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Sibyx's 2017 Reading Rambles: Summer Solstice to Autumn Equinox

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Jun 24, 2017, 3:54pm Top


A friend took this photo of Posey (oh, and me)!
*Header courtesy of LizzieD

Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 9:19am Top

Currently Reading in September

new A Gentleman in Moscow Amore Towles contemp fic
The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson fantasy
new The Tangled Wing Melvin Konner psych behavioral
reread Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues Mary Watkins psych archetypal
Scandal Takes A Holiday (16) Lindsey Davis
Murdoch Marathon: ONGOING. (No plans for reading IM at present) IM readers group is HERE
Virago No immediate plans

99. ✔My Name is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout contemp fic ***1/2
100. ♬The Jupiter Myth(14) Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
101. new The Rift Uprising Amy S Foster YA sf ***
102. new Knots and Crosses Ian Rankin mys **
103. ♬ The Accusers (15) Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
104. ✔My Struggle: Book Four Dancing in the Dark Karl Ove Knausgaard contemp fic ****1/2

Edited: Aug 24, 2017, 2:06pm Top

Reading in June

64. new The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse Louise Erdrichcontemp fic****1/2
65.new A Burnable Book Bruce Holsinger hist mys ***1/2
66. new Coyote America Dan Flores nat hist ***1/2
67. new A Man Called Ove Frederik Backman contemp fic ****
69. new The Sunlight Pilgrims Jenni Fagan dyst contemp fic ****1/2
70. new Three Moments of an Explosion China Mieville sf/ss ***1/2
71. new The Ferryman Institute Colin Gigl fantasy ***
72. ♬ Two For the Lions Lindsey Davis mys ***1/2
73. new Jack, Knave, and Fool Bruce Alexander hist mys ****
74. ✔ Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson fantasy ***1/2
75. new The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben nat sci *****


Total: 11
Men: 7
Women: 3
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 2
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 3
SF/F: 3
Mystery(inc hist mys): 3
YA or J: 0
Poetry: 0
New author: 6
Reread: 0

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
Audio: 1
New (to my library): 9
Off Shelf: 1
Did not finish: 0

Housekeeping (in progress)

TOTAL (for year) IN=22

Books acquired in June (in progress)

Reflections May 2017
Superficial of me I know, but I am pleased to have reached my half-way goal to 150 books in 2017--I'm somewhat surprised because I didn't choose shorter books, I did pick in my usual random and impulsive way. Unusual month in that it is very heavy with men writers and new to me writers. Usually it is balanced in both areas. The allure of the new book thing is a mystery to me, very very irrational! The best fiction reads would have to be the Louise Erdrich and Jenni Fagan. The best non-fiction read and the best read of the month was The Hidden Life of Trees. The most painful but truly informative read was Coyote America.

Edited: Jun 21, 2017, 9:51am Top


Edited: Jan 2, 6:58pm Top

Reading in August

86. new ebook Sentinel Mage Emily Gee bk 1 fantasy ***1/2
87. new ebook The Fire Prince Emily Gee bk 2 fantasy ***1/2
88. new ebook The Blood Curse Emily Gee bk 3 fantasy ***1/2
89. new Smuggler's Moon Bruce Alexander hist mys ***1/3
90. library New York 2140 Kim Stanley Robinson sf ***1/2
91. library Dark Run Mike Brooks sf sp/op ***
92. library Dark Sky Mike Brooks sf sp/op ***1/2
93. new The Demon King (1) Cinda Chima WilliamsYA fantasy ***1/2
94. ♬ A Body in the Bathhouse Lindsey Davis hist mys ***1/2
95. new The Exiled Queen(2) Cinda Chima Williams (2) YA fantasy ***1/2
96. new The Gray Wolf Throne(3) Cinda Williams ChimaYA fantasy ***1/2
97. new The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope (e-book-Gutenberg) classic fic ***
98. new The Crimson Crown Cinda Williams ChimaYA fantasy **** for the series entire.

Total: 13
Men: 5
Women: 8
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 0
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 1
SF/F: 10
Mystery(inc hist mys): 2
YA or J: 3
Poetry: 0
New author: 3
Reread: 0

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 3
Audio: 1
New (to my library): 7
e-book: 3
Off Shelf: 0
Did not finish: 0


TOTAL physical book (for year) IN=24
NEW: e-books=9

Physical books acquired in August:
23. Castle Rackrent Maria Edgeworth
24. Stories Frank O'Connor

E-books acquired:
1. The Warrior Heir Cinda Williams Chima Read
2. The Governess Sarah Fielding free
3. Consider the Lobster David Foster Wallace DD
4. The Blood Curse Emily Gee Read
5. Bad Feminist: Essays Roxane Gay paused
6. The Fire Prince Emily Gee Read
7. The Sentinel Mage Emily Gee Read
8. Roman Blood Steven Saylor
9. The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope Read

Reflections August 2017

Perhaps the most significant change is that I now have an e-reader -- an i-pad mini that I will use mainly for e-books but that will also be useful when I travel. I took it to Ireland and it was great! I was very grateful to bypass the "book choosing" and the weightiness. The hard part will be choosing books I know that my spousal unit won't want to read--our tastes overlap in a number of areas so this could be rather tricky. I also don't love reading the screen and not having a physical book, but I think I can help that a little by getting a nicer "book" feeling cover. I understand there is some sort of kindle family membership so I'll have to look into that. Another thing: I went a little nuts -- loading up books to be sure I would have "enough" for my trip. He he. I do intend to keep the lid on that. Especially given that it is no big deal to load up library books when you know you want to read the book right away.

Otherwise it was a month very heavy on genre reading with no non-fiction completed at all and only one novel which wasn't a very good Trollope. But I was traveling almost continuously after the 9th July until late August, so this sort of fare suited. I have still barely gotten into The Tangled Wing and even though it is a book I very very much want to read, I am wondering if this just isn't the right time.

Edited: Aug 24, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Jun 21, 2017, 9:58am Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 21, 2017, 10:06am Top

Happy new one, Lucy! I love that topper photo of you and Herself. Lovely!

Jun 21, 2017, 11:35am Top

Happy New Thread, Lucy!

Jun 21, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Also wishing you a happy new thread, Lucy.

Jun 21, 2017, 4:38pm Top

Ooh, I haven't been around for ages, but I see I've popped in just in time to join you at the start of a new thread! Lovely!! Lots of wonderful things to catch up on as always - I'm excited that things are moving with Hiero but dismayed at the "less than 50%" probability rating! Fingers crossed for a positive outcome!
I'm also glad you are moving on with the Foreigner series. I am just a few books ahead of you now, but I have consciously slowed as I catch Cherryh up, although I think a new one was published recently so it is still an on-going series. I agree there aren't many good (human) female characters, but may I also nominate the engineer lady (no idea of name, she is fairly minor)?
Lots of BB's as always, no need to mention them all. I was struck by the Coyote book that it covers a lot of the same ground that Barabra Kingsolver brings up in her wonderful novel Prodigal Summer but I'd bet money you've read that one already. Definitely one for the TBR pile if not.

Jun 21, 2017, 6:07pm Top

Happy New Thread, Lucy!

>1 sibyx: That looks like a lovely place to walk.

Jun 22, 2017, 6:36am Top

>1 sibyx: It reminds me of a Wyeth painting. Let's call it "Lucy's World with Corgi".

Jun 22, 2017, 8:20am Top

>13 lauralkeet: Snort!

Thanks so much for stopping in everyone, will get back to you all when I get home, on the road today. During these work retreats I try to limit cyber time to writing!

Jun 22, 2017, 4:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy, >1 sibyx: looks like a nice place to walk with Posey!

Jun 23, 2017, 10:24am Top

Congrats on the new thread, Lucy!! And I love the photo up top. It does look like a painting. : )

Jun 24, 2017, 2:11am Top

What a classic looking shot for your topper, Lucy. Happy new thread.

Edited: Jun 24, 2017, 8:37am Top

72. ♬ hist mys ***1/2
Two For the Lions Lindsey Davis

The lion assigned to eat (yep, eat) the serial murderer caught in the previous book is himself discovered murdered. Falco, working most unwillingly, with the loathsome Anacretes is investigating tax fraud, focussing first on Calliopus in the gladiatorial and wild animal supply business, and are on the scene when the lion is discovered. Falco never will let well enough alone, so he keeps on investigating. Meanwhile his brother-in-law who ran off with his brother's fiance in the previous novel is in northern Africa searching for a vanishing (soon to be extinct) herb. Falco and Helena and various other family members cross the Mediterranean to find the brother and also to further investigate the fraudster. I wasn't as keen, overall, on this one as there was a level of gore that was over my threshhold, and as I was listening, I was stuck enduring it, but otherwise it was fun as ever. Those scenes do drive home how different the times were, however, not entirely a bad thing. And we were back to the "regular" reader (sorry, name is not there) which was a relief. ***1/2

Jun 24, 2017, 10:20am Top

Lovely new thread, Lucy! I'm not sure though that the topper isn't "Posey's World with Lucy." Just saying.....

Jun 24, 2017, 4:18pm Top

73. hist mys ****
Jack, Knave, and Fool Bruce Alexander

Some new permanent characters are introduced . . . Sir Fielding's household is growing apace. At a concert the host dies of what appears to be poison, but it can't be proved. Elsewhere a drunkard seems to be involved in more than a mere bender. Jeremiah is gradually being given more responsibilities from Fielding. One aspect of these mysteries is that the characters do mature and change--even some of the older ones. It's great to see Dr. Donnelly coming into his own, for example. ****

Jun 25, 2017, 9:44am Top

>20 sibyx: I really need to revisit that series. I think I have them all. Thanks for the reminder, Lucy.

Edited: Jul 15, 2017, 8:22pm Top

I am enjoying them hugely, Roni. Alexander found a balance between the "gruesome" and the "cosy", plus the added bonus of solid research into the era.

In nature news there was a handsome medium-sized painted turtle on the driveway yesterday. While it's best to leave creatures where you find them, or stay with a turtle while it plods somewhere safe, I couldn't do that, it was pouring rain and I had ice cream that had already waited through a trip to Staples ... and he/she was really headed for trouble -- busy road etc. and I would have had to nursemaid for hours. So I plonked it in our "feeder" pond, the small pond that catches the water coming down from the hillside, where the mud settles, and then the water goes clear into the "big pond". Where the turtle goes is its own business, the pond is not far from where I found it, and maybe it will like being there. We have (if she's still there) a huge snapper at the far end of the big pond, but I have never seen her get out of the water except to lay eggs; I doubt she spends any time in the feeder pond, although I alsodoubt the painted turtle will stay, much as I wish it would. Probably it was rushing off to try and mate with another painted turtle somewhere or other. They are not endangered, but this is the first one I've encountered on our property, so that is pleasing.

