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Donna828's Autumn Reading: Ch. 5

This is a continuation of the topic Donna828's Summer Reading: Ch. 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1Donna828
Sep 22, 2017, 8:40pm Top

A change of seasons calls for a New Thread!


2Donna828
Edited: Oct 15, 2017, 1:01pm Top



From My Shelf: A Suitable Boy…still plugging along.

Audio: The Weight of Ink

Library: Forest Dark - DNF
Norse Mythology


My Favorite Books from 2016 in the order I read them:

Sacred Hunger
When Breath Becomes Air
Just Mercy
This House of Sky
The Orenda
Wintering
Miss Jane
A Gentleman in Moscow *My only 5-star book for the year*
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Boys in the Boat

Rating System:

One Star......Not worth my time
Two Stars....Finished grudgingly
2.5 Stars......Fair, but not for me
Three Stars..Liked it pretty well but had reservations
3.5 Stars.....Good but not great
Four Stars...Great book; I recommend anything with a 4-star and beyond rating
4.5 Stars.....Excellent - a keeper
Five Stars....Superb - Timeless, a real treasure.

3Donna828
Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 12:43pm Top


My Favorite Books so far this year:

January: Jimmy Bluefeather - Fiction
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - NF

February: Nobody's Fool - F; Evicted - NF

March: War and Turpentine -F; West With the Night - NF

April: The Woman Next Door -F
The Stranger in the Woods - NF

May: Seven For A Secret - F
The Lost City of the Monkey God - NF

June: This Is How It Always Is - F
Out of Africa - NF

July: Beartown - F
The Bridge Ladies - NF

August: Days Without End - F
At Home in the World - NF

September: Home Fire - F
10% Happier - NF

October: The Weight of Ink
Close runner up: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​



66. The Good People by Hannah Kent. 4 stars. comments.


60. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. 4.5 stars. comments.
61. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. 3.2 stars. comments.
62. The Western Star by Craig Johnson. 3.6 stars. comments.
63. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. 3.8 stars. comments.
64. The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish; audio by Corrie James. 4.6 stars. comments.
65. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold; audio by Grover Gardner. 4 stars. comments.


54. Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais. 3.5 stars. comments.
55. 10% Happier by Dan Harris; audio by author. 3.5 stars. comments.
56. Swing Time by Zadie Smith. 3.5 stars. Review
57. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. 4.6 stars. Review.
58. South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby; audio by Rebecca Gibel. 3.4 stars. comments.
59. The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. 3.7 stars. comments.


49. At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider. 4.5 stars. comments.
50. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance; audio by the author. 4 stars. comments.
51. Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. 4.2 stars. comments.
52. The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. 4.2 stars. comments.
53. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry; audio by Aidan Kelly. 4.4 stars. comments.


45. Dust Tracks On A Road by Zora Neale Hurston. 3.3 stars. comments.
46. The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve. 3.5 stars. comments.
47. The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner. 4 stars. comments.
48. Beartown by Fredrik Backman. 4.3 stars. comments.

4Donna828
Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 9:18pm Top



Book No. 57: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Library, 276 pp., 4.6 stars.

"What was this? Not grief. Grief she knew. Grief was the stepsibling they'd grown up with, unwanted and inevitable. Grief the amniotic fluid of their lives. Grief she could look in the eyes while her twin stared over its shoulder and told her of the world that lay beyond."
(197)

Aneeka and Parvaiz were as close to being one as two people could be. From their time in the womb to the time when their father left the family to join his Muslim brothers in the jihadist movement, through the deaths of both mother and grandmother, these two shared each other's joys and sorrows. Big sister Isma took care of them and loved them. When her two siblings came of age, she decided it was her time, and she went from London to Amherst for an advanced degree. Her sister Aneeka was doing well as a begnning law student but both sisters worried about Parvaiz. It was not easy being a Muslim in England during the best of times, but now that they were under close scrutiny, his strange behavior was worrisome.

This story of a fractured family could have been taken from today's headlines or it could go back to the ancient writings of Sophocles…or both. It's a timeless story of how young people are easily influenced and can make bad decisions. But should these decisions be permanent or should there be allownces for retribution? Kamila Shamsie held me in her masterful grip as she explored a world where politics and young love clash dragging family members and ethnic groups into the fray. This is not a long book but its emotional wrench will be with me for a long time.

5dallenbaugh
Sep 22, 2017, 9:29pm Top

Hi Donna,

I love your autumn and letters as leaves picture. I'm looking forward to fall.

Your review makes me want to read Home Fire, but it looks like a long wait for the library book.

Best to you and all your lovely family.

6PaulCranswick
Sep 22, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>1 Donna828: So your latest thread topper literally sees you turning over a new leaf, Donna!

Have a lovely weekend.

7Donna828
Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 10:06pm Top

>5 dallenbaugh: Donna, you are first again! Hooray! I am almost halfway through A Suitable Boy. I really love it, but those library books keep interfering. I may have to do some freezes. Home Fire was a winner, although the Booker judges didn't even think it was worthy of the short list. ???

>6 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. Yes, turning over a new leaf is so me these days. I wish our leaves were more colorful. We are in the midst of some late summer/early fall hot and dry weather which makes for crunchy brown leaves.

8msf59
Sep 22, 2017, 10:19pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna. Love that autumnal topper.

I am almost halfway through Home Fire. It has been very good.

9Berly
Sep 22, 2017, 10:53pm Top

Donna--love your topper! And great review of Home Fire. Gotta get that one...!

10jnwelch
Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 11:37am Top

Happy New Thread, Donna!

Excellent review of Home Fire.

11vancouverdeb
Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 11:54pm Top

Oh I love your topper! What fabulous colours! So glad that you too enjoyed Home Fire. I loved it! So engaging and as you say, This story of a fractured family could have been taken from today's headlines or it could go back to the ancient writings of Sophocles…or both Apparently touchstones are down. sigh. Thumbed your review. The book needs more boosting and readers!

12ChelleBearss
Sep 23, 2017, 10:29am Top

>4 Donna828: Great review! I've been seeing this book on a lot of threads lately

13Crazymamie
Sep 23, 2017, 10:44am Top

Happy new one, Donna! I really love the topper that you chose.

14BLBera
Sep 23, 2017, 10:59am Top

Happy new thread, Donna. Great comments on Home Fire. There's a lot of love for it around here. I hope to get to it this year.

15thornton37814
Sep 23, 2017, 2:01pm Top

It's great you were able to open your thread with such an enjoyable read.

16FAMeulstee
Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 2:54pm Top

Happy new thread, Donna.
Looking at your books reminds me I have both Sacred Hunger and A Suitable Boy patiently waiting at the shelves. I got A Gentleman in Moscow from the library, so I will read that one soon ;-)

17drneutron
Sep 23, 2017, 8:12pm Top

Happy new thread!

18AMQS
Sep 24, 2017, 1:24am Top

Happy new thread, Donna! I saw on Joanne's thread that your son is moving to Brighton - wow! That seems like a big change. Good luck to them!

19RebaRelishesReading
Sep 24, 2017, 8:01am Top

Happy new thread. Nice review of Home Fire. I'd heard of it but knew little about it. Now I'll have to give it serious consideration.

20karenmarie
Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 12:12pm Top

Hi Donna!

I love your thread topper. I'm anxious for it to be fall - perfect visual.

Hope you're having a great day.

21Donna828
Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 1:32pm Top

I have no new books to report, but I see the visitors' posts piling up here. I love having company! I hope everyone is having a good week end. I plan to start The Confusion of Languages today...one of the last books on my Summer Reading List. It still feels like summer here. I am getting tired of temps in the 90s...

>8 msf59: At least my thread has an autumn feel to it, Mark. I know you are sharing the hot temperatures. I hope we both get relief soon and that mild fall weather prevails for the next few months. Thumbs Up for Home Fire!

>9 Berly: Thanks, Kim. Home Fire is a good one!

22Donna828
Sep 24, 2017, 1:10pm Top

>10 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe. Have you read Home Fire yet? There's plenty of room on the bandwagon for you!

>11 vancouverdeb: Thanks for the thumb, Deborah. I am doing my best to promote Home Fire. I think your Lone Ranger Mark will be warbling about it soon.

>12 ChelleBearss: Take the hint, Chelsea, and get the book. Thanks for checking in.

23Donna828
Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 1:33pm Top

>13 Crazymamie: I love fall, Mamie, and hope our crunchy brown leaves soon become the red, orange, and gold colors I am craving. Do pecan trees have colorful leaves in the fall?

>14 BLBera: I have no doubt that Home Fire will stir your soul, Beth. This year is going by too quickly for me. I need to get my reading mojo back.

>15 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori! I need to pay you a return visit to see what you've been reading. I am so behind on threads.

24Donna828
Sep 24, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>16 FAMeulstee: Anita, I am so grateful our books are patient. I hope you love A Gentleman in Moscow as much as I did. Thank you for visiting.

>17 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

>18 AMQS: Brighton will be a big change for me, too. I can't wait to see them settled in their new house. I loved their Littleton location but they needed more space. I will still make the drive into Denver for meetups, though. I hope to see you soon, Anne, and hear more about your family and travels.

25Donna828
Sep 24, 2017, 1:30pm Top

>19 RebaRelishesReading: I didn't want to give too much information in my review, Reba. In a nutshell, it's a timely tearjerker! I look forward to reading more books by Kamila Shamsie. Fortunately, I own a copy of Burnt Shadows which I hope to get to soon.

>20 karenmarie: Karen, I am having a restful day after a day filled with bridge yesterday. For a lark, my bridge partner and I decided to play with the big kids (I.e., seasoned players) in a national tournament we qualified for in some kind of crazy fluke. We came in last which is what we expected! At least I know I can survive eight hours of mental torture. Lol. Happy week end to you!

26streamsong
Sep 24, 2017, 2:34pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna - what a wonderful and appropriate topper!

Sadie is driving to school??? Wow!

The bridge tourney sounds fun: woot to you for giving it a fling.

27ronincats
Sep 24, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna!

28lit_chick
Sep 26, 2017, 10:31am Top

Happy New Thread, Donna. Just caught this from the end of your last thread: Sadie is driving to school now?! My goodness. I have a dear friend who says, We don't grow old, we get pushed from behind. I get this.

29Donna828
Sep 28, 2017, 8:26pm Top

>25 Donna828: Hi Janet, glad you like the topper. It feels a bit more like autumn here today. I hope yesterday's rain helps the brown leaf situation, although leaf color probably has more to do with temps and changes in the amount of daylight. I can't believe I have a granddaughter who is driving either. She can only drive to school and/or work until she is 16. I can't say much cuz I started driving in Texas at age 14! Bridge gives me a good brain workout in a different way from reading. I need more synapse action!

>26 streamsong: Thanks, Roni!

>27 ronincats: I wish kids didn't grow up quite so fast, Nancy. I like the idea of being pushed from behind rather than plain ol' getting old. I'm all for a new generation taking over if they will take care of me in my old age! All I need are books, chocolate, coffee, and someone to cook and clean for me. Lol.

