest warning labels ever by Bob Dorigo Jones. Quotes from warning labels with accompanying cartoons and comments. Such useful warnings as: "Ovenware will get hot when used in oven" and "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover."

Mar 28, 3:37am Top

>169 SylviaC: I picked up a copy of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage at a book fair a few weeks ago. Like yourself, I had heard good things about it. Your comments have boosted its chances of being read soon.

Edited: Mar 28, 3:41am Top

>170 SylviaC: I bought a packet of boxers from a department store in Dublin. It was branded with the stores own brand. It had a small label sewn onto the front of each pair of boxers; one of those labels that are considered stylish and that usually have the designers name. When I got the packet home and took out the first pair of boxers I read the label. The word on it was, "Underwear".

I suppose it avoids confusion and lets people know they are not to be worn outside the trousers the way Superman wears his speedos.

Mar 28, 8:51am Top

>172 pgmcc: That's what the world needs. More clarity! Less ambiguity! Underwear must be clearly labelled as underwear, and the purchaser should use them as intended.

Mar 28, 10:07am Top

>173 SylviaC: yes, otherwise the warranty is void.

When i was 11 or 12 and first learning Latin, our class's motto was Semper ubi sub ubi. What can I say? We were that age.

Mar 28, 10:19am Top

>174 Jim53: When I was about 8, the most popular joke going around the class was for one child to ask another, "What are you eating under there?" If the other asked, "Under where?" the first would shout, "You're eating UNDERWEAR!?!" And hilarity would ensue.

Mar 28, 1:17pm Top

>170 SylviaC: That sounds hilarious!

Mar 28, 4:20pm Top

>176 Spurts: Some of it was pretty funny, but some of them were repetitious. There were a lot of variations on "Do not ingest", "Keep away from fire", and "Do not use while sleeping."

Mar 28, 5:32pm Top

>169 SylviaC: Do you suggest Lovelace and Babbage be read in a physical copy then, if it is partially a graphic novel? I think I have it on my Amazon wishlist, but I was waiting for the Kindle version to go on sale.

Mar 28, 6:52pm Top

>178 clamairy: Clam, I'd definitely vote for the physical copy, because it's all illustrated, not just partially, and it's worthwhile to be able to hold the book up to your nose to take in some of the delightful details. I can't imagine trying to read this as an ebook.

Mar 28, 7:03pm Top

>179 Marissa_Doyle: Okay, thank you. I'm glad I didn't snag it already!

Mar 28, 8:49pm Top

I agree, this is best read in paper. Even if you have an ereader that handles illustrations, there are some double page spreads (including some that are enhanced by rotating the book). And the drawings are quite detailed. The only advantage of an ebook would be to enlarge the footnotes.

Mar 28, 9:00pm Top

Oh, and clamairy, I think Lovelace and Babbage will be right up your alley. It's full of history and math and attitude.

Mar 28, 9:16pm Top

All things I hold most dear. :o)

Mar 28, 9:43pm Top

>175 SylviaC: ooh, a certain five-year-old will have that inflicted on her when next we visit.

Mar 28, 10:11pm Top

I should read this one too. Or at the least, add it too my list.

Mar 29, 6:11pm Top

Yes, >183 clamairy: you must read Lovelace and Babbage in print. There are footnotes that are absolutely wonderful that would not be well served if read in digital form.

Mar 29, 7:56pm Top

Indeed! I ordered it last night. :o)

Mar 30, 10:12am Top

*sigh* I've been resisting this one, but the bullet finally sank in. I decided to buy a hardcover for my daughter. It is more up her ally than mine, but I might just have to preview it before giving it to her.

Mar 30, 12:40pm Top

>188 MrsLee: It's your duty to preview!

Mar 31, 2:51am Top

>170 SylviaC: Two labels that never cease to irritate me somewhat are the bag of mixed nuts with the label "This product may contain NUTS" - may contain? MAY contain? It's a bag of nuts there better be nuts in it! Closely followed by the portions of fish wrapped with a label that said "This product may contain Fish. Do not consume if you are allergic to fish." Again, while I understand, fully support and encourage the need for appropriate labelling and think it's absolutely essential on products where there may be any confusion, I do feel that this kind of labelling is unnecessary. Fish with nothing done to it to disguise it being fish or confuse its fishiness by mixing it with something else is Fish - similarly with bags of nuts. I'll stop whining now. :D

Mar 31, 3:37am Top

>190 Peace2: So, according to your last sentence a bag of unadulterated nuts is fish? I never knew that. It is amazing what one can learn on the Internet.


Mar 31, 8:39am Top

>190 Peace2: If they MAY contain nuts (or fish), one has to wonder what the alternative ingredients would be if the nuts (or fish) are lacking. It bothers me to see things like fruit or meat labelled as "gluten free"—but that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

Mar 31, 9:14am Top

Now I'm hungry.

Mar 31, 9:23am Top

>192 SylviaC: The other day Better Half bought a container of chicken stock granules. The label says it's vegan.

Edited: Mar 31, 6:53pm Top

>194 hfglen: I always had my doubts about the chicken content of those granules. They must be made of soy chicken (gluten free, of course). (Still hungry, MrsLee?)

Mar 31, 8:15pm Top

>194 hfglen: Perhaps it contains chickens from the Vega star system? ;)

Mar 31, 8:20pm Top

>196 ScoLgo: Hey, some of my favorite chickens come from that system!