Today I'm going to find some logs and things to make a sunning spot for the turtle in the hopes of enticing it to stay. Few things would make me happier than to see a turtle sunning on a log.

In lesser nature news, Ernie appeared right after the turtle crisis, with a bird in his mouth, a little sparrow, and it flew off after I pried his jaws open. He has the lightest mouth, thank goodness, I rescue a frog every other day at least. He wants to bring them inside, and never seems to learn that this is a bad idea. A good thing.

Edited: Jun 28, 2017, 5:41pm Top

Turtle is still in residence, I saw it swimming about in the middle of the feeder pond, looking quite happy, if a turtle can look happy. The lad who helps us with outdoor stuff helped me set up some sunning logs. One day doesn't mean much, I know, but I'm pleased, it didn't immediately push off. Our driveway is maybe a problem, so I will have to make a SLOW! TURTLE CROSSING! sign, just in case it decides to investigate the big pond.

Jun 28, 2017, 6:02pm Top

In memory of Spot, the fairly large snapping turtle that DH nursed back to wholeness in the "spa," I'm happy to hear the result of one day of turtle love. Spot was a bunch smarter than I thought turtles could be. DH put her back at the river twice after finding her climbing the natural levee toward our house. The third time, he put her in a dog kennel with a long trough of water which he changed daily. That summer our flowers burgeoned, having been treated with Spot water. She had a gash in her shell, and over several months, it healed. Meanwhile, DH brought her slices of apples which she'd snap out of the air like a dog. When he came out of the house, it was head up and waiting. When I came out, it was head up and then back down because I only tolerated her. When she was deemed well, DH and our friend the state park supervisor paddled her way up the river to a very wild bit and let her go. Floreat Spot!

Jun 28, 2017, 8:10pm Top

I love the story of Spot!!!

Thanks for visiting. It's gotten terribly quiet here.

Jun 28, 2017, 8:18pm Top

>23 sibyx: How cool that the turtle stayed. Maybe that was where it was going all along and you just speeded things up :)

Jun 28, 2017, 8:30pm Top

Could be, it was just sideways in the middle of the driveway, about halfway between our house and the river (and main road--which was the big problem). It's possible actually that it got swept down the river from somewhere else and was making its way inland. I am deeply excited to have it here. Too excited really.

Jun 28, 2017, 9:09pm Top

>23 sibyx: looking quite happy, if a turtle can look happy
I'm not sure how to tell. Interested in future reports (and photos)...

Jun 29, 2017, 6:43am Top

Delurking to say I am enjoying your turtle story. And Peggy's snapper story too -- wow! My husband and a friend "re-homed" a snapper who emerged from our pond because we were concerned about it preying on ducks and geese. But the pond must be a nice habitat because we've seen more snappers since, and have decided not to mess with the ecosystem.

Edited: Jun 29, 2017, 9:47am Top

74. fantasy *** 3/4
Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson

At the last second the king of the small mountainous country of Idris makes a switch, sending not the oldest, trained daughter Vivenna, but his rebellious youngest, Siri, to marry the "God-King" of their southern neighbor's (enemy) country of Hallandren. In this world every so often a person who dies comes back as a "Returned." To continue living, however, these Returned depend on taking a Breath from a living person, every so often or they will die. (Leaving said person a Drab, with no Breath at all.) In Idris these Returned are not given Breath and they die. In Hallandren, the Returned are taken to the city's capitol where they are regarded as gods. If they take Breaths forever they would live forever, but they don't, almost all, eventually, give up their lives in order to help someone else live. It's all very complicated -- there are levels of breaths, color is involved, there are charts and explanations in the back that never really helped me because it wasn't of interest to me as much as the story itself. In Hallandren there are practitioners of a further art of Awakening--using their extra breaths to put life into inanimate objects (including the recently dead). (It's taboo in Idris.) And that is also complicated, but I just accepted the explanation of one character that even after hundreds of years they "don't know all that much about how it works." That's my kind of explanation! Sanderson likes to create elaborate magical methods and protocols, sometimes these work well enough but sometimes, particularly at times of frenzied action, the insistence on describing with exactitude each move the character makes to get in or out of trouble becomes annoying. I suspect it is in part a generational thing, the difference between being a life-long gamer--where the rules are explicit-- and a life-long, um, never-gamer. (I would have, but I missed the boat). In part, this new trend may having something to do with the unforgivingness of programming, our familiarity with watching fighting visually in movies and television, and who knows. I would give his books steady fours or higher if I didn't always end up so annoyed by this aspect! His characters are fun and lively and the dialogue is amusing and sometimes even more than that, the plots are good, with unexpected twists and turns. *** 3/4 (a four with a minor penalty)

I'm in position to make 75 by the end of June! Better get busy!

Jun 30, 2017, 9:59am Top

Well, the nature news today is about flooding. We had heavy rain last night, all night, and the crucial culvert in our driveway was blocked by logs, debris etc. from the brook above and has trashed our road. Naturally the spousal unit isn't home -- good and bad -- as it does mean we will have a car tomorrow after he gets home, that he can leave OUTSIDE the zone of utter destruction. I'll post a photo or two eventually if I can stand it. The lad who helps out with stuff is coming over now and we are going to try to unblock it at least. It's supposed to rain another huge amount later today, so it's kind of a priority. Ah, country living!

Jun 30, 2017, 10:41am Top

Oh dear. I'm sorry to hear this. Y'all be careful doing that unplugging.

Jun 30, 2017, 3:21pm Top

Oh no, Lucy, sorry to read about the flooding. I hope you are able to bail out without too much trouble.

Edited: Jul 1, 2017, 6:59pm Top

75!!! nat hist *****
The Hidden Life of TreesPeter Wohlleben

Peter Wohlleben, has spent his life as a forester in Germany, and has, over time, come to respect and accept trees as remarkable living beings and furthermore that they share with other living entities, all the characteristics of complex intelligent life. Not intelligent like Einstein on our terms, but on tree terms? Yes, there probably have been some Einsteins. We pass through life much faster than trees do and so can fool ourselves into the notion that trees are Object and Product primarily, put there for Our Use. For me reading Wohlleben is preaching to the converted, I've been a tree hugger since I climbed my first crabapple, so I don't know if he would convince anyone who didn't want to be convinced--but I don't seen how anyone who reads this wouldn't marvel over the ways trees survive and thrive, nurturing each other one minute, competing cut-throat (in slow motion for us) the next. Where I live portions of the forest are reaching past the 150 year mark of having been left alone, mostly, to simply grow with selective cutting most of the time since, and so some of the 'old growth' hallmarks are beginning to take effect. I've been very aware in the almost forty years now that I have known these woods just how thoroughly it has changed -- it's wilder and both darker and more open in the understory now, as the crowns of the bigger trees close out the sunlight so very little can grow above knee height anymore, except where one of the big trees has fallen. He described so many scenarios familiar to me and which I have observed, giving me confidence that I am paying attention and learning about what I see every day! A lovely book for anyone who loves trees. Possibly even a MUST READ. *****

I didn't exactly PLAN it that this would be book 75 but I love it when a wonderful book happens on a significant number!

Jun 30, 2017, 5:01pm Top

I am sorry to read about the flooding, Lucy, and congrats on 75!

Jun 30, 2017, 5:03pm Top

>34 sibyx: Already on the WL. Lotsa buzz about this one.

How's the flood damage repair going?

Jun 30, 2017, 10:12pm Top

Oh Lucy, so sorry about your flood issues!! Hope the forecast rain for today didn't make it or at least wasn't so bad. Sounds like you have a huge mess to deal with.

Jun 30, 2017, 10:23pm Top

I hope you all were able to get the culvert unblocked enough that at least there won't be any further damage, Lucy.

Congratulations on reaching the 75 book mark at the half-way point of the year and with a new favorite book!!

Jul 1, 2017, 8:28am Top

Yes the culvert is unblocked, the lad (and his brother) who is my husband's apprentice came over and he unlodged a huge piece of wood, broken off a dead cottonwood upstream, was against it -- Hmm. We'll have to do something about all the debris from that tree. Anyway I have a photograph of it and will come back in a minute. The scen out there is Roadmageddon or Drivemagaddon.

I can't go anywhere but happily I have plenty of food and books! Also, even though it would have been nice to have him around (wouldn't have changed anything, though) because my spousal unit was away, when he returns today we will have a car 'on the outside,' so to speak, and that will be a lifesaver. The little darling is also coming home with him for a few days and she won't be quite so pleased as I know she has lots of social plans, but we will do all we can to accommodate her. I don't think we'll have a passable 'way' until the 5th or 6th.

I love being snowed in, so this isn't all that different. As long as I have coffee, milk for the coffee, and a few treats (who needs protein!?) I'm happy.

Back in a mo' with a picture.

Edited: Jul 15, 2017, 8:27pm Top

My reading stats for this month can be found at >3 sibyx:

In other reading news, I am very bogged down in the William Boyd, Any Human Heart. He is a writer I have hugely liked, so it is disappointing. The novel is written in journal form--it's ambitious and quite clever--presented as if it was a real journal of a mid-twentieth century British writer of minor but respectable status who "knew" everybody who was anybody and was a nice guy. The book even has an index. I want to like it more than I do. I don't hate it. It;s just not dynamic enough? I don't know, but I have a feeling that the last section might engage me again. The middle section (the war) is tough going and a little dull -- as it is meant to be, I think. But I'll include these thoughts in my review, I suppose.

Six Wakes is great, murder mystery in space! and I can't figure out why I've decided to read The Battle of Hastings although I did recently read The Last English King and that might have something to do with it.

Jul 1, 2017, 1:30pm Top


Jul 1, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Congratulations on reaching 75, Lucy!

And what a great one to have as the 75th. I've added The Hidden Life of Trees to the WL.

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 9:15am Top

In yet more nature news, which I had suppressed as too depressing, about a week ago we became aware that a doe (we all think this is her first) dropped a fawn very close the house, which happens most years, but we don't always know this early. Well, the lad who helps us with things was out messing with the driveway the day before the storm and he heard a cry-bleat and thought uh-oh. He went to look and ended up face to face with an (annoyed) coyote. We all assumed he had gotten the fawn, which is why I suppressed the news, although I was hoping against hope that the doe had protected the infant. This morning I saw the doe, limping, and bouncing along behind her was the fawn!!! Sticking close to the house and pond. It's still a nerve-wracking affair as the doe is injured and operating on three legs (right hind is the injured one) but I admire her gumption. I think it is a Very Good Thing that the lad had his staring match with the coyote as that may have decided the coyote to Give Up. Even though we do have too many deer after several mild winters, I can't help rooting for the deer in this situation.

