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souloftherose's 2017 books and more - thread 3

This is a continuation of the topic souloftherose's 2017 books and more - thread 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Aug 1, 2017, 2:00pm Top

I’m Heather and this is my 8th(!) year in the 75 Book Challenge Group. I'm in my midthirties and live in a small town to the northwest of London in the United Kingdom with my husband and our rescue cat, Erica.

I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction (including children's/young adult books) as well as a good spattering of crime/historical/other fiction. A fair number of the books I read are older books - I particularly enjoy 18th and 19th century fiction, golden age detective novels and women's literature from the first half of the 20th century. Last year I read 195 books - I don't have a specific target for this year other than the perpetual resolution to make a dent in the TBR piles.

This is probably the most relaxed Erica ever is when her photo is being taken (but note the eyes are just open enough for her to keep an eye on what I'm up to):

Edited: Jan 2, 3:47am Top

Books read in January
#1 All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (TBR)
#2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#3 Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch (Library)
#4 Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (TBR)
#5 Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le Guin (TBR)
#6 Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (TBR)
#7 Mitosisby Brandon Sanderson (TBR)
#8 Big Chief Elizabeth: How England's Adventurers Gambled and Won the New World by Giles Milton (Library)
#9 Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (TBR)
#10 Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (TBR)
#11 The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Library)
#12 Mrs Tim Flies Home by D. E. Stevenson (Library)
#13 March: Book One by John Lewis (TBR)
#14 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie (Reread)

Books read in February
#15 Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (TBR)
#16 Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis (TBR)
#17 The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly (Omnibus)
#18 Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards (Amazon Prime)
#19 Black Widow, Vol 3: Last Days by Nathan Edmondson (Marvel Unlimited)
#20 Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone (TBR)
#21 Hide My Eyes by Margery Allingham (TBR)
#22 Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone (TBR)
#23 The Game by Diana Wynne Jones (TBR)
#24 Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (TBR)
#25 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#26 The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker (TBR)

Books read in March
#27 The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov (TBR)
#28 The Walls of Air by Barbara Hambly (Omnibus)
#29 The Armies of Daylight by Barbara Hambly (TBR)
#30 The Unwinding: Thirty Years of American Decline by George Packer (Library)
#30.5 Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Reread)
#31 Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (TBR)
#32 Behind the Throne by K. B Wagers (Library)
#33 The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (Free kindle)
#34 The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (TBR)
#35 The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope (TBR)
#36 N or M? by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#37 Lost Man's Lane by Anna Katharine Green (Free kindle)
#38 Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (Reread)
#39 The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones (Reread)
#40 The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones (Reread)
#41 Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire (TBR)

Books read in April
#42 Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones (Reread)
#43 Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (TBR)
#44 The Life Project by Helen Pearson (Library)
#45 Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Reread)
#46 Sunshine by Robin McKinley (Humble Bundle)
#47 Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani (Free kindle)
#48 Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones (Reread)
#49 Arrest the Bishop? by Winifred Peck (Free kindle)
#50 God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England by Jessie Childs (Library)
#51 Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky (TBR)
#52 The Mislaid Magician, or, Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (TBR)
#53 The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon (Library)
#54 The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#55 The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper (Library)
#56 Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Free kindle)
#57 The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead (Library)

Books read in May
#58 Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (TBR)
#59 Talking About Detective Fiction by P. D. James (TBR)
#60 Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (Reread)
DNF After the Crown by K. B. Wagers (Library)
#61 Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck (Free kindle)
#62 Planetfall by Emma Newman (TBR)
#63 Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Dan's)
#64 Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey (Dan's)
#65 Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani (TBR)
#66 The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (TBR)
#67 Zoe: The History of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury (TBR)
#68 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Library)

Books read in June
#69 Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (Humble Bundle)
#70 The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Reread)
#71 Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey (Dan's)
#72 A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell (Free kindle)
#73 Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan (Library)
#74 Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (TBR)
#75 Feedback by Mira Grant (Library)
#76 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Library)
#77 The Stranger from the Sea by Winston Graham (TBR)
#78 Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Eleven by Bill Willingham (Library)
#79 Saga, Volume Three by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Library)
#80 Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (Humble Bundle)
#81 After Atlas by Emma Newman (TBR)
#82 Elizabeth by David Starkey (TBR)
#83 Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden (TBR)
#84 Gilded Cage by Vic James (TBR)

Books read in July
#85 Updraft by Fran Wilde (TBR)
#86 Capital Crimes: London Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards (Amazon Prime)
#87 The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter (TBR)
#88 Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Marvel Unlimited)
#89 The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell (Free Kindle)
#90 Goldenhand by Garth Nix (TBR)
#91 The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King (Marvel Unlimited)
#92 The Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King (Marvel Unlimited)
#93 He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope (TBR)
#94 Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Reread)
#95 Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Library)

Books read in August
#96 The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (Reread)
#97 The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (TBR)
#98 Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey (Dan's)
#99 The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Reread)
#100 Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (Reread)
#101 Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold (TBR)
#102 Penric's Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold (Reread)
#103 What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell (TBR)
#104 Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (TBR)
#105 The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin (TBR)
#106 Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (TBR)
#107 A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray (TBR)
#108 Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve (Reread)
#109 Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs (Amazon Prime)
#110 All Systems Red by Martha Wells (TBR)
#111 Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (Reread)

Books read in September
#112 Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally by Marcus J. Borg (TBR)
#113 The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (Reread)
#114 A House on the Rhine by Frances Faviell (Free kindle)
#115 Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book Two by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Marvel Unlimited)
#116 Lumberjanes Vol 5: Band Together by Shannon Watters (Humble Bundle)
#117 The Dead Shall be Raised and Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs (Library)
#118 Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve (Reread)
#119 Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes (TBR)
#120 Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss (TBR)
#121 Corpses in Enderby by George Bellairs (Free kindle)
#122 Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (Library)
#123 The Miller's Dance by Winston Graham (TBR)
#124 A Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (Library)

Books read in October
#125 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#126 The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone (TBR)
#127 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#128 The Hollow by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#129 The Loving Cup by Winston Graham (TBR)
#130 The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Library)
#131 Provenance by Ann Leckie (TBR)
#132 Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Library)
#133 The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (Reread)
#134 Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus Borg (Library)
#135 Helliconia Summer by Brian Aldiss (TBR)
#136 Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (Library)
#137 The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta Fowler (TBR)

Books read in November
#138 The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#139 A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve (Reread)
#140 Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Reread)
#141 La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (TBR)
#142 Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine (Library)
#143 The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (TBR)
#144 The Twisted Sword by Winston Graham (TBR)
#145 A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright (Free kindle)
#146 Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book Three by Ta Nehisi-Coates (Marvel Unlimited)
#147 A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge (TBR)
#148 Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson (Marvel Unlimited)

Books read in December
#149 The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#150 Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (TBR)
#151 She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Law and Disorder by Charles Soule (Marvel Unlimited)
#152 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Library)
#153 She-Hulk, Vol. 2: Disorderly Conduct by Charles Soule (Marvel Unlimited)
#154 Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain (Marvel Unlimited)
#155 Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate Amazon Prime
#156 Bella Poldark by Winston Graham (TBR)
#157 The Duke's Children: Restored Edition by Anthony Trollope (TBR)
#158 Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016 edited by Ellen Datlow (Free kindle)
#159 Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#160 Artemis by Andy Weir (Library)
#161 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#162 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (Reread)
#163 Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (TBR)
#164 Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford (TBR)
#165 Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie (Reread)

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 7:04am Top

Books acquired

#1 The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams - Kindle
#2 Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - Audible
#3 The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter - Paper
#4 Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau - Paper
#5 The Darwath Series by Barbara Hambly - Kindle
#6 The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter - Paper
#7 Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson - Kindle
#8 Gilded Cage by Vic James - Kindle
#9 Goldenhand by Garth Nix - Kindle
#10 Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer - Kindle
#11 Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis - Paper
#12 Golden Hill by Francis Spufford - Paper
#13 Zoe: A History of Two Lives by Geraldine Jewsbury - Paper
#14 The Game by Diana Wynne Jones - Kindle
#15 Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson - Kindle
#16 Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone - Kindle
#17 Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone - Kindle
#18 The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker - Kindle
#19 The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope - Paper
#20 Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor Kindle
#21 The Enigma Score by Sheri S. Tepper Paper
#22 Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire Kindle
#23 The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer Kindle
#24 The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman Kindle
#25 Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes Paper
#26 Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope Paper
#27 Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky Kindle
#28 The Sun Wolf and Star Hawk Series by Barbara Hambly Kindle
#29 The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Hunter Kindle
#30 Planetfall by Emma Newman Kindle
#31 An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows Kindle
#32 Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani Kindle
#33 The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Kindle
#34 A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray Audible
#35 The Stranger from the Sea by Winston Graham Kindle
#36 The Miller's Dance by Winston Graham Kindle
#37 The Loving Cup by Winston Graham Kindle
#38 The Twisted Sword by Winston Graham Kindle
#39 Bella Poldark by Winston Graham Kindle
#40 Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Kindle
#41 He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope Paper
#42 After Atlas by Emma Newman Kindle
#43 How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran Audible
#44 Updraft by Fran Wilde Kindle
#45 Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley Kindle
#46 Mandoa, Mandoa by Winifred Holtby Paper
#47 How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James Kugels Paper
#48 Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally by Marcus Borg Paper
#49 What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell Paper
#50 Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold Kindle
#51 Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold Kindle
#52 The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin Kindle
#53 All Systems Red bt Martha Wells Kindle
#54 Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone Kindle
#55 The Dancing Floor by John Buchan Paper
#56 The Belton Estate by Anthony Trollope Paper
#57 Vile Visitors by Diana Wynne Jones Kindle
#58 Provenance by Ann Leckie Paper
#59 Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford Paper
#60 Cheerful Weather for the Wedding; An Integrated Man by Julia Strachey Paper
#61 The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke Paper
#62 Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell Paper
#63 The Road to Lichfield by Penelope Lively Paper
#64 The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Paper
#65 The Early Church by W. H. C. Frend Paper
#66 The Man on a Donkey by H. F. M Prescott Paper
#67 Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by Dominic Crossan Paper
#68 Introduction to the Old Testament: A Presentation of its Results and Problems by Otto Kaiser Paper
#69 La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman Paper
#70 Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Paper
#71 The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta Fowler Paper
#72 The Duke's Children - Restored Edition by Anthony Trollope Paper
#73 The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold Kindle
#74 A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Kindle
#75 Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge Kindle
#76 Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer Kindle
#77 The Lady and the Unicorn by Rumer Godden Paper
#78 Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine Paper
#79 Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire Kindle

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 7:11am Top

An idea borrowed from Liz (lyzard), this lists ongoing series that I am actively reading. This doesn't include series where I have the first book in my TBR pile (i.e. series I haven't started reading yet aren't included). An asterisk indicates a series where I already have a copy of the next book and bold indicates an intention to finish the series soon(ish)...

Series I'm actively* reading (*for a rather lax definition of active)
*Albert Campion: Next up The China Governess by Margery Allingham (17/19)
Arbai trilogy Next up Raising the Stones by Sheri S. Tepper (2/3)
*Barsetshire Books by Angela Thirkell: Reading out of order. Next up The Brandons (5/29 read)
The Bear and the Nightingale: Next book The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (2/3)
Dark Gifts: Next up Tarnished City by Vic James (2/3)
Darwath: Next up Mother of Winter by Barbara Hambly (4/5)
*The Expanse: Next up Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey (5/7)
Fables: Next up Fables, Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham (16/22)
The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire: Next up The Custodian of Marvels by Rod Duncan (3/3)
*Gilead: Next up Lila by Marilynne Robinson (3/3)
*Green Knowe: Next up: The River at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston (3/6)
Hainish Cycle: Next up The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin (6/8)
*Helliconia Trilogy: Next up Helliconia Winter by Brian Aldiss (3/3)
The Illuminae Files: Next up Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (2/3)
Liaden Universe Novels: Next up Ghost Ship by Shareon Lee & Steve Miller (14/21)
*The Long Earth: Next up The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (2/5)
Lumberjanes: Next up Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters (6/?)
Ms. Marvel 2015: Next up: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage per Second by G. Willow Wilson (3/4)
Peter Grant: Next book The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (6.5/6.5)
The Reckoners: Next up Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (4/4)
*Richard Hannay: Next up The Three Hostages by John Buchan (4/5)
Saga: Next up Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (4/7?)
*The Stormlight Archive: Next up Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Wayward Children: Next book Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (2/3)
Witches of Lychford: Next book A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell (2/3)
Wolves Chronicles: Next up The Witch of Clatteringshaws by Joan Aiken (11/11)

