DeltaQueen Is Planning a Year of Freedom in 2017 - Part 3
This is a continuation of the topic DeltaQueen Is Planning a Year of Freedom in 2017 - Part 2.
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Baba Yaga & Morrigan
I fell under the spell of these magical sculptures by Forest Rogers. Delicate, enchanting and slightly scary, they remind me of my love for reading fantasy and fairytale re-tellings and I wanted to share their beauty.
Welcome to my third thread here in the 2017 Category Challenge. My name is Judy, I am a wife, mother and grandmother whose family is my number one priority. I live in a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. and I am lucky to live very close to the ocean and be able to walk on the beach often.
Reading is one of my passions and through Library Thing I have expended my reading tastes and my "To Be Read" Shelves immensely. Join me as I try to work through my shelves and participate in as many reading challenges as I can. I am addicted to challenges and my months' reading list is usually filled with Category Challenges, BingoDogs, Alpha and Sci/Fi/Fantasy Kits, as well as the Reading Through Time Challenge and the TIOLI Challenges. All this and trying to do it alphabetically to fit my main challenge sounds tricky but so far I have been able to do this and still have time to pull a few books randomly off the shelves.
White Bear & Fish Versailles
Category 1: A to D - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with A, B, C, & D
Category 2: E to H - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with E, F, G, & H
Category 3: I to L - Author Whose Last Name Begins with I, J, K, L
Category 4: M - P - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with M, N, O, P
Category 5: Q to T - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with Q, R, S & T
Category 6: U to Z - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Category 7: Re-reads
Category 8: Books That Have Been on My Library List for Too Long
Category 9: Non-Fiction Reads
Category 10: Extras - This category will most likely be for Graphic Novels
How I Rate Books:
2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!
2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another.
3.0 ★: Average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember
3.5 ★: Above Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.
4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story
4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book I will remember and recommend
5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me
1. A Satire:
2. Set in a Country You've Never Been: The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi
3. Color in Title: Tickled Pink by Christina Jones
4. Set in a Place You Want to Visit: The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri
5. One Word Title: Gone by Mo Hayder
6. Author Uses Initials:
7. Appeals to the Senses: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
8. Published from 1940's - 1960's: Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee
9. Made into a Movie: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
10. Short Stories: Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy Sayers
11. Book About Books: Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
12. Title Refers to Another Literary Work:
13. Read A Cat: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
14. Author Shares Your First and Last Initial:
15. Owned More Than 5 Years: The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine
16. Science Related: Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
17. Author Born in the 1930's: Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker
18. Author Abroad: In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
19. Author Born/Published in 1917: Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
20. Debut Work: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
21. Book or Title About an Animal:
22. Place Name in Title: The Murder in Romney Marsh by Edgar Jepson
23. Set in a Beach Community or Resort: Murder At Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey
24. Set in a Time Before You Were Born: The Chronicles of Robin Hood by Rosemary Sutcliff
25. Next Book in a Series: Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood
1. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With A - D
1. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd - 4.2 ★
2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - 3.0 ★
3. The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri - 4.0 ★
4. Talking To The Dead by Harry Bingham - 4.5 ★
5. Resist by Sarah Crossan - 2.5 ★
6. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - 5.0 ★
7. The Dead by Ingrid Black - 3.5 ★
2. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With E - H
1. Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Angela E. Hunt - 3.9 ★
2. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - 4.5 ★
3. Silas Marner by George Eliot - 4.0 ★
4. Gone by Mo Hayder - 3.8 ★
5. Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood - 3.8 ★
6. The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg - 4.1 ★
7. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn - 4.1 ★
3. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With I - L
1. The Murder in Romney Marsh by Edgar Jepson - 3.9 ★
2. Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer - 3.7 ★
3. Tickled Pink by Christina Jones - 3.6 ★
4. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson - 4.5 ★
5. Butcher's Hill by Laura Lippman - 3.8 ★
6. Bullet For A Star by Stuart Kaminsky - 4.0 ★
7. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - 4.5 ★
4. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With M - P
1. Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride - 3.8 ★
2. American Rust by Philipp Meyer - 4.3 ★
3. Burning for Revenge by John Marsden - 3.8 ★
4. Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker - 4.0 ★
5. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe - 4.6 ★
6. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - 4.3 ★
7. The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi - 3.7 ★
5. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With Q - T
1. Gunman's Chance by Luke Short - 3.5 ★
2. Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy Sayers - 3.8 ★
3. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks - 4.0 ★
4. The New Rector by Rebecca Shaw - 4.0 ★
5. The Hunters by James Salter - 4.3 ★
6. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - 3.7 ★
6. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With U - Z
1. Rescuing Rose by Isabel Wolff - 2.8 ★
2. Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace - 4.0 ★
3. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - 4.5 ★
4. The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine - 3.0 ★
5. Rebel Heart by Moira Young - 3.5 ★
6. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde - 4.0 ★
7. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - 4.2 ★
8. The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton - 4.1 ★
8. My Long Library List
1. Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede - 2.7 ★
2. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams - 4.2 ★
3. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai - 3.3 ★
4. The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark - 3.6 ★
5. Murder At Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey - 3.7 ★
6. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 3.8 ★
7. The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back by Robert Kirkman - 4.0 ★
& The Walking Dead Volume 26: Call To Arms by Robert Kirkman - 4.2 ★
2017 Reading Plans
Although I am keeping things simple this year, I will be participating in a couple of group reads as well as hosting some of the challenges and I will keep track of such events here.
January: Hosting the January AwardsCat: The Costa Award & "Best of" Lists
April: Hosting the April SFFFKit: Dystopian/Apocalyptic
Hosting the April Reading Thru Time Theme
May: Hosting the May RandomCat
July: Hosting the July CultureCat - Violence, Crime & Justice
September: Hosting the September CatWoman: Children's Lit/YA and Graphic Novels
What Lynda said, Judy. Congratulations on the new thread!
Fun toppers up there.
>1 DeltaQueen50: OOOOHHHH! I love those! I'd be afraid to have the Baba Yaga sculpture in my house. It's pretty scary! But The Morrigan! Scary, yes, but beautiful! As are the bear and the mermaid, neither of which are all that scary but quite lovely.
Happy new thread, Judy!
<17 Thanks Lynda, March already! Where does the time go?
>18 jnwelch: Thanks Joe, I was inspired by the original toppers that you use. :)
>19 luvamystery65: Aren't they great, Ro. I would love to have one or two for my own, but I expect they are well out of my price range!
>20 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, I would have a hard time choosing between them, but perhaps the Baba Yaga would be a little too scary.
>21 mamzel: Hi Mamzel, enjoy and remember - no calories for this candy!
40. Murder At Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey - 3.7 ★
Category: My Long Library List
March CultureCat: Cultural Awareness & Diversity
BingoDog: Set in a Beach Community/Resort
TIOLI #2: Set in a Country Other Than the U.S., Great Britain, France or Germany
Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey is the third book in his Darko Dawson series of crime investigations. Sent to look into the murders of wealthy Charles and Fiona Smith-Aidoo, who were discovered in a canoe that washed up near an oil rig. Charles Smith-Aidoo was in the oil business and had been in the process of trying to relocate an ecological resort to make room for oil industry workers accommodations. What Dawson has to figure out is whether this is a political murder, a financial murder or if it could possibly be a revenge murder involving family members. Before he’s through he find himself investigating three murders.
This was a well thought out and researched story as with it’s pristine white beaches and turquoise ocean, Cape Three Points in Ghana is being slowly developed into a premiere tourist destination with both ecological and luxury resorts, added to this is the discovery of oil located off-shore in the same area making this a very important location both politically and financially. The author weaves his story around these facts and delivers an interesting, yet somewhat dry mystery. What kept the pages turning for me was the descriptions of a world that is perched between the future and the past. Corruption and development seem to go hand-in-hand in these emerging African countries.
Although I did not find this book as engrossing as the previous one, I will certainly be picking up the fourth book as this author appears to have his fingers on pulse of Ghana and I enjoy learning about such a different culture.
Good afternoon, DeltaQueen50! I hope all is well with you.
Regarding the Mitford series, I mention on page 2: I absolutely loved the first four books and fell off after that through no fault of the author. I've returned more recently to pick up the story on audio.