Mar 31, 9:07pm Top

>197 jillmwo: What hatches in Vega, stays in Vega. :)

Apr 1, 2:59am Top

>191 pgmcc: Must be true if I've put it on the internet - everything else on the internet is absolutely 100% true that's on there! ;-P

Apr 1, 11:16am Top

Anybody tried fish nuts?

Apr 1, 2:04pm Top

My Wisconsinite son-in-law likes cheese burgers. He only likes the square cheese slices that come in packs to be used on his burgers. We tease him that they are plastic cheese.

When he is with us and we are making burgers we get a packet of cheese slices for him. One day we went to open the cheese slices and discovered they were described as, "Cheese flavoured slices". Perhaps we were not wrong about their being plastic cheese. I wonder if they are actually nuts or fish.

Edited: Apr 1, 2:13pm Top

Edited: Apr 1, 2:58pm Top

>190 Peace2: I was always confused at one "100% Juice" line of drinks that contained zero vitamins. How dies that happen? Just what were they juicing or how were they processing it? (ingredient list looked normal)

>201 pgmcc: or "cheese food" and "imitation cheese food"

Apr 1, 3:52pm Top

>203 Spurts: High-temperature pastuerization (like UHT long-life milk) will destroy vitamin C. "100%" juices around here are made of a mixture of de-flavoured apple, grape or pear juice and a minor addition of the named flavour (I get this from the label on the box). I suspect that the de-flavourizing will carry off more vitamins.

>201 pgmcc: The more remarkable as Wisconsin makes some very fine cheese, as I found delightfully at the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Edited: Apr 2, 11:56am Top

>203 Spurts: Perhaps they are only listing the vitamins they add, not what is naturally occurring in the juice. Which at this point in time would be difficult to determine anyway as every crop, and indeed each individual berry or piece of fruit, varies a bit from the average. Analyzing each batch of juice at the food processing plant would be too costly and time consuming.

Apr 2, 12:35am Top

>205 clamairy: I didn't realize that they didn't list naturally occurring vitamins. That explains some puzzling labels that I've seen.

Apr 2, 10:31am Top

>205 clamairy: I don't believe that's true. Do you have a source? It just doesn't make sense that the label would list the percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance for that vitamin from that product but it doesn't list all of that vitamin that is in that product. With all the arguments about the food label I don't think that such an obvious point of confusion would have been overlooked.

Edited: Apr 2, 11:56am Top

>207 jjwilson61: Truth is I don't know. I tried to read the FDA website but I gave up.

I do know that the laws about the labels changed drastically last year. Now they are only required to list the D and Calcium levels because Americans are lacking these things in their diets. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm Listing other vitamins in voluntary.

I did edit my previous post, though.

Apr 2, 5:08pm Top

>204 hfglen: Yes, Hugh! That is one of the reasons I was so amazed at my son-in-law's preference for plastic cheese. Wisconsin is a dairy state; a big dairy state.

Edited: Apr 2, 5:11pm Top

Yeah but that orange stuff they make here is crap. As a person raised on Vermont white cheddar, it's inedible. Don't get me started on cheese curds.

Apr 2, 5:13pm Top

>209 pgmcc: The pub may need to run and intervention for him.

Apr 2, 5:19pm Top

The discussion on juices interests me. Twenty years ago (I can date it exactly as my son was born at the end of this assignment) I carried out an organisational review of a juice packing company in England. They imported FCOJ (Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice) from around the world, defrosted it, added water, and put it in cartons. As someone who loved the film, "Trading Place", I was highly amused to be dealing with FCOJ.

There were a number of planning and production issues, and I was delighted when one of the production managers asked me, "How hard can this be? Any three year old adds water to orange concentrate. Why are we finding it so difficult?"

Apparently the norm was for the natural juice to be dehydrated to one-sixth and then shipped to its destination where it was rehydrated by adding back the missing water.

There was one exception to using the concentrate. Their premium product, chilled orange juice, was not dehydrated, just frozen. This was defrosted and packed without adding water.

Another factor that interested me was the way the season moved around the world and the source of the juice followed the season.

Edited: Apr 2, 8:01pm Top

My husband I bought some land with an apple orchard almost 20 years ago. We decided quickly enough that it was extremely hard work with no profit to be made. One of the issues with the market was that juicemakers could buy concentrate from China far cheaper than processing locally. I don't know how the market might have changed more recently with the increased demand for juices that are not from concentrate.

Apr 3, 6:30am Top

A colleague of mine has a small orchard and uses his apples to make cider. He does not do it on a commercial basis, but prides himself on making the cider with old equipment in a traditional fashion. I think he just likes to be in a position of making a year's supply of cider for himself.

Edited: Apr 3, 10:25am Top

>213 SylviaC: This does not surprise me. You might find the attitude towards such things has changed for the better. I have been thrilled to see the resurgence of such enterprises around here. Not only are there farmers markets, also most of the grocery store chains have made room for local produce. The ciders especially are from our county or one nearby.

>214 pgmcc: Oooh, does he let it ferment?

Apr 3, 9:43am Top

>215 clamairy: Yes, our grocery chain here carries locally made fresh apple juice. It's great to see, although being allergic to apples I do not partake.