Series I've stalled on but want to get back to
*Arsène Lupin: Next up Arsène Lupin vs. Holmlock Shears by Maurice Leblanc (2/23?)
*Barsoom: Next up The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (3/11)
Bas-Lag: Next up The Scar by China Mieville (2/3)
Bone Universe: Next up Cloudbound by Fran Wilde
David Wintringham by Josephine Bell: Reading out of order (2/12 read)
*Dolphin Ring Cycle: Next up Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff (5/8)
Dragonslayer: Next up The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde (3/4)
*Ebenezer Gryce: Next up The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green (9/13)
Empire Trilogy: Next up: The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (3/3)
Finishing School: Next up Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (4/4)
*Fionavar Tapestry: Next up The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay (3/3)
The Fractured Europe Sequence: Next up Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson (2/3)
*The Girl Who: Next up The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente (3/5)
Hilary Tamar: Next up The Shortest Way to Hades by Sarah Caudwell (2/4)
Jimm Juree: Next up Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (2/2)
Lady Trent's Memoirs: Next up Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (3/4)
Les Voyages Extraordinaires: Next up From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne (4/54)
Luna: Next up Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald (2/2)
Maigret: Next up Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon (7/76)
The Penderwicks: Next up The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall (2/4)
*The Prairie Trilogy: Next up The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (3/3) (Reading out of order)
*Roderick Alleyn: Next up Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh (2/32)
Romantic Poets and Nephilim: Next up A Time to Cast Away Stones in The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers (2/3)
Ruth Galloway: Next up A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths (5/9)
Simon Schama's A History of Britain: Next up A History of Britain: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 by Simon Schama (2/3)
Dr. Siri Paiboun: Next up: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/10)
*Tales of a New Jerusalem: Next up Family Britain, 1951-57 by David Kynaston (2/5?)
*Turtle: Next up Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (2/2)
Vlad Taltos: Next up Dragon by Steven Brust (8/14)
Young Pilots: Next up Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (3/3)

Series I'm rereading
*Discworld: Tiffany Aching: Next up I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (4/5)
*Chief Inspector Armand Gamache: Next up A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (7/11)
*Thursday Next: Next up The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde (7/7)

Up to date series
Binti: Next book Binti: Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (2/3)
The Cinder Spires: Latest book The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (1/?)
Craft Sequence: Chronological Order Latest book The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone (6/6)
Empire of Masks: Latest book The Traitor by Seth Dickinson (1/?)
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Next up The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (4/7?)
The Kingkiller Chronicle: Next up The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (4/4)
Lady Helen: Latest book The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (2/3)
Matthew Shardlake: Latest book Lamentation by C. J. Sansom (6/6)
Mistborn Latest book Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson (7/8)
The Murderbot Diaries Next book Artificial Condition (2/4)
Old Kingdom: Latest book Goldenhand by Garth Nix (5/5)
Penric & Desdemona - Publication Order: Latest book The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (6/6)
Planetfall: Next book Before Mars by Emma Newman (3/3)
Shades of Grey: Latest book Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (1/3)
A Song of Ice and Fire: Latest book A Dance with Dragons by G. R. R. Martin (5/7?)
Sorcerer Royal: Latest book Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (1/3)
The Sunbolt Chronicles: Latest book Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani (2/3)
Vorkosigan Series: Latest book Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (17/17)
Wayfarers: Nextbook Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (3/3)
Wolf Hall: Latest book Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2/3)

Completed series
Black Widow (2014) by Nathan Edmondson (3/3)
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates (3/3)
The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin (3/3)
Earthseed by Octavia E. Butler (2/2)
Mrs Tim by D. E. Stevenson (4/4)
Newsflesh by Mira Grant (5/5)
The Palliser Novels by Anthony Trollope (6/6)
Poldark Saga by Winston Graham (12/12)
Sorcery and Celia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (3/3)
Vision by Tom King (2/2)

Aug 1, 2017, 2:01pm Top

And that's it. Be back later to add to the above.

Aug 1, 2017, 2:07pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 1, 2017, 2:15pm Top

Happy new thread, Heather! I am really loving the Erica toppers - what a gorgeous kitty she is!

Aug 1, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Wow! I'm happy to be in at the beginning and will look forward to what you have to say about what you're reading, Heather. Greetings to Erica from Elle, Tully, Hilfy Bit, Willow, Sparks, and Lulu! And May says a gentle "woof."

Aug 1, 2017, 4:38pm Top

Happy New Thread, Heather! And that's a gorgeous shot of Erica!

Aug 1, 2017, 4:40pm Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Heather. What a peaceful topper.

Aug 1, 2017, 4:50pm Top

Hi, Heather - Happy New Thread! Erica is so beautiful, that's a lovely photo of her! :)

Aug 1, 2017, 5:25pm Top

Erica is a beauty! She has such a lovely, rich color. It would make a nice yarn if you're into that sort of thing (just kidding ...)

Aug 1, 2017, 6:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Heather!
Lovely picture of Erica at the top :-)

Aug 1, 2017, 8:20pm Top

Happy New Thread, Heather. Great photo of Erica up there.

Aug 1, 2017, 10:24pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 1, 2017, 10:25pm Top

Another fan happily starring your next thread. : )

Aug 2, 2017, 7:44am Top

Happy new thread, Heather!

I'm impressed with your series lists. Good for you!

Aug 2, 2017, 9:28am Top

Happy new thread, Heather.

Aug 2, 2017, 12:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Heather. xx

Edited: Aug 3, 2017, 1:12am Top

Happy new thread Heather! Unfortunately, Erica's picture isn't downloading, so I can't comment on how beautiful she looks.

ETA: oh wait, I see her! Doesn't she look comfy.

Aug 3, 2017, 6:06pm Top

Happy new thread, Heather! Erica is just beautiful!

Aug 4, 2017, 8:56pm Top

happy new thread :)

Aug 5, 2017, 11:01pm Top

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Heather.

Aug 8, 2017, 6:51am Top

Thank you to Zoe, Mamie, Peggy, Roni, Barbara, Liz, Laura, Anita, Joe, Jim, Kim, Beth, Paul, Nina, Lynda and Melissa for the messages and compliments for Erica!

>12 lauralkeet: 'It would make a nice yarn if you're into that sort of thing (just kidding ...)' Ha! I'm sure someone somewhere has turned their cat's fur into some kind of fibre or yarn.... And, yep, there's this article on craftsy about how to do it. I think that's a crazy cat lady step I'm not quite ready to make yet (ad ans Erica is a short-hair I would apparently need to blend her fur with some other fibre. Not that I've read the article of course).

Aug 8, 2017, 7:06am Top

Book #85: Updraft by Fran Wilde - 3.2 stars - This young adult fantasy novel was nominated for last year's Nebula award and won the Andre Norton award. I liked the premise and the world (a group of people who live in growing towers of bone where the primary method of transportation is flight on crafted wings) but I was never really captured by the characters or the story. Maybe an overdose of world-building? Maybe just because I was reading this on holiday with young children and kept getting distracted?

There's a sequel, Cloudbound, and I think at least one more novel set in this world to be published.

Book #86: Capital Crimes: London Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards - 3.1 stars - This anthology is part of the British Library Crime Classics series - I've enjoyed several of these anthologies before but I found this collection, which features golden age detective short fiction set in London, fairly forgettable. A couple of stories that stood out are Anthony Berkely's The Avenging Chance which features an idea he later developed in a full-length novel, The Poisoned Chocolates Case (also reissued by the British Library) and a couple of stories by Margery Allingham and Ethel Lina White who I always enjoy.

Aug 8, 2017, 11:53am Top

>24 souloftherose: Okay, you made me read the article. :) The thought occurred to me because I actually recently met a woman who was having her cat's fur spun. I'd heard of the book, Knitting with Dog Hair, but couldn't believe pet fur spinning was truly a thing!

Aug 8, 2017, 2:47pm Top

Book #87: The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter - 5 stars - Definitely one of my top reads of this year.

For detailed reviews I will direct you to JDHomrighausen's and dchaikin's on the book page. My short version is that Alter convincingly argues that traditional religious or academic readings of the Bible tend to completely overlook the idea that the Hebrew Bible* can be read as literature - i.e. that the various authors used literary techniques when writing in the same way that contemporary authors do when writing modern literature (and I would include non-fiction accounts such as biographies or history as literature in that sense). A different literary technique is discussed in each chapter with examples from the Bible (characterisation, type-scenes, repetition etc).

This took me a long time to read for such a short book - it's accessible (no theology or literature degree needed to read this) but requires concentration and Alter's writing can be quite dense. That said, when I did have the concentration to read the next chapter I was fascinated and it's helped me think about many familiar sections of the Hebrew Bible in new ways. I certainly don't feel I understood everything in my first reading and I'm sure additional readings will be rewarding.

(*Hebrew Bible = Christian Old Testament)

Aug 8, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>26 lauralkeet: I did check the date of that article in case it had been published on April 1! If I had to, I think I'd prefer cat hair as it's much softer than dog hair....

Aug 8, 2017, 3:52pm Top

>28 souloftherose: I know some longhaired Chow Chow owners collected the fur and had it made into scarfs, sweaters, mittens and hats. I understood they were very warm. Personally I wouldn't want to have clothing of a deceased, loved pet...

Aug 9, 2017, 2:38am Top

>27 souloftherose: That sounds really interesting--nice summary. Thanks. : )

Pass on the pet hair spinning.

Aug 10, 2017, 5:32am Top

I'll pass on the pet hair spinning, too. *shudder*

Aug 11, 2017, 8:07pm Top

Hugo Awards are out! My comments here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/265555#6143033

Aug 15, 2017, 2:24pm Top

>29 FAMeulstee:, >30 Berly:, >31 karenmarie:, >35 Well, it seems like there's a consensus on the pet hair question!

>32 ronincats: Thanks Roni! I've left some comments on your thread.

>33 souloftherose: Thanks Paul.

>34 Thanks Beth.

Book #89: The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell - 4.3 stars

Frances Faviell is fast becoming a favourite author of mine: this was her first published work, a memoir published in 1954 about the time she spent in Berlin after WWII with her husband (a British civil servant). Her other memoir, A Chelsea Concerto, which I read in June was actually published later (1959) but set earlier during the Blitz.

Like A Chelsea Concerto, The Dancing Bear is an intimate and moving narrative but I also found it far more shocking and upsetting than ACC. Perhaps because the story of the Blitz and the Home Front in WWII is one I know quite well, perhaps also because however terrible things got, I often feel the British at that time could feel a sense of purpose in what they were fighting for and resisting. Collectively they had taken a decision to fight the war and to resist invasion but Berlin was occupied and defeated. Its people were trying to carry on with their lives but amidst chaos and disorder and facing far more shortages in terms of food and fuel than were felt in Britain, even at the worst points after the war. Faviell writes about all of this in an understated way but the power of her writing lies in her ability to empathize with a country she had been at war with (and suffered personal losses at the hands of) shortly before.

'I had come to Germany prepared to hate the Germans, wanting vengeance for the loss of many friends, and for our own Chelsea home which had been blitzed. I and my unborn son had lain in its ruins.

It was curious to find that one was filled only with horror and despair at the depths to which civilization could sink.'

Aug 18, 2017, 7:57am Top

Just looked up Frances Faviell and this one is currently a Kindle freebie.

Aug 19, 2017, 11:19am Top

>36 This sounds like one I would like, Heather. Great comments, as usual. Off to check to see if my library has a copy.

Aug 20, 2017, 1:47pm Top

>37 Good spot Luci! Dean Street Press have made all of her ebooks free at one time or another which is why I have all of them patiently waiting for me on my kindle :-)

>38 Hope you enjoy it Beth. If you have an ereader it might be worth checking out the ebook prices as this publisher often does good deals in the UK.

Aug 20, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Book #88: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One by Ta Nehisi Coates - 3.5 stars - The artwork is gorgeous and I loved the Wakanda setting but there's a lot of backstory/world-building and very little plot development in this first volume (which only contains the first four individual issues). I'm hoping the next volumes take this further because this has the potential to be really good.

Book #91: The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King - 4.7 stars
Book #91: The Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King - 4.7 stars

This short series about the Vision really packed a punch - it's very focused on the Vision and his family and their attempts to fit in to everyday life in small-town Virginia. There's very little superhero action in the normal Marvel sense but this is a brilliant examination of what it means to be an outsider, to try to fit in and be accepted. And it goes horribly wrong but it's so relatable. As the sub-titles suggest, lots of references to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice too. Strongly recommended.

'When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.'

Aug 22, 2017, 5:45am Top

>27 souloftherose: That sounds very interesting. I have added the book to my TBR.

It is a point I have been making about the first chapters of Genesis for many years.

Without reading the book yet, I may be way off, but it seems to me that Christians do accept that there are different types of literature in the Bible. We understand that there is history, poetry, letters and poetry for instance.

For years I have felt that some Christians have tied themselves up in knots because they accept literary devices and metaphor in revelation, but not in the history. Even if they are right to treat all history as history (although, sensibly, we accept that the style of history is more like Thucydides than Scharma) there remains a particular issue with those who treat the creation account as literal history.

The reason this seems to me to be self evidently incorrect is this: History is written by those who witnessed it. No one witnessed the six day creation, nor anything up to the creation of Adam, and the witnesses who were there did not write anything until much later. As such, the creation account cannot be history. Rather it is revelation.

If we read the creation account in the same way we read Daniel's visions or the book of Revelation, I think we would learn a lot more.

Now it may be that Alter's thesis goes much further than this. I will be interested to see what he says. Chronicles is clearly a book written as history where the writer has arranged his material to support a particular polemic.

This also would be a good book to support the Bible as literature group read.

Aug 22, 2017, 5:47am Top

Book #90: Goldenhand by Garth Nix - 3.5 stars
Book #93: He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope - 3.7 stars
Book #94: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve - 4.3 stars
Book #95: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie - 3 stars

Final books for July!

