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Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2017 Reading - Part 4

This is a continuation of the topic Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2017 Reading - Part 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1lauralkeet
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 7:59am Top



Fiona the Hippo, the happiest thing on the internet
I’ve been obsessed with Fiona since she was born 6 weeks premature in January. Her care team at the Cincinnati Zoo worked around the clock to keep her alive, and now she is normal size for her age, doing normal hippo things. She has also been successfully reunited with her parents. It’s such a lovely story and warms my heart especially when it seems everything else in the world is so messed up. A brief timeline of Fiona milestones, with more photos & video, can be found here.




2017 is my 9th year in the 75 Books Challenge. I started out as a highly structured reader, organizing my life around resolutions, challenges, and monthly reading plans. After a while, it all got to be a bit much and I’ve been happier with the “read what I want, when I want” approach, joining the occasional group or theme read when it strikes my fancy. That said, there are a few things I’m planning for 2017:
- Monthly author reads in the Virago Modern Classics group
- Continuing the Virago Chronological Read project, to read VMCs in order of original publication date
- Making progress on my active series, and no doubt starting some new ones :)
- Outside of LT, participating in the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club, which reads primarily contemporary fiction
- Knitting! This is one of my other major hobbies, and I have a thread in the Needlearts group for anyone interested

My 2017 threads can be found here:
Part 1 (books 1-14) | Part 2 (books 15-35) | Part 3 (books 36-57)

Books completed ("details" jumps to my comments on this thread)
October
58. Together and Apart - details
59. A Trick of the Light - details
60. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage - details
61. Birds of a Feather - details
62. Turtles all the Way Down - details
63. Troy Chimneys - details
64. The Caller - details

November
65. The Beautiful Mystery - details
66. Home Fire - details
67. Hag-Seed - details
68. Shrill - details
69. The Gap of Time - details
70. Manhattan Beach - details

December
71. Summer Will Show - details
72. The Murder of Harriet Krohn - details
73. How the Light Gets In - details
74. A Great Deliverance - details

2lauralkeet
Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 8:42am Top

Series Progress

Active series as of October 1:


My series list is courtesy of FictFact, which allows you to select the series you wish to track. They do a reasonable job of maintaining current series, although in some cases they have added books that I don't consider a legitimate part of the series (e.g., the Harry Potter prequel). The above snapshot is a view of my active series sorted on the "progress" column.

Series completed/current in 2017:
* The Palliser Novels, by Anthony Trollope (March)
* The Frank Bascombe Trilogy, by Richard Ford (August)

Series started in 2017:
* The Frank Bascombe Trilogy, by Richard Ford
* Inspector Gamache, by Louise Penny
* Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear
* Inspector Lynley, by Elizabeth George

Series abandoned in 2017:
* Dr Siri, by Colin Cotterill: I read the first one and it just didn’t grab me.
* Inspector Rebus, by Ian Rankin: I read four, they were just okay and my interest has waned
* Transylvanian Trilogy, by Miklos Banffy: I read the first one, it was okay, but I don't see myself picking up the remaining two.

3lauralkeet
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 9:04am Top

My two most recent reviews, copied over from my previous thread
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

56. Young Jane Young ()
Source: My local library
Why I read this now: Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club - October selection

Aviva Grossman is lucky to land a prestigious internship with a US Congressman, and after a couple of initial missteps becomes a valuable member of Aaron Levin’s team. Unfortunately, the Congressman also notices some of Aviva’s other attributes and before you know it, the two are having an affair. Naturally, it all blows up in the media; Levin escapes unscathed with his career and marriage still intact, but Aviva’s future is ruined. Even though the case garnered only local attention at the time, the internet left a trail of information sufficient for prospective employers to learn about Aviva’s past. Suddenly she can’t get an interview, let alone a job, and is forced to take dramatic action.

Aviva’s story is told through a succession of narrators, beginning with her mother Rachel. We also hear from Levin’s wife Embeth, a woman named Jane Young, Jane’s daughter Ruby, and finally Aviva. Their voices are all fresh and memorable, and the reading is breezy and fun despite the serious subject matter. Unfortunately, the most important character and the continuous slut-shaming she endured are the least developed aspects of this novel. While Young Jane Young tackles other gender stereotypes and double standards in a mostly effective way, the author’s failure to tackle the central issue and generate intended levels of outrage and sympathy caused this book to fall a bit short for me.

57. Sing, Unburied, Sing ()
Source: On my shelves -- a recent purchase
Why I read this now: I’ve loved all of Ward’s previous books

Jesmyn Ward’s novels draw on her experiences as a black woman growing up in rural Mississippi. In Sing, Unburied, Sing 13-year-old Jojo is forced to grow up far too early. His father, Michael, has been in prison for years and his mother, Leonie, is an addict whose presence at home is intermittent. Jojo shoulders day-to-day responsibility for his 3-year-old sister, Kayla. The children live with their maternal grandparents who thankfully provide a loving and stable home. When Michael is released from prison, Leonie takes the children on a road trip to bring him home. Through Jojo’s eyes we see the impact of Leonie’s addiction, as she stops along the way to support her habit.

Their journey is interspersed with accounts of past events that have shaped the family; ghosts accompany them on the trip but only Jojo can see them. These stories are dramatic, often violent, and together with the present-day narrative show the immense challenges facing those marginalized in our society. Ward’s writing is brilliant. Her stark portrayal of the American south makes for emotionally difficult, but important, reading.

4lauralkeet
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 9:05am Top

Currently Reading



- Together and Apart, by Margaret Kennedy, the Virago group's October author
- This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett, October American Author Challenge

5PaulCranswick
Oct 4, 2017, 7:43pm Top

Happy new thread, Laura.

Hipp, Hipp, Hipporay!

6lauralkeet
Oct 4, 2017, 8:23pm Top

>5 PaulCranswick: ha ha, hello Paul! Thank you for christening my new thread.

7lyzard
Oct 4, 2017, 9:42pm Top

LOVE the hippo!!

Happy New Thread. :)

8FAMeulstee
Oct 5, 2017, 3:48am Top

Happy new thread, Laura.
Fiona the Hippo is adorable!

9lauralkeet
Oct 5, 2017, 7:46am Top

Hello Liz & Anita! I'm glad you both love Fiona. She has definitely taken the world (well, maybe just the US) by storm. I've added a link in >1 lauralkeet: to a short article with a timeline of major milestones, and lots more photos & video clips if you want more hippo love!

10FAMeulstee
Oct 5, 2017, 8:40am Top

Thanks for the link, Laura, I had completely missed Fiona taking the world ;-)

11jnwelch
Oct 5, 2017, 8:51am Top

Happy New Thread, Laura!

Fun to see Fiona. And it looks like you’ve had some great reading.

12msf59
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 9:34am Top

Happy New Thread, Laura. Great review of Sing, Unburied, Sing. Big Thumb. I did not review it yet but may guide others to yours, instead. Smiles...

Thanks for chiming in on the Patchett reads.

Oh yeah- Yah, for Fiona. What a cutie.

13Caroline_McElwee
Oct 5, 2017, 11:07am Top

Lovely pictures of Fiona, I'm glad she will be keeping an eye on your reading Laura!

14lauralkeet
Oct 5, 2017, 12:54pm Top

Nothing like hippos to drive traffic to your thread, lol! Hi everybody !!!!

>12 msf59: Thanks for the comments on my review, Mark, and I'm happy for my review to do double duty!!

15drneutron
Oct 5, 2017, 2:28pm Top

Happy new thread!

16laytonwoman3rd
Oct 6, 2017, 9:48am Top

*waves* I'm not here for the hippo, just so ya know!

17NanaCC
Oct 6, 2017, 8:01pm Top

Nice new thread, Laura. Love your hippo.

18lauralkeet
Oct 8, 2017, 7:27am Top

>15 drneutron:, >16 laytonwoman3rd:, >17 NanaCC: * waves to Jim, Linda, and Colleen *

Thanks for visiting!! I might have to post more Fiona the Hippo photos from time to time ... :)

19lauralkeet
Oct 8, 2017, 7:27am Top

58. Together and Apart ()
Source: My Virago Modern Classics Collection
Why I read this now: Margaret Kennedy is the Virago Group author for October

Betsy Canning has decided she and her husband Alec should no longer be married. In 1936, this decision was unusual, difficult to accomplish, and bound to result in scandal and stigma. Alec understands Betsy’s point of view and while not as headstrong, supports the idea. The two waffle back and forth but some maternal meddling catalyzes their plan. Betsy naively believes this is a simple matter between her and Alec, blithely assuring their three children that life will go on as normal for them.