Apr 3, 9:57am Top

>215 clamairy: People have changed what they're looking for in eating apples too. When we were selling them, the wholesaler only wanted huge, perfectly formed, unblemished apples. How do you take that first bite out of an apple that is bigger than a grapefruit? Now the apples I see in stores are more reasonably sized. The stores still want them to look pretty, but our biggest grocery chain is now selling bags of "imperfect" apples as well.

Apr 3, 2:49pm Top

>214 pgmcc: we have several nice orchards in our area that make their own cider after the pick-your-own season is over. We make quite a lot of good things with it.

A few do ferment theirs, but you have to know someone personally to get any since they can't legally sell it. It's rough stuff but an interesting experience.

Apr 9, 9:34pm Top

Inspired by answering a "Name that book" question on the Lost Classics of Teen Fiction blog, I was pulled into the rabbit-hole of YA fiction of my youth. Teen fiction certainly used to be shorter than recent books, which is interesting, considering that so many of the people who grew up reading those shorter, less complex books, now complain about young people having no attention spans. Anyway, some of these stood the test of time for me, and some didn't.

The Troublemaker by Robert McKay. Good girl, who raises canaries, is drawn to new boy in town, who is rumoured to have committed some mysterious crime. Main theme is the students' rights movement. Very late 60's/early 70's vibe. I loved it when I was a teenager, and it hasn't lost its appeal.

Dave's Song by Robert McKay. Good girl is drawn to stubborn chicken farmer. (Why does that sound familiar?) Leonard Cohen's song "Suzanne" plays an important role in the story. So do chickens. What's not to like? I think I like this one even better now than I did way back then, because I have developed a certain partiality to chicken farmers.

Both of the McKay books were published when I was a very young child, so I have some memory of the era. The whole hippies, headbands, freedom, and music thing is part of my worldview. I wonder if they would have any meaning for my children's generation. (It's no use asking, they won't read them.) The next three books all take place during my own teenage years, and two of them didn't hold out as well.

Run, Don't Walk by Harriet May Savitz. Girl in a wheelchair aspires to compete in a marathon, while boy fights for accessible washrooms in their school.
If You Can't Be the Sun, Be a Star by Harriet May Savitz. Girl (with the help of boy) encourages fellow students and neighbours to improve their communities by working together. Both books rather hit the reader over the head with their messages of cooperating to fight for what you believe in. I enjoyed them when I was in the target audience, but they haven't grown with me.

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. A witchy fantasy. This one doesn't really fit in the previous cluster, because even though I originally read it as a teenager (or in my very early adult years), I've read it many times since, so knew that my satisfaction was guaranteed.

This should give a pretty good indication of my level of concentration lately. Due to a variety of factors, some positive, some negative, and some just tedious, I'm not getting far with anything that requires much focus. I'm going to read a children's book next—but a brand new one!

Apr 11, 6:56am Top

>219 SylviaC: I love Margaret Mahy's teen books, and The changeover is a good one. I also like The tricksters, Memory and The catalogue of the universe. I love the way she uses metaphors in her descriptions which give even mundane things a magical touch.
I also have a few go-to YA titles that I've kept in my collection and frequently reread when I want something quick that I know will be satisfying.

Apr 11, 7:18am Top

Oh! I knew that author looked familiar. I keep a copy of The Catalogue of the Universe for repeat pleasures and hoping to pass it on to a grand.

Edited: Apr 11, 1:36pm Top

>220 Sakerfalcon: >221 2wonderY: I really like The Catalogue of the Universe, too. The Other Side of Silence is another excellent YA book. She has some cute kids' books, also. The Great Piratical Rumbustification is fun. She was an incredibly prolific author, but her books aren't always easy to find in North America.

Apr 11, 5:14pm Top

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. Children's book about diversity and acceptance. An extremely diverse family in Toronto has to adapt to the arrival of a very conservative grandfather who is developing dementia. Even with the occasional adult asides, it may be a little overly cutesy for adult taste, but would probably work well for 9-12 year olds. The four co-parents are called PopCorn, PapaDum, MaxiMum, and CardaMom. (They'd had way too much tequila the night they picked their nicknames.) The seven children are all named after trees. The book kind of felt like an exercise in how much diversity the author could include in a single family, but the characters were all interesting. There was lots of humour and wordplay. The story was engaging and I was always eager to return to it. The pacing was very good for most of the book, with the characters' backstories being released gradually instead of dumping the whole family history at once. The resolution did seem rather abrupt, though.

Apr 11, 5:20pm Top

Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll. As recommended by MrsLee. Cute picture book about a dragon who loves to read, but keeps burning his books in his excitement. I liked the possum.

Apr 12, 7:47pm Top

>223 SylviaC: That sounds like too much entertainment not to give it a try. The fact that all the copies at the library are out suggests that either it's a fun read or you've got more followers around here than I realized.

Apr 12, 8:26pm Top

>225 Jim53: It was only released on March 28, but there has been a fair bit of hype because it is by the author of Room, which is a very different kind of book (and I haven't read it). I though the descriptions sounded intriguing, and managed to be first on my library's hold list when it came in. And yes, I did find it quite entertaining, despite a few shortcomings.

Edited: Apr 12, 8:36pm Top

Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Audio. I don't know why this was so popular. There really isn't much to it, and what is there is pretty repetitive. I liked Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational better.

Apr 13, 3:16am Top

>227 SylviaC: I think you may have winged me with Predictably Irrational.

OK, I admit it; you hit me right between the eyes.