Goldenhand was a solid addition to Garth Nix's Old Kingdom/Abhorsen series but for me it didn't come close to the brilliance of the original trilogy.

He Knew He Was Right is one of Trollope's darker novels focusing on the breakdown of a marriage due to jealousy. There were some characters I loved (Miss Stanbury) but the darker tone and often conflicting views presented of women's roles mean this isn't one of my favourite Trollopes.

I'm in the mood for rereading at the moment so revisited Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series - the first book was just as good as I remembered and I've since started Predator's Gold.

Joe Abercrombie's Half a King is another young adult trilogy but for some reason this never grabbed me and I suspect I won't read the other books in the series. I have the first of Abercrombie's adult books, The Blade Itself, on my kindle so will probably still try that at some point before deciding Abercrombie isn't for me.

Aug 22, 2017, 9:13am Top

>41 'For years I have felt that some Christians have tied themselves up in knots because they accept literary devices and metaphor in revelation, but not in the history.'

Yes, I think that's broadly what Alter is saying too (albeit from a Jewish perspective rather than a Christian one). I think Alter may take it further and say that even those narratives written as history can be read as literature in the sense that it can still be helpful to think about literary techniques the author (or authors) are using. He doesn't mention Chronicles but he does use the story of David in 1 and 2 Samuel a lot to illustrate this. And yes, I think this would be a great book to support the Bible as literature group read (which was the reason I started reading it even though I've not kept up with the pace of the group read).

Aug 22, 2017, 2:24pm Top

>40 souloftherose: Good description of Black Panther: Nation GN, Heather. I was looking forward to it because of Ta-Nehisi Coates, but ended up disappointed for the reasons you give. I wasn't sure he really understood storytelling in a graphic novel format. But we'll see.

Edited: Aug 24, 2017, 7:13pm Top

>27 souloftherose: I am a real fan of anything written by Robert Alter, which is why I'm using his translations/commentaries on my reading through the Hebrew Bible. He is good at both the detailed, to-the-letter explanations and the broad picture, thematic approach.

Since I really enjoy the details, I'm certainly taking my time getting through the books. Just wrapped up Samuel, so I have a ways to go!

Karen O.

Aug 25, 2017, 8:16am Top

>41 jnwelch: Just sticking my nose in, in passing. Apparently, some folks still don't agree with Darwin's theory because, they say, it contradicts the bible. Myself, I've always thought they say exactly the same thing (though on a different timescale, of course).

No idea if that's relevant to the discussion or not :0) *passing on*

Aug 28, 2017, 8:26am Top

>44 souloftherose: Hi Joe. Yes, I wonder if there's a learning curve for writing in graphic novel format - particularly in a serial format. I need to get back to the second book before I forget all the world-building from the first! Hopefully the storyline will build and become more interesting because it's such a great opportunity.

>45 I think I am also now a fan of Alter, Karen :-) I think I am going at an even slower pace than you having done a bit more reading in Numbers this morning but I certainly plan to continue with Alter's translation and commentary and hope to continue on to Joshua, Judges and the Samuels next year.

>46 I think that's quite a commonly held view Nina but not something Alter addresses directly. My own view is that I don't think the first chapters in Genesis are meant to be read as a scientific or factual account and therefore the need to reconcile them with modern scientific theories doesn't arise.

Aug 28, 2017, 9:07am Top

And as it's nearly the end of August, it's about time for me to get round to reviewing some August books! Quite a bit of rereading has happened this month.

Book #96: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin - 5 stars
Book #99: The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin - 5 stars
Book #105: The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin - 4.2 stars

A reread of The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate before the final volume in the trilogy, The Stone Sky, was released this month. I liked the first two books even more on rereading and appreciated more what a remarkable accomplishment this series is. This is definitely a series that benefits from being read straight through as the world is so complex and each book picks up where the previous book finishes. The Stone Sky was good, my least favourite out of a very strong trilogy, but again, I suspect it will be more rewarding when rereading. These are not easy reads in terms of the suffering the individual characters endure but in many ways these are stories of survival (as I think the dedications to each book in the trilogy make clear) and therefore not un-encouraging.

Aug 29, 2017, 3:43am Top

Book #100: Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.2 stars
Book #101: Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.1 stars
Book #102: Penric's Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.3 stars
Book #104: Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4 stars

A partial reread of this series in chronological order (as opposed to publication order) although either order is fine with this series. Penric and the Shaman and Penric's Mission were the rereads and just as good the second time around. Of the two new to me novellas I liked Mira's Last Dance the least but mainly because I felt the ending was quite sad and I had been hoping for a happier ending for Penric. However, I suspect the story is not finished and hopefully there will be more to come from Penric.

Aug 29, 2017, 6:01am Top

Someone's been busy!! They all have pretty high marks, which is why they make great re-reads. Fun!

Aug 30, 2017, 7:12am Top

Hi Heather, I just read a comment on Kim (Berly)'s thread about your plans to join a choir. I understand your nervousness having been out of the loop for several years, but I do hope you follow through on it.

I joined a choir in January, after a 20-year hiatus from singing (it took a back seat to kids and relocations and work and stuff). I was very nervous about my audition and first rehearsal, but ultimately so happy to be part of the group. I'm not singing this autumn because we are moving, but I have been in touch with a choir I hope to join in the new year once we are settled.

I can't wait to hear about your experience. Good luck!

Sep 3, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>50 Hi Kim! Yes, these were all good rereads. I feel like I don't have that much brain for reading at the moment so I guess rereads are safe choices in that respect.

>51 Thank you so much for the encouragement Laura! I have been in contact with a local choir and the first rehearsal for the term is on Wednesday. There is an informal audition if I decide I want to continue to sing with them after a few rehearsals.

Sep 3, 2017, 4:30pm Top

Book #96: The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley - 3.7 stars
Book #99: Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey - 3.7 stars
Book #105: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami - 3.8 stars

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by sff author, Kameron Hurley. I think, although the book doesn't explicitly say this, that these may have been previously published on her blog. As the title suggests Hurley is a geek and a feminist - from these essays I would say quite an angry feminist but I think her experiences warrant that. She also touches on more general social issues particularly the American healthcare system. I've wanted to try her fiction for some time but have been put off by thinking I might find it quite dark - having read the essays I still want to read her fiction and I still think I might find it too dark...

Cibola Burn is the fourth book in The Expanse series and my least favourite so far (although still enjoyable). I wonder if I'm starting to find this series a little formulaic? There's still an alien threat and still various groups of humans who should really be paying attention to that threat but instead are just concentrating on fighting each other instead. Maybe I'll leave it a little before moving onto the next book.

Kafka on the Shore is only my second Haruki Murakami and it was compellingly readable and almost totally incomprehensible to me. Raining fish, talking cats and the Oedipus complex. But it left me wanting to read more by Murakami (even if I hope another book might be less surreal). Murakami apparently recommends rereading *Kafka* and it's on my shelf so maybe one day I will (and maybe one day I'll understand it).

Sep 3, 2017, 5:47pm Top

>52 Excellent! I'd be interested to hear more about your choir's repertoire, and when you'll be performing. Around here choirs tend to rehearse through the autumn for a concert in December (sometimes but not always with a holiday theme), resume in January with a concert in May, and then take a summer break.

Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 12:27pm Top

>49 souloftherose: I'll definitely look out for those. Are they all e-books though?

>54 The choir sounds exciting. Best of luck.

Sep 7, 2017, 7:11am Top

>52 humouress: I hope the choir works out! I only sing in my church choir at the moment but I do love singing.

Sep 9, 2017, 9:46am Top

>53 Sakerfalcon: I am part way through Kafka on the Shore and also a little non-plussed but gloriously so.

Have a great weekend, Heather.

Sep 10, 2017, 9:10am Top

Hi Heather!

I really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore and just had to accept that I didn't understand it very well. I've read 1Q84 too, also very complex and hard to 'understand'.

Good luck with the choir. My sister has a beautiful singing voice and has been in several choirs over the years. She gets a great deal of satisfaction being part of a large singing group.

Sep 11, 2017, 7:47am Top

I loved Kafka on the Shore when I read it a few years back - but then, I'm fascinated by surreal stories. Murakami is good at those!

Sep 12, 2017, 6:06am Top

>54 PaulCranswick: Thanks Laura - I think here choirs either do twice yearly concerts or termly (so three a year). It looks like this one does three a year. For the autumn term we're only doing one piece, Brahms' German Requiem, with a fairly early concert in mid November. Then there's a spring concert in March for which it looks like we're doing 4 smaller pieces (including Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb which I've sung before and love) and then there's a June concert with a break over the summer.

The first rehearsal went well I think - everyone was really friendly but the conductor got us to sight-sing through the whole piece (which I am really out of practise at) so it was rare that I felt confident I was singing the right note at the right time with the right German word attached to it! Apparently we'll slow down and focus on the details over the next rehearsals.

>55 karenmarie: Nina, they are only available as ebooks in the UK. I think I did see that there had been some paper copies published in the US but these might have been limited editions. Bujold is one of the main reasons I bought an ereader as she struggled to get a publisher in the UK.

>56 The_Hibernator:, >58 Thanks Claire and Karen - I am really enjoying singing in a group again.

>57 souloftherose: Gloriously non-plussed is a good description of the Kafka reading experience Paul!

>58 It's good to hear from others and know I'm not alone in finding it difficult to understand. It has left me wanting to try more by Murakami and I will try to join in with the group read of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in November and 1Q84 is also one I'd like to try.

>59 Definitely surreal Rachel! I enjoyed Kafka despite not feeling like I understood it.

Sep 12, 2017, 6:39am Top

Book #109: Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs - 4 stars
Book #117: The Dead Shall be Raised and Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs - 4 stars

George Bellairs might be a new favourite author thanks to the British Library Crime Classics series. Bellairs was a pseudonym for Harold Blundell, a bank manager who wrote detective fiction in his spare time from the 1940s through to the 1970s. His books are a little different in style to the more well-known Golden Age detective stories by Christie and Sayers et al. Bellairs' main detective, Inspector Littlejohn, is fairly phlegmatic and doesn't seem to have any particular idiosyncrasies. The stories are set in small country villages and Littlejohn is called in to each location from Scotland Yard to investigate a local murder. The investigation is carried out in a fairly undramatic way throughout - interviewing witnesses, following up leads and then comparing what everyone's said, spotting potential inconsistencies and then going back out to question everyone again. These are not the sort of mysteries where everyone is a suspect and has a possible motive for killing the deceased.

There's a wit and flair for characterisation as well as a joy of writing that shines through and makes these short novels very enjoyable. The character studies of the local inhabitants of the villages are delightful and make the routine questioning of suspects and witnesses some of my favourite sections. These early novels were published from 1942 to 1943 and include brief references to a country at war - a lack of young men in the rural villages and blackout regulations.

Having exhausted all the Bellairs' published by the British Library I was very happy to discover that a few other publishers have started to republish his backlist. Frustratingly there doesn't seem to be very reliable information about the order of the Littlejohn series (there are two series on LT with different names and different orders, and a different order again on the official website which also seems to have incorrect publication dates) so I am going to go out of order on this one (*gasp*).

The George Bellairs estate has a webpage (https://www.georgebellairs.com/) and if you sign up to their mailing list they will send you a link to download a free ebook of Corpses in Enderby which will be my next Bellairs read.

Sep 12, 2017, 6:50am Top

>60 your choir repertoire sounds amazing, Heather. I love classical choral works in almost any form, and I especially love the English choral sound. I'm envious!

Sep 15, 2017, 2:17am Top

>60 Berly: Glad you are up for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles in November!! I love reading Murakami's books with others. I am impressed by anyone who can sight-read a song. I played piano for years, but mostly because I can memorize songs easily, NOT sight reading!! LOL Have fun with the choir.

Sep 17, 2017, 10:43am Top

The Bellairs sound good, Heather. I'm also happy to see older mysteries reissued. Some of the writing is so good that it seems a shame these are going unread.

Sep 17, 2017, 2:30pm Top

>62 souloftherose: Laura, I'm also a huge fan of choral works. I think the British composers of the 20th century (Britten, Walton etc.) are my favourites

>63 Thanks Kim!

>64 Yes, I am really enjoying the republication of so many golden age crime and detective stories as well as other middlebrow authors.

Sep 22, 2017, 9:23pm Top

>65 I did notice on my last trip to the UK just how many golden age crime books seem to be revisiting the bookshops. No bad thing for sure.

Have a lovely weekend, Heather.

Sep 24, 2017, 11:47am Top

>66 Thanks Paul!

I'm completely swamped at work at the moment and feeling correspondingly tired. My big deadlines are all at the end of this week and then I just have one more week at work before I'm on leave for two weeks. We've booked a week in a small village in Exmoor which is one of our favourite places for the second of my two weeks off - normally we would do quite a bit of walking but I don't think that will be possible with Dan's CFS - still I'm really looking forward to some R&R time and the beautiful scenery of Exmoor. I just won't have the 'well, I'm sure I'll walk it off' excuse for all those lovely pub meals....

