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CBL's Award-Winning Reads in 2017, Part 2

This is a continuation of the topic CBL's Award-Winning Reads in 2017, Part 1.

This topic was continued by CBL's Award-Winning Reads in 2017, Part 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Feb 11, 2:18pm Top

I'm Carrie, and I'm a bookaholic. I've found my support network here in the 75 Books Group. This is my 7th year in the group.

I'm a librarian by day. The rest of the time I'm "mama" to my furbaby, Adrian, a sweet 5-year-old Shih Tzu that I adopted from the Humane Society 3 years ago. I like to read, and Adrian likes to curl up on my lap or in the chair beside me while I read. It works out well for both of us!

I participate in the Category Challenge groups and the annual CATs in that group (Categories And Themes). This year's AwardsCAT will be my top reading priority. I had one of my best reading years the last time this group had an AwardsCAT, and I'm hoping for another stellar year with this year's AwardsCAT. I'm also looking forward to the British Author Challenge and the Nonfiction Challenge. I'll occasionally dip into the American and Canadian Author Challenges.

Historical mysteries are my favorite genre, but my reading is pretty eclectic. My wishlist already includes more books than I can possibly read in my lifetime, and it continues to grow. If this worried me, I wouldn't be here since this group is largely responsible for the exponential growth of my wishlist!

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a picture of Adrian and his friend Stella. They came home from the shelter together and they've been buddies ever since!

Edited: Apr 1, 1:42pm Top

Best of the year:
The Paradise Project by Merilyn Simonds (4.5) - Review
Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (5) - Review
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan (4.5) - Review
Un Dia de Nieve by Ezra Jack Keats (5) - Review

Books Read in January:
1. Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie (4) - completed 1/8/17
2. The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal (4) - completed 1/14/17
3. Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (3) - completed 1/18/17
4. The Not-Quite States of America by Doug Mack (4) - completed 1/22/17
5. Black Robe by Brian Moore (3.5) - completed 1/28/17
6. Gutenberg's Fingerprint by Merilyn Simonds (4) - completed 1/31/17

Books Read in February:
7. The Paradise Project by Merilyn Simonds (4.5) - completed 2/1/17
8. Many Waters (4) by Madeline L'Engle - completed 2/6/17
9. Leave Me Alone! by Vera Bosgol (3.5) - completed 2/7/17
10. Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (5) - completed 2/11/17
11. An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson (4) - completed 2/12/17
12. We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller (4) - completed 2/15/17
13. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (4) - completed 2/18/17
14. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (4) - completed 2/18/17
15. Dark Road Home by Anna Carlisle (3) - completed 2/20/17
16. Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I've Loved by Edward Grinnan (4) - completed 2/25/17
17. A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce (2.5) - completed 2/27/17

Books Read in March
18. Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky (4) - completed 3/1/17
19. New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (2.5) - completed 3/8/17
20. Blue Willow by Doris Gates (4) - completed 3/12/17
21. Lion, King, and Coin by Jeong-hee Nam; illustrated by Lucia Sforza (4) - completed 2/14/17
22. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carre (4) - completed 3/19/17
23. Moon of Israel by H. Rider Haggard (2) - completed 3/23/17
24. Anatomy of a Song by Marc Myers (3) - completed 3/24/17
25. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (4) - completed 3/25/17
26. Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan (4.5) - competed 3/26/17
27. Wolf on a String by Benjamin Black (3.5) - completed 3/31/17
28. Un Dia de Nieve by Ezra Jack Keats (5) - completed 3/31/17

Edited: Mar 31, 11:33pm Top

Books Added in January:

1. Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver (SantaThing gift)
2. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (SantaThing gift)
3. Looking for Strangers: The True Story of My Hidden Wartime Childhood by Dori Katz (free ebook)
4. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle (free ebook)
5. How to Read Genesis by Tremper Longman (purchased ebook)
6. How to Read Exodus by Tremper Longman (purchased ebook)
7. Sun-Maid Raisins and Dried Fruits (free ebook)
8. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman & Andrew Coe (December ER audiobook)

Books Added in February:
9. The Paradise Project by Merilyn Simonds (purchased ebook)
10. Evidence Explained (3rd ed.) by Elizabeth Shown Mills (purchased)
11. Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones (purchased)
12. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs & Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (purchased)
13. New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (January ER book)
14. Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (free ebook)
15. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy (3rd ed.) by Val Greenwood (purchased)
16. Moon of Israel by H. Rider Haggard (free ebook)
17. Played to Death by B. V. Lawson (free ebook)
18. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (free ebook)
19. Blue Willow by Doris Gates (purchased)

Books Added in March
20. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (free ebook)
21. Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman (February ER book)
22. Mama Namibia by Mari Serebrov (March ER book)

Edited: Mar 31, 10:04pm Top

Non-Fiction Challenge

JANUARY - Prize winners/nominees/best books

Evicted by Matthew Desmond
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal - COMPLETED 1/14/17

FEBRUARY - Voyages of exploration
The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

MARCH - Heroes & Villains
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan - COMPLETED 3/26/17

APRIL - Hobbies, pastimes, and passions
Common People: In Pursuit of My Ancestors by Alison Light
In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs edited by Andrew Blauner

Edited: Mar 19, 8:03pm Top

Edited: Feb 11, 2:28pm Top

Canadian Authors Challenge

Anne Michaels - Fugitive Pieces

Edited: Feb 11, 2:29pm Top

I'm slowly reading my way through the Commonweath countries. I'll list books read for my personal Commonwealth challenge here. I hope there will be some.

Edited: Mar 9, 9:35pm Top

I have three other ongoing reading projects that I'll track here.

I'm reading Agatha Christie's books in publication order.
Three Blind Mice and Other Stories - completed 1/8/17

I'm reading books from the Hogarth Shakespeare project. Next up will be New Boy.
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (2.5) - completed 3/8/17

Finally, I read books by or about Jane Austen or books inspired by her novels.

Edited: Feb 11, 2:56pm Top

30 years ago yesterday I lost my beloved grandmother. My brother and I adored her. No matter how busy she was, she always had time to play games with us. We used to play a game we called "creeping in the dark", which was just hide & go seek with the lights out at night. She and my brother used to have rubber band battles. We rode bikes to the town cemetery. She would take us to the park, or to the library. She had a gift for making everyone feel special and loved. I still miss her.

My grandmother was the president of her small Indiana county's library board when they built a new library. I was in middle school at the time, and it's when I first started thinking about librarianship as a career.

I don't have many photographs of her because she was the photographer in the family. Here's one of the rare ones, taken at the homecoming dinner at the town high school. My parents took us to Indiana that year because it was my mother's 25th high school anniversary and they were getting ready to tear down the school, which was no longer in use. I think I was a junior and my brother was a freshman when this photo was taken. My brother was 15, and it was probably within a week or two of my 17th birthday.

Edited: Feb 11, 2:59pm Top

Currently reading:

Feb 11, 2:24pm Top

Happy New thread, Carrie! I just dropped off some tea at your old thread! Take care and feel better soon!

Feb 11, 2:28pm Top

Happy new thread, Carrie!

Feb 11, 2:36pm Top

Happy new thread, Carrie and happy weekend.

Feb 11, 2:45pm Top

Happy New Thread Carrie :)

Feb 11, 3:01pm Top

>12 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda! I'll go get it before it cools off!

>13 harrygbutler: >14 Ameise1: >15 lunacat: Thanks, everyone!

Feb 11, 3:01pm Top

10. Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare
TIOLI #21 - Book by an author I enjoyed in February, 2016

Iago has to be one of the nastiest villains in all of literature. Good, old, Honest Iago. In a matter of hours, he takes a happily married man and a successful general and turns him into a jealous, vengeful caricature of his former self. Iago uses innuendo to sow the seeds of distrust, then sits back to watch what he's set in motion. When it looks like things are straying off course, a gentle nudge from Iago keeps things moving in the direction he's set. I'd love to believe that people like Iago exist only in fiction, but I fear that there are too many Iagos in the halls of power, intent on corrupting any whose nature is too trusting.

5 stars

Feb 11, 3:34pm Top

Happy new one, Carrie! What a lovely tribute to your grandmother.

Feb 11, 4:15pm Top

Happy new thread, Carrie. I'm waiting, patiently, more or less, for my copy of New Boy.

Feb 11, 5:08pm Top

>17 cbl_tn: It's a fantastic story, isn't it?

Feb 11, 5:14pm Top

Happy new thread. What a glam teenager you were...

Feb 11, 6:08pm Top

>18 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. She was special.

>19 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! I hope your copy arrives soon!