>24 brodiew2: Hi Brodie, I would probably do somewhat the same, that is, read the first one and then pick up the rest through audio.
Happy new threads! Love those sculptures! The first two are a touch scary!
Happy New Thread, Judy! I like those creepy toppers! I hope the week is going well.
Happy new thread, Judy. Love those sculptures, they are beautifully strange!
>26 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle, aren't they gorgeous. I didn't even post the creepiest ones - take a look at this:
This one is called "Grandmama"!
>27 msf59: So far my week is going great, Mark. I would like to see some warmer weather, but compared to many places in North America we really have nothing to complain about.
>28 ronincats: They aren't all that big Roni. Here is a picture of the artist working on one of his creations:
>29 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg, I would love to see an exhibition by Forrest Rogers!
Happy new thread, Judy. You're well advanced with your Bingo card, congrats!
Hi Judy, you are making fantastic progress with your freedom challenge. I'm having trouble keeping up with your thread, it grows so quickly.
Happy new thread Judy, I continue to marvel at your reading progress especially pulling the books off your shelves! Nice progress with your Bingo card also.
I hope you're feeling better!
Ooh I like Grandmama! My granddaughter likes creepy things, everyone was worried about that for a while, but it's who she is and she comes by it naturally!
I've fallen under the spell of that sculpture with the woman riding the bear, Judy. I suspect such an event would not have a happy ending in real life, but in sculpture form it's gorgeous!
>23 DeltaQueen50: I plan to listen to the first in that series when I finish the one that's currently "playing." I will be doing a bit of driving during my spring break -- only one drive of substantial length, but several that will help me finish the current one and get started with that one. It is downloaded.
I may have to spend less time on LT during the month of March as I have completely overbooked myself with Challenge Reading. I have committed myself to 20 books which is doable (I think) but a lot of my time will have to be spent in reading. HA! Who am I kidding - it won't be LT time that suffers - it will be the house-cleaning time!
>31 MissWatson: I have found filling the Bingo Card pretty easy so far, but I expect as the squares get fewer, I will have more trouble finding a book to fit.
>32 Roro8: So far I have had an excellent reading year, Ro. My challenge isn't quite as "free" as I thought it would be, but I have still managed to pull a few books randomly off my shelves.
>33 jonesli: I have to admit, Lisa, that I am strangely attracted to "Grandmama". I wouldn't want to have it sitting in my house but I sure would love to see it in person. My granddaughter tends to walk a little on the dark side but she is loving and kind and we couldn't be prouder of her.
>34 rosalita: Julia, he has done a series of art based on fairytales, and "White Bear" is based on one of my favorite stories East of the Sun, West of the Moon, also in the picture of the artist in >30 DeltaQueen50:, he is holding another from the fairytale series, The Tinderbox. They are beautiful.
>35 thornton37814: Lori, I think the second book in the series has been my favorite so far, but I also remember being impressed by the first, Wife of the Gods.
>36 VivienneR: You're right, Vivienne, I bet Forest Rogers could make some amazing statues from African legends and folklore!
>37 DeltaQueen50: Don't feel too obligated that you might lose enjoyment (and company on LT)! Nobody will think any less of you if you can't read them all.
>37 DeltaQueen50: I totally get the whole Reading Time vs LT Time thing! I experimented with a format last year on 100 Books where I just updated LT once a week (on a Sunday morning); and while it worked out well enough for me to continue experimenting with it on the Category Challenge, engagement with/comments from others has dropped.
The other challenge I have is Litsy. It's so easy to get sucked into it; but I'm losing reading time there too! :-/
>37 DeltaQueen50: I actually had the second on my wish list, but I didn't realize I had the first in my regular account (by accident) as wishlisted instead of in the TBR list. When I went to look at the actual review of the first before grabbing the second (to refresh my memory), I realized the error of my ways and downloaded the first.
>38 mamzel: Thanks Mamzel, I won't get myself tied up in knots over my book commitments as I know that it's really only me that cares if I complete them or not. ;)
>39 BLBera: Hi Beth, aren't they great.
>40 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I know I spend far too much time on LT but I am totally addicted to this bookish community. I did give up my thread over at the 75 Group a couple of years ago in order to cut back some time, but mostly I am happy that LT is such a safe place to hang out.
>41 thornton37814: Oh Lori, such is the muddle of trying to read series - I am constantly mixing up the order and having to backtrack but Kwei Quartey writes a good one so he is worth the trouble.
41. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 3.8 ★
Category: My Long Library List
BingoDog: A Book About Books
TIOLI #7: Author's First or Last Name Has Five Letters
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is a tongue in cheek ode to musty bookstores filled to the brim with paper books versus today's modern digitization. Clay is a young man who loves his technology but takes a job as a night clerk in a strange bookstore when the internet implodes and he loses his high-tech job. Where he was previously creating web pages and writing slogans on Twitter, he now spends his nights surrounded by rare encrypted books that seem to appeal to a secret club of strange customers who check these books in and out like a library.
This book is very much a satire, but written with a warmth and regard for both the old and the new. There are many references to “The Lord of the Rings”, called in this book “The Dragon Song Chronicles” a book trilogy that deeply influenced Clay as a young boy. Eventually Clay, his techie friends and a female programmer set out to unravel the bookstore mystery and find themselves pitted against the Fellowship of the Unbroken Spine.
Although I was not totally spellbound by this book, perhaps finding it a little too clever, I nevertheless enjoyed the read and it brought some familiar thoughts to my bookish emotions such as the feel of crisp pages and the smell of paper books, the immediate sense of gratification when downloading a book and the slight feeling of guilt one feels when clicking onto Amazon. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore describes the culture clash between the paper and ink world and the new internet version of reading and it’s obvious the author loves both these elements.
Happy new Thread, Judy!
Those sculptures are amazing! So much detail. I think my favorite is the first, as she looks like a swamp witch.
I always look forward to your new thread-toppers. These are very interesting - the things we can enjoy these days that we night otherwise have never seen is always interesting to me. You've had some good reading so far - your Bingo card is almost full. I have planned my reads for mine, but other books have pushed their way to the front - maybe this month I can get to a few.
>43 DeltaQueen50: - I'm not sure if I actually have this (packed?) or if it's still on my wishlist, but I found your comments interesting.
>30 DeltaQueen50: I am very happy that my Grandmama does not look like that! Ugh!
>44 mstrust: Hi Jennifer, I have a soft spot for the Baba Yaga as well.
>45 dudes22: Hi Betty, my Bingo Card seems to be filling itself this year. I had to choose whether to use Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore for the "Book About Books" square or the "Satire" square. Since I am planning on trying my first Douglas Adams later this year, I will save the "Satire" square for that.
>46 ChelleBearss: I know, Chelle, being a "Grandmama" myself, I sure hope the kids don't see me that way!
42. The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg - 4.1 ★
Category: E to H
March AlphaKit: E
TIOLI #9: Touchstone Brings Up a Totally Wrong Title
The Circle is a Swedish YA Fantasy by Mats Strandberg and Sara Elfgren that is the first in their Engelsfors Trilogy about a group of witches. A handful of diverse teens find that they are witches and in the near future they will be engaging in battle with a terrible evil. In the time before the battle they need to identify their strengths, practise their magic and, the most difficult task, bond together in trust. Of course they are not left alone to develop their skills, someone or something is hunting them and kills two of them before they realize that they must also hunt this evil down.
Even with a fair amount of teen angst about the opposite sex, family issues, fitting in and being popular, I still was completely swept up in this story. At almost 600 pages, it is quite detailed, and by the end of the first book they have only scratched the surface of whatever evil is about to emerge. What I found most engaging were the characters, each of the five remaining girls have a distinct personality and a distinct magical skill. Based on the elements of water, metal, earth etc., they are individually strong but when they join together, almost invincible.
I will certainly be continuing on with this trilogy as not only was I captivated by the darker fantasy elements, I also enjoyed the author’s handling of the teen issues like body image, suicide, grief, bullying and friendship that are explored.
Happy Friday, Judy! I also had a good time with Mr. Penumbra. Have a nice weekend, my friend.
>48 DeltaQueen50: I remember getting the BB from Anders for this one and it's currently sitting on the tbr shelves so I'm happy to see that you enjoyed it too. Positive confirmation is always welcome for future reads.
