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Katie K's 2017 Book of Books (and Shenanigans and Beverages and Friends) - Chapter 7

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Mar 17, 2:29pm Top


I don't think I had this many friends in school who liked to read like I did ;-)

Hello, Old Friends, and Welcome, New Ones!

My husband and I just re-located from Dallas, Texas to the metro New York area, so I am all about new adventures and fresh perspectives!

About me: I'm in my late 30s and besides reading, I love to travel, try new wines, indulge in shenanigans, and spend time with friends and family. Other things I love: Pimm's, snark, the New York Giants, the New York Yankees, sports in general, Cards Against Humanity, and "ethnic" (i.e. non-American) cuisine. But I like American food, too. I just like food. :)

My reading is primarily fiction, though I love nonfiction, too. I'll read almost anything if it has a compelling narrative - from great literature to tawdry romances. This is a judgment-free zone. Unless you use bad grammar, and then I judge you. A lot. (Ooh, look, lots of sentence fragments; I'm judging myself now...)

Other characters who occasionally make an appearance on my thread:
The Wayne - husband
Louis - The World's Best Dog (who is currently being taken care of by my sister-in-law because my mean landlord won't let us have a dog in this beautiful house...)
Leonard - a cat that thinks he's a dog, which is why I find him acceptable
Olivia, Peter, and Abby - my cousins (11, 7, and 3) on whom I dote
Noname and Can'tdecide - my next cousin (due late March) and my nephew (due late January)
Charlie - my baby nephew born January 24!
Benjamin - my baby cousin born March 15!

Edited: Today, 9:00am Top

(Kindle) (Audio)

1. And Justice There is None by Deborah Crombie (3.5 stars)
2. Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas (3 stars)
3. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3 stars)
-- In Twenty Years by Alison Scotch Win (DNF)
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (audio) (4 stars)
5. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (4.5 stars)
6. The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (4 stars)
7. Kindred by Octavia Butler (3.5 stars)
8. News of the World by Paulette Jiles (4.5 stars)
9. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (3.5 stars)
10. Everyday People by Stewart O'Nan (4.5 stars)
11. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (4.5 stars)
12. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard (4 stars)
-- Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
13. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (4 stars)
14. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4.5 stars)

Edited: Mar 17, 2:30pm Top


Ratings: I've stolen my star scale from Ellen and slightly modified it.

5 stars = I connected with this book in a special way. It may not be perfect, but it was perfect for me.
4.5 = A great read, among my favorites of the year.
4 = A good read and one that I recommend; truly enjoyable and/or worthy.
3.5 = Pretty good, with a few things done very well.
3 = Good for what it is.
2.5 = Average, and life is too short to read average works.
2 = A bit below average. A waste of time.

Anything worse I probably didn't finish and so wouldn't give a rating.


Some of the challenges I am following/wanting to participate in:

American Author Challenge (75ers)
Nonfiction Challenge (75ers)
Monthly Themes (Reading Through Time)
CultureCAT (2017 Category Challenge)
Why the Hell Did Donald Trump Win? (not sure of actual group read name :) ) (75ers)

I also want to save room for random/serendipitous choices, so I need to give myself permission to dip in and out of the challenges. I may bring back my LT Folly book selection or some other random means of selecting at least one book a month.

Edited: Mar 17, 2:31pm Top

Edited: Mar 17, 2:32pm Top

Reviews from the end of the last thread....

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Why now: The author was speaking locally and I’ve wanted to read this for a long time.

This should be required reading in high school so that the generation coming up will have a real sense of the problems in our justice system and inspiration to address them head on. I could quote so many passages of this book and relate each time I was brought to tears, but you should just read it for yourself. It is a really tough read, but an important and worthwhile one.