>20 Ameise1: Yes, it is fantastic! I already knew the basic story, but no one tells it quite like Shakespeare himself.

>21 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte! That was my favorite outfit, and I wore it for my senior pictures later that summer.

Feb 11, 8:18pm Top

Happy new thread!

Feb 11, 10:22pm Top

>23 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Feb 11, 11:01pm Top

>10 cbl_tn: Nice tribute to your grandmother, Carrie. Love the hairdo she sported back then and her granddaughter must have had the boys a flutter.

Happy new thread. xx

Feb 12, 2:26am Top

Happy new thread, Carrie. What a nice family photo.

Feb 12, 6:50am Top

Happy new thread, Carrie. I love the picture in >10 cbl_tn:, and your memories of your grandmother.

Feb 12, 7:30am Top

>25 PaulCranswick: >26 Familyhistorian: >27 susanj67: Thanks, everyone! What I remember most about the trip is that it's the first time I remember eating rhubarb. We weren't usually in Indiana when the rhubarb was ready to pick so I had missed out on it. My grandmother made a rhubarb cobbler and it seems like that was almost all I ate on that visit. I think my grandmother made a second one just for me when she saw how much I loved it.

Feb 12, 8:19am Top

Happy Valentines Day a little in advance, Carrie! Love the picture of Adrian and Stella! Sorry to hear about your asthma medication issues. So terrible. There is some one here on LT who needs a very necessary medication and she can't afford it. So heart- breaking when that happens. Coverage for medication is not perfect here in Canada, but most about 70% of employers cover most of one's prescriptions - some at 80%, some at 100% coverage. Then we have " fair pharmacare " in my province, which steps in to cover low income situations. Wonderful picture of you in your teen years - very glam as Charlotte says.

Feb 12, 8:36am Top

Feb 12, 11:31am Top

Happy new thread, Carrie! Love the picture up top with your grandmother. Very glamorous.

Feb 12, 11:45am Top

>10 cbl_tn: An excellent tribute to your grandmother, Carrie, and what happy folk in your photo! Thanks for sharing!

Feb 12, 12:05pm Top

Happy new thread Carrie!

>1 cbl_tn: I guess Stella is the black one on the left?
How did they come from the shelter together, as Adrian is with you, where lives Stella?

Feb 12, 12:20pm Top

>29 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah! I have prescription coverage as part of my employer-provided health care plan. However, the insurance company decides what drugs they'll pay for at what level, and what drugs won't be covered. In my case, the insurance company decided that a medicine I've been taking for 3 years will only be covered as step therapy. That means I have to try their preferred drug first. My doctor can appeal this, but it will be a hassle.

Many of the major drug companies participate in a program that helps uninsured or low income individuals with the cost of prescription medicines. I'm required to have an EpiPen when I get allergy shots, and the doctor's office gives me a manufacturer's coupon that covers my insurance co-pay so that I don't have an out-of-pocket cost for this.

>30 DianaNL: Thanks, Diana!

Feb 12, 12:23pm Top

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Feb 12, 12:29pm Top

>31 MickyFine: >32 harrygbutler: Thank you! It was a happy occasion, although I felt a little out of place at my mother's alumni banquet. I look a lot like my mother, so I had to endure lots of comments about how I looked just like my mother when she was in high school!

>33 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! Yes, Stella is on the left. She's a cairn terrier and she doesn't photograph well because she's so black. I have a friend who found Stella at the Humane Society. They weren't able to take her home the day they found her because she needed some kind of treatment before she could be adopted out. She knew I had been looking for a dog, and she saw Adrian while she was there. The day she went to pick up Stella, she called to see if I wanted to go with her and take a look at Adrian. We brought both dogs home in my car. We trade dog sitting, so Stella stays with me when my friends are away and Adrian stays with them when I have to travel. He loves it at their house. Besides Stella, they have cats, a hamster, chickens, llamas, and alpacas.

Here's a photo of Adrian and Stella on adoption day:

Feb 12, 1:55pm Top

>36 cbl_tn: aw, that is a lovely story about the dogs :)
They certainly look keen there!

Feb 12, 2:00pm Top

>36 cbl_tn: Awww, two happy dogs! :-)

Feb 12, 3:29pm Top

Watching a bit of the Lady Vols game!! Haven't watched women's basketball in years, though I used to do so often.

Feb 12, 3:40pm Top

Hi Carrie. I love the photos of Adrian and Stella. My cat Abby is a looker who also doesn't usually photograph well because of so much black. Sometimes I can catch her against the right color background so her tuxedo markings show up.

I'm watching some women's basketball, too -- Arizona and Washington State. We'll be going to the Huskies game later today -- #10 Washington against #23 Arizona State. Go Dawgs!

Othello is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. I'm not sure I've ever read it but I love seeing it on the stage.

Feb 12, 5:15pm Top

>37 Ireadthereforeiam: >38 FAMeulstee: It's a sweet photo, isn't it? My friend took the picture while I was in a store buying some basic dog supplies. I had no idea when I got up that morning that I'd have a dog by afternoon!

>39 lindapanzo: Hi Linda! I'm sorry the Lady Vols didn't pull off the win this afternoon. :-(

>40 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Black coated animals are usually striking in RL but it's so hard to capture that in a photograph. At leas, it is if you're not a professional photographer! Enjoy the basketball game. I hope you'll get to enjoy a win today!

Feb 12, 5:23pm Top

>41 cbl_tn: I hadn't realized that UConn has won so many national titles in a row and has won 99 games in a row. They were really talking up the Conn vs SC game tomorrow. Since my Blackhawks are off all week, I need sports events to watch to fill up my evenings.

Feb 12, 6:07pm Top

>42 lindapanzo: Yes, UConn has been a powerhouse for a long time. They're a 4-letter word for some around here, but I've always respected their coach and their program. When Tennessee isn't playing I usually root for the underdog so I'm often cheering for UConn's opponent.

Feb 12, 6:08pm Top

11. An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson
TIOLI #6 - Author's first name starts with A, B, or C

Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire and his best friend Henry Standing Bear are in South Dakota for two reasons. Henry Standing Bear will be competing in the hill climb race during the annual motorcycle rally. Meanwhile, Walt will be assisting on an investigation into a traffic accident near Hulett that critically injured a motorcyclist. The young gang member may have been deliberately run off the road. In an unexpected complication, the injured man is the son of Lola, namesake of Henry's vintage Thunderbird and, indirectly, Walt's granddaughter. Vic is in Philadelphia helping with the investigation into her brother's (and Walt's son-in-law's) murder, but she later shows up in South Dakota to join Walt and Henry for the rally. Walt will need Vic as backup as what began as an investigation into a simple traffic accident spirals into gangs and conspiracies.

Action fans will love the motorcycle racing, car chases, and gun fights. Once again, I'm amazed at the liberties Walt takes when he's out of his jurisdiction. It stretches the bounds of credibility. My favorite books in the series have lots of Henry and lots of Dog, and this one has both. Vic must be growing on me, because she didn't annoy me in this one. In fact, her attitude is exactly what was called for under the circumstances. Walt has apparently rubbed off on his best friend, because Henry quotes Sherlock Holmes throughout the book. However, Walt gets the last word. He'll have to be satisfied with that instead of a trophy like everyone else got.

4 stars

Feb 13, 4:59pm Top

I noticed on the way to work this morning that the willow tree thinks it's spring already. Apparently groundhogs aren't infallible!

Feb 13, 5:21pm Top

>45 cbl_tn: We've been laughing that maybe the ground hog didn't mean 6 more weeks of winter, he meant 6 more days of winter.

Incredibly, the upcoming Fri-Mon are are supposed to be close to 60 degrees here in Chicagoland. We're lucky if we get one day each winter that warm and we've already had one and maybe 3 or 4 more ahead.

Feb 13, 6:11pm Top

>46 lindapanzo: I have no complaints here! The older I get, the less tolerance I have for cold temperatures. This spring-like weather suits me just fine!

Feb 13, 6:16pm Top

It was so nice out this evening that I took Adrian out for a long walk. Our course took us by the river, where the geese were hanging out.

Feb 13, 6:18pm Top

Yesterday, the man who lives behind me was out in his shorts mowing his yard.

Edited: Feb 13, 8:56pm Top

Beautiful picture, Carrie. You remind me, I meant to watch more of the Longmire; I decided to watch instead of read. I hope that won't get me kicked off of LT!

Feb 13, 9:10pm Top

>49 thornton37814: It was warm enough for shorts yesterday, but it wasn't nice enough to be out yesterday. It was really windy here and it looked like it was going to storm any minute. It never did, but it looked like it all day.

