DeltaQueen Is Planning a Year of Freedom in 2017 - Part 7
This is a continuation of the topic DeltaQueen Is Planning a Year of Freedom in 2017 - Part 6.
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We are entering my favorite time of the year, Autumn. Although we here on the west coast of Canada do not get the gorgeous display of colored leaves that Eastern North America does, there still are pockets of color, mostly in parks, where the trees and shrubs have been planted with fall color in mind. These first two pictures are taken in Stanley Park, a large park nestled into downtown Vancouver.
These next two pictures are from Delta, B.C., the suburb that I live in. The first is of a cranberry bog while the second is one of the many pumpkin fields that are in the area. In the first picture we are looking south at Mount Baker in the American State of Washington. The second picture is facing north with the coastal mountains of B.C. in the background.
Welcome to my seventh thread here at the 2017 Category Challenge. My name is Judy and I am a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. My husband and I are in the process of downsizing but things are moving a lot slower than we anticipated.
Books are an important part of my life and through Library Thing I have expanded my reading tastes and my “To Be Read” shelves immensely. Join me as I try to work through my shelves and participate in as many reading challenges as I can. I find myself addicted to challenges and my months’ reading is usually filled with various Cat Challenges, BingoDogs, Alpha and Sci-Fi/Fantasty Kits, as well as the Reading Through Time Challenge and the TIOLI Challenges. All this and trying to do it alphabetically to fit my main challenge sounds tricky but so far I have been able to this and still have time to pull a few books randomly off my shelves. I have an ongoing bet with my brother as to who can read more books from the “1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die List” so I try to fit three or four of those books into my monthly reads as well. So far I have enjoyed a great reading year and I am excited to see what exciting discoveries await me.
As the year draws to a close I find myself thinking about next years challenge and working out a theme. I think I am just about ready to set up my 2018 Category Challenge, but I am trying to hold off until the Cat Challenges are chosen, in case I need to rearrange my own categories to allow certain books to fit.
My 2017 Categories
Category 1: A to D - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with A, B, C, & D
Category 2: E to H - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with E, F, G, & H
Category 3: I to L - Author Whose Last Name Begins with I, J, K, L
Category 4: M - P - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with M, N, O, P
Category 5: Q to T - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with Q, R, S & T
Category 6: U to Z - Authors Whose Last Name Begins with U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Category 7: Re-reads
Category 8: Books That Have Been on My Library List for Too Long
Category 9: Non-Fiction Reads
Category 10: Extras - This category will most likely be for Graphic Novels
How I Rate Books:
2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!
2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another.
3.0 ★: Average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember
3.5 ★: Above Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.
4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story
4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book I will remember and recommend
5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me
1. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With A - D
1. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd - 4.2 ★
2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - 3.0 ★
3. The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri - 4.0 ★
4. Talking To The Dead by Harry Bingham - 4.5 ★
5. Resist by Sarah Crossan - 2.5 ★
6. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - 5.0 ★
7. The Dead by Ingrid Black - 3.5 ★
8. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick - 4.2 ★
9. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey - 4.5 ★
10. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - 4.5 ★
11. The Killing Hour by Paul Cleave - 3.3 ★
12. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler - 4.0 ★
13. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks - 4.5 ★
14. The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi - 4.0 ★
15. The Ghost Road by Pat Barker - 4.1 ★
16. Half A King by Joe Abercrombie - 4.0 ★
17. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - 4.2 ★
18. Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham - 4.0 ★
19. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - 4.5 ★
20. Wenjack by Joseph Boyden - 4.2 ★
21. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - 4.1 ★
22. The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley - 4.3 ★
23. Incendiary by Chris Cleave - 4.5 ★
24. Endangered Species by Nevada Barr - 3.4 ★
25. Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel - 3.8 ★
2. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With E - H
1. Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Angela E. Hunt - 3.9 ★
2. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - 4.5 ★
3. Silas Marner by George Eliot - 4.0 ★
4. Gone by Mo Hayder - 3.8 ★
5. Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood - 3.8 ★
6. The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg - 4.1 ★
7. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn - 4.1 ★
8. The March Hare Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars - 3.2 ★
9. A Room With A View by E.M. Forster - 4.0 ★
10. The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon - 3.4 ★
11. And After by Sarah Lyons Fleming - 4.0 ★
12. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung - 5.0 ★
13. Surprises in Burracombe by Lilian Harry - 3.8 ★
14. Still Water by John Harvey - 3.7 ★
15. The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb - 4.5 ★
16. Blackout by Mira Grant - 4.1 ★
17. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing - 3.0 ★
18. The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett - 4.0 ★
19. Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville - 4.1 ★
20. Troubles by J.G. Farrell - 4.3 ★
21. The Islands of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer - 3.6 ★
22. All the Stars in the Sky by Sarah Lyons Fleming - 4.3 ★
23. Best American Noir of the Century Edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler - 5.0 ★
3. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With I - L
1. The Murder in Romney Marsh by Edgar Jepson - 3.9 ★
2. Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer - 3.7 ★
3. Tickled Pink by Christina Jones - 3.6 ★
4. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson - 4.5 ★
5. Butcher's Hill by Laura Lippman - 3.8 ★
6. Bullet For A Star by Stuart Kaminsky - 4.0 ★
7. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - 4.5 ★
8. A Day Off by Storm Jameson - 4.0 ★
9. The Prey by Tom Isbell - 3.8 ★
10. Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay - 3.7 ★
11. A Natural Woman by Carole King - 4.0 ★
12. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lundgren - 4.0 ★
13. Plan B by Sharon Lee - 4.2 ★
14. Bleed by Ed Kurtz - 2.5 ★
15. The Salt Road by Jane Johnson - 4.0 ★
16. The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes - 3.0 ★
17. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart Kaminsky - 4.0 ★
18. Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine - 4.0 ★
19. Ophelia by Lisa Klein - 3.2 ★
20. The Buckskin Line by Elmer Kelton - 3.7 ★
21. The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing - 5.0 ★
22. In Darkness by Nick Lake - 3.6 ★
23. City Primeval by Elmore Leonard - 4.0 ★
4. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With M - P
1. Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride - 3.8 ★
2. American Rust by Philipp Meyer - 4.3 ★
3. Burning for Revenge by John Marsden - 3.8 ★
4. Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker - 4.0 ★
5. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe - 4.6 ★
6. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - 4.3 ★
7. The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi - 3.7 ★
8. Apple Tree Lean Down by Mary E. Pearce - 3.8 ★
9. The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry - 3.4 ★
10. The Blackhouse by Peter May - 4.3 ★
11. The Child in Time by Ian McEwan - 3.3 ★
12. The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead - 3.7 ★
13. All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - 4.5 ★
14. The Bees by Laline Paull - 4.5 ★
15. Cape Fear by John D. MacDonald - 4.1 ★
16. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry - 2.8 ★
17. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka - 4.1 ★
18. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - 3.7 ★
19. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran - 4.0 ★
20. Autumn: Purification by David Moody - 4.0 ★
21. The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield - 3.8 ★
22. Red Hill by Jamie McGuire - 3.0 ★
5. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With Q - T
1. Gunman's Chance by Luke Short - 3.5 ★
2. Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy Sayers - 3.8 ★
3. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks - 4.0 ★
4. The New Rector by Rebecca Shaw - 4.0 ★
5. The Hunters by James Salter - 4.3 ★
6. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - 3.7 ★
7. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - 5.0 ★
8. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - 4.2 ★
9. Dead Boys by Ariana Ramirez - 4.0 ★
10. Black Roses by Jane Thynne - 4.1 ★
11. Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber - 4.0 ★
12. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Set - 5.0 ★
13. A Tiding of Magpies by Pete Sutton - 4.2 ★
14. He Died With His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond - 3.4 ★
15. Algonquin Spring by Rick Revelle - 4.0 ★
16. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson - 4.4 ★
17. The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor - 3.8 ★
18. Broken Jewel by David L. Robbins - 4.3 ★
19. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - 4.0 ★
20. The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski - 4.2 ★
21. The Rubber Band by Rex Stout - 3.8 ★
22. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan - 4.2 ★
23. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - 4.1 ★
24. Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Shulman - 4.0 ★
6. Authors Whose Last Name Starts With U - Z
1. Rescuing Rose by Isabel Wolff - 2.8 ★
2. Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace - 4.0 ★
3. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - 4.5 ★
4. The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine - 3.0 ★
5. Rebel Heart by Moira Young - 3.5 ★
6. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde - 4.0 ★
7. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - 4.2 ★
8. The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton - 4.1 ★
9. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - 3.8 ★
10. War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells - 3.7 ★
11. Monster Island by David Wellington - 3.6 ★
12. Raging Star by Moira Young - 3.6 ★
13. Criminal Damage by Margaret Yorke - 3.8 ★
14. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne - 3.5 ★
15. Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson - 4.0 ★
16. The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber - 4.2 ★
17. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson - 4.5 ★
18. Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf - 3.2 ★
19. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese - 5.0 ★
20. Chocky by John Wyndham - 4.0 ★
21. The Girls At The Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine - 3.8 ★
22. Candide by Voltaire - 4.0 ★
23. The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte - 4.0 ★
24. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells - 3.8 ★
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - 5.0 ★
2. The Chronicles of Robin Hood by Rosemary Sutcliff - 4.2 ★
3. Little Men by Louisa Nay Alcott - 4.3 ★
4. The Hearth and Eagle by Anya Seton - 3.6 ★
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - 4.1 ★
6. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck - 4.1 ★
7. Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes - 4.0 ★
8. Persuasion by Jane Austen - 4.0 ★
9. Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott - 3.5 ★
10. Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow - 3.8 ★
11. Shadow of the Moon by M. M. Kaye - 5.0 ★
12. Peril At End House by Agatha Christie - 4.0 ★
8. My Long Library List
1. Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede - 2.7 ★
2. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams - 4.2 ★
3. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai - 3.3 ★
4. The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark - 3.6 ★
5. Murder At Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey - 3.7 ★
6. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 3.8 ★
7. The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back by Robert Kirkman - 4.0 ★
& The Walking Dead Volume 26: Call To Arms by Robert Kirkman - 4.2 ★
8. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio - 2.5 ★
9. Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki - 4.0 ★
10. How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran - 4.1 ★
11. Equal Of The Sun by Anita Amirrezvani - 4.2 ★
12. Watchmen by Alan Moore - 4.5 ★
13. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - 4.0 ★
14. Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner - 4.0 ★
15. Uprooted by Naomi Novik - 4.5 ★
16. Journey by Aaron Becker - 4.1 ★
17. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths - 4.2 ★
18. The Wind Is Not A River by Brian Payton - 3.5 ★
19. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu - 3.7 ★
20. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi - 4.5 ★
21. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad - 1.0 ★
22. This Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash - 4.2 ★
23. Waiting For Joe by Sandra Birdsell - 3.4 ★
24. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson - 4.5 ★
9. Non-Fiction Reads
1. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee - 3.8 ★
2. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach - 4.0 ★
3. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson - 4.2 ★
4. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer - 3.8 ★
5. Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe - 4.2 ★
6. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel - 4.0 ★
7. Enter Helen by Brooke Hauser - 3.8 ★
8. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer - 4.0 ★
9. Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink - 4.0 ★
10. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck - 4.3 ★
11. The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet - 4.2 ★
12. Wolf Boys by Dan Slater - 3.6 ★
1. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.0 ★
2. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley - 4.0 ★
3. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte - 3.5 ★
4. Firestorm by Nevada Barr - 3.7 ★
5. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes - 4.0 ★
6. Alice's Tulips by Sandra Dallas - 4.0 ★
7. The Building of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche - 3.8 ★
8. March: Book One by John Lewis - 5.0 ★
March: Book Two by John Lewis - 5.0 ★
March: Book Three by John Lewis - 5.0 ★
9. War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay - 4.0 ★
10. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg - 4.2 ★
11. Fables Volume 19: Snow White by Bill Willingham - 4.1 ★
Fables Volume 20" Camelot by Bill Willingham - 4.3 ★
12. Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire - 5.0 ★
13. Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon - 4.2 ★
14. An Unhallowed Grave by Kate Ellis - 3.7 ★
15. Nana by Emile Zola - 3.3 ★
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley - 4.0 ★
Jane, The Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt - 4.0 ★
16. The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie - 4.0 ★
17. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan - 3.8 ★
18. Fables, Vol 21: Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham - 4.0 ★
Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham - 4.3 ★
19. A Rage In Harlem by Chester Himes - 4.3 ★
20. War Story by Derek Robinson - 4.2 ★
2017 Reading Plans
Although I am keeping things simple this year, I will be participating in a couple of group reads as well as hosting some of the challenges and I will keep track of such events here.
