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lit_chick's 2017 Reading (2)

This is a continuation of the topic lit_chick's 2017 Reading (1).

This topic was continued by lit_chick's 2017 Reading (3).

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1lit_chick
Edited: Apr 21, 6:55pm Top

All aboard for 2017's literary adventures, everyone!

This is my seventh year with our most articulate 75 Books Challenge group. I do not structure or plan my reading at all. My book choices are made on the fly and in the moment. One might say I like to fly by the seat of my pants. This works for me!

I live in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley with my magnificent three-year-old, jet black, feline rescue, Cairo. My thread toppers this year will feature some of my favourite work by Canada's Group of Seven.



A.Y. Jackson, The Winter Road, Quebec, 1921




April
23. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, Alan Bradley
22. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
21. The Queen's Accomplice, Susan Elia MacNeal

March
20. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë
19. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
18. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
17. Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout

February
16. Lila, Marilynne Robinson
15. Black Seconds, Karin Fossum
14. Home, Marilynne Robinson
13. A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny
12. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante, Susan Elia MacNeal
11. The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, Susan Elia MacNeal

January
10. Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo
9. His Majesty's Hope, Susan Elia MacNeal
8. Princess Elizabeth's Spy, Susan Elia MacNeal
7. Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis Benn
6. The Prime Minister's Secretary, Susan Elia MacNeal
5. He Wants, Alison Moore
4. Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson
3. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett
2. Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
1. Circling the Sun, Paula McLain

2lit_chick
Feb 15, 10:46am Top

Because one never knows when one might need a fainting couch ...

3lit_chick
Edited: Feb 15, 10:50am Top

13.
A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny



Rating: 4/5

“But on the village green itself stood the three tall pines from which the village took its name. Vibrant, straight and strong. Evergreen. Immortal. Pointing to the sky. Daring it to do its worst. Which it planned to do.” (Ch 2)

A Great Reckoning opens in Three Pines to fresh snow, and breakfast of café au laits and almandine croissants at The Bistro. Gamache is reading and coding personnel files. As retirement continues to allude him, he has taken a new post as head of the Sûreté's training academy, and is hell-bent on cleaning up the merde left behind by Chief Superintendent Francoeur. But surprisingly, even as Gamache makes sweeping changes to curriculum and admissions, and dismisses several staff, he keeps on the “most senior and corrupt professor, Serge Leduc” and “the quisling Michel Brébuf.”

Experienced enough not to expect a smooth transition into his new position, Gamache is prepared when he takes up office at the Sûreté's training academy – but not for a murdered professor. Four young cadets who were protégées of the deceased are prime suspects – among them Amelia Choquet, whom Gamache himself recently recruited. Tattooed, pierced, guarded, and angry, Choquet is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up – and yet here she is. Still more odd, discovered with the body is a copy of an intricate, old, orienteering map that had been found stuffed into the walls of The Bistro and presented to Gamache as a gift when he started his new job. The investigation soon turns toward Gamache: to his mysterious relationship with Amelia Choquet, and his possible involvement in the crime.

I’m so delighted that Penny has continued to write her Three Pines series. The characters have become old friends, and the quaint village in Quebec’s Eastern Townships is, I think, a place I’d like to retire! Highly recommended, both A Great Reckoning and the entire series.

"The real criminals, the worst criminals, weren’t found off the beaten path. They were found in our kitchens, at our tables. Unspectacular and always human.” (Ch 34)

4drneutron
Feb 15, 11:09am Top

Happy new thread!

5Crazymamie
Feb 15, 11:14am Top

Happy new one, Nancy!

6PaulCranswick
Feb 15, 11:49am Top

The Winter Road, Quebec looks welcoming Nancy.

Happy new thread. xx

7Berly
Feb 15, 12:57pm Top

Glad to see the couch again! I am just gonna take a little nap there...Happy new one!

8mdoris
Edited: Feb 15, 4:44pm Top

Just love the thread topper Nancy. Group of Seven paintings amaze! I grew up going to a summer camp on the lake where Tom Thomson died, Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ont. and there has always been a special pull for me. I love his paintings too and the A.Y. Jackson topper is beautiful.

9FAMeulstee
Feb 15, 1:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Nancy!
I like the painting at the top, figurative but leaning to abstract painting.

10charl08
Feb 15, 3:09pm Top

Happy new thread. I love that topper painting, a new artist to me.

11BLBera
Feb 15, 3:16pm Top

Happy new thread, Nancy. Love the art at the top. Penny is great, isn't she?

12ctpress
Feb 15, 3:38pm Top

I just love the art painting in the top, Nancy. Great winter-picture.

I've been tempted to start with Gamache and Three Pine - I actually have the first one as an ebook - maybe after I've gone a little further with the few detectives I'm following at the moment :) I'm quite sure I'll like it. Well, if you want to retire there, LOL.

13lit_chick
Feb 15, 4:27pm Top

>4 drneutron:, >5 Crazymamie: Thanks, Jim and Mamie.

>6 PaulCranswick: Glad you like The Winter Road, Paul.

>7 Berly: Make yourself comfortable, Kim!

>8 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. There are so many pieces by our Group of Seven that I just love!

>9 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita, glad you like the painting.

>10 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte.

>11 BLBera: Hi Beth, yes, Louise Penny is wonderful! Have just loved the Three Pines series, and am hoping she writes more!

>12 ctpress: Thanks, Carsten, I think it is a great winter picture, too. Oh, I hope you do start the Three Pines series! So many wonderful characters ... but I know you're following other detectives, too, LOL! Have to keep an eye on all of these detective-types ...

14johnsimpson
Feb 15, 4:41pm Top

Hi Nancy, happy new thread my dear and I just love your thread toppers, sending love and hugs.

15lit_chick
Feb 15, 11:35pm Top

>14 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. Hugs to you and Karen.

16katiekrug
Feb 16, 10:16am Top

Happy new thread, Nancy!

17ChelleBearss
Feb 16, 2:43pm Top

Happy new thread! Glad to see you are still enjoying the Three Pines books!

18thornton37814
Feb 17, 8:22am Top

>3 lit_chick: I'll be reading that one sometime before the new one comes out in August. That's one of the series I'm trying to catch up this year. Almost there since that's the only one left!

19lit_chick
Edited: Feb 17, 10:47am Top

>16 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie.

>17 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. Yes, Three Pines is a great series!

>18 thornton37814: Hi Lori. Oh, joy, I didn't know there was another one coming in August! *runs off to check* ... *I'm back* Having trouble finding anything on book 13 ... do you remember where you read this, Lori?

20nittnut
Feb 17, 8:21pm Top

Oooh. Neat topper! I really must move a trip to Quebec up higher on my list of places to go. I've always wanted to visit there.

>19 lit_chick: I read on her FB page that she's just finished the first draft of the next book or something.

21mdoris
Feb 18, 12:40pm Top

HI Nancy, Yes there are quite a few movies on right now that I want to see. In my new community the "good" ones last only about a week (and the "bad" ones seem to last forever!!!) and then they are gone so I have to act quickly. We are also members of Film Circuit which has movies every 2 weeks on a Sunday at the local (only) theatre. Wondering if your community has Film Circuit. I will investigate as you might like them.

22mdoris
Edited: Feb 18, 4:32pm Top

I see you are currently reading Home by Marilynne Robinson. Hope you like it as much as I did. Hope you're having a great weekend. Rainy and overcast here but the snow is disappearing and I have some hellebores blooming and snowdrops too.

23lit_chick
Feb 19, 12:02am Top

>20 nittnut: Hi Jenn, Quebec, what I've seen of it, is very beautiful. Woohoo! Thanks for the info on Penny's FB Page ... sounds like Three Pines will continue!

>21 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Not sure if we have Film Circuit, but I know our smaller theater, the Towne, has special film nights/presentations all the time.

>22 mdoris: I'm liking Home, though admittedly Robinson is not a favourite with me. I wish I could say otherwise. I know Carsten loved this trilogy, too. Oh, well, I always say it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things all of the time.

24mdoris
Edited: Feb 19, 1:43am Top

Have you read Lila by Marilynne Robinson? I think it was my favourite. I have tried her non fiction and it was pretty dense for me. Agreed, all of our differences makes the world go round!

25AMQS
Feb 19, 2:12am Top

Hi Nancy, and happy new thread! Ooh, Quebec is so beautiful, though I admit I haven't explored past Quebec City and Montreal. We want to do a longer trip next time so we can get out into the countryside and onto the rivers.

26lit_chick
Feb 19, 12:01pm Top

>24 mdoris: Not yet, Mary. I've listed to Gilead, which I didn't care for; am enjoying Home more. Will listen to Lila next ... unless my Maggie Hope audiobook comes in at the library : ).

>25 AMQS: Well, you've hit two of the best highlights of Quebec, Anne! I've not travelled widely in that province either, although we skied there for years when I was growing up in the East. Mont Tremblant is a world class resort.

27lauralkeet
Feb 19, 8:49pm Top

Hi Nancy! I'm returning to LT after a week of mostly-disconnected vacation. No way can I catch up on all threads, so I'm just going to start fresh from here.

* waves *

28HelenBaker
Feb 20, 1:45am Top

>24 mdoris:. I loved Home but found Gilead disappointing. Lila is on my TBR shelves so must get to it soon.

29lit_chick
Feb 20, 10:41am Top

14.
Home, Marilynne Robinson



Rating: 4/5

2008, MacMillian Audio, Read by Maggi-Meg Reed

Home takes place concurrently and in the same locale as its predecessor, Gilead – but this time we visit the household of the Reverend Robert Broughton, Ames’ closest friend. Glory Broughton, the Reverend’s eldest daughter at 38, has returned home to care for her dying father. And soon Jack, the long-lost prodigal son of the family, gone for two decades, comes home too – looking for refuge and attempting to make peace with his past, scarred with torment.

Jack is an alcoholic – a bad boy from childhood – who cannot hold a job. Thought he is his father’s most beloved child, their relationship is a most uneasy one: Jack ever at odds with his traditionalist father. He does form a moving bond with Glory while the two care for the aging patriarch – but she is unable to help him in any real way – in spite of his pleas that she help him stay sober.