Final August reads:

Book #103:What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell - 2.5 stars
Book #107: A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray - 3.8 stars
Book #108: Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve - 3.8 stars
Book #110: All Systems Red by Martha Wells - 4.3 stars
Book #111: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman - 3.9 stars

I enjoyed the subject of Rob Bell's What is the Bible? interesting but found his writing style to be so frustrating that I would struggle to recommend this one. I think Bell writes like he would talk during a conversation with someone and I can see how that could make his books very approachable and readable to a lot of people but it irritated me a lot. There also didn't seem to be any method or order to the structure of the book.

So that's the bad, in terms of the good I did find a lot of the points he was making interesting and they resonated with me but I think other people have written about the same thing in a much better way.

One of the quotes I noted:

"When people charge in with great insistence that this is God's word all the while neglecting the very real humanity of these books, they can inadvertently rob these writings of their sacred power."

Jenni Murray's A History of Britain in 21 Women was my slow audio book throughout the summer (I think I am giving up on audio books as it takes me so long to finish them). As the title suggests it contains short biographies of 21 women who Jenni Murray feels made an impact on British history. She's focussed on women who did something 'first' - so Elizabeth I gets a chapter but not Victoria or Elizabeth II. I found this really interesting - some of the women (particularly the authors) I had heard of before but many of the others were new to me and there was a good mix of arts, sciences and politics. The narration was very well done by Murray herself.

Predator's Gold and Northern Lights were rereads. I found Predator's Gold sometimes hard going because of one character's actions (one of those books where you just want to shout 'No!' at them). Northern Lights I thought I remembered quite well but on rereading found that what I'd remembered was the final third of the book at the North Pole and not much of the bits leading up to that.

Martha Wells' All Systems Red was great fun. A novella about a grumpy/depressed artificial intelligence unit working as a security unit who has overridden its control unit and calls itself 'Murderbot'. But instead of using its new found free will to kill its assigned team Murderbot just wants the humans to leave it alone so it can binge watch trashy TV series. And as the human team Murderbot is assigned to are threatened and attacked on an exploration mission, Murderbot might be the only one who can save them.

This is a novella from tor.com (about 150 pages) and apparently Wells is writing sequels. I can't wait! (And in the meantime I should try some of Wells' other books).

'And in their corner all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.'

Sep 24, 2017, 11:50am Top

And my pre-order of this arrived (about a week early) but I think I'm going to save it until after this week - just feel too tired to properly appreciate it at the moment.

Sep 27, 2017, 11:14pm Top

Hi, Heather. Sorry things are so hectic at work but glad you have a break coming up.

I have All Systems Red ordered from the library because bluesalamander was warbling about it a few days ago.
And I'm #7 in line for Provenance.

Oct 3, 2017, 3:52am Top

>69 Thanks Roni. Things have calmed down at work a little this week - still busy and a lot of things to get done before my holiday but I didn't stay very late last night and I'm not working on my day off (today) so win!

I hope you enjoy All Systems Red - I thought it was great fun. I still haven't started Provenance (trying to finish my current paper book) but I started Gladstone's The Ruin of Angels yesterday as my commute read and am really enjoying it so far.

Edited: Oct 11, 2017, 11:02am Top

Some September reads:

Book #113:The Subtle Knife by Rob Bell - 2.5 stars
Book #115: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book Two by Ta-Nehisi Coates - 3.3 stars
Book #116: Lumberjanes Vol 5: Band Together by Shannon Waters - 3.8 stars
Book #118: Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve - 3.8 stars

So continuing my rereads of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and Reeve's Mortal Engines quartet, I enjoyed The Subtle Knife and Infernal Devices. For The Subtle Knife I actually remembered very little of the events of this book but I enjoy Will and Lyra being protagonists much more than Lyra on her own - I think Will balances Lyra out quite well. Infernal Devices was a good read but on this reread I was left feeling a little sad and frustrated about Hester's lack of character development since book #2.

I'm still enjoying the world-building in the Black Panther series even though I still have problems with the plot development (or lack thereof) - I would struggle to tell you what is actually happening. And the fifth volume in the Lumberjanes series was, like the earlier books, just a whole lot of fun. I've now reached the end of the Lumberjanes books I got through a Humble Bundle deal sometime ago and think I am now going to have to start buying these.

Oct 11, 2017, 11:14am Top

So, I'm off work! Tiredness/exhaustion is slowly receding and I've even managed to visit a few threads. I definitely like I lost my reading and LTing mojo over September and October. Reading is slowly coming back and I would like to start visiting and posting on LT more regularly.....

To bring my reading up to date I'm just going to list the other books I've read in September and October and then may write some thoughts in separate posts over the next few days. We're going to Exmoor next week and our cottage has no wifi or mobile reception (which wasn't intentional but happily will stop work from getting in contact with me). So, I'd like to draw a line under books I haven't commented on otherwise the backlog will just be even bigger when I get back!


Book #112: Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally by Marcus J. Borg - 3.8 stars
Book #114: A House on the Rhine by Frances Faviell - 3.6 stars
Book #119: Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes - 3.3 stars
Book #120: Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss - 3.8 stars
Book #121: Corpses in Enderby by George Bellairs - 3.7 stars
Book #122: Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson - 3.7 stars
Book #123: The Miller's Dance by Winston Graham - 3.9 stars
Book #124: A Chess Story by Stefan Zweig - 4 stars

Oct 11, 2017, 12:03pm Top

Which brings me to October in which I have finished two books (both since finishing work).

Book #125: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling - 5 stars

Because sometimes when your brain is fried you just need to reread Harry Potter. Picking up my very slow reread if HP (I reread Chamber of Secrets in February). If this is isn't my favourite book in the series it's definitely one of my favourites - things start to become darker and more complex from here on in. And I think the Dementors and their effects are one of the best analogies of depression I've come across.

Book #126: The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone - 3.8 stars

To quote the author, this book is about:

"Kai, and Izza, and a train heist, and sisters, and a squid tower! This is a book about troubles in close relationships, about good intentions gone wrong, about self-deception and self-liberation, and family. Also, venture capital, surveillance culture, startups, the Future (which is Murder), geopolitics, soul trade, mapping, & criminal evangelism."

Which I think makes this one of the most complicated novels plotwise in Gladstone's The Craft Sequence and one that also had very detailed worldbuilding so, with hindsight, trying to read this as I was trying to meet several deadlines at work probably wasn't the best idea.

Gladstone's Craft Sequence is a series of books set in a fantasy world where religion and magic are based on economics and contract law. Each book stands alone but characters do recur so it's a series where having read the other books adds to the richness of the story and worldbuilding.

In this book, Kai, a priest we've previously met in Full Fathom Five, is looking into investment opportunities in the split city of Agdel Lex when she receives a plea for help from her sister which Kai initially ignores. It turns out her sister needs a lot of help but is really bad at asking for it and accepting it (especially once the initial request was rejected) and the rest of the book is essentially Kai trying to help her sister who has decided she's going to fix all her problems herself, thank you very much and with both of them at cross purposes it gets really complicated. Tara Abernathy from Three Parts Dead and Four Roads Cross also makes an appearance which made me very happy as Tara is probably my favourite character from this series.

These books are so unique it's hard to draw comparisons with other writes but using a fantasy world to hold up a mirror to the real world in this way is something I think Terry Pratchett was a master of in his Discworld series and the split city of Agdel Lex reminded me a little of Mieville's The City & the City.

This wasn't my favourite book in this series - I really struggled to follow all the detailed plot threads at some points but I suspect this could be a book that I enjoy a lot more on rereading. And there were so many awesome female characters. If Gladstone's world sounds interesting I'd recommend starting with Three Parts Dead which I think is a gentler introduction to the Craft sequence.

Oct 11, 2017, 8:38pm Top

I'm glad your reading mojo is returning, Heather. You always impress me with the variety and breadth of the books you read. And Harry Potter as comfort read is spot-on!

Oct 11, 2017, 10:55pm Top

Happy reading and LTing to you, Heather! I haven't been around much either, but I'm happy to see you're posting..... I just got my copy of Chelsea Concerto free for my Kindle, so I'm feeling well set-up. Thanks!
If I didn't say, I thoroughly enjoyed Leviathan Wakes, and I'm sure that it's due to your influence.

Oct 12, 2017, 9:41am Top

Hi Heather!

No Wi-Fi or mobile reception is a blessing sometimes. Enjoy your time away from the electronic leashes.

I agree completely with you about re-reading HP. I'm currently re-listening to all 7 books - I started in February and am up to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Since retiring I have much less car time, but that's okay.

Oct 12, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Prisoner of Azkaban was a favorite of mine, too, in the series, Heather. I keep thinking it would be fun to re-read the newly illustrated ones. I'm not sure what book in the series they've gotten up to.

Oct 12, 2017, 11:36pm Top

I have the new Craft novel on my Kindle--I think I'll wait until I have some clear reading time to tackle it. Have a great and relaxing vacation, Heather! I'm glad you are getting your reading mojo back.

Oct 14, 2017, 1:38pm Top

Enjoy your time off, Heather. Sometimes not having wi-fi is a good thing.

Oct 22, 2017, 12:29pm Top

>74 jnwelch: Thanks Julia. It's a relief to me that it did come back fairly quickly once I had a break from work. I think the next 5 weeks or so may also be difficult ones work-wise so I have a number of easy rereads lined up (including the final 3 books in the HP series) just in case I lose the reading mojo again.

>75 ronincats: Thank you Peggy and woo hoo to a free copy of A Chelsea Concerto! Hope you enjoy it.

>76 BLBera: Hi Karen. Yes, I think sometimes it's probably good to get a break from being 'connected'. We had a nice quiet break - quiet by necessity but not unenjoyable because of that. We actually got rather addicted to a large jigsaw puzzle that we just managed to finish before having to head back home.

I've heard the HP books make for good audio books but I haven't tried them. I don't have that much car time either anymore so I find it quicker to get through a print book.

>77 souloftherose: The newly illustrated books are lovely. I think they've just released Azkaban in that format and I've got it on my Christmas list :-) I'm not sure how they'll do the illustrated books when they get to the longer novels (4-7) - maybe they'll have to split them into two volumes as the illustrated versions of books 1 and 2 are already quite large hardbacks.

>78 Thanks Roni! I think clear reading time for the latest Craft book would probably help.

>79 Thanks Beth! Yes, it was good to have some time off-grid. It does make me realise how much I rely on being connected all the time usually.


So, we're back - had a lovely time although both feeling rather tired today from the journey yesterday. I'm back at work tomorrow :-(

We did manage to squeeze in a visit to a lovely second-hand and antiquarian bookshop on Dulverton where we may have picked up a few books.... Hardbacks were generally quite expensive (I suspect because they were first editions or collectable) but they also had a really good selection of old Penguin paperbacks. I came away with the following:

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford (Mitford humour)
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding; An Integrated Man by Julia Strachey (Penguin Modern Classics - the first novella has been republished by Persephone books)
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clarke (won several sf awards)
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (have actually been thinking of buying a copy of this for a while)
The Road to Lichfield by Penelope Lively (I seem to be hoarding but not reading her books at the moment but this looks good)
The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
The Man on a Donkey by H. F. M. Prescott (been a few recent reviews of this older historical novel as it's just been reprinted)

And some slightly random theology picks from the shelves. I'd only heard of Crossan before but on checking now that I have internet access the other two seem to be older works but worth trying. I started the Intro to the OT (as I am still very slowly reading Robert Alter's Five Books of Moses) but I expect progress will be very slow...

The Early Church by W.H.C. Frend
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan
Introduction to the Old Testament: A Presentation of its Results and Problems by Otto Kaiser

10 books for £22! Dan also came away with a selection (mainly military history which seemed to be a specialism of this bookshop) and some poetry.

Oct 22, 2017, 12:52pm Top

A little bit of October pre-holiday reading:

Book #127: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling - 5 stars

Well, now I can't decide whether Goblet of Fire or Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite HP! Although this is where the books started to get a lot longer I didn't feel this one was bloated or overlong. And the ending....

Book #128: The Hollow by Agatha Christie - 3.7 stars

Slightly different to Christie's usual style. although this is a Poirot novel, our favourite moustached detective takes a bit of a backseat and this is more of a psychological study of the characters. I liked it but I thought the ending was a bit weak and not quite up to Christie's usual standards.

Oct 22, 2017, 12:54pm Top

Welcome home, Heather! What a nice haul - I loved Down and Out in Paris and London.

Oct 22, 2017, 8:19pm Top

I'm glad your holiday was a good one, Heather, and that's a very nice book haul, too! And now you've reminded me I need to get back to my Poirot chronological reading. Off to the library site to see what's next for me.

Oct 22, 2017, 9:35pm Top

Hi Heather - seems like you had a relaxing holiday.
I've just finished listening to Stephen Fry narrate all the HP books, really enjoyable though I wasn't so taken with the overall storyline this time around. I've just started listening to Philip Pullman's Northern Lights trilogy, the audio is extremely good so far, they use a full cast for all the dialogue. I'll pick up his latest The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage as soon as I get my hands on it.

Oh and only two Poldarks left.

Oct 22, 2017, 11:11pm Top

Sounds like a lovely holiday, Heather, and much deserved!
I also have an unread copy of *Down & Out*. If I can ever get my life under control, maybe I can talk you into a shared read.
I didn't realize that Borg was the author of *Reading Bible Again*, and then I found out, forgot, and have been reminded here again. I gave away my copy to a woman I'm sure didn't read it and wish I could get it back. Oh well.
Will I explore the Craft series? Probably. Probably now. Thanks!