But of course it doesn’t, and Margaret Kennedy expertly shows the ripple effects of a. divorce as seen through the eyes of Betsy, Alec, their teenage children Kenneth and Eliza, and others in their extended family. It wasn’t preachy or dramatic, and the characters were all “normal” people with strengths and flaws. It was as if Kennedy was saying, see this can happen to anyone, perhaps even you, and you’d better think it through first. The strong message, expertly delivered in a gentle “show, don’t tell” style, made for an excellent reading experience.

20msf59
Oct 8, 2017, 7:37am Top

Morning, Laura. Happy Sunday! I plan on starting Manhattan Beach later today. It has been getting some nice buzz. Are you a fan of Egan?

21lauralkeet
Oct 8, 2017, 7:58am Top

Happy Sunday back at ya, Mark! I've been cheering for the Cubs and was sad to see them lose last night. But once they are on home turf ... well, I have high hopes!

I haven't read anything by Jennifer Egan, but I've seen her latest is getting high praise. I eagerly await your thoughts.

22laytonwoman3rd
Oct 8, 2017, 10:48am Top

>19 lauralkeet: I have a couple of Margaret Kennedy's novels on that green shelf...not that one, though. It sounds very good. I need to read a Virago pretty soon.

23lauralkeet
Oct 8, 2017, 4:58pm Top

>22 laytonwoman3rd: I've enjoyed our monthly author reads in the Virago group this year. I tend to only read 1 VMC per month and it helps me choose what to read.

24EBT1002
Oct 8, 2017, 6:25pm Top

I LOVE the hippo topper photos! What a great story.

I'm in the library queue for Sing, Unburied, Sing but your review makes me want to just buy it. Jesmyn Ward just keeps earning my respect over and over again. I think she is becoming one of our best writers of our time (that sounds so hollywood market-y but you know what I mean).

25lauralkeet
Oct 8, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>24 EBT1002: Ellen, I was also in queue for the Jesmyn Ward, but then I happened to be in a bookshop ... and ... well, I caved. But I'm glad I did! I agree with you about her evolution as a writer. She's fabulous.

26lauralkeet
Oct 9, 2017, 5:59pm Top

I'm still reading Ann Patchett's This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, but find it really works best to read one, no more than two, essays at a time. I'm waiting on Home Fire from the library and it's taking ages. I plan to read another Margaret Kennedy this month but don't want to read her books back-to back.

So today I needed reading material, stat. I grabbed my Kindle where I knew I could find Inspector Gamache #7 & #8. I started reading and it was only after about 45 pages when I stopped to add the book to my "currently reading" collection that I found I was reading #8, not #7. A major development with one of the regular characters was revealed in the first few pages and surprised the heck out of me, but I thought well okay, maybe I should have seen that coming. I'm pretty sure it will develop at a more appropriate pace in book #7. I'm a little sad I know about it already, but so it goes.

That's a long way to say that in addition to This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, I'm now reading Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light.

27laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Oct 9, 2017, 9:32pm Top

I'm reading This is the Story of a Happy marriage too. She has me wanting to check out so many other authors now...

28lauralkeet
Oct 10, 2017, 6:34am Top

>27 laytonwoman3rd: Yes! I'm really enjoying the book. There's only one essay so far that I thought was a little weak. I have to keep reminding myself these essays were all published elsewhere first, and across a long period of time, which accounts for references to certain events or situations that appear in multiple essays.

29weird_O
Oct 10, 2017, 9:22am Top

>26 lauralkeet: Louise Penny was recommended to my wife by our daughter, and on a used-book foray I spied a Penny and brought it home. 'Twas How the Light Gets In. She read, she liked, she got #s 1, 2, and 3 for her birthday (a month ago). I found #s5 and 12 on another used-book foray, and she read those. Last week, I checked out #s 4, 6, and 7 from my birthtown library and she raced through them.

She just finished rereading #9 last night, and she commented to me that it made a whole lot more sense to her, having now read all but one of the preceding novels.

See? Reading a series in order makes a positive difference.

30lauralkeet
Oct 10, 2017, 10:30am Top

>29 weird_O: great story, Bill! With series, there are some that have lots of continuity from one book to the next, and others where each book can stand alone, and everything in between. I'm a little particular about starting a series at the beginning even if I'm told it doesn't matter. I think the Inspector Gamache books would be enjoyable on their own because each mystery is self-contained, but the characters' lives definitely evolve from one book to the next.

I'm moving faster through this series than is typical for me. I'm really glad your wife is enjoying them too.

31Berly
Oct 10, 2017, 11:16am Top

Congrats on the new thread!! Too bad about reading the Gamache out of order. Oh well! I want to get to Sing, Unburied, Sing sooner than later. November?? Happy Tuesday!

32EBT1002
Oct 11, 2017, 6:37pm Top

>26 lauralkeet: Bummer about the confusion but you are handling it with due aplomb. I have the third in that series queued up for Kindle reading very soon.

33lauralkeet
Oct 11, 2017, 7:16pm Top

Hi Kim & Ellen, I'm surviving my Inspector Gamache mixup, lol. I'm zipping through #7 and I'm sure I'll read #8 soon, especially since I read enough for the mystery to capture my attention.

34laytonwoman3rd
Oct 12, 2017, 11:59am Top

>28 lauralkeet: She absolutely forced me to order a copy of Grace Paley's collected stories, which arrived yesterday!

35lauralkeet
Oct 16, 2017, 4:49pm Top

I've been AWOL for a bit due to a weekend trip followed by a hot water heater spewing all over our basement. But before that all happened, I finished two books!

36lauralkeet
Oct 16, 2017, 4:50pm Top

59. A Trick of the Light ()
Source: On my Kindle
Why I read this now: I needed something to tide me over while waiting for library requests

When a woman is found murdered in the village of Three Pines, Inspector Gamache and his crew are immediately on the scene. The victim had apparently come to the village to attend a celebration of an artist's exhibit, which was mysterious since attendance was by invitation only. It turns out the woman had connections both in the Canadian artistic community and in Three Pines, and of course everyone at the party immediately became a suspect. As Gamache and his senior team members Beauvoir and LaCoste gather evidence and interview persons of interest, readers are treated to a tour through Canada's art scene as well as some interesting personal developments in the lives of favorite, familiar characters.

This was yet another satisfying entry in the series. On to #8

37lauralkeet
Oct 16, 2017, 4:52pm Top

60. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage ()
Source: On my shelves
Why I read this now: Ann Patchett is the October AAC author, so that wa as good excuse to read this book.

These days, Ann Patchett is best known for her novels, but she began her writing career as a journalist, mastering the art of short non-fiction. This collection of essays, originally published in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and other major media outlets, represents some of her finest work in the genre.

These essays are highly personal, and collectively describe a life with all of its ups and downs. Patchett discusses her writing career, her romantic and family relationships, her dog, the decision to open a bookstore, and her friendship with Lucy Grealy (covered in depth in Patchett's memoir, Truth and Beauty).

Many times, an essay took hold of me, prompting anything from nodding in agreement to outrage to tears. I couldn't possibly mention every one of these moments. One that stood out was her 2007 piece about her 2006 appearance at Clemson University. Truth and Beauty was assigned reading for the incoming freshman class, to the outrage of many parents and alumni who wrongly deemed it pornographic. Patchett endured their public shaming, and to its credit the university did not cancel their invitation for her to address the class. Her powerful address, "The Right to Read," follows her essay about these events. The final essay in this collection, "The Mercies," is about an aging nun and at first seemed out of place. But as I turned the final page, I realized it was a perfect way to end this book while leaving room for more books like this in the future.