Apr 13, 11:34am Top

>207 jjwilson61: I have to agree with jjw until proven othotherwise.

Apr 14, 9:32am Top

>224 SylviaC: :) Hope you enjoyed it.

Apr 14, 9:46am Top

>230 MrsLee: Yes, I did! The illustrations were adorable. Poor Duncan wanted to finish his books so badly.

Apr 14, 9:48am Top

>231 SylviaC: I identify with him a lot recently, although, our reasons for not finishing books are somewhat different.

Edited: Apr 15, 7:19pm Top

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson. The parts about the development of the industry, the technology, and even the labour issues were interesting, but the political and regulatory stuff was pretty monotonous. I would like to have learned more about the physical aspects of the boxes, ships, cranes, and dockyards. Diagrams or photos would have been nice.

Apr 19, 9:44pm Top

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. I was sorting through unread books to see whether there were any that I could release to new homes, and decided to read the first pages of this one to see whether it appealed to me. I surfaced a few hours later to the realization that I had a family to feed. I was pulled right in from the very first page, and stayed engaged all the way through. Harry was born in 1919 to a former kitchen maid and adopted by the Augusts. He lived out his life, died, and was born again in exactly the same circumstances. Over and over again. He discovers that there are others like himself, who are regularly reborn into the same lives, with memories of their previous lifetimes more or less intact. I found the concept fascinating, and have been spending quite a bit of time working out some of the ramifications in my mind. Although I was left with some questions about temporal paradoxes and timelines shared by multiple characters, I still found the book satisfying. The torture scenes were the only thing I didn't like about it, and I had to try to skip those bits. Some reviewers didn't like the way the story keeps skipping back and forth between timelines, but I thought the author wove it all together deftly. A well-crafted novel.

Apr 19, 9:54pm Top

>234 SylviaC: Ooh, I just bought that at Barnes & Noble because Claire North is also Kate Griffin, of A Madness of Angels fame.

Apr 19, 9:58pm Top

>234 SylviaC: I have this one on my list for this year, (will be borrowing from library). Your description makes it sound somewhat reminiscent of Life After Life. Have you read that book by Kate Atkinson? If yes, how does 'The First Fifteen Lives...' compare?

Apr 19, 10:38pm Top

>235 Marissa_Doyle: I don't read much urban fantasy, but I wouldn't mind reading something else by her.

>236 ScoLgo: I haven't read Life After Life, but now I'd like to. A lot of people did mention it in their reviews of The First Fifteen Lives...

Apr 19, 10:50pm Top

>237 SylviaC: Ah, ok. Your review has me moving the North book up my list. Will probably check it out after my current 4 Overdrive holds come through... ;)

I think it will be cool to compare the two. Quite a few reviewers didn't like the way Atkinson handled the timeline thing either. I just found the the early going a bit confusing but, once I realized what she was doing, I settled right in and found the book to be quite good. It was an interesting, 'what if...?' type of scenario.

Edited: Apr 20, 1:53am Top

>234 SylviaC: >236 ScoLgo: The First Fifteen Lives of was on my list of favorite reads of the year last year. I felt much as you did, Sylvia.

As far as Life After Life, for me it was a great premise, over written and ultimately not nearly as enjoyable as it could have been. A trifle pretentious, I hate to have to say.

In the "Lives Relived" subgenre, Replay is an old favorite. Grimwood apparently went to his grave convinced that the idea behind Groundhog Day was stolen from him, but I don't buy it. Still a very enjoyable exploration of the idea. And I just saw the musical version of that movie on Broadway -- good, whimsical, but the movie set the bar quite high....

Edited: Apr 20, 1:53am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Apr 20, 8:57am Top

>239 stellarexplorer: Our library only has Replay in audio, but it should be readily available through interlibrary loan.

Apr 20, 9:24am Top

>237 SylviaC: I'm not an urban fantasy reader either, but her Matthew Swift series is probably going to be one of my top reads for the year. The writing is gorgeous, the undercurrent of humor just right and leavens the urban grittiness, and London is a character all in itself.

Apr 20, 9:47am Top

>234 SylviaC: I have this one on my tbr shelves having read a preview featured in another book. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

Apr 21, 6:23pm Top

Company Town by Madeline Ashby. For book club. Go Jung-hwa, a bodyguard for the National Sex Workers union ("There's a pension. Flexible hours. Nice people."), is recruited to protect the teenaged heir to the Lynch Corporation. Lynch recently bought the New Arcadia oil rig city, off the coast of Newfoundland. Hwa is the only person in the city who has no surgical, technological or genetic modifications, despite having a congenital disorder which involves a number of physical issues. She compensates for this by being very, very fit, and very, very deadly.

My reactions to this book were all over the place. I hated the violence but loved most of the rest of the book, except for the parts that were just bizarre. Science fiction, dystopia, thriller, mystery, romance, futurism, and social commentary are all thrown into the mix, and some of it works and some of it doesn't. The first time I started reading it, the violence turned me right off, and I got very confused about what was going on. I tried again a couple of weeks later, and my reading experience was very different. The violence was still there, but I got better at skipping it. This time I was completely immersed in the story and didn't come up for air until it was done. The setting was well developed, and totally believable. Hwa is a wonderful, complex character, who may not always make the best choices, but always does what she thinks is right. Oddly, this gritty, violent book has one of the sweetest romances that I've encountered. It doesn't take up a lot of page space, but it was what lightened the tone up enough that I could keep reading. Some spoilery commentary on the ending: The big reveal of the villain came right out of left field. It's like the book was one kind of science fiction up to that point, then suddenly became a very different kind. While it was hinted at once near the beginning of the book, nothing else led to that conclusion. I was ambivalent about the final chapter. I was glad that the characters were getting their happy ending, but it didn't really match the tone of the book. And I was bothered by Hwa's miraculous cure. Despite the negatives, I liked Company Town enough that I'm thinking about buying my own copy so I can reread the good parts. So another win for book club.