Oct 23, 2017, 5:53am Top

>80 rosalita: I've been to that bookshop and remember all the Penguin classics! I seem to remember finding some Viragos there too. It is a very dangerous place. Glad you had a good holiday; Exmoor is lovely at any time of the year.

Oct 24, 2017, 6:14am Top

>82 LizzieD: Thanks Mamie! My husband read *Down and Out* on our journey home and loved it so I am hoping to get to it sooner rather than later. I noticed that it was his first published book and that did remind me that I have been meaning to do a more thorough Orwell exploration and maybe that could be something to try in 2018 (although I have to remind myself that I have a very poor record of sticking to reading plans). I think I remember you recommended Finding George Orwell in Burma which I thought might be good to read before trying to get hold of Burmese Days.

>83 Sakerfalcon: Julia, I have to confess that I haven't strictly been reading in series or chronological order. I was doing so with Liz but then got behind and rather than catching up I've just skipped the books I've missed and joined in again with whichever one Liz is reading...!

>84 souloftherose: I've heard good things about the Stephen Fry narration Kerry and the Northern Lights audio also sounds very good. I've just finished a reread in paper format of that trilogy and I'm waiting for La Belle Sauvage to arrive... In contrast to you I think I felt I was less taken with the Northern Lights trilogy on this reread but still enjoyed HP immensely.

>85 Thanks Peggy. Well if I am about to pick up my copy of Down and Out I will let you know so you can consider picking up too. And I hear you on needing to get life back under control.... Ooh, enjoy the Craft series if you try it - start with Three Parts Dead.

>86 It is a lovely bookshop Claire and a lovely part of the country - they did also have a small selection of green viragoes but nothing really caught my eye (either ones I had or ones I didn't feel a strong pull to read).

I am struggling a bit with stress/anxiety again since going back to work. I'm in charge of an impossible project which is proving to be a bit of a nightmare and for which it's looking extremely unlikely that we're going to meet the required deadline. My boss is aware that the project is impossible and a nightmare and unlikely to meet the deadline and also that it's not my fault and that I'm doing the best I can. And I know she knows this. And yet, I am unable to turn off the bit of my brain that endlessly circles the problem late at night (or worse, early morning) trying to find a magic solution I just happen to have overlooked for the last 6 months. And not getting enough sleep doesn't tend to lend itself to problems looking smaller the next day...

So, I am going to try doing some meditations in the morning more regularly again and also try journalling a little bit in the evenings which I think are things that I found helpful in the past (although it's always difficult to tell what, if anything, actually helps for this kind of thing). And maybe writing it down here will mean I actually do it (hah!)

Oct 24, 2017, 6:22am Top

Book #123: The Miller's Dance by Winston Graham - 3.9 stars
Book #128: The Loving Cup by Winston Graham - 3.9 stars

I liked these two instalments in the Poldark series more than their predecessor, The Stranger from the Sea. Like TSftS, Miller's Dance and TLC focus as much on the children of Ross and Demelza Poldark and George Warleggan as they do those three protagonists - but I'm happy that the three still get a good amount of page time.

TLC seems to end on a happy note with Jeremy, Clowance and Valentine all seemingly happily married but Graham gives some hints that there may be a 'but' coming in The Twisted Sword especially as Jeremy, Stephen and Paul's mail-coach robbery is still unresolved.... I'm eager to read The Twisted Sword to find out what Graham has in store next for these characters.

Oct 24, 2017, 7:32am Top

Very sorry to hear about your anxiety, Heather. It's a beast, isn't it? For some reason anxiety never listens to logic. It sounds like you're in a very difficult situation. It's great you have an understanding and supportive boss.

Oct 24, 2017, 11:22am Top

>87 Crazymamie: Yes, do read Finding George Orwell in Burma first - there are some spoilers in there for Burmese Days, but it is totally worth it because you will get so much more out of the novel.

Keeping you in my thoughts and sending you positive mojo, Heather - hoping that the meditation and journaling help.

Oct 24, 2017, 11:36am Top

I'm so sorry about the anxiety, Heather. I hope the meditations and journaling help. Sending positive thoughts, too.

I loved the Poldark series, all twelve books. Some more than others, but overall an outstanding series.

Oct 24, 2017, 6:16pm Top

Ugh! So sorry to hear about your work situation. :(

And yet, I am unable to turn off the bit of my brain that endlessly circles the problem late at night

I understand completely: that's one of the reasons I left my previous job, that insidious feeling it was poisoning everything outside of the job. At least it sounds as if your boss isn't unreasonable, even if the situation is? I hope things resolve themselves for you.

I have to confess that I haven't strictly been reading in series or chronological order

You cut me to the heart. :)

Oct 25, 2017, 7:18am Top

Sending lots of calming good vibes your way, Heather. Your descriptions of your brain on anxiety really resonated with me. I'm glad your boss is supportive, at least. I hope things resolve themselves satisfactorily in the end.

Oct 27, 2017, 2:06am Top

Sounds like you had a great time away. Sorry you have to jump back into such a tough work situation. Good luck and do give the meditation a try. At least your boss seems understanding. See how it goes. Sending you good mojo and sleep waves. LOL Enjoy the Potter. : )

Oct 27, 2017, 12:34pm Top

Glad you had a good vacation, Heather. Thank goodness you have a supportive boss; the work situation sucks. {{{Hugs!}}}

Oct 28, 2017, 9:24am Top

>89 lyzard:, >90 rosalita:, >91 Berly:, >92 ronincats:, >93 souloftherose:, >94, >95 - Thank you all for the kind comments! I have slept a little better this week - still waking up early but not so early and not with my heart pounding :-) And work-wise, the impossible project might just get done on time, we'll see.

>89 lyzard: Thank you Laura - and you're right - one of the most frustrating things is how anxiety doesn't listen to logic!

>90 rosalita: Thanks for the rec for Finding George Orwell in Burma - I will make sure I read it before reading Burmese Days.

>91 Berly: Thank you Karen - I have really loved the Poldark series as a whole. Rather sad to think I have just two books left! Not sure what I will find to replace it for 2018 but there was some discussion of a group read of John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga in the 2018 category challenge and I may join in with that.

>92 ronincats: Ugh re your last job. There are times when work does have that effect on me too - at the moment those periods are temporary but my reason for leaving my last job sounds similar to yours. This week did go better than I feared so I don't think this job has got to that point yet which is good!

>93 souloftherose: Thanks Julia. In many ways it's reassuring to know that other people have felt the same way at times.

>94 Thanks Kim! It's good to know I have the next HP book waiting for me!

>95 Thank you Roni!

Oct 28, 2017, 9:33am Top

So catching up on books read whilst I was on holiday:

Book #130: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi - 2.5 stars

Science-fictional thriller imagining what could happen to southern states in the US like Arizona and Nevada if/when the water runs out (living in a country known for its wet weather I admit it hadn't occurred to me that this would be a potential problem until I read this). This was a decent page turner but rather cliched in a lot of ways - it felt like Bacigalupi had a good idea for the premise but then just stuck that round a bog-standard thriller plot. And although two of the main characters were women they felt largely written from the point of view of a male gaze. And the sex scenes made me cringe. Also I could have done without the torture descriptions.

So probably not my kind of book but a lot of other people loved this one so YMMV.

Book #129: Provenance by Ann Leckie - 4.3 stars

I unashamedly loved this even though this doesn't quite live up to the Ancillary Justice trilogy. Provenance is set in the same world as AJ and its sequels but has completely different characters and although the events of AJ and sequels are referenced there's no requirement to have read the Ancillary series first.

Provenance is a warm-hearted, madcap mystery/adventure novel - it reminded me of some of Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books in the speed at which the main character goes from crisis to crisis and I'm not convinced I followed all of the intricate plotting. I'm not sure it's much more than a really fun sf story in the way I would strongly argue the Ancillary books are, but as a really fun sf story I very much enjoyed it.

Also, I really want to reread all the Ancillary books now.

Oct 28, 2017, 1:44pm Top

Sharing because this made me smile:

Shelter sorts dogs into Hogwarts' Houses, Leading to More Adoptions.

Our old family dog was definitely a Hufflepuff. Meanwhile our cat is firmly Slytherin (resourceful and determined) - this year she has learnt that rather than using her cat-flap to come in or out she can flap it loudly several times with her paw, leading one of her humans to come and see what the fuss is about and then open the door for her.

Oct 28, 2017, 1:49pm Top

>98 That is too cute! And also a very clever idea. Thanks for sharing the story, Heather.

Oct 28, 2017, 2:43pm Top

>98 How fun! I'll have to do some thinking about our cats--they all have such different personalities.

Karen O.

Oct 28, 2017, 3:50pm Top

I want to throw out a request for participants in a group read of one of my favorite but relatively unknown fantasy novels, God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell. The "stalk" refers to stalking gods, not a stem. It is the first of a still ongoing series, but it is a complete story and easy to walk away from after the first book if you wish--indeed, all of us had to wait many years after this one to get a sequel. I am looking at possibly November, December or January for the time frame, but the actual month will depend on what those interested work out. If you would be at all interested, please PM me or drop by my thread and let me know.

Oct 28, 2017, 7:08pm Top

>98 ronincats: I’d guess every cat is a Slytherin! At least ours hav been...

Oct 28, 2017, 7:51pm Top

>98 ronincats: I love that quiz!! What a great idea.

Oct 29, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>102 Well, I don't know, we've had cats (one currently) who seem more like dogs than cats. Definite Gryffindor. (the things we find to talk about! :) )

Karen O.

Edited: Oct 29, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>99 drneutron:, >103 I know - such a cute idea!

>100 lauralkeet:, >102 souloftherose:, >104 I can image a lot, if not the majority, of cats might be Slytherin but there were a number of comments under the article from people categorising their pets and there were some cats in other houses :-)

>103 Thanks Roni - I'm definitely in. Left a comment on your thread.

Book #132: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - 3.9 stars

Lots of people have been raving about Amor Towles recently, particularly his latest book A Gentleman in Moscow, so I decided to read along with the group read of his first novel, Rules of Civility.

Initially I wasn't sure about this one - 1930s New York, cocktails, jazz and two girls and a guy who threatens to come between them didn't really grip me. But I kept reading and slowly the writing style and the story started to win me over. I think it helped that it became clear this was more than two girls fall out over a guy. It's frothy, yes, but not in a bad way and I ended up thinking about this for quite a while after I'd finished.

Oct 29, 2017, 7:03pm Top

My Kara is a definite Hufflepuff, and thus a disgrace to the feline race. :D

But never mind that! - what I really came over to say is that the thread is up for the group read of The Duke's Children - here. I look forward to seeing you there, though there's no hurry about getting started.

Oct 30, 2017, 8:09pm Top

Provenance - you got me at "Miles Vorkosigan", Heather. Plus I loved the Ancillary Trilogy. I'm on it.

Oct 31, 2017, 2:24pm Top

>106 My Kara is a definite Hufflepuff, and thus a disgrace to the feline race. :D

Aw, Kara sounds like a sweetie. If it just came to bravery Erica would definitely be a Hufflepuff but as loyalty was also included I'm not so sure... I suppose by dint of being terrified of everyone except Dan and I she is loyal - but I'm not sure if that counts!

Thanks for the link to the group read thread!

>107 I hope you enjoy Provenance Joe.

Oct 31, 2017, 3:35pm Top

Book #133: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman - 3.7 stars

I've struggled to keep at bay a faint tinge of disappointment on this reread of Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy because I can't shake the feeling that I'm not enjoying these books as much as I did when I read them the first time. Pullman's worldbuilding is still incredible and there are certain scenes that really stay in my memory but there's something that has stopped me really loving these books on this reread and I'm struggling to say what it is. This feeling troubled me the most with The Amber Spyglass which I think is the longest of the three books and the one where I started to feel that I was really being beaten over the head with the message element of the trilogy.

And I should stress that the 'problem' I'm describing is relatively minor - I still enjoyed rereading the trilogy and I'm very excited by the beautiful hardback of La Belle Sauvage which arrived this week. I just felt a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to give them 5 stars on rereading.

Book #112: Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally by Marcus J. Borg - 3.8 stars
Book #134: Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg - 3.8 stars

I've been interested in reading some of Marcus Borg's writings for a while now. I think Borg describes himself as a progressive Christian and I was aware that some of his beliefs were very different to the beliefs I'd been taught (in various churches) were key to being a Christian (one example is that Borg says he doesn't believe in the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus). And for various reasons, it's only been recently that I've actually got round to reading any of his books: namely Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally and Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most.

Convictions is a series of short essays/chapters each explaining one of Borg's key beliefs (e.g. "God is real and a mystery", "Jesus is the norm of the Bible"). Although I read Convictions second, I think it made clearer to me where Borg was coming from as I felt each chapter was a response to the conservative Christian church in America. In that respect the chapters often felt more like they were more about explaining what Borg doesn't believe than what he does believe. Perhaps this is my lack of familiarity with progressive/liberal Christianity, but I felt I understood what he was saying he didn't believe (and often agreeing with him) but sometimes a bit lost when it came to understanding the implications of what he does believe. My personal response at the end of each chapter was often something along the lines of "OK, but what does that mean?!") I'm not sure that's really a criticism of Borg's explanations, more that I feel I haven't conceptually 'got' this new (to me) approach to Christianity. Having said that, by the end of the book I was left feeling that although from a doctrinal point of view Borg would probably disagree with a lot of the key beliefs that I was taught are key to being a Christian, his Christianity doesn't look very different from what I think of as more traditional Christianity.