January: Hosting the January AwardsCat: The Costa Award & "Best of" Lists
April: Hosting the April SFFFKit: Dystopian/Apocalyptic
Hosting the April Reading Thru Time Theme
2nd Quarter Group Read of A Suitable Boy Begins
May: Hosting the May RandomCat
July: Hosting the July CultureCat - Violence, Crime & Justice
September: Hosting the September CatWoman: Children's Lit/YA and Graphic Novels
179. Chocky by John Wyndham - 4.0 ★
Category: U to Z
1001 Book to Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #8: Rolling Challenge Based on the Word "Hockey"
Chocky written by John Wyndham is a rather short novel dealing with the drama surrounding a family’s encounter with an alien presence. Although the parents in this story, David and Mary, originally believe that “Chocky” is an imaginary friend that their son, Matthew, has invented, they find they have to abandon this theory when Matthew begins to express thoughts that seem far beyond him, thoughts about the rudimentary physics or questioning the use of our number system opposed to that of an unusual binary system.
The success of this story falls on the author’s ability to breathe life into his characters. As David and Mary attempt to rationalize away this imaginary friend it becomes almost humorous as they struggle to hide Chocky from other family members and the media. I found my sympathies went out to the Mother in particular as she struggles to protect her son and yet can’t help but wonder if this is a sign of mental instability in her boy. As for Chocky, she eventually realizes that she is doing more harm than good to Matthew and for his own protection decides to leave. Before she goes, however she reveals herself to the father and he gains an insight into this alien whose intentions were good, wanting to educate mankind toward acceptance and scientific learning.
Over all I found this “first contact” story to be a message for peace and understanding. A short, well written story that blends domestic life and science fiction in a gentle way. This isn’t the fearsome alien culture that we so often read about but instead a presence that presents itself as a teacher or missionary for the greater good.
Happy new one, Judy. As always when I look at your thread, I am amazed at how organized you are. Love the fall pictures.
I know you read a lot of books in a year -- but it isn't until the new thread starts that I realize just how many! Amazing work! A happy new thread and a very happy Thanksgiving weekend to you :)
Happy New Thread, Judy! Autumn is my favorite time of year too. My reading has really suffered this year with the move. Hoping things pick up again next year. And a Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy new thread! And Happy Thanksgiving weekend!
Beautiful thread toppers, although, for all the gorgeous colors, autumn is not my favorite time of the year as it presages my least favorite time of the year, winter.
Happy new thread! Love the header pictures. And have a happy Thanksgiving this weekend.
Happy New Thread, Judy! Great photos up top.
Nice to see those 5 star ratings for the March books. Ditto from me.
Hi Judy! Happy new thread. I love autumn too and it is absolutely gorgeous in your part of the world.
Happy new thread Judy! Autumn is my favorite time of year too - love the pics.
I could have sworn I left a message when I passed through last night, but I don't see it.
Happy New Thread, Judy!
Happy New Thread, Judy. Love those autumn toppers.
Have a fine weekend, my friend. Good reading.
Happy new thread, and happy thanksgiving weekend!
I have been to Canada just the once, way back in 1995, and remember walking round Stanley Park. The first time we saw a raccoon there we were all "oh wow how cute", until we realised we could see them everywhere we turned, and all of a sudden it felt very Hitchcockian!
Great BC fall toppers, Judy. It has been a while since I visited your threads. Sorry to see that the house offer fell through. Something else will come along, hopefully sooner rather than later. Looks like you have been doing lots of interesting reading!
I have been AWOL the last couple of days as we had out-of-town company drop in for a night. This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and we are going to be having a quiet one. One daughter and her family have gone to their cottage on Vancouver Island for the weekend and the other daughter and her husband are having dinner with his family. I am going to cook a small festive meal for us tomorrow, today we have errands, cleaning and a house showing later on this afternoon.
>17 BLBera: Beth, thank you. You've reminded me of some of the comments I used to get on my report cards from my teachers from long ago. They would read, "Judy is well organized and knows the work, but she should perhaps learn to socialize at little less"!
>18 rabbitprincess: I am well on my way to a record year for reading which pleases me as I have so many books that I want to eventually fit in. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving as well, RP.
>19 dudes22: I expect that my reading will fall off once we actually get into the "moving" part of this change, right now I tidy the house and then seem have a lot of time to read, of course, I am not complaining. :)
>20 Storeetllr: I actually don't mind the winters here, Mary, although there are plenty of people who find our grey weather very depressing. It's cloudy most days and rains a lot, but we get very little in the way of snow which I am happy for as I don't deal well with snow.
>21 VivienneR: A a very Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Vivienne.
>22 MissWatson: Thank you, I do enjoy even the small amount of color we get here in the autumn, and I do enjoy the cooler weather, I'm not a big fan of the summer heat.
>23 AHS-Wolfy: I have enjoyed all the John Wyndam books that I have read, although if I had to name a favorite, I would probably choose The Day of the Triffids, Dave.
>24 jnwelch: Hi Joe, I am pretty sure those March books will be among my top reads of the year. They are a perfect example of how good graphic novels are able to show such clear images and information and still involve the emotions.
>25 luvamystery65: Hi Ro, you know I am a West Coaster through and through so of course I think our scenery is pretty special.
Well, my hubby is tapping his toe and he is ready for us to head out and run some errands so I will continue this later.
>26 leslie.98: Thanks Leslie, can't take credit for the pics as these are ones I found on the Internet.
>27 ronincats: Hi Roni, I do that all the time. I have a clever comment to leave but I only think it and then forget to write it on someone's thread.
>28 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie.
>29 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I hope to spend some quality reading time later on this afternoon. :)
>30 ChelleBearss: Our fall colors here are pretty modest compared to your end of the country, Chelle! Have a great Thanksgiving weekend.
>31 bohemima: I enjoyed Chocky, it is, of course, a little dated but the situation is interesting and the author writes very cleverly.
>32 Carmenere: Lynda, in another week or so I am sure I will be making a trip to the pumpkin patch with my daughter and granddaughter to choose our Halloween pumpkins. I always get carried away and bring home far too many to carve!
>33 Jackie_K: Jackie, yesterday a raccoon came into our yard when my friend and I were out there. I always get nervous when they come around in daytime so I grabbed the broom and tried to threaten it but everytime I swung the broom it just came closer, I think it's been fed by humans and was sure that I was going to break down and give it food. My friend and I were the ones who retreated.
>34 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. We are getting rather depressed about the situation. I think we will give our current real estate agent another month and then perhaps look to change to a more local realtor. Our friends that were visiting yesterday loaded up a trailer full of our furniture that we won't need anymore and I was wishing it was our real moving day.
180. The Girls At The Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine - 3.8★
Category: Q to Z
October AlphaKit: V
TIOLI #9: Book Has a Connection to Birds through the Cover Art, Title or Author's Name
The Girls At the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine is a reworking of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. The story is set during the 1920’s in New York City and the princesses in this story are twelve sisters who are controlled by a distant, unloving father who barely acknowledges them, the only child he wanted was a male heir instead he was gifted daughter after daughter. He is ashamed at not being able to produce a male heir and keeps the girls locked away.
Sneaking out and going dancing at a speakeasy is the girl’s way of defying their father. The eldest daughter, Jo, has become a mother figure to the rest, although they don’t always understand that she is only trying to protect them from their cold father. Eventually rumors of society girls out dancing and running wild in the night surface and their father decides he will pick husbands for the girls and marry them off. Knowing that he will chose men much like himself, the girls are desperate to find a way of avoiding this fate.
Although there are no fantasy elements in this story, it has a strangely removed feeling with an almost dreamlike atmosphere. The author chose to highlight the special relationship that sisters share. I believe she captured this unique bond the sisters had, the love as well as the tensions and jealousies that arise in such a close relationship. Of course, over the course of the book we come to know some of the sisters better than others as twelve distinct personalities is hard to juggle. Overall this book reminded me of the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge. I can well imagine The Girls At the Kingfisher Club being put to music and filling a large screen.
>37 DeltaQueen50: That sounds like a fun read! Another one for the wishlist!
>38 VivienneR: Vivienne, it sounds like your wishlist is getting as long as mine!
181. All the Stars in the Sky by Sarah Lyons Fleming - 4.3 ★
Category: E to H
TIOLI #3: The Last Book in a Series or a Trilogy
All the Stars in the Sky by Sarah Lyons Fleming is the third and final book in her apocalyptic trilogy where a virus has wiped out a great portion of the world’s population. While a small amount of people who contracted the disease died, most were transformed into flesh craving zombies. Over the course of the books I have come to care about the small core group that the action follows. When the second book left off, this group had to leave their safe haven and take to the roads once again as huge zombie pods from Mexico and the Southern United States were heading north. They decided to head to Alaska, as the zombies would freeze in extreme cold and also travelling over mountains would slow them down and give those alive time to regroup.
They start in Vermont but decide to travel across Canada, and being a Canadian myself, this route made the book even more fun for me. I enjoyed reading about zombie infested Canadian cities such as Winnipeg and Edmonton. The action and adventure kept me breathless throughout the course of the book so I was happy to breath a sigh of relief when the author closed on a positive note that allows the reader to feel that the characters one has come to care about are going to be alright.
These books were totally addictive and are among my favorite “zombie” books. The author writes with finesse and confidence, bringing both the characters and the situation to life. I am going to miss reading about Cassie, Peter and the others that survived to the end but luckily, the author has embarked on another trilogy so I have my fingers crossed that it will fill the gap. If zombie books interest you at all, I highly recommend this End of the World series.
>39 DeltaQueen50: Haha! My LT wishlist isn't too long, but it's only one of many wishlists. Some day I'll consolidate and give myself a shock.
Hi Judy! Lovely pictures of our part of the world in autumn. The leaves in Seattle are definitely starting to turn and I just love it. I had a nice run this morning -- 50F and sunny, and lots of leaves to crunch through in the park I run through.
And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!
>40 DeltaQueen50: I would never describe myself as one with an interest in zombie books but you make this trilogy sound tempting....
I had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, filled with family, food and fun. Didn't get a lot of reading done, but did manage to finish off the graphic novel series, "Fables" (review of the last two books follows). Today it is cloudy and rainy so I am hoping to curl up with my books later on this afternoon and get some serious reading done.
>41 VivienneR: I have given up worrying about my super long wishlist, I will either get to a book or not, only time will tell. I have more than enough reading material to keep me going for years, and of course, a library not all that far away.
>42 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen.
>43 leslie.98: Thanks, Leslie. It won't be too long before the American Thanksgiving arrives which is always a sign to start my Christmas preparations. Can't believe we are getting so close to the end of the year!
182. Fables, Vol. 21: Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham - 4.0 ★
Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham - 4.2 ★
These two volumes comprise the swan song for this series. The ending is neatly pulled together over the course of the two books and the author makes a Herculean effort to say “goodbye” to just about every character in Fabletown. Stories are resolved and the fables leave the mundy world to take up residence in other worlds.
Snow White comes very close to losing her husband, but he is finally fully restored to her but not until he, in his wild state, had taken the lives of a few well-loved characters. Other characters such as Cinderella, Lancelot and Sleeping Beauty also have unhappy endings. As for Snow she gets her happy ending and she and her sister, Rose Red, semi-resolve their problems and manage to avert a war which would have divided the fables into two different camps. We do see a short story about Boy Blue alive and living in an unknown world, and Jack of Fables who, reunited with Gary seems to be living the high life, so I am hopeful the life of a fable character is one that revolves so that deceased characters like Cinderella, Lancelot and others may come back in the future.
This was an excellent series and one that I am going to miss. I have enjoyed the imaginative stories, the colorful artwork and the interestingly drawn characters. By taking these well known and loved characters and giving them a different spin, the author has breathed new life into my old childhood favorites.
>45 DeltaQueen50: You are prompting me to give this series a go! How can I resist such a heartfelt plug?! Thanks!
