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VivienneR will Shine on Some Crazy Diamonds in 2018

2018 Category Challenge

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1VivienneR
Edited: Feb 23, 3:24pm Top

In recognition of Pink Floyd, one of my favourite bands, I've chosen twelve of their songs for twelve categories.

Each book will be in one category, no overlaps. I don't promise to read a book for each category every month.

I can also be found over at Club Read



Shine On You Crazy Diamond (from Wish You Were Here)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54W8kktFE_o


2VivienneR
Edited: Mar 13, 2:31pm Top



Careful With That Axe, Eugene (from: Ummagumma)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8OE4gedQuc

Crime: This speaks for itself - mystery novels will go here.

  • The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths
  • The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
  • 3VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:31pm Top



    Grantchester Meadows (from: Ummagumma)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DAdWcsM7Po

    Fiction not included in other categories.

  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • 4VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:31pm Top



    Fearless (from: Meddle)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeyHPAdxuy0

    Canadian: This reminds me of my "fearless" son who climbs in the Canadian Rockies.

  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
  • How the light gets in by Louise Penny
  • 5VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 4, 4:15pm Top



    Sysyphus (from: Ummagumma)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTgQIEqd5Ac

    Classics: I'm hoping to read all 9 volumes of The Forsyste Chronicles by John Galsworthy and some of Trollope's Barsetshire series.

  • The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
  • Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
  • Indian Summer of a Forsyte (Interlude) and In Chancery by John Galsworthy
  • Awakening (interlude) and To Let by John Galsworthy
  • 6VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 2, 4:33pm Top



    The Dogs of War (from: A Momentary Lapse of Reason
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvQ8yYmUOLA

    War: Any books with the topic or setting of war.

    7VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 12, 3:36pm Top



    See Emily Play (from: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPf56QaRXhg

    YA and Children

    8VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 28, 7:40pm Top



    Is There Anybody Out There? (from: The Wall)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIxYe3G3Iz4

    Non-fiction, Biography and Orphans

  • The Doctor's Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw
  • 9VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:34pm Top



    Any Colour You Like (from: Dark Side of the Moon)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK7HJvmgFnM

    ColourCAT

    January - Black:
  • The Blackhouse by Peter May
  • The Camel Club by David Baldacci

    February - Brown
  • Sure and certain death by Barbara Nadel
  • Curtains for Roy by Aaron Bushkowsky

    March - Green
  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

    April - Yellow
    May - Blue
    June - Purple
    July - Pink
    August - Grey
    September - Metallic
    October - Orange
    November - Red
    December - White
  • 10VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:34pm Top



    Obscured By Clouds
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16V-wNwlTw0&list=PLsBqRPeVly7NvxT-02wQeeMB6xsbzC_dV

    MysteryCAT

    January - Nordic Mysteries:
  • The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall (Sweden)

    February - Female Cop/Sleuth/Detective:
  • The Circle by Peter Lovesey
  • Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

    March - Global Mysteries:
  • Season of Snows and Sins by Patricia Moyes
  • Noble Lies by Charles Benoit

    April - Classic and Golden Age Mysteries
    May - Mysteries involving Transit
    June - True Crime hosted
    July - Police Procedurals
    August - Historical Mysteries
    September - Noir and Hard-Boiled Mysteries
    October - Espionage
    November - Cozy Mysteries
    December - Futuristic/Fantastical Mysteries
  • 11VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:33pm Top



    Another Brick in the Wall (from: The Wall)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrxX9TBj2zY

    RandomCAT

    January - Ack! I've been hit
  • The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

    February - Laissez les bons temps rouler
  • The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey
  • The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton

    March - Ripped from the headlines
  • The Curse of the Narrows: the Halifax Explosion 1917 by Laura M. MacDonald
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
  • Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Owen Beattie

    April -
    May -
    June -
    July -
    August -
    September -
    October -
    November -
    December -
  • 12VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:32pm Top



    Several species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict (from: Ummagumma)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICbbPSXUAmY

    AlphaKIT

    Jan - V & M:
  • Splinter the silence by Val McDermid
  • The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle

    Feb - P & J
  • Portrait of a lady by Henry James
  • Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James

    Mar - F & I

    Apr - Y & U
    May - Q & K
    Jun - G & R
    Jul - S & A
    Aug - O & D
    Sep - B & E
    Oct - N & L
    Nov - T & H
    Dec - C & W
    Yearlong - X & Z
  • 13VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 13, 2:15pm Top



    Dogs (from: Animals)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiaF4kuxJco

    BingoDog

    1. Title contains name of a famous person
    2. Published more than 100 years ago: Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
    3. Originally in a different language
    4. New-to-you author
    5. Relative name in the title
    6. Money in the title
    7. Book published in 2018: Rowan and Eris by Campbell Jefferys
    8. X somewhere in the title
    9. Fat book >500 pages
    10. Book set during a holiday
    11. LGBT central character
    12. Book on the 1001 list
    13. Read a CAT
    14. Number in the title
    15. Humorous book
    16. Unread 2017 purchase
    17. Something seen in the sky in title
    18. Related to the Pacific Ocean
    19. Fits 2 KITs/CATs: Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (January ColourCAT & MysteryCAT)
    20. Beautiful cover
    21. Autobiography or memoir
    22. Poetry or plays: The Garden by Vita Sackville-West
    23. A long-time TBR: A Mind to Murder by P.D. James
    24. Story involves travel
    25. Rank in the title: The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

    14VivienneR
    Oct 10, 2017, 4:56pm Top

    Open for business!

    15majkia
    Oct 10, 2017, 6:14pm Top

    Great categories! Love the pics :)

    16christina_reads
    Oct 10, 2017, 6:36pm Top

    I may be reading some Trollope next year as well -- I've only read the first two Barsetshire books, and I've been meaning to read more. Maybe we can compare notes!

    17VivienneR
    Oct 10, 2017, 6:43pm Top

    >15 majkia: Thanks.

    >16 christina_reads: I've read the first three, so I'm planning on Framley Parsonage. Let me know when you are ready. I'd like to compare notes.

    18christina_reads
    Oct 10, 2017, 6:45pm Top

    >17 VivienneR: I'll let you know, but don't wait for me if you want to start before I'm ready!

    19VivienneR
    Oct 10, 2017, 6:58pm Top

    In that case, I might start with the Forsyte Chronicles first and keep Trollope until later in the year.

    20LittleTaiko
    Oct 10, 2017, 9:25pm Top

    Your AlphaKit song choice gave me the giggles.

    21DeltaQueen50
    Oct 10, 2017, 10:58pm Top

    Great set up, Vivienne. I'll be joining in with the Forsyte Saga and I'm looking forward to it.

    22VivienneR
    Oct 11, 2017, 1:40am Top

    >20 LittleTaiko: Stacy, I get the giggles just trying to say it!

    >21 DeltaQueen50: Oh great, looks like we're going to have a group read one way or another. I watched a couple of episodes of the most recent Forsyte Saga on tv but didn't care for it. The old one from the late sixties was impossible to beat.

    23MissWatson
    Oct 11, 2017, 4:17am Top

    I have to confess I know only one of the songs, but I love the pics. Happy reading!

    24rabbitprincess
    Oct 11, 2017, 10:32am Top

    Excellent choices of songs for your categories! Pink Floyd had some great titles. Have a great reading year!

    25VivienneR
    Oct 11, 2017, 2:42pm Top

    >23 MissWatson: Thanks Birgit. You can always try the links to hear more.

    >24 rabbitprincess: Thanks rp. Since putting this together I have Pink Floyd songs playing non-stop in my brain.

    26Jackie_K
    Oct 11, 2017, 4:46pm Top

    I love your categories, and they're so cleverly matched with the pictures/song titles. I'll be following next year, although that is bound to be dangerous as you were one of my main sources of BBs this year!

    27VivienneR
    Oct 11, 2017, 5:35pm Top

    Thank you Jackie. I'm looking forward to sharing our reading. I've had many of your BB hits too, especially the Scottish books.

    28lkernagh
    Nov 12, 2017, 12:05pm Top

    Great theme and I love the meme pic for your Another Brick in the Wall category!