38laytonwoman3rd
Oct 17, 2017, 8:29am Top

>37 lauralkeet: I just finished the Patchett essays last night, Laura. What a wonderful collection it is. I've been mostly resisting her fiction for years, because the descriptions of her novels never strike me as "my thing". But now that I've read This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, I see that I cannot resist her writing, and that I can probably trust her to tell a good story, even if it isn't a story that seems to call to me. I'll be checking out the novels soon. (I did read Taft a while back.)

39lauralkeet
Oct 17, 2017, 8:31am Top

>38 laytonwoman3rd: I was really happy to see your comments as you read the essays, Linda, because I could tell they "spoke" to you, as they did to me. Have you decided which novel to read first?

40Caroline_McElwee
Oct 17, 2017, 2:06pm Top

>38 laytonwoman3rd: >39 lauralkeet: Thanks gals, you know how I love essays! Bullet. Ouch.

41lauralkeet
Oct 17, 2017, 3:06pm Top

>40 Caroline_McElwee: our work is done here. :)

42laytonwoman3rd
Oct 17, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>39 lauralkeet: I took Bel Canto out of the library, Laura.

43msf59
Oct 17, 2017, 7:04pm Top

>37 lauralkeet: Great review of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Thumb! You remain one of my favorite reviewers. I loved this collection too. Glad you could join us for the AAC.

I started Commonwealth. She really knows how to shift gears, doesn't she? I like it so far...

44lauralkeet
Oct 17, 2017, 8:02pm Top

>42 laytonwoman3rd: that was my first Ann Patchett. I hope you enjoy!

>43 msf59: thank you Mark, you're very kind. I loved Commonwealth and hope you do too.

45PaulCranswick
Oct 17, 2017, 8:10pm Top

>37 lauralkeet: I like the look of that one, Laura. I haven't read too many essays in the last couple of years and I used to so enjoy them.

46lauralkeet
Oct 20, 2017, 8:52pm Top

61. Birds of a Feather ()
Source: My local library (Kindle loan)
Why I read this now: I requested it from my library ages ago, and it was finally available.

This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series. The first book was mostly back story, with a bit of mystery, and laid a foundation by establishing a set of likeable characters in Maisie’s personal life. In Birds of a Feather, Maisie now has an established private investigation practice, and is hired to track down Charlotte Waite, a young woman who has gone missing. At the same time, three murders take place, and the victims are all women about the same age as Charlotte. The missing person case turns out to be fairly straightforward, but when Maisie makes a connection between the missing woman and the murdered women, she faces a challenge in trying to convince law enforcement they’ve arrested the wrong person. Meanwhile, Maisie’s father is hospitalized, her assistant, Billy Beale, is coping with severe pain from his war injuries, and Maisie is struggling with a bit of an identity crisis.

The Maisie Dobbs books lean towards the cozy, and there’s little in the way of violence or blood and gore. Maisie is the quintessential plucky heroine, and always seems to have just the right outfit for the occasion, be it work or social. Partway through this book I had my doubts, as everything is so neat and tidy, but then the pace picked up, there was a bit of a twist, and the novel ended with a little cliffhanger that makes me want to read the next one.

47sibyx
Oct 21, 2017, 12:29pm Top

Ok you got me with the Patchett essays!

Ugh to hot water heater blow-out. We just replaced one -- when the plumber, here for some other reason, said it was time. Dodged that bullet.

48lauralkeet
Edited: Oct 22, 2017, 11:46am Top

>47 sibyx: yay, I'm happy to have found another potential Patchett essay reader. I'm going to pass my book on to my daughter. Patchett won the Kenyon Review Literary Award one year when Kate was still in school & she helped out with the event so she's already a fan. The essays about Patchett's early writing career will definitely resonate.

Speaking of dodging bullets, as much of a hassle as it was, we are glad it happened while we are still living in the house. A home inspection would likely have identified the need to replace the hot water heater, but the real bullet is the possibility of it going KABLAM after we move, and before the house sells, when who knows how long it would go undetected. That's the stuff of nightmares.

49sibyx
Oct 22, 2017, 9:51am Top

Yes, that is the nightmare scenario.

50msf59
Oct 22, 2017, 10:40am Top

Happy Sunday, Laura. Thanks for all the delicious info on Patchett. It really enriched the experience of reading Commonwealth, which I am close to wrapping up. I think Patchett has hit her fictional stride with this novel. Impressive on so many levels.

51lauralkeet
Edited: Oct 22, 2017, 11:48am Top

>49 sibyx: I hope it doesn't keep you up at night, Lucy! :)

>50 msf59: I agree, Mark. I gave Commonwealth 5 stars last year.

Speaking of 5 stars, John Green's latest, Turtles all the Way Down, blew me away. Review coming soonish.

52msf59
Oct 22, 2017, 12:02pm Top

I just finished Commonwealth and I am going with 5 stars too. Awesome read. Love these characters.

And hooray for Turtles!!

53lauralkeet
Oct 24, 2017, 4:41pm Top

62. Turtles all the Way Down ()
Source: My local library
Why I read this now: The New York Times loved it, saying “This novel is by far his most difficult to read. It’s also his most astonishing.” So of course I had to read it ASAP.

Aza Holmes suffers from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), convinced that powerful bacteria have infested her body and will kill her. On good days, she’s a typical if somewhat introverted adolescent. But when intrusive thoughts take over, she retracts into a thought spiral that even her best friend Daisy cannot penetrate. When this intrepid pair decides to investigate the disappearance of a billionaire businessman, Aza reconnects with the man’s son Davis, whom she met at a summer camp several years before. Their childhood bonds develop into something stronger, but Aza finds it nearly impossible to conduct herself in ways that teens would consider “normal.” Her friendship with Daisy also begins to suffer, and Aza’s mom is worried sick about her.

John Green has previously demonstrated masterful ability to capture the adolescent psyche; here, the storylines of amateur sleuthing and romance are appealing and fun to read. But in Turtles all the Way Down, Green also writes from compelling personal experience, showing what it’s like to live with OCD and its impact both on the individual and everyone they care about. Much of this story is told from inside Aza’s head, complete with competing internal monologues. When Aza begins to lose her grip, Green delivers a dramatic and emotional account of OCD’s complete control over Aza, and it’s like you’re right there in the middle of it with her.

With Turtles all the Way Down, John Green is doing important consciousness-raising about the crippling nature of OCD, anxiety, and other mental illnesses which are too often hidden from view. Reading this has made me more aware of anxiety-related behaviors in people I care about, and more sympathetic to what may be going on inside of them.

54Caroline_McElwee
Oct 25, 2017, 6:20am Top

Great review Laura, you hit me with a bullet. I don’t usually read books with adolescent’s at the core, but the subject is something I do want to understand better.

55lauralkeet
Oct 25, 2017, 7:00am Top

Caro, Green's novels are considered YA fiction and I, too, have to get past the adolescent-centered style. But in this one and his previous book (The Fault in Our Stars), he transcends traditional YA. Plus, he is just an excellent human, and I greatly admire him for writing such a personal story.

56jnwelch
Oct 25, 2017, 1:57pm Top

I love that Turtles All the Way Down review, too, Laura. We're sold on John Green from his previous books, but I always have a concern that a favored author's new one may be a letdown. Glad to hear this one wasn't. Adding it to the WL.

P.S. Off to thumb the review.

57lauralkeet
Oct 25, 2017, 2:38pm Top

>56 jnwelch: Thanks for the thumb, Joe! I'm glad the review was helpful in growing your TBR. :)

58FAMeulstee
Oct 25, 2017, 5:07pm Top

>53 lauralkeet: Good review, Laura, I just started reading it today :-)

59EBT1002
Oct 25, 2017, 9:37pm Top

Hmm, the comments about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage are catching my attention. I have been put off by the title (what does that say about me?) but you and Linda together, well, those are trustworthy recommendations.

>53 lauralkeet: Oh, that is going right on the wish list. Great review and it sounds like a remarkable work.

60lauralkeet
Oct 26, 2017, 6:47am Top

>59 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! This is the Story of a Happy Marriage might lead you to believe the book is all about marriage; however that's just the title of one essay. And yes, in your line of work I think you'd connect with the John Green book too.

61msf59
Oct 26, 2017, 7:41am Top

Morning, Laura. Good review of Turtles all the Way Down. Thumb! I plan on getting to the audio of this next month. Sounds great.