Happy Saturday, everyone. I went out this morning to the grocery store and to the library. But when I got to the library, it was closed and the parking lot was taped off. I had no idea what was going on so I checked on the computer when I came home. I was hoping to read that they were enlarging the library, but no, apparently someone ran their car into the walls and caused some damage. :( It will be back open early next week so no library books for me today.
>49 msf59: I hope your weekend goes well too, Mark.
>50 AHS-Wolfy: Hi Dave, yes , I took the BB from Anders as well. I miss the presence of the Gingerbread Man!
>51 DianaNL: Thanks Diana, hope you are having a great weekend as well.
>52 BLBera: Beth, Mr. Penumbra was a fun read. We have no specific plans for the weekend, which is just the way I like it - so - lots of reading, some netflicks and maybe even a nap or two!
I hope you have a few books at home that you can read until the library reopens, Judy!
>54 RidgewayGirl: Having books at hand is certainly one problem that I don't have! ;)
43. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson - 4.5 ★
Category: I to L
March AwardCat: 2007 Newbery Honors
TIOLI #12: Title or Author's Name Rhymes With "Pi"
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson was a very pleasurable read. This story of a young woman homesteader had me smiling, sighing and yes, even crying. Written as a series of letters and diary entries the book is set in 1918 as Hattie, a teenage orphan moves to Montana after inheriting her uncle’s homestead claim. World War I plays a very important role in this story as Hattie writes to a young man who is off soldiering in France and watches her neighbours of German descent face discrimination, and violence.
Hattie, herself is hardworking and good-hearted, and soon learns to stand up for what she believes in and for the people she cares about. The descriptions of frontier life are interesting and the author expresses the beauty that can be found on this open range land wonderfully. The hard work and discipline that Hattie must do in order to prove her claim, from backbreaking fencing to planting and harvesting forty acres, was exhausting just to read about. And I was both delighted and amazed to discover, at the end of the book, that this story was based on the author’s great-grandmother’s life as a single woman homesteader.
Hattie Big Sky is a book about a very likable character who finds friendship, a home and most importantly, herself, during the course of the year that she worked the land in order to prove her claim. A powerful and inspiring tale for both children and adults alike.
I do have a soft spot for books written in diary/letter format so I think maybe I'll read this for the Award CAT this month too.
Oh, I am pleased you enjoyed The Circle! I too thought they handled the teenager characters well and coupled their personal issues with the magic elements really wonderfully.
I would have taken a book bullet for The Circle but I can't figure out how to access it. It's not available through Amazon in the US.
All three parts are available in both paper and Kindle versions on US Amazon. If you search "The Engelsfors Trilogy," they should all come up.
>60 ronincats: & >61 -Eva-: Since this first book was on my Kindle (and had been there for a few years), I went and checked Amazon this morning for the next two books in the trilogy and they are not available in English anymore through Canadian Amazon for the Kindle, so I imagine they have been removed from the U.S. as well. Luckily, I was able to download them for my Kobo.
44. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe - 4.6 ★
Category: M to P
March RandomCat: Luck O'the Irish
TIOLI #2: Set in a Country Other Than the U.S., Great Britain, France or Germany
I found The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe a powerful, engrossing and disturbing read. Young Francie Brady never really stood a chance at having a normal life. His father spent all his time in the local, drinking and feeling sorry for himself for how his life had turned out. Francie’s mother, whom he loved very much, had emotional problems and at one point is taken off to the ‘mad-house’. After his parents have a particular nasty fight, Francie runs away. He makes it to Dublin, but misses his mother, his friends and his village and so returns. He buys a present for his mother, hoping that will make her happy. Unfortunately, while he was gone his mother had killed herself. His father tells him it was Francie’s fault that she did this and he responds by withdrawing further into his violent fantasy world.
He takes against one particular family; in particular the mother, Mrs. Nugent and her son, Philip, but it’s obvious that he longs to have his mother back and in such a close, caring and safe relationship. As his obsession grows stronger, Francie’s behavior gets worse and worse until he crosses the line from mischief to madness. A spell in reform school under the care of priests only served to make him worse. When he gets back home, he picks up a job at the local butcher’s, which of course, doesn’t help. The author never uses quotation marks so I found I had to read carefully to figure out who was talking, also Francie was so into his strange visions that the reader had to figure out what was really taking place and what was just happening in his head. Even with these difficulties, this is a book that I am glad that I didn’t miss.
The Butcher Boy was a violent, pitiful, sometimes funny and exhausting read. I felt almost traumatized by being placed in Francie’s mind and experiencing the blurring of his reality taking form. You can’t help but feel compassion for this young man even as he shocks and revolts you. The content of Francie’s mind is horrific, but his inner voice could be quite funny. In the end you are left wondering if things would have been different if this boy had only been nurtured on love and hope instead of indifference and despair. This will definitely be a book that I will remember as much for it’s uniqueness as for it’s unrelenting darkness.
I checked both yesterday and just now and they're all available on Amazon US. (Not sure why they would be removed.)
>64 -Eva-: Thanks, Eva, I hope Roni is able to get them. This also spurred me on to pick up the rest of the trilogy. :)
>63 DeltaQueen50: Great review. I hadn't realized this was on the 1001 list until just now when I followed the touchstone. As I'm hoping to read more from that list, I'll definitely have to keep this book in mind.
>66 mathgirl40: I am also trying to read more of the 1001 Books which is why I picked up The Butcher Boy. I had seen the 1998 movie so I had a vague idea of what the book was all about. I do like the darker reads and this one certainly fit with that and will be one that I remember for some time.
>67 lindapanzo: Hi Linda! I found that while I liked Mr. Penumbra well enough, it wasn't a book that I loved. I didn't ever find myself totally engaged with the characters or the plot, but it was fun, smart and interesting enough to keep me reading to the end.
>68 DeltaQueen50: I'm only about a third of the way in. I like the book talk but Clay and the others just don't appeal much to me. It's light and, as you say, fun but I think I expected more.
>68 DeltaQueen50: Just tracking back through the posts about 'The Butcher Boy' and it looks like something I would love! Took the Book Bullet and ordered it :-)
Hi Judy! I thought I'd come visit for a moment and see what you're reading.
Hattie Big Sky looks charming and The Butcher Boy looks intense. I mean, really intense.
"I may have to spend less time on LT during the month of March as I have completely overbooked myself with Challenge Reading."
Uh huh. I thought you weren't going to do that to yourself this year? *laughs hysterically*
>69 lindapanzo: I had higher expectations for Mr. Penumbra as well, probably because it was very popular here at LT and was up for a number of awards - The Alex, Inter'l IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
>70 ronincats: Roni, it's funny that you were able to find them but I couldn't find them here at Amazon Canada. I used to be able to buy from Amazon U.S.A. until they figured out I was from Canada and shut me down so perhaps my original purchase was from the U.S. cause I do know I had "The Circle" on my Kindle for quite some time.
>71 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I hope you love The Butcher Boy Tanya, I found it took some patience to get used to his writing style or I should say his lack of punctuation.
>72 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, you nailed it - Hattie Big Sky was very charming and The Butcher Boy was very intense! I loved both of them. The challenges sort of creeped up on me this month, at first there didn't appear to be very many TIOLI challenges and I thought this would be the perfect month to go for a sweep - but then the challenges just kept coming in and I found myself adding more and more books! You know me, I can't resist those challenges. Hangs head ....
45. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn - 4.1 ★
Category: E to H
March SFFFKit: Religion
TIOLI #7: Author's First or Last Name Has Five Letters
Eifelheim by Michael Flynn opens in modern times with a historical mathematician and a physicist, a husband and wife, Matt and Sharon, who study a medieval German settlement called Eifelheim trying to find out why this town disappeared after the outbreak of the Black Death in the 14th century. They are excited about the implications their findings will have on each of their fields of study. The story then jumps back in time to allow the reader to find out what happened when in actuality aliens crashed near this village in 1349.
This was an intriguing and interesting story with it’s main focus on the village priest, who at first thinks that these creatures are demons but soon realizes that they are living beings. As a Christian scholar, it is hard for him to grasp the concept that they are from another world. He learns to communicate with the Krenken and these philosophical, religious and scientific conversations are of things nearly beyond his comprehension and at times he wonders what God’s purpose in this can be. As the Black Death strikes at their village, the Krenken, who are immune to the disease, are also dying from a lack of an amino acid essential to their diet but not found on Earth.