>50 BLBera: The show and the books are different, but the show is great, too! The books will still be there if you ever change your mind.

Feb 13, 9:56pm Top

I forgot to mention that the house got warm enough yesterday that I turned the AC on for a while to cool it down.

Feb 13, 10:24pm Top

What! The AC on ! Wow! That won't happen until May at the earliest for us.

Feb 14, 9:14pm Top

>53 vancouverdeb: Yes, that's very unusual! I switched it back to heat before I went to bed because the temperature dropped into the 30s F overnight. It just wasn't cooling off as fast as I wanted it to!

Feb 15, 7:40pm Top

12. We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller

Who knew that watching grass grow could be so funny? Eight blades of grass discover that they're all growing and that each one is the best at something. The entertaining surface story is a hook for teaching young children about superlatives and about self esteem. The playful language will enchant children and adults alike. Recommended.

4 stars

Feb 16, 2:48pm Top

Carrie, your grandmother looks just like the lady who would've done all those things you described. How lovely to have had her in your life.

Feb 17, 1:58am Top

>55 cbl_tn: aw, how sweet :)

Feb 17, 1:19pm Top

>48 cbl_tn: Lucky Adrian! The only thing that would've made the walk better is Stella. ;)

Feb 17, 6:55pm Top

>56 countrylife: Thanks, Cindy!

>57 Ireadthereforeiam: It's fun book!

>58 cammykitty: I wouldn't have had a hand free to take photos with Stella, though!

I haven't had a chance to post the photo I took on our Wednesday evening walk.

Feb 17, 7:32pm Top

Someone please check the calendar. Is this M@%*&y? I arrived home this evening to find a pond in the kitchen. At first I thought it came from the refrigerator but it seemed to be working OK. Then I noticed water running out of the cupboard under the sink. I was able to get someone over to look at it right away. He determined that the line from the sink to the dishwasher had sprung a leak. I won't be able to use the dishwasher this weekend, but at least the sink works. I have work to do this weekend to get everything out of the way for the workers who will be here on Monday, but at least I've got all weekend to chip away at it. If there's a silver lining, it's that I may end up getting a new kitchen floor out of this. :-)

Feb 18, 9:37am Top

>59 cbl_tn: That's a great view!

>60 cbl_tn: Sorry to hear of your kitchen troubles. If I had my druthers I'd get rid of our dishwasher entirely, put in a big double sink, and go back to washing all the dishes by hand.

Feb 18, 12:21pm Top

>60 cbl_tn: Sorry to hear about your kitchen drama, Carrie. Hope the rest of your weekend is much more low key.

Feb 18, 12:29pm Top

>61 harrygbutler: Thanks! I've spent most of my adult life without a dishwasher so I won't mind doing dishes by hand for a few days. The dishwasher that was here when I moved in was a dishwasher in name only. I had to practically pre-wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I love the dishwasher I bought to replace it. It cleans the dishes well without a need for pre-washing, and it sterilizes them better than sink washing. And it's quiet!

>62 MickyFine: I had a hair appointment this morning and errands after that so I'm just now home to get a start on the housework. I may need to finish my book first.

Feb 18, 12:48pm Top

My copy of New Boy arrived, Carrie! I can't wait, but it will probably be a couple of weeks.

Sorry to hear about your plumbing problems.

Feb 18, 2:50pm Top

Sorry about the kitchen. What kind of new floor will you (possibly) be looking for?

Feb 18, 3:52pm Top

Yikes -- I'm so sorry to hear about your plumbing problems! Awful. We actually had a pipe burst early yesterday morning at school, so we were without water for awhile, and one classroom was unusable (so they camped in the library, which was fun:) . Still, it's a whole different issue when it's your stuff and your house!

I need to look to see if We Are Growing! is on my ordering list. I love Laurie Keller.

Feb 18, 7:51pm Top

I hate plumbing. Ok, I like showers, so maybe I just hate dealing with plumbing. Sorry to hear you have troubles!

Feb 18, 9:55pm Top

>64 BLBera: I'm glad your copy of New Boy arrived! It will probably be a couple of weeks before I get to it, too.

>65 charl08: If they decide to replace it, it will be linoleum. I will get to select from a limited range of choices. Anything will be better than the dingy beige linoleum I've lived with for years. No matter what I do to it, it never looks clean.

>66 AMQS: The leak was bad, but it could have been worse. I'm glad your burst pipe wasn't over the library!

>67 drneutron: I like plumbing as long as I can turn the problem over to someone else! The problem was stabilized within 15-20 minutes of when I discovered it, so that's a good thing!

Feb 18, 9:58pm Top

I actually finished two books today. I had about 80 pages of Someone Knows My Name and finished it this afternoon while waiting on laundry cycles. I finished the audio of Homegoing this evening while I was working in the kitchen. The reviews will have to wait until tomorrow.

Feb 20, 4:31pm Top

Sorry to hear about your kitchen leak but you have to admit that the timing was good if you saw it so soon after it happened.

Feb 20, 8:42pm Top

>70 Familyhistorian: Thanks! Yes, it could have been a lot worse. I am getting new flooring in the kitchen. They've already pulled up the linoleum. I had a choice of linoleum or vinyl planks, and I went with the vinyl planks.

Feb 20, 10:44pm Top

Looking forward to your reviews, and wishing I'd been as productive today. ;)

Feb 21, 12:54pm Top

Hooray for new flooring! Happy Tuesday, Carrie!

Feb 21, 9:14pm Top

>72 cammykitty: I didn't get the reviews written Sunday, and now I'm another review behind. I finished Dark Road Home last night. I have something every night this week so it will likely be this weekend before I get a chance to write reviews.

>73 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! The water line has been replaced and the cupboard below the sink has a new bottom. The floor planks are in my dining room awaiting installation in the kitchen. It looks darker here than it did when I looked at them in the office, but I think it's a close enough match to my cupboards. I'm just thankful it's not linoleum. I've had the same linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom of all three places I've lived here, and I'm more than ready for a change!

Feb 21, 9:23pm Top

Currently reading:

Home by Marilynne Robinson
Anatomy of a Song by Marc Myers (audiobook)

Feb 25, 8:55am Top

Sorry I've been AWOL this week. I had something scheduled each evening Tuesday-Thursday. I didn't read much at all during the week. Last night I read about half of a book Stella's mom wanted me to read, Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I've Loved. She loaned me her old Kindle so I could read it. I'll finish it today so I can return her Kindle at church tomorrow.

On the kitchen front, the dishwasher is again usable, I have a new faucet and a working spray hose for the first time in years. However, the new flooring won't be installed until Monday. :-(

Feb 25, 12:23pm Top

13. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Aminata Diallo was a young girl of about twelve when her African village was attacked and she was sold into slavery. Aminata narrates her life story while living out her final days as a free woman among the abolitionists in London. Her journey to London took her through the indigo plantations of South Carolina, Revolutionary War era New York, a Loyalist settlement in Nova Scotia, and Freetown in Sierra Leone. Aminata somehow survived ordeals that killed many of her homelanders. With survival came the grief and loneliness of separations from everyone she loved.

This powerful novel pulls readers into the horrific experiences and emotions of the millions of Africans caught in the net of the slave trade. However, I was always aware that I had a choice. When Aminata's story got too intense, I could put the book down and pick it up later. I could just stop reading without finishing the book. Aminata and the hundreds of thousands of African slaves she represents didn't get that choice.

4 stars

Feb 25, 4:14pm Top

>77 cbl_tn: I'm planning a trip to Nova Scotia this fall and I'm super excited to visit the site of the Loyalist village referenced in the book. The whole trip is going to involve a lot of history nerd moments.

Feb 25, 4:49pm Top

>78 MickyFine: How exciting! This history nerd is envious! I hope you'll post pictures on your thread.

Feb 25, 4:56pm Top

I am sure you will be glad to have your kitchen back, Carrie. Great review of Someone Knows My Name.

>78 MickyFine: When are you going to Nova Scotia and will you be doing any meet-ups when you are there?

Edited: Feb 25, 7:50pm Top

>79 cbl_tn: There will definitely be a smattering. :)

>80 Familyhistorian: I'll be there for two weeks starting in late September and flying back early October (I'll be home a few days before the start of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend). As of right now, other than seeing some extended family, no meet-ups planned.

Feb 25, 7:34pm Top

>76 cbl_tn: Good luck with getting back to normality, Carrie! A little bit unfair that it is the kitchen that is keeping you from your reading chair.

Have a lovely weekend.