4.5 stars

Edited: Mar 17, 2:32pm Top

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
Why now: Nonfiction Challenge Theme – Voyages of Discovery

Candice Millard is an excellent narrative nonfiction writer. I loved her Destiny of the Republic, and I liked this one a lot. And may have been less of a revelation than Destiny just because I am more familiar with T.R. and knew about this expedition he undertook down an unchartered river in Brazil. But Millard’s research and ability to synthesize so much information into a readable and entertaining narrative is really impressive.

4 stars

Edited: Mar 17, 2:33pm Top

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
Why now: Suzanne gave me the ARC and it’s a favorite series

I really like this series, especially the first couple of books and now the last couple. I always find the background and context of the mysteries interesting (this one is about underground societies) and the character development and relationships are intriguing. The resolutions to the mysteries are usually kind of ridiculous, but that’s almost secondary. Developments in the Nelson and Ruth relationship alone make this one worth reading. Hoo boy!

This one will be published in the US at the end of May.

4 stars

Mar 17, 2:33pm Top

Next one's yours!

Edited: Mar 17, 3:05pm Top

Mine!!! Happy St. Paddy's Day!! A favorite series, you say? Dang it. Maybe I can find one or two at Powell's tomorrow. So maybe I should go finish what I am reading. Ha!!

Mar 17, 3:05pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie!

Mar 17, 3:12pm Top

>9 Berly: - All yours, Kim!

And yep, I love the Ruth Galloway series. Highly recommended!

>10 susanj67: - Thanks, Susan!

Mar 17, 3:13pm Top

Happy New Thread, Katie! Some day I'm going to get to that Ruth Galloway series. I've got the first one on my WL.

Mar 17, 3:18pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie! Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Mar 17, 3:18pm Top

Thanks, Joe!

It's a good series. I hope you like it when you get to it...

Mar 17, 3:18pm Top

Thank you, Micky! My only plans are laundry and packing. I fly Sunday night to Bangkok :)

Mar 17, 4:40pm Top

Happy new one, Katie! I am very jealous that you have gotten to read the latest Ruth Galloway.

Mar 17, 4:53pm Top

Well, Mamie, I am sending it up to Beth, so maybe if you ask her *very nicely* she will pass it along to you next!

Mar 17, 5:25pm Top

Happy new thread and happy St. Patrick's Day, Katie.

Mar 17, 6:41pm Top

Happy new thread! We're having twin new threads!

Mar 17, 6:57pm Top

Happy new thread Katie. Hope your flight to Bangkok is a smooth one.

Mar 17, 7:04pm Top

Happy New Thread, Katie! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hooray for Just Mercy & The River of Doubt.

Ooh, I am so jealous you are reading Exit West. That one is very high on my T.R. list at the moment. I have heard only glowing reports.

Edited: Mar 17, 8:05pm Top

>18 ronincats: - Thanks, Roni!

>19 drneutron: - Honored to share twin threads with you, Jim :)

>20 charl08: - Thanks, Charlotte! I hope so, too.... It's a loooong trip! My layover in Abu Dhabi is about 3 hours, so that should be fine (knock on wood!).

>21 msf59: - Exit West is very good so far, Mark. I'm only about 50 pages in but reads really smoothly, and I love the writing.

Mar 17, 9:34pm Top

>5 katiekrug: Into the BlackHole it goes! Thanks for the recommendation, Katie.

Happy weekend :)

Mar 17, 11:50pm Top

Happy new thread Katie, and here's to having a great weekend. I struggle with the 'reading time/social time on LT' thing constantly. This year reading time has been doing well, but the price is that I am usually behind on all the threads.

Mar 18, 12:24am Top

Hi Katie. I'm glad The Chalk Pit was a good one. Happy new thread.

Mar 18, 12:32am Top

Happy new thread, Katie!

Mar 18, 9:55am Top

>23 alcottacre: - Thanks, Stasia! Happy weekend to you!