>46 klobrien2: Karen, I think you will love the Fables series. There are 22 books in the series but there are also spin-offs for some of the other characters. They are fun, full of magic and a great way to revisit some familiar characters. :)
183. The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet - 4.2 ★
October CatWoman: Regional Reading
TIOLI #7: Rolling Challenge by Author's Birthday Month
I was lucky enough to have grown up on Vancouver Island and had parents that took me and my siblings on many picnics, hikes and camping trips giving us all a love and curiosity about nature and this corner of the world. The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet is a memoir written by a widow, who with her four children spent the summers of the 1920’s on a 25 foot boat, exploring the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Acting as both “captain” and mother, she and her children enjoyed their summers of freedom. Although there were dangers from bad weather, rough water and wild animals there were also great rewards. They met some interesting people who chose to live away from the rest of mankind but were happy to act as hosts to this small family, they were also helped and guided by the commercial fishermen and the loggers who were working in the areas that they travelled. They spent their summers discovering beautiful beaches, secret coves, and deserted Indian villages. This type of vacation travel was unusual to say the least and the fact that she was a women caused many people to sit up and take notice.
The author’s love of nature and her family comes across on every page in this book. Her memoirs read like a chatty letter from a favoured aunt, light and informative, but any deep understanding of her motives and inner thoughts she keeps to herself. I found myself reading this book with a chart of the coastal waters at my side so I could visualize the routes she took and the places she visited. The Curve of Time was a charming and enjoyable read but I couldn’t help feeling that if the author had been a little more forth coming and had fleshed out the characters a little more fully, this would be a true Canadian classic.
The coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest are among some of the most beautiful and are a draw for boaters around the world. At the time when Mrs. Blanchet and her family were traveling through these waters they were very much alone for much of the time, today it would be very difficult to find a spot that others also weren't enjoying. I am adding a few pictures to show the natural beauty that this part of the world has to offer. All these areas were mentioned in the book, The Curve of Time and are to be found between the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.
Barkley Sound, B.C.
A beach on Dick Island, a small island off the larger Texada Island
The waters near Lasqueti Island
>45 DeltaQueen50: I used to be up to date with the deluxe releases of those books but unfortunately have fallen behind so I'm still not close to finishing it off. Glad to see you enjoyed the concluding volumes though.
>49 DeltaQueen50: LOVE these photos, Judy. Someday, I will have to get up to B.C. Looks like paradise to me.
Hope you are having a good week and enjoying those books.
>50 AHS-Wolfy: I enjoyed that series a lot, Dave, and I am going to miss reading about the Fables and the adventures they get up to.
>51 leslie.98: Thanks, Leslie.
>52 mathgirl40: At times I forget just how many islands there are between Vancouver Island and the mainland, I would love to spend some time on a boat exploring. The ferry route to Vancouver Island winds through a few of the more populated islands and is a beautiful ride. I am going to add a picture of the ferries enroute and everyone can see that they really do wind through some of the islands. My elder daughter works on the ferries and this is the route she takes 4 times a day.
>53 msf59: I would love to see you out here, Mark. In fact, there are a number of us BCers who would love to welcome you to the Pacific Coast.
>54 katiekrug: Hi Katie, there is plenty of gorgeous scenery here, but our weather isn't always perfect. During the winter it rains pretty much every day and a lot of people find that all that greyness can be depressing.
>55 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne.
>56 DeltaQueen50: Commuting by ferry is one of those things that sounds tremendously romantic and fun but I suspect palls a bit when it's the routine. Although that scenery sure beats the endless corn and soybean fields along my commute route!
>58 rosalita: Julia, each trip across is about 1 hour and 35 minutes, that plus time for loading and unloading the cars makes each trip about 2 hours. My daughter does 4 trips during a working day, but unless there is something extra special going on, like a spectacular sunset or unusual weather, I don't think she spends much time looking at the view. I would guess that everything becomes routine after a time.
184. The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing - 5.0 ★
Category: I to L
October AwardCat: Nobel Prize for Literature
1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #7: Rolling Challenge by Author's Birth Month
This short, intense and, I suspect, highly memorable book by Doris Lessing is a psychological portrait of a woman whose spirit is destroyed by her disastrous marriage and by her living conditions. It is also an exploration of exactly how white supremacy and colonialism in Africa was unjust, prejudicial and exploitative. These 200 pages pack a powerful punch and I can certainly understand how The Grass Is Singing earned it’s stature among twentieth-century literature.
I found this story to be original and thought provoking. The characters were sharply drawn, and, although there wasn’t one that I felt much sympathy for, their actions and attitudes painted a very clear picture of white African society. Barely a step away from whip toting slave owners, they felt full justification in their control over the black population. The story was also a vivid portrait of how powerless women were in this environment as well. Having no escape, nothing to plan or work toward, her dreams unfulfilled, the woman in this story goes slowly insane.
With this simple story, Doris Lessing exposes both the racial and gender inequality that British Colonialism supported and encouraged. The Grass is Singing is a disturbing story of doomed lives crumbling away under the hot African sun and is told with exceptional clarity and power.
>60 DeltaQueen50: Lovely review, Judy! I think I've read that one and enjoyed it as a glimpse into a world I knew virtually nothing about.
>60 DeltaQueen50: - Nice review, Judy. I liked that one a lot, too.
I am suffering from a toothache that popped up on the weekend. I don't know if an older filling has given away or if this is a new cavity, but I have a dull ache that is making me most unhappy. I called my dentist this morning and she's away for a week and a half and the first appointment I could book with her partner isn't until next Tuesday at 2:30 pm. I've warned my husband that I am not going to be a very pleasant person to be around for the next little while. Hopefully I will be able to bury myself in a book or two!
>61 rosalita: I have now read two books by Doris Lessing, Julia, this one and The Fifth Child, both of which really impressed me. I am definitely going to be reading more by this author in the future.
>62 katiekrug: Katie, this is another book from the 1001 Books List that I have really liked. That list has induced me to read a number of writers that I had always avoided in the past and now I am realizing that I have been missing some great reads by this avoidance.
>63 DeltaQueen50: Ooof, so sorry to hear about the toothache, Judy. Over the past 5 years or so, I have had numerous old fillings from my childhood (yes, they had fillings back then!) need to be replaced. Fortunately only one of them was an emergency situation like yours. But having to wait more than a week seems dreadful!
>63 DeltaQueen50: Hope your toothache goes away soon, Judy. Love the BC photos.
Sorry about the painful tooth! Maybe a "sensitive teeth" toothpaste (e.g. Sensodyne) might give you some relief. At change of seasons, I sometimes have tooth pain, and the Sensodyne really seems to help.
Hope you are doing better!
Too bad about your toothache, I sympathize entirely.
My husband occasionally gets toothache and immediately uses toothpaste for sensitive teeth - just as >66 klobrien2: recommends. It works for him every time and he always gets clear checkups.
>64 rosalita: Thanks, Julie. The dentist's office called me and have moved my appointment up to this Thursday due to a cancellation. I am relieved that I won't have to get through the weekend like this.
>63 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Meg.
>64 rosalita: I use Sensodyne all the time as I have a receding gum line which makes me sensitive to cold, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to be helping with this toothache.
>65 Familyhistorian: Vivienne, I seem to remember that the last time I got x-rays the dentist told me that one of my molars had the beginnings of a crack and I am wondering if that is the problem. With my luck this won't just need a simple filling to fix. :(
185. Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye - 5.0 ★
October RandomCat: Turn on the Dark
TIOLI #3: A Character wears a disguise, a costume or a mask
Shadow of the Moon by M. M. Kaye is a historical fiction novel set in India and details the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Although this author wrote many books, she is probably most famous as the author of The Far Pavilions, which is also a historical drama set in India. In Shadow of the Moon, the author combines adventure, romance and history effortlessly into one epic story of over 600 pages. Originally published in 1957, this is a re-read for me as I fell in love with this author’s historical novels during the 1970’s.
This is a lengthy story as the author sets the scene with many descriptions of the colonial policies of the East India Trade Company which had virtual control over the Indian sub-continent. Indian laws and practices were changed to British ways and this caused smouldering resentment that eventually flared into open revolt. The romantic angle of the book is the attraction between Winter de Ballesteros, the granddaughter of the Earl of Ware, and, Captain Alex Randall, who escorted her from England to India in order for her to marry her intended, the drunken, dissipated Conway Barton. This engagement took place when Barton visited England and schemed to tie the heiress to him. At the time Winter was only eleven. The scenery of India serves as a constant backdrop as the characters travel toward their destiny. When the rebellion ignites Winter and Alex are caught up in the turmoil and violence.
I believe that I admire this book even more today than I did back in the 1970’s. The author was born in India and knew that country well, but the painstaking research she did shows in the details of fashion, customs and politics of the Victorian era and the British Raj. The timeline of the mutiny is followed to the letter and she accurately guides the reader through the turbulence and violence. The romance was intense and satisfying and the adventure was engrossing. I was totally able to escape into this book and it was an excellent read.
>68 DeltaQueen50: I'm glad you're getting in to the dentist sooner than next week! I hope it's just a filling that needs replaced and not something more complicated. Sending lots of calcium-enriched good thoughts your way on Thursday!
>69 DeltaQueen50: Wow, a 5-star read! I'll have to think about that one.
Shadow of the Moon! I read that book in eighth grade and loved it so much. Good to hear I won't be bitterly disappointed if I reread it.
>75 RidgewayGirl: I remember loving it when I first read it as well. For this release, the publishers put back much of the historical information that was originally removed - much to the dismay of the author apparently. I bet that after doing so much painstaking research it was a downer to have much of her work taken out of the published book.
In an effort to keep my mind off my sore mouth, I spent most of this evening setting up my 2018 Category Challenge. My thread can be found here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/271216#
>77 DeltaQueen50: Ready for 2018 already? You are ambitious, Judy.
>78 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, I don't know about ambitious, but I do like to plan ahead and set my categories.
Judy, you are reminding me that I need to get back to the Fables series - putting that on my list for next year. I also really liked Lessing's The Grass is Singing when I read it several years ago. And you hit me with The Shadow of the Moon, even though I have The Far Pavillions sitting on my shelf. Actually the poor thing made the move with us from Indiana five years ago, so really I should get to it already.
Hoping that your dental woes are completely taken care of today. I am betting you are right and it's a cracked molar - I've had that happen, and it does really hurt.
Good luck at the dentist today. I'm hoping hard that the repair will be a painless experience.
>69 DeltaQueen50: There are several authors from years past that I would like to either read or reread, M.M. Kaye being one of those. I may focus on doing that in the 2018 Challenge.
>80 BLBera: Hi Beth. The dentist feels that my nerve in a particular molar is dying and that I will need a root canal in the very near future. Today she made a few adjustments to my bite to see if that would help. It is a lot better but I suspect I will have to have the root canal done. I am going back in early November for a cleaning and we will decide then - unless it flares up again then I am to try to get back in as soon as I can.
>81 Crazymamie: Mamie, if you haven't read The Far Pavilions then I certainly recommend you do so. It is a wonderful story filled with adventure, history and romance. of course, the same can be said about Shadow of the Moon as well.
>82 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. Well, not much pain today either to my mouth or to my wallet, but I suspect I won't be so happy in the future!
>83 clue: My re-reads category this year was my favorite. It was great revisiting old favorites, many of which I had only vague memories of. I don't have a re-read category planned for next year, but I may resurrect it for 2019.
>84 msf59: Hi Mark, between my sore mouth and getting set up for the 2018 Category Challenge, I haven't been making many visits around LT this week, I will have to catch up with you soon! Thanks for the thumbs. :)
I'm glad you got some relief from your visit to the dentist today, Judy!
>86 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. It does feel somewhat better this evening.
186. In Darkness by Nick Lake - 3.6 ★
Category: I to L
October CultureCat: Poverty
October RandomCat: Turn on the Dark
TIOLI #10: Author's Name Contains a Common Noun
In Darkness by Nick Lake packs a lot of story into it’s pages. As a young boy lies buried in the rubble of a hospital after the 2010 catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, his dreams, memories and thoughts form the dialogue that shapes this book. We learn of Haiti’s history as a nation that was born of a slave revolution to it’s position today as one of the world’s poorest countries. The main character is Shorty, who was in hospital recovering from a gunshot wound that occurred through gang warfare.
Now he is lying in darkness, suffering from extreme thirst and heat, surrounded by dead bodies and rats, waiting to either be rescued or to die. As time passes he swings between hallucinations of his hero, Toussaint L’Ouverture, the rebel leader of the 18th century slave revolution and his own memories of his violent life in the poorest of Haiti’s slums. The author relies on Haitian religion and mythology to justify the connection between the present and the past but this format didn’t always work for me. I found myself confused as the characters switched identities abruptly.