Feb 25, 8:28pm Top

>81 MickyFine: I had to ask because I am contemplating a trip to Nova Scotia this year myself also to see family but thought there could possibly be a meet up in the offing. Unfortunately, my trip will be earlier than yours. I have visited NS many times and even lived there but never visited the area where Aminata would have lived while in NS.

Feb 25, 9:29pm Top

14. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Centuries ago in Africa, two girls were born of the same mother. Their lives took different paths. One girl, Effia, became the African wife of a slave trader. The other girl, Esi, became a slave and traveled the Middle Passage to the American colonies. The descendants of these women carry the story forward in alternating chapters until their lines converge several generations later.

This book is more a collection of linked short stories rather than a conventional novel. Readers will expect suffering in the stories of Esi's descendants who endured first slavery and then Jim Crow. The suffering of Effia's African descendants may come as a surprise, if only because this history is likely less familiar territory to many readers. This is a strong debut for a young author, and it is well-deserving of its accolades.

4 stars

Feb 25, 9:34pm Top

>80 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg! The weekend is a little more of a trial since I'm trying to keep Adrian out of the kitchen. There's no door, and he's used to wandering in there to hunt for goodies I might have dropped on the floor. I'd rather he doesn't ingest any of the exposed adhesive from the old flooring.

>81 MickyFine: I'll look forward to the photos!

>82 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I finished a book today, so my reading rhythm is getting back on track!

>83 Familyhistorian: All this talk about trips to Nova Scotia is making me want to travel there myself! I'll have to be content with the views I'll get on your threads.

Feb 26, 4:14am Top

>85 cbl_tn: It must be hard keeping Adrian out of the kitchen, Carrie. Do you have a baby gate to put across the doorway?

Feb 26, 1:50pm Top

Carrie, I loved your remambrance of your grandmother and the story of Stella and Adrian leaving the shelter together. The pictures were the icing on the cake. Congratulations on getting a new kitchen floor. Too bad about the reason for it and the mess, but I'm sure the end result will be worth it.

I look forward to your comments on Home. Jack was a rascal and a very memorable character. I loved that trilogy!

Feb 27, 1:10am Top

>77 cbl_tn: :(
Tough read.

Feb 27, 8:34am Top

Morning, Carrie! You have been doing some good reading. When will the kitchen floor be finished?

Feb 27, 6:11pm Top

>86 Familyhistorian: I tried the baby gate when I first got Adrian. He's a world-champion climber. :-)

>87 Donna828: Thanks, Donna! I haven't made much progress in Home. I've had too many distractions to get into it. I'm wondering if I should set it aside and try again when I can give it the attention it deserves.

>88 Ireadthereforeiam: Yes, but a good one!

>89 Crazymamie: Evening, Mamie! I was told on Friday that the floor would be done today. It wasn't. :-(

Feb 27, 7:01pm Top

15. Dark Road Home by Anna Carlisle
TIOLI #6 - Author's first name begins with "A"

Gin Sullivan's life changed course the summer before she left for college, the summer her younger sister, Lily, disappeared. Gin did not marry her high school sweetheart, Jake, who maybe knew more than he told about Lily's disappearance. Eventually, she moved to Chicago and became a medical examiner. A couple of decades later, Gin finally gets the call she's both anticipated and dreaded. Lily's body has been found. It's time for Gin to go home to Pennsylvania and confront the past. She owes it to Lily, and to herself.

I have mixed feelings about this first novel. On the positive side, the plot and pacing made it hard to put down. However, some of the plot twists were a little too obvious for a seasoned mystery reader. I think the California author was aiming for a strong sense of place in small town western Pennsylvania, but some of the details were out of place. For instance, I was surprised that a couple of the characters were described as dedicated Padres fans. Readers must be willing to suspend their disbelief that the local coroner/medical examiner would share details of the case with a family member, even if she is a forensic expert. These are minor quibbles. In my experience as a reader, it seems to be much more difficult for authors to improve the dialogue in their novels. Carlisle seems to have an ear for it, and the conversations between her characters seem natural.

The book's subtitle is “A Gin Sullivan Mystery”, suggesting it's the first in a series. I liked this one well enough to be on the lookout for the next book.

3 stars

Feb 27, 7:35pm Top

>90 cbl_tn: I've never seen a dog climb a gate. That I'd like to see!

Feb 27, 7:38pm Top

16. Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I've Loved by Edward Grinnan
TIOLI #19 - Memoir by an author of a different gender than mine

If this memoir about the dogs in this author's life reads like a Guideposts article, it's because the author is Guidepost's editor-in-chief. Golden retriever Millie is central to the memoir, but the author also weaves in stories about all the dogs that preceded her. Grinnan is an alcoholic, and dogs have helped keep him on the road to recovery for several decades. Dogs have also been the glue in his marriage to singer/actress Julee Cruise.

This would be a great book to share with the dog-lovers in your life. In fact, that's how I came to read it. My dog's best friend's “mom” shared it with me. Music fans get the added bonus of references to Cruise's career, such as the two years she toured with the B-52s and her collaboration with David Lynch. Make sure you have a box of tissues on hand while you read. The downside of letting a dog into your life and heart is that a dog's lifespan is much shorter than a human's, and Grinnan has outlived quite a few dogs.

4 stars

Feb 27, 7:40pm Top

>92 Familyhistorian: He was a pretty determined little guy! It didn't take long for me to realize that I can't let him out of my sight!

Feb 27, 8:15pm Top

17. A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce

It's 1910, and Sandor Seymour of Special Branch has been sent to Trieste by the Foreign Office to investigate the disappearance of the British Consul, Lomax. Seymour is a policeman, not a politician, and he feels like a fish out of water in the highly political environment of Trieste. He's undercover as a King's Messenger, so he can't be seen to go about an investigation in the way a policeman would. The more he finds out about Lomax, the more complicated his disappearance begins to seem. Seymour encounters artists, socialists, students, revolutionaries, striking workers, sailors, immigrants, Italians, Austrians, Serbs, Bosnians, Herzegovinians, and the secret police.

The setting and the political climate kept me reading despite some obvious weaknesses. Chronological errors or inconsistencies get under my skin, and this book has some big ones. There's no question that this book is set within four years of the start of the first World War. Seymour's age is never given, but his thoughts are those of a young man. He's still reflecting on his career choice, and his grandfather is still living. He tells another character that his grandfather immigrated in the early 1850s and that he and his father were both born in England. Later in the book, something reminds him of the Ripper case he had been assigned to a few years earlier. Jack the Ripper was active in 1888, so Seymour was either working a cold case or he became a policeman and was assigned to a high profile case while still in his teens. The book's immigrant theme seemed timely given the current political conversations in the U.S. Recommended with reservations.

2.5 stars

Feb 28, 2:57pm Top

February Recap

Physical books owned: 2
Physical books borrowed: 4
Ebooks owned: 2
Ebooks borrowed: 2
Audiobooks borrowed: 1

Best of the month: Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare
Worst of the month: A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce

Feb 28, 3:16pm Top

Planned reads for March:

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
Moon of Israel by H. Rider Haggard
Blue Willow by Doris Gates
Un Dia de Nieve by Ezra Jack Keats
Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John Le Carre
Wolf on a String by Benjamin Black
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

Anatomy of a Song by Marc Myers
A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman & E. Andrew Coe

Edited: Feb 28, 4:57pm Top

>97 cbl_tn: Moon of Israel is an H. Rider Haggard novel I've never read, so I'll be interested in seeing what you think of it, Carrie.

ETA: If I can find my copy, I'll try to fit it into my March reading, too.

Feb 28, 5:27pm Top

>98 harrygbutler: Great! My book club is reading this for our March meeting. We're reading Bible-themed novels this year.

Feb 28, 6:19pm Top

>97 cbl_tn: I just read A Murder Is Announced last week. So good!

Feb 28, 6:51pm Top

>99 cbl_tn: Found it! Is your book club aiming for a chronological spread in the novels, too?

Feb 28, 9:20pm Top

>100 MickyFine: It will be a reread for me so I'll save it for later in the month. I'm really hoping I don't run out of time for it!

>101 harrygbutler: Great! We're trying to find a book for a different book of the Bible each month. Genesis seems to have the most choices. The pickings get slimmer after Exodus, so we'll see what happens. We may have to skip to Samuel or Kings next!

Mar 1, 2:11am Top

>99 cbl_tn: Intrigued by your book club project. Which novels are you reading? (Sorry if I've missed the list). I'd love to read some kind of novelists' versions of Deborah or Ruth: I was disappointed when reading that there was so little about them.