    29VivienneR
    Nov 12, 2017, 2:09pm Top

    Thank you, Lori. I had to get a cat in there somewhere :)

    30Crazymamie
    Nov 12, 2017, 3:27pm Top

    >28 lkernagh: What Lori said. Very cleverly done!

    31Chrischi_HH
    Nov 15, 2017, 3:32pm Top

    Excellent theme! There are many songs I don't know (or at least think I don't know, because my father likes Pink Floyd and I've certainly heard them at home), so I'll be sure to visit your thread once in a while to check your reading and try out one song after the other. :)

    32VivienneR
    Nov 15, 2017, 3:59pm Top

    >30 Crazymamie: and >31 Chrischi_HH: Thank you both! I guess Pink Floyd fans are showing their age :)

    33mamzel
    Nov 17, 2017, 12:44pm Top

    I loved Pink Floyd when I was in college. I'm glad you brought them here to the challenge. My daughter and I went to a laser show with their music a number of years back. It was fun to share the music with her.

    34VivienneR
    Nov 17, 2017, 2:06pm Top

    Lucky you, getting to attend a PF laser show! I've never gone to any shows or concerts even though I've been a big fan for a long time. Never lived in the right place at the right time.

    35dudes22
    Nov 17, 2017, 7:43pm Top

    Checking out threads and setting my stars for next year. Also assuming I'll be taking some BBs next year.

    36VivienneR
    Nov 18, 2017, 2:04am Top

    And I'm sure I'll be taking some from yours!

    37mstrust
    Dec 7, 2017, 6:59pm Top

    Happy new thread, Viv, you rock chick! Why do I have a sudden urge to flop on the floor and just watch the lights? I know just a couple of Pink Floyd songs, the radio ones, so maybe I'll learn something about them from you.

    38VivienneR
    Dec 8, 2017, 2:30am Top



    >37 mstrust: I grew up in the UK - and I'm probably older than all the youngsters here, which accounts for my taste in music! ! I have all of Pink Floyd's music, even multiple versions of some songs.

    39VivienneR
    Dec 17, 2017, 2:23pm Top

    January Plans

    KITs, CATs and DOG

    ColourCAT: Black
    The Blackhouse by Peter May
    The Black Book by Ian Rankin

    MysteryCAT: Nordic
    The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall (Sweden)

    RandomCAT: Ack! I've been hit
    Snowfall in Burracombe by Lilian Harry BB from deltaqueen50

    AlphaKIT: V & M
    Splinter the silence by Val McDermid

    BingoDOG
    3 - the longest TBR: A Mind to Murder by P.D. James (since 2009)
    4 - poetry: The Garden by Vita Sackville-West

    My Challenge Categories

    Fearless -- Canadian
    The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

    Sysyphus -- Classics
    The Man of Property (Forsyte Saga #1) by John Galsworthy

    Remember a Day -- History and historical fiction
    Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

    40Crazymamie
    Dec 17, 2017, 4:25pm Top

    Nice January plans - I really loved The Blackhouse, and the second one was also very good.

    41VivienneR
    Dec 17, 2017, 6:48pm Top

    Thanks, Mamie! So glad you enjoyed The Blackhouse! I'll be borrowing it from the library but I have the second and third in the series on my shelves.

    42VivienneR
    Dec 21, 2017, 11:42am Top



    The turning point of the year! Happy Yule!

    43dudes22
    Dec 21, 2017, 12:30pm Top

    I just posted over on Jean's thread that we're having a neighborhood "bonfire" and some hot cider right after sunset to celebrate.

    44VivienneR
    Dec 21, 2017, 5:42pm Top

    Sounds wonderful! I'll be right over!

    45rabbitprincess
    Dec 21, 2017, 6:33pm Top

    Have you read The Distant Echo, by Val McDermid? One of the main characters is nicknamed "Mondo", derived from "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (he's a big Pink Floyd fan). I've been thinking of your thread as I read!

    46VivienneR
    Dec 22, 2017, 12:50am Top

    Oh, I didn't know that! I have The Distant Echo on hold at the library! Excellent!

    I love books that mention my favourite music. Ian Rankin, Rebus and I are great Rolling Stones fans. My husband just brought me a book from the new book shelf at the library. He recognized the author name as one I read. Unfortunately it was just a new copy of Rankin's Hide and Seek to replace the library's well-worn one. That's ok, I'll read it anyway.

    Darn, we should have had a tartan noir mysteryCAT category.

    47rabbitprincess
    Dec 22, 2017, 10:48pm Top

    >46 VivienneR: Could put it under the hardboiled and noir month! ;)

    48ErinPaperbackstash
    Dec 23, 2017, 1:05am Top

    I love this idea and the creativity of it. Plus the axe picture cracked me up :)

    49VivienneR
    Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 11:11am Top

    >47 rabbitprincess: I'll fit it in, no problem!

    >48 ErinPaperbackstash: Thank you, Erin. I love Eugene's picture too. That's the song with a big scream that suits the pic well.

    50sushicat
    Jan 2, 8:28am Top

    Stopping by to wish you a happy new reading year! Love that cat in the wall.

    51MissWatson
    Jan 2, 1:29pm Top

    Happy New Year!

    52VioletBramble
    Jan 3, 10:43pm Top

    Hi Vivienne! Great song choices for your categories.The cat in the wall graphic is the best. Looking forward to seeing what you'll read this year.

    53pammab
    Jan 4, 12:04am Top

    I love the theme and album covers! So very warm and fuzzy, and yet at the same time cool and distant... huh. ;)

    54VivienneR
    Jan 4, 2:01am Top

    Thank you >50 sushicat:, >51 MissWatson:, >52 VioletBramble: and >53 pammab:. Glad you like the theme. I can't wait to get started filling in some books!

    55VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 4, 1:39pm Top

    Book Meme from books read in 2017

    Describe yourself: An Irish Country Girl

    Describe how you feel: Waging heavy peace

    Describe where you currently live: Northanger Abbey

    If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Sea of Adventure

    Your favorite form of transportation: Last Bus to Woodstock

    Your best friend is: A Man Called Ove

    You and your friends are: Aiding and Abetting

    What’s the weather like: August Heat

    You fear: The Third Policeman

    What is the best advice you have to give: Shake hands forever

    Thought for the day: We'll all be burnt in our beds some night

    How you would like to die: Unnatural Causes

    Your soul’s present condition: Atonement

    56dudes22
    Jan 4, 1:47pm Top

    Those are good answers. It amazes me we manage to read books that fit. I especially like your thought for the day answer.

    57VivienneR
    Jan 4, 2:38pm Top

    Thanks, Betty. It was a very good book too!

    58DeltaQueen50
    Jan 4, 5:06pm Top

    Great meme answers, Vivienne! Well, 2018 is finally here but unfortunately my first two books aren't great - but the good news is that great books are probably just around the corner!

    59rabbitprincess
    Jan 4, 7:12pm Top

    Excellent answer describing you and your friends! On here they'd be aiding and abetting the growth of your TBR list ;)

    60thornton37814
    Jan 4, 7:37pm Top

    >55 VivienneR: I hope your thought for the day doesn't come true.

    61VivienneR
    Jan 5, 12:54am Top

    >58 DeltaQueen50: Sorry to hear you are not satisfied with your first two books. I'm still working on my first two and enjoying both to the max - The Blackhouse and The Forsyte Saga (that I know you plan on reading). I hope the rest of the year goes as well.

    >59 rabbitprincess: Exactly!

    >60 thornton37814: I hope so too! I felt a slight shiver when I chose that one.

    62lkernagh
    Jan 5, 11:46pm Top

    >55 VivienneR: - Great meme answers, especially intrigued by the though for the day answer!

    63VivienneR
    Jan 6, 3:05am Top

    >55 VivienneR: Actually, my thought at the time was - I can't leave out a great Canadian book with a title like that!

    64hailelib
    Jan 6, 2:39pm Top

    I like the diamond as prism picture at the top of your thread.

    A lot of us are attempting The Forsyte Saga this year.