Admittedly, Marilynne Robinson is not one of my favourite authors, but there is no doubt she can write! These are richly developed characters, particularly Jack, who is unforgettable. I disagree with the publisher’s summary in part: Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. I did not find much evidence of healing in the novel, save for perhaps the last quarter of it. But certainly family secrets abound, and it a moving read about love, death, and faith. Recommended.

30thornton37814
Edited: Feb 20, 7:28pm Top

>19 lit_chick: That's just her normal publishing schedule -- late August, usually the last Tuesday (since that seems to be the day publishers pick for them to release them). I just assumed hers would be out then. Although it looks like the last one came out in July. I guess it's just that we usually order in August which means it is delayed until September because of when tuition money comes in and the annual lease agreement is paid.

31ctpress
Feb 20, 7:33pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Home more than Gilead, Nancy - I have a feeling Lila might be even a better read for you - we'll see :) - I liked the audiobook version for that one - and you can then see the other side of Gilead - I need to get to the middle "Home" in the trilogy - a moving read about love, death, and faith - yes, that I expect and look forward too.

32lit_chick
Feb 20, 8:30pm Top

>30 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori, will be watching for the one! Must have more Three Pines.

>31 ctpress: Hi Carsten, I didn't realize you had not already read Home. Yes, you will very much enjoy it, I think! I don't think I'll forget Jack, not ever.

33mdoris
Feb 20, 10:06pm Top

Nancy, very glad that you liked Home. It is very interesting for me that she views different pieces of the puzzle.

34LizzieD
Feb 20, 11:20pm Top

Hi, Nancy! I'm one who loves Robinson on the strength of Gilead. She's another I must get back to. On the other hand, I've never been able to persuade myself to pick up *3 Pines #4*. I have a copy, so theoretically I'll get to it someday. As you say, our differences keep us interested.

35ctpress
Feb 21, 2:26am Top

No, I still need to read "Home" - I've read Gilead and Lila, both five star reads - so let's see if it's three for three :)

36SandDune
Feb 21, 2:45am Top

>29 lit_chick: I must get around to Home. We read Gilead for my RL Book Group last year and I loved it ( although I have to admit I was the only one who did).

37PaulCranswick
Edited: Feb 21, 8:39am Top

I must read Robinson's books soon. Doesn't Mark have her for the AAC this year?

ETA She is not included this year.

38lit_chick
Feb 21, 10:35am Top

>34 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, so many readers I follow here on LT adored Gilead. I wanted to be one of them, but didn't turn out that way. I may reread it again one day.

>35 ctpress: Carsten, I'm not a betting woman, but I'm thinking it's very possible you'll go three for three : ).

>36 SandDune: Hi Rhian, sounds like I had some company in not loving Gilead. As I said to Peggy above, I may read it again one day.

>37 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, you've answered your own question, LOL! Good thing, because I had no idea ...

39mdoris
Feb 21, 11:50am Top

Hi Nancy, Just thumbed your review!
Many years ago I suggested both Gilead and Home for my RL bookclub. People could choose one or the other as they shared the same story. It was sort of a bomb. I think maybe I was the only one "totally in LOVE" with them. So.... back to my corner. Funny that! But it is wonderful for me to read the responses and LOVE by others on your thread.

40Ireadthereforeiam
Feb 21, 3:12pm Top

I found Gilead a quiet, calm and subtle read. Not too heavy not the old plot, but a very rewarding read. In fact, I kinda loved it. I have yet to pick up anything else of hers though.

41charl08
Feb 21, 3:20pm Top

I wasn't so keen on either Gilead or Home, but loved Lila. I think it was the religious themes, just had enough of that as a kid, thanks. But I agree she writes beautifully, and seeing how much Obama liked her work makes me want to go back. Maybe...

42lit_chick
Feb 21, 4:18pm Top

>39 mdoris: Hi Mary, sounds like your RL book club experience with Gilead was similar to Rhian's. Interesting.

>40 Ireadthereforeiam: Glad you loved it, Megan! You're in good company with so many LT others.

>41 charl08: Robinson does indeed write beautifully, Charlotte. She's not really my thing, but I don't think her talent can be disputed!

43Ireadthereforeiam
Feb 24, 4:10am Top

My copy of The Light Between Oceans arrived at the library, so I have to read it now! (it costs $3 just to reserve it, as they bring it in from another library). I hope it isn't too light/fluffy.

44BLBera
Feb 24, 10:45am Top

Great comments on Home, Nancy. As usual.

45lit_chick
Feb 24, 11:50am Top

>43 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan, I hope you enjoy The Light Between Oceans. It was a 4* read for me, but I appreciate that we're all different. Surprised you have to pay to reserve books. There are probably 20 branches within Okanagan Regional Library, which is my branch, and books are transported all the time at no charge. I should say no additional charge because some of our tax dollars support our library, of course.

>44 BLBera: Thanks, Beth : ).

46johnsimpson
Feb 24, 4:05pm Top

Hi Nancy, hope you are having a really nice Friday my dear and wish you a very nice, relaxing weekend, sending love and hugs.

47lit_chick
Feb 24, 8:45pm Top

>46 johnsimpson: Thank you, John, and love back to you and Karen. Have a lovely weekend.

48nittnut
Edited: Feb 24, 9:20pm Top

>29 lit_chick: Great review of Home. I have that one in the queue. I read and loved Gilead a couple of years ago.

49lit_chick
Feb 25, 8:53pm Top

>48 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn. I didn't care for Gilead, but I enjoyed Home and am presently listening to Lila, which IMO, is the best of the three.

50lit_chick
Feb 25, 8:54pm Top

15.
Black Seconds, Karin Fossum



Rating: 4/5

“But now the wall clock in Helga Joner’s house was approaching 7 p.m. and Ida had still not come home. Helga experienced the first prickling of fear. And later that sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that made her stand by the window from which she would see Ida appear on her yellow bicycle any second now ... But Ida did not come.” (Ch 1)

Nine-year-old Ida Joner vanishes, seemingly into thin air, after setting off on her brand new bike one afternoon to buy candy. The police are called in, and hundreds of volunteers comb the neighbourhood and surround area – nothing. Helga, Ida’s mother, reaches her breaking point, and other close relatives follow suit. Sejer struggles to remain reassuring. He knows that when missing children are not found within 48 hours, the result is most often tragic.

Fossum introduces several suspect characters: Willy Otherhals, an auto body tech, well known to police; Emil Johanes, a mentally challenged neighbourhood man; Tomme Skarre, Ida’s first cousin, who is keeping company with Otherhals and behaving furtively around family. But Sejer has precious little to go on. Finally, as the search is called off, he discovers letters that Ida has exchanged with a pen pal in Hamburg – which just might hold a lead. And, at last, the story begins to unravel. Still, even as the case is seemingly solved, something still does not sit right with Sejer: “They considered the case closed. Sejer did not.” (Ch 28)

Black Seconds is a well-written, intriguingly layered mystery. I love that Fossum keeps Sejer so personal. Here, I was taken, again, with Kollberg, his faithful dog – struggling now with old age, but still a part of Sejer’s routine every evening. Novel and series highly recommended.

51Donna828
Feb 25, 9:24pm Top

Such interesting comments on the Marilynne Robinson books here, Nancy. I'm encouraged that you may give Gilead another chance. I loved all three of the books in different ways and will probably read them back-to-back someday. I found it strange that most of the church ladies I read Gilead with didn't care for it. Oh well, like you say, we can't all like the same things.

52Berly
Feb 25, 9:31pm Top

I am much ore in the mood for Black Seconds than Home right now. Great reviews on both of them!

53lit_chick
Edited: Feb 26, 11:49am Top

Apologies to Laura and Helen, whose comments above I missed:

>27 lauralkeet: Laura, so delighted your vacation was rejuvenating. Must explore the Windstar!

>28 HelenBaker: Helen, my experience was the same: enjoyed Home but found Gilead disappointing.
_______________

>51 Donna828: Hi Donna, I'm also enjoying the Marilynne Robinson conversation. Presently listening to Lila, and, as I said to Jenn above, I think is the best of the three!

>52 Berly: Hi Kim, I love my Scandi-crime, too!

54PaulCranswick
Feb 26, 6:31am Top

>50 lit_chick: Karin Fossum would appear on any top ten list of authors Hani prepared, Nancy so she'll be pleased with your 4 star review.

Have a lovely weekend.

55lauralkeet
Feb 26, 6:55am Top

>50 lit_chick: Black Seconds is next up in my Fossum reading, Nancy. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it so much. I, too, like the personal view of Inspector Sejer. Kollberg was aging in the previous book, too, and it was very touching to see the bond between them.

>53 lit_chick: no apology necessary!

56lit_chick
Feb 26, 11:53am Top

>54 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, apparently Hani has excellent taste in her Scandi-crime : ).

>55 lauralkeet: Hi Laura, for me, the bond between a person and his/her pet is so personal and touching. Sejer and Kollberg fit the bill perfectly on that account. Will look forward to your thoughts on Black Seconds.

57BLBera
Feb 26, 5:30pm Top

I need to pick up Fossum again, Nancy. I think I read the first two.

58lkernagh
Feb 26, 6:49pm Top

Stopping by a few threads to try and get caugt up. I see you have been busy reading and have made a note of Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool. I loved Empire Falls and found the biography of sorts that he wrote for his mom was excellent.... and I cannot remember the title for that one.

..... Oh wait... it was Elsewhere. The memory does work on a Sunday. ;-)

Happy new thread!

So glad to see the positive rating for Home. What a richly textured story of ordinary life! I was not a fan of Lila.... It shows very poorly after reading Home. Just saying in case you are thinking of reading that one.

>50 lit_chick: - I just donated my copy of Black Seconds to a LTL in my neighborhood, because I realized that I haven't read any of the books in the series and really wasn't up to tackling the previous books just to get to the one I owned. Such is life.

Happy Sunday, Nancy.

59lit_chick
Feb 26, 7:40pm Top

>57 BLBera: Hi Beth, Laura has been reading Fossum recently too, which prompted me to get back to her. I thoroughly enjoy my Scandi-crime.