Mar 1, 8:31am Top

Happy Wednesday, Carrie! Hoping that Adrian's teeth cleaning goes well - keeping you both in my thoughts as I know you were nervous.

Mar 1, 9:24am Top

>102 cbl_tn: A neat idea. Yes, I could see how finding a match for some of the books could be challenging!

Mar 1, 10:50am Top

>103 charl08: We read Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle for our February meeting, and we're reading Moon of Israel for March. We haven't picked books beyond the next one, so I'm open for suggestions!

>104 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! The vet's office just called and said that Adrian's cleaning went well. They didn't have to pull any teeth. We'll both be happy about that! I'll have to pick him up between waves of storms this afternoon. We have severe weather rapidly heading this way.

>105 harrygbutler: All suggestions are welcome!

Mar 1, 11:10am Top

So great that he didn't need any teeth pulled. Hoping you can get him and get home before the weather gets too bad.

Mar 1, 1:39pm Top

Mar 1, 6:01pm Top

>107 Crazymamie: Because of the threatening weather, they let me pick Adrian up a little earlier than they normally would have. I was able to get Adrian home before the heavy rain reached us. Stella's mom had cancelled her afternoon plans because of the threatening weather, so Adrian was able to sleep off his "hangover" at her house. She couldn't get him to eat or drink anything. When I brought him home this evening, I managed to get him to lick yogurt off my finger. Eventually I got him to transfer his attention to his bowl, and he licked it clean!

Mar 1, 6:03pm Top

>108 lunacat: Someone else who understands February! March has already started out better, even with Adrian's dental. I came home to a new kitchen floor!

Mar 1, 6:03pm Top

Aw! Looks like he did great with it all. And I'm so happy they let you get him early so you didn't have to deal with that in the storms.

Mar 1, 6:04pm Top

The new floor looks great, and I bet you're so thrilled to be done with the mess.

Mar 1, 6:06pm Top

>112 Crazymamie: I am! Although they didn't clean up after themselves, so I will need to clean the counters and mop the floor this evening. I didn't zoom in close enough for the dirt to show in the photo!

Mar 1, 6:31pm Top

Well, that's annoying.

Mar 1, 6:47pm Top

>114 Crazymamie: I'm just happy it's done! I've cleaned up the stove and mopped the floor. I don't need to cook this evening so I'll save cleaning the countertops for tomorrow night. I'm ready to snuggle with a dog and a book!

Mar 1, 8:33pm Top

18. Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
TIOLI #8 - Rolling MARCH challenge

In this retelling of a Grimms' fairytale, a strange little man saves the miller's daughter's life by spinning a roomful of straw into gold. His price is the promise of the miller's daughter's firstborn. The king marries her, and soon after the birth of their first child, the little man comes to demand his payment. The queen is given just three days to discover the little man's name or lose her child forever.

This is the story my grandmother always told us at bedtime, and any retelling will suffer in comparison with her rendition. However, this story is beautifully illustrated. The rich colors and detail tempt the reader to linger over each page. I think my grandmother would have appreciated the charm of the illustrations, even if her version of the story was better!

4 stars

Mar 2, 2:14am Top

Congrats on the new floor.

Mar 2, 4:33am Top

Carrie, yay for the new floor! And I'm glad Adrian's dental experience went well. I love that picture of him and Stella on their way to their furever homes too :-)

Mar 2, 8:31am Top

Happy Thursday, Carrie! I wish your floor fairies would work on my kitchen floor today. Let them know I'll be out from 10:30 to 12:30. Thank you ;0)

I'm reading Homegoing right now. Your review is fantastic and yes, a well written story!

Mar 2, 8:40am Top

Hooray for dog snuggles and a new kitchen floor! That sounds an excellent start to the month :).

Mar 3, 4:35pm Top

Great looking new floor, Carrie. Congrats to Adrian for getting to keep all his teeth!

Mar 3, 5:10pm Top

Hi, Carrie! Just wanted to let you know that the thread is up for the group read of The Duke's Children - here. Hope to see you there. :)

Poor Adrian! I need to see about getting my cat's teeth cleaned, which is shaping as a financial and logistic nightmare, sigh...

Mar 3, 10:02pm Top

>117 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara! I love it. Adrian isn't so sure about it yet, but maybe he'll warm up to it once the adhesive smell dissipates.

>118 susanj67: Thanks, Susan! Stella's "mom" took that photo while she was in the car with the dogs waiting for me to buy some dog care supplies.

>119 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! Did the floor fairies find you?! I hope you enjoy Homegoing as much as I did!

Mar 3, 10:07pm Top

>120 lunacat: I'm lucky to have such a snuggly dog! He'll snuggle with anybody, but most of the time I'm the only human available. :-)

>121 Familyhistorian: Thanks! Stella lost a couple of her teeth during her cleaning last week. I'm glad Adrian is able to hang onto all of his a little longer.

>122 lyzard: Thanks, Liz! I'm looking forward to it as well as sad to contemplate the end of the series. And my wallet is quite a bit lighter after paying for Adrian's cleaning, even with the 10% discount for dental health month!

Mar 4, 6:40pm Top

>106 cbl_tn: Glad to hear Adrian didn't need teeth pulled. Our oldest cat, Elli, had to get six pulled, but luckily it doesn't seem to have affected her eating at all.

>110 cbl_tn: It looks like they did a good job on the floor.

Mar 4, 7:02pm Top

Your new kitchen floor looks fantastic, Carrie. I'm so glad Adrian came through his dental drama with flying colors. Give him a scritch for me.

Mar 4, 8:01pm Top

>126 rosalita: Done! Adrian says thanks!

Mar 4, 11:49pm Top

>125 harrygbutler: I almost missed you there! When I check in on my iPad sometimes I wait until later to post and I end up missing a few comments along the way. I'm glad that Elli is able to manage with a few missing teeth. I'm sure Adrian would find a way to manage too, but I'm glad we can wait a while to find out.

I'm still enjoying the floor!

Edited: Mar 5, 8:53am Top

Morning, Carrie! Happy Sunday!

Mar 5, 10:00am Top

Great new floor, Carrie.

Have a great Sunday.

Mar 5, 12:16pm Top

>129 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! >130 BLBera: Hi Beth! Sunday is shaping up nicely so far! I hope to finish New Boy this afternoon.

Mar 6, 7:19am Top

>131 cbl_tn: Good to see your weekend was a good one, Carrie. More of the same for the week ahead, I'm sure!

Mar 6, 3:45pm Top

Nice - all shiny and finished - new floor!

>106 cbl_tn: : RE: Matching a novel to a book of the Bible: I recently read a book about Rahab that was much better than I expected - Pearl in the Sand.

Mar 6, 7:02pm Top

>132 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I didn't end up getting much reading in. I think I'm in a bit of a reading slump.

>133 countrylife: Thanks for the recommendation! I will add that to my list of book club choices.

Mar 7, 7:51am Top

Morning, Carrie!

Mar 7, 12:00pm Top

Belated happy new thread Carrie!

Mar 7, 4:13pm Top

>135 Crazymamie: Afternoon, Mamie!

>136 souloftherose: Thanks, Heather!

Mar 8, 5:11pm Top

I'm reading New Boy now, Carrie.

Mar 8, 5:18pm Top

>138 BLBera: Hi Beth! I hope to finish New Boy tonight. It's been a put-downable read for me.

Mar 9, 9:35pm Top

19. New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
TIOLI #7 - Author's first name contains exactly 5 letters

Tracy Chevalier sets her Othello retelling for the Hogarth Shakespeare series in a suburban Washington, D.C. elementary school in the 1970s. It's near the end of the school year, and the sixth graders are looking ahead to junior high. As the son of a diplomat from Ghana, Osei (“O” for short) has experience being the “new boy” in a school. It's happened to him several times. O stands out as the only black student in his new school. Dee is one of the most popular girls in the sixth grade, and she's been assigned to help the new student learn the ropes on his first day of school. While many of the sixth graders (and even a teacher or two) view O through a lens of racism, Dee views O as a potential friend. O and Dee are “going together” by lunchtime, much to the disgust of the class bully, Ian, who schemes to break them up.

Chevalier never sold me on the setting of this story. I went through 6th grade in the 1970s, and my classmates and I were nothing like the 6th graders in this story. 8th grade would have been more plausible. The perspective shifted back and forth among several characters, and I found it difficult to connect with any of them. I could see them, but I couldn't feel them. The conflict seemed like typical adolescent drama, maybe even on the tame side of typical. It didn't seem like the type of conflict to end in tragedy. This is by far the weakest of the four books I've read in this series.