    65VivienneR
    Jan 7, 4:25pm Top

    >64 hailelib: Thank you, nice to see you dropping by. I just finished the first volume of the Forsyte Saga and hoping I can control the urge to read the lot in one go!

    66VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:18pm Top

    Finished two books yesterday, both winners! Great start to the year!



    Category: Sysyphus -- Classics

    1. The Man of Property by John Galsworthy

    It's been many, many years since the last time I read the nine-volume saga or watched the 1967 TV series, but the characters came back easily thanks to Galsworthy's defining characterizations. Written in 1906, while Victorian values were still of consequence, Galsworthy portrays a family trying to maintain those principles yet beset by events that might shatter their carefully constructed citadel. I enjoyed the re-read tremendously, just as much as the original reading. 5★



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall -- ColourCAT: Black

    2. The Blackhouse by Peter May

    What a surprise! I was expecting the usual police procedural but instead got what amounts to a dark personal history and travelogue of the Hebridean Isle of Lewis with police activity taking a lesser part. The format was the most enticing part of the story that alternately recounts Fin Macleod's personal memories of growing up on the island with the investigation in which he is currently taking part. This is definitely the best from Peter May that I've read and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. 4.5★

    Thanks to DeltaQueen50 for the bullet.

    67lkernagh
    Jan 7, 6:10pm Top

    I am taking a BB for The Man of Property. Glad to see your first two books of 2018 were both winners!

    68Crazymamie
    Jan 7, 9:10pm Top

    >66 VivienneR: Oh, I loved The Blackhouse, and I listened to the second one on audio, and it was fabulous. I need to get to the last one soon.

    69thornton37814
    Jan 8, 12:06pm Top

    >66 VivienneR: If The Blackhouse isn't in my TBR list, it's going there!

    70DeltaQueen50
    Jan 8, 12:35pm Top

    >66 VivienneR: Your 5 star rating has really gotten me excited to start The Man of Property, Vivienne. And, I really need to pick up the next Peter May in that trilogy - you know, "too many books, too little time"!

    71VivienneR
    Jan 8, 1:25pm Top

    >67 lkernagh: Glad to hear that. And glad to see you are joining us on the Forsyte Saga group read.

    >68 Crazymamie: I have the next two in the series on the shelf, bought at a library booksale some time ago and just waiting until I'd read the first one. Can't wait to get at them now.

    >69 thornton37814: You'll enjoy it, Lori.

    >70 DeltaQueen50: Another group reader! There are a lot of characters but you will get to know them quickly. We've another library booksale coming up soon so I expect to add to my tbr significantly.

    72mstrust
    Jan 8, 2:48pm Top

    The BlackHouse has been on my list for a while, having seen it recommended on Well Read. Thanks for the review and the reminder.

    73dudes22
    Jan 8, 4:02pm Top

    >66 VivienneR: - I have a Peter May book from a different series in my Recommended collection which was also a BB from Judy. She sure does like to sling them around.

    74VivienneR
    Jan 9, 2:00am Top

    >72 mstrust: I've read a few by Peter May ranging from not bad to awful. I'm glad I was convinced to read The Blackhouse.

    >73 dudes22: I got hit by several BBs in succession so it was hard to resist! Judy is an expert shot.

    75VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:19pm Top



    AlphaKIT - January V & M: Several species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict

    3. Splinter the silence by Val McDermid 3★

    The reader knows from the beginning that a murder has in fact been committed although the police are unaware of it. McDermid's story takes a long time to get the team set up, all the while just guessing at the chance of any major crime. Meanwhile Tony is helping Carol give up booze. Nearing the final section of the book they finally get to the investigation mostly relying on Stacy hacking a major online bookseller’s system. Although the story was too protracted, it ended with some mildly suspenseful activity.

    76VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:19pm Top



    Another Brick in the Wall -- MysteryCAT: Nordic Mysteries

    4. The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall (Sweden)

    The combination of hardboiled style and unflattering portrayal of Swedish police is hilarious. I am sure Sjöwall did not intend it to be funny, but the fifty years that have elapsed since it was publshed have given it a different tenor. Despite all the sexism, politically incorrectness, and overabundance of sex-obsessed women, it was mildly entertaining if only because of the unintentional comedy.

    This is only the fourth in the series, but I think I'm done with Sjöwall.

    77VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:19pm Top

    My first Bingo read:

    Dogs -- BingoDog 23: on the TBR shelf the longest



    5. A Mind to Murder by P.D. James

    Bought at a library booksale in 2009 this has been on the shelf ever since, probably because I read it years ago. I like James' writing style - no swearing, slang or silliness, just a nice elegant murder. This time at a psychiatric home.

    78rabbitprincess
    Jan 16, 6:14pm Top

    >77 VivienneR: I read this one many years ago, but like a lot of books from my pre-LT days, I don't remember much about it. Maybe a re-read someday.

    79VivienneR
    Jan 16, 6:21pm Top

    >78 rabbitprincess: I remembered reading it when I bought it in 2009 but her writing is so refined that I knew I'd enjoy it again even though it is a little dated.

    80thornton37814
    Jan 17, 3:47pm Top

    I have one or two P. D. James books on hand. Perhaps this will be the year I get to them.

    81VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 17, 4:27pm Top

    Louise Penny's writing style reminds me of P.D. James' style. It's worth the trip back to an old favourite.

    82cmbohn
    Jan 18, 2:18am Top

    I'm intrigued by The Man of Property. I don't know anything about the Forsyte books, but it sounds like a good story.

    83VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 18, 2:41pm Top

    >82 cmbohn: The Man of Property is the first book of three in the series known as The Forsyte Saga. Galsworthy went on to write six more books in the family saga that form the Forsyte Chronicles - although the first three (The Forsyte Saga) are the most popular. In my experience, the story becomes irresistible. Maybe you will join the group read?

    84VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:19pm Top



    Another Brick in the Wall -- RandomCAT: Ack, I've been hit!

    A triple hit from Deltaqueen50, mathgirl40 and AlisonY

    6. The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

    A fabulous first novel from Doris Lessing published in 1950. Her story tells of the struggles and downfall of a farmer and his wife in what is now Zimbabwe in the 1940s. The writing is outstanding, portraying the innermost feelings of the couple. Any feelings held by black natives are omitted, leaving them anonymous and unknown, as they were treated. The topic of racism is repugnant, yet the story, however repellant and bleak, is spellbinding. The book opens with the announcement of Mary's murder, and then goes to back to her beginnings, her life and details of the eventual breakdown.

    85thornton37814
    Jan 19, 2:56pm Top

    >84 VivienneR: I wanted to read that one. It also fits the "debut" novels theme for the British Author Challenge. However, I wasn't able to locate an available copy to read this month. I hope to get to it later in the year.

    86DeltaQueen50
    Jan 19, 6:11pm Top

    >84 VivienneR: The Grass is Singing made such an impression on me, I spent most of my life avoiding Doris Lessing thinking she would be too literary for me, but now I have read two of her books and enjoyed both.

    87VivienneR
    Jan 19, 8:38pm Top

    >84 VivienneR: I hope you get to it soon.

    >85 thornton37814: Many years ago I read some of Lessing's short stories. In one she mentioned her cat had been ill and recovered after she gave him a bath. I likened this to getting fresh pjs and sheets during an illness. The cat I owned at the time jumped up on the hot stove and burned his paws. We were all very distraught and did all we could for him but eventually he stopped eating and grooming and decided to die. I gave him a bath - when he succumbed entirely probably because he thought I was trying to drown him. As I towelled him off, he started purring again. Never looked back. I thanked Doris Lessing more than she will ever know.

    88thornton37814
    Jan 19, 8:56pm Top

    >87 VivienneR: Great cat story!

    89VivienneR
    Jan 19, 9:03pm Top

    >88 thornton37814: Thank you. She came to speak at the university where I worked and I hoped I'd get the chance to tell her. However, I had volunteered to babysit that evening so missed the opportunity.

    90Crazymamie
    Jan 20, 11:32am Top

    >84 VivienneR: Nice review! I read that one several years ago, and it has stayed with me. I thought Lessing did such a great job of letting the tension slowly unfold - you knew what was going to happen, but you couldn't look away.