Apr 22, 10:46am Top

>244 SylviaC:, that's an interesting point. You had to find the right road into the particular narrative that worked for you in order to enjoy the reading experience. I sometimes hold on to books that I didn't enjoy the first time around to see if they work for me in a different mood or time-frame. It's the same dynamic at work.

Apr 22, 1:13pm Top

>245 jillmwo: So much depends on the reader's expectations, experiences, mood, stage of life, state of mind, health, weather, and on and on and on... There are times when something that has all the elements that should work doesn't, and times when something previously enjoyed falls flat. It's no wonder that different people respond differently to the same book, when an individual reader doesn't even respond consistently

Apr 22, 2:00pm Top

>236 ScoLgo: >237 SylviaC: >239 stellarexplorer: I thoroughly enjoyed Life After Life, but it was a bit dark and it contains several (probably many?) incidents that I believe Sylvia might find uncomfortable to read.

Thanks, >236 ScoLgo:... you just added another to my creaking OverDrive pile. Have you read Atkinson's A God in Ruins by any chance? I bought it for my kindle but haven't gotten to it yet. I have enjoyed her Jackson Brodie series immensely over the years. There's a lot of dry humor in there.

Apr 22, 9:49pm Top

>247 clamairy: Thanks for that warning, Clam! I really appreciate it. I visualize what I read pretty clearly, and scenes of violence, bullying, and cruelty can keep me awake at night, or fill my dreams if I do sleep. At least with a warning, I can make a more informed decision on whether to read it, and if I do decide to, I won't be blindsided by those scenes.

Is all of Atkinson's work like that? I bought Case Histories at a sale, but I haven't really looked into it yet.

Apr 23, 10:17am Top

>248 SylviaC: No, but Case Histories is probably the darkest of the Jackson Brodie books. My suggestion would be to start it and bail if something bothers you. Jackson gets beaten up regularly, but always comes out of it with his wits (and looks) intact.

Apr 23, 11:13pm Top

>249 clamairy: How bad can it be if he still looks good? Right?

Apr 24, 12:15am Top

The Forest of Reading is an annual recreational reading initiative by the Ontario Library Association, with lists of recommended Canadian books for children at different grade levels and adults to read and vote on. The members of my library book club read as many of them as we want, then discuss and vote on them in September. A few of the nonfiction ones on the list look interesting to me, and I got off to a good start.

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote. Ivan Coyote is a Canadian writer, performing artist, public speaker, and filmmaker. And a skilled storyteller, both orally and on paper. This book is a memoir, consisting of short pieces about their childhood in a large extended family in the Yukon, their life as a non-binary trans person, tributes to people in their life, and support to others who may be struggling with questions of identity and acceptance. Even though there are many incidents of insensitivity and humiliation, the overall tone of the book is positive. The writing led me to look for videos of some of Ivan's performances online, and the little bit that my crummy internet let me see helped me imagine the pieces in the book being performed by Ivan. I'll try to watch more videos sometime when I have a decent internet signal.

Apr 24, 8:18am Top

>250 SylviaC: Exactly. He should be toothless and at least half blind by now. LOL

>251 SylviaC: Oh, that one looks good! A bit pricey, though. And not available at my library, either. :o(

Apr 24, 9:07am Top

>252 clamairy: Yeah, even the Kindle version is $16.74 on Amazon.ca—a paper copy is less than $1 more. It's from a small publisher. It's readily available in libraries here, of course, since it's part of a provincial reading program. Maybe if it continues to do well here, more US libraries will pick it up. I think you would appreciate Ivan's observations and humour.

Apr 26, 11:09am Top

>244 SylviaC: I really want to read Company town but it hasn't been published in the UK. Knowing that you enjoyed it has pushed it further up my wishlist.

I wasn't keen on Case Histories because so much of the violence was against women and children

Apr 26, 12:17pm Top

>254 Sakerfalcon: It was definitely the roughest of the four, IMHO. Or maybe I just got used to it. :o/

Edited: Apr 26, 1:47pm Top

>254 Sakerfalcon: I hope it becomes more available outside of Canada. Actually, one of the neat things about it was that it was identifiably Canadian, even though it takes place in a dystopian future. Most notably, Hwa frequently talked like a Newfoundlander. Not enough to parodize or annoy, but just enough to give it that localized touch.

Your warning about Case Histories is a definite deterrent.

ETA: Mind you, much of the violence in Company Town is against women.

Apr 26, 9:46pm Top

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer. Audio. An old favourite, this is the first time I've listened to the audio. I enjoyed it, but it didn't work quite as well for me in audio as some other Heyers. It was no fault of the narrator—Phyllida Nash did an excellent job—I think it was just the pacing of the story. But Freddy was just as wonderful as ever.

Apr 28, 7:31pm Top

Freddy. Happy Sigh.