62Berly
Oct 27, 2017, 2:13am Top

Zing! Zing! That's two book bullets, thank you very much! I did not enjoy Commonwealth very much, but her essays sound very interesting and I have enjoyed others of her books and I have This is the Story of a Happy Marriage somewhere in the piles around here. I am going to have to find a copy of Turtles All the Way Down. I am a Green fan.

63lauralkeet
Oct 27, 2017, 7:20am Top

>61 msf59:, >62 Berly: Hi Mark & Kim! I'm happy to be spreading the love for the new John Green. It's a winner!!

Happy Friday y'all!

64lauralkeet
Oct 28, 2017, 9:03am Top

63. Troy Chimneys ()
Source: My Virago Modern Classics Collection
Why I read this now: Margaret Kennedy is the Virago Group author for October

The premise of this book sounded promising: Miles, an 18th-century English Member of Parliament, struggles to balance his desire for a quiet country life of leisure with his public image as a “man about town.” But it just kind of dragged, Miles kept messing up his life and not accepting responsibility for it, and ultimately I started skimming. Meh.

65souloftherose
Oct 29, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>53 lauralkeet: Turtles all the Way Down sounds worth reading - thanks for the rec.

Hope everything else with the house move goes smoothly for you...

66lauralkeet
Oct 29, 2017, 6:24pm Top

>65 souloftherose: My pleasure, Heather. And if everything else with the move goes smoothly, I will be amazed. Moving seems to be inevitably fraught with difficulty! But someday soon it will be behind us. yay!

67lauralkeet
Oct 29, 2017, 6:24pm Top

64. The Caller ()
Source: My local library
Why I read this now: I haven’t read one in a while, seemed like a good time

One fine summer afternoon, a mother leaves her baby outdoors, asleep in her pram, and when she goes to check on her, finds the baby covered in blood. It turns out the baby is fine, and it’s not even her blood, and someone has played a cruel joke on the family which takes a severe emotional toll. Inspector Sejer begins his investigation, and soon realizes someone is orchestrating a string of pranks. Meanwhile, we meet Johnny Beskow, a young man living with his alcoholic mother. There is no doubt Johnny is the prankster, but the reader knows this well before Sejer figures it out.

Karin Fossum has taken the Inspector Sejer series from traditional “whodunnit” murder mysteries to psychological thrillers where the criminal is identified early, and suspense is created through the orchestration of their downfall. In The Caller, Johnny’s pranks become more elaborate and he takes more chances. But eventually his actions have horrific consequences (possibly one of the most grueling scenes I’ve read this year), and things begin to unravel. Justice is served, as it always is, but even this happens in an unusual way. Good stuff.

68laytonwoman3rd
Oct 30, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>64 lauralkeet: Oh dear...that's one I thought I was looking forward to...

69lauralkeet
Oct 30, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>68 laytonwoman3rd: Me too, Linda! It wasn't horrible, but it was nowhere near as good as Kennedy's Together and Apart, which I read earlier this month.

70Berly
Nov 1, 2017, 12:14am Top



Happy Halloween!!

71lauralkeet
Nov 1, 2017, 7:10am Top

>70 Berly: cute! Thanks Kim! Our Halloween was quiet but that was okay with me.

72EBT1002
Nov 1, 2017, 5:52pm Top

I'm going to be in Philly March 3-7. :-)

73lauralkeet
Nov 1, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>72 EBT1002: yay yay yay yay yay! We're gonna party like it's March 2018!!

74katiekrug
Nov 1, 2017, 9:40pm Top

>72 EBT1002: and >73 lauralkeet: - Can I crash the party?!?!

75lauralkeet
Nov 2, 2017, 6:56am Top

>74 katiekrug: absolutely! That would be fab.

76msf59
Nov 2, 2017, 7:26am Top

Morning, Laura! Nothing like making plans for a Meet Up. Sweet Thursday, indeed. I hope our day, comes, one of these days. Smiles...

Hope your week is going well.

77lauralkeet
Nov 2, 2017, 10:12am Top

>76 msf59: Hi Mark! Maybe you should visit Philly in March? ha ha ... I hope our day comes someday too!!

78sibyx
Nov 2, 2017, 10:45am Top

What a name Troy Chimneys!! Too bad it wasn't a good book. You did get me with Turtles All the Way Down!

Philly in March . . . hmmm. I am going to seriously consider getting this on my calendar. I've never managed a "big" meet-up!

79lauralkeet
Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 11:38am Top

>78 sibyx: ooh yes it would be great to have you with us! We could reprise our Kawaii Kitty Cafe visit too!!!

80drneutron
Nov 2, 2017, 3:20pm Top

>74 katiekrug: If I can make the schedule work, I'd love to crash too...

81lauralkeet
Nov 2, 2017, 4:41pm Top

>80 drneutron: Awesome! This all revolves around Ellen's business trip, so I suggest that sometime in January I connect with her to set a date, and then create a thread in the 2018 group to organize ourselves.

82msf59
Nov 2, 2017, 4:55pm Top

>77 lauralkeet: Maybe, I should watch for flight deals? i have only been to the Philly airport, back in my military days.

83drneutron
Nov 3, 2017, 8:48am Top

>81 lauralkeet: Sounds like a plan!

84EBT1002
Nov 3, 2017, 4:04pm Top

Meet-Up!!!!!!!!!!!

85lauralkeet
Nov 3, 2017, 4:06pm Top

😃💃🎉 !!!

86lauralkeet
Nov 7, 2017, 4:24pm Top

65. The Beautiful Mystery ()
Source: On my Kindle
Why I read this now: I can’t seem to resist this series

This is #8 in the Inspector Gamache series and quite different from previous books in that it takes place away from Three Pines and entirely at one location (an abbey located in a very remote part of Quebec), and involves only Inspector Gamache and his right-hand man, Jean Guy Beauvoir. A monk has been murdered, and every monk is a suspect until Gamache and Beauvoir find their man. The murder mystery had some predictable elements and some red herrings that kind of made me roll my eyes. But this book also includes compelling stories of Beauvoir’s struggle with addiction to painkillers, and Gamache’s outright hatred for his boss, which more than made up for a less than perfect mystery.

87ffortsa
Nov 8, 2017, 2:19pm Top

>86 lauralkeet: I felt the same way about number 8 in the series, but it does serve as a great lead-in to the next few books. I still have the newest title to read - maybe a treat for the end of the year.

88lauralkeet
Nov 9, 2017, 1:17pm Top

>87 ffortsa: Judy, I have one more on my Kindle (that is, until I buy another ha ha) and I'm almost certain I'll read it before the year ends.

89lauralkeet
Nov 9, 2017, 1:18pm Top

66. Home Fire ()
Source: My local library
Why I read this now: It’s received tons of praise and positive reviews from LTers

Isma, Aneeka, and Parvaiz have come of age without their parents. Their father was largely absent, and considered a terrorist by the British government. He reportedly died en route to Guantanamo. Isma was 19 when her mother died, and put her life on hold to raise the twins. Now Isma is 28, Aneeka & Parvaiz are 19, and Isma accepts an opportunity to resume her studies in the US. She meets Eamonn, son of the UK Home Secretary, and despite coffee dates her hopes of romance don’t materialize. It’s a different matter when Eamonn returns to England and meets Aneeka. Sparks fly, but Aneeka insists on keeping their relationship secret due to his father’s public anti-Muslim views. Meanwhile, Parvaiz has disappeared, and the sisters quickly learn he has been recruited for terrorist activity in Istanbul.

Each section of the novel is narrated by one of the principal characters, and the timing of each narrative overlaps somewhat. The reader experiences events from different perspectives, and can connect the details in each narrative into a story that is not fully visible to those involved. Tension mounts as Parvaiz’s activities unfold, and as Aneeka’s relationship with Eamonn inevitably sees the light of day. The novel delivers a climax that I absolutely didn’t see coming. Despite the horrifying content, the final pages are brilliantly written and cap off a stellar work.

90Caroline_McElwee
Nov 9, 2017, 2:06pm Top

I agree totally re Home Fire Laura. It has made me nudge a couple of her other novels up the pile too.