Today with the sunshine, I might be able to sit out on a chair near the feeder pond and have an official Turtle Watch.

It is, at last, a sunny and clear day. The forecast is for four of these lovely days in a row. We need them -- the official road repair day isn't until the 5th-- but the spousal unit will be out on his Kubota (Big Tractor) messing around long before that. He's hoping to make it car passable. He is home from his trip and it does feel better to have a car on the outside!

Jul 2, 2017, 3:07pm Top

>43 sibyx: oh my I'm so glad the fawn survived that encounter!

Jul 2, 2017, 4:43pm Top

Lots of good news there. So glad the fawn and doe made it and hope they heal up OK. Glad Spousal Unit made it home and that you're getting your access issues solved. Now to hear that the turtle is still in the pond and doing well :)

Jul 2, 2017, 6:18pm Top

Congratulations Lucy on reaching the 75 already!

Jul 2, 2017, 6:50pm Top

>35 FAMeulstee:,>36 qebo:,>37 RebaRelishesReading:,>38 ronincats:,>45 RebaRelishesReading:, The S.U. spent the afternoon out on the road and it will be "usable" until we get a proper road grade gravel delivery on Wednesday. With care, we should be able to drive any car in and out, although it will be a big help if the forecast is correct and there really isn't any rain the next few days as the present road is basically dirt with a bit of gravel instead of the other way around.

No time to Turtle Watch although the day isn't quite over yet - it's light until almost 9:30.

>41 drneutron:, >42 jnwelch:, >46 PaulCranswick:, Thanks -- I did figure out after an assessment of my tbr shelves that 150 really is the minimum I have to get through or else drown in unread books . . . I wish I could read more than that, but it's a push to get here.

>44 lauralkeet: and all others who mentioned the fawn -- now I will be worrying again, so Fawn Patrol will happen as well as Turtle Watch. We're going to stay away from the end of the pond where I saw them this morning. My guess is that she moves in a circle around the house, never more than 50-75 yards away from us.

And I finished a book. The LD is here and she wanted to go do nails so we did that and I had a good bout of reading.

Jul 2, 2017, 7:08pm Top

76. sf ****
Six Wakes Mur Lafferty

This was excellent fun, essentially a murder mystery in space, but a marvelously complex one that is also rather humorous. It involves clones, criminals, mindmapping (saving memories from life to life), revenge, and stays exactly in that place I like in good sf, great characters and plenty going on, a few good issues too, mostly ethical, such as how "humans" would feel about clones -- people who will essentially live forever. A number of things are left vague, but handled in the right way, so it's not too hard to suspend disbelief. ****

Jul 2, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>48 sibyx: Oops, a book bullet! Sounds like a lot of the elements I loved in David Brin's Kiln People.

Love the wildlife updates. It's all feral cats (and kittens) in this urban landscape.

Jul 3, 2017, 7:04am Top

>48 sibyx: Sounds good

Jul 3, 2017, 10:11am Top

I can't wait to get to *6 Wakes* now! (It was a Kindle Daily Deal awhile back, and I snarfed it up.)
"...drowning in unread books..." Isn't that heaven??????
Oh my. Our hearts do go out to animal mothers and their babies - especially if they're such appealing animals as deer.

Edited: Jul 4, 2017, 8:07am Top

I've paused in my reading of The Battle of Hastings: The Fall of Anglo-Saxon England - could be a long pause. The book is fine, I'm just not in the mood for it as my non-fiction read. Picking up A Tangled Wing -- subtitle is Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit Not sure how this book ended up on my must read list, but it did.

Edited: Jul 4, 2017, 9:13pm Top

In nature news: I saw the doe and fawn this morning- the doe moving with more agility than at the last sighting two days ago. The attack was a week ago now, she is healing.

I had auditory confirmation of the turtle as it plopped noisily into the water -- and visual in that I saw the ripples and saw the wet area on the rock where it had been sunning, but I did not see the turtle itself!

Jul 5, 2017, 6:40am Top

77. contemp fic ****
Any Human Heart William Boyd

Once you turn the dedication page, Boyd's novel becomes the published journals of Logan Gonzago Mountstuart. Born in Uruguay 1906, died in 1991 in southern France and principally a writer--Logan lived an adventurous life and through most of it kept a journal. At the end is an afterword, a bibliography of his novels and essays, as well as an index to make the illusion complete. Mountstuart is a minor player--never achieving the fame and acclaim of many of the writers and artists he meets and associates with; he goes along his own way and is a decent, stubborn man, determined to be self-sufficient and not dependent on anyone. In each decade, he meets and mixes with some of the bigger figures of the time -- Virginia Woolf and her set while in college, Hemingway in Spain on assignment as a fellow journalist (and where he acquires bootleg Miros), Picasso in the thirties, in the forties he is in the RNVR and is assigned to keep an eye on the Duke and Duchess Windsor in the Bahamas: is there during the Duke's notorious mismanagement of a still-unsolved murder of a wealthy Canadian. Logan's beloved second wife and their child are killed near the end of the war by a V-2 bomb - - (I had trouble with that bit, the war, guessing what was to come, I just "knew"). Logan goes through times of financial security and then swings to poverty and back again, even having to make a decent meal out of dog food (rabbit stew) during the worst of that period. His life winds up peacefully in Southern France, and he's earned that respite. There were times when the book moved slowly and I was less engaged, but I am inclined now that I am done, to think that Boyd knew what he was about the entire time. For every Hemingway there are countless people like Mountstuart at work in the lower echelons of the art and literary world, supporting it, holding it up, making signficant contributions, but who are not remembered. I ended up believing in Logan Mountstuart's existence, perhaps not as an exactly real person, but as a representative of the many real people who lived lives much like his. This is a novel that will reward the patient reader. ****

Jul 5, 2017, 6:47am Top

>54 sibyx: Lucy, PBS aired an excellent dramatization of this novel a few years ago. It stars Jim Broadbent as Mountstuart in his later years, and Matthew MacFadyen as a younger version.

Jul 5, 2017, 6:53am Top

Really! I will have to look for it!

Jul 15, 2017, 8:08pm Top

78. fantasy ****
The Death of the Necromancer Martha Wells

As I expected she would, Wells hits her stride in this second novel set in Ile-Rien. (A hundred and fifty or so years later, however, but there is a slight connection to the first one.) What she handles better is "less is enough" when it comes to describing where the characters are going (say, in a sewer) and, ditto, battle scenes, no more main gauches etc. cluttering up the page, daggers and swords and pistols suffice. It's rather fun that the city has changed so much-- there are trains and hints that technology is moving quickly in our direction.
The story? There's someone killing people in gruesome ways that indicate a necromancer at work, and not just an ordinary one. The main character, Nicholas Valiarde is hard at work on a complex scheme to cause the downfall of the man who destroyed his beloved adoptive father, a "natural philosopher" (scientist to you and me) who invented little globe-shaped machines (I envision croquet ball size) that he hoped would help non-magical people do magic, his ultimate goal being to communicate with his dead wife. The bad guy, Montesq, wants those globes and he connives a way to have the sorcerer hauled up for doing necromancy which has been outlawed since it does require killing people to release the necessary energy. This new problem of the murderous necromancer interferes with Nicholas's revenge plans in a most annoying but compelling way. Nicholas has a great crew who work with him--there are a lot of characters but never a moment of confusion. It's good fun and enjoyable throughout. ****

Edited: Jul 15, 2017, 8:09pm Top

I've been away at an Irish music event for the last week, thus very absent, as the area in the Catskills where it takes place is very very thin on cell coverage. And yes, I had great fun, and saw Tad!

Jul 17, 2017, 1:56am Top

>58 sibyx: Well, that sounds like a very good excuse for an LT absence!! Glad you had a great time. : )

Jul 17, 2017, 11:18am Top

A visitor!!!! Hooray! Thanks for stopping by, I had a wonderful time and am utterly re-energized about the harp which is a Good Thing! Bad for reading though.

Edited: Jul 17, 2017, 11:51am Top

79. ♬ hist mys ****
One Virgin Too Many Lindsey Davis

Davis takes us (and Marcus Didius) into the domain of the Vestal Virgins--whose duties are to keep the sacred fire of Rome alight. Falco and Helena are just home from North Africa--and things get complicated immediately. A murder is committed during a sacred festival. Helena's older brother Ilianus (I have no idea how to spell it!) is the first to stumble upon the victim and he runs home, luckily Falco is there and he goes back to the scene with Ilianus only to find the body has already disappeared. From the responses of the priests of the cult he suspects a cover-up and you know how much he hates that sort of thing. At the same time a little girl, just six, turns up at the house looking for Falco to tell him that someone in her family is threatening to murder her. I liked this one very much! ****

Edited: Jul 19, 2017, 8:39am Top

80. contemp fic ****1/2
Commonwealth Ann Patchett

Bert Cousins (more or less) crashes a christening party and falls in love with Beverly, the mother of the baby. The inevitable happens and Bert and Beverly soon find themselves married, leaving California and moving back to Bert's home town in Virginia. Between the two families there are six children. This is no Brady bunch however, although they do band together and they like one another--indeed more than some siblings like each other at that phase of life. Things happen, mostly not good ones, but not all bad either. There is no full protagonist, but Franny, the younger of Bert's two girls, comes close. After dropping out of law school she ends up cocktail waitressing at the Palmer House in Chicago where one evening Leon Posen, acclaimed writer, much older than she is, fifty to her twenty-something comes in. They spark and she ends up with him, but not only that, she tells him the story of her family and he weaves a final bestseller out of it to cap off his writing career. Many things to admire here -- for me, particularly the way the parts of the story are woven together. In the past I've "liked" Patchett's work, but this one resonated especially, in part for personal reasons, as a child of a reconstituted family and much complexity. The 1/2 is because I read it avidly. If you are a fan of domestic fiction I think you will enjoy it. ****1/2

Jul 19, 2017, 12:16am Top

Welcome home, Lucy. Sounds like fun was had by all, but I'll bet it was good to get back home too.

You mean you HAVEN'T checked out Megan Whalen Turner? Gasp!

Jul 19, 2017, 8:25am Top

>63 ronincats: When I went to check I found her firmly implanted on the wishlist!

Jul 19, 2017, 11:06am Top

>62 sibyx: great review, Lucy. I loved Commonwealth and gave it 5 stars, my extra half star being for emotional punch especially towards the end.

Jul 20, 2017, 8:07am Top

Now I'm pushing Commonwealth even higher on my read next list. Thanks, Lucy!

Jul 20, 2017, 11:31am Top

Wow, your #75 (congratulations!!) made me interested in a book I never wanted to read before. I've read the title in German and thought "No, guess not...", but now it's "Hm... maybe?".