    Love the cat story - thanks for sharing it.

    91VivienneR
    Jan 20, 3:55pm Top

    >90 Crazymamie: Thank you, Mamie! Lessing deserves a longer review but I was pushed for time and had to keep it short. As you say, it is apparent what will happen but you can't look away. And there was no solution, no advice that would have made any difference.

    Glad you liked my cat story. Sebastian was quite a character.

    92dudes22
    Jan 21, 9:40am Top

    Ive heard good things about Lessing here before (I think from Judy and maybe others) but for some reason never actually took a BB. But this time I am. She sounds like someone I would like to read.

    93VivienneR
    Jan 21, 1:58pm Top

    Great! My aim is improving! I'm sure you will like Lessing.

    94dudes22
    Jan 21, 2:30pm Top

    LOL!

    95lkernagh
    Jan 21, 2:48pm Top

    What a fantastic cat story!

    96VivienneR
    Jan 21, 8:09pm Top

    Thanks, Lori!

    97VivienneR
    Edited: Jan 21, 8:19pm Top



    Fearless -- Canadian

    7. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

    This is the ultimate closed-room mystery - in this case, a closed monastery mystery. Penny can spin an enthralling story around the most interesting topic combined with Quebec history, and this time, Gregorian chant. Naturally Penny did not set the mystery in a real monastery, but featured Gilbertine monks, an order that existed at one time but became extinct. The Elysian setting of an isolated monastery in the Quebec wilderness, accessible only by boat or plane is what makes this book so special. It is an ideal location for the two dozen monks cloistered there, who have perfected plainchant, known as the Beautiful Mystery. Most of the characters at some point will question their faith, or have it tested. I can't wait to get to the next book in the series where I hope Penny and Inspector Gamache deals with the supremely evil Superintendent Francoeur.

    This book, the 8th in the series, could be read as a standalone.

    This was my 3rd five-star book this month! That must be a record.

    98VivienneR
    Jan 21, 8:21pm Top

    I heard Peter Mayle died a few days ago. I just happen to have The Corsican Caper on the shelf that I'll read in his memory.

    99virginiahomeschooler
    Jan 21, 9:38pm Top

    >98 VivienneR: Oh, I hate to hear that. A Good Year is one of my favorites. :(

    100dudes22
    Jan 22, 1:05pm Top

    >97 VivienneR: - I was especially sad to see the story progression of Beauvier. I’ve read the next one so I know what happens, but at the time it was really depressing.

    >98 VivienneR: - I have three books by him waiting on my TBR. I was thinking of reading Chasing Cezanne for the Bingo block with a famous person, so maybe I’ll read it earlier in the year.

    101hailelib
    Jan 22, 3:15pm Top

    We have A Year in Provence which my husband really liked. Maybe I should get around to reading it.

    102VivienneR
    Jan 22, 3:28pm Top

    >100 dudes22: That was a very sad moment. I couldn't wait so I looked at the main page of each of the rest of the series and saw Beauvoir still present so I'm hoping for the best.

    >101 hailelib: A Year in Provence might be his best, it's my favourite anyway. It was more or less Mayle's own story.

    103VivienneR
    Jan 22, 10:08pm Top



    Several species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict - AlphaKIT - V & M:

    The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle

    Fun, short and filled with mouth-watering food and drinks. Not a brilliant story, but good for an afternoon's entertainment.

    104thornton37814
    Jan 23, 8:04am Top

    >103 VivienneR: I'm sure that was a book that worked up your appetite. That's the usual effect I get from Mayle's writings.

    105VivienneR
    Jan 23, 3:59pm Top

    >104 thornton37814: That's right! I can't wait to get some spring asparagus!

    106VivienneR
    Jan 23, 10:07pm Top



    Category: Careful With That Axe, Eugene -- Crime

    The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

    Excellent! I'm really enjoying this series set in mid-20th century Brighton featuring the Magic Men, a group of men who had served together during WWII and remained in contact. Edgar Stephens is now a policeman, Max Mephisto and Diablo are entertainers in variety shows. This story takes place in 1953 during the time leading up to the coronation when they believe there is the risk of some kind of attack.

    I can remember being taken to variety shows in the 50s - although not much of the content. Griffiths describes their move to television, which in reality as well as in this book, was a big success, continuing for many years in the UK. I particularly enjoy the accuracy of the look back at the times, but Griffiths also writes a gripping, entertaining mystery. As well as the magic men, Max has discovered Ruby, a daughter whose existence he was unaware of, an up-and-coming magician with enough star quality to compete with her father. And the personalities of Stephens' sergeants, Emma and Bob, are developing into fuller characters. Great stuff!

    107NanaCC
    Jan 23, 10:09pm Top

    You have done some great reading already, Vivienne. Will you be doing a thread in Club Read this year? If not, I’ll follow you here. Your categories are great. And you’ve already read some of my favorites. I read The Forsyte Chronicles last year, and loved them. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. Louise Penny and P.D. James are two of my favorites, as well. I’ve read all of their books, but who knows, a re-read of P. D. James might be in order. It has been ages.

    108VivienneR
    Jan 23, 10:21pm Top

    How nice of you to drop by, Colleen. I decided not to do a Club Read this year, although I miss everyone, so things might change. And I miss the list I kept that often came in handy when I wanted to look back on something.

    We are doing a group read of The Forsyte Saga here. My plan was to read all nine volumes spread out over the year but, like you, I found it very difficult to put the book down after this month's The Man of Property. I might condense the read to a shorter time.

    I'm sure you know of Elly Griffiths the author of my latest read (in 106). I know you would enjoy her books but can't remember if you've mentioned them before.

    Maybe you'll enjoy the Category Challenge so much that you'll join us?? I hope so.

    109NanaCC
    Jan 23, 11:01pm Top

    >108 VivienneR: I actually haven’t read any of the Elly Griffiths series, so of course you’ve hit me with a B.B. your thread is always dangerous when I forget to duck. I will definitely follow you here to see what fun stuff you are reading.

    110VivienneR
    Jan 23, 11:04pm Top

    Those bullets go both ways! I have your Club Read thread starred so I'll be keeping an eye on you.

    111hailelib
    Jan 24, 4:40pm Top

    >106 VivienneR:

    You got me with that one except I'll be reading the first in the series first.

    112Caroline_McElwee
    Jan 24, 7:03pm Top

    Wow Vivienne. All those Cats, Kits and Dogs etc. I'm too much of a mood reader I'm afraid. I barely manage the ten books dictated by my real reading group.

    My sister has been suggesting Elly Griffiths, so I've downloaded a couple of her novels. And I like Val MacDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series.

    113VivienneR
    Jan 25, 12:46am Top

    >111 hailelib: I've enjoyed them all so far and looking forward to the 4th. The era and characters appeal to me. I hope she keeps on writing the series.

    >112 Caroline_McElwee: How nice of you to drop in for a visit, Caroline. The real challenge here is to find CATs etc that fit the books I'm planning to read! Not so difficult. Pay attention to your sister and give Elly Griffiths a try.

    114rabbitprincess
    Jan 25, 6:12pm Top

    >106 VivienneR: You hit both me and my mum with that BB! Brighton, the 1950s, and ex-WW2 tick a lot of boxes.

    115VivienneR
    Jan 25, 9:45pm Top

    >114 rabbitprincess: Wow, two hits with one BB! I'm getting better. You (and your mum) will enjoy Elly Griffiths. The first in the Magic Men series is The Zig Zag Girl - also useful for AlphaKIT.

    116VivienneR
    Jan 27, 1:27am Top



    Category: Remember a Day -- History and historical fiction

    Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

    Trollope often relies on the conniving abilities of women, but here there is even more devious trickery from men, in this case, Sowerby and Tozer. Like Mark Robarts - someone who deserves a good shake - Trollope had similar money troubles so he writes with experience. I enjoyed the return of some characters from earlier books, like Miss Dunstable and the Proudies. Trollope makes the reader feel like they are old acquaintances. I find this Victorian upper crust saga supremely entertaining.

    My version was an audiobook with a top-notch reading by Simon Vance who, granted with Trollope's influence, can impart the character's personality with their first words.

