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Martencat starts to unearth ROOTs in 2017


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Jan 10, 2017, 5:25pm Top


I've just moved into LT and partially unpacked a longish list of books to read.

The plan is to read 12 non-fiction and 12 fiction, which works out at two a month, plus David Copperfield over the whole year. I may manage to read more (given the TBR list is at least double this) but want to give myself time to read some new discoveries too.

If the book is on my bookshelves or Kindle then it counts as a ROOT, even if I only got it for Christmas.

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 1:05pm Top

Books completed

1. Act of Vengeance - Michael Jecks
2. A Foreign Country - Charles Cumming
3. In the Labyrinth of Drakes - Marie Brennan
4. Chasing the Dead - Tim Weaver
5. Tooth and Nail - Ian Rankin
6. Strip Jack - Ian Rankin
7. The Black Book - Ian Rankin
8. Mortal Causes - Ian Rankin
9. Let it Bleed - Ian Rankin
10. Black & Blue - Ian Rankin
11. The Hanging Garden - Ian Rankin
12. Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
13. Set in Darkness - Ian Rankin
14. The Falls - Ian Rankin
15. Resurrection Men - Ian Rankin
16. A Question of Blood - Ian Rankin
17. The Bird of Dawning - John Masefield

1. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings - Caspar Henderson
2. The Silk Roads: a new history of the world - Peter Frankopan
3. The making of the British Landscape - Nicholas Crane
4. The Shepherd's Life - A Tale of the Lake District- James Rebanks
5. Forensics the anatomy of crime - Val McDermid
6. A Natural History of the Hedgerow and ditches, dykes and dry stone walls - John Wright
7. Map of a Nation; A biography of the Ordnance Survey - Rachel Hewitt
8. Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy - Douglas Smith
9. The house by the Lake - Thomas Harding
10. H is for Hawk - Helen MacDonald
11. God's Traitors:Terror and faith in Elizabethan England - Jessie Childs

Jan 10, 2017, 6:15pm Top

Welcome to the group and to LT! Good luck with your goal. Reading David Copperfield over a whole year sounds like a good way to make it manageable.

Jan 10, 2017, 6:30pm Top

Good luck rooting in 2017! I read David Copperfield last year and although it took awhile and I had to re-read several parts, I did enjoy it!

Jan 11, 2017, 3:54am Top

Welcome and good luck with your ROOTing!

Jan 11, 2017, 5:20am Top

Welcome to the ROOTers and good luck.

Jan 11, 2017, 12:27pm Top

Welcome & Happy 2017 ROOTing!

Jan 11, 2017, 4:26pm Top

Welcome! David Copperfield is one of my all-time favourite books. I've reread it several times (although not for many years - I really must get back to it again sometime), and even though I know what's going to happen there's one chapter that I know I have to be on my own for, and absolutely definitely not in public, because it makes me sob every single time! It's a wonderful, wonderful book.

Jan 11, 2017, 5:24pm Top

Everybody thank you for the welcome.

>4 tess_schoolmarm: and >8 Jackie_K: Looking forward to reading David Copperfield, it's been on the "must get around to this list" for far too long. Glad you highly recommend it.

ROOT 1 - Act of Vengeance by Michael Jecks
A modern conspiracy thriller with plenty of action. It takes a long time for all the separate threads to be woven into the story. From a mystery to be solved it becomes a fast paced action drama. Enjoyable but I'm not in a hurry to read another thriller by the author. I've previously enjoyed his historical crime novels.

Jan 12, 2017, 2:25pm Top

>9 martencat: Hurrah, first ROOT down!

Jan 14, 2017, 9:20pm Top

I acquired Hard Times about 3 years ago, one of the few Dickens novels I never read. Sadly, I still haven't read it because the pb edition I have is in very tiny font and I am just not in the mood for my reading of "Hard Times" to be a hard time, too.

Hope you enjoy lots of good books on your way to your 2017 goal!