30Donna828
Sep 28, 2017, 8:42pm Top



Book No. 58: South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby, narrated by Rebecca Gibel, Hoopla, 368 pp. 3.4 stars.

I finished listening to this one last night and wasn't sorry to see it end. It had promise throughout the book until the "Polies" went rogue and chose to overwinter at the South Pole despite being asked to leave by the government. I don't think many of the renegades felt passionate about their protest; it was more like they had gotten comfortable with their fellow quirky pole-friends and didn't want to go home to try and blend in with regular people. I rather enjoyed the science bits but thought the politics of climate change went on too long.

As a side note, it was interesting that the protagonist Cooper was a surviving twin whose brother had committed suicide the year before. It was clear that she went to Antarctica to mourn as the two grew up listening to their father's stories about South Pole exploration. Oh…it was interesting because my previous book Home Fire also used a grieving twin as a plot device. Nothing wrong with that, just a strange coincidence.

31brodiew2
Sep 29, 2017, 7:16pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna!

>1 Donna828: What a wonderful topper! I love the color.

>30 Donna828: I'm sorry this one was a disappointment. I've seen it before, but never read it myself. I think I'll pass on it now.

32Donna828
Sep 30, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>31 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! I was expecting more about the expedition with some adventure thrown in with my last book. Instead I got some good character studies and too much politicizing! Oh well, it wasn't a bad book by any means, just not what I was anticipating.



Book No. 59: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. 3.7 stars.

"The call to prayer woke me, the world still dark, 4:15 in the morning…the morning prayer is called fajr, which has the same root as explosion, infajar. It starts at the first breath of morning twilight and ends with the dawn exploding light across the sky."


Life in Jordan calls for many adaptations to a different way of life. As a military wife, Cassie knew all about following the rules, but newcomer Margaret preferred to test the waters. At first I was mentally rolling my eyes about choosing a book filled with the gossip and jealousy common among military wives (yes, I used to be one!). However, once we got past all that, the plot thickened as Margaret got bolder about breaking the "rules" and Cassie was not able to stop her. It was an interesting peek into living in a Muslim country and about the different stages of friendship.

33Donna828
Sep 30, 2017, 12:47pm Top

So, September is drawing to a close. I managed to read/listen to six books this month. Will I reach my goal of 100? I may have to read a lot of shorter books between now and the end of the year.

I am having a rare Haley Day today. I went to her early soccer game, came home and raked leaves and played outside until we needed a break. She is having some iPad time before lunch. I am excited about her art class at the library at 2:00. I really enjoyed the first one but had to miss last week because of my bridge tournament. I think sculpting is on the art agenda today. She has quite the imagination so seeing what she comes up with is always a treat!

34PaulCranswick
Oct 1, 2017, 10:56am Top

>33 Donna828: I have never failed to reach 100 books since I left university, Donna, but this record is under threat this year.

Have a great Sunday.

35rosalita
Oct 1, 2017, 8:05pm Top

I'm so glad to be in good company this year with you and Paul, Donna, in the "not reading as much as usual" camp. I've just notched by 56th book, where I would normally be closing in on 100 by now. Ah well, they've been good books for the most part, and I'm doing other interesting things as well, so I try not to fret about not living up to a self-imposed standard.

36bohemima
Oct 1, 2017, 9:42pm Top

Happy Autumn, Donna! I've always loved this time of year.

I don't set number goals for the year any more; not even 75, although this will always be my group. This has been my best reading year in a long time, but who knows what will happen next year? I try to just let it wash over me...sometimes I succeed, other times not at all.

Have a wonderful week.

37brodiew2
Oct 2, 2017, 12:59pm Top

Good morning, Donna! I hope all is well with you!

38Copperskye
Oct 2, 2017, 1:43pm Top

Good morning, Donna, I hope you're enjoying Eleanor Oliphant as much as I did! I'm also in the slow reading camp this year. I've only reached the 75 book goal twice, and since I just finished my 50th, there's no way I'll reach it this year either. Oh well, I've enjoyed most everything I did read this year! The only reason it bugs me is because I have soooooo many books I want to read!

39Donna828
Oct 3, 2017, 9:15pm Top

>34 PaulCranswick: Ah well, you know what "they" say, Paul. Records are meant to be broken. Sunday was a great reading day for me. I read the amazing Eleanor Oliphant…more on that later.

>35 rosalita: Glad to have you in the club, Julia! You stated what I am thinking very well. I would hate to give up a granddaughter for a few more books! lol

>36 bohemima: It's my favorite time of year, Gail. I don't even mind the extra exertion of raking leaves. I hope your week is going well and that you are reading as much or as little as you like.

40Donna828
Oct 3, 2017, 9:20pm Top

>37 brodiew2: Things are good in my world, Brodie. I hope you can say the same.

>38 Copperskye: I just read your excellent review, Joanne. I liked Eleanor Oliphant very much. She will be in my head a long time. I too have a super long wishlist of books to read. Not a bad problem to have is it?

41Donna828
Edited: Oct 3, 2017, 10:32pm Top



Book No. 60: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. 4.5 stars.

"Was this how it worked then, successful social integration? Was it really that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the hairdressers and alternate the clothes you wear? Someone ought to write a book, or at least an explanatory pamphlet, and pass this information on."
(173)

I wasn't sure what to think about Eleanor at the beginning of her story, but now I think she is one of the bravest women I know. And yes, I realize she is a fictional character, but she came alive on the pages as she learned how to come out of her shell and embrace life. It was slow going at first because she was so comfortable with the status quo of going to work at the office and getting through the lonely week ends with the help of a few bottles of vodka. Her life changed dramatically when she and a colleague helped an old man who had fallen on the sidewalk and had to be hospitalized. After a dozen or so years of living alone and following the same routine day after day, Eleanor suddenly had a friend from work, Raymond, and the convalescent old man, Sammy, to give some meaning to her life.

Eleanor's story of a tragic childhood is revealed slowly as she struggles with her reentry into society in her tender, clumsy way. There are some very funny scenes but the tragic memories had more impact on this reader. I loved her blunt speech and actions and was charmed by her yearnings to be accepted. I highly recommend this debut novel. Thank you to Deborah (VancouverDeb) for bringing Eleanor to my attention. Apparently, film rights have already been sold. Can't wait to see it on the big screen!

42RebaRelishesReading
Oct 4, 2017, 7:40am Top

Nice review of Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine. I think I'm going to have to get that one.

43Crazymamie
Oct 5, 2017, 5:34pm Top

>23 Donna828: Yes. Green. Just like n Spring and Summer. There is not too much changing of color in our area of Georgia - what we get is mainly from the maples that people have planted, but they are few and far between, sadly.

>42 RebaRelishesReading: What Reba said.

44lit_chick
Oct 5, 2017, 7:20pm Top

Great review, Donna! I will get to this one eventually ... was also hit with Deb's bullet/endorsement: ).

45jnwelch
Oct 6, 2017, 11:56am Top

>41 Donna828: Lovely review of Eleanor Oliphant, Donna. I'm another fan of Eleanor and the book. Her debut book! It's hard to believe she hasn't been publishing books for years.

46karenmarie
Oct 10, 2017, 7:36am Top

Hi Donna and happy Tuesday to you.

Your 2017 sounds like my 2015 - I only read 65 books that year.

I deliberately skipped your Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine review because I snagged a beautiful hardcover copy at our Friends of the Library last week. I'm in the easily-influenced-so-avoid-reviews camp. I'm anxious to read it, but have two I've already started Rules of Civility for a group read and Missing, Presumed, a police procedural that's started off well.

47Donna828
Oct 15, 2017, 11:38am Top

I have a "free" day today! I will be leaving for Colorado on Wednesday so there is plenty to do before then, but I think I'll give myself a pass today to read and get caught up (Ha!) on LT. It's good to have some visitors. I will start my Sunday visits with you lovely people…right after I get caught up with posting my latest books read here.

>42 RebaRelishesReading: Eleanor Oliphant will be an excellent choice, Reba. I'm glad you liked my comments well enough to consider it.

>43 Crazymamie: Thanks for the chuckle about your green fall color, Mamie. It looks like we may have a lackluster fall around here, too.

>44 lit_chick: "Endorsement" sounds much gentler than book bullet, Nancy. The perfect word for this quiet, contemplative book. Enjoy!

48Donna828
Oct 15, 2017, 11:44am Top

>45 jnwelch: I so agree, Joe. I hope Eleanor Oliphant has some fine successors! I really liked Honeyman's writing style.

>46 karenmarie: Wow! Lucky you getting such a lovely book at he book sale. Ours begins on Wednesday, the day I'm leaving for my Colorado trip. I will be driving by the sale site on my way out of town. I may just have to pop in for a quick peek! I am only making the 3-hour trip to KC that day. I must stop off to see my neglected grands there. Plus, I don't want to make the 12-hour drive in one day as I am leaving my co-pilot at home to take care of our aging dog.

49Donna828
Oct 15, 2017, 12:04pm Top



Book No. 61: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. 3.2 stars.

"His stories were good because he imagined them intensely, so intensely that he came to believe them."
(237)

I have to be honest here…I was underwhelmed by this book on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I watched the movie after reading the book and enjoyed it much more than the atmospheric character study of Tom Ripley, a self-loathing young man whose "talents" of impersonation and forgery were mainly suited for identity thift. I didn't find anything charismatic or charming about him in the book. He was pathetic in his greed and jealousy of the class of people he loathed. He liked what Dickie Greenleaf had (money and freedom) and thought he deserved the same. "He was alone, and it was a lonely game he was playing."

This was the second book our recently revived book group read and discussed. Our leader tried to make a case for Tom's likability, but I wasn't buying it. I did have a touch of sympathy for him…until he started killing people to satisfy his sense of entitlement. The movie did a better job of portraying Tom as a weak but affable con man who gets carried away with his chance for a new life in Italy.

50Donna828
Edited: Oct 15, 2017, 12:51pm Top



Book No. 62: The Western Star by Craig Johnson. 3.6 stars.

"He did it, she did it, or they all did it."


This quote was used several times in the book and was a distinct nod to Agatha Christie's technique of having multiple suspects and Murder on the Orient Express. And, thanks to LT, I just now learned that AC had a short story titled "The Adventure of The Western Star". Walt purchased a paperback copy to accompany him on his train trip across Wyoming with a stellar group of Wyoming sheriffs. He was the only deputy on the train and wasn't even sure that this is what he wanted to do with his life. His wife had just given him a forever goodbye and he was in the doldrums but never too sad to solve a mystery and collar the bad guy.

This is the 13th book in the Walt Longmire series and, in my opinion, one of the weakest. I did enjoy the backstory of the young Walt and the introduction to his wife, Martha. It was a dizzy ride, though, between the past and present day Walt with no transitions between the two times. I am still a fan of the series; however, I wish I had waited longer to read this as it ends in the dreaded (to me) cliffhanger. Not a fan of waiting a year or more to find out what happens.

51BLBera
Oct 15, 2017, 5:57pm Top

Hi Donna - I'm trying to duck bullets here. I think I will check my library for Confusion of Languages and Eleanor Elephant. Have a lovely week. I hope things cool off for you. I think we're supposed to have one more nice week in the 60s, and then the temp is supposed to lower to the 40s -- just in time for Halloween, of course. Scout's going to be a stegosaurus this year, so at least she'll be bundled up.