I think my annoyance with the dual narrative in this book was because I was totally captivated by Shorty’s own story. It’s dark, gritty and heartbreaking. Shorty has not always made the right choices in the past and he’s done some terrible things, but the story rang true. In Darkness is full of violence as it describes the bleak life of a slum kid, but this emotionally powerful story is full of complex and realistic characters that pull you into the story and the author was wise enough to end the book on a note of hope which was badly needed by the reader by the end of this disturbing story.
187. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - 4.0 ★
Category: Q to T
October Reading Through Time: Gothic Inspired
October RandomCat: Turn on the Dark
TIOLI #5: A Character Wears A Mask, a Disguise or a Costume
A debut book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a contemporary fantasy that is told through a combination of written words and vintage photographs. The author used the photographs as a guide when he wrote his story, and surprisingly this format really worked. The resulting story is about a boy who follows clues from his grandfather’s old photographs that lead him on an adventure that first takes him to a large abandoned orphanage on a remote Welsh island, and then guides him back through time.
Jacob has always thought he led an ordinary, downright boring life, but through his quest he finds out that he is really rather extraordinary. As for the peculiar children and Miss Peregrine, herself, these fascinating, almost magical beings welcome Jacob into their midst and give him a sense of homecoming. But, there is a definite dark side to this fantasy as Jacob and his friends must fight for their survival from horrendous monsters.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is an original story that combines a good degree of creepiness, a smidgen of time travel and plenty of thrills, chills and adventure that keep the pages turning. His creative use of the strange vintage photographs is fascinating. My only quibble is that by the end of the book the reader realizes that the adventure is just beginning and now I must track down the next book to find out what happens next.
I hope you enjoy those books when you get to them. I have been so obsessed with setting up my 2018 challenge and getting my books organized for next year that I haven't been doing much reading or visiting here at LT lately. I need to remember that 2017 is far from over!
Hi Judy, you must feel a lot better with the tooth ache gone but it is too bad that you will probably have to go back to the dentist again. I like it when they fix it so it lasts for a long time. I am hoping that we will see some sunny days this week. I returned to days of rain last week. I was at the Vancouver Writers Fest on Wednesday and went for a walk up to Broadway between sessions. It was raining so hard that the sewers couldn't keep up and, at one point, I crossed at an intersection on Broadway and the water was at mid calf.
>92 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, you would think that with the amount of rain we get, the city of Vancouver would know how to drain the water away! Although that said it did come down pretty heavy at times. Not sure whether any sunshine is in the forecast, but it would be nice to have a few nice days before October is over. My tooth feels a lot better, I am aware of it but it is pretty low grade. I am being careful with eating, and although hot drinks don't seem to bother it, I almost went through the roof when I had an ice tea the other day.
188. The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski - 4.2 ★
Category: Q to T
TIOLI #1: An Animal is the Third Word on Any Page
The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski is an adrenaline pumping thriller that starts out fast and keeps going at a breakneck speed. Although the plot verges on the unbelievable, the action is so intense that the pages just keep turning.
The story mostly happens over the course of one night of frenzied action in the city of Philadelphia. The three main characters, Jack Eisley, a reporter; Kelly White, the blonde femme fatale; and Mike Kowalski, a secret government operative, weave in and about each other like performers in a complicated dance program. The bizarre storyline is one of nanotechnology that once installed in the victim causes their brain to explode if they not within 10 feet of someone at all times. How these three people manage to overcome this weird and incredibly dangerous technology makes for a very exciting read. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how far-fetched the plot was and just settled in to enjoy the ride.
Although one of my pet peeves with thrillers is that the reader often has to park his skepticism and try to accept unbelievable plot, with this book I was able to overcome that feeling due to the author’s excellent writing and fearless way of unfolding his story. Along with it’s rapid pacing and hard boiled dialogue, the author sprinkles pop references and plenty of humor which results in a very entertaining thriller. I enjoyed this read immensely and will be looking for more from this author. I should note that my electronic copy of The Blonde also contained a short follow-up called “The Redhead” in which we catch up with a couple of the main characters and learn how they arrived at a final resolution.
>95 RidgewayGirl: Kay, this isn't a new book. I believe this may have been his debut book - it's just taken me awhile to finally get around to reading one of his. I just checked and this one was originally published in 2006.
>93 DeltaQueen50: I hope you got out to enjoy the sunshine yesterday, Judy. It is supposed to come back tomorrow so it looks like today is a good one to stay inside and work or read.
>93 DeltaQueen50: Hi Meg, I just got home from grocery shopping and you are right, it is a dull day out there. I hate it when I have to turn on the lights cause it's so dark outside. :( I hope to start working on an afghan this afternoon while listening to We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
ETA: I meant to say, I did get out yesterday as hubby and I went to the nursery to buy some spring bulbs to plant at the apartment. We then went for a short stroll on the dike down by the beach. It was a beautiful day!
189. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - 4.1 ★
Category: A to D
1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #13: 3 O's in the Title or in the Author's Name
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is a distopian novel originally published in 1962. The author’s vision of the future is a bleak and disturbing one and the inventive language that he created through mixing Russian, Romany and rhyming slang makes this a book that you must read carefully to follow the storyline. The main character, Alex is a vicious anti-hero of fifteen. He and his gang relieve their teenage boredom by running wild during the night.
Robbery, severe beatings, gang warfare and rape are all part of one nights’ events. Armed with chains, knives and razors, there are detailed descriptions of their violent crimes and it is obvious how much Alex and his friends revel in their power over others. When Alex is caught he reverts to a young snivelling boy and tries to wiggle out of his troubles. He doesn’t succeed and he is given the Reclamation Treatment which is a course of brainwashing to give him an aversion to violence.
A Clockwork Orange is not a book for anyone who finds it difficult to read of extreme violence, but for those who can stomach it, this book does have its rewards. Written on the eve of the 1960s explosion of youth culture, the author cleverly uses teenagers as his main characters. He explores the concepts of free will, morality, alienation and ethics. The creative use of linguistics gives this book an edge and make it a very memorable read.
190. The Rubber Band by Rex Stout - 3.8 ★
Category: Q to T
TIOLI #1: An Animal is the Third Word At the Beginning of Any Page
The third Nero Wolf novel, The Rubber Band by Rex Stout was a good read but not my favorite one so far. The story was interesting but due to circumstances not only Wolf, but Archie and even the clients were housebound for the duration of the book. While they were sequestered away in his New York townhouse, Wolf puzzled out the solution to the mystery. The mystery itself was interesting, but the atmosphere was very claustrophobic.
An old story about a rescue from a lynching and a well respected English nobleman would appear to have little in common, but this was only the beginning in this case of changed identities, old secrets and murder. As usual the superior minded Wolf was able to solve the crime without leaving his home, and Archie was there at his side to aid and challenge him and, of course, to add his own wisecracks and opinions.
I am intrigued by the intelligent, quirky Nero Wolf, but Archie is my hero and I look forward to reading about him. In this book, there wasn’t a lot of action so Archie is often delegated to the sidelines but overall, this was another fun read in this classic detective series.
I want to say thank you for motivating me to reread Shadow of the Moon. I've read all her mysteries several times but never The Far Pavillions and I was probably in my teens the last time I picked up Shadow Moon. Have you read Trade Wind? I've got the urge to reread that one, too, now.
I tried Red Hill which you also have listed in TIOLI Challenge #5, but zombie books are always iffy for me. If you think you'll get to it by the end of the month, let me know. I'm game to pick it up again in the interests of a shared read.
>101 Dejah_Thoris: Hi Dejah, I am also very glad that I re-read Shadow of the Moon as I thought it was very well done. I have read both The Far Pavilions and Trade Wind, but other than the heroine's name was Hero, I remember very little about Trade Wind. That may become a future re-read for me!
I have just started Red Hill and so far I am finding it ok. It seems to follow the 'zombie format' quite closely, and I usually am ok with that, for some reason I am easily pleased with zombie books!
I've always thought The Clockwork Orange too violent for me, and not much in the last 50 years has happened to make me change my mind on that. You're a tougher lady than I, Judy! (I know it's a classic for a reason, but no.)
ETA A Princess sighting!! Hi, Dejah!
>99 DeltaQueen50:. That's one book I am afraid to read! Generally I can take violence and/or horror more easily in movies than in books... I have heard that it is better than the film but even the movie was too much for me.
>104 rosalita: Archie has been cheating on me!? I thought that he was MY mystery fiction boyfriend :D
>103 ronincats: Roni, I found The Clockwork Orange painted a very bleak picture of the future, easpecially for the elderly. I expected the violence, but it was the attitude of the gang that I found the most upsetting. They relished inflicting pain, suffering and shame on people and had no empathy toward their victims whatsoever.
>104 rosalita: I am enjoying the Nero Wolfe series a lot, Julia, so I am grinning from ear to ear at the thought that it will get even better! Ok, I will definitely back off from Archie, as long as I have access to Walt Longmire - he's my literary crush!
>105 msf59: Hi Mark, yes, Miss Peregrinne was very clever and interesting. I am looking forward to continuing the story, but I don't see this as a series, two books would probably be enough. I loved the Swierczynski book, I find most thrillers ask that their readers accept some huge leaps of faith, but this guy just bulldoozes ahead at such a breakneck speed and is so humorous that I was willing to accept anything he threw at me!
>106 leslie.98: Leslie, I haven't seen the film and I think I want to. I have head that Malcolm McDowell gives an excellent performace, but I do have qualms about it, for me, reading about violence is often easier than seeing it. And - heh, heh, that Archie - he gets all the girls!
191. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - 5.0 ★
Category: I to L
October Reading Through Time: Gothic Inspired
October RandomCat: Turn on the Dark
TIOLI #7: Rolling Challenge by Author's Birth Month
I’m not sure I have the words to describe how impressed I was with We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I listened to an audio version read by Bernadette Dunne and her pitch perfect performance gave the book added depth and emotion. The author’s genius at creating an atmosphere of disquiet and unease is astounding.
I was drawn into the world of Merricat and Constance, caught up in this story of obsessive love and control and made uneasy at Merricat’s blind insistence that nothing should ever change. These two girls and their elderly, infirm Uncle Julian are the last of their family, the rest having been wiped out by an unspeakable act of poisoning. The family has become the subject of rumours and gossip and the locals even have a rhyme about them:
“Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!
We Have Always Lived in the Castle made for a perfect October read, both eerie and horrifying. The authors’ lyrical and descriptive writing makes it easy to picture the Blackwood sisters still following their customs and rituals in a house that echoes with sadness and tragedy. A five star read for me.
>106 leslie.98: Ha! I guess we could compare when we first met Archie to see who has first dibs, but I am a generous person. Much like his dalliance with Lily Rowan, Archie and I are in an open relationship so I'm happy to share him with you lovely ladies. :-)
I want to throw out a request for participants in a group read of one of my favorite but relatively unknown fantasy novels, God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell. The "stalk" refers to stalking gods, not a stem. It is the first of a still ongoing series, but it is a complete story and easy to walk away from after the first book if you wish--indeed, all of us had to wait many years after this one to get a sequel. I am looking at possibly November, December or January for the time frame, but the actual month will depend on what those interested work out. If you would be at all interested, please PM me or drop by my thread and let me know.
Hi, Judy! Wow, you've been going through some really good books lately! I've never read Shadow of the Moon but now I want to. Putting on my 2018 TBR list.
I read and saw the film adaptation of Clockwork Orange back in my early 20s. I loved both. Apparently I was more inured to violence in my youth than I am now, because I have no wish to revisit either.
Good reviews of We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I loved them both. I met Riggs back when I still lived in SoCal - he appeared at a book fair that I went to. I think it was in Pasadena, not the L.A. Book Faire, but I can't be sure. He was as strange in person as you might imagine. :)
>111 klobrien2: Hi Karen, I think We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the perfect Halloween read. I have previously read The Haunting of Hill House and now I need to check out some of her short stories!
>113 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, most of my re-reads this year have been books that I originally read in my late teens or early twenties and I have been surprised at how different the reading experience is now. I think maturity has enabled me to appreciate different things in the books whereas in my youth it was all about the story.
>114 mathgirl40: Paulina, I read The Haunting of Hill House last year and really liked it, but maybe not as much as this one. I do still vividly remember the 1963 film based on the book, it really scared me! Unfortunately the remake just seemed silly.