>58 lkernagh: Hi Lori, happy Sunday! Good to have another Russo fan on board.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed Robinson's Home. You are spot on with What a richly textured story of ordinary life! We differ where Lila is concerned. I am listening to that one right now and thoroughly enjoying. That said, in terms of great literary characters, I think I prefer Jack to Lila.

I expect someone will very much appreciate the copy of the Black Seconds you donated to an LTL in your neighborhood. Fossum is a fine crime writer.

60ctpress
Feb 28, 2:19am Top

Black Seconds sounds so good, Nancy. I have several "Sejer" novels as audiobook at my local library waiting for me, whenever I decide to go along with this Scandi-Crime.

61lit_chick
Feb 28, 10:06am Top

>60 ctpress: Oh, I like the sound of listening to Fossum's Sejer on audiobook. With the right narrator, these would be excellent, I think!

62lit_chick
Edited: Mar 5, 1:23pm Top

16.
Lila, Marilynne Robinson



Rating: 4/5

2014, MacMillian Audio, Read by Maggie Hoffman

Set in the small Iowa town, and revisiting the familiar characters of Gilead and Home before it, Lila is a moving conclusion to Robinson’s trilogy.

Abandoned as a toddler, Lila is rescued by Doll, a wily drifter – and the two share a hardscrabble existence made bearable by mutual affection. Illiterate and on the run, they life hand-to-mouth, with nothing to their names but a rough blade for protection. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she steps into the town’s small church, seeking shelter from the weather. A romance is ignited between her and Reverend John Ames, which will completely reshape both of their lives. As the two begin a new existence, Lila struggles to reconcile the hardships of her past life with the gentle Christian life she now shares with her husband.

I think both the strength, and perhaps the weakness, of Lila, is the absolute oddity of the marriage between Lila and Ames. Robinson manages the mystery of their existence expertly, but I found the pairing so odd that it almost defied believability. While I personally did not care for Gilead, certainly Jack Boughton and Lila Ames are characters I won’t soon forget. Both Lila and the Gilead trilogy is recommended.

63vancouverdeb
Mar 1, 6:02pm Top

Oh, you are a trial, Nancy! Your Lila review leads to The Colour Purple! How am I to thumb your review? I've been peeking onto your thread even in my absence. I really hope to be back this evening. Just off with the dog. Just got busy with RL - nothing too exciting - just " the kids " stopping by and William and Serenade off to Iceland , Copenhagen , and Amsterdam over Spring Break and going over their itinerary - and they plan to put their condo up for sale and purchase a townhouse . At one time I thought maybe Dave and I might like to move into their condo - it is right in Steveston Village, but we are not ready to downsize as yet. ( if ever! ) Did some de- junking :) And got a fit bit charge that I set up all by myself! What's next? I take over the computing world?
I travel vicariously via my kids . You are going to warmer climes over Spring Break?

Black Seconds is a fabulous read!

64Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 2, 1:52am Top

>45 lit_chick: well, I gave The Light Between Oceans a 4* rating too! I loved reading it but the way the book is structured to cover entire lives, means that for me that level of detail is missing. It was a crazy ride to read though, I powered through it!

65lit_chick
Mar 2, 10:50am Top

>63 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, those touchstones, gah! It's fixed, but you're right they are a trial, LOL! Woohoo! You are getting very tech savvy, my friend, buying a setting up a FitBit Charge on your own. That's a lovely holiday William and Serenade (just love her name!) have planned or spring break. They are doing so well for themselves, selling their condo now to move up to a townhouse; it must make you very proud! I am not going to sunnier climes this year, but am going to Halifax for a week to visit my sister, Kim : ).

>64 Ireadthereforeiam: Oh, that's excellent, Megan! I do understand your point about the book structured to cover their entire lives ... and it's not a door stopper, so, yes, there needs to be some detail foregone.

66AMQS
Mar 2, 11:42pm Top

Oh, Nancy, great reading here as always! I loved Gilead, but have never read anything else by Ms. Robinson.

Happy almost weekend!

67lit_chick
Mar 3, 11:52am Top

>66 AMQS: Thanks, Anne, and happy weekend to you, too. It was an absolutely crazy week at work, so I am particularly happy this weekend to take a load off, LOL.

68mdoris
Mar 3, 11:41pm Top

So wonderful Nancy to have plans for a March break to Halifax. Wishing you happy/smooth travels.

69raidergirl3
Mar 3, 11:56pm Top

I love getting to Halifax to visit my sister! Have fun! If you get a chance, you should go see the Halifax library.

70sibyx
Mar 4, 10:06am Top

Here's hoping for good weather for your trip to Halifax!

71lit_chick
Mar 4, 11:18am Top

>68 mdoris: Thanks, Mary.

>69 raidergirl3: I'll keep that in mind, Elizabeth. My sister lives in the Annapolis Valley, not in Halifax, but I think we'll do an overnight there for some city-fun ... and also because the flights travelling to western Canada always leave Halifax at o-dark-thirty in the morning; and we won't have the 1.5 drive to the airport.

>70 sibyx: Thanks, Lucy.

72BLBera
Mar 4, 11:21am Top

Wonderful comments on Lila, Nancy. You make me want to pick up the book today.

73SandDune
Mar 4, 11:41am Top

>71 lit_chick: We went to Annapolis Royal back in 2008 and really loved it. Is that Annapolis valley? We only stayed two nights, but we all wished that we'd stayed longer. Had one of the best breakfasts ever!

74Berly
Mar 4, 12:39pm Top

75alcottacre
Edited: Mar 4, 12:48pm Top

Just jumping in to say "Hello"," Nancy!

I need to get Lila read. I think I own it! Finding it might be problematic though :)

76nittnut
Mar 4, 3:45pm Top

Hi Nancy! I hope your weekend is going well. Good to hear you liked Lila better than Gilead. I look forward to finishing the series.

77Familyhistorian
Mar 5, 1:49am Top

>71 lit_chick: The Annapolis Valley? Which place? I went to Acadia University which is in Wolfville so know a little bit about the Annapolis Valley - well at least, as it was way back when.

78lit_chick
Mar 5, 1:33pm Top

>72 BLBera: Thanks, Beth, I think you will enjoy.

>73 SandDune: Hi Rhian, yes, Annapolis Royal is one town within the Annapolis Valley, but there are several others, shown below. So glad you loved it! It is another lovely part of Canada.



>74 Berly: Thanks, Kim.

>75 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, make me smile: I always remember you referring to the black hole.

>76 nittnut: Hi Jenn, happy weekend.

>77 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, my sister lives in Greenwood. You're certainly in the "neighbourhood" in Wolfville.

79Familyhistorian
Mar 5, 2:34pm Top

>78 lit_chick: Greenwood - that is bringing back a ghost of a memory. Is there a military base there?

80lit_chick
Mar 5, 2:44pm Top

>79 Familyhistorian: Yes, my brother-in-law is military.

81lit_chick
Edited: Mar 5, 3:57pm Top

17.
My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout



Rating: 2.5/5

2016, Random House Audio, Read by Kimberly Farr

Publisher’s Summary: adapted from Audible.com
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

My Review:
So, I read and loved both The Burgess Boys and Olive Kitteridge, but Lucy Barton was not at all to my taste. I found nothing tender here between mother/daughter – not even the beginnings of anything tender. What I found was the continuance into adulthood of a dysfunctional, imbalanced relationship, which started early in childhood. Lucy Barton lived her first twelve years in a filthy garage, fettered by poverty and abuse. While it is possible her mother’s attempt to reconnect with her comes from a place of love, she simply lacks the skills to discuss their past for what it was: so instead, she gossips about past neighbours whose marriages have failed.

I do not recommend, but readers interested in Lucy Barton will find many that have.

82Berly
Mar 5, 3:38pm Top

Nancy--Well, I loved Olive Kitteridge, want to read The Burgess Boys and think I might pass of this one. Thanks for backing up my gut feeling. : )

83lauralkeet
Mar 5, 5:48pm Top

Sorry Lucy Barton didn't work for you, Nancy, I hope your next read is more satisfying!

84lit_chick
Mar 5, 9:57pm Top

>82 Berly: Kim, I hope you enjoy The Burgess Boys as much as I did.

>83 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura, I do too!

85mdoris
Edited: Mar 6, 1:28pm Top

Nancy, interesting your reaction to My Name is Lucy Barton. I loved Olive Kitteridge (maybe it was her feistiness I loved) and have read her subsequent books. I struggled with The Burgess Boys because of the unbalanced horrible brother relationships, the meanness, but I really enjoyed the Lucy book!

Something in books must strike a deep chord for us that creates such a personal response. Look forward to your next reviews!

86AMQS
Mar 6, 12:10am Top

Sorry you didn't love My Name is Lucy Barton. I've not ever read her books, though I've had Olive Kitteridge on my pile forever. Hope your next read is amazing!

Have a great week!

87PaulCranswick
Mar 6, 7:40am Top

I didn't love Lucy Barton either, Nancy. Competent wheel spinners but not inspired.

88lit_chick
Mar 6, 10:21am Top

>85 mdoris: Mary, you are spot-on: Something in books must strike a deep chord for us that creates such a personal response. Such was the case with Lucy Barton for me.

>86 AMQS: Thanks, Anne. Having loved The Burgess Boys and Olive Kitteridge, I was really disappointed in this one.

>87 PaulCranswick: Exactly, Paul, well said: Competent wheel spinners but not inspired.

89ChelleBearss
Mar 6, 10:57am Top

I seem to have missed when you are going to be visiting Nova Scotia?
Annapolis Valley is lovely, especially in spring when all the apple orchards along the highway are in bloom! We lived just outside of Berwick, which is only about an hour or less from Annapolis Royal

90Donna828
Mar 6, 11:09am Top

Hi Nancy. We are like-minded on your last reads. I also found the pairing between John Ames and Lila extremely odd and missed the tenderness in the mother-daughter relationship in Lucy Barton. Enjoy the spring holiday. Take pictures!