91EBT1002
Nov 13, 2017, 1:28pm Top

Hi Laura,
I'm glad you liked Home Fire as much as I did!

Regarding my trip to Philly, I am booked to arrive late afternoon on Saturday, March 3. My first conference obligation is at 5pm on Sunday, March 4. So that Saturday evening and most of the day Sunday are pretty wide open. After that, I will be pretty busy with work stuff.

I know we said we'd touch base in January but I already booked my flights so I thought I would just let you know how things are looking.

I'm about halfway through The Cruellest Month, the third in the Three Pines series. I'm interested to see if the backstory about the Arnot case continues to be a factor in each book in the series or if she lets it go at some point. I'm not asking for a spoiler, just sharing my musing thoughts. :-)

Happy Monday!

92lauralkeet
Nov 13, 2017, 2:01pm Top

>91 EBT1002: thanks for the update, Ellen! As for Three Pines, I know you're unsure whether you want to continue beyond this one. Book 3 was my least favorite (and I've read 8 so far). I would say it's worth reading through the fourth book before making a decision. I had heard/read/otherwise learned Penny hits her stride in Book 4, and my experience confirmed that. Book 4 was a solid mystery and the books have gotten better from that point on.

Of course, you should do whatever you like! :)

93lauralkeet
Nov 13, 2017, 5:14pm Top

67. Hag-Seed ()
Source: Library Kindle loan
Why I read this now: Margaret Atwood is the November author in the VMC group

The Hogarth Shakespeare project "sees Shakespeare’s works retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today." Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s retelling of The Tempest, and it’s absolutely delightful. The story begins with Felix Phillips being fired from his position as artistic director for a theater festival. He retreats from the public eye, living in near seclusion for many years. He finds seasonal work running a theater program in a correctional institution, which keeps him involved in his craft while making a contribution to society. When the story begins, he has decided to stage The Tempest, and thus begins the play-within-a-play.

I had only the vaguest knowledge of the original work, so I read a short summary before beginning this book. I enjoyed both seeing the way Felix’s story lines up with the original, and the way Felix’s production of the play took shape. Atwood’s characterizations of the theater professionals and the amateur cast members are brilliant. As "show time" approaches, Felix’s story and the production become inextricably linked, a rollicking tale ensues, and everything wraps up with a satisfying denouement. I greatly admire what Atwood did with this book, and will seek out more books from the Hogarth Shakespeare project.

94Caroline_McElwee
Nov 13, 2017, 5:15pm Top

Ooo that’s near the top of my tbr mountain, I might just nudge it up a bit more Laura.

95lauralkeet
Nov 13, 2017, 5:20pm Top

>94 Caroline_McElwee: You'd love it, Caro. I'm going to read Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time next -- in fact it's already IN TRANSIT to my local library. It was the first in the Hogarth series, I remember it garnering praise when it was published, and I really like Winterson.

96ffortsa
Nov 13, 2017, 7:26pm Top

>95 lauralkeet: Winterson's 're-telling' takes on a bit of a problem play in Shakespeare's canon. At the end of his career, he wrote a series of what are called romances, including 'The Tempest', 'The Winter's Tale', 'Cymbeline', and 'Pericles' (although some dispute that). They are neither comedies nor tragedies nor history plays, but something else, some would say more timeless. It would be interesting to see what she does with it.

97lauralkeet
Nov 13, 2017, 9:01pm Top

>96 ffortsa: Thanks for the information, Judy. It's as if you read my mind. As I was reading Hag-Seed I wondered where The Tempest fit in Shakespeare's oeuvre. I meant to look it up, but didn't. So thanks!!

98jnwelch
Nov 13, 2017, 9:44pm Top

I really enjoyed Hag-Seed, too, Laura. Clever take-off on The Tempest, and a good story in its own right.

99Berly
Nov 13, 2017, 9:51pm Top

I admit, sheepishly, that I have yet to read a Hogarth Shakespeare project book. I would have to re-read the Shakespeare original first, it's been so long since I read them. THEN I could read the newest take. Glad you liked this one so much. Maybe I will get around to this sooner than later now!

100lauralkeet
Nov 14, 2017, 6:30am Top

>98 jnwelch: that's a great way to describe it, Joe. I would have enjoyed it even if I didn't know it was based on The Tempest.

>99 Berly: Kim, don't be too hard on yourself, I too was in the sheepish club until I read this book. Somehow the Hogarth series had fallen off my radar. There are six of them, I think, all by well-known authors.

101msf59
Nov 14, 2017, 6:55am Top

Morning, Laura. Hope life is treating you fine. Good reviews of both Home Fire & Hag-Seed. I really enjoyed both books too.

I should wrap up Turtles All the Way Down today. Very good read.

102lauralkeet
Nov 14, 2017, 7:00am Top

>101 msf59: yay! I'm so glad you're enjoying Turtles, Mark. I've been lurking on your thread and eagerly await your comments when you've wrapped it up.

103ffortsa
Nov 14, 2017, 11:19am Top

>99 Berly: Oh, you can add another sheep to that flock. I've yet to read one of the Hogarth books, and it's not because I don't recall the originals. If anything, it's because I know the originals pretty well, and have that arrogant feeling that they can't be improved upon. What can I say? A degree in English and a lifetime of theater. But I'll keep your thoughts in mind if I get a reprieve from the flood of reading coming down the river.

104lauralkeet
Nov 14, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>103 ffortsa: Judy, with your background I understand your reluctance to try the Hogarth books. I'm sure there are readers who come to these books having read (or seen) zero Shakespeare, and they would enjoy them as stories in their own right, or as a way of making Shakespeare more accessible. My knowledge is slightly better than those readers, but nowhere near yours. I appreciate the accessibility, but more than that I like seeing the creative approach to a well-known work.

105laytonwoman3rd
Nov 15, 2017, 8:38pm Top

I'll chime in in praise of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I've read Hag-Seed, Shylock is My name, and Vinegar Girl so far, and I thought they were all wonderful. (Touchstones are not working, I see. Neither is Search---what's going on???) Judy, I would say the better you know the originals, the more you'll enjoy these excellent "takes" on the basic story-lines.

106lauralkeet
Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 7:34am Top

>105 laytonwoman3rd: it's good to know they are all such good reads, Linda. I love discovering something new like this.

107raidergirl3
Nov 16, 2017, 8:54am Top

I've read Tracy Chevalier's Hogarth contribution, New Boy based on Othello, and I liked it. I'm a big Chevalier fan and would have read it regardless. I also liked Atwood's Hag-Seed.
I think I prefer my Shakespeare as adaptations actually. Much as I like the Pride and Prejudice version of Bridget Jones' Diary - (ducks the flying books at my head)

108laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>107 raidergirl3: I have New Boy, and need to read and review it soon, because it was an ER selection.
>106 lauralkeet: I even liked the Jacobson version of Shylock, Laura, and I think we know how I feel about Jacobson...

109lauralkeet
Nov 16, 2017, 2:54pm Top

>107 raidergirl3: Hi Elizabeth, I'm glad to see another Hogarth Shakespeare fan dropping by.

>108 laytonwoman3rd: Funny Linda, but I went off to look at the books published so far and threw up a little when I saw Jacobson. I did not get on well at all with The Finkler Question (same for you, IIRC). But I also said to myself "huh, whaddaya know" because I had already seen your comment about Shylock.

My inner completist is already gearing up to read all of these. Even the Jacobson :)

110laytonwoman3rd
Nov 16, 2017, 8:52pm Top

I will have to say the Jacobson was maybe a bit TOO clever, and it wasn't my favorite of the Hogarths, but it was well done and I appreciated it.

111lauralkeet
Nov 18, 2017, 1:07pm Top

68. Shrill ()
Source: Library Kindle loan
Why I read this now: I wanted to mix up my reading a bit

Women of a certain age (i.e., me) relied on pioneers like Betty Friedan to teach us about feminism. No surprise, there is now a new generation of women feminist writers advocating for a host of new issues. Lindy West is a well known new feminist voice who has written for several media outlets and currently has a weekly column in The New York Times. West unabashedly identifies as fat, and body positivity is a central pillar of her writing. So is rape, and specifically the wrongness of rape jokes in comedy. And then there are misogynist internet trolls. West has experienced all of these, and delves into them in this book.