52msf59
Oct 15, 2017, 7:28pm Top

>41 Donna828: Good review of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I have requested the audio. I love it, when a book catches fire on LT. It comes close to a Sure Thing, every time.

Happy Sunday, Donna. Hope you had a fine weekend. Very wet here, in Chicagoland.

53PaulCranswick
Oct 15, 2017, 7:37pm Top

>50 Donna828: I must get to that series at some stage, Donna.

We are neck and neck this year on books read.

54AMQS
Oct 15, 2017, 11:11pm Top

Hi Donna, sounds like you're headed our way - safe travels!

I've heard so many great things about Eleanor Oliphant- need to get a copy!

55brodiew2
Oct 16, 2017, 1:04pm Top

Hello Donna!

>48 Donna828: I have seen two film versions, but I have never read the book I appreciate your review and will pass on the book. Both films were well done.

56jnwelch
Oct 16, 2017, 4:02pm Top

I liked Western Star, too, Donna, but agree with your comments - not as strong as I'd have liked, and here we go again with another cliffhanger!

Jeez, Eleanor Oliphant was so good. It's going to be one of my top reads of the year.

57Donna828
Oct 17, 2017, 9:28pm Top

>51 BLBera: Hi Beth, I duck (or try to anyway) bullets on your thread all the time. How cool that Scout will be a stegosaurus. I love seeing the little guys and gals in their costumes. Molly is going to be Wonder Woman, not sure about Haley, probably some kind of princess so she can wear lots of make-up.

>52 msf59: Mark, I think Eleanor Oliphant would be great in audio form. Yes, the book is on fire…and for a very good reason. Send us some of your rain, please. It has been a dry late summer and early autumn here.

>53 PaulCranswick: And the race is on, Paul. Two tortoises plodding along… Maybe next year will be a better reading year for both of us. I've enjoyed the Longmire series. Even the slow ones are pretty darn good.

58Donna828
Oct 17, 2017, 9:38pm Top

>54 AMQS: Yes Anne, I am leaving tomorrow for Kansas City and will complete the longer leg of my trip to CO on Thursday. I haven't tried to arrange a meetup because I have no idea what kind of time I will have. My trip is all about helping Mike and Rebecca move into their 'new' house. I suspect that much of my job will be entertaining Hope. I can certainly handle that! If by chance, I have some free time this coming week end, I will give you a call to see if we can meet on the fly. I will be staying in the University Park area until we all relocate to the Brighton house on Tuesday. Since I will be halfway home then (haha), I would probably like to meet up while I'm still closer to you and Joanne. We have so much to catch up on.

>55 brodiew2: Brodie, I hate to turn someone off on a book, but it did seem much slower and darker than the latest movie adaptation. I didn't see the first one. Do you recommend it over Matt Damon and his posse?

>56 jnwelch: Hi Joe, the background information in The Western Star made it a worthwhile read. I will just have to work on my patience until the cliffhanger is resolved. I'm not too worried with Walt and crew on the case. I think Eleanor will make my Top Ten this year. Such a good debut.

59Donna828
Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 10:06pm Top



Book No. 63: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. 3.8 stars.

Introduction to my favorite story, "The Mead of Poets":
Do you wonder where poetry comes from? Where we get the songs we sing and the tales we tell? Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not?
(127)

I was attracted by Thor's hammer on the cover and decided to pick up this book at the library on a whim to learn more about my Norwegian heritage. I knew the names and basic stories of some of the gods but that's about it. This was a good introduction to the deceit and treachery of Odin, Loki, and Thor written in a simple but entertaining style. I was expecting some Gaiman touches but he pretty much sticks to retelling some of the more popular myths. It was a good refresher course but left me wanting more. Not such a bad thing...

60Donna828
Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 11:06pm Top



Well, I am off tomorrow on my road trip to Colorado. I am looking forward to 12 hours in the car with nothing to do but admire the scenery and listen to audiobooks. I will finish the excellent Weight of Ink that I have been enjoying the past two weeks and will catch up with the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan in the next installment of The Vorkosigan Saga. The weather looks great according to the long-range forecast. This will be a working trip as I do my part to get my oldest son's family settled into their new house on the plains. It is near the airport which will be good for his Turo business of renting his own vehicles. They found a property where they can park their "fleet" of 5 (or maybe 6 by now) in the machine shop that will be converted to a heated garage. I think I will be flying from now on as it will be convenient to stay with them in their big house and get the family rate on one of his SUVs. I'm not taking my laptop but am a pro at using the iPad for pictures and keeping up with my peeps so I will be in touch as I have time.

61Copperskye
Oct 17, 2017, 11:40pm Top

Safe travels, Donna! You all picked a great week for the move - the weather will be perfect!

62mdoris
Oct 17, 2017, 11:52pm Top

Wishing you a wonderful and safe trip and lots of fun with your grand daughter Hope.

63scaifea
Oct 18, 2017, 7:56am Top

Safe travels, Donna!

64streamsong
Oct 18, 2017, 10:06am Top

Happy New Thread and safe travels to Colorado! Have a wonderful time!

I loved your review of Eleanor Oliphant. I've added it to the never-ending rec by LT'ers list that I keep on my home page.

I listened to Gaiman read Norse Mythology. Gaiman reading Gaiman is always a treat. He's becoming one of my favorite narrators. I actually ended up listening to it twice - first because the characters and stories were pretty new to me and second because it was so wonderfully done. And, or course, it was short enough to do that.

65Crazymamie
Oct 18, 2017, 10:26am Top

Wishing you safe travels, Donna!

66BLBera
Oct 18, 2017, 6:45pm Top

Safe travels, Donna. Enjoy the Colorado family.

67PaulCranswick
Oct 18, 2017, 7:13pm Top

Wish I was joining you, Donna. Have a safe and enjoyable trip.

68RebaRelishesReading
Oct 19, 2017, 1:24pm Top

Have a good trip and enjoy those audio books :)

69karenmarie
Oct 21, 2017, 10:53am Top

I hope your trip is going well, Donna!

70Berly
Oct 23, 2017, 7:10pm Top

Really have to read Eleanor Oliphant! Safe trip and have fun once you get there. : )

71rosalita
Oct 25, 2017, 7:16am Top

Hope your Colorado trip is going well, Donna! I haven't heard much about a Joplin meetup this year — do you know if it's happening?

72FAMeulstee
Oct 25, 2017, 4:18pm Top

>71 rosalita: Stasia started a thread for the Annual Joplin Meet Up - 10 Years!!, but no responses there yet.

73Donna828
Oct 26, 2017, 2:38pm Top

Bad Donna! I’ve been neglecting my friends. Well, it’s been a busy week...a mix of chaos and fun seeing the kids get moved into their new house east of Denver. I think (make that know) they will be very happy here with a big yard for Hope and the dogs.

>62 mdoris: Thanks, Mary! Hope is always fun and entertaining!

>63 scaifea: Heading Home tomorrow, Amber. Thanks for the good wishes.

>64 streamsong: I may have to listen to Neil Gaiman read the Norse stories, Janet. That’s the way I plan to do rereads in the future. You have a good book in Eleanor Oliphant in your future!

74Donna828
Oct 26, 2017, 2:42pm Top

>65 Crazymamie: I’ll need those safe travel wishes on the trip to KC tomorrow, Mamie. I will be starting out tired after a busy week.

>66 BLBera: it has been so much fun seeing everything new through their eyes, Beth. They got out of the city and can still see the mountains. Win, win!

>67 PaulCranswick: I wish you were here, too, Paul. We need another set of muscles!

75Donna828
Oct 26, 2017, 2:59pm Top

>68 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks, Reba. Would you believe I haven’t opened a book while in Colorado? Well, maybe I peeked inside the two I bought at the Littleton Library sale shelves!

>69 karenmarie: The trip is going very well, Karen. I’ve enjoyed helping in the last move I will ever work on with my kids. DONE! Haha...I’ve said that before...

>70 Berly: Read it and love it, Kim. Eleanor is now amongst my favorite book characters.

>71 rosalita: >72 FAMeulstee: I’m glad you got your question answered, Julia. Thanks for helping out, Anita. Yes to Joplin on Nov. 28! I think that’s the correct date. It’s usually the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Side note: Hope’s 4th Birthday is on Thanksgiving. She’s come a long way since she was born 6 weeks early on Nov. 23, 2013!

76Donna828
Edited: Oct 26, 2017, 3:07pm Top



77ronincats
Oct 27, 2017, 1:17am Top

Looks like a great place for Hope and the dogs, Donna! You are so right, she has come such a long way.

Did you listen to a Vorkosigan book on the road?

78RebaRelishesReading
Oct 27, 2017, 1:07pm Top

Looks like a wonderful house. I hope they'll have many happy years there.

79Donna828
Oct 28, 2017, 11:25am Top

>77 ronincats: It is painful to remember Hope’s long time in the hospital and her tiny body on oxygen after she was able to go home. She is the epitome of health - and energy - now. I am listening to Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance. At first I missed Miles but I got over it and am totally immersed in his story. I have it timed perfectly so I can finish up on my final leg of the journey tomorrow. I am in KC! ...Probably more than you wanted to know...

>78 RebaRelishesReading: It is a great place, Reba. I think they will be there at least until Hope grows up.

80brenpike
Oct 28, 2017, 6:22pm Top

Waving to you from Lawrence :)

81Donna828
Oct 28, 2017, 9:07pm Top

Hi there, Brenda! I waved at you from the turnpike. Reading any good books lately? I’m looking forward to getting caught up at the Joplin meetup!

82ronincats
Oct 28, 2017, 9:14pm Top

>79 Donna828: No, I wanted to know ALL of it!

83Whisper1
Oct 28, 2017, 9:22pm Top

>41 Donna828: Hi Donna, visiting your thread reminds me of what I've missed .. wonderful reviews, great suggestions, and a strong love of family.

84msf59
Oct 29, 2017, 9:13am Top

Happy Sunday, Donna. Hope you are having a nice trip. Hooray for a Meet Up!! I also hope you are squeezing some reading in.

85bohemima
Oct 29, 2017, 9:33am Top

An amazing house, Donna, and Hope is a beautiful little girl.

I’m sorry you didn’t like Ripley. The book, I mean. I loved it, but I almost always like dark books.

I have to get to Longmire...

86brenpike
Oct 30, 2017, 2:43am Top

>81 Donna828: yes, a few good books! Looking forward to seeing you too :)

87Donna828
Oct 31, 2017, 9:24pm Top

>82 ronincats: Haha, only snippets here! I might lose some followers if I tell "the rest of the story", and I can't afford to do that.

>83 Whisper1: Aw, that was sweet, Linda. I know I've missed seeing you around these places, too.

>84 msf59: Meetup with family only this time, Mark. We're already planning another trip to CO for early January and will definitely be meeting up then if the weather cooperates. Not as much reading is being done as I would like!

>85 bohemima: Thanks, Gail. It's not that I didn't like Ripley, I just didn't like it as much as I expected. I think you would enjoy the Longmire books.