192. Candide by Voltaire - 4.0 ★
Category: U to Z
1001 Books to Read Before You Die List
Candide by Voltaire is a humorous satire featuring the ultimate optimist experiencing life from so many different angles that this optimism is sorely tested. First published in 1759, the main character is Candide and he and his various companions travel around the world from Europe to South America and eventually settle on a small farm outside of Constantinople. They experience amazing adventures and dangers and Candide’s personal motto of “everything in the world is for the best”, taught to him by his beloved mentor, Pangloss, becomes questionable by characters and readers alike.
Voltaire’s style is often called absurd satire due to both the humor and the exaggeration that he inserts into the story. There has been so much written about this literary masterpiece that I won’t even begin to try to explain or analyze it in my meagre words, but, I can say that I was both surprised and delighted with this book. I read this in the form of installations and I looked forward to receiving a new section and learning what would happen next. The author missed no opportunity to skewer the religion, politics, morals and lifestyles of his time, and he put his characters into the most outrageous and outlandish situations that you really never knew what could possibly happen next.
Candide is entirely accessible and highly readable. Voltaire gives his readers the gift of laughter, both at life in general and the people it contains. This “road-trip” book is short, entertaining and downright brilliant.
>116 DeltaQueen50: Excellent review! I read this when I was a teenager and think I missed a lot (or maybe forgotten a lot), however, I still have it and am encouraged to try again after reading your review.
>116 DeltaQueen50: I read that a couple of years ago and loved it. I laughed even when I wasn’t sure I should be.
Judy, you’ve been reading some great books!
I read Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, which was somewhat confusing but nevertheless impressive. I have a book of her essays on literature that I dip into from time to time.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is an all-time favorite. Very spooky atmosphere. I just loved it.
I *must* get to M. M. Kaye...
>117 VivienneR: Vivienne, I opened Candide with absolutely no idea of what it was going to be like. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it was going to be very dry and full of 18th century philosophy so you can imagine how surprised I was when it was so different. It reminded me of a fairytale in many ways.
>118 LittleTaiko: I laughed even when I wasn’t sure I should be. Me, too!
>119 bohemima: Hi Gail, I haven't read The Golden Notebook yet but I intend to give it a try at some point. We Have Always Lived in the Castle has definitely got a place on my all time favorite list as well. Shirley Jackson certainly knew how to develop atmosphere.
193. A Rage In Harlem by Chester Himes - 4.3 ★
TIOLI #5: A Main Characters Wears a Disguise, A Costume or a Disguise
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes was originally published in 1957. I listened to an audio version read by Samuel L. Jackson who was the perfect person to voice this blistering, unrelentless yet humorous story. The main character, Jackson, isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, he is vulnerable and totally besotted by his girlfriend, Imabelle, so when she involves him in a scam he goes along willingly. Of course when things go pear-shaped, he finds himself out of his money, out of his job and without Imabelle and her missing trunk.
Jackson goes to his twin brother, Goldy, for help to find Imabelle. Goldy, works his own scam impersonating a nun and collecting “charity”. Before too long Goldy is convinced that there is money to be had with this deal, the police are again involved and Jackson is still convinced that Imabelle needs to be rescued. The action takes place over the course of one long and exciting night, but come morning there is a body count to be tallied into the story as well.
The borough of Harlem and it’s residents are one of the main interests in this story. It is very quickly made clear that there is a dark anger brewing just under the surface. The people of Harlem live under different laws from the whites, and the poverty, although never directly pointed out, is explicit. A Rage in Harlem is a dark and hard-boiled crime story that keeps it’s characters on the verge of chaos and desperation. I highly recommend the story and, in particular, this audio version.
>122 leslie.98: Leslie, I'm glad that you are looking for the audio version, Samuel Jackson does such an excellent job at making this story come alive.
194. Red Hill by Jamie McGuire - 3.0 ★
Category: M to P
October RandomCat: Turn on the Dark
TIOLI #5: Character wears a disguise, costume or mask
I found Red Hill by Jamie McGuire to be a mediocre zombie apocalypse novel. The zombie action was satisfying enough and the characters were assorted and well drawn, but the author relied on too many far fetched coincidences that took any suggestion of reality from the story. Also, there was too much stress on the plot line of “falling in love while the world crumbles around us”.
The first part of the book, as various people are trying to escape the city during a viral outbreak was exciting, but once all the various groups came together at Red Hill Farm, the author didn’t seem able to sustain the story. I think the secret to a good zombie story is to keep up a high level of action so that the reader doesn’t have time to think about any plot holes. Unfortunately once the action in this story levelled off it became monotonous. The author then turned to a rather weak love story to provide interest which didn’t really work for me. I did finish the book but this certainly isn’t a zombie story that I would recommend.
I want you to know, Judy, that you are my authoritative source for all zombie-related literature! I can always count on you to separate the wheat from the chaff.
>124 DeltaQueen50:, That's disappointing--as soon as I entered your thread, I got drawn to that cover and hoped it would be a good sign! Sorry it wasn't up to par :(
>125 rosalita: Happy Halloween, Julia! Yes, I am a constant sucker for Zombie stories - perhaps because they are one monster that I actually have a chance to outrun! Although none are planned, stay tuned here for further zombie adventures in the future! ;)
>126 whitewavedarling: I have had Red Hill on my shelves for a couple of years and the cover made me think it was going to be a superior zombie read, unfortunately it just didn't click with me.
>128 lyzard: Hi Liz. I wish S.L. Jackson narrated more of the Gravedigger Jones series, but it doesn't appear that he does. The other books are available in audio but with different readers. These books seem to adapt to audio really well and I expect I will be giving at least one more a try at some point.
We are having a very quiet Halloween. So far only thirteen kids have come to the door. It's 7:20 pm so we could still get a few more, but certainly not enough to justify me buying more candy today cause I thought maybe we'd get more than the 100 I was ready for!
195. The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley - 4.2 ★
Category: A to D
TIOLI #4: Book is One Click Away From the Book Preceeding it On the Wiki Challenge List
The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley was originally published in 1929 and this gem of a mystery has been puzzling mystery buffs every since. My particular edition was a 2016 British Library reprint and includes “A New Denouement” by author Christina Brand which she wrote in 1979 and an Epilogue with yet another explanation added by author Martin Edwards.
This story that causes so much speculation is set in London during the 1920’s as a group of armchair detectives, who are members of a “Crime Circle”, present their theories on a recent murder case that Scotland Yard has been unable to solve. Each of the six members, using very different methods of detection, arrives at an entirely different solution. Each solution appears to be entirely plausible, but each is debunked by the other members of the Crime Circle. That is until the final solution is presented.
While the author was obviously poking fun at the day’s popular detective fiction, showing how easily the clues and motives can be weaved together to point at one person or another, this tongue-in-cheek, subtle story is a delight to read and keeps the reader guessing right up to the last page. Personally I would have preferred not reading the later additions as I loved how this book ended. The Poisoned Chocolates Case is a stylish, unique and truly enjoyable classic mystery.
Glad you haven't quite lost your mind reading it, Judy! I never read modern add-ons, and rarely introductions: they always seem to be more about the people doing them than the author, and rarely in my opinion add anything to the book in question. (And then there are the ones that patronisingly "explain" old books to us...)
How far did you get in solving the mystery? As I said in my review, I knew I was wrong when I realised Roger and I were thinking the same thing! :D
That's a pity. I suppose they got him to do that one because, out of the series, it was filmed most recently.
>131 DeltaQueen50: That one is going on my wish list! I've enjoyed the British crime classics in that reprint series.
>132 lyzard: All the way through the book I was thinking the same way as Roger as well. Although a couple of the explainations swayed me, the final solution never crossed my mind!
>133 Familyhistorian: Well, that's a shame! I am thankful that many of these older out-of-print books are being brought back, of course if I had my way, books would never get to be "out-of-print"! Meg, my copy is only scheduled to go to a second hand store so I would be glad to send it to you if you want it. Just PM me your address and I'll mail it off to you.
>134 thornton37814: I hope you are able to track down a copy, Lori, as it's a fun read.
>135 ChelleBearss: HA! We have so much candy left! I sent some down to my grandkids, and some went to my hubby's business (the staff is most appreciative) but I still have a box up in the cupboard that is calling my name. I'm trying to ignore it, but I do love Reece's Peanut Butter Cups!
>136 christina_reads: Hmmn, that's three of us who all thought Roger's solution was the correct one. By the time everything came out and we found out all the different relationships that these people had with each other, my head was spinning!
>131 DeltaQueen50: - I went to add this to my wishlist and found that it was already there! Your review has encouraged me to go search it out sooner though.
>138 Crazymamie: Hope you enjoy it, Mamie.
>139 jnwelch: Hi Joe. Candide was such a surprise for me, I was really expecting it to be a dry philosophy book! I've got my eye on Cotton Comes to Harlem, it will probably be one of my next audio purchases.
>140 LittleTaiko: It's a great read both as tongue-in-cheek poke at detective fiction of the day and as a very good puzzler that will keep you guessing.
I forgot to say that I loved your review of Candide - I have that one on the shelves in a lovely Penguin Deluxe Classics edition, and your review makes me even more excited to get to it.
>144 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen, we are still in shock at having had our first snowfall of the year! Luckily the snow didn't last but I am hoping this isn't a sign of a long, cold winter.
196. Incendiary by Chris Cleave - 4.5 ★
Category: A to D
November CultureCat: Conflict & War Including Terrorism
TIOLI #8: Book Has Gunpowder, Treason or Plot
Incendiary by Chris Cleave is written as a letter to Osama bin Laden. It is written in the words of a working class woman whose husband and four year old son perished in a terrorist bombing of a sports stadium. The young woman is experiencing all the grief and trauma that one would expect from such an event but she is also consumed by guilt as she was with another man when her “boys” were killed. Incendiary didn’t garner the best of reviews from the critics when it was first published due to it’s extraordinary timing. The book was released on July 7th, 2005, the same day four suicide bomb attacks took place in London. This timing caused most of the advertising and promotion of the book to be halted.
Personally, I found this an absorbing story of the aftermath of tragedy, both on the part of the main character as well as how it was handled by the British Authorities. Indiscriminate reprisals against Muslims, curfew being put in place, barrage balloons floating over the city all helped to create a background that had a very real feeling. As for the main character, I felt very sorry for her, but I had nothing in common with her and I disagreed with many of her decisions. I soon realized that she was going insane from the guilt and grief and that bad things were yet to come in her story.
In Incendiary the author shows his unique vision and I thought the novel was quite powerful, provocative and intelligent. I literally couldn’t put the book down. It’s definitely not a book to enjoy, but one that makes you think, stirs up your emotions and leaves you a little uneasy. This was my first book by Chris Cleave but I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Happy Saturday, Judy. Great review of Incendiary. Big Thumb. I have slapped it on the list.
I am currently loving Cloudsplitter. If you have not read it, this might just be your cuppa.
>131 DeltaQueen50: Oh, I really liked The Poisoned Chocolates Case!
Author Berkeley was an acerbic man at best, and he clearly enjoys skewering his fellow mystery authors in this one. I thought the unwinding of the plot clever. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Trent’s Last Case, which I highly recommend if you haven’t yet read it.
I’ve been thrilled to see these old mysteries available again, especially in (mostly) reasonably-priced kindle editions.
>132 lyzard: Liz, I’m often depressed by introductions. I just read one that had little to do with the book being introduced, and much to do with the introduction writer’s attitudes and desire to do a side-wise bash of the original author. It’s a Penguin, too, so I was doubly disappointed. And so many of them blithely spoil all the plot surprises. I don’t read them now until I’ve finished the book.
I hope your weekend is a wonderful one, Peggy.
Trent's Last Case was the first deconstruction of the detective genre; The Poisoned Chocolates Case came about fifteen years later, after the genre had absolutely exploded. They're both fascinating markers of where this form of writing was up to at the time.
Oh, never, never, never read the introduction before the book!...indeed, if ever. :(
>137 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy. I sent you a PM. I also checked the Coquitlam or was it the Terry Fox Library and the copy they had was also in Chinese!
The time change this morning had us originally wanting to get up around 5:30 am but we forced ourselves to stay in bed until 7:00 am. I expect I will be dragging by about 9:00 pm this evening. It seems that the older I get, the harder it is to adjust to the time changes. Today is very sunny and cold but at least there are no little white flakes coming down like there was yesterday!