Although in each chapter Borg is effectively explaining why he disagrees with conservative Christianity I didn't feel these essays were diatribes or attacks. Whilst reading both books Borg struck me as a very thoughtful and quite gentle person. The only sections of Convictions I found uninteresting were the sections where Borg describes his approach to the Bible because this just repeated his conclusions from his earlier book Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally which I had read the previous month. I'd therefore say that Convictions may be of less interest if you have read Borg before, but it's probably a good introduction to his worldview if you haven't.

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally is, as it suggests, Borg's approach to reading and interpreting the Christian Bible (i.e. covering both Old Testament/He. I found this both really interesting and sometimes frustrating. The latter because this is a popular book which is only just over 200 pages long and that's not long enough to do much more than touch the surface of this subject. I did feel that Borg glosses over points that might not support his view (I guess in a relatively short popular book you don't have space to present all the arguments) but I did appreciate the extra reading suggestions he makes in the endnotes. Overall, I enjoyed this because I really like Borg's thoughtful writing style and his approach was new to me so I found this very interesting. Recommended if you are interested in an introduction to a progressive/liberal Christian view on how to read the Bible.

Nov 2, 2017, 5:51pm Top

Some goals for the remainder of 2017:

Finish some books I have been reading very slowly for a while (some for most of the year...):
The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter
Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James Kugel

Finish some series:
Poldark: The Twisted Sword and Bella Poldark by Winston Graham
Reckoners: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Black Panther: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Gilead: Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Nov 8, 2017, 1:07am Top

I have such fond memories of The Amber Spyglass and after reading your review, I am less than eager to re-read it. Totally understand what you are saying.

Good luck with your end-of-year plans!

Nov 8, 2017, 6:09pm Top

Hi Heather! I always find your reading interesting and you haven't let me down!

>97 klobrien2: I'm hoping to get my hands on Provenance this week - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

>98 ronincats: Too funny - I've just shared the link with a friend who adopted yet another dog this past weekend, and named him Neville.

>109 Dejah_Thoris: I may give Convictions a try. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

Nov 10, 2017, 10:53am Top

Hi Heather! You've just convinced me to put Provenance on hold at the library :-)

Nov 10, 2017, 9:40pm Top

>68 souloftherose: Oooh, that looks enticing, considering its not my genre really, I can see myself expanding my repertoire!

>87 Crazymamie: I hope things calm down at work, and that your meditations work.

Nov 12, 2017, 8:51am Top

Wishing you a lovely Sunday, Heather.

Nov 12, 2017, 9:13am Top

>111 LovingLit: Hi Kim! It's always difficult to know how rereading a much loved book is going to be. I didn't not enjoy my reread but I wasn't as captivated as I remembered.

>112 PaulCranswick: Lovely to see you posting Dejah! I hope you enjoy Provenance and I love that your friend called their adopted dog Neville!

>113 souloftherose: Provenance is really fun - I hope you enjoy it!

>114 If you haven't read any of Leckie's books I'd recommend starting with Ancillary Justice - it was her first novel and I think it's her best.

Things aren't really calmer at work but the meditation is helping - plus I had a chat with my boss to say the pressure was really getting to me and she reiterated that she knows this is an impossible project and no-one expects me to do more than my best which helped. Nothing else about the project is going any better but it helped ease some of the pressure!

Next Sunday is my first concert with the choir - so as well as our usual Wednesday evening rehearsal we have a Friday evening rehearsal and a Sunday afternoon rehearsal followed by a Sunday evening concert. Busy week!

As well as books I've been really enjoying two series on Netflix: Stranger Things (my colleague has finally persuaded me to try this and I'm halfway through Season One and loving it) and Star Trek: Discovery (love Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham).

Nov 12, 2017, 11:52am Top

Book #120: Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss - 3.8 stars
Book #135: Helliconia Summer by Brian Aldiss - 3 stars

I've not heard anyone use the phrase 'epic science fiction' in the way we have the phrase 'epic fantasy' but it strikes me as a good way to describe Aldiss' Helliconia trilogy - these are books spread over centuries of time as a planet in a binary star system goes slowly from its winter to summer to winter again. The planet is populated by two types of people: humans (so far not clear if these are descended from terrestrial humans or aliens that look like humans) and Phagors who are an intelligent kind of goat like biped (see picture on the cover of Helliconia Summer). The humans are best adapted to the warmer weather and the Phagors are best adapted to the cold.

The central character in this trilogy is the planet itself - not any of the people living on the planet. In the first book, Helliconia Spring we follow a group of humans living in one small town with initially minimal technology/science as winter turns to spring and human society can start to do more than just survive. I enjoyed this section especially the small group of women who believe humanity should focus on learning and understanding their past in order to prepare for what they think may be a cyclical change of seasons. The other humans are focused on fighting the Phagors and keeping power.

Helliconia Summer I found much, much harder going - human civilisation as broadened and spread out so we are now following several different human cultures and civilisations which made it much harder to keep track of who everyone was. Set several decades or more after Helliconia Spring humanity has entered a golden age and the Phagors are no longer a threat but we start to see evidence that human civilisation may have reached a peak and be about to decline. Once again most people are just concerned with conserving power and not with paying attention to the changing climate or trying to understand it.

After struggling so much with *Summer* I've paused picking up Helliconia Winter (the conclusion of the trilogy) until I feel able to give it more attention. The overarching theme of hte series from what I've read so far seems to be fate/futility - the planet is locked in a slowly repeating cycle of intense cold and heat, humankind and Phagorkind are locked in a slowly repeating cycle of rising and falling civilisations out of sync with one another and also in war. The Phagors have a kind of species memory which lets them know there will be winter again. The humans don't and therefore lose most of whatever scientific and technological advances they have made each time winter comes round. In some ways it's a little bit depressing (even when I admire what Aldiss is trying to do with such an epic scope). I want to want to finish the trilogy but at the moment I'm not sure.....

Nov 15, 2017, 8:27pm Top

I finally got the handle on my purse, so here's a picture.

ANd I have Provenance home from the library.

Nov 15, 2017, 11:15pm Top

I'll drop out of lurk to speak, "Hi, Heather!" Now I'm off to look at Borg's *Convictions*. I read *Reading Bible* before I knew that Borg was Borg, and didn't really find anything disturbing. Hmmm.
Oh, I do want *Provenance*, but I need to read the last two *Ancillaries* first. Soon! And wonder who set me on *Helliconia*? I have *Spring* - unread - but waiting.

Nov 16, 2017, 6:46am Top

>116 LizzieD: I forgot to ask you about choir when we met on Tuesday! Hope it has been going well. What are you singing at the concert?

>117 Sakerfalcon: The Helliconia trilogy is on my tbr, but I can't see myself getting to it any time soon.

Nov 16, 2017, 10:30am Top

>118 Crazymamie: That's beautiful Heather! Nicely done.

Nov 18, 2017, 2:57pm Top

>116 LizzieD: I've been loving Star Trek: Discovery too! Love Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, also loving Anthony Rapp as Stamets. It feels like a long time until January.

Nov 23, 2017, 1:58pm Top

On this American day of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, one of them being my

Have a wonderful day! : )

Nov 23, 2017, 2:57pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Heather!

And btw, I did enjoy Provenance. Ann Leckie is terrific!

Nov 23, 2017, 3:42pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 24, 2017, 1:51am Top

Hi Heather! I liked Provenance quite a bit too, it doesn't play with cool SF ideas like the previous Leckie books did but it was cozy and fun.

Nov 25, 2017, 9:36am Top

Hi Heather: I'll have to look for Provenance. I have a copy of The Water Knife but perhaps will move it off the "read soon" pile.

Nov 25, 2017, 9:41am Top

Happy Saturday, Heather. I'm so sorry I've neglected your thread this year but sadly your's has not been the only one. Hope I can step up my visits in the future.

Nov 26, 2017, 12:28am Top

Just finished Provenance and enjoyed it greatly, quite entertaining.

Dec 4, 2017, 8:12am Top

So, it's been a while (again) since I've posted here - the second half of November vanished in a haze of work and social activities (LT meetups, a choir concert, crafting days and lots of family meetups). The impossible project got completed (somehow) and filed on 30th November - and I've had Friday and today off work in lieu of all the overtime and tomorrow I am actually having a non-working day (as I'm supposed to). So I have managed to take a long weekend to try to recover - it's mostly been spent feeling very tired and very grumpy but I think I am feeling 20% more human today.

>118 Crazymamie: The purse looks beautiful Roni! I've had the handle done on mine for a while but have completely stalled on making the lining - definitely a goal for the end of the year for me.

>118 Crazymamie:, >129 Really glad you enjoyed Provenance :-)

>119 archerygirl: I think Helliconia was a Lucy/sibyx recommendation from a couple of years ago. I had the first book in the series for a while but waited until I'd got hold of books 2 and 3. I expect my ability to appreciate the second book suffered due to reading it when I was so busy at work.

>120 Berly: Hi Claire. It was lovely to see you in person a few weeks ago. We sang Brahms' German Requiem (Ein deutsches Requiem I should say) - I was quite nervous because it's been so long since I did a concert but I think it went well. We had so many extra rehearsals though that it did make for an extremely busy week. And the concert was Sunday evening too and I really felt very tired the next day at work. It's been nice going back to normal rehearsals and new pieces with the choir again and feeling like I know a little bit more what I'm doing. For our March concert we will be singing the following (of which I've only sung the Britten before):

Rheinberger - Mass in E flat
Sullivan - Te Deum
Tippett - Spirituals
Britten - Rejoice in the Lamb

>121 Dejah_Thoris: I agree about it's beautiful Mamie but I can't take credit for making it - Roni did :-)

>122 PaulCranswick: Yeah, I'm definitely missing Star Trek: Discovery. Because there were so many references to The Original Series we're slowly working our way through that now on Netflix (somehow I have never watched TOS apart from the films) and in a lot of ways it's better than I thought it would be (William Shatner doesn't overact anywhere near as much as he does in the films) but the inherent sexism is often quite jaw-dropping.

>123 kgodey:, >125 Carmenere: Thank you Kim and Paul for the Thanksgiving wishes!

>124 BLBera:, >126 ronincats: Also glad to hear you both enjoyed Provenance Dejah! I've seen a number of more negative reviews from people who were disappointed with this one and I agree it doesn't have the same complexity and new ideas that Ancillary Justice did but I found it really fun and am very happy I splashed out for the hardback.

>127 souloftherose: Hi Beth. Well, lots of other people really did like The Water Knife so it might just have been me. If you like thrillers I think it's probably worth a read.

>128 No worries Lynda, I think I have neglected my own thread this year let alone anyone else's! :-)

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 8:50am Top

Books read since my last update

#136 Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson - 3.7 stars
#137 The Young Pretenders by Edith Henrietta Fowler - 3.7 stars
#138 The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie - 3.8 stars
#139 A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve - 4.3 stars
#140 Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - 4.2 stars
#141 La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman - 3.7 stars
#142 Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine - 3.7 stars
#143 The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4 stars
#144 The Twisted Sword by Winston Graham - 3.8 stars
#145 A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright - 3.8 stars
#146 Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book Three by Ta Nehisi-Coates - 3.5 stars
#147 A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge - 4.5 stars
#148 Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson - 4.3 stars
#149 The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie - 3.6 stars
#150 Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge - 3.7 stars
#151 She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Law and Disorder by Charles Soule - 3.9 stars
#152 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - 4.0 stars
#153 She-Hulk, Vol. 2: Disorderly Conduct by Charles Soule - 3.8 stars

Worthy of particular mention: My reread of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines quartet culminated with A Darkling Plain which was an excellent end to the series, pulling together all the plot threads and dealing with some of the character development issues I'd had in books #2 and #3.

A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright - I'd actually got hold of this for free from the author's website a few years ago from a Green Dragon recommendation. It's now been republished (so no longer available free) but everyone else reading the republished version reminded me that I had a copy of this. It's a good character-driven space opera which reminded me of Sharon Lee/Steve Miller's Liaden series or Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books. An older, female ship's captain who takes no nonsense from anyone and a male navigator with amnesia. There's adventure, romance and conspiracy - very good fun and I'm glad it's back in print. As far as I can tell the author never wrote anything else.

The new Frances Hardinge, A Skinful of Shadows, is excellent: historical fiction/fantasy set during England's Civil War (17th century) - Hardinge is very good at celebrating heroines who are different to those around them and who nevertheless manage to carve out a space for themselves i the world they inhabit. If this doesn't get shortlisted for prizes next year I'll be very disappointed.
Then I went on to read her backlist starting with her first novel, Fly by Night, which is still fun and another unique heroine (and a goose) but maybe a little overcomplicated in plot.

Everyone else has raved about Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing so I will just say that I agree.