I first heard West on the This American Life radio program, where she presented a segment about meeting her internet troll. My daughter had already mentioned some of West’s work to me, and I began seeing her name more and more. Reading this book was a great way to understand her points of view, and has pointed me in some new directions to further my knowledge of current-day feminist issues.

112sibyx
Nov 18, 2017, 2:51pm Top

I liked A Beautiful Mystery too -- more than many of them and such a relief to get out of Three Pines.

And also LOVED Hag-Seed. The only other Hogarth I have read was the Ann Tyler take on The Taming of the Shrew - it was more lively and entertaining than most of her novels have been of late but nowhere near the level of the Atwood.

The Lindy West is going on the pile.

113lauralkeet
Nov 18, 2017, 5:02pm Top

>112 sibyx: I'm glad you enjoyed Hag-Seed as much as I did, and it's good to see your rec for the Ann Tyler take on Shrew. I'll be interested in your take on Lindy West's book. It's really interesting to me to read such insightful commentary on things we took for granted as younger women, that the next generation is working to change.

114klobrien2
Nov 18, 2017, 7:16pm Top

>111 lauralkeet: I really liked Shrill, too. She comes across as so intelligent, so funny, and so righteous. Now I'm coming across her blurbs on other author's books, and I think that is a very good sign that I'll like "the newcomer's" book.

Karen O.

115lauralkeet
Nov 19, 2017, 7:23am Top

>114 klobrien2: yes, I know what you mean. She has become a well-recognized, credible voice. It's great that she is lending her endorsement to others, as I'm sure that helps gain recognition for their work.

116msf59
Nov 19, 2017, 9:25am Top

Happy Sunday, Laura. We have watched the first 2 episodes of Alias Grace. I think they are doing a fantastic job. I sure hope they continue these literary adaptations. So much heart goes into them.

Hope you are having a nice weekend.

117Caroline_McElwee
Nov 19, 2017, 11:48am Top

>111 lauralkeet: I think I have been hit by a bullet. Thanks Laura. I think I had heard of her, or seen a review somewhere.

118sibyx
Nov 23, 2017, 9:03am Top

Have a happy day!



Words not needed!

119lauralkeet
Nov 23, 2017, 11:27am Top

>118 sibyx: aww, so sweet! Thank you for the holiday greeting, Lucy.

Best wishes to all of my LT pals, and for those celebrating Thanksgiving today may your holiday be everything you hope for.

120weird_O
Nov 23, 2017, 11:44am Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Laura. Have a slice of shoofly pie. This one was made yesterday by grandaughter Gracie, 12, who wanted to learn how from her Gram. We'll be eating it in just a few hours.

      

121PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2017, 12:31pm 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.

122Berly
Nov 23, 2017, 1:53pm Top

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



Thank you for being so wonderful! : )

123lauralkeet
Nov 23, 2017, 4:51pm Top

Hello friends, we've feasted on turkey and various side dishes, and are relaxing before having dessert later. Both daughters are home and it's been a lovely holiday with our nuclear family of 4. I'm afraid I never get my act together to visit threads on days like this, but everyone in this community is very much in my thoughts. LT is high on my list of things I'm thankful for.

124Familyhistorian
Nov 24, 2017, 12:19am Top

I hope dessert was good! Good review of Shrill. That book is on my shelves. It is not my usual type of read but, from your review, it sounds like I might learn something by reading it.

125lauralkeet
Nov 24, 2017, 4:49pm Top

>124 Familyhistorian: I hope you enjoy it, Meg!

126lauralkeet
Nov 24, 2017, 4:50pm Top

69. The Gap of Time ()
Source: My local library
Why I read this now: After reading Hag-Seed, I felt an immediate irresistible urge to read another book from the Hogarth Shakespeare series.

The Gap of Time is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s final play, A Winter’s Tale. Jeanette Winterson helpfully begins with a short version of the original work. Then the action shifts to the “cover version” with characters and places that are easily mapped to the original. The intricate plot involves jealousy, betrayal, murder, an abandoned baby, and love.

I would have liked to get completely lost in the story, but the characters’ names were so similar to the original that I found myself frequently turning to the original version for comparison and understanding. While helpful, this detracted somewhat from my enjoyment. Still, the updated take on a classic work made for good reading and I will continue to see out others in this series.

127EBT1002
Nov 24, 2017, 6:46pm Top

Hi Laura. Your comments about book 4 in the Three Pines series are encouraging. I already own book 4 so I might as well read it! I'll put it on my December reading plans.

In 2018 I'm going to try to eschew reading "plans." Ha.

I still need to read Hag-Seed. The Hogarth Shakespeare series has struck me as such a terrific project but I still haven't read any of them!

128Familyhistorian
Nov 24, 2017, 9:10pm Top

>125 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura. I am thinking of reading it in December for the non-fiction challenge.

129lauralkeet
Nov 24, 2017, 9:19pm Top

>127 EBT1002: Ellen, I snapped up the first 4 Three Pines novels in Kindle deals that all seemed to come at once, so I knew I was committed at least to that point. I'm ready to read #9 now and it's also on my Kindle, so I'll probably read it next month.

130msf59
Nov 24, 2017, 9:28pm Top

^^I think you may have missed me up there, but I am not even mad. Grins...

I hope you had a wonderful holiday with the family, Laura. I have wanted to read The Gap of Time since it came out but I kind of wanted to read The Winter’s Tale first.

131lauralkeet
Nov 24, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>130 msf59: oh damn! I'm so sorry, Mark! I'm glad you aren't mad at me. You'll be even less mad when I tell you that thanks to your incessant warbling, I just started reading Manhattan Beach. I requested it from my library eons ago and my number finally came up. Yay!

132msf59
Nov 24, 2017, 10:20pm Top

Hooray for incessant warbling! It works. Grins...I hope you enjoy Manhattan Beach as much as I did.

133EBT1002
Nov 25, 2017, 4:51pm Top

I quite enjoyed Manhattan Beach too!

134lauralkeet
Nov 26, 2017, 9:10am Top

Baby hippo Fiona, pictured in my thread-topper, is featured in today's New York Times Style section with a half-page photo and an extensive article with even more photos. And it's all online, too!

Hooray for Fiona the Hippo, Our Bundle of Social-Media Joy

I just love this little sweetheart.

135sibyx
Nov 26, 2017, 8:46pm Top

Yes, I confess to having spent an hour or so doting on Fiona the other day after stopping in here. She is truly a cute hippo.

136lauralkeet
Nov 28, 2017, 9:08pm Top

>135 sibyx: I'm delighted to see another Fiona fan. I've spent waaay too much time following her progress. I learned about her when she was just a few weeks old and her probability of survival was still quite uncertain. I was on pins and needles waiting for each update from the zoo. Once Fiona was out of the woods so to speak, the zoo was still diligent about keeping Fiona's adoring public up to speed on her development by posting photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter. I don't think I'm the only one who sees her as a ray of sunshine in an otherwise messed up world.

137lauralkeet
Dec 2, 2017, 3:11pm Top

70. Manhattan Beach ()
Source: Library Kindle loan
Why I read this now: I requested the Kindle and hardcover editions from my library ages ago in response to LT warbling, figuring I’d read whichever one was available first. Wouldn’t you know my number came up on both editions on the same day?

-----

It looks like 75 is in sight for the first time in a few years, woo hoo! But I’m also two weeks away from moving house (the big days are Dec. 15-17). Of course I’ll continue reading and post books as I finish them, but I’m going to take a break from writing reviews until things settle down.

138lauralkeet
Dec 5, 2017, 7:17am Top

71. Summer Will Show (DNF)
Source: My Virago Modern Classics Collection
Why I read this now: Sylvia Townsend Warner is the Virago Group’s December author

This is probably a case of right book, wrong time. The protagonist, Sophia, is estranged from her husband and enjoys a level of freedom unusual for 19th century women. When her two children die of smallpox she travels to Paris to seek out her husband and his mistress, and finds herself in the midst of revolution. That’s as far as I got, because even though all of that sounds promising it took 150 pages to get that far and the book just wasn’t holding my interest. I’m counting it because, well, 150 pages.