>147 msf59: Mark, I am embarrassed at how long Cloudsplitter has been on my wishlist. I will definitely be reading it at some point and, as you well know, your recommendation will be moving it closer to the top. ;) Thanks for the thumb, Incendiary was quite the read!
>148 bohemima: Gail, between your and Liz's comments, I went to Amazon and treated myself to a Kindle copy of Trent's Last Case. It sounds like a good one!
>149 lyzard: Your comments about Trent's Last Case deflected onto me and I grabbed myself a copy. I have learned my lesson about reading introductions - they should come with giant spoiler warnings!
>150 Familyhistorian: Great Meg, I will set the book aside and will look forward to arranging a meet-up with you. :)
197. Endangered Species by Nevada Barr - 3.4 ★
Category: A to D
TIOLI #7: The Name of an American State is in Title or Author's Name
Endangered Species by Nevada Barr is another entry in her Anna Pigeon series with each book being set in a different American National Park. In this outing, we are at Cumberland Island National Seashore located on one of the barrier islands off the coast of southern Georgia. Anna has been sent there as a fire watcher as it has been an unusually dry season. It is also the time of the Loggerhead migration as they leave the safety of the ocean and lay their eggs in nests dug from the sand.
A plane crash occurs killing two men and then it is discovered that the plane had been deliberately sabotaged. Anna goes into detective mode and puts the pieces together. I really don’t read these books for the mystery, finding them fairly straight forward and not too twisty. I read these books because Anna is a great character and mostly, for the scenic locations. There were a few things that put me off this story, mostly to do with a “tame” fawn whose antics seemed rather unbelievable, but the audio was well done and the scenic descriptions gave me a good introduction to yet another National Park.
This story and a sub-plot that concerned Anna’s love interest, Frederick Stanton and her sister, Molly helped to advance the series and I am looking forward to seeing where Anna is going to be assigned next.
>151 DeltaQueen50: I know what you mean about dragging at the end of the day, Judy. I just flew in from Salt Lake City today and the time difference and time change happening on the same day are confusing. I'll send you a PM after I know if I am coming or going.
>152 DeltaQueen50: I really should get back to the Nevada Barr series, if I can figure out where I left off!
198. This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash - 4.2 ★
Category: My Long Library List
November RandomCat: Traffic Jam
TIOLI #15: Scramble the Title Letters to Form a New Title
I had high expectations for This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash after having been so impressed with his debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home and, for the most part, the author came through. This is a story of family, forgiveness and making the right choices interwoven with a darker tale of stolen money and revenge.
Wade Chesterfield has a history of failure. He failed as a professional baseball player and he failed as a husband and father. At his lowest point, he signed away his parental rights to his two daughters. Those daughters, Easter and Ruby, are living in foster care as their mother recently died. Wade, enabled by his finding money seeks to find redemption with his daughters and lured them away one night. The found money is from an armoured car heist and the crime boss from whom the money was taken, wants it back. He puts Robert Pruitt on Wade’s trail. Pruitt hates Wade, blaming him for ruining his life. He intends to make Wade and his girls suffer. Brady Weller, an ex-police detective and now the girls’ court appointed guardian has put most of the pieces together and realizes that someone needs to save these two young girls.
The story unfolds through three voices, that of Easter, the twelve year old daughter, Pruitt the violent ex-con after them and Brady Weller, who sees the authorities are paying more attention to reclaiming the money than to care about the lives of the three people in danger. Although this was a familiar “cat and mouse” style story, I was glued to the pages and eager to find out what was going to happen. I especially like the voice of Easter. A self-sufficient, resolute and determined twelve year old who comes to realize the loyalty of blood ties and that although many mistakes have been made, there is hope for her family.
>156 DeltaQueen50: That goes on the TBR list. I won the latest Wiley Cash in the August Early Reviewers, but no one seems to have received it yet. :-(
You got me, too, with The Poisoned Chocolates Case. Happily, my library system has it in English, lol.
I really enjoyed the first dozen or more of Nevada Barr 's Anna Pigeon books - I've read many of them more than once. But eventually, I stopped picking up the new ones. I may get back to them one day - we'll see.
>157 thornton37814: Oh no, I didn't know that, I will have to watch out. I am a bit obsessive about sticking to the right order in a series!
>158 rosalita: Julia, I was only partway through This Dark Road to Mercy when I went and added his next book to my wish list, I really like the way he writes.
>159 mathgirl40: I am already looking forward to next years, MysteryCat, and in particular, the month you are going to be hosting Classic Mysteries!
>160 Dejah_Thoris: Glad that The Poisoned Chocolate Case is available to you, Dejah. I try to spread out the Nevada Barr mysteries to one or two a year as I can see that if they were read too close together they could get muddled and repetitious.
>161 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, I definitely want to read more from Chris Cleave. I love finding a new author that "speaks" to me. :)
199. Waiting For Joe by Sandra Birdsell - 3.5 ★
Category: My Long Library List
November Awards Cat: 2010 Governor General's Literary Award Nominee
TIOLI #15: Scramble the Title Letters to Form a New Title
I found Waiting For Joe by Sandra Birdsell a rather sad story but well put together and it really makes you think about what you would do if you lost everything – your business, your home and your savings. Joe owned a business that sold recreational vehicles, but after 9/11, people weren’t doing a lot of travelling and his business goes into foreclosure. After they lose their house, Joe deposits his father in a nursing home, steals an RV and he and his wife head out, deciding to go north to the oil boom town of Fort McMurray. They get as far as Regina, and while parked in the Walmart parking lot, Joe and Laurie quarrel and Joe realizes that Laurie will always live beyond her means and can’t control her spending. This is the final straw for him in a marriage that has been slipping for years and he simply walks away.
This is a very introspective read about how life’s events impact families, in this case, Joe, Laurie and Joe’s elderly father, Alfred. Each one sifts through their past thinking about both the good and bad choices they have made and how they have come to this low point. Joe through his stubborn pride and indecision and Laurie through her compulsive shopping which fuels her guilt and shame. The author uses these inner revelations to expose her characters motivations, but I found that these many flashbacks distracted from the immediacy of the story.
Waiting For Joe didn’t quite reach the heights I was hoping for. The book seemed mired down by it’s dwelling on the complicated histories of the main characters. Although I was looking for a slightly different story, the author's writing was excellent, immersing the reader in this bleak contemporary story.
I have reached an important milestone in my reading year, my reading goal of 200 books. I am very appreciative of both Lori (Ikernaugh) whose review put this book on my library list some time ago, and, of Paulina (Mathgirl) whose review of it of last month, came to mind when I saw the book on the shelves at the library.
200. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson - 4.5 ★
Category: My Long Library List
November AwardsCat: 2003 Books in Canada First Novel Award
TIOLI #16: In Honor of the Centenary of the Beersheva Calvary Charge, the Book Mentions Horses
Crow Lake is the 2002 debut novel by Mary Lawson and it went on to win the Books in Canada First Novel Award. The story is set in Northern Ontario and is about the struggle four children have to stay together when their parents die in a car crash. The oldest, Luke, puts his life on hold in order to stay with the younger children. The next brother, Matt, feels guilty that he is going to be the one who gets to go to University. But a deranged neighbour brings about some changes that affect their plans for the future.
The author shows the depth of the love, concern, rivalry and expectations that family can have for each other. The story unfolds through the voice of Katherine, now in her late twenties and a professor of zoology, in a series of flashbacks. Kate was seven when her parents died, the eldest daughter, and she instinctively turns to her brother Matt for love and protection. Their toddler sister, Bo, is a wonderfully engaging character and I loved how she was such a major part of the story, and not put in the background like many young children in books are. Kate’s perspective is not necessarily an accurate one, and she has grown into a woman who has difficulty with emotions, but the misunderstandings and resentments have developed over the years and now she must learn to reconcile her opinion of her favorite brother’s lifestyle with what she had hoped for him.
I can’t say enough about what a wonderful read this was. The setting is very evocative and this small rural community comes alive on the pages. Crow Lake is a great story of family love and sacrifice and it felt very real. I am going to miss reading about these characters.
Congrats on reading 200, Judy!! Amazing! And a terrific review, too. If you posted that, I will add my thumb.
Congrats on #200 and hooray for it being a winner! And hooray for me having that one on my shelf :)
Adding my congratulations on reaching 200, Judy! What a great reading year you've had.
Wow, 200 books! That is quite the accomplishment, Judy, especially with more than a month left in the year. I know some of those 200 have ended up on my TBR list, so thanks, I guess. :-)
Thanks to everyone for visiting, and thanks for the thumbs on the Crow Lake review. I know I am a little late to the party regarding this book since it came out in 2002, but perhaps others who have missed it so far will be encouraged to pick it up.
>165 Crazymamie: Thanks for the thumb, Mamie.
>166 Dejah_Thoris: I've been reading a lot this year, I think trying to sell the house has added to my reading time, as when we have to get out of the house of showings or open houses, we go to our apartment and since there is no tv or other distractions there, I sit and read.
>167 clue: I am most proud of reaching my "Reading From My Shelf" goal of 150, I am slowing whittling my massive collection away. This year, again probably because of trying to sell the house, I've actually read more books than I have bought.
>168 katiekrug: I think I can confidently predict that you will love Crow Lake, Katie, when you get to it.
>169 LittleTaiko: Thanks, Stacy.
>170 MissWatson: Thanks, MW, I suspect this may be my pinacle in book reading so I am curious to see how many I will be able to complete by year's end.
>171 mathgirl40: Paulina, I loved how Bo was a dominant force in their lives. Having had toddlers in my own life, I know how they demand and receive a great deal of attention and cannot be tucked away quietly.
>172 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I have definitely read some really great books this year which is going to make it very difficult to pick my top books at year's end!
>173 rosalita: I certainly know all about the power of book bullets on this site, Julia. I very rarely read new books, usually by the time I get to a book that I took a bullet for, it's already a few years old, but a good book has that quality if waiting patiently to deliver it's excellence.
>174 leslie.98: Thanks, Leslie!
201. Wolf Boys by Dan Slater - 3.6 ★
TIOLI #17: Title Contains an Animal One Would Find In A Zoo
Wolf Boys by Dan Slater is a grisly story about how a Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas chose, groomed and trained two American youths into assassins in order to help secure their foothold in America. The setting is the border town of Laredo, Texas during the early years of this century as the violence was escalating into an all-out war between gangs that were vying for control of this valuable smuggling route across the border and into the American heartland.
Author Dan Slater is an investigative journalist who centers his story on both sides of the law with Robert Garcia, an honest police detective coming up against these young murderers, Gabriel Cardona and Rosalio Reta. Between them, these two boys were responsible for the deaths of over a dozen, targeting those who opposed the Zetas. Most of the violence occurred across the Rio Grande, in Mexico where this battle between the cartels went on for years. Over 150,000 people were killed or went missing during this time period. The cartel also instructed them to kill people on the Texas side of the border as well and this eventually lead to their downfall. Both young men ended up in Texas prisons with long sentences but both also appear to be unrepentant as Reta’s comment, “I like what I do” shows.
I found this an interesting story but a bit uneven. The author included a lot of facts and figures that I thought were unnecessary to the main story. He researched the history of Laredo and border disputes that went back to the 1700’s. The beginning of the book and the last 100 pages or so were compelling as the violence of the drug world with it’s viscous competition, murders and brutal retaliations were exposed.
Congratulations on reaching 200! And on the "Reading From My Shelf" goal too! Very impressive!
Your excellent review meant that I've taken a bullet too with Crow Lake.
>175 DeltaQueen50: Like you by the time I get to a book or bullet it's already old and everybody has read it. Fortunately books are good at waiting happily on the shelf.
Congrats for reading 200 books, Judy. I'm impressed that over 150 are from your own shelves and you read more than you bought. Keep up the good work!
>176 DeltaQueen50: I'm joining you on this one Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers for the TIOLI challenge!
Congratulations on your reading this year! I am aiming for 200, myself. I should make it--I'm in the 180s right now, and loving everything I'm reading. It's been a great reading year for me.
I'm not sure how I've gotten so far behind on your thread. Congratulations on getting to 200 books - I'm going to be quite a bit short this year.
Also, I'm taking a BB for Crow Lake. Sounds like a book I would like.
>176 DeltaQueen50: You got me Judy. Laredo, Texas is my hometown. It is so changed from when I was growing up. It's not as dangerous as the media portrays sometimes, but it's not entirely safe anymore.