Jul 20, 2017, 11:35am Top

>62 sibyx: Glad to hear you liked Commonwealth. She will be here later this summer and I have Commonwealth on the shelf waiting to read. One or two before it but I'm really looking forward to it.

Edited: Jul 24, 2017, 9:52am Top

Visitors! Hooray! Things get quiet around here of late. Of course that is because I am running around a lot these days.

>66 LizzieD:>68 I hope you both enjoy it when you get to it.

>67 Deern: I think you will like the Wohlleben.

Jul 21, 2017, 3:29am Top

>69 sibyx: Just read the sample and am almost in tears. Well, Germans and forests.... I never thought I had tree sentimentality in me, but there it is! :) Although... I remember an ex-boyfriend once breaking into laughter when I told him during a forest walk that I loved looking at the old trees' roots, he found that utterly ridiculous!

The Eifel forests Wohlleben describes are very similar to those near my parents where we always took our Sunday walks, so the book is almost a piece of home. And that slightly cheesy old-fashioned writing - lovely! :D

Jul 21, 2017, 9:29am Top

Catching up here, Lucy. Loving all of your thoughtful reviews. Six Wakes sounds like fun, so adding that to the list. And I had Commonwealth out from the library, but I didn't get to it before it had to go back. Sounds like I need to be sure to check it out again.

Hoping your Friday is full of fabulous!

Jul 21, 2017, 2:22pm Top

Hi Lucy -- reading about nature made me wonder if your turtle is still in the pond.

Edited: Jul 24, 2017, 6:52pm Top

Hello visitors, I'm here in between things again -- At the end of the week I am heading for Ireland for ten days. Haven't been there since I was a child. We'll be visiting places the great irish composer, Turlough O'Carolan frequented. (pronounced Turlock, soft ck), basic historical and archaeological sites to do with harps and harpers and whatever else the tour leader has decided we should get a chance to see. We'll be going all over, I think, but I haven't studied the itinerary, perfectly happy to let it all roll over me. I am more concerned right now about having the right plugs, my passport, and the least clothes possible! Weather there will be, you guessed it, Irish, so layers. It's 58 and raining here in Vermont today, which is perfect for helping me think about what to wear! In New Jersey, at Somerset, it was up to 100!

My task for today is to go to the fabric store for some quilted fabric so I can make a soft case for my concertina -- my usual case is far too bulky and I never would put it in my suitcase that I'll check. It's been a problem when I travel by air, but I've just never been motivated to cope. Mostly I've wrapped it in bubble wrap, but that won't do for a long trip where I'll be pulling it in and out of the bag to play music in pubs etc.

BTW, at the Sheraton in Parsipanny where we were, the Barcelona Spanish soccer team was also there (just picture that -- 300 plus mostly post-menopausal women and their harps and glamorous twenty-something lads and their soccer balls in one building.) The security was insane and the fans were tedious, but amusing too. In a way it was the perfect combination as out of the 300 plus of our attendees about two, maybe, cared about soccer (one actually went to a game on Saturday aft. which Barcelona won.) The security folks even got so that they weren't totally averse to letting us be in the same elevator now and then with some of the team, which must have just KILLED the fans who were always lying in wait in the lobby. Different worlds!

>70 Deern: The Wohlleben does have some cheesy writing, you have expressed that perfectly, but it somehow fits with his enthusiasm and balanced by his knowledge (and wisdom).

>71 Crazymamie: My Friday was full of running around at the harp festival, but it was fun. I do it because I love the folks I work with. I only get to play music from about 10:30 p.m. to a little after midnight since I have to get up and work the next day.

>72 RebaRelishesReading: The answer is that I don't know, Reba. I hope he is. I have been away so much and will be away a lot more -- leaving for Ireland on the 29th, then after I'll be on the Cape for a week or so. Maybe I'll have a chance to do a turtle watch (it is very restful) before I go, but I have a lot to do--not today certainly as it is cold and rainy.

Jul 24, 2017, 11:41am Top

Somehow I only just noticed the title of your thread topper photo, and let me just say it is perfect.

Jul 24, 2017, 1:05pm Top

Ireland -- how wonderful! I lived just west of Dublin from Jan 1981 to Oct 1983 and had a wonderful time. I played bridge, took horse riding lessons, participated in two classes with the American Woman's Club (Irish History and Irish Houses and Castles) and finished up my dissertation. I haven't been back since but would love to go. I hope you have time to share your experiences so I can travel along with you a bit :)

Jul 24, 2017, 2:09pm Top

>73 sibyx: Ireland
What an experience!

Jul 24, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>73 sibyx: Last trip to Ireland, my only experience with a harper was a woman who thought that playing the same air over and over and over and over and over and over on the path up to the Cliffs of Moher was a good thing. I understand the desire to busk a bit, but...

In a similar-but-different vein, I did have fun at Cashel. I've seen it a before but my daughters wanted to go up, so I sat outside on the only bench. Soon, a fiddler sat down on the other end and started playing. We started talking, I pulled out my concertina at her insistence and my embarrassment, and managed not to screw up Father Kelly's/Silver Spear too badly. :-D

You're right about the weather here; it's been just stupidly hot and humid.

Edited: Jul 24, 2017, 7:48pm Top

81. ♬ hist mys ****
Ode to a Banker Lindsey Davis

As ever the Didius family is in turmoil. Rumors are spreading about Marcus' mother's lodger, his enemy, the slimy Anacrites, but he is, in fact, pursuing a different member of the family. Falco gets drawn into solving the murder of a greek book publisher as Davis takes us into the world of "contemporary" roman writers. (Scarily familiar). Helena has a surprise for Falco too, well, a couple of surprises, and even Nux is busily enlarging the family. Good fun as ever, I am enjoying this series very much on Audible. Simon Prebble is very good. ****

Jul 25, 2017, 7:32am Top

>73 sibyx: Love the Barca story! 300 harp players and the soccer team, what a combination!
It reminds me of something I forgot to post on my thread. A couple of weeks ago on the last public holiday when I was sitting reading on my balcony , I noticed the small local soccer stadium next door (old and ugly built during Mussolini times) filling with many more people than usual and was totally annoyed, expecting much noise. I kept reading through it all, until I couldn't ignore the excited stadium announcer repeatedly saying what sounded like "Zinedine Zidane" anymore. I did a google search for Zidane and Merano, then called my dad to tell him that ex-French national player and now Real Madrid manager Zidane was playing a benefit match next door, and also an active Real player whose name I since forgot. I even considered getting a ticket and actually watching the rest of the match, but seeing the crowds I decided against it.

Ireland? Oh, how lovely, enjoy enjoy enjoy!

Jul 25, 2017, 2:31pm Top

82. hist mys ****
Death of a Colonial Bruce Alexander

Sixth in the Sir John Fielding series and another excellent read. We return to the Laninghams--this time a young man resembling a long absent (presumed dead) son, Lawrence Paltrow, comes forward claiming to be the heir to the estate. He is accompanied, however, by a man who excites Sir John's memory and interest--a man who strikes all who see him as a troublemaker. Jeremy, now sixteen, is given more responsibility in this one, more access and more trust, and his relationship with Sir John deepens. There is also an amusing trip the entire Fielding menage (sans Annie) takes to Bath in the course of the investigations. ****

Jul 26, 2017, 1:04pm Top

Will you be in Mohill?? That's where my ancestors came from! Or at least some of them -- the Duke family. There are still some buried in the Protestant church, at the corner of Main St. and Castle St., a stone's throw from the O'Carolan statue there! If so, then you'll get to see Nenagh, the ruins of the old abbey there, and probably some spectacular scenery around Drumshanbo (where the Mills family came from in my ancestry!) near the Roscommon border. If you're really lucky, they'll have booked you to stay at Lough Rynn castle, near Clune (and home to still more ancestors...) which has a marvelous restaurant and great gardens; very atmospheric. I've spent some time around there on a couple of different trips.


And yes, it is Posey's world and the rest of us are privileged to live in it.

Re the Jenni Fagan novel, do you think the ultimate ending (since it's left kind of open-ended) is as bleak as I suspect it is???

Jul 26, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>81 Chatterbox: I will be very nearby and I will keep the Dukes in mind as I admire the Carolan statue which we will go to see. That night we are staying at the Lough Allen Hotel in Drumshanbo. I've been silly busy and have hardly paid attention to the itinerary -- but that is typical of me, I'll read AFTER I get home. I did spend time yesterday loading free e-books -- the Trollope Irish novels -- on my new ipad/e-reader plus. (Early birthday present!). Basically we have three nights in Dublin (Jury's Inn), Christchurch, three at Lough Allen in Leitrim, three at the Park House in Galway and one at the Bellbridge House in Clare. Hmm, maybe I will go look them all up now, what do you think? I don't think any of them are particularly fancy.

Edited: Jul 26, 2017, 10:09pm Top

83. contemp fic ***1/2
The Love We Share Without Knowing Christopher Barzak

The setting is Japan a few years into this century. The theme is love, the darker side--not violent, mind you, just the sadness of partings, changes, endings, loss. The narrator starts out by saying, "Everything you think you know about the world isn't true. Nothing is real, it's all made up. We live in a world of illusion. I'm telling you this up front because I don't want you thinking this story is going to have a happy ending." To return to this first sentence having reached the end, I find it a bit pompous, but never mind. This is not, strictly speaking, a novel, either, but a series of connected stories (connected in the sense that the characters from one may turn up in another). It is most connected by the theme, love, and the sub-theme of Japanese vs American cultural norms, such as they may be. It is carefully written and perhaps the sub-theme was the most interesting part of it to me, Americans (mostly teaching English) muddling along in a culture different enough to be exhausting. Very very few Americans acculturate and stay, almost all go home, tired of the effort and the strangeness. I'm not sure how the book came into the house, I think my husband maybe acquired it somehow, and handed it to me when he was done. There is a touch of strangeness too -- not quite fantasy, but of the presence of the spirit world. I liked it well enough and the writing is solid. Anyone with an interest in what it feels like to be a young adult American (or probably any other Anglo-ish country) in Japan will be interested. I wasn't blown away, but I read it right through, interested. ***1/2

Jul 27, 2017, 5:01pm Top

Well, my 4x great grandfather, James Mills, came from Drumshanbo. He joined the Leitrim militia, and my other 4x great grandfather on that side, Francis Duke, from Mohill, was the recruiting sergeant. (Yes, they were Protestants, and if you mention that to the wrong people in Leitrim, they will actually HISS.) This was in 1797, so you can guess what probably happened next, though there are no records of it. In 1822, the Duke family moved to Canada, followed by the Mills family a few years later, and they settled on farmland a few miles apart in the Ottawa family, and James Mills the younger married young Ruth Duke and became my 3x great grandparents. (Leitrim is one of a handful of places that I've been able to trace my Irish ancestors back to very specific places; I've also found gravestones for the McGees dating back to the 1750s in Ayr, Scotland.) Drumshanbo is a tiny little town. and the Lough Allen hotel is a mile or two outside it, a relatively new building, reasonably nice. I had dinner there with a biggish group during the Leitrim Roots Festival one year (when I was thinking of writing the genealogy book.) Maybe they'll take you to Lough Rynn for lunch or tea? (she said hopefully?)