91ctpress
Mar 6, 12:05pm Top

I don't know if I should say I'm glad you didn't like My Name is Lucy Barton - but I'm one of the few who didn't like it either - and for the very reason you stated, the lack of warmth or any tenderness in the relationship and it left me quite depressed.

92ctpress
Mar 6, 12:06pm Top

So I've set up a group-read thread of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - hope you enjoy the book so far, Nancy.

https://www.librarything.com/topic/250589

93lit_chick
Mar 6, 4:27pm Top

>89 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle, visiting my sister during March break. She knows Berwick well. March weather is extremely unreliable, but we'll see what we get. I love to walk at Blomidon, if the weather permits.

>90 Donna828: Thanks, Donna, great minds! Weather permitting, will try for some pictures.

>91 ctpress: Hi Carsten, I actually reread your review of Lucy Barton a couple of days ago. Like I said to Donna: great minds.

>92 ctpress: Thank you for setting us up for GR of The Tenant! Have just been to visit.

94vancouverdeb
Mar 6, 5:50pm Top

Great minds and all that! What! :) I gave Lucy Barton 4. 5 stars and you can read my review, if you can dig it up. There were a couple of quotes that I found that resonated with me - I thought of Lucy and her mother as people who loved one another deeply, but were too damaged to be able to express it.

>85 mdoris: Something in books must strike a deep chord for us that creates such a personal response. Look forward to your next reviews!

As Mary mentioned. So true. Like Anne, I've yet to read anything else by Elizabeth Strout , though I have it in mind.

95lit_chick
Mar 6, 7:54pm Top

>94 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, we had different experiences with Lucy Barton, but I certainly agree that she and her mother are both very damaged people. I think Olive Kitteridge goy more LT love than The Burgess Boys, but my favourite of the two was the latter.

96BLBera
Mar 6, 8:48pm Top

I did love Lucy Barton as well, Nancy, but I have seen very divergent comments on it. And I think it is my least favorite Strout. I loved both THe Burgess Boys and Olive Kitteridge. Strout has a new one coming soon. The title escapes me.

97LizzieD
Mar 6, 11:21pm Top

Ah --- you are the one who inspired my current reading of Home, Nancy. Thank you! I love MR's writing!
I have yet to read Strout, but I finally have a copy of *BBs* waiting for me.
Hope your week is going well!

98Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 7, 1:42am Top

>81 lit_chick: Wah! Only 2.5 for My Name is Lucy Barton!! What a shame. I loved Olive Kitteridge and really liked The Burgess Boys. Good comments though! I will keep that in mind for when I will inevitable run into the book in the future!

99Familyhistorian
Mar 7, 9:26am Top

I hope you have good weather for your March break visit and no travel delays because of snow!

100lit_chick
Mar 7, 10:26am Top

>96 BLBera: Hi Beth, I also noticed the comments on Lucy Barton were very divergent. Good to hear Strout has a new one coming out. I will definitely explore.

>97 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, delighted to hear you are enjoying Home so much! Robinson can definitely write!

>98 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan, don't judge Lucy Barton by my cover, LOL! There are many 4.5 and 5* reviews posted.

>99 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg, from your mouth to God's ears!

101vancouverdeb
Mar 7, 6:36pm Top

Off shortly to walk the dog in some slushy snow! I'm so sick of it, Nancy! I hope it is a mix of rain and snow. Ugh.

102lit_chick
Mar 7, 8:17pm Top

>101 vancouverdeb: I hear you, Deb. When the Calendar turns to February, I am waiting on July, LOL. Hope you and the Lady Poppy had a good walk In spite of it.

103mdoris
Mar 7, 9:15pm Top

Nancy, perfect description of when the calendar turns to Feb., waiting for July ........ (wishfull thinking here too!) Perfectly said! Funny how the months change their timing.

104lit_chick
Mar 8, 10:49am Top

>103 mdoris: Great mind, Mary!

105lit_chick
Edited: Mar 8, 10:59am Top



Longlist:

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo
The Power, Naomi Alderman
Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood
Little Deaths, Emma Flint
The Mare, Mary Gaitskill
The Dark Circle, Linda Grant
The Lesser Bohemians, Eimear McBride
Midwinter, Fiona Melrose
The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan
The Woman Next Door, Yewande Omotoso
The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O’Neill
The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
Barkskins, Annie Proulx
First Love, Gwendoline Riley
Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien
The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain

106vancouverdeb
Edited: Mar 8, 5:49pm Top

Walking the dog was not that nice yesterday, Nancy. Even Poppy was somewhat reluctant. A windy , rainy day. I've only read Do Not Say We Have Nothing from the Bailey's Long list. I'll have to look further into the list. Some of the books are not yet available in Canada.
A sunny day today!

107ChelleBearss
Mar 9, 10:15am Top

>93 lit_chick: Enjoy your trip! If you get up near Port Williams (east of Berwick and Kentville) I really recommend the Port Pub and Bistro. It was our favourite place and they have an AMAZING lobster poutine!

https://www.theportpub.com/

108lit_chick
Mar 9, 11:07am Top

>106 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, I've also only read Do Not Say We Have Nothing. But Beth recently reviewed The Woman Next Door, and this is one I want to read too, along with Hag-Seed. There will be others, but not determined yet.

>107 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle, ooh, lobster poutine sounds heavenly! Thanks for the suggestion and the link.

109lunacat
Mar 9, 12:46pm Top

I just finished Lucy Barton and was disappointed by it as well. I'm glad to see my own opinions reflected here. If I hadn't heard such good things about the author, I'd probably call it a day on her books, based on this one. It's a shame as my copy is lovely, a beautifully bound hardback with thick paper and an easy to read print. It's a nice book to own, but there isn't much point keeping it around when I didn't enjoy it.

110lit_chick
Mar 9, 10:51pm Top

>109 lunacat: Hi Jenny, sorry to hear you did not like Lucy Barton any better than I did. The hardback ediition you purchased sounds lovely, but I understand your point about keeping it around: for what?

111vancouverdeb
Mar 9, 11:23pm Top

I purchased A Woman Next Door by Yewanda Omotoso from " Wordery Canada", so eventually it should arrive in the the mail. I did see Beth's review, but it was also one from the list that appealed to me.

112lit_chick
Mar 10, 12:52pm Top

>111 vancouverdeb: Here's hoping it's a good read, Deb. My library has The Woman Next Door, and I've put it on my "For Later" shelf to remind me that I want to borrow it, but that's it. Will await your review ...

113vancouverdeb
Mar 10, 6:10pm Top

My copy of The Woman Next Door is will take a while to be shipped from the UK, so you may get to The Woman Next Door before I do.

114lit_chick
Mar 11, 2:06pm Top

Hi Deb, another one from the Women's Prize LL I think I'll read, or at least have a look at: The Lonely Hearts Hotel ... I read Lullabies for Little Criminals some years ago and it was very good.

115AMQS
Mar 11, 2:35pm Top

Hi Nancy, when is your trip? I hope you have a wonderful time.

116lauralkeet
Mar 11, 5:41pm Top

Hi Nancy, the hubs and I visited a used bookshop today and lo and behold, there was a copy of Black Seconds. And for just $1.50 I snapped it up.

117lit_chick
Mar 11, 7:32pm Top

>115 AMQS: Thanks, Anne, leaving next Fri and staying with my sister for 8 days.

>116 lauralkeet: Great find, Laura! I really like the $1.50 part : ).

118PaulCranswick
Mar 11, 8:33pm Top

>105 lit_chick: The Bailey's Longlist is as usual one which has many of us rushing to the stores or the library to catch up on what is listed. As Deb I have only read Do Not Say We Have Nothing and it must be a strong contender. The stores here are not exactly full of the rest of the list yet, although I did spot the Tremain on Friday but couldn't remember whether it was longlisted or not at that time.

Have a lovely weekend, Nancy.

119vancouverdeb
Mar 11, 11:39pm Top

Yes, I'll have a look at The Lonely Hearts Hotel as well. I also read Lullabies for Little Criminals a while back and quite enjoyed it too. I'll have a look at The Gustav Sonata perhaps and I've got a hankering to maybe order Midwinter by Fiona Melrose, but that will have to be via The Book Depository should I " crack" and purchase it. We'll see. Sounds like a nice holiday ahead of you! William and his wife are landing in Iceland in about 3 hours! :) There is not a lot of Wifi around the Island, except for a couple of the cities, so how much I will hear from them, I don't know.

120lit_chick
Edited: Mar 12, 12:24pm Top

>118 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, I've also only read Do Not Say We Have Nothing but that will change. Have got my eye on Hag-Seed, The Woman Next Door, and Lonely Hearts Hotel ... and you remind me that I love Tremain and must read The Gustav Sonata. Now, when all of this will happen, that's another story.

>119 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, yes, Paul just reminded me that Tremain has The Gustav Sonata on the list, and I don't know a thing about Midwinter, but I like the title.

Your son and DIL will have a fabulous holiday! Would love to see Iceland, have heard good things.

121lit_chick
Edited: Mar 14, 11:18pm Top

18.
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead



Rating: 3.5/5

2016, Random House Audio, Read by Bahni Turpin

“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes – believes with all its heart – that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”

Cora is a third-generation slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Her grandmother, Ajarry, was stolen into slavery from Africa; and she and her mother, Mabel, were born into hell in the southern US. Ajarry is gone now, and Mabel escaped – and was never found – many years before. Cora knows that as she approaches womanhood, her hellish existence is about to become yet more monstrous. With Caesar, a young slave recently come to Georgia from Virginia, she plans her own terrifying run for freedom. But plans go awry almost immediately when Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. She and Caesar manage to find a “railway station” and head north, but they are hunted relentlessly by the demonic slave-catcher, Ridgeway.

The underground railroad is no mere metaphor here – Whithead has created a network of tracks beneath southern soil, on which engineers and conductors ferry escaped slaves. For me, this “ingenious conception” (publisher) is the novel’s weak spot. I could not connect the gravity of slavery and its horrors with a fantastical train, one of whose “engineers” was a child.