I finished False COlours last night. Have no idea why I thought I didn't like it. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

I started Any Duchess WIll DO afterwards and it is a worthy successor to Georgette Heyer's Regencies, I think.

Apr 28, 8:20pm Top

>258 MDGentleReader: Ooh...I'll have to check out Any Duchess Will Do! I haven't read anything by Tessa Dare, and that series looks interesting.

Apr 28, 8:51pm Top

The Georgette Heyer group on Goodreads is doing a group read of The Unknown Ajax in May. Just saying. :)

Apr 28, 9:23pm Top

>260 Marissa_Doyle: If anything can tempt me to learn to navigate the Goodreads groups, that would probably be it.

Apr 28, 9:34pm Top

I'm not a big fan of GR in general, but it's a nice group of adults with no drama: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/19912-georgette-heyer-fans

Apr 28, 10:44pm Top

>262 Marissa_Doyle: I joined the group. Now I just have remember to go back to Goodreads every now and then, and get used to the different Talk format. Apparently I last logged in a year ago--and I never have explored the social side of it.

Apr 29, 10:49pm Top

The Menace From Earth by Robert A. Heinlein. Short stories published in 1959. fuzzi gave me this book. As with a lot of scientific fiction of the period, you have to try to tune out a certain amount of racism, sexism, and nuke 'em attitude, but outside of that, I enjoyed this collection. "The Year of the Jackpot" was my favourite, with its blend of apocalypse and statistics. ”By His Bootstraps” is a classic of time travel paradox. "Goldfish Bowl” is an interesting study in perspective. I don't know why Heinlein or his publisher chose to use the title of one of the weakest stories in the book as the collection's title, unless it was just because it sounds dramatic. It's been a long time since I read any mid-century SF short stories, so this was a nice reminder of a different period of my life. Thank you, fuzzi!

May 4, 10:05pm Top

The Name Therapist by Duana Taha. Did not finish. This is another Forest of Reading book. I'm not even sure how to describe it. It is about unusual names, and is partly memoir, partly advice, and partly information, with a smattering of self-promotion. I was too bored to persist past the first few chapters.

Edited: May 29, 9:42pm Top

Five Roses by Alice Zorn. Forest of Reading. A few months in the lives of some women in a neighbourhood in Montreal. I didn't think I was going to like this book at first, finding it disjointed and bleak. But I eventually grew to like most of the characters, and wanted things to turn out well for them. Their lives touch and connect at various points, but each has her own storyline. The setting is very well written. The old working class neighbourhood that is just on the brink of gentrification, and the abandoned industrial zone are vividly portrayed.

Some things that I want to remember for the book discussion:

-Fara's story is barely connected with the others, and I found her the least likeable of the women. Links: geography, workplace, loss through suicide vs loss through kidnapping.
-It was an interesting narrative choice to have Yushi, who is important to two of the storylines, as the only major female character who is not given her own point of view.
-I liked it that Maddy and Rose didn't feel any connection at all when they met, no subconscious awareness of their relationship. Eventually, there are a couple of hints that Maddy might eventually figure out who Rose is, but there is no intuitive link.
-There was some problematic sex that did not seem to get adequately addressed, but I can only conclude that the author wanted to leave us feeling uncomfortable about those experiences.
-Nature/nurture: was Rose's lack of awareness of social cues and feeling of disassociation entirely due to her upbringing, or might she be on the autistic spectrum?
-Was the relationship between Maddy and Yushi mainly mother/daughter substitution, or was there an element of sexual attraction?
-Fara and Rose are both socially oblivious, but in very different ways.
-I liked Maddy, Rose, Yushi, Kenny, and Leo.
-The character of Frédéric only seems to exist to be bossed around by Fara.
-The tone of the book shifted from bleak to surprisingly optimistic.

May 13, 10:14pm Top

>264 SylviaC: I used to adore Heinlein back in the 70s, but I think I've avoided him since the mid 80s. Happy to hear you enjoyed the collection.

May 14, 9:08am Top

>264 SylviaC:, >267 clamairy: Heinlein is one of the classic science fiction authors I still haven’t gotten around to trying. I did pick up Stranger in a Strange Land not long ago, so he’ll probably make his way onto my reading schedule before long.

May 14, 11:57am Top

>268 YouKneeK: I enjoyed a few Heinlein novels before reading A Stranger in a Strange Land. I am sorry to tell you it was that novel that turned me off him. I found it very didactic and mysogynistic. .

May 14, 12:18pm Top

I only read a few Heinlein novels in my youth. I liked Time Enough for Love (except for the incest), Double Star, and Friday. I totally didn't grok Stranger in a Strange Land.

May 14, 12:51pm Top

I enjoyed most of Friday but was disappointed with the ending. It was doing great with a strong female character and then she appeared to run out of steam and capitulate on everything.

May 14, 1:17pm Top

>271 pgmcc: It has been so long since I read Friday that I can't remember the ending, but I do vaguely recall that there was something about it that didn't mesh with the rest of the book.

May 14, 1:43pm Top

I Will Fear No Evil made me begin to side-eye Heinlein, and The Number of the Beast did him in as far as I'm concerned (though I still enjoy Job and Revolt in 2100 a great deal.) I'll always be fond of his writing style, though, if not his ideas.

May 14, 4:01pm Top

>269 pgmcc:, >270 SylviaC: Thanks for the warning; I’ll go into it a bit prepared at least.