Jul 28, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Safe travels (tomorrow!), Lucy. I look forward to hearing about your Ireland adventure.

Jul 31, 2017, 7:33am Top

Top of the morning to you, dear Lucy! Enjoy your birthday!

Jul 31, 2017, 8:41pm Top

Lucy, I am remembering that you and Harry Potter share a birthday - stopping in to wish you happy on your special day. Hoping it's been full of fabulous!

Jul 31, 2017, 11:26pm Top

Happy Birthday, Lucy!!

Aug 1, 2017, 3:18am Top

Happy birthday to you, Lucy! :)

Aug 1, 2017, 5:35am Top

Happy birthday Lucy!

Aug 1, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Oops! Sorry I missed your birthday but hope it was a very happy one.

Aug 1, 2017, 9:07pm Top

Me, too, Lucy. Happy Belated Birthday.

Aug 2, 2017, 2:43am Top

>62 sibyx: >65 lauralkeet: Commonwealth is my October read for my RL Bookclub--glad you both liked it so much!
>73 sibyx: Love the 300 harpists/music lovers getting a bye and riding the elevator with the Barcelona soccer players, LOL.
>73 sibyx: How fun that you are going to Ireland. My daughter did her study abroad there and fell in love with the country. I hope you have a fabulous time.

And Happy Birthday!!!

Aug 4, 2017, 11:11am Top

Thanks to all visitors!! I am presently in Drumshanbo in Leitrim and thinking of you Suz! I'm on the iPad mini so this will be short! If anyone is curious people are posting on their FB pages and if you write in #harptour you will see all those pix on the FB harptour page. I might even manage to get a few of mine on. The three days in Dublin were great. Did harp and Joyce-and-writer type things. W a bit of archaeology thrown in, Tara and Knowth-both fascinating. Some excellent music as well. Be well all in case I don't get back until I return home.

Aug 5, 2017, 6:55am Top

>94 sibyx: My family hails originally from Donegal, Lucy, but your post has the old country calling to me.

Have a lovely time.

Aug 5, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Sounds like you are having fun, Lucy! Keep it up.

Aug 14, 2017, 8:51am Top


Aug 14, 2017, 9:45am Top

I hope the pleasure that lots of visitors feel looking at the view ends up making your half hour worthwhile!
Thanks, Lucy!

Aug 14, 2017, 12:40pm Top

Welcome home, Lucy!

Edited: Aug 14, 2017, 4:48pm Top

>104, ah, my sort of Irish roots... (Not really, because I'm NOT catholic and thus don't really count, but whatever!! The Mills, the Dukes, and all the other Leitrim families lived for generations in those landscapes. And it's still beautiful. Apparently, for every citizen of Leitrim today, there are something like 100 members of the "Leitrim diaspora" like me!

Glad you have been having/have had such a good time!!!

Aug 14, 2017, 5:21pm Top

Welcome home -- beautiful photo.

Aug 14, 2017, 8:52pm Top

Thank you visitors - it turns out I have truly caught some sort of bug and am very much under the weather -- so forgive me for not visiting or posting more photographs or doing much of anything.

One of the things i did was a Joyce perambulation around Dublin -- but I can't seem to get my pix out of my phone and into my computer nor will they post right side up or ccoperate in any way, but it could be partly the state I'm in.

Aug 14, 2017, 9:05pm Top

Get well soon, Lucy. xx

Aug 15, 2017, 11:22am Top

>104 sibyx: It is tricky, Suz, but the flag is one-third orange (though mediated by that wide white strip) and many Irish are quite cognizant that there were fine protestants who fought hard for independence and wanted only to get along.

I am better today, hoping it will last!

Aug 15, 2017, 11:26am Top

89. hist mys ***1/2
Smuggler's Moon Bruce Alexander

Sir John Fielding takes on a smuggling ring. While enjoyable it was not the best of them, I saw through the plot just a wee bit too easily. But still, part of a good series and quite acceptable. ***1/2

Aug 15, 2017, 12:24pm Top

I'm glad you're feeling better today, Lucy! I'm sure Miss Po is an excellent nursemaid. :)

Aug 15, 2017, 3:47pm Top

Glad you're feeling better and hope it lasts.

Aug 15, 2017, 3:50pm Top

What she said ^^!! : )

Aug 16, 2017, 8:54am Top

90. sf-near future ***1/2
New York 2140 Kim Stanley Robinson

The first pulse in the mid-21st century raised the ocean ten feet, the second one raised it another forty. So fifty total. And New York lives on . . . the buildings built on bedrock survive. There is an "intertidal zone" as well, where part of every day the water recedes almost completely. The streets are now canals. It stinks, but it's home. Things (financial and concrete, literally on that last) are coming to a tipping point- the rich have gotten just too darned rich and the concrete that is holding up large parts of the city is about to crumble. The story focusses on the residents of the MetLife building on Madison Square (don't confuse it with another one further uptown) that is firmly in the wet zone. The super, Vlade, Charlotte, a social worker (high up in the order), a police inspector, a hedge fund guy, some geeks, a "cloud" celebrity, not to mention two urchins who live clandestinely under the dock in their rubber raft and hunt for treasure from a ship sunk during the 1770's. Robinson is especially good at creating characters and situations that verge on hokey but hold your attention so you have to read on to make sure they get out of whatever scrapes they get in. Robinson writes what he wishes might come to pass, that humanity might (at least sometimes) do what is sensible. How I wish. ***1/2

Perfect reading while nursing a bad cold.

Aug 16, 2017, 9:15am Top

>113 I've picked up the first in the series; I'll start it later this week after I polish off the last Bruno book. From your reviews, I assume I'll enjoy it quite a bit.

Aug 16, 2017, 11:56am Top

I think you will! I sure hope so.

Aug 16, 2017, 2:52pm Top

>117 I've got the ARC of that, so it's on my radar...

Hope you are feeling better soon, and that you have more good reading to distract your attention from the 'lurgy meanwhile!

Aug 17, 2017, 6:15am Top

Get better soon, Lucy!

>114 Love the idea of Miss Po with a matron's apron and cap, also St Bernhard-like with a small tea-barrel around her neck as she can't carry a tray with a mug, bringing books to Lucy's bedside :)

Aug 18, 2017, 11:48am Top

91. sf sp/op ***
Dark Run Mike Brooks

Brooks clearly loved the Firefly series beyond all reason, but that's no reason not to go ahead and be inspired to write what is essentially solid fan fiction. And as I loved Firefly and there are just enough differences in the characters and their histories (although just barely) to keep me entertained, I'm on board for book 2. So, yeah, it's space opera, mischief and derring do and that's about it. Nothing original about it, but the characters engage and the writing, while loaded with 'whilsts' is steady as she goes. I don't go below three stars, so this is readable. It's the sort of thing that once you've had your fill, you can't read more of, though. Glad we had this from the library, not boughten.***

Edited: Aug 18, 2017, 12:05pm Top

Confession time - due to the trip and then the bad cold (thankfully fully on the ebb now) I've had my nose deep in the purely entertaining, genre side of literature for the time being. I do occasionally read a few pages of the Trollope and I don't know if it is the e-book format or what, but it's slow head way - I'm at about 40%. It's not Trollope at his best, not really, too much "irish" dialogue for one thing. Also bogged in non-fiction book too. Maybe by the time I go home I will get back to reading at a more exalted level, but for the time being it appears it is genre fiction all the way around.

Aug 18, 2017, 1:47pm Top

>123 Enjoy your genre fiction (everybody needs a bit of a break from time to time) and get to feeling better!!

Aug 19, 2017, 6:36am Top

Hey Lucy, no confession necessary! Reading is supposed to be fun, right? And you're on vacation, not to mention dealing with the bad cold. Enjoy your genre fiction!!

Aug 19, 2017, 8:00am Top

>48 sibyx: BB for Murder mystery in space.

>117 lauralkeet: BB for me after hearing Al Gore talk about his second doc (on the radio). Something I should read more about, fiction seems a good way in.

Your Irish view looks wonderful. I've been to Galway for a conference and Clare with the family. Both beautiful. Loved the live music culture in the small villages and towns - sure your group must have been very welcome.

Hope you are feeling fully recovered soon.

Edited: Aug 19, 2017, 11:57am Top

>124,>125, >126 Yesterday I felt like myself all day. What a relief!

It turns out my computer won't deal with my photos anymore because it is too old and the iphoto and new photo apps just won't connect. Grrr. I've been doing a work around for awhile, but even that doesn't work anymore. I need to put my pix into some environment where I can capture them "from the web" and then post directly here. Advice welcome.

Aug 19, 2017, 12:13pm Top

Well, this isn't exactly a landscape, but it is a nice photo someone took that was on FB so I brought it over here. I'm just coming up from the dungeon in Bunratty castle (near Shannon, first day). Obviously relieved.

Aug 19, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>128 Nice picture!
Maybe you can put your photos on FB?

Edited: Aug 19, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>127 Lucy, if you're just looking for a way to post photos on your thread, one option is to upload them to your LT member gallery (or the junk drawer within your member gallery). You can upload from a mobile device or your computer, and link to the photos in your threads in the usual fashion.

>129 You can share FB photos on LT if you've made the album public ...

I love the photo of you escaping the dungeon, Lucy!!

Aug 19, 2017, 11:20pm Top

>128 So pretty!!!

Aug 20, 2017, 1:41pm Top

91. sf ***1/4
Dark Sky Mike Brooks

As I had hoped, because Brooks can write, this second book starts to take on its own flavor, sure, yeah, Firefly was the model, but the characters and, this time, the plot, were developing without that feeling of Brooks glancing over his shoulder at his notes -- he's more confident and the interactions between the characters shows it. Drift has taken on a job to smuggle out some information so a sleazy mobster-type investor can get the jump on bids, supposedly an easy job, but the group ends up instead in the middle of a s---storm, literally and figuratively. They get separated as the city they are in bursts into a rebellion against the repressive government and . . . well you know, the rest of the book is them getting themselves out of trouble, into the ship, into orbit and away. ***1/4

Aug 20, 2017, 3:39pm Top

>128 Did you got to the banquet?