>24 DeltaQueen50: - Judy, so far I am getting over my compulsion to get and stay caught up. Once I leave for this trip, there will be no hope so it's good practice ;-)

>25 BLBera: - I think you're going to like it, Beth! I probably won't get it in the mail before I leave but The Wayne may remember to take care of it for me. Otherwise, I'll send it as soon as I get back the week after next.

>26 RebaRelishesReading: - Thanks, Reba!

Mar 18, 10:51am Top

No worries. I have a couple of other things to read. :)

Mar 18, 10:54am Top

>5 katiekrug: and >6 katiekrug: will be BB's for me.

There is no keeping up around here, Lol.

Safe travels!

Mar 18, 10:55am Top

Happy new thread, and happy weekend, Katie!

Mar 18, 4:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie. It seems to be an especially challenging year to keep up with the threads! Safe travels!

Mar 18, 7:32pm Top

>28 BLBera: - I know that feeling :)

>29 nittnut: - Thanks, Jenn! And sorrynotsorry about the BBs....

>30 karenmarie: - Thank you, Karen. Hope you're having a good one!

>31 Familyhistorian: - I'm glad it's not just me, Meg :)

Mar 18, 7:37pm Top

I wish I were flying to Bangkok tomorrow! Have a good flight and I hope you enjoy the time there, in spite of the work involved. :)

Mar 18, 10:34pm Top

I have mixed feelings, Ursula. It's a long flight, but I'll be in business class so that helps. I am missing The Wayne's birthday, which is a bummer. But I am really looking forward to seeing my colleagues whom I miss since I left Dallas. And I am happy to get some Katie time, which I plan to spend just relaxing at the hotel. This is my 3rd trip to Bangkok, so I've seen what I'm interested in seeing of the city and plan to chill at the hotel during my downtime, so that will be nice. But I will be glad to have the trip behind me, too!

Mar 19, 12:17am Top

Safe travels, Katie.

Mar 19, 4:38am Top

Happy travels, Katie. I hope the business class makes it all go smooth sailing for you (as it were). That will be nice I bet!

Mar 19, 7:01am Top

>34 katiekrug: Ah yeah, a mixed bag definitely. Enjoying the parts you can will definitely help you get on the other side of it faster!

Mar 19, 9:25am Top

>35 BLBera: and >36 Ireadthereforeiam: - Thanks, Beth and Megan!

>37 ursula: - These trips always seem to fly by, so that helps :-)

Mar 19, 9:32am Top

Happy Sunday, Katie! And have a very safe trip, my friend. Do you travel today?

Mar 19, 9:51am Top

I sure do, Mark! But my flight's not until 11pm.

Mar 19, 9:59am Top

I hope you get some R & R in beforehand.

Mar 19, 10:17am Top

No worries. I still need to pack but that's about it. I'm trying to finish Exit West right now (it's excellent!).

Mar 19, 10:29am Top

Wishing you smooth travels!

Mar 19, 10:59am Top

Wishing you safe travels, Katie!

Mar 19, 11:39am Top

Hours and hours in business class sounds like just the thing if you have to fly anywhere :-) I hope the trip goes well and you enjoy all the hotel amenities.

Mar 19, 12:24pm Top

Katie--Safe trip to tonight and I hope you have some wonderful me-time in Bangkok. I swear I added Ruth Galloway to my WL before Powell's, but it wasn't on it and I only just remembered now that I am on your thread. I am so bummed. : ( But it is now really, truly on the list.

Mar 19, 12:36pm Top

>43 MickyFine: and >44 Crazymamie: - Thank you, Micky and Mamie!

>45 susanj67: - Yep, it could be worse, Susan! And I love the hotel (Mandarin Oriental) so hanging out there will be a pleasure :)

>46 Berly: - Well, Kim, I'm sure you have plenty to read in the meantime!

Mar 19, 12:50pm Top

Hope the room service is good in your hotel. I rather like the idea of being holed up with my books. Good luck with packing your books. Choices choices!