>86 brenpike: I'm looking forward to some recommendations from you, Brenda. You always come up with some winners.

88Donna828
Oct 31, 2017, 10:05pm Top

Well, I posted pictures of Hope and her new house, so I guess it's only fair that I post some pictures of the other grands.

Taken earlier this evening:


Wonder Woman and Princes Elena, aka Molly and Haley


My two little drama queens -- I want Molly's boots!

Taken last month in Kansas:


Audrey (13), My Sweet Daughter Lori, Sadie (15), and Griffin (almost 10)

89PaulCranswick
Oct 31, 2017, 10:30pm Top

Lovely photos Donna!

90Donna828
Oct 31, 2017, 10:37pm Top

And now, back to books!



Book No. 64: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish; audio by Corrie James. 576 pp., 4.6 stars.

I loved this book so much! I had been listening to it for about two weeks at night before bed in 30-minute increments which just wasn't enough. I hated to quit listening and go to sleep. I was going to finish it in print but it didn't come up in my library queue in time, so I finished listeningto it on my drive to Colorado. It was the perfect companion…compelling historical fiction which is my favorite genre. It was set in London and had two different timelines, contemporary and all the way back to the mid-1600s.

The present-day Helen, a historian, and her American assistant Aaron, are researching some documents discovered in a London house undergoing restoration when they become intirigued by the mystery of one of the scribes of the ancient manuscripts. We learn early in the book that she was a young female Jewish scholar, which was quite an anomaly in that period where few women could even read and write. She was also a deep thinker and carried on a secret correspondence with a famous philosopher whom shall remain unnamed by me. This book reminded me of The People of the Book which my Book Group's choice for November.

91Donna828
Oct 31, 2017, 11:00pm Top



Book No. 65: Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold; audio by Grover Gardner. 608 pp., 4 stars.

Another great entry to The Vorkosigan Saga, although Miles just had a bit part in this book featuring his Cousin Ivan. This was a fun romp in outer space as Ivan finds love and adventure when Tej and her half-sister Rish (aka Lapus Lazuli for good reason) are being pursued by hit men and Ivan steps in to save the day. And the girl. It was good to see another side of a character that has been depicted as a playboy and rather inept; in fact he is often called "that Idiot Ivan" in previous books. This lighthearted story narrated by the delightful Grover Gardner was an excellent addition to the series. I seem to only listen to them on road trips, and they sure make the miles fly by. I am sad to be almost at the end…it looks like only two more books to go. Woe is me.

92Berly
Oct 31, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>88 Donna828: Love it!!



Trick or Treat!

93Donna828
Nov 1, 2017, 10:20am Top

>89 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>92 Berly: It’s always a treat when you visit, Kim.

94ChelleBearss
Nov 1, 2017, 1:22pm Top

Happy November 1st, Donna! Love the pics of your Grands!

95jnwelch
Edited: Nov 1, 2017, 1:28pm Top

Great photos of the clan, Donna.

I'm glad to see you enjoying the Vorkosigan books so much. I love that series.

Nice review of The Weight of Ink. Sounds like a good one; I added it to the WL.

96brenpike
Nov 1, 2017, 10:32pm Top

>88 Donna828: Love the pics! Your family is so photogenic :)
I also enjoyed The Weight of Ink . . .

97lit_chick
Nov 2, 2017, 10:48am Top

Wonderful pics, Donna! Love the drama queens, LOL! And my goodness, your daughter is a ringer for you!

98Crazymamie
Nov 2, 2017, 3:54pm Top

Donna, those are such sweet photos - thanks so much for sharing. And I also want Molly's boots!

You scored a direct hit with The Weight of Ink - adding it to The List.

99EBT1002
Nov 4, 2017, 2:23pm Top

Hi Donna!

>90 Donna828: You got me with The Weight of Ink (what a great title) and I'm reminded that I still want to read People of the Book, which has been on my shelves for a while.

Great pics of the family. I love Molly and Haley hamming it up on the stairs!
And it's just great to think of Hope celebrating her fourth birthday (and in a new home!). On Thanksgiving. That is something for which to be grateful.

xo

100tymfos
Nov 4, 2017, 11:58pm Top

Great family pics, Donna! I especially like the >88 Donna828: Kansas one.

101Donna828
Nov 5, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>94 ChelleBearss: I don't have to eat the kids' candy anymore, Chelle. I always buy too much for our few trick-or-treaters so I have plenty of goodies left to tempt me. Happy November to you!

>95 jnwelch: Joe, I will be sad when I finish (or at least get caught up) with the Vorkosigan books. I am always surprised at how much I enjoy them because there was a time when I wouldn't touch a book set in outer space. I'm glad to be mellowing in my older age!

>96 brenpike: Hi Brenda, I can't wait to find out what else you have to recommend. I think we are book sisters! Please find a way to attend the Joplin meetup even if you have to bring the kiddos with you. I think they would made a lovely addition to our group!

>97 lit_chick: Nancy, some people think my DIL in Colorado is my real daughter because she looks like me, too! Haley and Molly love to ham it up for the camera…when they're in the mood. Candy helps!

102Donna828
Nov 5, 2017, 12:10pm Top

>98 Crazymamie: I think you would enjoy The Weight of Ink, Mamie. It is one of my top reads for the year so far. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures.

>99 EBT1002: I am indeed grateful that Hope is thriving after her precarious start in life. She is going to have so much fun in the new house. I noticed a little girl next-door. I hope they get to be good friends because she has an outside playhouse to die for! I am looking forward to my reread of People of the Book for my upcoming book group. Thanks for stopping by, Ellen.

>100 tymfos: Terri, I liked that picture, too. Kansas has huge fields of sunflowers that bloom in late summer/early fall. I enjoy my drives through the state at that time of year. So glad you paid a visit here. I'll check out your thread on my Sunday visits!

103Donna828
Nov 5, 2017, 12:27pm Top



Book No. 66: The Good People by Hannah Kent. Library, 388 pp., 4 stars.

"During the wake, the women had told her that the grief would subside. Nora hated them for it. There was a void there, she understood now. How had she lived her whole life and not noticed it! A sea of lonelieness that sang a siren song to the bereaved. What a gentle thing it would be to give into it and drown. What an easy keel into the abyss. How quiet it would be."
(52)

If you have read Burial Rites, you know that this author dwells on the dark side of life. This time the story based on actual events is set in mid-nineteenth century rural Ireland during the hard times of potato famine and strong beliefs in folklore and superstition. Nora has been a good wife and mother who finds herself widowed and left with the young grandson that was dropped on them when her only daughter died of a wasting disease.

Micheal was a thriving 2-year-old when Nora and her husband last saw him. Now, he suffers from paralysis of the legs and doesn't talk anymore. He likes to play with feathers, but most of his time is spent screaming or thrashing out at objects with his arms. Nora is convinced that the fairies have taken her grandson and left her with this creature she calls "It". These are not your Disney fairies but the beings that live in the forests and bogs who are known by the locals as 'the good people'.

This was a very good second novel with the same evocative writing that earned Kent a spot on the Bailey's short list for women's fiction in 2014. Recommended to those who enjoy atmospheric historical fiction and dark topics.

104Donna828
Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 12:53pm Top

We are having one of those perfect autumn days that have summerlike temps yet the leaves are flitting about as they tend to do this time of year. I did a bit of yard work this morning and met up with the runners in the Bass Pro Marathon when I walked Lucky. He seemed unimpressed by all the hoopla going on in his neighborhood. We are going to our first Lady Bears Basketball Game this afternoon which is the ultimate touch to a great day.

I hope November is a good reading month. I am still bummed that I won't make 100 books this year. My new glasses make reading fun again so I will look forward to getting back on track in 2018. I just got my notification that Louise Penny's new book is in transit to me at the library. Cheers!

105RebaRelishesReading
Nov 5, 2017, 7:05pm Top

>104 Donna828: Here's to perfect autumn days! We're having really beautiful weather lately too. Went to friends for brunch today and sat out on the patio -- it was heaven. Also hooray for Louise Penny books -- hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

106PaulCranswick
Nov 5, 2017, 7:28pm Top

>103 Donna828: Hannah Kent is fast becoming a writer to watch out for isn't she?

Really enjoyed your review, Donna.

107thornton37814
Nov 6, 2017, 8:58am Top

>103 Donna828: That one is on my TBR list. It's one of the novels we got here at the library so I'll have easy access when I get around to it.

108Donna828
Nov 6, 2017, 9:05pm Top

>105 RebaRelishesReading: I always enjoy a trip to Three Pines, Reba! And YES to beautiful autumn weather. Unfortunately, ours didn't last long enough. Cloudy and drizzly here today.

>106 PaulCranswick: She sure is, Paul, especially if one doesn't mind reading about the dark side of life.

>107 thornton37814: That's great, Lori. Hannah Kent must be a well-kept secret around here because I didn't have to wait for my copy either.

109EBT1002
Nov 7, 2017, 1:27pm Top

>103 Donna828: Oh, I loved Burial Rites and did not realize that Kent had another novel out. I will pursue....

110mdoris
Edited: Nov 7, 2017, 9:48pm Top

Me too Donna. I loved Burial Rites as well. Great review!

111karenmarie
Nov 8, 2017, 8:00am Top

Quick hello, Donna! I hope you're doing well.

112Berly
Nov 9, 2017, 12:58am Top

Donna--Popping in to stay current here...hurray for the new reading glasses!! I am sure it will increase the reading pleasure. : )

113Donna828
Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 11:51am Top

>109 EBT1002: Pursue with confidence that Hannah Kent has written another atmospheric novel. This one is set in Ireland and honors the ancient superstitions of a bygone era.

>110 mdoris: Thank you, Mary.

>111 karenmarie: thx, Karen. I have some sort of infection that will keep me tethered to bed and sofa for a few days. I’m just calling it a good excuse to get some reading done!

>112 Berly: I am amazed the difference a prescription change can make in my reading enjoyment. Wish I’d done it sooner!

114rosalita
Nov 9, 2017, 11:20am Top

Congrats on the new reading glasses — it seems to be that time of year! Several other LT folks have gotten new peepers recently and I am set for an eye exam this month that will probably result in new lenses. I was lucky that last year my eyes had not changed enough to need a new prescription, but I can't imagine that would happen two years in a row.

I have Burial Rites on my e-reader and for some reason have not yet read it! Your review of Hannah Kent's other book has encouraged me to put it on the 2018 schedule, for sure. The new one sounds excellent, as well.

115RebaRelishesReading
Nov 10, 2017, 11:14am Top

Hope you feel better soon, Donna (although having to rest and read wouldn't be bad as long as you don't hurt or feel bad).

116Donna828
Nov 11, 2017, 12:01pm Top

>114 rosalita: Julia, I went five years with the same glasses because I had just ‘slight’ changes in my lens prescription. I guess they all added up to a big change because I can see significantly better.

>115 RebaRelishesReading: It turns out I had a bad Strep throat infection. I suffered for two days before I succumbed to drugs. I finally had a decent night’s sleep last night and will start my reread of People of the Book for Tuesday night Book Group. My head is clearing and I can focus again. Hooray for antibiotics and good books!