Charles Soule's brief She-Hulk series for Marvel (as recommended by archerygirl ages ago) is a delight and undeservedly overlooked. Like Matt Fraction's Hawkeye series it's an attempt to look at the more everyday life of a superhero: Jennifer Walters is a lawyer in her daily life and this series follows her resigning from her current practice and setting up on her own. Inevitably she ends up with lots of superhero related clients and cases and it's good fun (helped by the fact that Soule is apparently a lawyer himself). For some reason it ended after 12 issues. It's a little bit let down by the artwork - the main artist is fine but there's a guest artist for two issues who is just awful.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:42am Top

Hello, Heather! Lovely to see you here, and hooray for finishing the the impossible project! Sorry about the mix up of the purses - you are making that same pattern, yes?

You got me with A Matter of Oaths - adding it to The List. I am also tempted by A Skinful of Shadows, but I should probably read the one I have by her on my shelves first.

Hoping that your days off this week are full of fabulous!

Dec 4, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>130 Dejah_Thoris: Congratulations on finishing your impossible project! I hope today finds you well on the way to recovery.

My library doesn't have A Matter of Oaths, so I'll have to convince them to buy it or get it myself. Happily, they do have Homegoing, so I'll add that to the list.

Great reading!

Dec 4, 2017, 5:51pm Top

>131 lauralkeet: wow. that's a lot of reading! I'm really glad the impossible project is now in your rear-view mirror.

Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 1:00am Top

>131 lauralkeet: I'm glad you are getting some time off!

I'm just starting A Skinful of Shadows, I read Fly Trap and Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge which I really enjoyed so I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. I have The Lie Tree in my TBR pile as well.

I enjoyed both Aurora and Every Heart a Doorway when I read them too. I still have to get to The Prisoner of Limnos, I usually take my time to read Bujold since then I won't have more to look forward to!

Dec 5, 2017, 1:07am Top

Heather!! So nice to see you emerge from the pull of RL!! Glad you survived the impossible project. Great job on the book reading. Hope you can recover a little bit now. And be here more. ; )

Dec 5, 2017, 2:20am Top

Oh, some bbs there! Just whizzing through, trying to catch up. *wave*

Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 8:03am Top

I'm glad you enjoyed A skinful of shadows as it's sitting on my tbr pile. I rarely buy hardbacks but couldn't resist this one. I love Mosca in Fly by night - she reminds me of Joan Aiken's Dido Twite with her ruthlessness and intelligence.

I love the German Requiem; I'm glad your concert went well. The next programme sounds lovely - I've always wanted to sing Rejoice in the lamb but my choir is too small to try it.

Dec 5, 2017, 11:56am Top

>130 Dejah_Thoris: TOS is definitely a series of its time with the rampant sexism! Shatner's acting is much more better in it, though, and I've never understood why he went so OTT in the films. In between all the sexism, TOS has some absolutely fantastic episodes and lot of building blocks for great stuff done later. Waiting to watch Discovery until after you've finished TOS might be a good idea, though.

>131 lauralkeet: That guest artist is awful. I nearly gave up at that point, but the writing kept me going until the regular artist returned. I loved that She-Hulk run, but I suspect that not enough people did and that's why it ended after 12 issues :-(

Congrats on getting the awful project done! Your time off sounds very well deserved.

Dec 10, 2017, 7:05am Top

We have 3 inches of snow here today! It's still snowing and it's forecast to keep on snowing for the rest of the day and into the night. I think it's definitely a curl up and read/knit/crochet day. Unfortunately snow always makes the cat very anxious - I guess understandable since the outside territory she thinks she knows (and owns) has been covered up by this weird cold stuff. I have no idea whether I will be able to get to work tomorrow but fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) I saw the forecast and brought my laptop home.

>132 kgodey: Yes I am making the same pattern - well remembered! I am embarrassed about how long it has taken me. I finished the crochet months ago but have kept putting off adding the lining to the bag because I am scared of sewing. I made myself knuckle down sew the handle on and cut out the lining fabric over the summer but now it's December already and no further progress has been made. Definitely on my list to sort out over the Christmas holidays. Here's the latest picture (lining fabric on the left):

All the Frances Hardinge I've read has been good - which one do you have in the TBR?

>133 Berly: Thanks Dejah! Hope you enjoy Homegoing and can track down a copy of A Matter of Oaths!

>134 humouress: Thanks Laura - it's reading since October really but I did manage to read quite a bit even through November somehow.

>135 Sakerfalcon: I'll be interested to see your thoughts on A Skinful of Shadows. I also enjoyed Aurora a lot as well as my reread of Every Heart a Doorway. I expect I will buy Down Among the Sticks and Bones to read over Christmas.

>136 archerygirl: Thanks Kim!

>137 souloftherose: *waves back*

>138 I hope you enjoy A Skinful of Shadows Claire - mine was an ebook but I loved the cover design and can imagine that this would make a gorgeous hardback. And yes, Mosca reminded me of Dido quite a bit too and they both had quite rough starts in life but their ruthlessness and intelligence was tempered by kindness too.

>139 Agreed, there are some really good episodes in TOS - I don't think I will be able to wait to finish watching Discovery when it airs though! Currently I have been distracted from TOS by a desperate need to finish Season Two of Stranger Things which is just amazing.

Yeah, it's a shame about the She-Hulk run.

Speaking of Marvel series that end too early:

Book #154: Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain - 4.3 stars

This was a really fun read recommended by norabelle414 - I only know the Mockingbird character from the Agents of Shield TV series (where I thought she was awesome). Bobbi Morse is Mockingbird and a normal (i.e. non-superhero) agent for Shield. In this storyline she's been infected by some kind of virus which seems to be giving her superpowers. The first four issues are structured as a puzzle box which seems to mean issue one tells you the end of the story, issues two - four can be read in any order and fill in some gaps and then issue five finishes off the storyline. I think the Matt Faction Hawkeye storyline might have done something similar at some point?

Anyway, the structure was interesting but what really made me love this is how smart and funny these comics are - so much fun. And another disappointment that the entire run ended after only eight issues.

Dec 10, 2017, 7:21am Top

Book #155: Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate - 4.1 stars

An unusual golden age murder mystery originally published in 1940 and reprinted as part of the British Library Crime Classics. Unusual in that the main focus of the story is on how the different members of the jury view the evidence presented to them as part of a murder trail depending on their social background and individual experiences. The book is divided into three parts - in the first we are introduced to the members of the jury as they take their oath, in the second we find out the background and circumstances of the alleged murder and in the third the trial takes place and the jury give their verdict. My only criticism is that given all the build up the actual discussion by the jury members felt a little rushed. But otherwise this was a very enjoyable read although perhaps not one designed to give the reader faith in the trial by jury system.

Dec 10, 2017, 9:03am Top

3" of snow! That's quite a lot for your neck of the woods. I can see how it would bother the cat. Our dogs love it. I hope you get a snow day on Monday!!

Dec 10, 2017, 11:00am Top

>140 Crazymamie: SO pretty - I really like those colors. Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain looks like something that Abby and Birdy would love.

Hoping that your Sunday is full of fabulous, Heather!

Dec 10, 2017, 1:36pm Top

Oh, great to hear re Mockingbird, Vol. 1, Heather. I've had that one on the WL, but didn't know anyone who'd read it. I'll bump it up.

Dec 12, 2017, 1:44pm Top

>140 Crazymamie: My parents had around 6" where they are and they were *not* amused. Mum was particularly unamused because she times her visits to Canada to avoid snow! Ah, well, at least it won't last for four months the way it does here.

The thought of a weekend where 6" of snow is unusual instead of the norm sounds really good to me. I'll probably spend most of next winter just going "OMG, this England winter thing is so good" even if it's another one like this!

Mockingbird is on hold at my library now :-)

Dec 15, 2017, 9:41am Top

I bet Jasper, our golden retriever, would love snow! He’s dug a hole in the side of my lawn under one of my few bushes, where he lays out in the daytime. Unfortunately this means his undercarriage is muddy and sandy and he tracks it every where - including all over our clothes, because he loves to hug us.

>140 Crazymamie: Scared of sewing? At least it’s easy to keep stitches even and it doesn’t sabotage you the way knitting does :0)

Dec 15, 2017, 10:42pm Top

Great to see you still reading more than a little, Heather! Safely past 150 again - congratulations.

Have a splendid weekend.

Dec 15, 2017, 11:32pm Top

I neglected to say how much I admire your beautiful work on the purse - A LOT!!!!! I hate the sewing part of every needlework project too, and with good reason. My sewing makes even expert (!) knitting and good-enough crochet look homemade. *sigh*
I envy your getting to sing the German Requiem this year. No such luck for me, and I don't have many years before my old voice gives out entirely.
As usual, I'm also awed by all your reading. Wish I were trying Aurora! Maybe next year!

Dec 19, 2017, 1:16pm Top

Wow! You've had a storm with 10 inches of snow already? We haven't really had much accumulation here. maybe about an inch.

Dec 20, 2017, 6:14am Top

Delurking for a quick hello, Heather!

I hope that you're doing well. You're reading some great books, for sure. Rereading, too. I do that a lot, and particularly enjoy Agatha Christie. I'm doing a re-listen of the Harry Potter series, and am on book 6. Now that I don't commute to work any more, it's taking a much longer time since I don't listen to books in the house, only in the car.

Dec 20, 2017, 10:27am Top

I hope you're having a wonderful week, Heather!

Dec 21, 2017, 2:16am Top

>141 jnwelch: I saw another LT review on Verdict of Twelve recently. It is great that they are bring some of the classic crime books out again. I hope you are having a pleasant week in the lead up to Christmas, Heather.

Dec 23, 2017, 10:33am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dec 23, 2017, 5:45pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 24, 2017, 6:43am Top

Gosh, somehow the last fortnight got away from me! I finished work a week ago but whether or not I've been fighting off some kind of bug I haven't been feeling 100% the last week and I'm still feeling really tired. We saw my SIL, her husband and my nephews yesterday and now have a quiet few days at home before seeing my family on the 28th. We're having to be quite careful about spacing activities out this year so that Dan doesn't have a ME/CFS relapse.

>142 archerygirl: I did WFH on Monday Laura and so did pretty much everyone else on my team I think. It's never quite as easy as working in the office but I'm glad I can do it in emergencies.

>143 humouress: Thanks Mamie - hope the girls enjoy Mockingbird Vol. 1 - that's reminded me that I haven't picked up Vol. 2 which I think I will do shortly.

>144 PaulCranswick: Hope you enjoy it Joe!

>145 LizzieD: 'The thought of a weekend where 6" of snow is unusual instead of the norm sounds really good to me.' Yep, I can definitely understand that! It snows so rarely here that I get very excited when it does snow but I can imagine how tedious it would become if it snowed a lot.

>146 The_Hibernator: I bet Jasper would Nina - our golden retriever would always go quite barmy when it snowed and just ran around the garden sticking his nose in it. I disagree with you on easy to keep the stitches even when it comes to sewing though for some reason my knitting behaves itself - probably because I'm practiced at one but not the other!

>147 karenmarie: Thanks Paul!

>148 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks Peggy - I'd like to read more KSR in 2018.

>149 Familyhistorian: Not ten inches here Rachel - some parts of the UK may have had that much but I can't remember now. But still even 2-3 inches is far more snow than we've had for about 8 years.

>150 Ameise1: Hi Karen - I'm just rereading HP 6 now :-) Not sure if I will also squeeze book #7 in this year but who knows?

>151 ronincats: Thanks Dejah!

>152 souloftherose: I think Judy/DeltaQueen50 was also reading it this month which was what gave me the push to pick it up - I am pleased they're reprinting some of these classics.

>152 souloftherose:, >153 Thanks Barbara and Roni!

I suspect I won't get around all the individual threads but just wanted to wish a merry Christmas/happy holidays to all visitors with especial thoughts to those for whom this time of year is not 'the most wonderful time of the year' for whatever reason.

Dec 24, 2017, 8:43am Top

Hi Heather!

Stopping by to wish you and yours all good things this holiday season.

Dec 24, 2017, 11:03am Top

Happy holidays! I am thankful this holiday season for all the good friends I have made in this group. You are all so supportive. I don't know what I'd do without you!

Dec 24, 2017, 2:31pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 24, 2017, 8:32pm Top

Dec 25, 2017, 4:10am Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 5:14am Top

Merry Christmas to you and your husband, Heather! I hope that 2018 treats you well, and I look forward to seeing you again next year.

Dec 25, 2017, 8:38am Top

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy book filled 2018

Dec 25, 2017, 8:31pm Top

Merry Christmas, Heather! Peace and joy to you and yours.

Dec 26, 2017, 4:29pm Top

Happy Boxing Day!!

Dec 26, 2017, 10:38pm Top

Um, well I’m a bit late with my Christmas wishes, it being the time of year for me when everything happens at once. Thank you for your wishes. Wishing you and your family all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 2:40pm Top

>156 rretzler:, >157 PaulCranswick:, >158 kidzdoc:, >159 calm:, >160 Dejah_Thoris:, >161 Berly:, >162 humouress:, >163 souloftherose:, >164 & >165 Thank you to Karen, Rachel, Rhian, Robin, Paul, Darryl, calm, Dejah, Kim and Nina for the Xmas wishes!