This was a quiet, thoughtful read that although becomes a tragedy, leaves us with an uplifting message of hope as promises are made toward a peaceful future. I much preferred the story-line that was set in the past over the one in the present which I found somewhat tedious but the two stories did blend well and helped to explain the science. The author’s research was rich and detailed, and I loved how the aliens were so very non-human yet approachable.
Wow Judy, you've done well with your last 4 books, all of them got a high rating. I'm wearing my bullet proof reading glasses, so no BBs taken on this visit to your thread. Phew!
Already onto a next thread?!
I set a goal to keep up with LT on a weekly basis, at least, but it hasn't been working out.
I noticed your great review of Salvage the Bones on your previous thread, a book I've been eyeing for a while.
The Butcher Boy has a hella creepy cover, and it sounds like a hella creepy book, too.
>75 Roro8: Hi Ro, I did enjoy my last three reads even though they are all very different from one another.
>76 MissWatson: Eifelheim is a very interesting book, well researched and well written. It was a very different sci-fi read for me with very little action and a lot to think about. I could use a pair of those Bullet-proof reading glasses as well. ;)
>77 andreablythe: Salvage the Bones was an excellent read, Andrea, and yes, The Butcher Boywas kinda creepy, but nevertheless, an excellent read for me. I am keeping up with my own thread but always struggling to keep up with everyone else, it's practically a full time job to stay current!
46. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott - 4.3 ★
March Reading Through Time: March Meetings
TIOLI #5: Author Is Published Under a Three-Barreled Name
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott is another childhood favorite of mine and although it has been some time, this is probably my fourth or fifth rereading of the story. This book covers a year of the experimental school at Plumfield run by Jo and Fritz Bhaer. Allowing “boys to be boys” the students are encouraged to follow their individual talents, play hard yet spend equal time in study and chores. The Bhaers provide the guidance and love that is needed to ensure that their students thrive. There are fourteen boys, and a couple of girls. They are engaging and fun to read about and are all completely different from one another such as “wild boy” Dan, lively, engaging Tommy and on the female side willful, spirited Nan and quiet, gentle Daisy.
I did notice during this reread that the Jo March of Little Woman had quite disappeared and “Mother Bhaer “ had taken her place. It’s only been 10 years yet Jo seems firmly settled into middle age and her domestic role. Other than one scene where she climbs up into a tree with one of the boys, she doesn’t seem like the high spirited, adventurous Jo that I remember. This issue is addressed at the end of the book however, with Jo imploring Laurie not to pity her for the life she leads rather than the one she planned to have when she was young. I felt this illustrated how many of us plan one life only to end up leading a totally different one.
While, for me, Little Men didn’t quite have the magic that Little Women has, it is nevertheless a classic piece of American literature mixing Christian values, views of childhood and unorthodox teaching methods to produce a very readable if somewhat dated book. Plumfield remains a school that I wished I had been able to attend so appealing are it’s inhabitants and it's setting.
47. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde - 4.0 ★
Category: U to Z
TIOLI #13: Listed in the 1001 Children's Books to Read Before You Grow Up
I had never read The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde before although I have seen the 1944 movie featuring Charles Laughton in the title role a few times. The written story has very little to do with the movie however. The movie, being filmed in 1944 was all about the war and bravery, whereas the book is written with Mr. Wilde’s tongue firmly in his cheek and has more to do with American sensibilities as compared to the English.
This short, humorous story is about an American family that moves into an English manor house called Canterville Chase. They are warned about the presence of a ghost, but this does nothing to deter them. At first they notice a blood spot on the floor that the housekeeper informs them is the blood of Lady Canterville, cruelly murdered by her husband and that the blood stain has been there for hundreds of years. The eldest son soon takes care of that with his Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover. And although the ghost works hard at having that bloodstain reappear every morning, the Stain Remover takes it away just as quickly every day. Although the ghost does his best to frighten this family nothing seems to work and instead, Sir Simon, the ghost, is terrorized by the family’s twin boys. He eventually makes the acquaintance of the daughter of the family and at first she tries to interest him in moving to America where she is sure he would be appreciated, but the ghost is weary and wishes more than anything to sleep so she helps him find his eternal rest.
The Canterville Ghost is a short, delightful tale that is far more amusing than scary. The author delivers a typical English haunted house, with a fearsome ghosts but then peoples the house with a practical, down to earth American family that refuse to be frightened. The ending was a little too sentimental but overall this is an imaginative, clever tale that was a lot of fun to read.
That sounds like fun. I've read several quite a few of Wilde's stories but haven't gotten to this one yet.
Happy Friday, Judy! I see your reading has not slowed down. You are churning them out. Have a lovely weekend.
>83 mstrust: This is my second Oscar Wilde and I have really liked both stories of his that I have read. The Canterville Ghost is certainly much lighter (and much shorter) than The Picture of Dorian Grey but both are very well done.
>84 andreablythe: Andrea, The Canterville Ghost was originally published in a magazine so it is quite short. It made for a fun read to curl up with one rainy afternoon.
>85 msf59: Hi Mark. The older I get the faster I am reading, there are so many books that I want to get to before I head off to the Grand Library in the Sky!
48. The Dead by Ingrid Black - 3.5 ★
Category: A to D
March RandomCat: Luck O'the Irish
March Award Cat: 2005 Shamus Award - Best New Novel
March CatWoman: Genres - Police Procedural
TIOLI #14: Rolling Challenge - The Middle Letter of the Title is the Same as the Last Letter of the Previous Title
I found The Dead by Ingrid Black to be a fairly standard serial killer story. Set in Dublin, Ireland, notorious serial killer Ed Fagan hasn't been heard from in a number of years but to everyone’s surprise, a newspaper reporter receives a letter claiming to be from him and promising a number of murders will be taking place over the course of the next week. The next day the body of a prostitute is found, and the police are convinced that Ed Fagan has returned.
American, ex-FBI special agent and true-crime author, Saxon is absolutely certain that this isn’t the work of Fagan, and she has good reason to know. She is called upon to assist DCS Grace Fitzgerald in the hunt, but first she has to convince the team to look beyond the obvious.
I had a little trouble getting into The Dead, it seemed to drag for the first half of the book. I also didn’t bond too well with the main character of Saxon. She is meant to be dark and snarky, but I found her a little too grim and morose. Her addition to the investigation was rather strange as she has no official credentials yet she seemed to have access to every area of the case. Also she is very obviously gay and involved with DCS Fitzgerald but this was never really addressed. There were lots of red herrings and a few loose ends that seemed promising but were totally dropped. The ending was somewhat of a surprise and since there are more books about these characters, perhaps there will be some resolution yet to come.
>87 DeltaQueen50: Yes, there's a series. I've read the second and Saxon just gets, as you put it, even grimmer and more morose. I have the third and will get to it, but I'm not in a hurry.
Sorry, I thought I was on Tess' thread...don't ask me how since she's not in this challenge!
Hi Judy. Just getting caught up with you, I always appreciate the range of your reading!
>88 RidgewayGirl: I have two more of the Saxon books on my shelves so I will be reading those at some point, but like you I am not in any hurry.
>89 dudes22: Betty, I'm glad you liked Hattie Big Sky. I thought it was wonderful. :)
>90 clue: No problems, I can't tell you how often I have gotten mixed up or turned about on the different threads.
>91 katiekrug: Hi Katie, I am trying for a sweep of the TIOLI's this month so I've been cutting my LT time and trying to put in a little extra reading time.
Stopping by with Happy New Thread wishes, Judy. Very impressive thread topper pics!
.... Wow.... you are almost finished your Bingo Challenge, and we are only in the early days of March! Kudos!
>56 DeltaQueen50: - Totally taking a BB for the Larson book!
>82 DeltaQueen50: - Looks like I will need to add The Canterville Ghost to my potential future reading list. I have never read any Oscar Wilde, so it seems like a safe place to start.
49. Butcher's Hill by Laura Lippman - 3.8 ★
Category: I to L
TIOLI #15: An Odd-Numbered Series Book
Butcher’s Hill by Laura Lippman is both a book and a series that has been lingering on the back burner for far too long. This is the third book in the Tess Monaghan series about a female private investigator set in Baltimore, Maryland. In this outing, Tess is working on two cases both involving children. The first is to locate a group of under-privileged children who were witnesses to a shooting a number of years ago while the second is to help a woman find the daughter that she gave up for adoption thirteen years ago. Little did Tess know that one of these cases was going to involve her own family.