The tenacity of The Underground Railroad lies in Whitehead’s portrayal of the legacy of slavery, spanning not only the generations of citizens that worked as slaves – but reaching into present day with a toxicity that continues to haunt US society. I think of the shameful regularity with which white police officers headline current news for shooting and killing unarmed black citizens. “As the years pass … racial violence only becomes more vicious in its expression. It will not abate or disappear, not anytime soon, and not in the south.”

Definitely a worthwhile read. Bahni Turpin is narrator-extraordinaire.

122mdoris
Mar 12, 7:37pm Top

Nancy, i greatly valued your wonderful review and words of reaction to The Underground Railroad. Very well said!

123vancouverdeb
Mar 12, 7:44pm Top

Wonderful review of The Underground Railroad, Nancy!
“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes – believes with all its heart – that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”
A powerful quote indeed. I've wish-listed The Underground Railroad, and thumbed.

Yes, Iceland looks fabulous to visit! I've gotten a couple of pictures via Instagram so far. The last picture that I got looks like a moonscape. I think it is a crater near to a volcano there. Tonight they stay in a lovely rustic looking cabin ( but heating and plumbing and a restaurant) but really in the middle of nowhere

124AMQS
Mar 12, 10:28pm Top

Terrific review of The Underground Railroad, Nancy, and I always appreciate a recommendation for a narrator:)

125lit_chick
Edited: Mar 12, 10:37pm Top

>122 mdoris: Thanks, Mary.

>123 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I'll be curious to know what you think of The Underground Railroad.

Wonderful that William and Serenade have found some wifi and are making good use of it. Tonight's accommodations sound like just my cuppa.

>124 AMQS: Thanks, Anne. I've always got my ears to the ground for narrators, too.

126Berly
Mar 13, 11:14am Top

Nancy--Great review of The Underground Railroad. I've put it on the WL, about five-times over!! Happy Monday. : )

127raidergirl3
Mar 13, 3:43pm Top

I found a link (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ff18j#play) for listening to Underground Railroad. I think it's good for 10 more days I'm hoping to listen to it soon, especially after your good report!

128lit_chick
Mar 13, 4:12pm Top

>126 Berly: Thanks, Kim. hope you enjoy!

>127 raidergirl3: Hi Elizabeth, you will love Bahni Turpin!

129vancouverdeb
Edited: Mar 13, 8:16pm Top

Oh dear, Nancy, no Instagram picture in 24 hours from the contingent driving around the wilds of Iceland. Should I call Icelandic Search and Rescue? ( Yes they actually have that! ;) Just kidding, I imagine one of the " outposts" that they spent the night at did not have cell coverage, though most of Iceland does have cell/ wifi coverage . Next village ( they call it a city ) is a settlement of 18,000. It's the second largest city in Iceland, so it should have cell service. The population of Iceland is only 300,00 and about 200,00 live right in Reykjavik . It kind of shocks me to think of that. I think there are more Icelanders here in Canada. I am glad that William and Serenade are traveling with another couple. I imagine the roads are icy and snowy, and they are partly gravel and one lane etc, so at least if they run into problems, there is a group of them.

The Woman Next Door came into my library today. I won't pick it up til tomorrow, so I think I may start on The Chilbury Ladies Choir.

130ctpress
Mar 13, 8:41pm Top

“As the years pass … racial violence only becomes more vicious in its expression. It will not abate or disappear, not anytime soon, and not in the south.” Good review Nancy - and good thoughts on a problem that won't go away. The quote reminded of the Netflix documentary "13th".

131vancouverdeb
Mar 13, 9:40pm Top

All safe! Instagram picture received from Iceland! :)

132lit_chick
Mar 13, 11:04pm Top

>129 vancouverdeb:, >131 vancouverdeb: Good to hear you didn't need to call in Icelandic Search & Rescue, Deb! Would love to see Reykjavik: the setting of so much great Scandi-crime. I'm watching an Icelandic series right now on Netflix called "Gabriela." It's excellent!

Your library was fast to get The Woman Next Door to you so soon. Not familiar with The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, so must look that one up.

>130 ctpress: Thanks, Carsten. I'm going to need to see if Canadian Netflix has "13th" ... *I'm back, and it does! onto my Netflix list!* Appreciate the recommendation.

133mdoris
Mar 14, 12:57am Top

Nancy, can you please give more info about "Gabriela" that you are watching on Netflix. I couldn't find it!

134lit_chick
Mar 14, 10:30am Top

>133 mdoris: Apologies, Mary, DUH moment for me. The show is called "Case." It's the main character who is Gabriela. I hope you watch it!

135mdoris
Mar 14, 10:35pm Top

Thank you, thank you Nancy. I will go and add it to my list. It sounds good.

136LizzieD
Mar 14, 11:11pm Top

Just checking in, Nancy. I don't have brain enough to respond to your fine review of *RailRoad*. The literal underground did work for me, but I certainly can't defend my position tonight! You know I'm a sucker for well done magical realism.
Have such a wonderful trip! And stay warm!!!

137lit_chick
Mar 14, 11:18pm Top

>135 mdoris: You're welcome, Mary. Enjoy!

>136 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, we're almost at spring break, so my own brain power is done. Glad you liked the literal underground railroad ... I'm not a fan of magical realism. That said, I enjoyed other things about The Underground Railroad.

138Familyhistorian
Mar 15, 4:34pm Top

Great review and quote from Underground Railway, Nancy. I have that one on the shelves and should get to it soonish.

139lit_chick
Mar 15, 7:23pm Top

>138 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Will look forward to your thoughts.

140vancouverdeb
Mar 16, 8:23pm Top

Have a fabulous trip to Nova Scotia to visit your sister. I imagine your in a frenzy of packing etc .Do you have a cat sitter? Cairo is going to miss you . Enjoy your time away. I've started into The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso from this years Women Lit Longlist and I think I can recommend it. I'm only on page 60 or so, and not a difficult read at all. Somewhat humorous. I've finished The Stone Angel and loved it! I just have not decided on any comments as yet.

141alcottacre
Mar 16, 8:32pm Top

>121 lit_chick: I need to get that one read soon!

142Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 17, 1:32am Top

>121 lit_chick: oooh. Sounds like you quite liked it. I aim to read it one day.

143ChelleBearss
Mar 17, 9:08am Top

Enjoy your vacation!!

144lit_chick
Edited: Mar 17, 1:53pm Top

>140 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. Slept late this morning: I'm just burned right out, so the holiday is perfect timing. Taking a red-eye to NS, so I don't leave home until 4:30 PM this afternoon. But yes, I'll soon be in a packing frenzy, LOL! My neighbour is looking after my sweet little Sir. I wanted to take him with him, but it's just too far for a first-time flight.

Glad to hear you enjoyed The Stone Angel on a reread and that The Woman Next Door is a rec.

>141 alcottacre:, >142 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Stasia and Megan! Enjoy The Underground Railroad.

>143 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle.

145lit_chick
Mar 17, 1:51pm Top

19.
Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance



Rating: 4/5

2016, Harper Audio, Read by J.D. Vance

Publisher’s Summary: from Audible.com
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy from several points of view: sociologically, educationally, and personally.

Sociologically, the novel is an intimate portrait of a social class in decline. I am a firm believer that no number of textbooks can explain the reasons for such a decline as can one who has lived it first-hand. And certainly, a true account of what that experience feels like must come from “inside.” Vance writes: “Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks, or white trash. I call them neighbors, friends, and family.” Both as an educator, and personally, Vance’s exploration into his Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and the decades-long affect such trauma has on children was invaluable. Again, no textbook can explain or enlighten as can one who has lived the ordeal. Highly recommended reading!

Powerful Quotes:
-“I want people to understand how upward mobility really feels. And I want people to understand something I learned only recently: that for those of us lucky enough to live the American Dream, the demons of the life we left behind continue to chase us.”
-“social mobility isn’t just about money and economics, it’s about a lifestyle change. The wealthy and the powerful aren’t just wealthy and powerful; they follow a different set of norms and mores. When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst.”
-“We do know that working-class Americans aren’t just less likely to climb the economic ladder, they’re also more likely to fall off even after they’ve reached the top. I imagine that the discomfort they feel at leaving behind much of their identity plays at least a small role in this problem. One way our upper class can promote upward mobility, then, is not only by pushing wise public policies but by opening their hearts and minds to the newcomers who don’t quite belong.”
-“whenever people ask me what I’d most like to change about the white working class, I say, “The feeling that our choices don’t matter.”
-“For kids like me, the part of the brain that deals with stress and conflict is always activated...We are constantly ready to fight or flee, because there is a constant exposure to the bear, whether that bear is an alcoholic dad or an unhinged mom … I see conflict and I run away or prepare for battle.”

146lauralkeet
Mar 17, 6:21pm Top

Great review Nancy. Safe travels and enjoy your vacation!

147vancouverdeb
Edited: Mar 17, 6:34pm Top

Quick pop in, Nancy! Excellent review of Hillbilly Elegy . Thumbed and that is one I need to get to reading. The Stone Angel was a first time read for me, but I did read The Stone Diaries a couple of years ago - both good old Can Lit. I'm halfway through The Woman Next Door. It came in from the library, along with Autumn by Ali Smith and The Orphan Train by Christine Baker Cline. It seems like it is feast or famine from the library. Have an excellent holiday!

148mdoris
Mar 17, 7:54pm Top

Great review of Hillbilly Elegy. Just thumbed it and so glad that you liked it too. i was impressed with it!
Have a wonderful time away and hope you get to recharge those batteries.

149alcottacre
Mar 17, 9:38pm Top

>145 lit_chick: Another one I need to read soon. Thanks for the recommendation, Nancy!

Happy weekend :)

150lit_chick
Mar 17, 11:44pm Top

>146 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura. Sitting in Calgary airport waiting for connection.

>147 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I loved The Stone Diaries, too. good old Canadian lit indeed. Yes, always feast or famine at my library, too. In fact The Gustav Sonata came in yesterday, but I left it there. Another time. Expecting to have a very quiet visit with my sister: just what I need right now.

>148 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Desperately needing to recharge right now, and looking forward to a quiet week with Kim.