I'm not sure where the time is going - even though we're not busy it seems to be whizzing by. Today was mostly about attempting to make a chocolate log for family Xmas meal tomorrow. We thought it would be easy and it really, really wasn't. Luckily my SIL to be has a back-up, shop-bought pudding - I'm going to take our attempt along but mainly to display for humourous effect I think.

In terms of Christmas books I got a few:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - the beautiful hardback illustrated edition by Jim Kay
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine
The Lady and the Unicorn by Rumer Godden

Edited: Jan 1, 1:45pm Top

Some reading:

Book #156: Bella Poldark by Winston Graham - 4.2 stars

A very satisfying conclusion to the Poldark series (yes, I've finally finished it!) especially as the ending of the preceding volume, The Twisted Sword, was quite a sad one. But Bella tied up loose ends in a very satisfying way.

Book #157: The Duke's Children: Restored Edition by Anthony Trollope - 4.4 stars

When Trollope first published this novel, the concluding volume of his six volume Palliser series, his publishers forced him to reduce the length by c. 25%. Recently some researchers went back through the original manuscript and the resulting restored text has recently been republished by the Folio Society and Everyman's Library. So after reading the originally published reduced version in March this year we did another group read of the longer, restored version (with Liz going above and beyond as usual and highlighting all the added passages for those of us with the Everyman editions where the restored passages aren't marked) - and it was definitely worth it.

Although Trollope did a very good job of cutting 25% of the novel without losing key plot points, what was lost was a lot of the indepth analysis of character's motivations and thoughts which Trollope excels at. So on my first read I didn't rate this as a particularly good Trollope novel but on rereading with the omitted passages restored, it ranks with his other great novels for me. This is a series which you need to read in order (otherwise you miss out on so much about the characters) but if you are going to read The Duke's Children please buy the restored edition.

Dec 29, 2017, 10:37am Top

>166 I made my firs chocolate log for personal consumption, which was probably a good thing because it tasted great and looked...interesting :-) Trying to get the dratted thing to roll without cracking was impossible and my ganache covering went from "too thin to coat" to "too thick to spread" without a good intermediate stage.

I keep meaning to practice again :-)

I got the illustrated Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban, too! It's so beautiful. I also got Chamber of Secrets (having received Philosopher's Stone a couple of years ago) and now I just want to lose myself in them for a while.

Although I do wonder...how on earth are they going to do the rest? They'll be enormous!

Dec 29, 2017, 10:40am Top

Happy Holidays, Heather!

I'm a ways into Bella Poldark and (no surprise) enjoying it. Good to hear it's a satisfying conclusion.

Dec 29, 2017, 3:57pm Top

>168 Katherine, your chocolate log experience actually sounds very similar to mine. It was lucky I decided to take ours to my SILs as she had forgotten to defrost the shop-bought one. But in the end our home-made version tasted quite good but like yours, looked.... interesting! And we had almost exactly the same problem with the ganache - now I know why it always seems to cause a crisis on the Great British Bake Off!!

I don't know how they're going to manage the illustrated versions for books 4-7 onwards - surely they'll have to do at least two volumes for Goblet of Fire?

>169 Thanks Joe - hope you continue to enjoy Bella - it is a nice feeling to finish off a series in December, isn't it?

Dec 29, 2017, 4:26pm Top

Speaking of Harry Potter, I've been feeling a bit burnt out (possibly depressed - hard to say) the last couple of weeks so have indulged myself by finishing off my HP reread:

Book #159: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix by J. K. Rowling - 3.8 stars
Book #159: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling - 4.4 stars
Book #159: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - 4.7 stars

What can I say? Order of Phoenix is my least favourite book in the series - it's too long and involves Harry getting angry and SHOUTING a lot. But I enjoyed Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows more than I remembered from my previous reads. While there was a section of Deathly Hallows that I thought could have done with better pacing there were so many moments of awesome for all the characters (especially Neville) that I forgave the slower sections and couldn't stop crying for several of the closing chapters. Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire are still my favourites though.

So, Beedle the Bard will probably also be up for a reread soon and I may try the Pottermore short stories which I think have recently been released as ebooks (anyone read those?). Still not sure about reading The Cursed Child though...

Dec 29, 2017, 5:23pm Top

>179 At least I'm not the only person to have experienced the ganache problem. The important part is that it tasted good, though. I have so much sympathy for bakers on GBBO when they're assigned things like that, though?

I'm assuming the rest of the illustrateds will have to be multi volume productions. I can't see any other way.

Unless they edit Order of the Pheonix down to just the good/relevant parts and cut out all the SHOUTING everywhere :-)

Dec 30, 2017, 10:51am Top

>168 souloftherose: >170 humouress: I suppose the 'too thick ganache' would give you a good bark texture? *hopeful*

Dec 30, 2017, 5:58pm Top

Hi Heather!

I'm in the middle of relistening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I never tire of them.

Dec 30, 2017, 6:03pm Top

FYI, Heather, Kerry has indicated that she too would be interested in reading Frances Burney's Camilla, so I think we'll definitely go ahead with that at some point. Do you have a preference for when? At the moment I'm only committed for January, with the group read of the Emily Eden novels, so any other time that suits you is good. (Though of course I need to have a serious think about more Trollope...)

The Harry Potter re-reads sound like an excellent therapeutic idea. Here's hoping for a kinder, less stressful New Year!

Dec 30, 2017, 8:02pm Top

The God Stalk group read thread is up in the 2018 group, Heather, here:


Dec 30, 2017, 8:18pm Top

Comfort re-reads are the best thing at this time of year .......

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 10:02pm Top

>173 ronincats: You would think that. But, er, no. Too thick just tears the sponge as you try to spread it on. Which makes the giant cracks even worse and ends up a royal mess!

Dec 30, 2017, 10:28pm Top

Happy New Year I really hope you have some good reads ahead of you.

>167 souloftherose: I noticed that you have the wrong author for The Duke's Children.
I'm very happy to have finished the Poldark series in one year and also my reread of the HP series by audio. I've just started the last audiobook of the Northern Lights trilogy which will take me most of January to get through.
This coming year I've decided to read CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers series.

Dec 31, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

Dec 31, 2017, 8:01pm Top

Jan 1, 11:36am Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 1:54pm Top

>172 lyzard: Agreed, I could never be on GBBO - would be a complete nervous wreck! And second your thoughts on the HP illustrated versions.

>173 ronincats:, >178 rretzler: The problem we had was that the ganache was so thick neither my husband nor I could physically squeeze it out of the piping bag! Once we loosened it we solved the problem of it tearing the sponge by spreading some jam on the sponge first. Seemed to work ok.

>174 roundballnz: Glad to hear you're also enjoying your reread Karen - I agree I never get tired of these books. I should try her adult books written as Robert Galbraith as I know people in the group are also a big fan of those.

>175 archerygirl: Sounds good Liz. I don't have any other reading commitments either. Shall we see if February or March would work? Later in the year would also work for me.

And amen to 2018 being less kinder and less stressful!

>176 avatiakh: Thanks Roni - I have my copy lined up and am raring to go!

>177 karenmarie: Aren't they? I expect there will be a few more to see me through January.

>179 archerygirl: Well spotted on having the wrong author for TDC Kerry - now updated! I also very much enjoyed the Poldark series - I haven't decided if I'm going to replace it with another series in 2018 (as I have so many others I'm midway through) but was considering starting Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga.

>180 souloftherose:, >181, >182 Thank you for the New Year wishes!

I have five December reads still to comment on and best of lists to post but I am going to head over to the 2018 group and get my thread started....

Jan 1, 4:38pm Top


For me it would have to be February or April: my wild card is that I have Anthony Adverse slated for March, and at something like 1300 pages (!), I think that's enough chunkster reading for one month! :D

I will check with Kerry and also touch base to see if / when Ilana might be interested, and let you know.

Jan 1, 11:23pm Top

Happy 2018!!

Jan 2, 3:29am Top

>184 April would be fine with me too. I think June, July, September or November would be the only months that work less well for me (based on holiday plans and busy work months).

>185 Thanks Kim!

Jan 2, 4:20am Top

Still some books to review but (spoiler alert) none of them made my best books of 2017 list so I think I can safely post this. Stars (*) mark my overall top five for the LT Top Five Books of 2017 (which for me includes 3 non-fiction reads which is unusual).


*The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter
*Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
*March: Book One by John Lewis
The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell
A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell
The Life Project by Helen Hearson

Fiction (excl rereads)

*After Atlas and Planetfall by Emma Newman
Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
The Duke's Children: The Complete Text by Anthony Trollope
*A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Fiction (rereads)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
Mortal Engines and A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve

Graphic novels

Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man and Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King
Ms. Marvel Vol. 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson
Mockingbird Vol 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain

Jan 2, 2:33pm Top

Book #158: Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016 by Various - 3.5 stars

I've been dipping in and out of this sff anthology since February - but for some reason I didn't get round to reading the last few stories until the end of December. As usual this is a solid selection of fantasy, science fiction and mild horror stories from Tor.com. Some I enjoyed more than others - my favourites were:

The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan - more akin to non-genre fiction than the others in the anthology but I enjoyed this look at the relationship between the narrator and her paretns.

The Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage by Alix E. Harrow - I'd never heard of the author before but this was my favourite amongst the collection. A powerful and haunting short story about colonisation.

The Maiden Thief by Melissa Marr - I really enjoyed this retelling of the Bluebeard fairy story.

Finnegan's Field by Angela Slatter - A dark and fantastical tale drawing on Irish mythology. This is the second or third of Slatter's short stories that I've really enjoyed and I must get around to trying one of her short story collections.

That Game we Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn - a moving short story about friendship and coming to see someone else's point of view.

All the stories are available on tor.com for free - the ebook collection was also free when I got it.

Book #160: Artemis by Andy Weir - 1.5 stars

Meh. Although The Martian was one of my favourite books of 2014 I started Artemis with lower expectations as I'd seen a few comments indicating that it wasn't as good as The Martian and that's not uncommon with second novels. But, I'd hoped that Artemis would still be an enjoyable and fun hard science fiction romp as The Martian was. Instead I found that I couldn't care less what happened to any of the characters and I think I skim-read the last 10-20 pages just because I thought I should find out what happened.

Artemis had lots of similarities to The Martian: a snarky main character who has to science/engineer their way out of a whole ton of crap circumstances. Except in The Martian, Watney is stuck on Mars through no fault of his own and while there's a lot of snark, it's mostly at his own expense. in Artemis the main character (whose name I can't even remember - that's how little I cared) has caused every single one of the problems she encounters by repeatedly being an idiot. And she's so snarky that she's basically just being mean to people who are trying to help her.

In addition to those problems, I have another critique. The characters in Artemis are not male, white and American. Now, obviously that itself is not a problem. I admire Weir for realising that just because he's white, male and American doesn't mean all his characters should be. But unfortunately they might as well be for all the difference it seemed to make. I was actually quite surprised several pages in to learn that our protagonist was a female Saudi Arabian because she just seemed like Mark Watney but with a different name.

So, a fail for me. If you want a near future science fictional thriller with diverse characters set on the Moon please read Ian McDonald's fabulous Luna: New Moon which I feel is underappreciated. And don't even get me started on the fact that Artemis won the Goodreads award for best science fiction novel for 2017.

Edited: Jan 9, 1:29pm Top

Book #163: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire - 4.2 stars

'The Moors exist in eternal twilight, in the pause between the lightning strike and the resurrection. They are a place of endless scientific experimentation, of monstrous beauty, and of terrible consequences.'

This is a prequel to McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway in which we learn more about the gothic horror novel of a world that Jack and Jill from EHaD were sent to. This isn't a scary story although it can be fairly dark - ultimately I suppose it's about choices and discovering who you are. I really, really like this series and Beneath the Sugar Sky (which I had pre-ordered) downloaded to my kindle today!

Book #164: Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford - 3.3 stars

I think I'm both fascinated and appalled by what I read of the Mitford sisters and Jessica's (or Decca's) memoir is no exception. From stories of growing up, her relationship with her sisters, particularly Unity who was most diametrically opposed to Decca's own political views (Jessica was a communist but Unity was an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler) to Decca's brief period as a deb (she wasn't allowed to wear her glasses and so couldn't recognise anyone or remember anyone's names) and her final escape from home when she ran away to join the man who would become her first husband and their attempts to report on the Spanish Civil War. This is an entertaining read and I was torn between horror at how strict and desperately dull Decca's childhood was, admiration for her sticking to her principles against her entire family and despair over how completely clueless she and her husband were about how to live outside of aristrocratic circles. The memoir ends quite abruptly after the couple have emigrated to the US with Jessica's first husband signing up to fight for the Allies in WWII - sadly he was killed in action within a few years.

Book #165: Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie - 3.6 stars

First published in 1948, this Poirot mystery also has some interesting comments on post-WWII Britain.

Jan 9, 7:51am Top

Just in case anyone hasn't found it yet - my 2018 thread is here.

Jan 10, 1:20am Top

"So, a fail for me. If you want a near future science fictional thriller with diverse characters set on the Moon please read Ian McDonald's fabulous Luna: New Moon which I feel is underappreciated. And don't even get me started on the fact that Artemis won the Goodreads award for best science fiction novel for 2017."

Yep .....

Jan 14, 9:24am Top

>191 Heh - glad we agree on that one!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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