Mar 19, 1:37pm Top

Hi, Katie! Just stopping by (and delurking) to say Happy New Thread. Bangkok! Sounds so exotic to one who has never been. Safe flight and enjoy a relaxing time between work stuff!

Mar 19, 4:21pm Top

A rather delayed Happy New Thread. I hope your travels go smoothly and you have a fabulous time in Bangkok, even if it is for work and not play!

Mar 19, 6:27pm Top

Here's wishing you a safe, smooth trip and a great time in Bangkok

Mar 20, 12:00am Top

Happy New Thread, Katie, and safe travels! I can relate to the opportunity to build in some down time in the room when on a work-related trip. Enjoy your room service (do you do room service? I have a hard time letting myself indulge in it but when I do, it's so decadently wonderful!).

I'm looking forward to reading Just Mercy one of these days. I have taken the important step of purchasing it.

Mar 20, 6:40am Top

Happy new thread, Katie!

Mar 20, 12:18pm Top

Hi all! Just checking in from Abu Dhabi, where I am laying over. Uneventful 12 hour flight from JFK. I slept a majority of it. And got started on Sophie's Choice which, weirdly, is a good airplane book. *shrug*

Mar 20, 12:48pm Top

Hi Katie! I hope your layover isn't too long, or the shopping is good :-)

Mar 20, 12:51pm Top

A little over 3 hours. I'm holed up in the Etihad lounge where the wine is free :-)

Mar 20, 12:54pm Top

>56 katiekrug: Heh. Yay for business class lounges!

Mar 20, 4:41pm Top

>34 katiekrug: Meeting with colleagues is one the best things about working. I hope you enjoy the time in Bangkok, Katie.

Mar 20, 8:47pm Top

Who knew Sopie's Choice would be a good airplane book, Katie ...

Mar 20, 9:58pm Top

Yeah, not what I would have expected to keep me going on a 14 hr flight...

Mar 21, 8:46pm Top

I'm safely ensconced in the lap of luxury at the hotel :-) Breakfasting on the terrace before getting to work.

Individual responses later! Thanks for keeping my thread warm!

Mar 21, 10:03pm Top

I hope you're not also coming back via Abu Dhabi (or Dubai, for that matter) ... this new ban on all devices is kind of a pain if you're a Kindle reader. Good thing you can sleep through flights too! :)

Mar 21, 10:22pm Top

Enjoy your free time in Bangkok, sounds like a great hotel.

Mar 21, 10:44pm Top

>61 katiekrug: Good to see you arrived safely in South East Asia, Katie. It is a shame that my schedule is so hectic right now and I am trying to get done to relocate, otherwise I would have downed tools and paid you a visit up there. Enjoy yourself some R&R.

Mar 22, 12:51pm Top

Ahh "the lap of luxury"...such a nice place to be :)

Mar 22, 2:26pm Top

Yay for luxury. Hope you get some time in between the work to enjoy it.

Mar 22, 9:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie! I hope that you have some enjoyable down time in Bangkok.

Mar 24, 10:22am Top

Hi, Katie. Just me, catching up yet again after my trip to Portland, Or. I hope the return flight isn't too boring, and you have few good physical books to get you through.

Mar 24, 10:44am Top

Dear Katie,

I miss you. That is all.

Much love,

Mar 24, 10:50am Top

Howdy, Katie. I was stationed in Bangkok for nearly a year during the war. Yeah, that war. Vietnam. Fifty years ago. I was so lucky in how that worked out.

Mar 24, 4:53pm Top

Hope your work trip is treating you well, Katie.

I ran across a sports romance today while browsing through a publisher catalogue and the title made me giggle: Third Base. It might be funnier when combined with the cover image of a shirtless man holding a baseball bat. Anyway, sports romances always make me think of you. :)

Mar 26, 11:26am Top

I hope you're doing well, Katie.

Mar 27, 1:34pm Top

Hi Katie, stopping by to get caught up. Wishing you a wonderful week and that your work trip is going well.