This has been my favorite book of the series so far as it involved an engaging and thought-provoking plot served up by a very likeable main character with humor and excitement. Tess own bickering, colorful yet close family serve as a foil for these cases that are based on misconceptions, lies and social injustices.
I listened to an audio version of this book and I plan on picking up a few more to listen to as the narrator, Deborah Hazlett, did a stellar job. I look forward to visiting Tess, and her lovable greyhound Esskay, again.
>95 DeltaQueen50: Well, I think you got me with the Lippman series, Judy. I read one of her stand-alone books and liked her writing, so I'll have to check out this Tess Monaghan series.
>96 rosalita: Hi Julia, I tend to read both the Tess Monaghan series and the Anna Pigeon series as "fillers", books to pick up between longer reads. Both these series have excellent settings, with Tess in Baltimore and Anna at various National Parks, but after this third Tess Monaghan book, I would give her the slight edge in the mystery department.
50. The Hunters by James Salter - 4.3 ★
Category: Q to T
TIOLI #11: A Book Written by a Wyndham Campbell Prize Winning Author
Published in 1956, The Hunters is the debut novel of James Salter and is a story about American fighter pilots during the Korean War. Based on his own experiences flying combat missions in Korea, this is a chilling tale of men under extreme pressure to survive in a perilous situation but also to perform and make confirmed “kills”.
Captain Cleve Cornell arrives in Korea as an honored World War II pilot. His superior officer has high expectations that Cleve will lead his flight to success and produce results. Cleve feels the pressure but is sure that he will be able to get the job done successfully, but as time goes by, his group seems to always to be in the wrong place or simply miss out on the fights that do occur. Cleve’s self-confidence and his reputation suffer. The author totally draws the reader in this tale as he describes the missions, the pilot’s philosophy, and the jealousies and competition that each pilot feels to make a kill and build his reputation.
I found The Hunters to be an excellent novel about war, in particular men who engage in aerial combat. This emotionally complex story was elevated by the author’s outstanding writing which gave a sense of immediacy and reality to this powerful narrative.
I'll take a BB for Salter. A Sport and A Pastime has been on my WL for a very long time. Great review, Judy!
I'm another Hattie Big Sky fan. There's a sequel that I read that was good, but IMO not as good.
>103 brodiew2: Hi Brodie, The Hunters is very good and I think you would enjoy it. I try to read one non-fiction book a month and I have been working on In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson for this month. There are so many excellent non-fiction reads out there that it's hard to get to all of them!
>82 DeltaQueen50: Nice review. I recently read The Canterville Ghost and loved it! Another Wilde that I absolutely adored was The Importance of Being Earnest, which I listened to and which was perfect for audio, being a play. Haven't read Picture of Dorian Gray yet but have always meant to get to it. Someday. :)
51. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes - 4.0 ★
March AwardCat: 1945 Newbery Honors
March CatWoman: Genres - Children's Fiction
TIOLI #8: Rolling Challenge Based on the Letter in "MARCH"
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes was originally published in 1944, and stands the test of time as it is still pertinent today. This children’s book, with illustrations by Louis Slobodkin tells of a young immigrant Polish girl named Wanda Petronski who arrives at school every day wearing the same dress. She is ridiculed over this and one day she claims that she has 100 dresses at home in her closet. This statement causes Wanda to become even more of an outsider as she is constantly teased about these dresses. When the much anticipated drawing contest winner is declared to be Wanda with her entry of beautiful drawings of 100 dresses the class looks to congratulate her, but she isn’t there to accept her prize as her family has moved to the city in the hopes of fitting in there.
One of Wanda’s classmates, Maddie, had always been uncomfortable with the teasing but felt afraid to say anything in case her classmates turned on her. Feeling bad and disappointed in herself because she didn’t support Wanda, she now vows to never stand aside and watch someone being bullied again.
This small book packs a big punch with it’s sensitively handled message about how hurtful heedless intolerance can be, and how bowing to peer pressure can lead to regrets and missed opportunities.
52. The Hearth and Eagle by Anya Seton - 3.6 ★
March CatWoman: Genres - Historical Fiction
March Reading Through Time: March Meetings
TIOLI #4: Female Author and Female Main Character
The historical novel The Hearth and Eagle by Anya Seton is set in the fishing village of Marblehead Massachusetts and is the life story of Hesper Honeywood. The Honeywoods have kept a tavern for generations, and Hester grew up hearing stories how the women in her family always put their husband’s wishes first, but strong-willed, impulsive Hesper dreams of a life of romance and passion. Unfortunately, she is disappointed time and again in romance. Her first love dies in the American Civil War, her second, a struggling artist, abandons her, her third, whom she marries and has children with, she allows to smother and mollycoddle her. Only when it is almost too late, does she show her husband her true inner strength and courage. The story covers a time period of between the mid-1800’s to 1910, and it’s clear that the author did her research on this New England town.
I am a fan of Anya Seton’s writing, but this particular book is not a favorite as it seems constrictive and very dependent upon actual events that occurred. Overall, the book places more attention on the setting than on the characters that people the story. The best part was when Hesper and her mother take part in the underground railway and hide a runaway slave and her baby. I would say that The Hearth and Eagle, although well-told, should not be one’s first experience with this author.
>107 DeltaQueen50: Loved that book, and your review is great, too!
Hi, Judy. Just checking in. Hope those books are treating you well. I also enjoyed The Hunters. My first and only Salter. I want to read more of his work.
Hey, keep in mind you are a long, long way from the "Grand Library in the Sky!" Okay?
>74 DeltaQueen50: I agree. He didn't really need the present day timeline. It did raise the question of why the area was never resettled, and that was an interesting question throughout the book. It added another layer that I enjoyed, but I probably wouldn't have missed it either.
I haven't read Anya Seton but it sounds like maybe I should keep my eye out for her.
>109 klobrien2: It truly is a remarkable book, isn't it, Karen, both for how relevant it is today and for how the author got her message across without having to preach or make someone the "bad" guy.
>110 msf59: Hi Mark, I would like to read more by Salter as well. Don't worry I'm not planning on heading off to that Grand Library anytime soon - I've got too much reading to do! ;)
>111 cammykitty: Hi Katie. If you are thinking of Anya Seton I would recommend Katherine or The Winthrop Woman both excellent historical fiction novels.
>107 DeltaQueen50: The Estes book is definitely a classic. I remember reading her works as a child.
53. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - 4.2 ★
Category: U to Z
March AwardsCat: 2011 Newbery Medal
TIOLI #1: First Letter of Each Word in Title Combines to Make a Word
The 2011 Newbery Medalist, Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool was a joy to read. In a down-home, folksy manner, we are given two storylines, set 20 years apart, that weave together to make one cohesive narrative. In 1936 Abilene Tucker arrives in Manifest, Kansas to spend the summer where her father also spent time in his youth. She feel abandoned as he has never sent her away from him before, and she decides to spend the summer learning about her father’s boyhood in this same small town. Her digging is rewarded with a mystery to track down and the second storyline, set in 1917 tells of two boys and their adventures. These stories also encompass the history of the town and many of it’s residents.
First and foremost this is a story about community and belonging. There are some very interesting and colorful characters that people Manifest; from Abilene’s guardian, bartender and minister, Shady; the warm hearted newspaper woman, Hattie Mae; and on to the mysterious fortune teller, Miss Sadie. Through listening to the tales of the townspeople, Abilene learns, not just about her father, but what it means to have friends who care for each other, and a place to call home.
Like many Newbery winners, there is a lot going on in the story and subtle lessons to be learned that the author has cleverly laid between the lines. Written with sincerity and charm, Moon Over Manifest delivers an appealing story of a quaint little town that is rich in it’s diversity and it’s history.
>117 DeltaQueen50: That one's on my wish list. I'm sure I'll get to it sometime.
All caught up with you again. Love the sculptures. Where did you discover them?
Enjoy our grey weekend.
>118 thornton37814: Hi Lori. I think you will love Moon Over Manifest, it's a great read.