Jan 30, 2017, 4:40pm Top

ROOT 2 - The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson
The truth is often stranger than fiction. An eclectic A to Z of the amazing variety of the animal kingdom, covering everything from the biology of the animal and it's habitat, how life on earth developed to the state of the environment today, via ancient philosophy, geology, literature, mythology ...

Feb 28, 2017, 5:17pm Top

ROOT 3 - A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
British spy thriller. Every spy and ex-spy has a past, which influences the present and their motivations. The plot moved at a good pace, with plenty of supporting details, that didn't slow the pace.

Feb 28, 2017, 6:33pm Top

>13 martencat: I have that book on my list to read this year. Glad to hear it was a good read for you!

Mar 19, 2017, 5:14pm Top

ROOT 4 - In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The adventures of Lady Trent continue, a fabulous fantastical travelogue of scientific discovery

Mar 19, 2017, 5:28pm Top

ROOT 5 - The Silk Roads: a new history of the world by Peter Frankopan
An interesting attempt to explore the history of the world from a different perspective, mostly how various type of trade and the desire to control the trade and resources have influenced the world. It is a huge topic and I was hoping for a greater focus on the history of the countries on the ancient silk routes from China to the Middle East.

Mar 20, 2017, 7:16am Top

>16 martencat: I've got that on my TBR. Looks like I don't need to hurry to get to it?

Apr 8, 2017, 2:14am Top

Hi MC, just popping in to say Hi to you and see what you are reading.

Apr 12, 2017, 4:29pm Top

I think it depends on why you put the book on the TBR list in the first place. I was hoping for more on the countries on the silk roads rather than a focus on trade patterns and the scramble for resources, even if it is an interesting topic. Any book this large and covering this amount of history will have areas that it covers well and bits that just can't be covered given the size of the topic.

Edited: Apr 13, 2017, 4:50pm Top

ROOT 6 - The making of the British Landscape by Nicholas Crane

Interesting perspective on British history, combining geology, geography, climate change, wildlife and the impact of humans on the landscape. Just as man's early influence on the landscape was slow and low key the book has a slow start before mirroring the rapid changes on the landscape, both in terms of features that could easily be considered natural as well as those that are man-made.

Edited to fix touchstone

Apr 12, 2017, 4:51pm Top

>20 martencat: I just checked the touchstone for that but it seems to be leading to another book of the same title by another author, Francis Pryor. Is it this one? The Making of The British Landscape. Actually they both sound interesting to me!

Apr 12, 2017, 4:56pm Top

ROOT 7 - The Shepherd's Life - A tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks

Tells the story of one man's farm, family and their relationship with the wider community and landscape and how that way of life has both shaped the landscape and been shaped by the landscape. The narrative follows the cycle of the farming year but is also over-layed by the stories of James, his father and grandfather.

Apr 12, 2017, 5:16pm Top

Yes you've managed to find the correct link. Must go back and read the help pages to fix the link.

I've not read that particular Francis Pryor book but given his background as an archeologist as opposed to Nicholas Crane's as a geographer it will have a different perspective. Nicholas Crane refers to a couple more of his books in the bibliography, which I'm not going to look at too closely or I will add yet more books to the "Hmm sounds interesting list"

Apr 12, 2017, 6:07pm Top

>23 martencat: I think the geographer perspective would be of more interest to me too - wishlisted.

Apr 13, 2017, 3:17am Top

>19 martencat: Thanks for that update. Trade patterns fit right in with my current book, so it will be interesting to compare.

Apr 13, 2017, 4:18am Top

My husband has the Francis Pryor book and (I think) liked it when he read it (sorry I can't offer anything more profound than that to add to the discussion!). I'm going to add the Nicholas Crane book to my wishlist.

I also have the James Rebanks book "The Shepherd's Life" on my ereader, I love that sort of book!

Apr 13, 2017, 4:40pm Top

Hope you enjoy both books. Very different in style.

Apr 27, 2017, 5:31pm Top

ROOT 8 - Chasing the Dead - Tim Weaver

An intriguing idea, private missing person investigator is hired by a mother who is convinced she has seen her dead son, however the investigation rapidly derails. As the investigation derails the pace picks up and equally rapidly becomes implausible. Don't think I read the synopsis properly ...