Mar 27, 2:02pm Top

Hi Katie, hope all is going well and you are having a great week. Stay safe and healthy.

Yesterday, 4:50am Top

Hi Katie!

I, too, hope your trip is going well and that you're also enjoying yourself!

Yesterday, 12:36pm Top

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig!

After a hellish ride home from the airport, I am now safely ensconced at home, which may not be the lap of luxury, but which is most welcome after a seemingly endless trip :)

Yesterday, 12:37pm Top

Pardon my French.

Yesterday, 12:41pm Top

>48 charl08: - As it turned out, Charlotte, I never got room service! But the food was excellent everywhere I went :)

>49 Storeetllr: - Good to "see" you, Mary! And thanks for the good wishes.

>50 lunacat: - Thanks, Jenny! I did manage to survive everything thrown at me, so thanks for that :)

>51 RebaRelishesReading: - Thank you, Reba!

Yesterday, 12:45pm Top

>52 EBT1002: - Ellen, I have zero problem ordering room service, but I never did on this trip... I think the opportunity to hang out with my colleagues whom I see so infrequently now was too good to resist.

>53 scaifea: - Thanks, Amber!

>57 susanj67: - Susan, this trip would have been a nightmare without the lounges... and not just because of the free wine!

>58 Familyhistorian: - Meg, it's been an adjustment working from home, and I am grateful to have some opportunities to connect with my colleague-friends...

Edited: Yesterday, 7:57pm Top

>59 lit_chick: and >60 drneutron: - I know, totally weird. But there was something about the rhythm of it... And then, after a while, it would make me sleepy, so win-win :)

>62 ursula: - I did come back through Abu Dhabi, Ursula. The new restrictions are ridiculous. Luckily, I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I just made sure I had books downloaded onto it, plus I had 3 back issues of Vanity Fair to read, a book of crossword puzzles, and my audio book to keep me company. I was really worried about having to put my laptop in my checked bag, but it made it back with me. I was secretly hoping my Kindle wouldn't, so I could get a new one ;-)

This was my first trip overseas since the election, and I've never had so many people comment on US politics to me (and no, they weren't complimentary); the Bush-Iraq war era didn't even come close in levels of negativity. It's also the first time I have ever made a point of making sure to hold my passport with the back facing out so as not to advertise my nationality. As our not-so-esteemed leader would tweet: SAD!

Edited for clarity.

Yesterday, 1:02pm Top

>63 avatiakh: - Thanks, Kerry! It was lovely.

>64 PaulCranswick: - Hi Paul. A special trip to Bangkok would have been above and beyond the call of duty!

>65 RebaRelishesReading: - Indeed!

>66 charl08: and >67 kidzdoc: - Thanks, Charlotte and Darryl! I did enjoy the bit of downtime I had, though I was chomping at the bit to start home by the end of it :)

Yesterday, 1:05pm Top

>68 ffortsa: - Thanks, Judy. I survived the flight home, mostly thanks to sleep :)

>69 Crazymamie: - *Smile* It's nice to be missed.

>70 weird_O: - Lucky, indeed, Bill. It's a great city - at least now. Not sure what it would have been like then... But I can't imagine the essential nature of the people has changed much, and I find them very warm and friendly.

>71 MickyFine: - Love it! And of course, baseball is always played shirtless :-P

Yesterday, 1:06pm Top

>72 EBT1002: - Great now that I'm home, Ellen!

>73 lkernagh: - Thanks, Lori! Good to "see" you :)

>74 DeltaQueen50: - Home now, Judy, thanks for the good wishes. I hope I stay healthy - the dude across the aisle from me on the return flight sounded like he was about to die from a head and chest cold. Yay.

>75 karenmarie: - Thanks, Karen! Glad to be home, but some fun was had while away...