Aug 20, 2017, 8:53pm Top

No, sadly, no banqueting for us . . .

Aug 22, 2017, 5:54am Top

>117 lauralkeet: Interesting book and a good write up, thanks. I think I will add it to my TBR.

Aug 23, 2017, 9:02pm Top

I have been struggling with my "serious reading" for most of the summer, too. I think it's what is going on in the real world. (Well, and migraines.) I have a limited tolerance for heavy lifting when it comes to books, given that I'm dealing with so much real world BS here in Trumpistan.

Aug 24, 2017, 11:50am Top

That makes a lot of sense -- retreat into fantasy -- literally, for me. I'm even tolerating bloopers like "leant" for a loan of a pony.

I will share, however, my favourite written howler -- I think it was from Acorn TV -- at the end of a list of directions about how to use it, the sign- off was "with no further adieu." Bliss!

So with no further adieu, I will go off and visit a thread or two.

Edited: Aug 25, 2017, 10:49am Top

93. fantasy ***1/2
The Demon King Cinda Williams Chima

Very much YA fare, that is full of heartache and romance, princesses and handsome young men, but the magic is fine, the characters are enjoyable, so I am all right with it. I'll continue with the rest of the series. ***1/2

Why is it that the magical rules can get to be so annoying? -- In one novel i read recently shapeshifters were always transforming back to human shape naked and needing blankets, in this one they are always leaking magic and clutching amulets. In Sanderson's books there is always something like that too. Now the authors are working hard to be consistent, so I guess I shouldn't complain. The best ones don't annoy me, however. It's something to think about.

Edited: Aug 24, 2017, 1:56pm Top

94. hist mys ****

Marcus and Helena manage to unload the ill-chosen country house on Marcus's father but then something starts to smell bad in the bath house, uh oh. Naturally the two reprobates who were supposed to be building the bath house have scarpered, but of course, the adventure doesn't stop there -- Marcus is sent by Vespasian to investigate corruption in the building a great villa for the King of a friendly tribe in Britain, in Novia Magnus on the southern coast of Britain. There is, in fact, a real villa there, a huge one, a palace, and one of the most lavish in all of Britain, that Davis uses as her jumping off point. More bodies in different bath houses ensue. Marcus has both of Helena's brothers in tow and this one examines Roman building practices. As always, lots of fun. ****

Now I think I am caught up!

Aug 25, 2017, 7:37am Top

Thanks for recommending The hidden life of trees, Lucy, I just finished it and loved it. I hope to put the review later today on my tread.

Aug 25, 2017, 10:29am Top

>138 I like that series, think she did a good job with the five book story arc.

Edited: Aug 25, 2017, 10:53am Top

>140 So glad you enjoyed The Hidden Life of Trees -- it certainly has changed something, subtle but real, for me when I am out among them. I think of them as communities now, interrelated and not at all isolate.

>141 Uh oh! I didn't know that there is a fifth one. I'd better get on the case! I am liking these very much although all the YA romancing sometimes gets out of hand, but mostly not.

Back to say I see no mention of a fifth book. Could it be that you are thinking of her other series, The Warrior Heir?

Edited: Aug 26, 2017, 8:53pm Top

95. fantasy ****

Defying her elders, Raisa disappears under the care of her Captain, Amon and his Gray Wolf crew. Alister meanwhile makes a deal with the Clan and heads for wizard school. Getting to and from the school, itself in a neutral zone, is no easy task as countries in between the Fells and it are at war. But love and intrigue never abate. Very enjoyable YA fantasy. ***1/2

Aug 25, 2017, 10:10pm Top

My bad. She does have a fifth book that starts a new series with the next generation.

Aug 25, 2017, 11:12pm Top

Hi, Lucy! Glad you're home and still reading!
Ado, ado to you!

Edited: Aug 26, 2017, 8:50pm Top

96. fantasy ***1/2
The Gray Wolf Throne (3) Cinda Williams Chima

Raisa faces the ultimate challenge - will she succeed to the throne of the Fells Queendom or will she be assassinated by one of the many factions first. Wizards, Clan and the regular folk of the Queendom all compete and distrust one another. And outside their realm, six other realms, once united, vie for control over one another and Raisa. What will the young and untried wizard Han Alister do? How will he prevail. Can he? Etcetera. Good fun. Onward to the final book.

Aug 26, 2017, 8:51pm Top

>144 Why am I not surprised? (at a continuation of the series) -- because no way all those issues can be ironed out easily, that's why!

Edited: Aug 26, 2017, 9:31pm Top

I've suddenly gotten moving in the Trollope. It's a Gutenberg e-book, and I'm up to 70%. The problem is that Trollope chose to try and render the Irish diction/accent and it is both distracting and annoying. Ecksthraimely irrithathing begorra. It's also a little jarring after this recent trip -- knowing just how bad things were for the Irish non-gentry as the book is concerned mainly with two sets of Kellys, distantly related and living near one another, one group which succumbed and converted and have done well enough to be titled and well-landed although not doing as well as they might be and one set that didn't but has survived and done not badly and is on the cusp of perhaps moving upwards. Anyway, I'm re-engaged and am determined to get through it.

Tomorrow I head down toward NYC to take the LD back to college. She's had a very adventurous and unexpected gap year, but I think that it has done what gap years do, allowed space for maturing and growth. The LD has, maybe, found some solid ground with digital animation, graphic design and oil painting and she seems calm and focussed about what she will do at school when she returns. I will be riding home on the train Monday, up to Rutland and then driving home from there (where we will leave a car parked tomorrow on our way by). Some good reading and staring out the window time on the train. Looking forward to that.

My life should have a chance to settle down after that -- sort of -- my brother has gotten tickets for us to hear Karl Ove Knausgaard speak at the Harvard Coop on the 12th in Cambridge, but that is the only trip I have planned in September and it will be brief, only one or two nights. I keep apologizing about not visiting other threads at all regularly, and I have fond hopes that I will be able to do that soon.

Aug 26, 2017, 11:00pm Top

Oh.My.GOODNESS! I hope that KOK is absolutely wonderful and that you absorb and enjoy him completely!
Safe travels to you and your LD tomorrow! Hope she has her best year ever!

Aug 27, 2017, 7:10am Top

Safe travels, Lucy. I'm glad the LD's time away from school was valuable for her, and hope all goes well in the coming year.

Aug 27, 2017, 10:23am Top

Glad to hear your life is becoming calmer. A trip by train should be a great start to that. All the best to LD as she reenters college life.

Aug 28, 2017, 3:16pm Top

The Brooks stuff sounds kind of fun. I wonder if my library has it.

Aug 29, 2017, 5:59pm Top

We got them from the library in Wellfleet. They were fun, about like Six Wakes or the Angry Planet books, not great, but certainly entertaining. The second one is better than the first as Brooks breaks away from his obsession with Firefly.

Aug 29, 2017, 11:55pm Top

Sounds like life is on an upswing. Keep on reading what you're reading!!

Aug 30, 2017, 1:10pm Top

Hi Lucy,

I haven't been doing LibraryThing for the longest time due to real life at first and then habit. However, I thought I'd drop in and say hello and see how everyone is doing.

It sounds like you've been having an interesting year.


Edited: Aug 30, 2017, 8:30pm Top

97. " classic fic ***
The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope

At last I have finished. I have to admit the novel was a bit of a disappointment, truly a lesser novel, of which I was warned. The setting and the timing, the west of Ireland (Mayo, Clare) a scant year before the famine took hold made it an uncomfortable read at time. The portrait of the anglo gentry is generally unflattering--their self-absorption and callousness evident, although Trollope, being fair has good men and women among them. Nor was he insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Irish--O'Connelll is tried sentenced to prison during the course of the story. The story concerns itself with two romances within the Kelly clan--one branch converted to Protestant and now titled, the other not, but doing well enough. Both young men are decent fellows and know each other slightly. Both the sought after women are heiresses, and in both stories, the young man must prove he loves the woman for herself not just her money. In both stories there are unscrupulous family members who scheme to get that money for themselves. I suppose, now that I think about it, Trollope was making the point that there was little difference between the players than the accents and the amounts of money at stake. And Trollope himself makes it clear he has no religious prejudice. The best character in the book is the Protestant minister, George Armstrong who briskly enters the novel in the second half at a fox hunt and proceeds to save the day. Trollope choose to try to render the Irish speech through fanciful spelling that was entirely off-putting. Just the speech patterns themselves would have sufficed. I stuck with it because it was Trollope and it did have its moments. ***

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 2:10pm Top

98. YA fantasy **** for the series entire
The Crimson Crown Cinda Williams Chima

The series wraps up satisfactorily -- important to remember that this is YA fare, so there is romance romance romance (the biological imperative!), attention to clothing, etc. right to the last page when things work out quite nicely. I understand that Chima is writing about the next generation -- the way the book ends you know there will be conflict even if things are temporarily under control. I enjoyed these and I think for YA limitations they are very good.

Aug 30, 2017, 8:08pm Top

>155 Wow! Glad to see you here. Yes, I have been living in interesting times. I hope your RL affairs have settled and that all is well for you and that you have time to read. LT is all very well, but reading is the thing.

Sep 1, 2017, 7:24am Top

>128 Chatterbox: What a lovely pic! :D

Oh, and Knausgaard tickets! I still have only read a sample (which I loved!) and haven't yet found the energy to jump into the series, but I'm looking forward to it very much. As of course to all the details you'll give us of the event!
All the best to the LD for the new college year, and how lovely that the gap year did her so good!

>156 I like Trollope, but I'll give that one a pass. Can't do long classics with fanciful spelling.

Happy Weekend!

Sep 2, 2017, 3:36pm Top

August's Reading Roundup is at >5 sibyx:.

Can't believe that the fall equinox is coming up in less than three weeks. I'll change my thread then and that will go through the end of 2017. This has worked out very well for me given that I have posted less than of yore.

Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 10:22pm Top

99. contemp fic ***1/2
My Name is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout

What to say? Not the best Strout although it feels ungenerous to say so. Likely this book is the "most" autobiographical, more drawn from direct experience, rather than, as she described in a NYer article I read, having a character coming to life full-blown in her head triggered by the most unlikely phrase or image. By direct experience, I don't mean the details of Lucy's life, but the inner experience of Lucy Barton in her development as an artist. There is the use of the first person, short uncomplicated sentences, repetition, reflection and remorse, and a lot more telling than showing. The narrator has suffered complications from appendicitis and is in bed in hospital for 9 weeks as a result. The time spent there turns out to be the fulcrum on which her life turns inside-out. Her long absence from home changes everything. In the middle of that time out of time her mother flies to NYC from her home in Illinois to be with her daughter. This is unheard of in their family-- as the narrator grew up extremely poor in a troubled setting, for a long time they lived in a great-uncle's garage--family relationships have depended on silence and denial. Lucy, however, is the only one who left, was always different. The word "ruthless" is turned over and examined thoughtfully at one point, as in, do artists have to be ruthless to make it. (The implication is yes, they do.) It's hard to put a finger on what didn't quite work for me although from page to page I was often intrigued and many of the insights were noteworthy enough to mark: One can be ready to give up everything for a person and then "a tiny remark and the soul deflates and says: Oh." That's good. ***1/2

Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 6:17pm Top

On to Karl Ove #4 as I will be hearing him read in Cambridge on the 12th September. Have to do my homework. I don't have Book Five, so I can't even attempt to read that. Perhaps I will purchase it when I'm there. And insanely I have added a reread in archetypal psychology even though I am barely making headway in the Konner.

Sep 4, 2017, 7:15pm Top

>161 you might be interested in Strout's latest, Anything is Possible, a collection of short stories set in Lucy's hometown. Lucy is mostly a background figure, the local famous person who left for better things, but the stories round out Lucy's story while also saying a lot about small-town rural life.

Sep 4, 2017, 10:22pm Top

And I will keep on reading Strout, Laura, I worked a little more on this review too. I do think Strout was striving to explain the process of becoming and committing to being a writer--what the cost was for her, that is what I meant by the autobiographical piece.

Sep 4, 2017, 10:58pm Top

I'm not sure how I got 15 posts behind, but you remind me that I need to read both Strout and Knausgaard..... What a pair!

Sep 5, 2017, 7:35am Top

>164 well now, I never thought about that aspect of the book at all, and have not read the NYer piece you mention in your review. For me -- and this might have had a lot to do with what was going on in my life when I read this -- it was all about Lucy's relationship with her mother. And the writing was sublime. I loved the way Strout dropped tiny details into Lucy’s narrative that didn't have meaning until later, when several dots would connect with emotional impact.

Sep 5, 2017, 8:36am Top

Yes, you are absolutely spot on, Laura, which is why I feel mealy about saying it didn't quite work for me. The way she put together her mother and her stories and their story and her own story was mighty fine, but, I don't really know why, I felt a little pushed around and not quite on board. I hate the word "ambitious" but it maybe fits. Strout was trying to do a lot here, maybe too much? Seriously don't read this if you haven't read the book and intend to: Am I right in the implication that her father went about compulsively masturbating while they lived in the garage? Not just cursing, not just hitting them, locking her in the truck? I admit I have some trouble with the extent of her devotion to her mother--belied, of course, by the fact that she never goes to visit and her mother asks her to leave the hospital room. Oh I don't know! Was it all too much in this very low-key narrative?

Sep 5, 2017, 8:46am Top

>167 yes you're right about that spoilery-speculation. This was confirmed for me in Strout's appearance on Fresh Air, and is also confirmed in Anything is Possible.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 9:13am Top

I'll have to look for that interview. I do get what Strout was working toward -- how (amazing it is) people just pick up and go on and try to live normal-looking lives. I agree too how utterly unknowable everyone is.

Sep 5, 2017, 9:49am Top

>161 sibyx: I've had that one on Mt. TBR for a long time now -- may stay there a bit longer!

Sep 5, 2017, 11:47am Top

Oh you should read it -- especially if you have read and liked other Strout. It's a very fast read in any case, a good way to reduce Mt. tbr.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 12:00pm Top

100. hist mys ****
The Jupiter Myth Lindsey Davis

We're still in Britannia, now in Londinium where it appears that a crooked gang is trying to take over brothels and more. A young celtic prince is murdered in the city and Falco is asked to help. Along the way Falco encounters an old flame, now a woman gladiator and you can bet Helena doesn't like it. Meanwhile both his sister Maya and good friend Petronius Longus from the Vigiles continue to linger and Falco begins to suspect Petronius is up to more than just romantic interest. Petronius gets some bad news from home that seems to change things between himself and Maya and and that is of concern to Falco too. Then an old enemy surfaces and everything begins to converge . . . ****

Sep 6, 2017, 9:54am Top

>171 Well, Mt TBR is in CA and I'm in NY so it will be a while before I even have the option. We'll see how I feel when we get back to San Diego in mid-October.

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 1:34am Top

>148 sibyx: I am half tempted to come up to Boston on the 12th and crash your meetup with your brother and see Knausgaard talk with Wood... The last train home is at midnight, actually -- so I could do it. Kinda tempted.

Also tempted to go back and read more Falco mysteries. I've been reading way too many mysteries lately. Probably trying to channel a world in which angst and suspense and uncertainty is manageable and controlled??

Sep 8, 2017, 11:13am Top

101. sf ***
The Rift Uprising Amy S. Foster

Young Ryn is a Citadel, a genetically altered soldier and her job, with her fellow citadels is to watch one of the fourteen "rifts" which have opened on Earth, out of which daily spill creatures and sentient beings from "alternate earths": anything from dinosaurs to humans from earths barely distinguishable culturally (and conveniently) from our Earth. But Ryn is a little different from her fellow Citadels and after she encounters a handsome lad from another Earth she begins to question everything about what her government is up to. The plot is great and so far, the working out of it is fairly sturdy, if not predictable (those evil scheming grown-ups). Overall I don't know what it is with me reading so much YA of late, but I do find the genre less taxing emotionally. However, sometimes descriptions descend into a banality where I cannot go. I don't need or want a blow by blow choreographed description of a fight that goes on for two or three pages. If the book was a movie? Well, I would watch the fight. And if it becomes a movie? I can guarantee the fight choreographer won't by reading Amy Foster's directions. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with a couple of paragraphs, not every blow. This is the first of a trilogy and if I fall over a copy, yeah, probably I will continue. Don't be discouraged if you are a YA fiction fan, I think it was very enjoyable. ***

Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 6:06pm Top

I'm just home from a lot of running around -- first a fabulous moose sighting on our 35th anniversary which I tried to post with no success and will try to post again in a moment. The most recent jaunt was to see Karl Over Knausgaard speaking in Cambridge -- he's on tour for his new book, Autumn

He read from the book and then answered about fifteen (mostly inane) questions from the audience. Both my brother and I marvelled later over the fact that even from the worst rambling and incoherent question he managed to extract a little something of a gem to say. To one question, "how do you as a parent manage to get your writing done?" he replied, "I get up at 3:30 in the morning." Then the person spluttered "But that means, that means ..." he said, "Yes, I go to bed early, 9 o'clock." There was only one really rude question from a woman I have no doubt is a therapist or fancies herself one, asking him directly "So your father was an alcoholic and so are you. How do you manage now, do you drink?" I mean GOLLY! What an ass. He was so polite, although, yes, obviously taken aback. Anyway -- he is, dare I say it, a brilliant man. So thoughtful and well read and in control of his art. His goal is to be fully present, to write in a way that brings the present (with the implication that that is the thing that matters the most about being alive) into focus. He also said that everything he writes, because it is so autobiographical (it is and it isn't, by the way--he talked about that a little), he asks himself if he will be able to look that person in the eye. One of the better questions was about memory, if writing a story about something 'that happened' changes it -- and he said, he ends up confused, but then he said something about how we make things up to tell 'what happened' in the way that is to our advantage, so there never really is any consensus. Ah, he was great. Surpassing all my expectations and showing himself as a gracious person as well.

We got loot too -- his new book, signed!

Sep 13, 2017, 6:04pm Top

Here is our 35th anniversary surprise guest. We went hiking and there he was resting about twenty feet off the trail.

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 2:16pm Top

102. mys **
Knots and Crosses(Inspector Rebus) Ian Rankin

Well, just too thinly written for me and I did figure it out too early. I found the plot of the best friend going bad hackneyed.. Fixed that, a bit of spoilage there! Will not continue, obviously.

Sep 14, 2017, 9:38am Top

>177 Wow! That would have frightened me and thrilled Hubby!! Looks like Mr. Moose was to comfortable to move, however.

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>179 Yes, he was the mellowest moose I've ever seen. They fear nothing -- only a pack of wolves could take one on and there aren't any here. Coyotes only hunt in pack formation when utterly desperate, they generally hunt alone. And of course they fear humans with guns. But like deer I think they know when that season is. Moose-hunting is super-brief here. And few hunters would make that climb! We were between 3600 and 3800 feet. My theory (vindicated by a nature nut friend) is that the moose was up there to get away from the ticks. Too cold up there, just that critical amount.

I should be home now for several weeks--the very idea seems so luxurious! And that means I might be able to visit some threads more regularly than I have been doing. I've apologized over and over, but it hasn't been possible.

As of Tuesday the first set of proofs for my novel have been handed in. There will be a second set, to which only the most minor of changes can be made, and now the issue is the cover and the cover art, in which, at this small press I get to participate. Anyway, I am finally beginning to have a sense of doneness. Of course, there will be new set of challenges soon, such as traveling about giving readings, more or less of that depending on how the book does, and I've been advised to work ahead of time at that and leave nothing to chance--to read sections, time them exactly, and listen to myself reading and make whatever changes and improvements I can. At the very least, get used to reading, get used to the sound of my own voice (which sometimes annoys me, I have to admit) and so on. It never ends! All the more reason I am so impressed with Knausgaard. And good grief, he is an attractive man (understatement!!!).

Sep 14, 2017, 12:41pm Top

Happy anniversary, Lucy.

Your reportage on Knausgaard was interesting too - when authors have to deal with such God awful questions it is no wonder people can subsequently think them difficult!

Sep 14, 2017, 8:35pm Top

Happy Anniversary, Lucy, and wow on the moose! What a handsome fellow!

Glad you'll be able to stay home for a while. It's fun to go do interesting things, as you have been doing, but also very nice just to cocoon for a while.

This is your original novel, right? Not the Hiero one. Best of luck!

Sep 15, 2017, 7:12am Top

Ooh, such exciting developments with your novel, Lucy! And I never thought about authors preparing for readings but now I see how that makes so much sense. It really is a performance, isn't it? And should be prepared for accordingly. It must have been even more interesting to witness Knausgaard with all of this in your mind. I can't wait to hear more as this moves forward.

Sep 15, 2017, 10:03am Top

How exciting that your novel is finally nearing publication. Interesting about the preparation for readings. Will they allow you to talk about the novel as well as read it? I always enjoy it when the author talks about the background -- why this story? things learned while researching? connections to author's life, other books? etc.

Sep 15, 2017, 10:05am Top

Oh yes, q and a is now part of the reading almost always, so I will have to prepare non-rambly answers.