>149 alcottacre: Always happy to help my friends out with bullets, Stasia!

151cushlareads
Mar 18, 2:46am Top

Hi Nancy (at last!!) Have a great time in Nova Scotia and post some photos.

Am loving catching up on your thread. I bought Hillbilly Elegy a couple of weeks ago so am happy to see you giving it 4 stars. And I'll avoid Lucy Barton... have yet to read even Olive Kitteridge!

I bought the Gustav Sonata last year and hope to read it some time this year.

152lit_chick
Mar 18, 10:08am Top

>151 cushlareads: Hi Cushla! I hope you enjoy Hillbilly Elegy as much as I did. I also want to get to The Gustav Sonata later in the year.

153nittnut
Mar 18, 10:46am Top

Great review of Hillbilly Elegy. I also really liked it. I felt some connection to his story, although my g-grandparents came out of the Ozarks in Arkansas rather than Appalachia. They went west and became farmers, as did their children, but their grandchildren got university degrees. Sometimes it takes several generations, but it seems like leaving is key. Which, as Vance says, causes other problems.

154Familyhistorian
Mar 18, 4:55pm Top

Have a great time in Nova Scotia, Nancy. I hope the weather is kind and you get to see all you want to see.

155johnsimpson
Mar 18, 5:02pm Top

Hi Nancy, have a great time in Nova Scotia my dear, sending love and hugs.

156lit_chick
Mar 18, 7:38pm Top

>153 nittnut: Jenn, thanks for sharing some of your own personal history. I like what you've written here: it seems like leaving is the key. Which, as fences, causes other problems.

>154 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Not much sightseeing happening this time, just a quiet visit with my sister.

>155 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. Hugs back to you and Karen.

157vancouverdeb
Mar 18, 7:44pm Top

I found In This Grave Hour , the latest Maisie Dobbs at the bookstore, Nancy! How exciting is that? And in softcover too! :) Enjoy your week of down time. Flew West Jet did you, the competition! :)

158PaulCranswick
Mar 18, 9:27pm Top

>145 lit_chick: I thoroughly enjoyed your review, Nancy. That one isn't available in Malaysia but I will look out for it on my travels.

Have a great weekend.

159lit_chick
Mar 19, 9:55am Top

>157 vancouverdeb: Woot! I am excited to know that the new Maisie Dobbs is out, Deb. Ah, yes, I flew with the competition, LOL.

>158 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Sounds like you'll need to wait until you are in the UK to get your hands on Hillbilly Elegy.

160ctpress
Mar 20, 6:17pm Top

Vance writes: “Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks, or white trash. I call them neighbors, friends, and family.”

Great review and great quotes, Nancy. I've bought the book and look forward to read it. Seems like required reading in these Trump-times....

Hope you're enjoying some good relaxing days with your sister.

161lit_chick
Mar 20, 7:45pm Top

>160 ctpress: Thanks, Carsten. Glad to hear that you have purchased Hillbilly Elegy. Will look forward to your thoughts. And you are right about this: Seems like requird reading in these Trump times.

It is lovely to relax with my sister.

162BLBera
Mar 21, 10:46pm Top

Hi Nancy - Well, I'm really behind, but great comments on both The Underground Railroad and Hillbilly Elegy. I've been wanting to get to the later. That darn job keeps getting in the way of my reading time.

163mdoris
Mar 21, 10:53pm Top

>161 lit_chick: So wonderful that you are getting some relaxing visiting and times in Nova Scotia. Enjoy!

164lit_chick
Mar 22, 7:37am Top

>162 BLBera: Hi Beth, will look forward to your thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy. I'm on spring break this week, but I completely understand how the darn job interferes with reading time!

>163 mdoris: Thanks, Mary.

165lit_chick
Edited: Mar 22, 8:31pm Top

20.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë



Rating: 4/5

Helen Graham, the enigmatic new tenant of Wildfell Hall, has a dark secret – but not the one circulating amongst local gossips. Gilbert Markham, who falls for the young “widow” will be shocked to realize her truth, which is revealed to him through her dairies. Mrs Graham has fled with her young son, Arthur, from a cruel marriage. Her writings tell the story of the physical and moral decay of her husband, his alcoholism, and their marital breakdown. In order to be spared the unbearable pain of watching her son be raised in his father’s image, Helen has done what was unimaginable to the Victorian woman and has fled both husband and home. Under an assumed name, she travels to a location that remains secret from all but her brother.

Not surprisingly, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – a hard-hitting critique of the position of Victorian women in society – shocked contemporary readers. Both critics and readers alike were stunned by its coarseness. Truthfully, though I am not a stranger to the plight of Victorian women, the novel still retains its power to shock, or in the very least disturb. A most memorable passage on a “confiscation of property”:

"My painting materials were laid together on the corner table, ready for to-morrow’s use, and only covered with a cloth. He soon spied them out, and putting down the candle, deliberately proceeded to cast them into the fire: palette, paints, bladders, pencils, brushes, varnish: I saw them all consumed: the palette-knives snapped in two, the oil and turpentine sent hissing and roaring up the chimney. He then rang the bell.

'Benson, take those things away,’ said he, pointing to the easel, canvas, and stretcher; ‘and tell the housemaid she may kindle the fire with them: your mistress won’t want them any more.'" (Ch 40)

But I do not wish to leave prospective readers with the impression that all is gloom and doom in The Tenant – such is not the case at all! Other central themes in the novel include the power of faith, forgiveness, repentance – and “the infectious theme of love.” (Ch 51) Highly recommended, particularly to lovers of Victorian classics.

166vancouverdeb
Mar 22, 7:28pm Top

An excellent review, Nancy!It sounds like a fascinating read. Thumb. I'm glad you are getting in so much time to read.

167mdoris
Mar 22, 9:57pm Top

Great review Nancy. I liked your summary of the themes of the power faith, forgiveness, repentance and "the infectious theme of love". All good stuff!

168lit_chick
Mar 23, 8:03am Top

>166 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. An excellent read!

>167 mdoris: Thanks, Mary : ).

169kidzdoc
Mar 23, 11:09am Top

Nice review of Hillbilly Elegy, Nancy.

170lauralkeet
Mar 23, 3:57pm Top

>165 lit_chick: fantastic review, Nancy. I read Tenant ages ago and your review brought back some fond memories.

171lit_chick
Mar 23, 4:52pm Top

>169 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl.

>170 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura. Glad to know that you also read and enjoyed The Tenant, and that my notes spurred some good memories.

172ctpress
Mar 23, 5:13pm Top

Excellent review, Nancy. You've really captured and condensed the heart of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I was fairly sure you would enjoy the read.

As I said I've come to enjoy it more with each new reading - also come to understand it's importance as a piece of art that not only entertain, but also enlighten and challenges the prejudices of that period in history.

173lit_chick
Edited: Mar 23, 5:37pm Top

>172 ctpress: Thanks, Carsten, and much appreciation for suggesting and setting up the group read. Thoroughly enjoyed! Love what you have to say about the importance of classics: not only entertain, but also enlighten and challenge the prejudices of that period in history. I was interested to know that The Tenant steadily improved for you over three readings ... I can see that.

174PaulCranswick
Mar 25, 10:40pm Top

>165 lit_chick: What a wonderful review Nancy. That is one of the Bronte books that I haven't yet read but I really ought to put that right soon.

Have a lovely weekend.

175LizzieD
Mar 25, 10:47pm Top

Another thumb for A. Bronte! How I do long to have a LOT of time to read so that I can get to things like this.
Hope your weekend is lovely with another great book!

176Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 26, 4:09am Top

Hi there!
Just popping in to be jealous of your latest reading efforts. And leaving to get on with my own, in an effort to finish something this month. ;)

177drneutron
Mar 26, 2:28pm Top

Like Paul, not a Bronte I've read - and I need to correct that!

178Familyhistorian
Mar 26, 5:56pm Top

Are you still in NS, Nancy, or have you come back to enjoy rainy BC?

179alcottacre
Mar 26, 6:01pm Top

>165 lit_chick: I get to dodge that particular BB as I have already read that one :)

180lit_chick
Mar 26, 6:37pm Top

Hi everyone, home again! Just coming off a long travel day, having crossed our great country east to west. My time zones are thoroughly confused, but I will be right as rain by tomorrow. Great visit! Happy to be home now and reunited with my little Cairo.

One of my favourite Annapolis Valley sights is Blomidon Cliffs, although March weather this trip did not allow for a walk there:



181lit_chick
Mar 26, 6:46pm Top

>174 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. I am confident you will enjoy The Tenant when you get to it. I know this is a busy time for you.

>175 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, and thank you. You deserve to have a LOT of time to read! Would love to hear your thoughts on The Tenant.

>176 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan, have had a slow reading month here, too. Picked up a Scandi-crime novel since Brontë, but am only a couple pages in. Did not listen to my audiobook at all, the entire time I was away.

>177 drneutron: Hi Jim, Carsten gets the credit for inspiring me to read The Tenant. We enjoyed a small but worthwhile GR.

>178 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, back to rainy (and much warmer) BC!

>179 alcottacre: It always feels good to dodge a bullet, Stasia.

182vancouverdeb
Edited: Mar 26, 7:04pm Top

Glad you are home, Nancy! Gorgeous picture of Annapolis Valley. I am sure that Cairo is delighted to see you! My son and daughter in law arrived back late Friday night, but they are on " Iceland/ Denmark/ The Netherlands" times, so I'm letting them have the weekend to sort out their jet lag , and we'll arrange a later date to hear all about the trip. For now I'm off to my niece and BIL birthday dinner. A BBQ I understand, but yes it is rainy.

183lit_chick
Mar 26, 7:50pm Top

>182 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, glad your son and DIL are home. I'll bet they are jetlagged! But what a wonderful trip ... will be great to hear all about it in the near future. Barbecue sounds perfect, so long as someone else is standing outside in the rain doing the grilling, LOL.

184BLBera
Mar 26, 9:35pm Top

Hi Nancy - Love the Tenant of Wildfell Hall comments. I read it years ago, and I think I would appreciate it much more now. Another one for the reread pile.