>119 Nickelini: I arrived at the artist's website when a member of the 75 Group used an illustration from the fairytale "West of the Sun, East of the Moon" on his thread. Since this is one of my favorite stories, I searched for more pictures from it and one of the pictures that came up was the White Bear by Forest Rogers. I simply love his work.
It is grey here and not only from the clouds and rain. We drove out to UBC yesterday and later had lunch at Queen Elizabeth Park. The one thing that struck me was that usually at this time of year the city is awash in pink blossoms from the trees. All we saw were bare branches.
54. Bullet For A Star by Stuart Kaminsky - 4.0 ★
Category: I to L
March AlphaKit: K
TIOLI #3: A Book Set in a "Golden Age"
I am a sucker for a 1940’s Los Angeles/Hollywood setting, a hard-boiled mystery with some violence and real life cameos by various movie stars therefore, Bullet For a Star by Stuart Kaminsky was a really good read for me. I love old movies and their stars and plenty of these real life actors make an appearance in this book including Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Peter Lorrie and Errol Flynn. There was also the treat of having some great movie sets being used as a backdrop throughout the story. I was able to visit the sets of High Sierra, Santa Fe Passage and The Maltese Falcon.
Down on his luck, private investigator Toby Peters takes on a job for his old studio boss at Warner Brothers that requires him to pay off a blackmailer who has incriminating pictures of Errol Flynn. Even though these pictures are more than likely falsified the studio just wants them gone. Of course, things are never that simple and before he knows it Toby is up to his ears in murder, mayhem and movie stars.
Bullet for a Star was a really fun read and, as much as I loved the name-dropping and the setting, the mystery was also intriguing and there was plenty of action to keep the pages turning. Toby Peters is a likeable, sympathetic character, tenacious, honest and witty. I look forward to continuing on with his adventures because this book is the first book in a long series.
>122 jonesli: I think they are worth your trying, Lisa. I was pleasantly surprised as I thought these might be more of a "cozy" mystery which I am not a huge fan of, but it was actually more "hard-boiled', which was fine by me! :)
>124 klobrien2: Karen, I picked up the first three in the series on a Kindle Daily Deal a couple of years ago, but after finishing this one, I went to Amazon and picked up the fourth in the series. I have my fingers crossed that they will show up as a Daily Deal again.
>125 Storeetllr: This one was a great quick read, Mary.
55. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - 4.3 ★
Category: M to P
TIOLI #6: The Words "Day" or "Light" Are in the Title
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard is a coming-of-age book about a young man’s 13th year, in particular, the events that occurred over the Labor Day weekend. Henry lives with his mother who isn’t coping well with her life. She rarely goes out at all but this day Henry needed new clothes for school which was starting after the long weekend. While in the store Henry is approached by a man who obviously needs some help. He is limping and bleeding, and Henry and his mother take him home.
Frank is an escaped convict, but doesn’t seem threatening in any way, in fact, Frank and Henry’s mother, Adele, hit it off right away. Frank does tell them who he is but they are enjoying themselves and allow the situation to get even more intimate. When Frank and Adele start talking about running away to Canada, Henry believes they are going to leave him behind. He does see his father, but isn’t all that keen to live with his father’s new family or his step-mother. He becomes angry and confesses about the situation to a friend. He then finds out that Frank and Adele have no intention of leaving him behind. They pack up and are about to leave when the police arrive and arrest Frank. The friend that Henry told went to the police for the $10,000 reward.
The book is written from the point of view of a thirty year old Henry who brings us up to date with what eventually happens to Frank, Adele, Henry and the rest of the family. I admit that at first I was not fond of fragile Adele and how passive she was but as the author slowly reveals more and more about her character, I began to root for her. I started this book thinking it would be an average read, but the author developed her characters into fully rounded people and presented a story that was both insightful and so richly shaded that I knew this was much more than an average book.
Judy, you seem to be making good progress on all those March challenges you got sucked into! :-)
>127 DeltaQueen50: - I thought this sounded familiar so I checked and this was made into a movie in 2013. Not my cup of tea, but if you're interested..... Of course, it sounds like the book has much more depth than the movie might.
>128 EBT1002: I am making good progress, Ellen. I've just finished the last book I needed to make a sweep of the 15 TIOLI Challenges, and I still have a couple of weeks to finish up all the other challenges I took on in March.
>129 dudes22: I did know there was a movie made from this book, Betty, although from what I understand the movie is quite different from the book. Now that I have read the book, I wouldn't mind seeing the movie at some point.
56. The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton - 4.1 ★
Category: U to Z
TIOLI #10: Written By A Woman And Published Between 1910 and 1930
The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton takes place in a shabby neighbourhood in New York City. The two sisters keep a shop selling women’s accessories, like artificial flowers. They barely make ends meet, but by doing some extra sewing, Ann Eliza, the elder sister, is able to give the younger sister, Evelina a clock for her birthday. Although Ann Eliza has come to terms with her spinsterhood, Evelina still clings to the hope of marriage. When the sisters develop a relationship with the clock-maker, Mr Ramy, both sisters are attracted to him. Mr Ramy seems like a quiet, gentleman who would make a fine husband, but it turns out that he is not what he seems. The sister’s fragile sensibilities and naivety leads to their placing trust where it shouldn’t have been placed.
First and foremost, this story is a tragedy, a dark tale of poverty, loneliness and despair. Edith Wharton excels in stories that are full of melancholy and repressed emotions. In The Bunner Sisters she expertly pulls on the reader’s heartstrings with this quietly affecting, emotional read.
>132 Storeetllr: Hooray!! Spring is finally here. Those tulips are gorgeous.
Congrats on your first TIOLI sweep, Judy. I've had two but the first one was harder. It'll need to be a perfect storm of challenges for me to ever attempt it again but it could happen.
I was reading Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore but put it aside to finish my massive MLK book, the first in the Taylor Branch trilogy. I may get back to Mr Penumbra at some point but probably not soon. It didn't grab my interest as much as I thought it would.
>134 lindapanzo: Thanks Linda, in all the years I have been doing the TIOLI Challenges, this was the first time I had books to fit every category and the time to fit them all in to my reading. Also it helped a great deal that there were only 15 challenges this month. I doubt if I will ever do it again, but I wanted to see if I could at least once.
Congrats on meeting all your TIOLIs, Judy. I've never gotten into them, but I have an idea how difficult it is to do a clean sweep!
It's been a while since I read Moon Over Manifest, and I remember rather enjoying it as well.
It does sound like an interesting read. I've heard of it before because of the movie that was recently released (I haven't seen it).
I've enjoyed both The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, so I should definitely check out The Bunner Sisters as well.
I have been experiencing some strange pains in my back and side recently and thought I had twisted a muscle or something. The pain settled in my ribcage area and really hurts, then over the weekend, little blisters began to appear around my side and, when I went to the doctor this morning, she was pretty sure I have a case of shingles. Yuck. I am so tired of being sick, and now with this apparently I am quite contagious as well. I guess this is another excuse to sit around and read a lot, if only I can find a position to be comfortable in.
>136 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. I look at it as something to tick off on my Bucket List. I doubt if I will try it again.
>137 andreablythe: Hi Andrea, I was expecting Labor Day to be more of a thriller - you know, escaped convict holds mother and son hostage - but this was so much more. Really an insightful and sensitive coming-of-age read. I have surprised myself with how much I enjoy Edith Wharton's writing and both The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth are on my wishlist. It will be hard for anything of hers to reach the perfection that I found in Ethan Frome though.
>138 DeltaQueen50: Oh no, I understand that those are quite painful. Hope you can get comfortable.
My mother had them a few years back and, since I've had chicken pox, I was worried about it but the dr wouldn't let me have the shot. 60+ only, apparently, for the immunization.
I'd never even heard of The Bunner Sisters and now I have to read it. Thanks for a great review!
And ouch! Shingles! Take care of yourself, Judy, and get well soonest.
>138 DeltaQueen50: I had almost the same exact thing; but instead of shingles, I was diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction to something. I didn't believe the doctor, so I went in for a second opinion, and got the same diagnoses. So, a week's worth of a steroid, an antibiotic, Cortizone cream, Allegra, and Benadryl... and I'm exhausted not only from trying to get through the day in pain, but the meds as well. I've been referred to a specialist-allergist, who can't see me until mid-April and he wants me to stop taking antihistamines a week before the office visit! I'm really not sure how I'm going to survive that week... Anyway, if shingles is worse than this, I don't wanna go there!