    117VivienneR
    Jan 27, 1:23pm Top



    Category: Dogs -- Bingo 22

    The Garden by Vita Sackville-West

    Sackville-West's love of gardening and nature is apparent in all her writing, even her books on gardening have a poetic quality. In this collection of poetry, seasons in the garden symbolize the seasons of life. Written in 1946, there remains the distinct shadow of war.

    “Then will the fine-drawn branches of the Winter
    Stretch fingers of a lean but generous hand
    Against a morning sky of cloud where mingle
    Doves and flamingoes, over pented roofs
    Of clustered homestead with its barns and lichen
    Green in the rain but golden in the sun;”

    “Here leap the leaves, where none before were seen;
    Swords of narcissus and of daffodil,
    A sheaf of blades, too flexible, too green
    (It seems) to thrust their points; yet they appear
    From nowhere in a night and with the morn are here.
    Likewise the iris, that had sunk to ground
    In sodden mass of infelicity
    Lifts up her grass-green spear,
    And these are signs of spring, that spurious spring
    That comes in February to astound
    And, against reason, make our hearts believe.”

    118thornton37814
    Jan 27, 1:50pm Top

    >117 VivienneR: I'll look for some of her poetry around poetry month in April. Based on that one poem, I think I'd enjoy it.

    119pammab
    Jan 28, 12:24am Top

    >117 VivienneR: That's gorgeous. I just heard of Sackville-West for the first time a few weeks ago, and I hadn't realized her writing was so pretty! I'll also have to her out in more detail, like Lori.

    120VivienneR
    Jan 28, 1:54am Top

    >118 thornton37814: and >119 pammab: Glad you liked the excerpts. I don't live near an academic library but I found some of her works (that are not at Project Gutenberg) at http://www.fadedpage.com where they are free to download. Thanks to mathgirl40 for that tip.

    121Crazymamie
    Jan 28, 12:14pm Top

    >106 VivienneR: Great review! I wondered about that series - I love her Ruth Galloway books.

    122thornton37814
    Jan 28, 12:16pm Top

    >120 VivienneR: Thanks to you and mathgirl40 for the tip!

    123Caroline_McElwee
    Edited: Jan 28, 2:08pm Top

    >113 VivienneR: I started The Woman in Blue and am enjoying it Vivienne.

    124VivienneR
    Jan 28, 2:49pm Top

    >121 Crazymamie: Yay! I have the first one in the Ruth Galloway series and looking forward to it.

    >122 thornton37814: :)

    >123 Caroline_McElwee: So glad. I'll watch for your opinion.

    125VivienneR
    Jan 30, 2:53pm Top



    Category: Dogs -- Bingo -- Fits at least 2 CATs
    This one fits three CATs: MysteryCAT and ColourCAT and RandomCAT for January.

    Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

    A mystery set in Iceland that was well done and hard to believe it was the first novel by the author. I'll be looking for more by Indridason.

    126LittleTaiko
    Jan 31, 10:31am Top

    It's a really good series, though it's not one I binged on until fairly recently when I read three in pretty quick succession. I think I have a couple more to finally get caught up.

    127VivienneR
    Jan 31, 2:04pm Top

    >126 LittleTaiko: I believe it was you who hit me with the BB. Thank you for that. I enjoyed it and if the library has them, I'll continue with the series.

    128VivienneR
    Jan 31, 2:09pm Top



    Category: Dogs -- Bingo 7: Published in 2018

    This was an Early Reviewer win, to be published in February 2018.

    Rowan and Eris by Campbell Jefferys

    Rowan, a young man from Western Australia suspects the unsigned postcards he is getting from different North American cities indicate that a brief holiday fling five years ago has resulted in a child. Accepting his responsibilities, he sets off to find mother and child, partially funding the expedition with busking. The idea, although implausible, was enticing.

    The mother, an anonymous performance artist specializing in chaos art (read vandalism) was a despicable person, as was her mother, a wannabe artist. I felt desperately sorry for Eris, a five-year-old girl regarded as unwanted baggage. Rowan and his agoraphobic friend Churchill, who handled research and travel arrangements from home, were charming, credible characters.

    We know from the beginning of the book that his quest was successful and he learned a lot about himself in the process. However, spelling mistakes, homophones, and long strung-out parts would have benefitted from an editor's help. It was an enjoyable tale, even if at times the topic changed so much that it felt like I'd picked up a different book.

    129VivienneR
    Feb 1, 9:49pm Top



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall -- ColourCAT January

    The Camel Club by David Baldacci

    This was my first Baldacci but this is not a preferred genre so I don't think I'll continue with the series. It had a topical theme concerning a possible U.S. nuclear attack on, or by, North Korea, which is a bit too close to the truth to be entertaining.

    130VivienneR
    Feb 1, 10:00pm Top

    131Jackie_K
    Feb 2, 4:34am Top

    What a good month you had! January was good for me too, of the 5 books I finished they were all 4* or above.

    132NanaCC
    Feb 2, 10:24am Top

    Great month for you, Vivienne. Two of my favorites in those five stars.

    133mstrust
    Feb 2, 3:54pm Top

    >130 VivienneR: Those are a lot of high ratings, good for you!

    134VivienneR
    Feb 2, 4:07pm Top

    >131 Jackie_K:, >132 NanaCC:, >133 mstrust: Thank you everyone! It looks like January was one of my best reading months ever! Guess I just hit it lucky when I went to the shelves and of course your BBs helped a lot.

    135rabbitprincess
    Feb 2, 6:53pm Top

    Great January, both in quality and quantity!

    136lkernagh
    Feb 3, 6:33pm Top

    Looks like you had a great reading month in January!

    137VivienneR
    Feb 3, 7:09pm Top

    >135 rabbitprincess: & >136 lkernagh: Thank you both. Yes, it was a great month.

    138VivienneR
    Feb 3, 7:11pm Top

    Made some minor changes to my categories, separating each of the CATs. Previously there were three CATs lumped in one category. Feels better.

    139DeltaQueen50
    Feb 5, 12:18am Top

    You did have some quality reads in January! I often find that 5 star reads seems to cluster together, I would love to have one of those "clusters" in February!

    140VivienneR
    Feb 5, 2:52pm Top

    >139 DeltaQueen50: So true! I'm hoping for a February cluster too. It sort of depends on whether I'm trying to clear some space on the shelves (read and donate) or choosing what I am pretty sure of enjoying - although that plan can backfire.

    141VivienneR
    Feb 7, 2:15pm Top



    Category: Sysyphus -- Classics

    Indian Summer of a Forsyte (Interlude) and In Chancery by John Galsworthy

    Just for the enjoyment factor, I had to give this one a half-star lower rating than the five stars I gave to the first book, even though this book concentrates on Old Jolyon's family who were mostly the characters I liked best. It is shocking to read of the divorce laws and realize a married woman was regarded as "owned". Soames doesn't come out well here, but I still don't care much for Irene. The younger generation play a bigger part of the story with the passing of the old generation being portrayed by Queen Victoria's funeral.

    142mathgirl40
    Feb 7, 10:32pm Top

    >117 VivienneR: I've been meaning to try some of Vita Sackville-West's works. I love gardening myself, and this looks like a lovely collection.

    143VivienneR
    Feb 8, 12:19am Top

    >142 mathgirl40: I'm sure you will enjoy her poetry. As I mentioned in >120 VivienneR:, it was thanks to you telling me about the fadedpage website that I found a downloadable copy.

    144mathgirl40
    Feb 8, 7:17am Top

    >143 VivienneR: Somehow I missed seeing that message. I'm glad you've found the Faded Page Web site useful!

    145VivienneR
    Feb 8, 2:58pm Top

    >144 mathgirl40: I found it very useful! I always thought I could find everything I needed at Project Gutenberg but it failed me when I was looking for John Galsworthy's books that I eventually found at https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/meta/authors - another great site.

    146mathgirl40
    Feb 8, 7:55pm Top

    >145 VivienneR: Yes, that's a great site as well. I'd suggested to the Faded Page group last year that they add Galsworthy's books and I noticed that The White Monkey is currently in production. I hope there will be more to come.