This review is based on an advance reader's copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

2.5 stars

Mar 9, 9:39pm Top

Hello, Carrie!

Mar 9, 10:00pm Top

>141 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Thanks for dropping in!

Mar 9, 11:44pm Top

Ooo, sorry you didn't like New Boy. I hate it when I get an ER book I don't like because I really feel I have to give it a chance, more of a chance than my typical Pearl rule. Is it a YA novel? Typically, if a novel has 6th grade characters it isn intended for a 4th grade audience. That does seem too young if it follows the Shakespeare at all. Not a lot of interest in opposite sex in 6th grade now, and even less in the 70s. Hard to take a jealousy theme serious when we're talking about an age group where that sort of relationship typically doesn't last more than a week.

& btw, Adrian looks sweet!

Mar 10, 12:42am Top

Oh too bad about New Boy. Such a pain to have to read a 2. 5 star book. Poppy is getting extremely fed up with the rain and blustery weather. She is getting very sick of having to wear her rain coat!!!! A bit snarly even. I think it is time for spring. Poppy says hi to Adrian! Today Poppy was out with the dog walker and a pack of her friends, so despite the rain , she came home in a good mood, but sandy like a sandbox! :)

Mar 10, 6:49am Top

>143 cammykitty: As I recall from 6th grade, a few of the girls had started to take an interest in boys, but the boys still thought we had cooties. I think she could have made the story work with 8th graders. There's a lot of difference between 11 and 13.

And Adrian is as sweet as he looks!

>144 vancouverdeb: Adrian sends his regards to Poppy. He understands her feelings about the rain gear. It's a necessary evil. Poppy's dog walker sounds awesome. I'm sure the social time with other dogs is good for her. Adrian would love it.

Mar 10, 12:38pm Top

>140 cbl_tn: Sorry to hear that one didn't work well for you. I'm still planning to read it though just because I find Othello so fascinating.

Mar 10, 6:07pm Top

>146 MickyFine: The reactions to it seem to be all over the place. Hag-Seed is the last one I read in the series, and the next one was bound to suffer in comparison. Of the ones I've read so far, I'd rank them:

The Gap of Time
Vinegar Girl
New Boy

Mar 10, 11:45pm Top

>147 cbl_tn: So far I've only read Hag-Seed and Shylock Is My Name, which were two very different reading experiences. I'm looking forward to trying the rest as they come up in the To Read shuffle.

Mar 11, 2:01pm Top

Hi Carrie! I've seen reviews of New Boy a few times this morning. Somehow I don't think it's for me:)

Mar 11, 2:52pm Top

Hi Carrie - I liked New Boy much more than you did. But I do agree that my favorite two are Hag-Seed and The Gap of Time. This one is the first tragedy; I wonder if those are more difficult to write than the comedies and romances.

Mar 11, 5:07pm Top

>148 MickyFine: I've got to squeeze in Shylock Is My Name soon. How do you manage your TBR shuffle? I prioritize book club reads, group reads, ARCs, and challenge books. Otherwise I have a hard time choosing among so many things I want to read immediately!

>149 AMQS: Hi Anne! You spend more time with tweens than I do, so I would be interested in your take on New Boy if you ever do decide to read it.

>150 BLBera: That's a good point about the tragedy vs. comedy and romance. I think I might have used a sports setting for Othello instead of a 6th grade classroom. Maybe soccer for international appeal, although I'd be tempted to fictionalize O.J. and Nicole Simpson's story. Maybe that would be too obvious.

Mar 11, 5:43pm Top

Actually, there are quite a few essays about the OJ and Nicole connection to Othello. It worked for me, even though it was hard to read. I think there's a movie about basketball, too. I haven't seen it.

I think Macbeth is next; I wonder what that will be like.

Mar 11, 6:01pm Top

>151 cbl_tn: Recently my approach has been to keep a list of TBRs in GoodReads (which numbers them). I then use random.org to generate a random number between 1 and my total number of TBRs and then I read whatever book that number is. It works ok so far. Of course if something else strikes my fancy I'll pick it up as I want.

Mar 11, 9:31pm Top

>151 cbl_tn: I am pretty good at choosing from my huge TBR what to read. I am just not that proficient at actually getting them read!

Have a lovely weekend, Carrie.

Mar 12, 5:08am Top

Happy Sunday, Carrie.

Mar 12, 8:12am Top

>152 BLBera: Isn't Jo Nesbo writing the Macbeth retelling? I'm looking forward to that one!

>153 MickyFine: I like that approach! I think it would work for me if I ever run out of challenges to help me plan my reading.

>154 PaulCranswick: I haven't been very proficient at reading so far this year, either! I've only read one BAC book so far. I have Terry Pratchett's Dodger in audio to listen to soon. I'm not spending as much time in the car now that I don't have a 1 1/2 hour weekly round trip for allergy shots, so that's really cut down on my listening time. (I give myself shots at home every other week now.) I will be reading The Spy Who Came In from the Cold for this month's BAC, probably next weekend.

>155 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara!

Mar 12, 8:16am Top

We didn't get any snow here overnight, but we were on the northern edge of the predicted snow line. It's supposed to be cold all week, so I've got chicken noodle soup in the crock pot for later today. It will make good lunches this week.

Last night I started Blue Willow and I hope to finish it today.

Mar 12, 12:09pm Top

I think Nesbo is doing the Macbeth, Carrie. And I went to the Hogarth website, and it looks like King Lear might be the next one.

Mar 14, 10:40pm Top

>158 BLBera: I'm not as excited about the King Lear retelling since I read A Thousand Acres last year. It will be hard to top Jane Smiley, I think.

Mar 14, 10:41pm Top

20. Blue Willow by Doris Gates
TIOLI #4 - Book by a female author with a female main character

Ten-year-old Janey Larkin, her father, and her stepmother are among the migrants who made their way to California in the wake of the Dust Bowl. The family moves frequently as Janey's father follows the harvests. Janey carries her ideal of home with her in the treasured blue willow plate that belonged to her mother. This move is different, and Janey finds herself longing to stay in this corner of the San Joaquin Valley near the river that looks so much like the scene in the blue willow plate.

I'm sorry that I missed this book during my childhood. I would have loved it if only for the connection to my grandmother's blue willow dishes. Those dishes are one of the strongest memories I have of meals in my grandmother's kitchen. This story could be used as supplemental reading for a unit on the Great Depression and/or the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. However, the book does contain some mild stereotyping of Janey's Mexican American neighbors, the Romeros. Janey also acts out occasionally in a way that would be considered inappropriate by today's standards.

4 stars

Mar 16, 4:22pm Top

Blue Willow was one of my childhood favorites, Carrie. So glad you liked it. Your comments make me feel that my decision not to revisit that one as an adult is a good one.

Hoping that Thursday is being sweet to you.

Mar 16, 9:34pm Top

>161Hi Mamie! I think it's wise to keep your fond memories of Blue Willow intact. Thursday has been good to me, and tomorrow is Friday! And next week is spring break!!

Mar 16, 11:34pm Top

I also remember Blue Willow as a childhood favorite, Carrie.

Mar 19, 8:16am Top

>163 ronincats: Hi Roni! I don't know how I missed such a popular book in my childhood. Better late than never, I guess!

Mar 19, 7:57pm Top

21. Lion, King and Coin by Jeong-hee Nam; illustrated by Lucia Sforza
TIOLI #2 - Book set in a real country other than the U.S., Great Britain, France, or Germany

This children's picture book tells the story of the invention of coins from the perspective of Laos, a young man in a family of goldsmiths. The book seems ideal for use in upper elementary classrooms. Additional features include a brief encyclopedia-like history of the invention of the coin, a map showing the location of Sardis, and a glossary. This book could be used as supplementary reading for math units on money, in social studies units, or even in language arts units on mythology since the story includes the legend of King Midas.

This review is based on an electronic advance reader's copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

4 stars

Mar 19, 8:29pm Top

>160 cbl_tn: Ashamed to say that I had never heard of that book before, Carrie.

Have a great remainder of your Sunday.

Mar 19, 8:43pm Top

22. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John Le Carre
TIOLI #12 - Title word rhymes with "pi"

Alec Leamas is nearing the end of his career with MI5. He's been the head of the Berlin unit for several years, but he's transferred to a desk job in London following the loss of a high-placed source at a Berlin checkpoint. Before he retires, he's offered a last chance to net man at the top of the East German Abteilung, the man who was responsible for the deaths of several agents who had worked under Leamas. It's a long, intricately plotted, life-or-death game.