I can't keep up with you, Judy. The Estes is one that I'll add to my list, and I've wanted to read the Lippman series for a while. It sounds like I should move it up.
I haven't read Little Women or Little Men for years, but I still have the copies I was given when I was ten. :)
I hope the shingles resolve quickly. Ouch.
Oh no, shingles! You have all my sympathy. Be well.
>139 lindapanzo: That's interesting. Here they recommend the vaccine for anyone over 50. I was all set to get it but then I found out that it's $250 and I don't think I have any insurance that covers it so I've been putting it off.
I got shingles when I was 59 (yes, Kaiser pays for it and pushes it at age 60) and had it right by my eye. My brother and sister both had it before 60 as well; she had it on her back but he had it on his otic nerve and it seriously affected his balance--quite serious. It was so painful--I do sympathize, my dear!
>138 DeltaQueen50: Oh Judy! I'm so sorry. I hope you find some relief and get well soon!
>139 lindapanzo: 60+ only, apparently, for the immunization
As if a switch automatically turns on when you reach a magic age!
My husband (won't go for a shot for any reason!) didn't get his and suffered for months with shingles. He had it on his back. Tide is miraculous for removing stains, just saying!
I had a shingles outbreak when I was 16, so I can sympathize with what you're going through. It covered almost my whole upper back and felt like my skin was on fire. I couldn't lift my arms. Neither of my parents knew what it was and my dad actually backed away from me when he saw it, lol. It did look like the plague. The doctor just looked at it, told us what it was, and said there was nothing that could be done about it, but my mom put Vitamin E on me every night in the hopes that I wouldn't be scarred, because it was a pretty severe outbreak. She was right, I don't have scars.
>138 DeltaQueen50: Sad to hear that you're suffering again Judy. Hope it's not as bad gor you as it can be and get well soon!
Oh, Judy, that sounds terrible. I hope your pain and discomfort is short-lived!
Oh! Ow! Shingles is painful. I've been fortunate not to get it, but my sis did. We all had chicken pox as kids, so it's only a matter of time, I guess. Hope you recover quickly!
>144 ronincats: I've got Kaiser too but a couple years ago when I asked about it I'd have had to pay for it. :( Guess I have a different plan than yours.
>139 lindapanzo: I know Shingles is considered a "Seniors" illness, but it can happen at any age so I would think the vaccine should be for anyone who wants it.
>140 RidgewayGirl: I had never heard of The Bunner Sisters either, Kay. It caught my attention when I was looking at the 1,001 List of Book to Read Before You Die List, and since I have enjoyed my other Wharton reads, I gave it a try.
>141 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Oh, I am so sorry for you Tanya, that sounds horrible. I was happy to have a diagnosis even if it did have to be Singles, not knowing is so much worse. Treatment for me is a oral antibiotic and a topical cream to help with the itch and burning. I hope the specialist can get to the bottom of this for you.
>142 BLBera: I pushed myself reading-wise this month as I really wanted to cover the TIOLI Challenges, Beth. I was expecting my reading to slow down, but now since I can't really do anything else, I will probably continue to read up a storm!
>143 Nickelini: Wow, I didn't know that the vaccine would cost so much! I wonder if it would cost that much if your doctor recommends you to have the vaccine. I will have to find out, but I think I will get the shot no matter the cost - I don't want to have to deal with this again.
>144 ronincats: Roni, that sounds like the worse place to have it. Anything to do with the eyes can be so dangerous. I think (fingers crossed) I have a fairly light case as it seems to be concentrated just around my right ribcage.
>145 VictoriaPL: Thanks, Victoria.
>146 mamzel: Months!! I thought I would only have to deal with this for a couple of weeks!!
>147 mstrust: Ouch, that sounds like you had a pretty bad case, Jennifer. Thank heavens for Moms, right?
>148 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks, Dave. If I have to have this then I am glad it's located where it is and not anywhere on my face. I am hoping that this isn't too severe a case.
>151 DeltaQueen50: - Best of luck with the shingles - a guy in my book club had a pretty severe case a few years ago. It impacted his eyes for a bit. Definitely not a "seniors" disease as all the people I know who have had it were young.
My mother said shingles was the worst thing she ever had. She encouraged anyone old enough to be vaccinated to be.
57. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson - 4.2 ★
March AwardsCat: 2001 Thurber Prize Finalist
BingoDog: Author Abroad
TIOLI #2: Set In a Country Other Than The U.S., Great Britain, France or Germany
In A Sunburned Country is a year 2000 Australian travelogue presented by Bill Bryson in a humorous and approachable manner. Although filled with clever anecdotes and funny situations the author still manages to pass along a great deal of information about that unique country.
The book is based on a number of trips the author made to Australia, including a cross country rail trip and various driving excursions and boat trips. Whether he is detailing stats about population, giving the reader history lessons, describing the awesome beauty or considering the varied and sometimes dangerous flora and fauna, his sheer joy of being in that country comes across on every page.
In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson’s admiration for Australia made me want to pack my suitcase and run away to the ‘land down under’. I needed an escape from real life right now and this book certainly managed to carry me away. It’s a frank, funny and overall, a very captivating read.
That one's on my shelf. I've been wanting to read it for a while now.
Guess I'll go hunt for it!
Just checking in here and I'm sorry to hear about the shingles.I'm glad that you are still able to read and I hope you recover quickly!
>155 DeltaQueen50: I am an affirmed fan of Bryson's and I did like that one a whole lot, Judy. Teh thing that stands out to me all these years later is the detailed explanations of all the bits of Australia nature that will kill you!
First off - sorry to hear about the singles. I was lucky that I'm still using the military for my health care and could get the shot at no cost. I too have heard it's expensive. My sister was lucky - she had a tiny dot near her eyebrow and someone she works with told her it looked like shingles so she got to the doctor right away and it never spread.
Next - I've only read one book by Bill Bryson and keep meaning to read more as there are a number of his books that interest me. Do I dare declare that I'll move him up the list?
>158 jonesli: Hi Lisa, I am doing ok, and reading certainly takes my mind off the pain somewhat.
>159 rosalita: I have always been fascinated with Australia and intend to do a fair amount of reading about that country this year. The snakes and other bugs don't particularly bother me but I am paranoid about spiders.
>160 lyzard: Hi Liz, and that is why I will read of Australia yet stay safely in Canada!
>161 dudes22: I'd suggest moving Bill Bryson up the list when you need a humorous escape. I am going to ask my doctor about the vaccine as I am wondering if our insurance will cover or partially cover the cost if she recommends me to have it.
58. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - 3.7 ★
Category: Q to T
March CatWoman: Genres - Fantasy
March AwardsCat: Newbery Honor 1997
TIOLI #5: Author Publishes Under Three Names
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is a YA Fantasy book that begins her Queen’s Thief series. The story opens with Gen languishing in prison until the King of Sounis’ advisor, the Magus, pulls him out and has him on the road with himself, two of his pupils and a guard. They are on a quest to steal an ancient treasure that will be put to good use in a plot to extend the kingdom of Sounis at the expense of the neighbouring ones of Attolia and Eddis.
This is a good enough quest-style book that relies heavily on it’s characters to draw the reader in. For the most part this worked for me as Gen, as the main character and narrator was quick witted, humorous and a little unreliable. The rest had their roles pretty well set from the beginning, the wise councillor, Magus, the two assistants, one being sullen and given to jealous sulks, the other, younger and friendlier. The guard, Pol, is experienced and sober. As they travel along the characters exchange stories and legends which helps to set the background of the story.
I found this book a pleasant diversion but it was the nice twist at the end that encourages me to continue on with the series. The stage has been set and I am interested in what happens next.
>164 christina_reads: I have seen that most people loved the next two books, so I am looking forward to them, Christina.
All caught up here, Judy - somehow I had missed your entire thread. I love the sculptures in the topper - very cool. I was sorry to read about the shingles - YIKES! Hoping you get rid of them quickly and are feeling better very soon. I will be fifty this year, so I need to remember to ask my doctor about the vaccine.