Edited: Sep 15, 2017, 10:11am Top

103. ♬ mys ****1/2
The Accusers Lindsey Davis

I loved this one! Davis explores the roman legal system as Falco tries to defend a young man he believes is innocent hindered by a stuffy senatorial siblings who don't want their brother to be condemned of murder but don't want to divulge the awful family secret either. Falco gets to declaim in front of the senate. The usual moments of triumph, followed by despair. Very enjoyable. I think Prebble might have had a bad cold or something through part of it, he sounds different, and some parts shifted in tone as if they'd been recorded over when he was better. A bit odd that. ****1/2

Sep 15, 2017, 11:28am Top

Good morning, sixby! I hope all is well with you.

>48 sibyx: This sounds really interesting. Mark put me on to both Dark Matter and The Punch Escrow which could be considered to have similar sf thriller aspects. I look forward to checking it out.

>122 lauralkeet: >132 FAMeulstee: If there were an audio on these I might check it out. I enjoyed Firefly, but was not a rabid fan.

>175 lauralkeet: Intriguing concept. I like multiverse stories.

>177 sibyx: Very cool! Nice picture. And, Happy belated anniversary!

Sep 16, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>176 RebaRelishesReading: Belated happy anniversary, Lucy!

How cool you went to Knausgaard! Thanks for sharing, I only have to read his last My Struggle book. With over 1000 pages, I haven't been able to fit it into my reading yet.

Sep 17, 2017, 6:23pm Top

>178 sibyx: In the past, I never consciously tried to read series in order, and so I've read several Ian Rankins out of order (mostly more recent ones). But last year I decided to try to go in order, and read Knots and Crosses. I thought it was awful, and had it been the first Rankin I read, I would not have read any others. So, you might want to try another Rankin, but no pressure--there are already too many other good books out there.

Thanks for the description of the Knausgaard event. I remain impressed by him.

And congratulations on your novel. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:51pm Top

Wishing you a lovely remainder of your weekend, Lucy.

Edited: Sep 17, 2017, 9:49pm Top

Lots of reading this weekend. Very much enjoying the Sanderson doorstopper, The Way of Kings and finishing up Knausgaard 4, but the big news for today is that the unstoppable Miss Posey chased a fisher cat up a pine tree. When it got to a branch it felt safe on (about fifteen feet up, it stopped and settled and chittered angrily at her). I think she startled it, and I'm glad she did since they are about the same size and I think the fisher would win, no contest. Of course, I was right there too so no real danger, but we were all three rather surprised! As far as Miss Po was concerned it was basically a Very Big Chipmunk, since that is what she usually finds in that area.

Pic of a fisher:

Sep 18, 2017, 11:46am Top

>191 Fisher cats are very dangerous indeed to household animals, as you know... They are one of the biggest predators around here (just outside the downtown core) for cats, which is why I'd never let any of mine ramble around. *shiver* They look at a cat or a smallish dog and think, yum, a meal.

>189 I read Knots and Crosses -- and haven't read another Rankin novel since. I do have a few that I have picked up during big Kindle sales (99 cents or 99p) but I haven't felt any urge to try them, because the first was such a slog. (it was short, which is really all I can say for it.) Nor can I remember that much about it! So I've been quietly wondering why people rave about Rankin when I've read so many other great Scottish crime writers. Thanks for validating my thoughts!

Glad Knausgaard lived up to your expectations. I still haven't read anything by him, and suppose I must break down at some point.

And HURRAH for your book! The worst is now at an end if you're at second-stage galleys. Really. OK, these are finicky, but that's all.

It's funny that we're reading different strands of the Falco family... At some point I'll go back and read Falco père, but not yet.

Sep 18, 2017, 12:58pm Top

Big whoops for your wildlife rambles! Thanks for letting us see.... I think I've heard of the fisher cat but never seen one. Oh Miss Po!!
I'm thrilled that you got to the Knausgaard event. Thank you for giving us that. One day I'll read him, I know.

Sep 18, 2017, 5:52pm Top

Hi Lucy! Did I miss book news?! Is it definitely getting published? Sqweeee! Sign me up for a copy please!! (Will it get published in the UK or just in the US? The latter I guess) Also, a moose! How delightful! Your thread is always full of such wonders.

Sep 18, 2017, 7:14pm Top

I missed your review of Knots and Crosses, but now I want to chime in and say THANK YOU! I picked up the first 4 Rebus books cheap and used, and read them all hoping things would improve. They didn't. Just one of the annoying aspects was that Rebus always managed to bed some hot chick, despite being a bit of a drip. Colleen (NanaCC) swears the books get better somewhere around #7 when he acquires a female sidekick, but I'm afraid Rebus has fallen to the bottom of my series list. I think you've just given me the encouragement I needed to drop him altogether.

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 9:05am Top

I'm very pleased with myself -- I successfully "combined" some separate editions of a book (Dark Sky, above) into one group. I've come across that problem before and I knew there was a fix for it, but I had no idea it was so simple!

>192 oh yes, I do know. Our record with cats and dogs so far is unblemished by loss to a predator (or anything but illness or old age). Of course, that is luck as well as being vigilant and we know it. Our latest cat - Tenzing - we've decided is too silly, adorable, and feckless to go out. Ernie is a natural and sensible outside cat, loves it, hangs about and doesn't wander or explore, catches LOTS of mice in the barn and woodpile, and is always good about coming when called. He's only allowed out from 9-5 and not at all if no one will be around all day. We've become very cautious living out in our splendid solitude.

(Po rustled up the fisher again yesterday and it ran--undulated--off sharply--my theory is this is a young 'un. It's small although too big to be anything else and hunting during the day indicates inexperience and hunger. Perhaps mama just kicked everyone out of the den. We know where she lives -- now and then we see her and she is BIG!)

I wonder what you will make of K.O. when you get to him. He remarked too--although you never know how much is b.s. that Tolstoy and Proust have been, perhaps, his biggest influences, but he was responding to questions about the two, so more likely, it was 'among many'. However -- most of us are limited to the Norwegian fiction that has been translated which isn't a lot and he has read probably everything worth reading in his own native language so we can't know what those influences have been (other than being told).

>194 Yep, it should appear before the end of the year. It all depends now, I think, on how long it takes to sort out the cover. I will make sure you get your copy, no worries.

>195 Further Rebus news -- we noticed that someone did a Rebus series on the teev, so we tried it last night and it is just as stilted and formulaic as the books! In one scene, Rebus and his (corrupt) police (ex)pal are in the car and the (ex)buddy asks: Want to go for a drink. R. No. That's the whole scene, shot of car, them in the car, driving along and then this ridiculous interchange. The same scene, in say, Vera would have had just that little bit more, something unexpected and totally revealing about both characters. Sad, really. So don't bother watching that either!

Sep 19, 2017, 10:07am Top

>196 thanks for the tip, Lucy, and for taking one for the team! Our latest mystery binge-watch is Hinterland. Have you seen it? Think Nordic noir set in Wales.

Sep 19, 2017, 9:50pm Top

>182 PaulCranswick: Roni - I just realized I didn't answer your question -- yes this is my own novel.

Sep 19, 2017, 9:51pm Top

>197 We watched the first Hinterland and found it so so dark we couldn't handle it. But I expect we will return to it. I do love Tennant.

Sep 19, 2017, 10:10pm Top

>199 Lucy, Tennant isn't in Hinterland. Are you thinking of Broadchurch? That said, Hinterland is indeed dark. But the scenery is beautiful. :)

Sep 20, 2017, 8:55am Top

Oh whoops, yep, Broadchurch, I thought that the name wasn't quite right. Did you watch that one?

Edited: Sep 20, 2017, 12:35pm Top

I love the wildlife pics, Lucy. How cool that a moose helped you celebrate your 35th anniversary! I must get back to (and will have to start over) my first Knausgaard book, which I quit for some forgotten reason. I come from Norwegian grandparents and like reading books about Norway and by Norwegian authors.

More details on your book, please! I am excited for you. I may even read it, although sci-fi is not my favorite genre. (I hope I am remembering correctly that your book is sci-fi?) Other than the Vorkosigan Saga, that is. I guess I like the sub-genre of space opera... anyway, I love following your thread (even though I rarely post here) and will read your book with an open mind! Best of luck...

ETA: I was underwhelmed by Lucy Barton but appreciated what I think Strout was trying to achieve when I read Anything Is Possible. I may have to read both books again in succession to be certain... *sigh*

Sep 20, 2017, 1:34pm Top

>201 I watched Season 1 of Broadchurch, Lucy, but it didn't grab me enough to keep going.

Edited: Sep 20, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>202 This is a different novel, called The Hounds of Spring (I look forward to putting the title in brackets!) and it is your basic novel: Young woman (mid twenties) has hit a dead end with first career choice and is working on figuring out the next step. It's somewhat romantic, features dogs, but is not entirely light fiction.

The one you are thinking of is making the rounds. I was asked to write the third volume in an unfinished post-apoc trilogy. Who knows what will happen with it.

I have been writing novels on my own, for quite some time, just not doing anything about publishing them. I am gearing up to get to work revising yet another novel I finished almost a decade ago, then I'll get back to other projects which are simmering away in varying states of completion.

>203 That's what happened to us.

Sep 20, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>204 Thanks for the title, Lucy. That is more in my comfort zone. whew!

Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 9:38am Top

104. contemp fic ****1/2
My Struggle: Book Four Karl Ove Knausgård

Book Four was engaging and sturdily amusing -- how could it not be as the plot is the over-eager 18 year old male on fire to lose his virginity? K.O. spends a year in northern Norway teaching in a tiny town at a tiny school. Indeed you could argue that Book Four is different from the previous three in that it has, sort of, a plot and a structure or, or at least momentum. It is also, like the first three, alternately tender and sad and irritating. This is the time when our lad's father settles into serious alcoholism and when K.O. having discovered the magical effect that drinking has on his own self-consciousness, starts depending on it. But it is also the book in which K.O. begins to emerge as the adult person he will be--his ambition to become a writer begins to take firm hold, his desire to learn what he needs to, to prove himself in other ways (in this case to be a decent teacher) than simply achieving his primary obsession. It is also the most "fictional" of the books, with some hints at the fictional aspect of the "stories" in the earlier books. I'm keeping in mind what K.O. said at his reading about being able to look any of the people who might appear in his books in the eye. I know his father's family doesn't think he dealt fairly and that is understandable, it's an unrelentingly harsh portrait--but even that refusal to face facts demonstrates, ironically, why the man drank himself to death. Onward to Books Five and Six. ****1/2

Sep 22, 2017, 12:20pm Top

>206 I liked this one less than the other My Struggle books. Probably my lack of empathy for adolescent, slowly maturing boys ;-)

Sep 28, 2017, 9:02am Top

I do have a new thread over here

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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