Edited: May 14, 5:09pm Top

I think my favorite Heinlein must be his short story All You Zombies - which was recently (and quite decently) adapted to film as Predestination starring Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook.

Another I greatly enjoyed was The Door Into Summer. The title and subsequent story was actually inspired by Heinlein's Feline Overlord.

edit: fix typo

May 17, 11:11pm Top

The Science of Why: Answers to questions about the world around us by Jay Ingram. I found it more engaging that other books I've tried by the same author. Good to pick up if you have a few minutes to fill, but definitely not for any kind of in-depth study. Includes cute little cartoons, for which the illustrator is only credited in teeny tiny print in the copyright notice. Tony Hanyk deserves more acknowledgement, since the cartoons add that little bit extra to Ingram's generally uninspired writing.

Edited: May 17, 11:45pm Top

What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves by Benjamin K. Bergen. Audio. My father swore as naturally as he breathed, and the most I ever heard from my mother was a subdued "damn". My brother takes after our father, although with significant differences in vocabulary. I am even less sweary than my mother, but I have a certain respect for particularly creative practitioners (see the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, for example). So I'm curious about the psychology of swearing. This book didn't tell me what makes some people swearers and others not, but it did give me a whole lot of information that I hadn't even realized I wanted to know. It covered history, psychology, sociology, etymology, linguistics and more. Who knew that swearing has its own set of complex grammar rules? The author read the audio version, and clearly enjoys his subject matter very much. I have to confess, I got a wee bit of entertainment from observing my daughter's reaction whenever she got into the car and was greeted by a litany of profanity coming from the speakers. She kept switching to something else, for some reason.

May 18, 1:36am Top

>277 SylviaC: That's funny! Im pretty sure my teenage daughter would be highly amused, but would demand an explanation.

Edited: May 18, 4:00am Top

>277 SylviaC: I love the irony of an audio book on swearing. It seems so appropriate; genius even.

You reminded me of a TV ad that has been showing here. It is advertising the services of an Internet Service Provider who is promoting their fibre-optic supported services and the ability to watch different programmes in different rooms to facilitate different tastes. It starts with an elderly lady sitting on a sofa with what appears to be her teenaged granddaughter and they are watching a film. It is obviously a romance and the action on screen starts getting a bit steamy. The grandmother has a lascivious smile on her face, eyes wide open not to miss anything, and is uttering little groans of appreciation while holding a small handkerchief to her lips. The teenaged granddaughter gets progressively uncomfortable at her granny's reactions to the images on the screen and eventually runs up to her bedroom to watch it on another screen, not in the company of her granny.

I think you may have hit me with that one as a book bullet. Should I use a profanity at this stage? Which one would you recommend?

May 18, 5:21am Top

>279 pgmcc: I would recommend the hidden spoiler function, with nothing behind it, poking light fun at the clicker's prurient interest.

May 18, 5:45am Top

>280 stellarexplorer: !

Thanks for the advice.

May 18, 5:53am Top

>281 pgmcc: Well done! But perhaps add the word "Obscenity" before "Spoiler"?

May 18, 6:40am Top

>282 stellarexplorer: Would that not spoil the effect?

May 18, 9:02am Top

277> The little I've read about swearing is fascinating. Apparently that bit of language is stored away from everything else.

Was your daughter oh so obviously trying to be all casual about changing to something else?

May 18, 9:10am Top

It would be a terrible thing to spoil the spoiler!

My son, who never swears in front of his parents, preferred to continue listening to the book, and started a discussion about societal expectations and implications around swearing and the use of slurs in particular. He is older than his sister, and is rarely embarrassed by anything his parents do. My daughter frequently accuses me of traumatizing her for life. But she's addicted to Netflix, and often watches shows with far more profanity, violence, and sex than she's ever likely to encounter in our home.

>279 pgmcc: That ad sounds funny!

May 18, 9:23am Top

>284 MDGentleReader: Yes, that was one to the things he talks about, and that is why some people who have had damage to the speech areas of their brains can still swear, even if they have no other words. Unlike the other book I just read, this one is loaded with science.

There was nothing casual about my daughter's response. It was more like, "Mother! Why are you listening to that?!? I don't want to hear those words!" She's a teenager in highschool, so I doubt that there was much there that she hasn't heard. Although I will admit that I learned some new words, she didn't listen long enough to hear those ones.

May 18, 9:25am Top

>285 SylviaC: Did you say she is 17? I predict she will thank you for her upbringing before she turns 24.

May 18, 9:32am Top

>286 SylviaC: that explains a lot - my husband's sister suffered a stroke that has impacted her speech center, so she only has command of about twenty different words; it seemed odd to me that 5 of those are curse words, but maybe the area they come from isn't damaged? Surprisingly she can also repeat something that is said to her, but a few minutes later she doesn't have those words anymore, just the core 20.

May 18, 10:58am Top

>287 2wonderY: She's only 14, so still pretty young. Her brother is 17.

>289 SylviaC: He goes into a fair amount of detail about the different parts of the brain used for different aspects of speech. I've read about a lot of that in Oliver Sacks' books, and some others. I think music is also stored separately from speech, so some people may still be able to sing songs, even though they have lost individual words. How long ago was your sister-in-law's stroke? I hope she will be able to recover more communication skills.