As always, very nice reviews here - you are making me want to get to Bullet For a Star this year - I have had that one in the stacks for a while now. I am currently reading The Third Man by Graham Greene, and the edition I have is digital with clips of the movie interspersed throughout the text, and I am really enjoying it. I did not know that Greene was asked to write a screenplay set in post WWII Vienna, and that he then proceeded to write a novella to flesh out the characters for the screenplay - the longer book came after the movie.
>163 DeltaQueen50: The girls and I read The Thief earlier this year for our Pecan Paradisio Book Club, and we all loved it. I am excited to get to the sequels.
Hoping your Friday is full of fabulous!
So sorry to hear you have shingles, Judy. I hope you are not suffering too much and can still keep up your always impressive reading.
I agree about Bill Bryson, I've never been disappointed with one of his books.
My husband went to see the doctor yesterday and asked her about the vaccination for Shingles. She told him that if he has had them (he has) then he doesn't need the vaccine, apparently the body develops it's own anti-bodies making it highly unlikely to get them again. So I guess I won't need a vaccination either. Today is a bad day with a lot of burning pain so I will try to get back later to reply to everyone's posts. For now I am going to curl up with a couple of The Walking Dead graphic novels that my hubby picked up for me at the library.
Oh Judy, I'm so sorry you are suffering with Shingles! I hope curling up with books and doing what the dr prescribed makes this a short lived episode.
What Lynda said, Judy. My wife and a neighbor both had shingles, and they were miserable. I hope it treads more lightly with you.
I'm back and so far today seems like a much better day than yesterday was.
>166 nrmay: Nancy, the next book in the series is The Queen of Attolia and it seems to get very good reviews.
>167 Crazymamie: Mamie, I think you would enjoy A Bullet For A Star. I was surprised by it as I wasn't sure if it would work, and I also thought it would be a little on the light side. Happily, I was wrong about both of these. Graham Greene is an author that I need to explore more as I have only read one of his books so far.
>168 VictoriaPL: Hope you enjoy it when you get to it, Victoria.
>169 VivienneR: I am the same way with Bill Bryson, Vivienne. He's an author that I know I can count on.
>171 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. I am certainly tired of not feeling well and being miserable. I will be so happy to get my life back!
>172 jnwelch: I think that's the hardest part of this, Joe, just feeling miserable. Not being able to be comfortable in any position for any length of time. I am however, getting a fair amount of reading in which is the best escape.
59. The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi - 3.7 ★
Category: M to P
March CultureCat: Cultural Diversity
BingoDog: Set In a Country You've Never BeenTo
TIOLI #2: Set in a Country Othan Than the U.S., Great Britain, France or Germany
The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi takes us on a trip to today’s India as Priya Rso returns after seven years in America for a visit to her Brahmin family. She finds India dirtier than she remembered, hotter than she can stand and her family even more difficult to get along with than before. Her family are starting to question why, at age twenty-seven, she isn’t married. Her parents are intent on finding suitable suitors. She meets a new aunt but is appalled at how badly the family treats her, she is Indian and from the right caste but grew up in a different province which seems to make her unacceptable. She has something to tell her family, but fears that her announcement will end badly. After all, if they won’t accept an Indian girl, what will they say when they learn that Priya is engaged to an American.
Set against the harvesting and preparing of mangoes, the author draws us into this family with it’s larger than life characters. Like the mango, this story is a mixture of sweet and sour. At times it becomes overly dramatic while at others the family dynamics show a great mix of humor, emotion and caring. Of course, this is a multi-generational family that believes in the tradition of arranged marriages, so when Priya finally comes clean there is plenty of passion and controversy.
I enjoyed this story and loved the descriptions of the food, climate and customs of Southern India. Although I would have liked the characters to have been more fully drawn, this was a light, informative and interesting read and the slight twist at the end of the book certainly brought a smile to my face.
Interesting, Judy. My doctor wanted me to go ahead and get the vaccination even after I had my episode of shingles. And I am glad you enjoyed The Thief. That series is one of my comfort reads.
>175 ronincats: Hi Roni. The doctor said "unlikely to get Shingles again", I would feel better if the possibility of a repeat wasn't there. I don't want to go through this again!
60. The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back by Robert Kirkman - 4.0 ★
The Walking Dead Volume 26: Call To Arms by Robert Kirkman - 4.2 ★
Category: My Long Library List
I both read the graphics of The Walking Dead and watch the television show. Over the years the tv show has veered away from the plot line that the books follow, and at times, I have to remind myself who is alive in the books and who is alive in the shows, who is romantically involved with who and how to separate the storylines. I still enjoy both the tv version and the graphic comic version a lot.
The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back
This volume of The Walking Dead mostly deals with the repercussions of the deaths that the Whisperers left in their wake. Some are angry at Rick for his slowness to respond while others are looking at Lydia, the daughter of the head Whisperer, as a way to have their revenge.
Rick sends Carl, Lorna and Andrea away to keep them safe and then consults with Negan as to how he should respond to this threat to their peaceful way of life. He comes to the realization that without the power of a strong military behind them, they will always be vulnerable to attack.
Plans are to immediately arm and train a militia while their long term plans will be to take out the Whisperers.
The Walking Dead Volume 26: Call to Arms
There was a lot going on in this issue Rick is attacked and has to kill someone. This incident leads to a boy, in revenge for his father’s death, letting Negan go. Negan takes up with the Whisperers and had his eyes on Alpha but there is an interesting twist to his storyline that was surprising and I am sure will be followed up on in upcoming issues. Meanwhile, Eugene comes into radio contact with someone and they are slowly trading information about their numbers and whereabouts.
Dwight continues to train the milita, Rick considers sending Michonne to the Kingdom as their leader and Carl has settled into Hill Top with Lydia.
Both these volumes are leading up to a confrontation with Rick’s people and the Whisperers which should make the next volume an interesting one.
61. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - 4.5 ★
Category: I to L
March Award Cat: 2014 Anthony Award
March AlphaKit: K
TIOLI #5: Author Publishes Under a Three Barreled Name
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is a stand-alone novel rather than part of his Cork O'Connor series. This book is a wonderful mixture of a coming of age story and a mystery with an extraordinary sense of place and time. It delivers the reader to the small town of New Bremen, Minnesota during the summer of 1961 as thirteen year old Frank Drum is about to learn how secrets, lies and betrayal can rip a family apart.
Frank is the middle child of the town’s Methodist minister. His mother is a beautiful and passionate woman who is particularly proud of Ariel, his older sister, who is set to leave for New York and the Julliard School of Music in the autumn. Frank and his younger brother, Jake look forward to their long summer vacation. Everything changes as the two brothers find the corpse of a hobo under the railway bridge. Through a series of tragedies the story unfolds in a slow, circular manner as eventually the family experiences a violent loss of it’s own.
At heart this is a meditation on the nature of grace in a time of crisis wrapped in the guise of a mystery novel but Ordinary Grace is written with such a quiet beauty and strength that this story of family, faith and empathy is lifted to a very high level.
A good friend of mine raved about Ordinary Grace, and it's good to hear another recommendation.
Hi, Judy. The Bryson book sounds like a good one. I had not heard of it. I want to read more of his work.
Good review of Ordinary Grace. Thumb! I will have to add that one to the list. I have only read his first O'Connor book.
>181 VictoriaPL: Hi Victoria, as much as I enjoy his Cork O'Connor series, I hope he writes more stand alone books as Ordinary Grace was a wonderful read.
>182 Nickelini: There are a few authors like Kent Haruf, Ivan Doig, Daniel Woodrell and Larry Watson that write with a strong sense of place. I would add William Kent Krueger to that list. He's well worth giving a try.
>183 msf59: Add it to your list, Mark. :) His series is also very well done.
>180 DeltaQueen50: Rather than pick up another series to try, I'll add this standalone to the wishlist first and take it from there. It's not the first time I've seen praise heaped on the author so I guess it's about time I picked him up.
Loved your comments on Ordinary Grace, Judy. I have a copy waiting for me. Maybe next month.
I've been ignoring my thread and lurking around on the April TIOLI Thread today trying to get all my planned reads fit in and I was successful!
>185 dudes22: I think you will really like Ordinary Grace, Betty.
>186 AHS-Wolfy: Good plan, Dave. I do like his Cork O'Connor series, he is very good at setting the scene and the atmosphere.
>187 BLBera: I will look forward to hearing what you think of it, Beth.
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