Apr 27, 2017, 5:41pm Top

ROOT 9 - Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin

The third Inspector Rebus sees him off his local patch on the hunt for a serial killer in London. A good read but some of the references show that's an early novel in the series.

Apr 28, 2017, 2:40am Top

>29 martencat: I must have some books by this writer somewhere.

May 9, 2017, 5:39pm Top

>30 connie53: That's probably something that most LT members can say - either I have a copy of that somewhere or I know I have some books by that author somewhere ...

I have quite a few books by Ian Rankin in the TBR list as I bought them when they were on sale.

May 9, 2017, 5:58pm Top

ROOT 10 - Forensics: the Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Partly as a reaction to the dreadful ignorance of forensics in ROOT 8 and visiting a very interesting exhibition on skeletons this book made it to the top of the TBR pile.

Covering a variety of techniques used to solve crimes, not just murders as a reader of Val McDermid's fiction may have expected, each chapter focused on a specialized skill. Lots of case histories, both old and recent, showing the development of techniques and something of what drives the scientists to push to expand their skills and the tools available to solve crimes. The focus of the book on the science but the book also considered what happens when the scientist arrives in court to explain the evidence.

Very interesting.

May 9, 2017, 6:26pm Top

>32 martencat: Ooh, I just borrowed that one from the library! Glad to hear it was interesting.

May 12, 2017, 3:09pm Top

Can't catch up, but will start anew here! Happy reading!

May 13, 2017, 3:07am Top

>30 connie53: So I searched my LT lists. But no Rankin book found!

May 31, 2017, 5:05pm Top

A good month for reading ROOTS but not so good for keeping up with LT postings. Carried on with Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series for roots 11-13.

ROOT 11 - Strip Jack
ROOT 12 - The Black Book
ROOT 13 - Mortal Causes

ROOT 14 - A Natural History of the Hedgerow by John Wright
Beautiful colour photographs mean that I won't be taking this out as a field reference guide. It's not really designed as such but is very informative book covering a little bit of the history of hedges and other field boundaries, and their preservation, threats and maintenance. The largest section of book covers some of species commonly found and in particular the insects and fungi associated with the tree or shrub.

I've also managed some ROOT prevention reading for books purchased this year.

Jun 1, 2017, 2:37am Top

ROOT prevention reading – love that phrase!

Jun 1, 2017, 4:37am Top

I'll keep that ROOT prevention phrase in mind for justification when the lure of the shiny new books is too strong :)

I like the sound of the hedgerow book! Are you a botanist or ecologist by profession?

Jun 1, 2017, 6:39pm Top

ROOTs prevention is very important! Glad to hear you're continuing with Rebus. I have Even Dogs in the Wild out from the library. Always good to catch up with him!

Jun 23, 2017, 1:17pm Top

True ROOT prevention is not acquiring more books before I've read the one's I've already got. I'm not going total up books in versus books read until the end of the year, especially as I don't think I'm actually reducing ROOTs. These were ones that I've not been able to resist because it was on offer.

I have a very desk bound job so it's a wonderful contrast that makes me think I should get outside more.

Jun 23, 2017, 1:26pm Top

Currently continuing on my streak of reading Ian Rankin with another two completed in June.

ROOT 15 - Let it bleed
ROOT 16 - Black and Blue

>39 rabbitprincess: I have another 5 of his books as ROOT's, acquired whilst on special offer. Hopefully, at that point I should be able to borrow the rest from the local library.

Jul 16, 2017, 4:54pm Top

ROOT 17 - Map of a Nation; A biography of the Ordnance Survey - Rachel Hewitt

Very good on the early history of the OS, until the mid-Victorians when the first series of maps was completed. A fascinating cast of characters trace the scientific, cultural and political reasons for creating such an ambitious map and the reasons why it was such a challenge. Disappointingly little on the OS in the twentieth century.