Yesterday, 1:20pm Top

When one arrives at the Mandarin Oriental, one receives the most amazing-smelling nosegay (?) of fresh flowers.

Speaking of fresh flowers, they were everywhere...

Even on my pillow when I came back to my room...

Yesterday, 1:24pm Top

The view from my room up the Chao Phraya River:

Where we had our opening reception:

The gorgeous meeting rooms (this one is set for the last meeting of the trip):

Yesterday, 2:55pm Top

Love that view.

Glad you made it back despite being without all the entertainment on such a long flight. Kindles are so great in that sort of situation.

Yesterday, 3:21pm Top

Looks like a fantastic trip. Happy you're back though. :)

Yesterday, 4:44pm Top

Glad you're safely back, Katie.

Sounds like a great trip. I'm not surprised you got the negativity re U.S. politics. We got some of that while traveling during the Bush the Younger years, but I'm sure it's much more pronounced for the Orange Voldemort.

Yesterday, 7:09pm Top

Thanks for sharing your pics, Katie. Welcome home.

Yesterday, 7:22pm Top

Glad to see you've arrived home safe, and I'm not surprised about the negative comments either. When we go to Europe these days, I've made it quite clear which way I voted re Brexit, whenever the topic turns to politics. I do NOT want to be associated with any of it.

Yesterday, 7:36pm Top

Glad you're home safe and sound. Sounds like the trip went well until the ride home -- right?

Yesterday, 7:58pm Top

>86 charl08: - There were also plenty of movies and TV available to watch, so I honestly didn't miss the Kindle that much.

>87 MickyFine: - Me too, Micky!

>88 jnwelch: - Joe, I can remember only a few negative comments about Bush when I was traveling. I got at least double that on this trip alone.

Yesterday, 8:22pm Top

>89 BLBera: - Thank you, Beth.

>90 lunacat: - I usually try to just smile vaguely and move on when politics comes up overseas but I feel so strongly about The Apricot Menace, I can't do that anymore.

>91 RebaRelishesReading: - That's right, Reba. The ride home from the airport wasn't so great - traffic was bad and the driver kept making odd choices. But I made it, so that's the important thing :)

Yesterday, 10:20pm Top

Welcome home, Katie! Glad you can settle in and relax a bit.

Yesterday, 11:21pm Top

>85 katiekrug: Lovely pictures Katie.

Today, 6:18am Top

Thanks, Roni and Erik!

Today, 6:23am Top

I took a five (!) hour nap yesterday and was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep last night, but I managed a solid 5.5 hours. Now I've been up since about 4:30am. We'll see how the day goes. The Wayne has a late work thing tonight and doesn't want to get a late train and then turn around the next morning and go back, so he surprised me by booking a room at the Library Hotel. I'll head into the city late this afternoon and check-in and meet up with him for dinner before he goes back into work. I wouldn't mind just being at home, but he isn't super spontaneous, so I need to be supportive when he is ;-)

Today, 6:29am Top

Welcome home, Katie!

And, ooof, the Library Hotel! Woot!

Today, 6:34am Top

Thanks, Amber!

It looks to be pretty neat:

"The Library Hotel’s collection of over 6,000 books is organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of our 60 rooms are uniquely adorned with books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to."

There's even a reading room with refreshments! I wonder if I could just move in....

Today, 6:57am Top

Wow, that sounds very very cool. I hope you have a lovely evening. And encouragement of spontaneity seems an excellent reason for going along!

Today, 7:01am Top

I was just perusing the website's photos (http://www.libraryhotel.com/en/gallery.html) - there is a giant (faux) card catalogue behind the front desk. I was obviously meant to stay there!

Today, 7:10am Top

>99 katiekrug: Ooh, I want to go! This sounds fun.
(Although I think they should use LCC classification... ;-)

Today, 8:00am Top

Morning, Katie! Welcome home. Glad you survived the trip and are getting caught up on precious sleep.

Did you get any memorable reading in?

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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