117RebaRelishesReading
Nov 11, 2017, 3:46pm Top

I'm so glad to hear you're feeling better. When it is something like Strep a course of antibiotics can really make a difference quickly. Enjoy your reread of People of the Book. I really enjoyed that one when I read it.

118BLBera
Nov 11, 2017, 5:37pm Top

It looks like you are having a blast with the grands, Donna. You got me with The Weight of Ink and Good People - I need to retire so I have time to read all of these books!

119vancouverdeb
Nov 11, 2017, 7:04pm Top

Great review of The Good People, Donna and thanks for that. I liked Burial Rites but I found it pretty dark. Would you say that The People is even darker - or is it less dark? I'll see if my library has it. Sometimes I can only do so much dark! :-)

120Donna828
Nov 14, 2017, 4:16pm Top

>117 RebaRelishesReading: Yup, it's amazing how quickly those anitibiotics go to work. Good for me because I get kind of dramatic when I'm sick…poor DH wanted to be helpful but didn't want my germs! Thanks for the concern, Reba.

>118 BLBera: Beth, retirement is wonderful…books and grandkids! I can't imagine a better life.

>119 vancouverdeb: Hmmm, shades of dark… This one seemed darker to me because it involved a child who was normal for the first two years of life, then he "changed" in a radical way… I don't want to give much away, but it I will say that it was dark and disturbing to me. I'm not able to make the decision for you, Deborah, but I guess you could start it and see how much it bothers you. I have been known to quit very disturbing books.

121mdoris
Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 6:28pm Top

Oh boy, November and the fighting of the floating bugs. Glad that you are better Donna. Horrible when there is not enough energy to read. Me too, I have been fighting the flu too and just getting my energy back. It feels so good when the energy returns! Endless rain here, real November weather!

122Donna828
Nov 14, 2017, 5:54pm Top

>121 mdoris: We are in a dreary stretch, too, Mary. I am so thankful to be well again (except for a lingering cough), but I would be euphoric if the sun came out! I binge-watched seven episodes of This Is Us while I was sick so it wasn't a complete loss. Stay well!

123Donna828
Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 2:25pm Top



Book No. 67: Glass Houses by Louise Penny. Library, 391 pp., 3.7 stars.

"A peace above all earthly dignities. A still and quiet conscience." ~Shakespeare

A rookie judge. An unpleasant and puzzling case. More annoying short sentences. This book had dual story lines which used too much of my imagination to make them come together in a logical way. Once again the picturesque village of Three Pines which is "not the sort of place you drive through on the way to somewhere else" is the setting for a brutal murder. In my opnion, the setting is the best part of the series, although it is beginning to lose it's luster with all the crime.

I tried to love this one as much as everyone else, but it left me with a bad feeling when Garmache carried out the courtroom farce too far. I understand what he was trying to achieve but he lost me in his inflexibility. I feel badly that this one fell short for me because I do admire the author giving her fans another good yarn while her own life was falling apart. I'll just blame the drugs I was on and let this one go...

124Donna828
Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 2:25pm Top



Book No 68: Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence; audio by Stephanie Spicer. Hoopla, 256 pp., 3.5 stars.

This was a quick and fun book to listen to, but then I am a big fan of books about books. Librarian Annie Spence takes her duties of culling the stacks seriously and writes letters to the books which are moving on. She has a quirky sense of humor and a salty way of talking so you will have to overlook (or laugh at) her potty mouth. This might have been a better book to browse through. I might have spent more time with her serious loves and less on the books she nor I will never read. In particular, the audio version felt kind of flat toward the end with the book lists.

125msf59
Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>103 Donna828: Good review of The Good People. I also loved Burial Rites, so I am glad to hear she followed it up, with another strong one. I have it saved on audio.

Hi, Donna. Just checking in with my pal. Hope you are feeling better.

126karenmarie
Nov 16, 2017, 6:06pm Top

Hi Donna!

>123 Donna828: I didn't like it at all, so you're not alone. Her nonsentences leave me twitching and I've finally coined the word "Pennyitis" to describe the phenomenon. Here's my thread with definition and examples: Pennyitis

127Donna828
Nov 18, 2017, 2:08pm Top

>125 msf59: Thanks for not giving up on me, Mark. I feel better but still don't have the time to spend here the way I would like to.

>126 karenmarie: Very well said, Karen! It takes me about a quarter of the book to get used to "Pennyitis" and by then the story has drawn me in and I forgive her…until the next book comes out.

128Donna828
Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 2:26pm Top



Book No. 69: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Library, 372 pp., 4.3 stars.

"It was to be a shrine to the survival of Sarajevo's multiethnic heritage. The haggadah would have pride of place, but all around the walls would be Islamic manuscripts and Orthodox icons that would show how the people and their arts had grown from the same roots, influencing and inspiring one another."
(34)

I first read this book when it came out in 2018 and was delighted to have the nudge to reread it for this week's book group. It stood up quite well and kept the 4-star rating I originally gave it. It was similar to the theme of my recently 4.5-rated Weight of Ink about book conservators going back in history to learn more about the documents they were hired to research/restore. Book restoration can be tedious and, even though I found it fascinating, the actual work descriptions were a little on the dry side. Also, the personal history of the fictional protagonist bothered me. I didn't really need to know about the problems with her cold mother, especially since there was no resolution there. Still, I thought the book was very good and recommend it to people like us who love books and are always glad to see one with historic significance saved from destruction.

129LovingLit
Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 3:19pm Top

>103 Donna828: I'm sold! You had me at : If you have read Burial Rites, you know that this author dwells on the dark side of life. This time the story based on actual events is set in mid-nineteenth century rural Ireland during the hard times of potato famine and strong beliefs in folklore and superstition.
I will see if the library has it, as I am in need of a good book- stat! I just finished ploughing through The Master and Margarita, which took me ages.
Eta: It is available, so I am going to make a trip today to collect! A direct BB hit for you :)

130rosalita
Nov 18, 2017, 3:42pm Top

>128 Donna828: That is one of my all-time favorite books, so I'm glad it held up to your re-read, Donna. I listened to the audiobook and it was magical the way the narrator handled all the various accents and time periods. Really well done.

131RebaRelishesReading
Nov 18, 2017, 6:43pm Top

>128 Donna828: I can't think of a book by Brooks that I don't like but I especially liked People of the Book. Glad you got to reread it.

132lkernagh
Nov 21, 2017, 10:19pm Top

Hi Donna. In a effort to try and catch up on threads, I am becoming a bit of a skim readers, paying attention to your book reviews and, of course, the wonderful pictures!

I managed to walk away with only on BB - The Weight of Ink, so I think I came off pretty easy this visit. ;-)

>128 Donna828: - I really enjoyed People of the Book, except for the ending. That produced one of those "WTF...?" moments for me. Otherwise, another great book by Brooks.

133ronincats
Nov 21, 2017, 11:07pm Top

>128 Donna828: Glad you are feeling better--I don't know that I've ever felt worse than when I had strep throat (4th of July weekend of 1968)--so happy you are on the mend. Hurrah for the new reading glasses, too! And you hit me with a book bullet--The Weight of Ink and I'll probably check out Dear Fahrenheit 451 as well.

134PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2017, 12:11pm 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.

135nittnut
Nov 23, 2017, 12:25pm Top

136Donna828
Nov 23, 2017, 9:07pm Top

>129 LovingLit: Yay for Book Bullets, Megan. I hope you like the dark world you are soon to enter!

>130 rosalita: I think that may have been my only reread this year, Julia. I am slipping. I consider a second time around on a book I loved as one of the great joys of reading. My project of rereading Louise Erdrich’s books will be a priority for next year. I am keeping a positive attitude on her new dystopian book. I hope to get some reading time in this weekend.

>131 RebaRelishesReading: Brooks is a very talented author, Reba. I think Year of Wonders was my favorite book by her.

137Donna828
Nov 23, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>132 lkernagh: we talked about the ending at our book club, Lori. Some liked it better than others. I think ending a story would be the toughest part of writing so I tend to give authors a lot of slack on how they choose to end a book. But yes, i wanted a better resolution.

>133 ronincats: Roni, I rarely go to the doctor except for wellness checks. I seem to average one sick call per decade. I went for my back in the 90s, for a UTI in the millennial decade, then for Strep Throat in this decade. It is an attention getter! Thanks for commiserating!

138Donna828
Edited: Nov 23, 2017, 9:24pm Top

>134 PaulCranswick: Paul, that may be the most heartwarming message ever. I am also thankful for this amazing group and the friendships I have made with people all over the world. You have devoted much time and energy spreading joy these past few years, and I am very grateful. 💜

>135 nittnut: Aw, That’s lovely, Jenn. Thank you so much.

139Donna828
Nov 23, 2017, 9:32pm Top

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here is a picture from today. I am always grateful for time spent with these kiddos! More fun in store tomorrow.

140Berly
Nov 23, 2017, 11:56pm Top

Donna--Awesome photo!! Glad today was great and more is in store tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for being such a wonderful presence here.

: )

141Familyhistorian
Nov 24, 2017, 2:09am Top

You have a very photogenic bunch of grands, Donna. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

142Carmenere
Nov 24, 2017, 6:15am Top

>139 Donna828: Beautiful photo, Donna! I just know you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

143streamsong
Nov 24, 2017, 9:34am Top

Wonderful photo of your blessings, Donna! Have fun with them today! Such a magical time of year for little (and not so little ones).

Does your message about Erdrich's book in >136 Donna828: mean that you have started reading it? It sounds quite different, but I am looking forward to reading it.

144lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>139 Donna828: - What a lovely grouping! Definitely, a lot to be thankful for!

145Whisper1
Nov 24, 2017, 8:51pm Top

>88 Donna828: Oh My, I remember when Hayley was a wee little one! What a wonderful family you have.

Much Love to you.

Are you going to Joplin this year? I vow to be there next year!

146jnwelch
Nov 25, 2017, 11:39am Top

>139 Donna828:. Great photo, Donna. The youngest blonde girl - is it Haley? - looks like you, doesn’t she.

147Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 2:20pm Top

>140 Berly: Hi Kim, I am resting today after two very intense days spent with family. So much fun but so tiring for this septuagenarian! I was proud, though, to make it through part of the kick ball game yesterday before doing a face plant. Nothing hurt except for a scrape on my nose and hand...and my pride!!!!

>141 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Our family thanksgiving was a success. I didn’t have to cook (much) or clean house for company and I got in two full days with 5 out of 6 grandchildren. Great memories!

148Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 2:27pm Top

>142 Carmenere: Thank you, Lynda. I hope your Thanksgiving gave you plenty to be thankful about, too.

>143 streamsong: Yes, I have started reading Future Home of the Living God, Janet. So far, so good although I’m not very far into it. At least it is set on the Indian reservation which is always my favorite place to be. I am treating myself to a mini personal reading marathon the rest of today and tomorrow so I can immerse myself in Erdrich’s world, even if it’s the futuristic version of it.

149Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 2:37pm Top

>145 Whisper1: I truly hope you can make next year’s Joplin meetup, Linda. I have been every year now and it is always a good time. It would be even better with you!