The plot twists and the building tension make it a page-turner that can be read in a single sitting. It's an ideal airplane book. Unlike in Tom Clancy novels, it's hard to tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys” in Le Carre's novels. It's all shades of gray, with one side looking much like the other. The disillusionment with the intelligence field that characterizes Le Carre's work has a similar feel to the disillusionment about the legal profession in John Grisham's novels. I suspect if I read many of Le Carre's books, they would soon lose their luster just as Grisham's did for me.

4 stars

Edited: Mar 19, 11:17pm Top

Oh, I really loved The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Russia House " back in the day". I remember after my second son was born, I spent 1/2 hour reading in The Russia House each night in the bath. If my husband knocked on the bathroom door with some request, I'd just tell him that I was in Russia. Saved my sanity in those first few weeks of new born craziness.

Mar 20, 7:02am Top

>168 vancouverdeb: Those are the only two Le Carre books I've read, I think! I'm afraid I don't remember much about The Russia House. I decided I preferred Tom Clancy, Jeffrey Archer, and Frederick Forsythe. I gradually stopped reading the genre after the Cold War ended.

Mar 20, 11:18am Top

A very nice review of the Le Carré book, Carrie - I listened to that one earlier this year and really loved it.

Hoping this week is kind to you. Please give Adrian my love.

Mar 20, 9:36pm Top

>170 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! Adrian says hi. His week did not start well with a trip to the groomer. He shakes when I take him in, but he always seems fine when I pick him up. And he looks so handsome!

Mar 24, 7:27am Top

23. Moon of Israel by H. Rider Haggard
TIOLI #1 - Title letters spell an official Scrabble word

H. Rider Haggard imagines the life of a prince of Egypt in the months leading up to the Exodus. Seti, son of Pharaoh Meneptah and his heir apparent, is sympathetic toward the Hebrews. He even falls in love with one of them – Merapi, also known as the Moon of Israel. Their romance is at the heart of the novel.

The story is told in first person by a scribe, Ana, who is Seti's closest confidante. The plot required him to be close to Seti so that he could be present for or otherwise overhear the conversations that advanced the plot. Conversations and events that happened away from Ana's presence are repeated or described in detail in order to convey this information to the reader. These information dumps weigh down the narrative. It's hard to build narrative tension when the informant is describing things that have already happened.

Spoilers ahead

I'm too familiar with the biblical account of the Exodus to suspend my disbelief in Haggard's characters and interpretation. While Moses and Aaron make a brief appearance in the story as unnamed prophets, the Egyptians blame Merapi for the plagues. Merapi is viewed as a princess and perhaps even a prophetess by her fellow Hebrews, and this minimizes Moses and Aaron's leadership roles. Moses spent the first third of his life in Pharaoh's household, yet even the oldest characters in this book don't talk about him or even seem to recognize him. Haggard gives the Hebrews a temple and priests, but in the biblical account the priesthood and tabernacle were introduced in the wilderness after the Israelites had left Egypt.

H. Rider Haggard is mainly remembered as the author of King Solomon's Mines and She. This book is deserving of the obscurity it's fallen into.

2 stars

Mar 24, 7:43am Top

This book is deserving of the obscurity it's fallen into. This made me laugh! Nicely done, Carrie! I have only read King Solomon's Mines by that author.

Hoping your Friday is full of fabulous!

Mar 24, 7:53am Top

>172 cbl_tn: A fair and accurate review, Carrie. I started it and then realized I had in fact read it before, and hadn't particularly liked it, so I put it aside and haven't gone back to it. I'm not sure whether I will. I'm a big fan of the Quatermain stories, and of some of his other work, but this one just isn't very good.

Mar 24, 8:22am Top

>173 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! It's the last day of our spring break and I'm taking the day off today. I'm taking my car to get it serviced and get a couple of recall repairs taken care of. I'll do some grocery shopping later, and also some cleaning to get ready for Monday night's book club meeting at my house. Tomorrow will be a busy day. I have a late morning hair appointment and I'll have to go straight from there to a funeral. A long-time family friend and the minister at my church when I was in high school and college died this week. He and his wife were in college with my parents, and some of my earliest memories involve his family. Our church is providing a meal for the family after the service, which is why I need to buy groceries today.

>174 harrygbutler: I stuck with it since my book club is reading it. I didn't find it entertaining, but it was interesting in the context of my project of reading books inspired by biblical stories.

Edited: Mar 24, 8:29am Top

ooooooo, a 2.5 for Chevalier! Thanks for taking that hit, Carrie!
The latest news of wiretappers and Russians and espionage really have me wanting to read a spy novel. The Spy came in from the cold sounds like it would suit me. I hope I can slip it in soon.

Enjoy your day off!

Mar 24, 8:43am Top

>172 cbl_tn: I'll be sure to skip that one.

Mar 24, 8:56am Top

I am sorry for your loss, Carrie.

Mar 24, 9:59am Top

>176 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! I think you will like The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. And if you went through 6th grade in the 1970s I would advise skipping New Boy.

>177 thornton37814: Good plan!

>178 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. This isn't unexpected, but it's reminding me how much I miss my parents. This man is the only person I've known who had seven bypass surgery. That was nearly 18 years ago, so the last couple of decades have been a gift for his family.

Mar 24, 10:30am Top

>179 cbl_tn: >176 Carmenere: lol, as a matter of fact, I was in the 6th grade in the 70's. '72ish , I think. But now I'm really, really intrigued about The New Boy.

Mar 24, 2:40pm Top

24. Anatomy of a Song by Marc Myers
TIOLI #7 - Author's last name has exactly 5 letters

Marc Myers is a regular music columnist for the Wall Street Journal. The 45 oral history interviews in Anatomy of a Song started as WSJ columns. Myers added new material and new introductions in this anthology, so it's more than a collection of previously published material. The songs are arranged chronologically so cover-to-cover readers will see the development of rock and pop music through its first four decades. However, this collection is better suited for occasional rather than sustained reading. It's the type of book that many readers will prefer to browse, lingering over the stories of familiar songs and skipping those they don't know or don't like.

I listened to the audio version of this book. It's not well-suited for this medium, for reasons just stated. It's easy to skip over a song or two in a print book; it's not so easy to do it in an audiobook if you're doing other things while you're listening. It would have been nice if short audio clips of the songs had been added at the beginning of each piece to remind listeners of songs they might not have heard in a while. Maybe the licensing would have been too complicated to do this. Jonathan Yen's narration will appeal to regular listeners of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 since his voice sounds very similar to Kasem's.

This collection might be a good gift for a hard-to-buy-for friend or relative of a certain age. Other readers may wish to borrow this from a library for guilt-free selective reading.

This review is based on a complimentary audio edition provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

3 stars

Mar 24, 2:41pm Top

>180 Carmenere: Well, it's short, and you may like it better than I did! I was in 6th grade in 1975-76, and my classmates and I weren't much like the 6th graders in this book. 8th grade I could see, but not 6th grade.

Mar 24, 3:14pm Top

I'm glad I had the car serviced today. In addition to the recall work, oil change, and tire rotation I was expecting, I also ended up with new brake pads. I have a road trip coming up soon, and I'm glad I had this taken care of beforehand.

Mar 25, 6:29pm Top

>175 cbl_tn: Seven bypasses is some going, Carrie. Isn't it wonderful that modern science and great doctors have enabled families to enjoy each other and with a better quality of life so much longer. I hope that his passing was peaceful and that his life is celebrated and honoured at his send-off.

Mar 25, 7:23pm Top

>181 cbl_tn: Im not sure I could sit through that one. Do you think the audio could have worked better with the actual songs amongst the words as well?

Mar 25, 8:30pm Top

>184 PaulCranswick: One of his daughters told me today that they consider the last 30 years a gift. The men in his family die of heart disease at 50. He broke that cycle. The service was beautiful, with lots of family members offering eulogies. He was a Korean War veteran, and he had a military burial. It's a very brief but moving ceremony.

>185 Ireadthereforeiam: I think the audio would work better as podcasts, one for each song. It's just not the type of book most people will want to read cover to cover. Only about half of the songs were familiar to me. I really wasn't interested in the songs I didn't know, but I listened to their stories anyway.

Mar 26, 2:54pm Top

Hi Carrie, stopping by to see if you're well and wish you an excellent Sunday. I hope to get more active on LT now that work has slowed down a bit. It's been pretty hectic over here.

Mar 26, 9:00pm Top

>187 MGovers: Hi Monica! It's been pretty busy here, too, and I haven't been on LT as much as usual this year. Maybe things will slow down once the school year ends.