139souloftherose
Dec 5, 2017, 7:58am Top

>89 lauralkeet: Excellent review of Home Fire Laura - I already had that planned as my next literary read thanks to Darry's praise but I'm looking forward to it even more after reading your review (although I suspect it will be a 2018 read for me now). I've heard very good things about the author's other books (think she has been nominated for the Orange/Baileys Prize at least once before) but have never got round to reading any.

140raidergirl3
Dec 5, 2017, 8:05am Top

>89 lauralkeet: I borrowed Home Fire from the library after reading your great review. I liked it and it kept my interest.
Did you read her previous book, Burnt Shadows? It reminded me of that, with the different perspectives as narrators but all together. This one was more together than the Burnt Shadows which covered several wars.

141lauralkeet
Dec 5, 2017, 9:05am Top

>139 souloftherose:, >140 raidergirl3: Hello Heather & Elizabeth! It makes me happy when my reading leads others to books I've enjoyed. I liked Shamsi's Burnt Shadows (Heather, that's the one that was shortlisted for the Orange Prize), but agree that Home Fire is the better book. The different perspectives weave together more effectively & dramatically.

142lauralkeet
Dec 8, 2017, 8:21am Top

72. The Murder of Harriet Krohn ()
Source: On my shelves
Why I read this now: I need easy mindless stuff right now.

The 9th Inspector Sejer book is told entirely from the perpetrator's perspective, from the moment his robbery leads to murder, through his attempts to cover up the crime, and then lead a normal life. And it seems as if he might get away with it, as he pays off his debts, takes on a new job, and re-establishes contact with his daughter. But then Inspector Sejer appears on his doorstep. The reader gets very little insight to the investigation and instead, sits alongside the criminal as he fumbles through questioning, realizing Sejer knows much more than he is letting on. This was an interesting twist on a crime novel.

-----

One week until our move and life is crazy. Thank goodness for books, which are proving to be a good way to escape and relax. I have several mysteries on my shelves or Kindle, to see me through the coming weeks.

143laytonwoman3rd
Dec 8, 2017, 9:46am Top

The mystery novel as tranquilizer...a long-recognized and highly effective therapy!

144PaulCranswick
Dec 10, 2017, 7:06pm Top

>142 lauralkeet: I need to catch up on my Scandi series.

Have a great remainder of your Sunday, Laura.

145NanaCC
Dec 10, 2017, 8:57pm Top

>142 lauralkeet: This is a book in the series that I missed. I’ll have to look for it.

146lauralkeet
Dec 11, 2017, 7:59am Top

>143 laytonwoman3rd: this therapy method is working for me, Linda. I'm reading the 9th Three Pines/Inspector Gamache right now: How the Light Gets In. Just what the doctor ordered.

>144 PaulCranswick: I'll need a new Scandi series soon, Paul. Or maybe Icelandic. Something to balance out the American and British mysteries.

>145 NanaCC: I didn't realize you'd read the Inspector Sejer books, Colleen. I think there are 12. I haven't read the first one -- it was translated later than others and reviews were not enticing -- but I plan to read books 10-12. Her approach has evolved and it also feels like she's found better translators over time.

147Caroline_McElwee
Dec 11, 2017, 8:24am Top

The translator can make a massive difference to a book I find.

148sibyx
Dec 13, 2017, 1:14pm Top

Thinking of you! You must be so busy and going nuts!

149lauralkeet
Dec 13, 2017, 9:30pm Top

It has indeed been a busy week getting ready for our move. Today was a particularly sad day, because after weeks of deliberation we decided it was time to say good-bye to our chocolate Lab, Lilly. Lilly joined our family at 8 weeks old and was a month shy of her 15th birthday. Her health and quality of life had been declining for some time. While she still had good days and was a loving sweetie pie until the very end, we knew her condition would only get worse. But she will be missed.

150katiekrug
Dec 13, 2017, 9:43pm Top

RIP, Lilly. And hugs to you, Laura.

151Berly
Dec 14, 2017, 2:07am Top

It's getting close!! The BIG MOVE! Thinking of you. : )

152scaifea
Dec 14, 2017, 6:31am Top

I'm so sorry about Lilly, Laura. I've been thinking of you since I saw this on FB yesterday. Such a hard decision, but it's also a big responsibility as a pet owner to know when the time is right, and I'd forgotten about your big move, which would have been rough on the sweet girl, I bet. Big hugs all around, friend.

153msf59
Dec 14, 2017, 7:59am Top

I am so sorry to hear about Lilly. 14, is a long life for a chocolate. Ours was 13. Such good family dogs. Hugs, to my pal.

Good luck with all the moving preparations and go 75!! You can do it!!

154FAMeulstee
Dec 14, 2017, 2:12pm Top

Vale, Lilly, the final goodbye is always hard... Hugs.

155sibyx
Dec 15, 2017, 8:54am Top

Oh, I am so sorry about Lilly.

I came to wish you the best for today. Now even more so.

156PaulCranswick
Dec 15, 2017, 10:23pm Top

>149 lauralkeet: I saw your lovely tribute to your dog Lilly on FB, Laura.

Thinking about you this weekend. HUGS

157lauralkeet
Dec 16, 2017, 1:17pm Top

Thank you dear friends! Just a quick check in to say our move is going well so far but I will be scarce around here for the next few days.

158lauralkeet
Dec 18, 2017, 8:06am Top

I'm writing this from our new house in Philadelphia -- woot! Yesterday was the big day, when the movers loaded up the stuff from the old house and unloaded it in the new. They were a great bunch of guys and worked 10 solid hours, from 9am-7pm. It was pretty amazing. We were also able to start unpacking and organizing, especially in the kitchen. There's tons more to do of course, but it feels great to be drinking my morning coffee in the new place.

159lauralkeet
Dec 18, 2017, 8:08am Top

73. How the Light Gets In ()
Source: My Kindle
Why I read this now: Continuing my mindless easy reading.

Another great installment where development of Gamache and other principal characters is more important than the murder mystery.

160raidergirl3
Dec 18, 2017, 9:28am Top

Congrats on the move! Hope you get settled relatively quickly and can find your dental floss (or whatever vital item got misplaced in the move). When my parents moved, the remote control for the TV got thrown in a random box at the end, and my father ended up unpacking a lot more than he generally would have, and more quickly, in an effort to find his remote control, lol.

161katiekrug
Dec 18, 2017, 10:15am Top

Hooray for a smooth move! I'm still unpacking and organizing, so I hope you do better than me on that front :)

162ffortsa
Dec 18, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Congratulations on the move! Glad everything went smoothly and the kitchen, at least is unpacked. I can't wait to see pictures of the new place.

When you're settled in, or when you just want to stop emptying boxes, I need some info about Ellen's visit. That weekend is getting complicated for us, so I want to get my schedule down soon.

Happy new house!

163lauralkeet
Dec 18, 2017, 8:10pm Top

Hello Elizabeth, Katie & Judy! Today was another busy day but we now have wifi througout the house and a new stereo system and TV. Best of all, we decided to pay someone to install all of that for us and it was SO WORTH IT.

My 22-year-old daughter arrived home Saturday for her winter break and has been a huge help. She absolutely loves to organize things so she took charge of the kitchen and seems to be enjoying the task. She has successfully convinced us to give up all manner of culinary items accumulated over the years, especially where we have multiples (loaf pans, muffin pans, pie pans, etc.). And to think we decluttered before the move!

164scaifea
Dec 19, 2017, 8:00am Top

Congrats on coffee in the new house!! And a big congrats on a daughter willing to do the kitchen for you - that's my very least favorite room to move.

165NanaCC
Dec 19, 2017, 9:11pm Top

Enjoy Christmas in your new home, Laura. I’m sure it will be wonderful!

166lauralkeet
Dec 20, 2017, 6:57am Top

>164 scaifea: I actually like setting up the kitchen, getting everything the way I like it, but Julia takes it to an entirely new level. Plus she comes up with ideas I wouldn't have thought of to make things more efficient. And she enjoys doing it. Win win!