Hi Judy. I am taking this morning to see if i can get caught up with some threads. I see a lot of great reading you have bee doing over the past two months. Loved your review for Indian Horse! I have a copy so I am going to earmark that one as my author "W" read for next year's reading. Also made note of Wenjack. I was blown away by his Three Day Road. Arabella of Mars sounds familiar.... I might have am e-copy of that one. ;-)
>49 DeltaQueen50: - Fabulous pictures!
>69 DeltaQueen50: - I devoured M.M. Kaye books as a teenager! She is probably the reason I love historical fiction novels so much. ;-) Great review.
Sorry to see that you will need to have root canal done. At least you have some pain relief in the meantime!
>120 DeltaQueen50: - Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it was going to be very dry and full of 18th century philosophy so you can imagine how surprised I was when it was so different.
I had a similar expectation when I read Candide. Always nice to be pleasantly surprised by something different!
>164 DeltaQueen50: - Congratulations on reaching your 200 books milestone and YAY you loved Crow Lake!
Happy Sunday, Judy. l love following your reading. I am glad you enjoyed This Dark Road to Mercy. I may have liked it a bit more than you, I especially got a kick out of the McGuire and Sosa home run race, which I followed closely, here in Chicago but I agree his debut was better. I hope to get to his latest, The Last Ballad in the next month or so.
Congrats on hitting 200 and that one being Crow Lake, which I also loved.
>177 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne. I am very proud that I have been reading so much from my shelves. I think moving my books from the house to the apartment really opened my eyes as to how many books I have! Of course, there was a reason why I bought each and every one and I am enjoying discovering so many great books are here right at my fingertips!
>178 Familyhistorian: Meg, I suspect the "reading more than I am buying" is a temporary thing. Once we finally complete our move (if we ever do) I will probably start acquiring books again. I do love to look at my full book shelves and know I have lots of choice! :)
>179 klobrien2: I'll have to get over to your thread, Karen, and see what you thought of Wolf Boys and cheer you on with your reading goals!
>180 dudes22: Hi Betty, I think you will like Crow Lake when you get to it.
>181 luvamystery65: Hi Ro! You will probably get a lot more out of Wolf Boys than I did as the author does go into the history of Laredo in some detail. Border towns intrigue me, no matter which countries are involved there always seems to be something going on. The Mexican American border has such a history, and, of course it is also a major route for illicit goods coming up from Central and South Ameria as well.
>182 lkernagh: Hi Lori, great to see you! Indian Horse is definitely a front runner for one of my top books of the year! It obviously was the right book at the right time for me. A Curve of Time was another book that really spoke to me, and at the end of the book she describes where the family lived, which is outside Sydney toward the ferry terminal. I have plans to take a drive out that way next time I am over and see if I can locate their house (if it is still there).
>183 msf59: Hi Mark, hope you are having a relaxing Sunday. I admit the baseball aspect of This Dark Road To Mercy probably didn't grab me as much as it would a true baseball fan, but it certainly goes a long way toward pinpointing an exact time in the past.
202. Peril At End House by Agatha Christie - 4.0 ★
TIOLI #3: Read A Mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed Peril At End House by Agatha Christie. This story features Hercule Poirot and his long suffering friend, Hastings, as they get involved with a young woman whose life has been threatened on numerous occasions. Things take a serious turn when, in a case of mistaken identity, the young lady’s cousin is shot dead. Poirot in his egotistic, bombastic manner puts all the pieces together and solves the mystery.
What struck me as most interesting is the reference Hastings makes to a failed case of Poirot’s. A case involving a box of chocolates. In fact, whenever Hastings wants to warn Poirot that he is getting too high-handed, he just has to say the words “Chocolate Box” to draw him in. I wonder if this is Christie’s tongue-in-cheek reference to Anthony Berkeley’s book, The Case of the Poisoned Chocolates, which was published just two years before Peril at End House.
While Peril At End House isn’t the finest of Christie’s mysteries, it was an entertaining read. Technically this was a re-read as I had originally enjoyed the book in the 1970’s but I literally had no memory of the story. I enjoyed revisiting her fussy, little detective and the rest of the inventive characters she has peopled this book with and I freely admit that she totally baffled me again.
>185 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy. I liked that Poirot when I read it last year, despite the presence of Hastings who I find to be rather annoying. I much prefer the cases where Poirot works alone.
And the reference is not to the Berkeley book but to a short story contained in Poirot's Early Cases called, funnily enough, "The Chocolate Box." It's written as a story Poirot tells to Hastings when the latter marvels that Poirot has never failed to solve a case.
A box of poisoned chocolates shows up in another Poirot book after this one, Three-Act Tragedy but in that instance Poirot does solve the case. It's a wonder any of us ever eat chocolates with all this murder flying around them!
>108 DeltaQueen50: I also listened to this in audiobook and it made my walks go by very quickly!
203. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan - 4.2 ★
Category: Q to T
TIOLI #11: Title Contains a Prime Number
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan is an appealing YA story about being a misfit, handling personal loss and grief, and ultimately finding the true meaning of family. It’s main character Willow Chance is someone who I will remember for a long time. She’s unique, interesting, and a full on genius who is obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, and who finds comfort in counting by 7s.
Willow is an adopted child who feels she has the perfect family but all of that is ripped away when her parents are killed in a car crash. Willow has always had trouble fitting in with others but now even though coping with devastating grief she is able to connect to a diverse group of people who become her surrogate family.
I found Counting by 7s to be a heartwarming story that shows that being different or classed as weird can be wonderful. The story of this gifted twelve year old was riveting. While the author kept her story in the realms of reality and was very creative with the complex issues that she tackled, it’s tidy ending clearly shows that this book is aimed at the younger set. I listened to an audio version read by Robin Miles who did a very good job with both the story and giving the various characters their own voice. This was an excellent YA read.
>189 DeltaQueen50: - I really liked that one, too, Judy. I also listened to it on audio and thought the narrator was excellent.
Congrats in crossing the "200 books line", I think that's very impressive. I'm also taking a BB for Crow Lake.
>185 DeltaQueen50: I thought of re-reading Peril at End House for my calendar category this month (November 5, Guy Fawkes Day) because part of the story takes place at the fireworks display. Instead I went with Pilkington's The Gunpowder Plot. I love Christie's books and it's time for a re-read marathon.
Congrats on reaching 200 books, Judy! Crow Lake looks like a great book to reach that milestone with. I love stories that center on family relationships in the way you describe.
Today was a milestone day for me as I had my second LT meetup. This time I met fellow Vancouverite Familyhistorian. We had lunch together and I passed along my copy of The Case of the Poisoned Chocolates. It's always such a treat to meet someone who I've gotten to know here on this site. We never thought about taking pictures, but be assured it was a lovely time and it really does seem as if the "best" people are here on LibraryThing.
>192 Chrischi_HH: Thanks. I am so glad that so many are going to be reading Crow Lake, it's an excellent read from Canadian author Mary Lawson.
>193 VivienneR: Vivienne, I am slowly working my way through Agatha Christie's books, many of them are re-reads but there are a few new to me ones as well. I first discovered her when I was in my twenties and I read one after another until I read my library dry!
>194 katiekrug: ((hugs))
>195 andreablythe: Thanks, Andrea.
>196 mamzel: I guess that is one of YA's main themes - being a misfit - and Counting by 7s is a great example of taking this theme and developing a great story around it.
204. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - 4.1 ★
Category: Q to T
November AlphaKit: Q
TIOLI #4: Author From One Country Is Writing About Another
There are times when I find I am in the need of a downright romantic, girly read and The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn was the perfect choice. The book is set during the Regency period and the “Season” has just opened. The parade of eligible bachelors and single women are enlivening 1814 London. Filled with both romance and humor this second book in the series once again brings the Bridgerton family to the forefront as the eldest son, Anthony decides this is the year he will marry.
Anthony’s attention is centered on the star of the season, Miss Edwina Sheffield and, as he has no intention of falling in love, but does want a presentable wife, he decides she will do nicely. Unfortunately for him, he failed to take her sister into account and Miss Kate Sheffield has decided her sister will never marry this particular viscount because of his reputation. Anthony and Kate butt heads on a number of times and he finds her infuriating but, he also finds himself intrigued and attracted to her. On her part, Kate’s dislike of Anthony soon fades and she finds herself drawn to him. Of course true love never runs smooth and it takes a lively game of croquet, a bee sting and a compromising situation to bring things to a head.
The Viscount Who Loved Me was a lovely escape and I enjoyed reading about these two lovers who so enjoyed challenging each other. I would recommend this author to anyone who enjoys Georgette Heyer or is simply looking for a good historical romance to curl up with.
>198 DeltaQueen50: Since I've pretty much worn my Heyer's out, I'll have to put this on my list!
It was a pleasure to meet you and put a face to a name, Judy. Thanks again for the book. I love the cover of The Poisoned Chocolates Case.
I love LT meetups! It really is like meeting up with old friends, which of course we are.
Hooray for LT meet-ups! And thanks for the tip re Julia Quinn. I'll have to look for her at the library.
>198 DeltaQueen50: Oh, I love that series, and I have read it more than once. A lovely escape is the perfect description, Judy.
And hooray for the meet-up!
>198 DeltaQueen50: I ordered The Duke and I from the library and hope it will scratch my Heyer itch!
The magazine Travel & Leisure selected Canada as their 2017 Destination of the Year today, Judy. You might have fun checking this out.
>199 clue: Of course, no one can replace Georgette Heyer, but these are light, frothy, fun and set in the same time period as many of my favorite Heyer's.
>200 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! :)
>201 luvamystery65: It is so great to meet people that you already have such a connection to, isn't it!
>202 Dejah_Thoris: I hope you enjoy the book, Dejah!
>203 rosalita: They are definitely fun reads, Julia, and hey, both Mamie and Katie recommend them so they gotta be good!
>204 Crazymamie: Yes, I had been reading some pretty dark stuff lately so this book was the perfect escape.
>205 rabbitprincess: I know, they are great aren't they!
>206 ronincats: I hope it fills the gap a little, Roni. I would never presume to say any author could replace Heyer, but as I said above, these give it a good run. I have already added the third book to my Kindle. Roni, I love that Canada is becoming a desired destination. There's lots to do and see here, that's for sure! Like America it's so darn big that the best way to see it is to pick various locations to explore. One needs to visit Canada many times to see it all!
205. Best American Noir of the Century edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler - 5.0 ★
Category: E to H
November Reading Through Time: Noir or Dark
TIOLI #2: Title Has 3 Things For Which You Are Grateful
This giant compilation of noir stories was put together by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler. At 752 pages and thirty-nine stories this book is a veritable who’s who in noir fiction. Authors from Jim Thompson, James M Cain, Patricia Highsmith and Joyce Carol Oates are all included as are many authors that I knew nothing or very little about. I love noir so I enjoyed pretty much every story but it was a fairly dark and at times depressing read. Of course everyone’s taste varies but there were a few stories that really stood out for me.
The chilling Iris (1984) by Stephen Greenleaf about the stealing and selling of babies, the dark Nothing to Worry About (1945) by Day Keene in which a man plots to murder his wife, and the clever and convoluted Man in the Dark (1952) by Howard Browne all grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. These authors aren’t very well known but they all had a history of writing pulp fiction and then becoming successful television and film script writers. Another story that I wouldn’t want to read when I was home alone was Out There In the Dark by Ed Gorman. These stories are not just by authors from the past, some of today’s leading mystery writers such as James Lee Burke and Tom Franklin are also included in this book.
This is a wonderful collection of stories by various authors that all used a dark plot, tone and theme to illustrate seriously flawed people who are put in morally questionable situations through greed, lust, jealousy and alienation. Noir is a hard genre to define but this collection leans toward the dark and oppressive, twisting both it’s characters and it’s reader into knots but giving us plenty to relish. This is a great collection for both established fans of noir and for those looking for an introduction to this genre.
Great review, Judy - giving it my thumb. That sounds like a good one to dip in and out of throughout the year. Adding it to The List.
>210 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Mamie. I read it for a challenge so needed to get it finished this month, but I would have loved to have made it last longer. It would certainly be perfect for dipping in and out of over a long period of time.
Hi Judy: Congrats and reaching and passing the 200 mark! Impressive. I loved Crow Lake as well and may be due for a reread. Have a lovely weekend.
>211 BLBera: Hi Beth and thanks. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend after a fairly hectic week. Hopefully I will get in plenty of reading time as once again I have over-booked myself with reading plans!
206. Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Kates Shulman - 4.0 ★
Category: Q to T
November CatWoman: LGBT/Feminist Writings
TIOLI #2: Title Contains Three Things For Which You Are Grateful
When it was originally published in 1972, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Shulman was considered quite shocking, as it ruthlessly exposes what it was like growing up female in middle class America. I have to admit this book made me feel very uncomfortable at times as I often recognized my younger self in some of the main character’s actions. This book writes of a time when women were only considered as reflections of the men in their lives, and they were judged on how well they enhanced their fathers, brothers, boyfriend and, later husband’s reputation. Women were possessions, and high expectations were placed on their appearance and behavior. One’s ability to hold a man was considered far more important than their ability to hold a job, and, in most cases, it was a job that a woman took, not a career. Careers were for the men.
I didn’t always agree with the choices that the main character made, it was painfully obvious that she always needed to have the next man in her life lined up before she discarded her current one. But her struggle to find herself amid so many conflicting cultural expectations was told in a strong, witty style that made the subject matter palatable. Above all, this character felt her appearance was the one thing that could open doors and so she pursued beauty at all costs.
Although today things are slowly changing and women expect more of and for themselves than they did, the passages about sexual harassment, job discrimination, double standards and the bind that marriage and motherhood can put on females still rings true. This sardonic portrayal of a white, middle class girl coming-of-age went on to sell over a million copies in the 1970’s and was considered one of the literary works of the woman’s liberation movement. As many of the cultural references are still relevant today, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen continues to resonate with it’s readers and act as a measuring stick to show how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
207. City Primeval by Elmore Leonard - 4.0 ★
Category: I to L
November AlphaCat: L
1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #3: Read A Mystery
The City Primeval by Elmore Leonard is a take on a wild west showdown but this one is set in modern times in the city of Detroit. Clement Mansell is a killer, he knows how easy it can be to get away with murder and so he keeps a high profile, tough-as-nails female lawyer on retainer. Her mistake is thinking that she can control him. A senseless act of road rage has him murdering a crooked judge along with his girlfriend and the lead detective in the case, Raymond Cruz believes this killer shouldn’t get to slip away by using technicalities of the legal system even if it means manoeuvring a showdown that will allow only one of them to walk away.
Leonard’s take on a modern western was written in 1980, and although it is dated with references to discos, Afros and Plymouth automobiles, this is good crime story. The contrasts between the loud showy, psycho Mansell and the quiet, steady, old school policeman, Cruz keeps the reader involved and anticipating the confrontation that is coming.
The author moves his story along with his excellent use of dialogue that brings the 1980’s to life. The seedy side of Detroit is showcased as the story unfolds in a dry, hard-edged manner. The City Primeval is a tightly-written, original crime story where the protagonists play a cat-and-mouse-game that keeps the suspense level high.
That noir compendium sounds very interesting, Judy, but quite a time investment at 752 pages. The two books you read after also sound very thought provoking and deep - maybe it is time for another romance?
We finally sold the house. Champagne is on me!
Grab a glass and refresh yourself:
We signed the papers yesterday. I am happy that a family is going to be living in the house, they have 3 kids, although the oldest is just about ready to fly the nest. They wrote us a letter telling us how much they liked the house and that they would look after it which was really thoughtful of them.
They have also given us plenty of time to finalize the move as the possession date isn't until February 15th, 2018 so we can relax and enjoy the holiday season and then make the moving arrangements in January.
Judy I have been lurking frequently awaiting to hear your wonderful news.
>215 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I've got myself involved in another couple of heavier books - a historical fiction novel based on the life of William Wallace and a war story set in WW I. I'm not complaining thought as both are shaping up to be good reads but perhaps afterwards something lighter will be called for!
>216 DeltaQueen50: - HOORAY! That is most excellent, Judy. I could tell it was weighing on you... What a nice way to jump-start the holiday season :)
Congratulations, Judy! And how lovely that you get to take your time vacating. I am so very happy for you.
>217 luvamystery65: Thanks Ro. I am very happy as we felt totally in limbo for the last couple of months. I can now make some Christmas plans and relax and enjoy the season.
>219 katiekrug: It was definitely weighing on us, Katie, just months ago people were getting more than their asking price but a change in provincial government, the blocking of a planned bridge building, and a few hikes in the interest rate really slowed the housing market down.
>220 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie, now I get get to the fun part - decorating the new place!
>221 paruline: Thanks, it's a great load off our mind.
I'm so happy to hear your news, Judy. That's great that you have time to plan and pack, although I know you've taken some stuff over already. The lady who bought our house wrote us a letter too. I think it's now the "in" thing to do from watching the home shows on TV.
Congrats on selling the house! I'm glad that the house is going to a good home (if that makes any sense).
WOO-HOO! Congratulations on finally finding a buyer! They sound like lovely thoughtful people who will take good care of it for you, confirming my theory that the other sales fell through for a reason.
Congratulations, Judy, it must be a great relief to have this issue resolved. Now you can really look forward to the holidays!
>223 dudes22: Thanks Betty, when we received the letter I couldn't help but smile and tell my husband about "House Hunters" on tv! It is a nice touch thought especially as we had a lot of investors looking to rent the house for now and eventually tear it down.
>224 VivienneR: I know we have been so concentrated on selling that we don't really know what the next step is! We have a brother-in-law who wants a lot of our stuff and a daughter who is looking forward to getting the family room furniture. At the rate we are going we won't have a lot of furniture left to actually move!
>225 rabbitprincess: Thank RP, and yes, it makes a lot of sense. I feel better knowing a family will be living here and that it won't be torn down to make room for new houses.
>226 rosalita: I know, "what is meant to be will be" but it was hard waiting for it! ;)
>227 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. We are looking forward to getting on with our next stage of life.
>228 clue: Thanks, Clue, it will certainly make for a more relaxing Christmas. :)
>229 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks, Dejah.
231 Thanks MissW, this will be a special Christmas for the family knowing it's going to be the last one in this house.
>232 jonesli: Thanks, Lisa, it is a huge relief!
Congratulations on selling your house Judy! And how nice that you can have your holidays there before packing up.
>234 leslie.98: Thanks, Leslie, yes, after all our worrying it has worked out very well. :)
208. Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel - 3.8 ★
Category: A to D
TIOLI #3: Read A Mystery
Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel is the first book in her Louise Rick police procedural crime series. Set in Copenhagen, this first entry involves the case of a serial rapist who meets and sets up his victims by meeting them at on-line dating sites. I listened to an audio version of the book as read by Alice Barrett Mitchell who I thought did a very good job with the vocals.
While there was nothing particularly outstanding in this story, it was a good solid procedural that came across in the audio version well. There is a good balance between the police work and the main characters’ home life with her friends and co-workers. The rape/violence towards woman angle was handled well and the author’s descriptions of the on-line world seemed accurate. As it lent itself so well to the audio medium I fully intend to continue listening rather than reading this series.
Adding my congratulations about selling the house! What a lovely early Christmas present for you. :)
Congratulations on selling your house!
>208 DeltaQueen50: This is one I'll have to keep in mind for next year's MysteryCAT's Noir and Hardboiled theme!
>237 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori.
>238 ronincats: So sorry, Roni, I don't know how I missed you! But thanks for the good thoughts and I will aim to do better in the future!
>239 christina_reads: Thanks, Christina. I was out shopping today with my elder daughter and it was actually fun to be thinking of Christmas!
>240 mathgirl40: Thanks, Paulina. The Best American Noir of the Century is an excellent read and would be a perfect choice for the Noir theme, in fact, I read it for the Novemeber Noir theme at the Reading Through Time Challenge.
209. The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte - 4.0 ★
Category: U to Z
November AwardsCat: 2011 Nominee, Ethel Wilson Prize, B.C. Literary Awards
TIOLI #1: Author's First Name has an A, B or C While the Last Name has an X, Y, or Z
Today William Wallace is considered a hero of Scotland, not the outlaw that he was held to be by the English in the 13th century. His opposition to Edward I and the English having a stranglehold on Scotland led him into open rebellion. He led the Scottish forces at a number of battles but was eventually betrayed and turned over to the English. Charged with treason, he was tortured, hung but taken down while still alive to be drawn and quartered. The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte is a work of historical fiction, based on the facts of his life.
Circumstances of fate brought William Wallace to take the direction that eventually brought him to his grisly ending. He grew up during the rule of Alexander III of Scotland but when that king died unexpectedly leaving the country without a proper heir, the English saw an opportunity to step in and claim Scotland for themselves. In The Forest Laird the author breathes life into the myth. Told through the voice of his cousin, Father James, who grew up with Wallace, we read of the reluctant outlaw, fugitive and hero who at heart was a man who was most at home in the forest, and would rather have lived quietly there with his family.
This was a good story that developed the character of William Wallace beyond the Hollywood treatment of the film “Braveheart”. The book opens on the eve of Wallace’s death and so there is no nasty surprise awaiting the reader, his execution is known from the start. Although the book occasionally got bogged down with political events and explanations, I enjoyed this story about a simple man who got caught up in complex events.
>243 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks, Dejah. We actually celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving in October, so today tends to be the shopping jump-off for Christmas around here. I hope you are having a great holiday.
Whoops! And I was wondering why I hadn't wished you a happy Thanksgiving today. Apparently my memory works better in the morning than in the late afternoon.
My apologies - I hope your day was wonderful, even if it wasn't a national holiday.
210. War Story by Derek Robinson - 4.2 ★
November CultureCat: War & Conflict
TIOLI #15: Scramble the Letters of the Title and Get a New Title
War Story by Derek Robinson is set in World War I and is about a squadron of pilots who are stationed in France and are being sent up against the Hun on a daily basis. At first it seems that it’s all banter, games of cricket on the airfield, and Etonian old boys reunions but it isn’t long before the cracks show through. These are men that have given up hope, can’t see an end, other than death or disfigurement, to this war. A newly trained lieutenant, a little too earnest and pompous, eager to prove himself to king and country, arrives and can’t understand why or how the craziness is allowed. His CO sets his plane on fire, his bunk-mate hates him on sight because he recently lost his friend and can’t accept his death, everyone else either ignores him or calls him by a wrong name.
War Story is a frightening look at what was happening to the young men who thought they were in for a heroic but short adventure. As the CO spirals out of control and eventually commits suicide by flying his plane directly into a German one, our naive main character becomes as disillusioned as the pilots around him.
Derek Robinson excels in stories about war, both with War Story which is part of a WW I trilogy and also his trilogy about WW II. His descriptions of aerial combat are compelling and place the reader in the sky alongside the pilots. The dialogue rings true, and the atmosphere feels authentic, and there is plenty of black humor but it is his portrait of young men barely hanging onto their sanity that the reader will carry away with him.
211. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells - 3.8 ★
Category: U to Z
1001 Books to Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #5: A Book Written in the 19th Century
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells is a classic science-fiction story originally published in 1897. This tale verges on horror as a student of science, Griffin involves himself into research in optics and invents a way to render the body invisible. At first gleeful with his transformation, he becomes more and more angry when he realizes he cannot find a way to reverse the invisibility.
There is very little to like about Griffin who appeared to be a selfish, self-centered individual. He is described as a man of random temper given to bouts of heedless violence. His altered condition was extremely difficult to live with and this only made him more angry, more violent and a threat to all that he met.
I quite enjoyed this story. Although it was a little dated, I liked the angle the author took, showing how terrible and isolating this condition could be. This dark tale didn’t hesitate to show the mental instability of the main character whose revenge driven cruelty and fury toward others made it very difficult to feel any sympathy towards him. The Invisible Man is a classic sci-fi morality tale that holds up well.
I'm glad to hear you finally found a buyer for the house, so you can soon close that chapter and fully concentrate on the next. :)
>236 DeltaQueen50: Good to hear it was a solid entry. I have that one (Danish version) on my TBR. I'm just once again wondering how the decisions of which works are ebing translated and which are not are made - in the Danish original Call me Princess is the second book in the series. The first is called "Grønt støv".
It appears that it is time for me to set up my final thread of the year, so I am off to do that now.
My new thread is up and ready for visitors, please click on the continuation link and come join me.
Hooray for selling your house! And oops, I posted before I saw your link.
Happy Holidays! Wishing you all the best and many new, glorious books to read! And congrats on selling your house!
I goofed when I wished you happy Thanksgiving, Judy, but I hope I'm on safer ground wishing you a very, Merry Christmas!
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