Mar 26, 9:31pm Top

25. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope

While the Duke of Omnium stayed busy with his political career, the management of the children was largely left to his Duchess. After the Duchess's untimely death, the Duke is forced to take a more hands-on interest in his children's lives just as they've reached adulthood. Although he's been a distant father, he loves his children in his own way. He's financially generous to his children, and he's not a strict disciplinarian. It seems he has only one expectation for his children – that they marry well, meaning within the aristocracy. His children's inability or unwillingness to adhere to his standard adds to his grief after his wife's death.

Everyone but the Duke knows from the beginning of the novel how it will end. The novel is a character study with conflict arising from a “generation gap” in the midst of shifting social standards. Trollope was forced to cut a considerable portion of the novel prior to its original publication. Only recently has Trollope's original text been restored for publication. If I had to guess, I'd say that Trollope's cuts were made at the expense of the political portions of the novel. The earlier Palliser novels have more balance between politics and domestic life. Domestic/private life has more emphasis in this novel, and the political developments at the end of the novel come as a surprise.

4 stars

Mar 27, 9:30am Top

>160 cbl_tn: >166 PaulCranswick: I think that different countries have different childhood books. I hadn't heard of Blue Willow until I read your review, Carrie.

I hope that you are well rested after your break and ready to take on the week, Carrie. Any pictures of handsome Adrian after his time at the groomers? Last pictures of him are his reaction to the new floor.

Edited: Mar 27, 2:33pm Top

>189 cbl_tn: - Trollope's books have been on my shelves forever and every time I read something about them, I feel like I need to get started. Any suggestions on the order in which I should read them?
ETA Excellent review btw!

Mar 27, 6:23pm Top

26. Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

Carolyn Jourdan was climbing the ladder as an attorney for a US Senate committee when a call from home changes everything. Her mother had a heart attack, and she needed Carolyn to fill in for her for a few days as the receptionist/office manager of Carolyn's father's medical practice. A few days turned into a few weeks, then a few months, until Carolyn had to make a decision about her future.

Carolyn's father, Dr. Jourdan, was one of a rapidly disappearing breed of rural family medicine practitioners who owned their own practice, made hospital calls, etc. Her father didn't schedule appointments. His patients showed up at his office when they had a medical problem, and they sat in the waiting room until it was their turn. Dr. Jourdan sounded very much like my old family doctor, who ran a similar practice almost within spitting distance. They probably knew each other from local medical association meetings.

I knew this book was special from the first chapter, when the author described her first day of temping for her mother. The first patients that day were three ladies in their 90s. Carolyn thought it would be easier for them if she let them wait in one of the exam rooms instead of the waiting room, so she left them alone in a room with a hydraulic table. It seemed like a good idea at the time...

This book is perfect for readers who like James Herriot's veterinary stories or Patrick Taylor's Irish Country Doctor books. It might also be a good companion read for J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy.

4.5 stars

Mar 27, 6:28pm Top

>190 Familyhistorian: I'll see what I can do about a picture of Adrian. It's hard to get a good picture of him. He doesn't stay still long enough!

>166 PaulCranswick: Sorry I missed you up there, Paul! You must have posted while I was writing my next review. I'd be surprised if very many boys would willingly pick up a book about a little girl and her china plate. :-)

>191 MGovers: Hi Monica! I'd recommend starting with the Barsetshire novels. I didn't love The Warden, but I adored Barchester Towers, and it presumes a knowledge of the events in The Warden. Liz's tutored reads and group read threads are still available, and I'd recommend consulting them as you read.

Mar 28, 11:44am Top

>192 cbl_tn: Unfortunately, my library doesn't have a copy of it. I think I would like it.
Happy Tuesday, Carrie.

Mar 28, 4:04pm Top

>194 Ameise1: That's too bad. It's a great book that will give readers a good idea of what it's like where I live.

Mar 28, 4:47pm Top

>192 cbl_tn: This sounds like fun. I'll add it to the wishlist. I read John Berger a while back about the life of a rural doctor in the sixties- something really compelling about the commitment and the community.

Mar 29, 5:12pm Top

>196 charl08: I hope you're able to find a copy! There are some sad passages in the book, but it's mostly upbeat and humorous.

Mar 30, 7:49am Top

Morning, Carrie!

Mar 30, 8:28am Top

>198 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie! It's a beautiful Thursday!

Mar 30, 10:09am Top

Thumbs up for your reviews of Moon of Israel and Heart in the Right Place. I came close to requested Moon of Israel from my library to share that read. Glad I didn't. Such hit and miss with authors. I loved Haggard's Lysbeth: A Tale of the Dutch.

Mar 31, 9:21am Top

Happy Friday, Carrie.

Mar 31, 6:15pm Top

>200 countrylife: I'm glad I spared you from Moon of Israel! And now I've taken a BB for Lysbeth. I have Dutch ancestry so I'm always on the lookout for books about the Netherlands in the 16th or 17th century.

>201 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! Happy Friday to you! I am glad to be home after an overnight trip to Kentucky for a meeting yesterday afternoon and this morning. My dad's cousin and his wife live within a mile or so of the meeting location so I was able to visit with them for a while after dinner last night. I hadn't seen them since my father's funeral.


At the meeting this morning someone mentioned a graphic novel that sounds like it could be fun. Has anyone read Terms & Conditions? Apparently it's based on the iTunes legal agreement.

Apr 1, 11:48am Top

>193 cbl_tn: - Thanks for the recommendation, Carrie. I've looked into the first few pages of the book and the tutored read-threads by Liz and think they will be very helpful. I don't have the energy nor the time to concentrate on this book right now, but I've downloaded the series on my e-reader for better times to come aka vacation.
I hope you enjoy the weekend!

Apr 1, 1:11pm Top

>203 MGovers: Thanks, Monica! I'll be interested to see how well Trollope works for you when you get to him.

Apr 1, 1:11pm Top

27. Wolf on a String by Benjamin Black
TIOLI #2 - Book set somewhere other than the US, UK, France, or Germany (Bohemia)

No sooner had young German Christian Stern arrived in Prague in November 1599 than he stumbled across the body of a young woman and found himself accused of her murder. Fortunately, he had come to the notice of Emperor Rudolf, so his imprisonment didn't last long. Unfortunately, though, his release had a condition. The Emperor expects Stern to investigate the young woman's death and identify her murderer. Stern's investigation is half-hearted at best. When he's not busy pursuing an affair with the Emperor's mistress, Italian Caterina Sardo, he is fending off the attempts of the Emperor's high steward, Felix Wenzel, and the Emperor's chancellor, Philipp Lang, to force him to take a side in their ongoing power struggle.

Benjamin Black paints a vivid portrait of Prague at the turn of the 17th century. No secret is safe from watching eyes and listening ears. Fictional characters mix seamlessly with historical figures such as Edward Kelley and Johannes Kepler. The murder investigation takes a back seat to the eccentric characters and court intrigues. It will appeal to readers who like historical mysteries that lean toward the thriller end of the spectrum.

This review is based on an electronic advance reading copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

3.5 stars

Apr 1, 1:26pm Top

28. Un Dia de Nieve by Ezra Jack Keats
TIOLI #6 - Title includes the word "day" (dia)

This Caldecott medal winner perfectly captures a child's wonder as he sees the world anew under a blanket of snow. The simplicity of the illustrations and the accompanying text transport me back to my own childhood and the exhiliration of a solitary walk through unbroken snow. The timelessness of this story ensures its appeal to generation after generation of children.

5 stars

Apr 1, 1:41pm Top

March Recap

Physical books owned: 4
Physical books borrowed: 2
Ebooks owned: 2
Ebooks borrowed: 2
Audiobooks owned: 1
ARCs: 3

Best of the month: Un Dia de Nieve by Ezra Jack Keats
Honorable mention: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan
Worst of the month: Moon of Israel by H. Rider Haggard

Apr 1, 1:51pm Top

>192 cbl_tn: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Carrie!

Apr 1, 3:10pm Top

116 cbl_tn

Hello - just getting to this Thread >

if you have time, what was your Grandmother's version of Rumpelstiltskin?

When we were kids, we were so scared that he could be real!

Apr 1, 6:28pm Top

>208 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! I hope you enjoy it when it emerges from the black hole!

>209 m.belljackson: Thanks for dropping in! My grandmother told the story a little differently each time, but it was very similar to Zelinsky's version. When the miller's daughter was guessing names, she'd throw in names like Engelbert Humperdinck. I always enjoyed it when she fell asleep telling the story because she talked in her sleep and the story could take some interesting turns!

This topic was continued by CBL's Award-Winning Reads in 2017, Part 3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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