    147MissWatson
    Feb 9, 3:56am Top

    >144 mathgirl40: Ooooh, what a great source!

    148mathgirl40
    Feb 9, 7:50am Top

    >147 MissWatson: Thanks, glad it can be of use to you! I just wanted to remind everyone to check your country's copyright laws. Not all books on the Faded Page site can be legally downloaded. If your country shares Canada's "Life plus 50" rule, then everything is fair game; otherwise, you'll have to check yourself. Unfortunately, our site is not sophisticated enough to check IP addresses and do that automatically.

    149Caroline_McElwee
    Feb 9, 9:52am Top

    I have my mother's copy of the Forsyte Saga somewhere, must dig it out. It was one of her favourites, along with The Moonstone and the Jalna series.

    150MissWatson
    Feb 9, 10:16am Top

    >148 mathgirl40: In Germany it's 70 years, but that still leaves a lot of books!

    151VivienneR
    Feb 9, 3:54pm Top

    >148 mathgirl40: Thanks for mentioning copyright laws. I should have included the information. The same goes for the University of Adelaide's site.

    As >150 MissWatson: says, that still leaves a lot of books.

    152VivienneR
    Feb 9, 3:57pm Top



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall - RandomCAT - Laissez les bons temps rouler
    A visit to Scotland to celebrate Robert Burns Day on January 25

    The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey

    Another excellent mystery from Tey. This time the investigation is more to do with solving a puzzle than a crime. By going on a visit to his cousin in Scotland, Alan Grant is trying to control or recover from severe claustrophobia brought on by overwork. When the train arrives, one of the passengers was found dead in his cabin. Grant absently picks up the dead man's newspaper where he finds a scribbled verse:

    The beasts that talk,
    The streams that stand,
    The stones that walk,
    The singing sands,
    --
    --
    That guard the way to Paradise.


    The words suggest places in the Hebrides and a fine way to take his mind off his problem. This fishing holiday was the part that I enjoyed most and I would have been content if Grant had remained there to contemplate the puzzle - with the help of an exceptional local librarian!

    Excellent characters and setting, but the conclusion was less satisfying with the solution provided in a letter from the perpetrator.

    153VivienneR
    Feb 9, 11:50pm Top



    Category: Any Colour You Like -- ColourCAT: Brown

    Sure and certain death by Barbara Nadel

    This mystery has an out-of-the-ordinary plot. In London, during the Blitz in 1941, Hancock, an undertaker of Indian origins - therefore considered an outsider even though he's a Londoner - is tasked with burying victims that have been mutilated and found in bombed ruins. But when he discovers his sister has something in common with them, he is anxious to prevent her from becoming another casualty. The method is somewhat gruesome, but the London patois and humour keeps events light. Nadel has done a top-notch job of describing wartime conditions. I enjoyed this one a lot and will be reading more from Nadel.

    154rabbitprincess
    Feb 10, 10:07am Top

    >153 VivienneR: Oh MAN that sounds good! You have a knack for finding British mysteries that tick a lot of boxes for me :D

    155VivienneR
    Feb 10, 11:51am Top

    >154 rabbitprincess: I'm tempted to tell you to "Have a butcher's" at this one!

    156christina_reads
    Feb 12, 10:27am Top

    >153 VivienneR: That does sound good! BB for me too!

    157VivienneR
    Feb 12, 2:57pm Top

    >156 christina_reads: Hope you enjoy it, Christina!

    158VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 12, 3:07pm Top



    Category: Obscured By Clouds - MysteryCAT - Female Sleuth

    The Circle by Peter Lovesey

    Lovesey mildly lampoons would-be writers in this mystery about a writer's circle whose members all take themselves much too seriously. Chief Inspector Hen (Henrietta) Mallin didn't make an appearance until the second half of the book. It was OK, had a good ending, but not my favourite Lovesey.

    159VivienneR
    Feb 12, 10:33pm Top



    Category: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict - AlphaKIT P & J

    Portrait of a lady by Henry James

    I started this a while back, lost interest, and didn't finish. I picked it up again because I don't like to let a book remain unfinished, but also because it fits this month's AlphaKIT. I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, probably because it was long, slow moving and I didn't care for the characters much.

    160LittleTaiko
    Feb 13, 6:52pm Top

    >153 VivienneR: - you got me with this one too.

    161VivienneR
    Feb 13, 11:15pm Top

    >160 LittleTaiko: I hope when you get to it, Stacy, you enjoy it as much as I did.

    162cmbohn
    Edited: Feb 15, 8:39pm Top

    I am not a fan of Henry James. All his books seem to be a whole lot of nothing going on. The Peter Lovesey, though, I might look for.

    163VivienneR
    Feb 13, 11:40pm Top

    I'm glad I'm not alone in my opinion of Henry James.

    164VivienneR
    Feb 15, 2:03pm Top



    Category: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict - AlphaKIT P & J

    Shroud for a nightingale by P.D. James

    It is surprising that James remains so popular when her writing has so much dated snobbery and patronizing content. The student nurses are even referred to as "children" on more than one occasion, as if they were unruly 5-year-olds. And her characters are able to determine an individual's intelligence with just one look! James' writing style, so well-formed and genteel, obviously ameliorates the weakness. Certainly, if the reader can get past the defects and unlikeable characters, a clever mystery is the reward.

    165VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 15, 8:39pm Top



    Looks a bit red here, but the cover is a rich brown.

    Category: Any Colour You Like - ColourCAT - Brown

    Curtains for Roy by Aaron Bushkowsky

    When Alex's friend Roy told him he had cancer and only six months to live, they decide to go on a trip to the Okanagan, British Columbia's wine-growing region. While there, they stage a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream bathed in smoke from local wildfires. It was an offbeat story with everyone saying clever things and consuming a lot of wine.

    The combination of a familiar locale, theatre, and humour should have made this a winner for me, unfortunately the absence of quotation marks made it difficult to know if the words were spoken or imagined, who spoke, or if it was simply narration and I spent a lot of time repeating sections to make sure I understood. If this book had included the usual punctuation I would have enjoyed it a lot more and rated it higher.

    166VivienneR
    Feb 17, 7:49pm Top



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall - RandomCAT - Laissez les bons temps rouler
    Another visit to Scotland to celebrate Robert Burns Day on January 25

    The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton

    Pretty far-fetched. Delaney, a rare books expert who hails from Kansas, had just arrived in Scotland a matter of hours when she was investigating the murder of her new boss's sister, someone she had never met. More surprising was that not one person told her to bugger off with her nosy questions. My version was an audiobook read with an excruciating Scottish accent. And someone should tell Shelton that it's Scotch whisky, never Scottish. She made a point of using the local terms for everything else except this one. Thin plot and poor characters in what appeared to be a promising cosy mystery.

    167thornton37814
    Feb 17, 8:23pm Top

    >166 VivienneR: I haven't been in a hurry to get to the next installment in that series either. I suspect my 3 star rating should have been 2.5 or maybe less. After reading my own review, I don't know why I didn't give it a 2.

    168VivienneR
    Feb 17, 9:30pm Top

    >167 thornton37814: I was comparing it to the last few books that I've read and my rating went up and down a couple of times before I decided. It should have been a good one, but just didn't make it.

    169VivienneR
    Feb 21, 1:26pm Top



    Category: Fearless -- Canadian

    How the light gets in by Louise Penny

    Outstanding! The entire series has been excellent but this one is the best yet. A few storylines were wrapped up but not without several bitten nails and a riveting climax. Penny has created fictional versions of a couple of big stories from Quebec, the Dionne quintuplets and the deterioration of bridges, that form the backbone of this novel of political and moral corruption.

    There are always snippets of information sprinkled like jewels in Penny's novels, this time the quote from Julian of Norwich, 14th century Christian mystic "All shall be well". It pleases me that her description of snow is always kind. Complaints about snow are tiresome, while the actual element can be enjoyed, or at the very least accepted, as it is in Three Pines.

    The title from the lyrics of Leonard Cohen's song Anthem, reminds the reader that all is not lost. I could hear his beautiful voice singing in the background throughout.