On a bit of a roll with the Inspector Rebus books. Two more completed in the last week

ROOT 18- The Hanging Garden
ROOT 19 - Dead Souls

Jul 17, 2017, 3:33am Top

Great progress towards your goal!

Jul 17, 2017, 5:15am Top

>42 martencat: I do love maps - in my job I had access to OS maps online including historic maps - I especially loved peeling back the layers of a site to see what was there before. It's a pity the book didn't completely live up to your expectations but it sounds interesting nonetheless.

Jul 21, 2017, 3:20pm Top

Hi MC, just stopping by to say Hi. I've been away from LT for some time due to RL things. But now I'm back trying to keep up with threads.

Jul 28, 2017, 6:46pm Top

ROOT 20 Former People: the final days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith

A very different perspective on the early 20th C history of Russia, following the stories of the lives experienced by the numerous members of two prominent families pre and post the revolutions. The book mostly focused on those who remained in Russia. Some lives were turned upside down immediately and others much later, but even in the midst of the terror, cruelty, violence, repression, exile, prison; life continued and moments and months of happiness occurred. The randomness, pettiness, cruelty and vindictiveness of the Bolshevik made for some grim but compelling reading.

Now off to find some books to fill in the gaps in my knowledge about Russian history before the revolution and the start of the cold war ....

Sep 7, 2017, 4:56pm Top

Well I've successfully added 3 books about Russia to the TBR pile and I've started on the first one - Simon Sebag Montefiore's " The Romanovs"

Technically these are all August ROOTS but I'm a bit late on reporting them

ROOT 21 The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding
This was a very different take on 20th C history, rather than tracing the people and the events they experience, Harding traces the story of one very small place near Berlin. Some of the history I knew but some was new and it was a very interesting read.

It was also a good month for reading crime fiction

ROOT 22 Set in Darkness
ROOT 23 The Falls
ROOT 24 Resurrection Men
ROOT 25 A Question of Blood

This is actually all the Ian Rankin books that I own, so I'm off to order the next book in the series from the library.

Sep 8, 2017, 2:34pm Top

I have The House by the Lake on my TBR, looking forward to getting to it at some point!

Dec 5, 2017, 5:33pm Top

I've totally fallen behind in my reading of ROOT's and the potential new new ROOT's are piling up .... I daren't total them up and I'm not sure that I'm going to make much of dent in the pile before the end of the year

But the positive is that I have completed one more ROOT and I have another one on the go

ROOT 26 H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Mixed. Very lyrical whilst on the subject of the countryside and her hawk and her feelings. The potted biography of TH White was distraction

Dec 6, 2017, 3:43am Top

You made your goal and everything beyond is icing on the cake!

Dec 6, 2017, 4:20am Top

Well done on meeting your goal and contributing to the group deficit!

Dec 6, 2017, 8:16am Top

Congrats! H is for Hawk is on my TBR pile.

Dec 7, 2017, 6:21pm Top

Congrats on meeting your goal!

Dec 8, 2017, 1:29am Top

>49 martencat: We all understand those potential ROOTs piling up - more to read next year!

Dec 9, 2017, 4:01am Top

Yes you did it! Go MC!

Dec 19, 2017, 5:39pm Top

ROOT 27 - God's Traitor's: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England by Jessie Childs

Fascinating perspective on the Elizabethan era and a period of religious turmoil. Following the history of one catholic family, the Vaux, based in the midlands, through the reign of Elizabeth and up to the gunpowder plot. The family were prominent recusants and deeply involved in sheltering Jesuit priests and although not directly involved in the gunpowder plot, they were related to several plotters. Interesting social history

Dec 22, 2017, 1:04pm Top

ROOT 28 - The bird of Dawning by John Masefield

A great tale from the age of sail about the annual Tea Clipper race from China to London (think the era of the Cutty Sark). Lots of very descriptive passages, but still a gripping read.

Jan 8, 5:09pm Top

Finished too late in 2017 to update tickers

ROOT 29 - Cold Killing - Luke Delaney

Crime novel with a few twists - but as I'd mistakenly read number two in the series first I knew the answer.


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