Our little Haley is growing up. She is in first grade and is becoming a voracious reader and learner. I am going to do an “Around the World With Haley” scrapbook with her next year. Shhh, it’s a surprise for Christmas! I’ve purchased a blow-up world ball, stickers, a wall map, and coloring book so far. I will get her a junior atlas and let her cut up my old (outdated) Hammoms World Atlas. I have researched children’s books from different countries which we will get from the library. I may buy her copies of her favorites for her September birthday as I have to keep her interest up all year. I’m excited about the project as it will give us lots of quality time together.

150BLBera
Nov 25, 2017, 2:37pm Top

>139 Donna828: Beautiful grands, Donna. You are lucky.

I also loved People of the Book and would like to read The Weight of Ink soon although realistically, it will probably be next year.

151Donna828
Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 2:55pm Top

>146 jnwelch: Yes, Joe, that is 7-year-old Haley, the grandchild most like me in looks and temperament. We are both old souls...although I am really old. Haha.


She was so serious throughout her first visit to the new Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium yesterday. I would have been just the same way at her age.

152Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 3:01pm Top

>150 BLBera: I almost missed you, Beth. I was working super hard to get the blue out of that picture. Not happening...it is what it is. I think too much of my planned reading will be on continuance until 2018. However, I am determined to finish A Suitable Boy which was started in late summer. I have recently reached Page 1,000 so it is in the realm of possibility!

153Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 3:05pm Top

>144 lkernagh: On “proofreading” I see I skipped over you, Lori. Not intentional at all. I definitely have much to be thankful for. We totally lucked out in the grandchildren aspect of life. They are my Joys!

154Donna828
Nov 25, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Oh, what the heck... I’ll post a few more pics before I tackle the millions of leaves on the patio. After that, I can read the rest of the week end away without guilt!


We told the kids to look scared. Haley is the only one who wasn’t acting!


We spent a lot of time playing this trivia game which we renamed “Smart Donkey”.
4-year-old Molly was even able to come up with the correct answer to one question: ‘Flamingo.’ That’s our youngest son Ben and his lovely wife Mary. I am grateful they did hosting duties for the family gathering.


9-year-old Griffin’s gingerbread house made the picture but he didn’t! They all had fun decorating houses, making Christmas ornaments, playing outside, and just being together.

155RebaRelishesReading
Nov 25, 2017, 7:33pm Top

Looks like a great Thanksgiving, Donna. Happy Holiday season!

156Copperskye
Nov 27, 2017, 10:53pm Top

Love your photos, Donna! Looks like everyone had a lot of fun. Smart Ass Donkey is a fun one to play with the kiddos.

Thanksgiving is so much easier when you're not working - I should have dropped out of working life years ago!

157Donna828
Nov 28, 2017, 7:50pm Top

>155 RebaRelishesReading: Happy Holidays to you and your family as well, Reba.

>156 Copperskye: Hi Joanne! I used to dread Thanksgiving when I was teaching. Back in my day (do I sound old?) we went to school right up until Turkey Day…and it was a big push to get everything ready for a feast with only one evening and morning to prepare. It's much more fun now, especially when it isn't at my house!

158Donna828
Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:07pm Top

Today was our annual meetup in Joplin, Missouri. Stasia from Texas and Terri from St. Charles, MO, started this anywhere from 7 to 10 years ago, depending on whom is asked. Lol. It was halfway between their abodes and The Changing Hands Bookstore was the only nonchain bookstore in town. It has been our meeting place ever since! And we always eat at the same restaurant down the street. The attendance varies from year to year. We had the states of Missouri, Texas, and Iowa represented this year, missing friends from Kansas and Oklahoma.


Sandy, Nancy (Nancy 618), Terri, and me warming up the camera.
Sandy and Terri are no longer active on LT. What's up with that?

159Donna828
Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:08pm Top


Gathering around the table for more book talk are Beth (Stasia's daughter, first-time visitor),
Nancy, Sandy, Julia (rosalita), Terri, Me, Stasia (alcottacre) who-does-not-like-to-be-photographed!


What would a book meetup be without a picture of the book hauls?
Sorry some of the titles can't be seen. I'll try to do better next year.

160Donna828
Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:46pm Top



Book No. 70: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. Library, 269 pp., 4.5 stars.

"Everything I say and everything my parents say, the drift of friends, the tang of lemonade, the wine on their tongues, the cries of sleepy birds and the squirrels launching themselves without fear in the high tops of the old maples and honey locusts, branch to branch, all of this is terminal. There will never be another August on earth, not like this one; there will never be this sort of ease or precision. The birds will change, the squirrels will fall, and who will remember how to make the wine?"
(61)

I love Ms. Erdrich's writing. I wasn't sure I would like this book because of the subject matter; however, I should have trusted one of my favorite authors more. She takes the unthinkable premise of a biological apocalypse and ekes as much hope out of it that is possible when a young woman is being hunted just because she is pregnant. Cedar learns that those closest to her can not be trusted, including her adoptive parents and her husband. It is difficult to write a proper review without giving too much away so I will stop here.

If you are an Erdrich fan, you will probably enjoy her foray into specualative fiction. My favorite parts were those times Cedar took refuge on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. The author writes masterfully about Native American people in past, modern, and now, even futuristic, times.

161lkernagh
Nov 28, 2017, 8:50pm Top

>158 Donna828: and >159 Donna828: - What a fabulous tradition to see continuing!

162Copperskye
Nov 28, 2017, 9:14pm Top

Thank you for sharing your meet-up, Donna! Great to see the familiar faces - a couple I've met and the others familiar through previous Joplin get togethers.

And somebody scored a lot of Michael Connelly books! A reader after my own heart. :)

163Donna828
Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 9:22pm Top

>161 lkernagh: I hope the tradition continues a long time, Lori!

>162 Copperskye: Hi again, Joanne. That reader would be my husband, Dave. He has finished the Hillerman books, John Sandford books, and is now in Harry Bosch Land! Nancy also likes the series and was happy to find one of the newer ones, The Wrong Side of Goodbye. I told DH he needs an LT account!

164Copperskye
Nov 28, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>163 Donna828: I'm itching to start the next one in the series. I'm only halfway through so I have a lot to look forward to. John and I went to see Connelly a couple of weeks ago when he came through town on a book tour. Interesting guy!

Dave will probably read a lot more without an LT account, sadly. :)

165rosalita
Nov 28, 2017, 9:44pm Top

Thanks for posting the photos, Donna! It was so great to see everyone again. And the weather was fantastic.

Joanne, you are to blame for prompting me to finally read the Bosch series. After reading your reviews recently, I just read the first one, The Black Echo. I've read other Connelly but never this series. There are a lot of books!

166Copperskye
Nov 28, 2017, 9:48pm Top

>165 rosalita: Ha - yay me!! Or maybe you have Mary to blame since she got me started....

167thornton37814
Nov 28, 2017, 9:55pm Top

Looks like you all had a great meet-up in Joplin.

168Berly
Nov 28, 2017, 10:13pm Top

Donna! What fun photos! From your grandkids to the meetup. : ) And a book bullet with Erdrich. Sigh. ; )

169rosalita
Nov 28, 2017, 10:15pm Top

>166 Copperskye: I'll just blame both of you!

170LizzieD
Nov 28, 2017, 10:35pm Top

Many thanks for the pictures of the meetup and the grands! *sigh*

171karenmarie
Nov 29, 2017, 6:52am Top

Hi Donna!

What a wonderful tradition. Thanks for sharing the photos. I'm impressed with the book hauls, too.

>160 Donna828: If msf59 Mark hadn't already warbled about this book, you would have gotten me with a BB!

172msf59
Nov 29, 2017, 7:03am Top

Hooray for another successful Meet Up. Love the photos and the book hauls. This is such a great tradition.

And hooray for Future Home of the Living God. You are a Book Barometer for me and I have this one all ready lined up on audio. I plan on getting to it next month.

Hugs to Donna!

173jnwelch
Nov 29, 2017, 8:24am Top

Wonderful to see the meet-up photos and the book hauls, Donna. What a great tradition, as Mark says.

Good review of Future Home of the Living God. I like Erdrich's writing, too, and need to read more of hers.

174drneutron
Nov 29, 2017, 3:05pm Top

Looks like everyone had a great time! Nice meetup pics.

175PaulCranswick
Nov 29, 2017, 7:12pm Top

Love all the photos Donna. Would love to make one of those meet-ups one fine day. xx

176alcottacre
Nov 29, 2017, 7:36pm Top

>158 Donna828: Thanks for posting the pictures, Donna!

177BLBera
Nov 30, 2017, 6:40pm Top

Thanks for sharing photos of the meet up, Donna. The book haul looks impressive.

I'm still reading Future Home of the Living God, so am avoiding your comments, although I see that you gave it 4/5 stars.

178ronincats
Nov 30, 2017, 6:41pm Top

Loved the photos, Donna, and glad to see that you got at least one with Stasia in it.

179Whisper1
Nov 30, 2017, 7:24pm Top

Thanks for posting the meet up photos Donna! I really do hope to make it next year. I vow to be finished with spinal surgeries. Isn't is amazing that we have so many wonderful friends as a result of joining this group? I very much like the idea you have regarding a project for Hayley. How wonderful to have a grammy like you.

My grandmother was my rock. She practically raised me. Not a day goes by without thinking of her. She is so very much in my soul.

Never underestimate the power of grandmotherhood. Isn't it such a delight to have these children in our lives?

180PaulCranswick
Dec 10, 2017, 5:28am Top

A silent December here so far Donna. Hope all is well with you.

181Deern
Dec 11, 2017, 10:37am Top

Somehow I lost your thread, Donna, I'm so sorry I haven't visited in such a long time!
Lovely family and meetup photos, Joplin has become legendary, and as I see Stasia still hides from the cameras. :)
Wishing you and your family a wonderful advent time!

182Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 10:29am Top

I’m sorry I’ve been a Christmas Ghost around here this month. December is always overwhelming for me as I try to do too much. My duties have increased with my DIL’s surgery on Monday. She is home now and should be able to drive again next week. It has been interesting spending so much time in the car delivering Haley and Molly to two different schools, one across town from me. DH is going to pick up Molly at school today and take her to dance class while I play Canasta with friends. It will be good for him and even better for my mental health.

It is good to see I’ve had visitors. Back later!

183Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 8:38pm Top

>164 Copperskye: Another interesting note about DH's reading, Joanne, is that he started the C.J. Box Joe Pickett series and has asked me to get the second one for him from the library before he goes to Miami this week end. I told him you and your DH got to see Connelly in person and he was envious. If he didn't work so hard, he would probably be a bigger reader than I am.

>165 rosalita: Hi Julia, it was so good to see you in Joplin. Just thinking about that day makes me smile.

>167 thornton37814: It was a good time, Lori.

>168 Berly: Photos are easier than book reviews. My next line-up of book comments may be sparse. Thanks for stopping in, Kim.

184Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 8:43pm Top

>170 LizzieD: Wouldn't Stasia be surprised if you popped in next year, Peggy? I know you two are fast friends. I wish we had a magic wand to bring you to us in Joplin!