    Ring the bells that still can ring,
    Forget your perfect offering,
    There is a crack in everything,
    That's how the light gets in
    -- Leonard Cohen


    If you plan on reading Louise Penny, this is not the book to start with. Although each novel has its own investigation, Penny develops the story arc and characters over the series.

    170mstrust
    Feb 21, 2:00pm Top

    Glad you liked it! I need to get back to the Three Pines series. It's kind of surprising that my library seems to have just a few of them. Either that or they've got three copies of each and they're always checked out.

    171VivienneR
    Feb 21, 2:26pm Top

    >170 mstrust: Don't know why libraries do that. The library has 2, 5 and 8 of a series I'm interested in finding. My brain is too methodical to give them a try.

    172LittleTaiko
    Feb 23, 11:05am Top

    Agree that it's aggravating to only have partial series available at the library. I was able to get the first two in the Julie Mulhern series there but after that nothing until her most recent. I'll probably end up buying them because I enjoy the series but would really rather get them from the library instead.

    173mstrust
    Feb 23, 11:32am Top

    My Three Pines reads so far have been the first two, then the fifth because the library didn't have the third and fourth.

    174VivienneR
    Feb 23, 1:59pm Top

    >172 LittleTaiko: That's why my tbr list is so huge, I buy the books to fill in spaces left by the library. If they were current books I'd put a note in the suggestion box.

    >173 mstrust: Aw, too bad. I didn't care for the first one so it was years before I picked up another and by that time I'd forgotten the details. When Arnot's name shows up later in the series I was (almost) lost. The 8th - The Beautiful Mystery and 9th How the Light Gets In were my favourites so far. You still have a treat in store.

    175-Eva-
    Feb 23, 2:30pm Top

    >87 VivienneR:
    That is simply wonderful.

    >125 VivienneR:
    Well, technically, it was the third one, just the first two didn't get translated into English. :) One of my favorite series as I am very fond of its detective, Erlendur.

    >130 VivienneR:
    Ooh, great reading month! I wish many more of those on you (and on myself).

    176VivienneR
    Feb 23, 3:07pm Top

    >175 -Eva-: Hi Eva, great to see you dropping by!

    Thank you for the information. It explains why Jar City was so accomplished! I am very fond of Erlendur too and will definitely follow up with the series.

    177VivienneR
    Feb 23, 3:17pm Top



    Category: Careful With That Axe, Eugene -- Crime

    The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

    Not only is Ruth Galloway, a forensic achaeologist, a believable character, but the location of a Norfolk salt marsh is described so well, the reader is transported. Ruth is asked to help the police in identifying bones found in the salt marsh to discover if they might be those of a child who has been missing for ten years. However, they turn out to be ancient bones. Then another child is reported missing and the police are taunted by letters with obscure references. Are the two cases linked?

    The story is compelling and, although mostly well drawn, some of the secondary characters are less defined leaving a weakness in the plot. Even with that, this is an excellent first novel that has the promise of being a great series.

    178VivienneR
    Feb 26, 12:44pm Top



    Category: Obscured By Clouds - MysteryCAT - Female Sleuth

    Flying too high by Kerry Greenwood

    Phryne Fisher's investigations are always fun, although I wouldn't have enjoyed this as much if I hadn't seen Essie Davis play the part on the tv series. It was easy to visualize Davis in the part wearing the gorgeous fashion of the 1920s and brandishing her pearl-handled revolver. This is a series that may have remained in relative obscurity without the talent of Essie Davis.

    179VivienneR
    Edited: Feb 27, 1:52am Top



    Category: Dogs -- Bingo: Published more than 100 years ago

    This could have counted in this month's ColourCAT for both the name and cover, but I decided to put it in Bingo reads.

    Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

    Eighteen Father Brown stories. One of the problems many modern mystery writers have is that by setting their murders in a specific community it leads one to believe it a dangerous place. In the same way crime follows Father Brown wherever he goes. I love the way Chesterton writes; he can go from serious to breezy ebullience in one sentence. On the other hand, he is often quite long-winded. However, I'll be keeping this collection for a comfort re-read another time.

    A good line from The Secret Garden: "As a soldier, he loathed all this secretive carnage; where were these extravagant amputations going to stop? First one head was hacked off, and then another; in this case (he told himself bitterly) it was not true that two heads were better than one."

    180rabbitprincess
    Feb 27, 6:07pm Top

    >179 VivienneR: Yes! That was such a great line! I just read that story recently :) "The Queer Feet" also has some good lines.

    181VivienneR
    Feb 27, 9:41pm Top

    >180 rabbitprincess: Chesterton always had a different way of looking at things! I love his (sometimes) excessive punctuation!

    182VivienneR
    Feb 27, 9:44pm Top



    Category: Grantchester Meadows -- Fiction

    Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

    McEwan can get inside the head of a character better than any author I know. Added to that is his uncanny ability to re-create time and place accurately. Espionage, MI5, Cold War, Northern Ireland, with all the 1970s political and cultural references. McEwan is an engaging writer with superb literary skill. Even though this is not John le Carré espionage, and not even my favourite McEwan, that doesn't prevent it from being a first-rate novel, and one with a fine twist in the tail.

    This will probably be my last read for February. I've already started two others but won't be finished any by tomorrow.

    183Caroline_McElwee
    Edited: Feb 28, 6:59am Top

    >182 VivienneR: I still haven't got to that Vivienne. I kind of ran out of steam with McEwan a bit after Saturday, great chunks of which I found implausible, but Sweet Tooth is in the pile mountain.

    184VivienneR
    Feb 28, 12:03pm Top

    >183 Caroline_McElwee: It's a tough call, but I liked Saturday as much as Sweet Tooth, maybe more. I found the espionage factor was implausible too, but it was saved by the ending.

    I'm making some headway into my tbr mountain this year and hoping it will continue.

    185VivienneR
    Feb 28, 7:47pm Top



    Category: Is There Anybody Out There? -- Non-fiction, Biography and Orphans

    I found this short book just to fill the last day of the month. In this case, it goes with 'orphans'.

    The Doctor's Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw

    The dilemma faced by the doctor is whether he should cure his impoverished friend or a talented artist who is a cad (and also has a beautiful wife). Although very old-fashioned, this play was fun.

    My favourite lines:
    LOUIS. Well youre on the wrong tack altogether. I'm not a criminal. All your moralizings have no value for me. I don't believe in morality. I'm a disciple of Bernard Shaw.
    SIR PATRICK. Bernard Shaw? I never heard of him. He's a Methodist preacher, I suppose.
    LOUIS {scandalized} No, no. He's the most advanced man now living: he isn't anything.”

    186VivienneR
    Feb 28, 7:59pm Top

    February Summary

    read in February: 14
    year to date: 28

    Best of the month:
    How the light gets in by Louise Penny 5★
    Sure and Certain Death by Barbara Nadel 4.5★
    Indian Summer of a Forsyte and In Chancery by John Galsworthy 4.5★

    187VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 4, 4:25pm Top



    Category: Sysyphus -- Classics

    Following my plan to read The Forsyte Chronicles this year, this is the third book of the first trilogy, The Forsyte Saga.

    To Let and Awakening by John Galsworthy

    Galworthy's characters and the setting are fabulous. The entire saga was a page-turner. Old and new passions are aroused when Soames' daughter, Fleur, falls in love with Irene and Young Jolyon's son. The saga concludes in 1920 with a marriage, and with Timothy's funeral; the introduction of the new generation and the end of the old. Can't wait to start on the next trilogy.

    “The hymn was over, the prelate had begun to deliver his discourse. He told them of the dangerous times they lived in, and the awful conduct of the House of Lords in connection with divorce. They were all soldiers--he said--in the trenches under the poisonous gas of the Prince of Darkness, and must be manful. The purpose of marriage was children, not mere sinful happiness.”

    188Roro8
    Mar 5, 6:59am Top

    Wow, you have read some really good books this year. Your reviews of the Louise Penny books have reminded me I should read the next one. I have it sitting on the shelf waiting. I have also read Sweet Tooth and thought it was a good read. There is definitely BB danger in your thread!