185LizzieD
Mar 26, 11:13pm Top

Welcome home and here, Nancy! Glad you're back and that it was a wonderful trip!

186mdoris
Mar 27, 12:50am Top

Glad that you''re back safe and sound and recharged no doubt. I bet Cairo missed you!

187Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 27, 2:28am Top

>181 lit_chick: have had a slow reading month here, too.
You win some, you lose some ;)

188lauralkeet
Mar 27, 7:45am Top

Welcome home, Nancy! I'm glad you had a nice holiday.

189Crazymamie
Mar 27, 7:46am Top

Welcome home, Nancy!

190lit_chick
Mar 27, 11:09am Top

>184 BLBera: Hi Beth, I definitely think The Tenant is one that would benefit with reread. Carsten said he's now read it three times, and it progressed from a 4*, to 4.5*, to 5* read. I can see that.

>185 LizzieD: Thanks, Peggy.

>186 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Yes, Cairo missed me, and I him, a LOT! We are happy to be reunited : ). He is curled in a ball on my lap as I type.

>187 Ireadthereforeiam: Exactly, Megan.

>188 lauralkeet:, >189 Crazymamie: Thanks, Laura and Mamie.

191lkernagh
Mar 27, 6:22pm Top

Hi Nancy. I am finally finding the time to visit some threads. Lovely to see you went to Halifax for March break! I haven't visited any of the maritime provinces yet and would love to.... one of those summer trips things for me as they get winter, big time on east coast compared to what we see here on the west coast. ;-)

>81 lit_chick: - Sorry to see that Lucy Barton was a dud read for you but happy to see that you loved The Burgess Boys! I have a copy of The Burgess Boys waiting for me on my TBR bookshelves.

192lit_chick
Mar 27, 6:43pm Top

>191 lkernagh: Hi Lori, the time to visit the Maritimes is definitely summer. They do have wild winters!

Hope you will love The Burgess Boys as much as I did. Will be following along to find out ...

193BLBera
Mar 27, 7:39pm Top

Hi Nancy - I am reading The Madwoman Upstairs now, and the protagonist thinks Anne was underrated. It's a fun novel so far.

194nittnut
Mar 27, 8:53pm Top

Welcome home! I hope your trip was good. I love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. In fact, I just got the cloth bound Penguin. Happiness.

195lit_chick
Mar 28, 10:35am Top

>193 BLBera: Hi Beth, I think the protagonist of The Madwoman Upstairs is likely right! Ironically, this touchstone came up as Jane Eyre, LOL!

>194 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn. Oh, I love the cloth bound Penguin editions!

196Berly
Mar 30, 9:45pm Top

>165 lit_chick: Really nice review of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I appreciated this book for showing me the powerlessness of women in this time period, but I loved the book, as a whole, a little less than you. Maybe this weekend I'll get around to my review. ; )

197lit_chick
Apr 1, 2:40pm Top

>196 Berly: The powerlessness of Victorian women was staggering, wasn't it? I was stunned by some of the details in The Tenant.

198johnsimpson
Apr 1, 3:51pm Top

Hi Nancy, hope you are having a nice weekend my dear.

199vancouverdeb
Apr 1, 5:43pm Top

I hope you are having a good weekend! I am guessing you had a very busy week back to school? Have a relaxing weekend, Nancy.

200lit_chick
Apr 1, 10:20pm Top

>198 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. Same tonyou and Karen.

>199 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, I am back to school on Monday, and, yes, it will be mental, LOL! Thoroughly enjoying my last couple days of relax. You have a good weekend, too.

201lit_chick
Apr 2, 4:17pm Top

21.
The Queen's Accomplice, Susan Elia MacNeal



Rating: 4/5

2016, Random House Audio, Read by Susan Duerden

Publisher’s Summary: adapted from Audible.com
England, 1942. The Nazis' relentless Blitz has paused, but London's nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper's crimes. What's more, he's targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill's spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI5 quickly realize they need the help of Special Agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed "the Blackout Beast." A trap is set …

My Review:
MacNeal creates a very readable psychological thriller here as she writes a serial killer impersonating Jack the Ripper. Once the trap is set, and the killer has his sights set on Maggie, the action is page-turning. On the political/bureaucratic front, Maggie is admirably fighting the establishment for equitable pensions for women agents. This work, in this era, was not for the faint of heart. Maggie’s previously established connections with Buckingham Palace and the Queen will serve her well – in all regards.

This is an excellent series. I’ve just learned the MacNeal will publish a seventh novel available mid-2017: The Paris Spy. I will be waiting for it!

202vancouverdeb
Apr 2, 5:24pm Top

Great review, Nancy! I've got the first in the series, but I have not read it yet. Good to know that the series gets better with each book - or so it seems from your reviews!

203BLBera
Apr 2, 8:23pm Top

I read the first two, Nancy, but it sounds like the series is getting better with time.

204lit_chick
Apr 2, 9:52pm Top

>202 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, looking forward to your thoughts on Maggie Hope. The series is a strong one, and, as I get to know the characters better, I become more and more invested.

>203 BLBera: Hi Beth, it's a great series! I wasn't sure about it at all after the first one, but by the time I'd finished the second one, I was hooked.

205Familyhistorian
Apr 4, 4:12pm Top

Good to hear that the Maggie Hope series is better as it goes along. I have book one on the shelf as well. The more I read the threads, the faster my shelves fill up!

206lkernagh
Apr 5, 3:50pm Top

>201 lit_chick: - Working very hard to avoid BB's for books that are part of a series but that one does sound rather appealing.

207lit_chick
Apr 5, 11:10pm Top

>205 Familyhistorian: Meg, truer words were never spoken: The more I read threads, the faster my shelves filled up.

>206 lkernagh: The Maggie hope series is one I am really enjoying, Lori, and I think you would like it too. But I also understand trying to avoid taking on a new series!

208AMQS
Apr 9, 12:26am Top

Hi Nancy! Looks like a great trip east for you -- love the photo! I enjoyed your comments on Hillbilly Elegy and on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - I missed the GR :( . Terrific reading, and ones to add to the list!

209lit_chick
Apr 9, 12:19pm Top

>208 AMQS: Hi Anne, had a lovely visit with my sister. I think you will enjoy both Hillbilly Elegy and The Tenant.

210souloftherose
Apr 9, 4:03pm Top

Hi Nancy. So glad you enjoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - it's one of my favourites :-)

211vancouverdeb
Apr 9, 7:02pm Top

Nancy I'm so behind in my reporting of my reading, but I'm still here! It's a beautiful sunny day and I'm enjoying Anne of Green Gables on CBC on Sunday evenings. I just had to stop by and say hi.

212mdoris
Apr 9, 10:40pm Top

Nancy hope that you had a wonderful weekend and got some sunshine and good reading.

213lit_chick
Apr 9, 11:48pm Top

>210 souloftherose: Good to know, Heather. Yes, I thorougly enjoyed!

>211 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, always happy to have you stop by! I've been so distracted recently with RL that I've hardly read anything never mind reviewed anything.

>212 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Our weekend was a little shy on sunshine, but it was lovely nonetheless. Soon the Okanagan will be strutting its stuff.

214Berly
Apr 10, 12:54am Top

Glad you had fun with your sister. Wising you a great week!!

215lit_chick
Apr 10, 10:32am Top

>214 Berly: Thanks, Kim. You, too!

216lit_chick
Edited: Apr 13, 9:16pm Top

22.
A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles



Rating: 4.5/5

2016, Penguin Audio, Read by Nicholas Guy Smith

Publisher’s Summary: adapted from Audible.com
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in an elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

My Review:
“… if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” (18)

The Count’s elegant, impeccable manners and his distinguished diplomacy are a delight. And the novel’s numerous and varied characters are the perfect companion to the his endeavour to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. In one of my favourite scenes, Rostov is explaining to young Nina how we owe the generations that have come before us a debt of gratitude – not simply the grand dukes and grand duchesses, but elders of all social classes who have come before us:

“The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.” (50)

Beautifully written, and so memorable. I was reminded more than once of Chekov’s short story “The Bet,” in which, ironically, a man’s imprisonment leads to his discovering the true meaning of life. Narrator Nicholas Guy Smith is extraordinary! Highly recommended.

217johnsimpson
Apr 13, 3:16pm Top

Hi Nancy, just stopping by to say hi, sending love and hugs.

218mdoris
Apr 13, 8:50pm Top

Just thumbed your review of A G in M. I have it after a long wait at the library and you know who grabbed it first. Appparently I am his personal librarian!

I am having fun after an interesting reading explore in the Lake District doing a bit of reading about Beatrix Potter. She was a pretty amazing and talented person.

219lit_chick
Apr 13, 9:18pm Top

>217 johnsimpson: Hi John, hugs to you and Karen, my friend.

>218 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. I take it you are referring to your husband ... the one who has taken you on as his personal librarian, LOL! I know very little about Beatrix Potter, so will follow your thread for your thoughts.

220BLBera
Apr 14, 7:29am Top

Hi Nancy - Another endorsement for AGiM -- must get to it soon.

221ChelleBearss
Apr 14, 10:53am Top


Hope you have a great Easter weekend!

222johnsimpson
Apr 14, 3:28pm Top

Wishing you a very Happy Easter.

223charl08
Edited: Apr 14, 6:07pm Top

>216 lit_chick: I think I need to read Chekhov. Great quotes from the Towles: such a fascinating book.

224Donna828
Apr 14, 9:28pm Top

Yay! for A Gentleman in Moscow. So glad that you liked it, too, Nancy. I'm also glad that you had an enjoyable visit with your sister. I've been away from your thread way too long. Time is just flying by this year. I think I need to slow my life down when I can't keep up with my favorite people! Have a great weekend...

225LizzieD
Apr 14, 11:07pm Top

Hi, Nancy! You reinforce my ambition to read *Gentleman* as soon as I can get a copy. Thanks for the review!

226DianaNL
Apr 15, 5:17am Top

227lit_chick
Apr 15, 11:28am Top

>220 BLBera: Hi Beth, will look forward to your thoughts on A Gentleman in Moscow.