>171 karenmarie: Mark always beats me to the punch, Karen. I don't know how he does it. He can read, warble, and do his mail route without missing a beat.

>172 msf59: Oh, hi there, Mark. You must have been eavesdropping on Karen. Thanks for naming me as your Book Barometer. I nominate you as my Book Guru! Hugs back, my friend.

>173 jnwelch: Erdrich is one of my favorites, Joe. This one was a stretch for her, but I will read anything she writes.

>174 drneutron: Thank you, Jim. We always have a good time in Joplin.

185Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 8:49pm Top

>175 PaulCranswick: That would be lovely, Paul. I look forward to meeting you somewhere, sometime. Joplin might be off the beaten path for you, though, if you do make that tour of the U.S. sometime.

>176 alcottacre: You bet, Stasia. Thanks for posing. Hahaha!

>177 BLBera: You weren't as fond of it as I was, Beth. I hope she goes back to contemporary fiction on the reservation as those are my favorite Erdrich books.

>178 ronincats: It's a trick to get Stasia in a picture for sure. I didn't take it so she can't blame me. Our waiter wanted to do another one with Stasia looking up, but that wasn't going to happen!

>179 Whisper1: I is wonderful to see you posting, Linda. I hope you do make it to the meetup next year. We've been promising to meet in person for years now. Let's make it happen!

186Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>180 PaulCranswick: Thanks for refreshing my thread, Paul. December sneaks up on me every year. One would think I would be proactive and start Christmas preparations early so I didn't have this time crunch year after year. Maybe next year…

>181 Deern: Ooh, I like the idea of a "legendary" Joplin! I've missed you, Nathalie, and see that you are busy with work and family. We do our best to stay in touch, and I'm grateful for your visits.

187Donna828
Edited: Oct 9, 6:02pm Top



Book No. 71: The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Library, 424 pp., 3.4 stars.

"I won four pounds of cashews in a raffle. For a couple of days I skipped lunch and dinner and just ate cashews. Every night I read until four, then slept until the alarm went off at eight. After morning classes, I slept some more and then went to more classes. The days took on a lurid, nightmarish quality, like they were all part of some long unbroken thing, and even though it was disorienting and gave me a constant headache, it was also exhilarating, and I didn't really want it to end or change."
(106)

Frankly, I'm surprised I finished this book. Not because it was a terrible book, but because I wasn't the intended audience for a navel-gazing dialogue from a young college student trying to figure out her life. It did bring back the memories of being a college freshman and all the changes that freedom and widening our ideas of the world bring with it.

Alas, that was so long ago that I couldn't relate very well to Selin as she attempts to find her place in a fast-changing world. I'm too content with my time of life to want to relive those angst-filled days. So why did I keep reading it? It did take me on a little journey to a forgotten time and I was curious to read the part set in Europe. However, I think I would have spent my time more wisely reading the other Idiot book by Dostoyevsky…and will put that on my 2018 wish list.

188Donna828
Edited: Oct 9, 6:17pm Top



Book No. 72: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Mine, 48 pp., 4.5 stars.

"It's always the same: a morning arrives in November, and my friend, as though officially inaugurating the Christmas time of year that exhilarates her imaginations and fuels the blaze of her heart, announces, "It's fruitcake weather!"


Now here's a little book that I can sink my teeth into. I purchased my illustrated hardcover 50th anniversary edition in 2012 and have read it in early December every year since. I don't usually count it in my totals, but I am desperate to pad my paltry numbers. Truman Capote is a wonderful writer and he can make this somewhat biographical account of a young boy accompanying his much-older cousin on her tramps about the countryside in rural Alabama to find the ingredients for her 30 fruitcakes seem like a magical adventure…which it probably was to a young boy in the mid-twentieth century. I enjoy it more each year and hope I never get too busy to overlook the short time it takes to read this gem of a book about Buddy and his special friend.

189Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 9:48pm Top



Book No. 73: Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. Hoopla audio read by Orlagh Cassidy, 3.6 stars.

This is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series. The narrator was new to me, but I thought she did an adequate job and soon became interested in the various story lines that kept Maisie moving between England and France looking for the proof that an English soldier did indeed die in WWI and also doing a side investigation for her friend Priscilla. These books are not great literature yet they are something I look forward to listening to as I relax in the evenings. Maisie is an interesting character who uses her skills and her heart to find out what she needs to know. She is personally in danger several times in this book yet doesn't consider abandoning her dogged searches.

190Copperskye
Dec 14, 2017, 10:08pm Top

>188 Donna828: Truly a gem! I need to pull that one off the shelf again.

>183 Donna828: I read the first few Joe Pickett books but then they started to get a little too violent for me. I think cows were getting blown up....

191Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 10:11pm Top



Book No. 74: The Wonder by Emma Donaghue. Library, 320 pp. 4.1 stars.

"Her last meal; like a condemned prisoner. So Anna had taken the Host for the first and only time, then shut her mouth. What strange distortion of doctrine could have impelled her? Lib wondered. Had Anna somehow picked up the notion that now she's been granted divine nourishment, she'd no further need for the earthly kind?"
(174)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about an Irish girl who was being considered for sainthood after seemingly existing for over 40 days with only a few sips of water each day. Nurse Lib Wright has been hired to watch 11-year-old Anna to see if she was somehow eating on the sly. Although the book started out as dull as the premise of merely waiting and watching, the author cleverly introduces other characters and some background information that turns a slow book into a race against time. Lib has her own shadows in her past to ponder as she leaves London for her two-week assignment in an Irish village "blinkered by superstition." Indeed, we encounter the usual faeries, ignorant country doctor, and dogmatic priest.

It was interesting to me to see the change in Lib, a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale in the Crimean Wars, from the haughty outsider who was going to expose the hoax she suspected to the caring nurse who wanted her patient to live to see better days. We had a deep and emotional discussion at our book group Tuesday evening which made me like this book even more than I did initially. It reminded me of The Good People which I read last month. I am becoming a fan of the gloomy Irish books I've been reading.

192Donna828
Dec 14, 2017, 10:18pm Top

>190 Copperskye: A Christmas Memory is worth the short time it takes to read. I used to read A Christmas Carol each year, but it is a much bigger time commitment. Perhaps I will start alternating them…

Oh no! Not the cows! I don't know if my farmboy husband will be disturbed by that, but I certainly would.

Side note: I am driving out to Colorado after Christmas since I will be 1/4 of the way there when we go to Kansas City for a few days and would love to meet up. I will PM you, Anne, Kris, and Mary when I have some firm plans. It will be early in January.

193Deern
Dec 15, 2017, 12:09am Top

>188 Donna828: I need more good Christmas reads, I'll get this one! :)
Best wishes to your DIL!

194mdoris
Dec 15, 2017, 6:42pm Top

>88 Donna828: I might have A Christmas Memory on my bookshelf, must go have a peek! I love seasonal books with Christmas books being my favourite. Thanks for the great review and prompt!

195mdoris
Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>188 Donna828: Thanks for the inspiration Donna. I found my copy and thoroughly enjoyed (re)reading it.

196Familyhistorian
Dec 20, 2017, 2:06pm Top

It has been a while since I visited, Donna. You are probably in the midst of holiday preparations but I hope that you are enjoying a good book for number 75!

197EBT1002
Dec 20, 2017, 5:04pm Top

>191 Donna828: Another book bullet, along with The Good People from last month ~~ and you say the two are reminiscent of one another. I will put them both on the wish list and add them to one of my challenges for 2018. You know, the challenges I'm not going to do. Heh.

>187 Donna828: On the other hand, I'll skip that one.

Hi Donna!

198Donna828
Dec 20, 2017, 7:42pm Top

>193 Deern: Thanks, Nathalie. Mary is doing well and has her mojo back. It's a good thing, cuz I lost mine!

>194 mdoris:, >195 mdoris: You are very welcome, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed your reread. I think I like it more each time I read it. Capote is such a good author and he had an interesting childhood.

>196 Familyhistorian: I really liked my 75th book, Meg. I am disappointed, though, that my numbers are the lowest since 2007.

>197 EBT1002: One of the Irish books had a surprising hopeful feeling at the end…I won't say which one, but it worked for me. There is only so much bleakness I can take this time of year. I stayed away from challenges for the most part this year, Ellen. Maybe that's why my numbers suffered? I kind of miss TIOLI as it was really helping me read some of the books from my shelves. I'm not buying many books these days, but the bookshelves are still groaning. I hope to give them some relief next year.

199Donna828
Dec 20, 2017, 8:16pm Top



Book No. 75: To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman. Library, 288 pp., 4 stars.

I mostly enjoyed this memoir about raising twin boys, one a typical "know-it-all" and the other who was diagnosed with autism at age 6. We learn that autism is a spectrum and not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. Gus is a lovable kid who sleeps with his mother which brings up an interesting point. The author was married at age 30 to a man twice her age who doesn't seem to like being around people and can't deal with noise which is hard to avoid in NYC. But he can avoid it in his own home and has his own apartment. His wife thinks he is on the spectrum and wants him to take the test, but he is in denial.

The author deals with her lot in life by using humor which worked well for most of the book. I do have a little problem with these "tell all" memoirs, especially when they are about innocent children. I will give Newman the benefit of the doubt, however, because she makes it clear that she loves her son and wants the best for him. I'm convinced that raising children is the hardest job in the world and it must be doubly hard to raise a special-needs child, whatever those needs are. If she wants to vent by writing about it, then more power to her!

200PaulCranswick
Dec 20, 2017, 9:31pm Top

Congratulations on making it to 75. xx

201ronincats
Dec 21, 2017, 12:16am Top

Congratulation on hitting the 75 book mark, Donna!

202Deern
Dec 21, 2017, 1:44am Top

Adding my congratulations, happy #75, Donna!

203rosalita
Dec 21, 2017, 5:45am Top

>199 Donna828: Hooray for making it to 75, Donna. I wasn't sure I would, but I'm in the midst of my 75th now and am sure to finish it by New Year's Eve. Quite a change from my usual 150+ but I'm OK with it.

204katiekrug
Dec 21, 2017, 9:16am Top

I will hit 75 this year, too, Donna, but not much past that, which will be a low reading year for me as well. Glad to be in good company with you!

205jnwelch
Dec 21, 2017, 9:39am Top

Congratulations on reading 75, Donna!

I'm glad To Siri with Love worked for you. I've seen others taken aback by the personal detail in it about Gus. But, like you, I give her the benefit of the doubt. Plus I (and I assume others) learned so much from it.

What a life - such an unusual relationship with her husband, too. Her sense of humor I'm sure is a big contributor to her keeping her sanity.

206RebaRelishesReading
Dec 21, 2017, 12:25pm Top

Congrats on your 75. I hope it was a good year for you in general and that they were 75 enjoyable books!

207FAMeulstee
Dec 21, 2017, 3:53pm Top

Congratulations on reaching 75, Donna!

And thanks for your thoughtful and kind post on my thread.

208EBT1002
Dec 21, 2017, 6:20pm Top

Congrats on reaching 75, Donna, and you hit me with To Siri, With Love.

209drneutron
Dec 21, 2017, 8:35pm Top

Congrats!