>165 NanaCC: Thank you Colleen. We're happy to be in the new home for Christmas. We aren't doing much decorating this year so things don't look very festive, but we intend to make the most of it so we can look back fondly say "remember that Christmas the year we moved in?"

By the way, I'm now reading the first Inspector Lynley mystery, A Great Deliverance, which Colleen gave me in the 2016 Virago Secret Santa.

167scaifea
Dec 20, 2017, 8:14am Top

>166 lauralkeet: I end up just standing in the middle of the room, completely exasperated at the thought of where to put what. It always seems so daunting.

168EBT1002
Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 12:28pm Top

>143 laytonwoman3rd: "The mystery novel as tranquilizer...a long-recognized and highly effective therapy!"
Indeed and absolutely!

>158 lauralkeet: "I'm writing this from our new house in Philadelphia -- woot!"
Congratulations!! Enjoy the settling in as much as you can. Truly, the most stressful parts are behind you now.

Happy Christmas to you in your new home. :-)

169sibyx
Dec 20, 2017, 5:57pm Top

How exciting! Hooray! Congratulations for being in your house! I grinned over Julia and her penchant for ruthless organizing. Our daughter is very much like that too. When she organizes a drawer, it stays organized!

170lauralkeet
Dec 20, 2017, 8:32pm Top

>167 scaifea: I can relate, Amber. I had a similar problem packing our old house. There were days I felt I was just moving stuff from one pile to another and not really getting anything done.

>168 EBT1002: Thank you Ellen! I felt a noticeable drop in stress level today so even though there's still a lot to do, I feel like the worst is over.

>169 sibyx: Thank you Lucy. I think our daughters would get along quite well. :)

171Deern
Dec 22, 2017, 4:37am Top

I'm sorry I've been away from your thread for quite a while. Just skimming through now I cought a couple of BBs of course. :)

Here to wish you a wonderful Christmas in your new home, it sounds very exciting.

I only just read about Lilly, and I'm so very sorry! Almost 14 is a good age for a Lab, but still it hurts so much letting them go. Sending big {{{hugs}}}.
Is it okay when I leave my aunt's snow dog here with my Christmas wishes? I made him smaller.

*********

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!

172lauralkeet
Dec 22, 2017, 6:57am Top

>171 Deern: Hello Nathalie, and thank you so much for your kind words about our dear Lilly. We miss her every day but it's getting easier. Thank you for sending Anton with holiday wishes, he's a beautiful dog! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season as well.

173msf59
Dec 22, 2017, 7:21am Top

Morning, Laura. Happy Friday. I hope things are going smoothly for you, as we approach the holidays and that you are getting plenty of book time in.

Did you read Eleanor Oliphant? If not, you might like this one.

174lauralkeet
Dec 22, 2017, 9:25am Top

>173 msf59: Hi Mark, thanks for stopping by! We moved last weekend and what with all the unpacking and settling in my reading has been limited to bedtime. We've made good progress though so I'm hopeful that normal service will resume soon! I haven't read Eleanor Oliphant yet but have seen it everywhere -- appreciate the rec from my favorite warbler!!

175EBT1002
Dec 23, 2017, 4:59pm Top



Happy holidays in your new home, Laura!

176souloftherose
Dec 24, 2017, 7:10am Top

Stopping by to wish you merry Christmas/happy holidays in your new home Laura. I saw the sad news about Lilly on facebook - it is such a hard decision to make with our older pets. I hope you and the girls can enjoy happy memories of Lilly at Christmas.

177lauralkeet
Dec 24, 2017, 8:04am Top

It's Christmas Eve already! This week has been a whirlwind, trying to settle in as much as possible before the holiday. There's still a lot we haven't unpacked, like 26 boxes of books. These are awaiting a built-in bookcase my husband made, but can't install yet because a contractor is doing a really nice wood-cladded wall in the same room. So our living room is topsy-turvy but we are getting there.

Our daughters are both home with us now, and have taken charge of Christmas decorating and cooking. We are enjoying some really wonderful family time. Life is good.

I have never been good at dropping greetings on individual threads, and this year is no exception. I do appreciate all the visitors here and wish everyone who celebrates Christmas a very merry one.

178msf59
Dec 24, 2017, 8:08am Top



^Have a great holiday with the family, Laura. Good luck unpacking all those books. Looking forward to a photo of all those bookshelves.

179lauralkeet
Dec 24, 2017, 8:10am Top

Thanks Mark! I've been thinking of you lately because our new neighborhood is full of good places to have a beer. If you ever come to Philly we'll organize an LT meetup/beer crawl!

180scaifea
Dec 24, 2017, 9:42am Top

Happy Christmas, Laura! I hope you enjoy your first one in your new home (and it sounds as if you are already)!

181ffortsa
Dec 24, 2017, 2:16pm Top

Happy new house, Laura, and Happy New Year!

182SandDune
Dec 24, 2017, 2:23pm Top



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

183ronincats
Dec 24, 2017, 3:08pm 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:

184PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2017, 3:35am Top



Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

185kidzdoc
Dec 25, 2017, 4:49am Top



Merry Christmas and congratulations on your new home, Laura! Hopefully we can meet up in Philadelphia in 2018.

186Berly
Dec 26, 2017, 3:38pm Top

Congrats on the successful move!!! I wish you lots of love and laughter in your new place.

And Happy Boxing Day!!

187lauralkeet
Edited: Dec 26, 2017, 9:02pm Top

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by with holiday greetings! We had a lovely family Christmas.

I'm still plugging away at A Great Deliverance. Reading time has been far too scarce the past couple of weeks. This is book #74, and I'm now coming to terms with the strong likelihood of falling just short of 75. So close!

Ah well, there's always next year ...

188sibyx
Dec 26, 2017, 9:33pm Top

Makes me nostalgic seeing the LOVE sculpture all dolled up for Christmas!

189lauralkeet
Dec 27, 2017, 7:30am Top

That's a great photo, isn't it, Lucy? Here's more nostalgia for you: we had Christmas Eve brunch at Parc on Rittenhouse Square, and then went skating in Dilworth Park. A new family tradition was born!

190EBT1002
Dec 27, 2017, 4:21pm Top

The individual greetings are kind of a fun LT tradition, Laura, but your time with your daughters and just checking in here seems like a much better use of time!

And you don't really need me (or anyone) coming up with a list of legit reads that you might be able to squeeze in for #75, do you? It's rather tempting (and only meant out of generosity and helpfulness, of course!).

191jnwelch
Dec 29, 2017, 12:46pm Top



Happy Holidays, Laura!

What Ellen said in >190 EBT1002: - it's all just for fun. Enjoy your daughters, and it's great if you find time to check in.

192lauralkeet
Dec 31, 2017, 7:58am Top

74. A Great Deliverance ()
Source: On my shelves

This was the first in the Inspector Lynley series, and I received it from Colleen (NanaCC) in the 2016 Virago Secret Santa. I really enjoyed the TV series based on these books. It's been a long time since I watched the program so the book still felt like a new discovery. Although I can't help imagining Lynley and Havers as the actors who played them on TV.

I thought this would be a quick read on my way to 75, but real life got in the way and between moving and the holidays, my progress has been super slow. I'm nearly finished and will count this as a 2017 book, and try not to feel grumpy about falling just short of 75.

193lauralkeet
Dec 31, 2017, 8:10am Top

This was a consistently good year in reading, with over 30 books rated 4 stars or better. And yet, only 2 earned 5 stars: The Versions of Us and Turtles all the Way Down. These are books that had such a strong emotional impact they were in a league of their own. My 4.5-star reads were also stellar, for example Home Fire, Sing, Unburied Sing, Truth and Beauty, This is How it Always Is, A Gentleman in Moscow, and many more. Some of these maybe should have been 5-star books. In the end, I guess that doesn't really matter, what does matter is, it's been another great year with the 75ers and I'm looking forward to 2018.

With that, I'll declare this thread closed and invite you all to join me here:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/279450

194raidergirl3
Dec 31, 2017, 8:31am Top

>192 lauralkeet: I read Elizabeth George books before I started blogging. I’ve always been a fast reader, but her books always slowed me down. Part is the vocabulary, more words I’ve never seen before but it’s just really dense writing. So while life may be busy is also blame the book. Happy New Year Laura!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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