>221 ChelleBearss:, >222 johnsimpson: Thanks, Chelle and John. Happy Easter to you, too!

>223 charl08: Hi Charlotte, I predict you will love A Gentleman.

>224 Donna828: Hi Donna, it was your stellar review and rare 5* that prompted me to read Towles, so thank you for that, my friend! I am also very busy this past while and completely unable to keep up with LT, so I relate.

>225 LizzieD: You're welcome, Peggy. Standing by for your thoughts on Towles.

>226 DianaNL: Thanks, Diana.

228mdoris
Apr 15, 4:24pm Top

Happy Easter to you too Nancy! Hope that you have a wonderful long weekend with perhaps some great reading and R&R. !
I am enveloped with amazing cookbooks from the library (about 8 of them) and want to make everything I see. Just turned the page onto a stunning photo of a spinach souffle. Yum.

229vancouverdeb
Apr 15, 10:13pm Top

Happy Easter Weekend, Nancy! I hope you are having a restful enjoyable weekend, dear friend . Great review of A Gentleman in Towles. One of these days! My reading has been rather slow. Finally we seem to having a run of sunshine!

230lit_chick
Apr 15, 10:21pm Top

>228 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Enjoying a lovely quiet weekend that has involved more Netflix than reading. But I am loving the R&R. I've been so fatigued.

>229 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. Reading has been slow here, too. But I am happy to say that I'm into the second Flavia, and this time I'm listening to the audiobook. What fun! I wasn't sure Flavia was really my thing when I read the first novel some years ago, but a couple of chapters into The Weed That Strings, the reader is making all the difference.

231vancouverdeb
Apr 15, 10:32pm Top

yes! Flavia! She rocks!

232mdoris
Apr 15, 11:48pm Top

>230 lit_chick: Very smart Nancy to recharge the batteries and chase away that fatigue.
I read an article about Anthony Bourdain in the NYer and then got one of his books Medium Raw and then realized that I had never watched any of his food TV shows so I am making my way through them on Netflix too and also saw the first of four of Michael Pollan's Cooked. I have the book and only read the first section and got distracted many years ago so maybe this will make me polish it off. So me too on the Netflix, so I know what you mean.

233Familyhistorian
Apr 16, 4:04am Top

Good to hear that you are enjoying the antics of Flavia too, Nancy.

234katiekrug
Apr 16, 10:01am Top

I'm listening to a Flavia, too, Nancy. You are absolutely right about the reader making a huge difference in one's enjoyment of the books. I don't think I would like them if I just read them in print.

I hope you have a relaxing Sunday!

235lit_chick
Apr 16, 11:26am Top

>231 vancouverdeb: LOL, Deb!

>232 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Delighted you are enjoying exploring Netflix, too. I'm very pleased with the variety of content ... have not had cable for several years now.

>233 Familyhistorian: Another Flavia fan I am thinking, Meg?

>234 katiekrug: Always good to have affirmation, Katie. I did not care overly for the Flavia I read in print, but this one has me chuckling along.

236alcottacre
Apr 16, 11:31am Top

>201 lit_chick: I have only read the first book in that series, so I need to get back to it before she gets too far ahead of me!

>216 lit_chick: I just finished that one in the wee hours this morning and loved it. My first 5 star read of the year, I think.

Happy Easter, Nancy!

237Berly
Apr 16, 11:34am Top

238lit_chick
Apr 16, 11:35am Top

>236 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, Maggie Hope is a busy agent! Delighted you also loved A Gentleman in Moscow. Happy Easter!

>237 Berly: Thanks, Kim. You, too!

239Familyhistorian
Apr 16, 3:08pm Top

>235 lit_chick: Yes, another Flavia fan, Nancy. Although I enjoy them in print as I don't listen to audiobooks. They are great books for a change of pace.

240Donna828
Edited: Apr 21, 12:09pm Top

Nancy, I'm very sad to report I missed the Jacqueline Winspear author event at the library last night. I complain that we don't get many authors to visit our fair city to talk about their books, and then I have I have to miss one of our favorites. So sad. But how could I disappoint Lady Haley in her first and only Kindergarten program and Miss Molly on her birthday treat of ice cream and toppings after the program? It was a no-brainer decision for me but I wish I could have been in both places.

241lit_chick
Apr 21, 6:54pm Top

>239 Familyhistorian: Flavia is definitely a wonderful change of pace, Meg!

>240 Donna828: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Donna! I realize your decision was hardly a decision, but it would have been wonderful to be in two places at once on this occasion. Look forward to seeing photos of Lady Haley's K debut, and Miss Molly's birthday treat.

242lit_chick
Apr 21, 6:57pm Top

22.
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, Alan Bradley



Rating: 3.5/5

2010, Random House Audio, Read by Jayne Entwistle

Publisher’s Summary: adapted from Audible.com
Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over — and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

My Review:
“I am often thought of as being remarkably bright, and yet my brains, more often than not, are busily devising new and interesting ways of bringing my enemies to sudden, gagging, writhing, agonizing death.”

The intrepid, precocious Flavia is back in Gladys’ saddle and investigating the murder of Rupert Porson, renowned puppeteer. And she has no shortage of intriguing characters to suspect: the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood, Porson’s charming assistant Nialla, and a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters. Before he was electrocuted, the puppeteer himself was a fabulous character. At Buckshaw, Flavia’s spinster aunt comes to visit – which, naturally, doesn’t sit terribly well with the adventurous eleven-year-old. Oh, and there’s a box of poisoned chocolates from which Flavia herself must save some unsuspecting relations – and she almost doesn’t make it!

Narrators Jayne Entwistle makes all the difference here – she is utterly fabulous! I enjoyed this second Flavia installment even more than the first, which I read rather than listened to. A Red Herring Without Mustard is already cued up!

243vancouverdeb
Edited: Apr 21, 7:48pm Top

So glad that you are enjoying Flavia de Luce! Such a fun series, or so I think! Great review Nancy! I envy you having this wonderful series still in front of you! I'm hopeful for another in the Flavia series, though the author is now in his early 80's , I think .

244alcottacre
Apr 21, 9:33pm Top

>242 lit_chick: I think I must be the only 75er who does not love the Flavia series. I may have to revisit it to see if my opinion has changed.

245mdoris
Apr 21, 10:15pm Top

Nancy I too have enjoyed the Flavia series and great review of your most recent book. i guess they provide a "now for something completley different'! and love that FLavia is so accomplished and so independent and uses such great brain power. I love too that she can handle her older quite horrible sisters. Perhaps there is a birth order implication for me! The writing and vocabulary are great fun!

246katiekrug
Apr 21, 10:55pm Top

I just finished the latest in the Flavia series - it's nice to see some growth in her as she gets to the ripe old age of twelve ;-)

247LizzieD
Apr 21, 11:01pm Top

Oh dear. Oh dear. I will be the last 75er to read Flavia, and I simply can't start her even now.
Hope you have a super weekend, Nancy!

248lit_chick
Apr 22, 12:29am Top

>243 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I have you to thank for introducing me to Flavia! I will go on a Flavia bender now and listen to all of the books in order - at least that's the plan. I love investing in a series like that.

>244 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, Flavia might be worth another try.

>245 mdoris: Thanks, Mary, Flavia is definitely now for something completely different! I too love that she is so brainy and accomplished and independent.

>246 katiekrug: LOL, thanks for that, Katie. I'll have to keep reading now to observe Flavia grow to the ripe old age of twelve!

>247 LizzieD: Not to worry, Peggy. Flavia will be waiting patiently should you decide to partake at a later date ...

249mdoris
Apr 22, 1:27am Top

The cornucopia of fruit that you must get in the summer where you live, no wonder you would "live' on fruit salad. Around here we have blueberry and raspberry farms and i'm sure looking forward to those yummy fruits. It was the first real day of sun and some warmth here. Loved it!

250Ireadthereforeiam
Apr 22, 4:51am Top

>216 lit_chick: Heaven knows I could use some 'impeccable manners' and 'distinguished diplomacy'. So I should definitely read this book.
:)

251drneutron
Apr 22, 10:08am Top

>244 alcottacre: Nah, not the only one. I just couldn't connect with the first two and have benched them.

252BLBera
Apr 22, 10:13am Top

Hi Nancy - Nice comments on the Flavia. I liked the first two, but then got tired of the series. Maybe I would like it if I picked it up later on?

253Berly
Apr 22, 10:18am Top

Nancy--I am glad you are enjoying Flavia--I have never even heard of her!! (>247 LizzieD: You are not alone.) I guess it is nice to know I will never run out of new series to read. Wishing you a happy weekend.

254lit_chick
Edited: Apr 22, 2:57pm Top

>249 mdoris: Indeed, Mary, summer fruit in the Okanagan is a scrumptious cornucopia!

>250 Ireadthereforeiam: We all could, Megan! I think you will really enjoy A Gentleman.

>251 drneutron: Hi Jim, no matter our taste about any particular book/series, we always find ourselves in good company here on LT. It's one of the things I love most about it!

>252 BLBera: I'm going to give the series a try on audio, Beth. Entwistle as narrator is brilliant.

>253 Berly: LOL, Kim ... hanging around here we are all certain never to run out of new series to read!

255sibyx
Apr 22, 12:14pm Top

I'd fallen behind, great reviews here from the Robinsons to the Colson Whitehead. Interesting about Lucy Barton too, I have read and liked the others. I think I still have to try it and see. I am glad you loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall which is my favourite Bronte of all. And you got me with A Gentleman in Moscow.

256lit_chick
Apr 22, 2:57pm Top

>255 sibyx: Thanks, Lucy. Will be interested to see how you like Lucy Barton, having read Strout's other work. I predict you will love A Gentleman. Good to know The Tenant is your favourite Brontë ... thoroughly enjoyed that one.

257lit_chick
Apr 22, 2:58pm Top

O fickle reader that I am, I've decided to set Flavia aside in favour of The Gods of Gotham. Can't remember whose thread I saw this one on, but it caught my attention. There are three in the series.

Time for a new thread, so join me there.

This topic was continued by lit_chick's 2017 Reading (3).

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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