210Deern
Dec 22, 2017, 4:31am Top

I was considering sending a Santa or Christkindl pic, but maybe a snow-covered family dog - Anton, my aunt Karin's Eurasian - serves better
as a neutral messenger for the joys of the year-end. :)



A Very Merry Christmas or Very Happy Holidays to all my dear LT friends and their loved ones.
May there be lots of great books under the tree or in the stockings, may there be your favorite foods on the table,
May there be joy and laughter and above all lots and lots of love around you and everywhere in the world.

AUGURI A TUTTI! FROHES FEST!

211Ameise1
Dec 23, 2017, 10:40am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

212EBT1002
Dec 23, 2017, 5:11pm Top

I'm making the holiday rounds....



Wishing you and yours a holiday season filled with light, peace, laughter, love, and good books.

213lkernagh
Dec 23, 2017, 7:40pm Top

Hi Donna, stopping by to wish you and your loved ones peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and for 2018!

214Donna828
Dec 23, 2017, 8:01pm Top

I was very relieved to reach that Magical Number of 75! Many thanks to Paul, Roni, Nathalie, Julia, Katie, Joe, Reba, Anita, Ellen, and Jim for the congratulatory messages. Please forgive me for not doing individual responses, but it's a busy time of year! And…I've been reading on top of all the other last-minute things I've been doing for the upcoming celebration of Christmas…I finally finished A Suitable Boy which I've been reading off and on for months now. It was well worth the time investment.

215Donna828
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 9:12pm Top



Book No. 76: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. My copy, 1474 pp., 4.5 stars.

"All over India, all over the world, as the sun or the shadow of darkness moves from east to west, the call to prayer moves with it, and people kneel down in a wave to pray to God. Five waves each day ripple across the globe from longitude to longitude. The component elements change direction, like iron filings near a magnet--towards the house of God in Mecca."
(127)

I've been immersed in 1950s India for so long that I don't know how to write a concise review of this epic. It's a story of love with plenty of ups and downs as Lata's mother obsesses with finding a suitable boy for her unmarried daughter, Lata. It's also a story of politics as India recovers from colonialism and partition. There is a definite learning curve to being a large independent nation with two major religions and an outrageous caste system. So a domestic drama about four upperclass families slowly becomes a sort of metaphor for the metamorphosis of a country. It sounds deep and complicated, which it was, but the individual stories meld so well together one doesn't realize they are reading about the evolution of India. Will Lata marry the shoemaker, the esteemed poet, or the Muslim boy who swept her off her feet? The answer isn't revealed until the final pages of this tome, but as I have said above, I don't regret the length or time spent reading about the daily life and sometimes eccentric behavior of the many characters in Seth's masterpiece.

As a side note, I enjoyed all the literature references, particularly this one that relates to long books…
“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they're bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they're good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”

216Donna828
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 9:15pm Top

I love this time of year when some of us send special Christmas greetings across the country and around the world.

>210 Deern: Nathalie, nothing says Christmas Fun like a snow-covered dog! We had a light snow here this morning and even our 14-year-old Lucky the Rescue Lab was cavorting like a puppy--for a short while.

>211 Ameise1: What a lovely image, Barbara. Thank you and a joyous holiday to you and your family as well.

>212 EBT1002: Oh, a Christmas Kitty. So sweet, Ellen. I took 4-year-old Molly to Build-A-Bear for an early Christmas gift and she created a very cute Tuxedo Cat with a Christmas dress, Santa hat, and four glittery red shoes. She loves her Rosie Christmas Cat!

>213 lkernagh: Thank you for those kind sentiments, Lori. May you and yours have a blessed holiday.

217Donna828
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Here is my Christmas Greeting to my visitors… We woke up to a glorious white world, which was a wonderful surprise. You can catch a glimpse of it through my living room windows. I wanted to share my favorite new ornament given to me by fellow LTer Nancy618. It's a Reading Snowman doubling as a S'Mores treat. Three of my favorite things! Thanks again, Nancy.



Happy Holidays from the Heart of the USA -- Springfield, Missouri!

218Copperskye
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 10:37pm Top



Merry Christmas to you and yours, Donna!

>217 Donna828: What a charming ornament!

219ronincats
Dec 23, 2017, 10:57pm 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:

220karenmarie
Dec 24, 2017, 8:14am Top

Hi Donna!

Congratulations on reaching 75!



And here's wishing you and yours all good things this holiday season.

221nittnut
Dec 24, 2017, 8:16am Top

Congratulations on 75!!



Knowing you lights my world!
Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy!

222Donna828
Dec 24, 2017, 10:06am Top

>218 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. Your greeting reminds me we need to see the penguins at Wonders of Wildlife before we begin our post-Christmas travels.

>219 ronincats: What a lovely candle, Roni. I wish you all the same things.

>220 karenmarie: Karen, if Santa brings me only a few of those blessings, I will be happy. Thanks for your posts and sending you some Christmas Cheer!

>221 nittnut: Thank you, Jenn. Have a Merry Christmas with your wonderful family.

223RebaRelishesReading
Dec 24, 2017, 10:27am Top

A white Christmas!! How wonderful. Hope this season and the coming year are wonderful for you and your family.

224PaulCranswick
Dec 24, 2017, 9:56pm Top



Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

225AMQS
Dec 25, 2017, 1:26am Top

Dear Donna, best wishes to you and yours at Christmas!

226Berly
Dec 26, 2017, 3:14pm Top

Happy Boxing Day!!

227Familyhistorian
Dec 28, 2017, 12:56am Top

Congrats on reading 75 and beyond, Donna. I hope you are enjoying the Christmas holidays.

228jnwelch
Dec 28, 2017, 5:13pm Top



Happy Holidays, Donna!

229mdoris
Dec 28, 2017, 5:56pm Top

Hi Donna, Wishing you a wonderful 2018, full of great books!

230ChelleBearss
Dec 28, 2017, 6:02pm Top

Hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and grand kids!

231Donna828
Dec 28, 2017, 8:52pm Top

>223 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks, Reba. It's been a good year, and I'm looking forward to more of the same.

>224 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. Wishing the same for you and your family.

>225 AMQS: Hi Anne, I am sending an email out tonight to our little Denver group about a potential meetup. As if the holidays weren't busy enough, right? I hope you had a good time with your family.

>226 Berly: Boxing Day was super! I had the house to myself… I hope your holiday isn't too crazy, Kim. I am off to KC and Denver for some post-Christmas and Happy New Year good times.

232Donna828
Dec 28, 2017, 8:56pm Top

>227 Familyhistorian: Thank you, Meg. It is cold but I'm not letting that interfere with fun family times.

>228 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Love the jaunty cap!

>229 mdoris: Mary, I'm already having fun planning my new year of reading. I didn't make my goal of 100 this year, but I'm still happy with my year as a whole.

>230 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle, I hope you and your sweet baby are home from the hospital. Poor little doll. What a trooper she is! Just adorable, even when recovering from major surgery. It sounds like you were treated well, although I'm sure you would rather have celebrated Christmas at home.

233Donna828
Dec 28, 2017, 9:02pm Top

I have been packing and taking down Christmas decorations today. We are heading to Kansas City in the morning for a late Christmas with my grandkids there. The Springfield gang went to Dodge City for their Christmas and they will make a detour to celebrate with us. It should be a wild and crazy week end. Then, since I'm 1/4 of the way there, I will drive on to Brighton, CO, to see Hope and family. I will get there just in time to see the New Year in! My husband will fly west later in the week and we will drive home together on Sunday, Jan. 7. I have downloaded the last two books in The Vorkosigan Saga for the trip and will take Slade House with me to read for book group on Jan. 9. I'm not sure when I will get a new thread set up. The laptop is going with me just in case I can squeeze some time in for LT fun.

234Donna828
Dec 28, 2017, 9:14pm Top



Book No. 77: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. Library, 336 pp., 3.7 stars.

What a great book to read during a busy time. It was a feel-good book despite the heavy topic of losing a longtime spouse and living with the emptiness of grief. Arthur Pepper had been married for 40 years when his wife died and dealt with her absence by a rigid schedule and hiding from the well-meaning neighbors when he could. One day he found Miriam's charm bracelet hidden away. He had never seen it before and became (ahem) curious about it. So he did some investigations that led him on several adventures which brought him back enjoying life again. It was kind of predictable yet it was so (ahem) charming that I will recommend it when you need something light that will make you smile. I might have rated it higher, if I hadn't read such a similar story in A Man Called Ove.

235Donna828
Dec 28, 2017, 9:33pm Top



Book No. 78: Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher. Mine, 258 pp., 4.2 stars.

"Living is a complicated process, a journey of discovery that never ceases. As I grow older, the basic facts of life seem increasingly simple. The closer we live to our core, the more we realize that we are like other people. My fear and sorrow are yours, as is my harsh self-judgment. My desire to be good and to feel loved is your desire, too. We all seek peace."
(15)

As soon as I read these words in the introduction, I knew I had found the perfect book to finish up my reading year. I connected with the author in many ways. First of all, her philosophy on life is similar to mine. Then, I found out that we are the same age and she grew up in a small town just 30 miles away from me. Our lives took different directions but our way of living and growing were similar. It was good to find a soulmate even though we will probably never meet. I will keep her book and read the last few chapters again. I liked them so much I might make it an annual end-of-the-year pep talk on how to live life to its fullest.

236Berly
Dec 29, 2017, 12:42am Top

Have fun!!!

237Carmenere
Dec 29, 2017, 8:07am Top

Sending belated Christmas greetings to you and yours, Donna and all the very best in 2018! Your pics of family are beautiful and I can't believe how your grandchildren are growing up.

238RebaRelishesReading
Dec 29, 2017, 11:16am Top

Happy late Christmas! I know you're going to have a great time.

239Donna828
Dec 30, 2017, 3:38pm Top

>236 Berly: If getting my butt kicked in Just Dance competitions is fun, then I'm having a blast! You have fun, too, Kim!

>237 Carmenere: They are growing up way too fast, Lynda. I just try and enjoy each age as it comes--both for me and my kids and grandkids.

>238 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, you are so right. Having a good time in KC. Christmas goes on and on…

240Donna828
Dec 30, 2017, 3:38pm Top

I'm going to mosey over to the 2018 group and see what's happening over there...

241drneutron
Dec 30, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Oh, it's hopping!

242augustau
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 2:08pm Top

I couldn't agree with you more on The Idiot. I loved The Possessed. Looking forward to our meet-up!

243karenmarie
Dec 31, 2017, 3:10pm Top

Hi Donna!



Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

244Storeetllr
Dec 31, 2017, 7:05pm Top

Hi, Donna! Just stopping by to wish you a wonderful 2018 filled with joy, peace, health and prosperity. And, of course, lots of great reading!

245Donna828
Jan 2, 2:30pm Top

>241 drneutron: I got so caught up in 2018 I forgot to close out this year!

>242 augustau: Kris, I am looking forward to more of your recommendations on Saturday. Also want to hear more about your grandson. So happy for you.

>243 karenmarie: Thank you, Karen.

>244 Storeetllr: I love that most appropriate 2018 image. Thanks, Mary.

My thread for 2018 can be found over here. Happy Reading in 2018!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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