    189VivienneR
    Mar 5, 2:40pm Top

    Thanks, Ro! Glad to see another Louise Penny fan. With Penny and Galsworthy on the reading list, January was an especially good month for me. I have a lot of Ian MacEwan's books on my wishlist at the library, but hope to spread them out a bit.

    Those bullets travel in both directions. :)

    190VivienneR
    Mar 6, 2:36pm Top



    Category: Any Colour You Like -- ColourCAT -- Green

    The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

    This is one of those mysteries solved from the sick-bed. With an über-egotistical mention of Rear Window and Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, Tess Monaghan, confined to bed during pregnancy, begins an investigation of a woman she determines has gone missing. Some parts were just plain silly, but Lippman packs a lot into this lightweight novella.

    191dudes22
    Mar 6, 5:50pm Top

    >190 VivienneR: - I'm way behind in this series. Too bad this is great for this month's color cat.

    192VivienneR
    Mar 6, 7:44pm Top

    >191 dudes22: It's the first one I've read - chosen for the name, naturally! Nice surprise at the end.

    193VivienneR
    Mar 6, 9:54pm Top



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall -- RandomCAT -- Ripped from the Headlines

    The Curse of the Narrows: the Halifax Explosion 1917 by Laura M. MacDonald

    The description of the time right before the impact and explosion was poignant because it appeared to happen in slow motion. The crews on ships and the local population had so little warning, so little expectation of what was possible that a number of people stood watching as the biggest conflagration in history transpired. The devastation was compounded by the blizzard that followed. The chapter on the nature of explosions was the most interesting as it described why and how the blast and chain of events happened as they did. Some may prefer the more literary Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, but this is without doubt an superb account of the horrific event that was mind-boggling in its scope.

    194rabbitprincess
    Mar 7, 5:28pm Top

    >193 VivienneR: I agree, the chapter on the nature of explosions was fascinating!

    195pammab
    Mar 8, 12:06am Top

    >185 VivienneR:
    Thanks for quoting those lines -- they brightened my evening! Shaw is pretty funny.

    196VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 8, 2:27am Top

    >194 rabbitprincess: Actually the whole book was fascinating. Mine was a library book but I'll pick up one at the bookstore.

    >195 pammab: I laughed out loud when I came to that bit. Yes, Shaw is pretty funny.

    ETA: thorold, in the Club Read group, asked about the preface, which Shaw often turned into a rant. There was no preface in my copy but I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg (yes, the preface is available separately). I haven't read it yet, but it is much longer than the play. He is ranting about the medical profession.

    197VivienneR
    Mar 8, 4:30pm Top



    Category: Another Brick in the Wall -- RandomCAT -- Ripped from the Headlines

    When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

    This is a passionate, moving memoir about racism. It's a heartbreaking, but common story, of poverty, excessive police surveillance, everyday prejudice, and hopelessness. There are many conditions of black lives that are not commonly known, making this book a must-read, but not an easy one.

    Along with friends, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, Khan-Cullors founded Black Lives Matter in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

    198VivienneR
    Mar 8, 5:48pm Top



    Category: Obscured By Clouds - MysteryCAT - Global mysteries

    Season of Snows and Sins by Patricia Moyes

    Set in Switzerland, in a picturesque ski resort, this novel was first published in 1971 by Irish author Patricia Moyes - making this a truly global novel.

    Jane Weston, a sculptor has invited her friends, Detective Chief Superintendent Henry Tibbett and his wife Emmy to spend the Christmas holiday with her in her small alpine chalet. During that time her hired help, Anne-Marie, is charged and convicted with the murder of her husband, a ski instructor to movie stars. Tibbett, suspecting there is more to the story, begins an investigation. The story is well-done but it has all the ingredients for an even better movie.

    Preface:
    For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
    And all the season of snows and sins,
    The days dividing lover from lover,
    The light that loses, the night that wins;
    And time remembered is grief forgotten,
    And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
    And in green underwood and cover
    Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
    —A.C. Swinburne. Atalanta in Calydon

    I have to add that I love the cover.

    199Jackie_K
    Mar 9, 4:26pm Top

    >197 VivienneR: That's going on the wishlist!

    200VivienneR
    Mar 9, 4:51pm Top

    >199 Jackie_K: A worthwhile addition! I thought I was familiar with all the issues but this was an eye-opener.

    201VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 9, 7:52pm Top



    Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Owen Beattie

    Sir John Franklin set out with two ships and the pick of the Royal Navy in 1845 to try to find the North West Passage, expected to be an alternate route to the Orient. Franklin was an experienced Arctic seaman, but this time did not return. Lady Franklin worked tirelessly to ensure that searches for the ill-fated ships continued and that her husband's name would be remembered for his achievements, not for this failure. In the following decade, as many as forty major expeditions set out, by sea or overland, some funded by Lady Franklin’s influence or her own considerable wealth. They didn't find the ships but added significantly to the knowledge of the Arctic. The Franklin legend and search became obsessive. The mystery was so captivating that the general location was registered as a Canadian national historic site.

    Three known graves were exhumed by Dr. Beattie and his research team from the University of Alberta, the results of which was published with the same title in 1987. The news made international headlines. Beattie was able to determine the probable cause of death was tuberculosis and lead poisoning, the lead having leached from the improperly sealed canned food, a new innovation in 1845. His findings filled in many more details of the mystery. Nearly two hundred years later our yearning to know more persisted and in 2008 the Canadian government commissioned a team to resume the search for the ships. In 2014, in the shallow waters of Queen Maud Gulf, off King William Island, they discovered Erebus and in 2016, Terror.

    Franklin's name has become news once more as global warming has opened the Northwest Passage, discoveries continue, and sovereignty is at stake. Canada would like to protect the waters by having it designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of internal waterways, not an international strait.

    This is a revised edition of Beattie's bestseller published in 1987 with additional information and a foreword by Wade Davis. Margaret Atwood's entertaining and knowledgable introduction is exceptional for the images she creates, and for her descriptions of how public perception of Franklin changed with the passing of each decade, each century. His reputation in the early years was particularly influenced by Lady Franklin's exhortations. She would have liked this book.

    Note: I knew Dr Beattie and members of his team who were researchers with the Boreal Institute for Northern Studies where I worked (University of Alberta). I gave the first edition five stars and without doubt this one deserves the same.

    202rabbitprincess
    Edited: Mar 9, 8:40pm Top

    >201 VivienneR: I think this book has come up in my Goodreads recommendations, but I've always avoided it because the default edition on GR has a scary grimacing mummified frozen corpse on the front. The cover on the 2017 edition is much nicer!

    203VivienneR
    Mar 9, 9:37pm Top

    When the first edition came out in 1987 that picture appeared on the front page of the Edmonton Journal. Man, it got a lot of attention! I've met people who wouldn't read the book because they thought it would be grisly.

    204pammab
    Mar 10, 10:05pm Top

    >197 VivienneR:
    I sent your review to someone who is looking for books just like this -- right book at the right time! Depressing, though. :(

    205VivienneR
    Mar 11, 3:12am Top

    >204 pammab: Some parts were very difficult. How much worse it must be to live it.

    206VivienneR
    Edited: Mar 12, 7:54pm Top



    Category: Obscured By Clouds - MysteryCAT - Global mysteries

    Noble Lies by Charles Benoit

    The title is from the Thai translation, which means "It's better to have a wrong answer than no answer at all". In other words, stretching the truth. An adventurous mystery set in Thailand after the tsunami. However, not my taste.

    207VivienneR
    Mar 13, 2:18pm Top



    Category: Dogs -- Bingo 25: Title contains a person's rank

    25 The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

    I picked up this book at a library booksale because my previous reading by Powning proved her to be an excellent, expressive writer. This novel of a 19th century Canadian sea captain and his new wife did not disappoint. Powning can transport the reader to the horrifying experience of rounding Cape Horn under sail, a month in the doldrums, or being attacked by pirates, so well that you can well imagine what it was like. A completely enthralling novel.

    208VivienneR
    Mar 13, 2:56pm Top

    Please join me at the continuing thread here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/288423

    Group: 2018 Category Challenge

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