May 18, 11:00am Top

>289 SylviaC: Ah! 14! Blessings on you for the next several years.

May 18, 11:00am Top

>286 SylviaC: so she was overt about not wanting to hear cursing, not trying to play it cool.

May 18, 11:06am Top

>289 SylviaC: Wendy's stroke was 8 years ago, so she's recovered as much capacity as she is going to.

The thing about music reminded me of Wielding a Red Sword where the main character learns that he does not stutter when singing - I thought it was interesting and learned later that it is true for a lot of stutter sufferers.

Edited: May 18, 11:19am Top

What the F sounds fascinating, but I'll confess to having uttered an example of the subject matter in question when I saw that the ebook version is a full $1.50 more than the hardcover. What the F indeed.

May 18, 11:25am Top

>292 Darth-Heather: I've read that too, about stuttering and singing. A good book about the brain and recovery/relearning is The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.

May 18, 11:27am Top

>293 Marissa_Doyle: Oh, too bad. It was a daily deal a few weeks ago, which was when I bought it. Maybe it will come up again later in the year, when they have one of their sales of prior daily deal books.

Edited: May 18, 12:13pm Top

>285 SylviaC: she's addicted to Netflix, and often watches shows with far more profanity, violence, and sex than she's ever likely to encounter in our home.

Well that really sets the bar for your home behaviour. :-)

May 18, 1:25pm Top

>296 pgmcc: It's hard work keeping up with societal expectations!

May 18, 1:58pm Top

>297 SylviaC: You must throw some great parties!

May 18, 2:25pm Top

My mom yelled at me yesterday for using the F word. I am 38. But really, though, I can't think of another swear word that one can use in such a variety of situations.

May 18, 3:44pm Top

There's a lot to be said for versatility.

May 18, 9:33pm Top

>283 pgmcc: No, here's the reasoning: if you just offer a spoiler and someone clicks it, they don't understand what is uncovered. It's meaningless. If you say, in effect, "click here for obscenity", then they see the connection between their impulse to see and the wagging finger underneath.

May 18, 11:25pm Top

I think I would like What the F. I swore like a sailor when I was in high school. Kinda got out of it because the crowd I ran with didn't use it and thought it was not ok. Now I only use it when I'm angry. I'll have to see if my library has a copy.

May 19, 9:23am Top

I swear more now than I ever used to. I'm going to blame it on age damaging my language center of the brain and making it hard for me to find words now and then. Now I know that I keep swear words in a special pocket of my brain, very easy to access.

May 19, 12:01pm Top

>277 SylviaC: That's sounds like my kind of book. I'm a lot more like your father (and mine) than I am like you and your mother (and mine.) When I was growing up my mother didn't even like to say 'darn.' She said 'drat.' I never heard her use the word 'shit' until I was in my late teens, and even then she was talking about horse poop on the beach. LOL My kids are both like me.

I am intrigued by your daughter's reaction to your audio book. Very interesting indeed.

May 19, 1:06pm Top

>303 MrsLee:

It's probably that you are around all those folks who are buying and selling automobiles.

Edited: May 28, 11:05pm Top

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai. For book club. A children's librarian goes on a road trip with a ten year old boy after he runs away from home. I only read the whole thing so I would be able to discuss it. I expected it to be light and fun, but instead it was rather dreary and depressing. There were several light touches, like the children's book parodies (If you give a librarian a closet, she will probably fill it with junk...). The best parts were the book references, the actors, and the Russian Mafia. Unfortunately, the worst part was the main character, who was not very likeable. Despite learning a lot about herself and her background during the trip, she showed absolutely no growth, and even became more emotionally distant by the end. And the child wasn't much more appealing than she was. While not a complete washout, I was left feeling that there were better ways I could have spent my precious reading time.

May 29, 2:26am Top

>306 SylviaC: I know the feeling well. I am sad to hear it happened to you with this book.

May 29, 12:22pm Top

>306 SylviaC: You feature some really interesting and off-beat stuff in your reading thread. I can't imagine how I hadn't heard of this one before now, because (having investigated a bit further) the topics it covers are clearly related to modern issues in librarianship. (Of course, the fact that you didn't particularly care for it means I may skip it myself.) But again, I think you read some truly eclectic stuff.

Edited: May 30, 8:49am Top

>306 SylviaC: Thank you for this review. The book description sounded like something I'd have been drawn to, but you've saved me from wasting my time. I hope I can return the favour some time!

May 30, 9:26pm Top

>308 jillmwo: I don't want to get stuck in a reading rut! That's partly why I joined the library book club (but it was mainly to try to keep my social skills intact). I also have an insatiable need to know stuff, so that leads to a wide variety of nonfiction.

I was surprised to see that over LT members have The Borrower listed, as I hadn't heard of it either. Looking through the reviews, it seems that opinions are pretty divided. About half the reviewers loved it, and about half didn't care much for it or actively disliked it.

>309 Sakerfalcon: I'm sure you've done the same for me in the past!

May 31, 1:00pm Top

"If you give a librarian a closet, she will probably fill it with junk..."


Jun 2, 6:01pm Top

>306 SylviaC: I am sorry this was not a rewarding read. Thanks for finding out for the rest of us, so that we can avoid it. Wonder if I should create a Nope collection and add The Borrower to it. Ponders.

Jun 3, 4:52pm Top

New thread started at link below.

Group: The Green Dragon

3,797 members

368,013 messages


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