Arrr! (Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day) Thar be a hunt for treasure, Mateys!
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Tess tills her root tomes Year 5 page 1


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Dec 22, 2017, 4:23am Top

Hi Tess, that's a nice picture! Happy ROOTing!

Dec 22, 2017, 6:48am Top

Good luck Tess! Happy ROOTing, and hope the shelves survive.

Edited: Jan 16, 7:24pm Top

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Dec 22, 2017, 11:59am Top

Good to see you, Tess and good luck with ROOTing. Such cuties in the pictures up above!

Dec 22, 2017, 2:55pm Top

So excited! Since I haven't purchased books in about 2 years, I splurged today during the holiday season and purchased 3 books with accompanying audio: The Phantom of the Opera, The Gulag Archipelago and The Bear and the Nightingale. Can't wait to start reading them in 2018!

Dec 22, 2017, 10:59pm Top

Welcome back and enjoy your reading year! Glad to see you're splashing out on a few book treats for yourself. You do so well with your book diets! :)

Dec 23, 2017, 3:40am Top

>10 tess_schoolmarm: I hope to hear good things about the last book, Tess. It's popular with my RL bookclub friends.

Dec 23, 2017, 11:23am Top

Glad you're back!

Dec 23, 2017, 12:35pm Top

Good to see you back Tess - look forward to seeing what you get up to reading in 2018!

Dec 24, 2017, 4:40am Top

To all my LT friends:

Dec 24, 2017, 5:28am Top

Same to you, Tess. Enjoy those days!

Dec 24, 2017, 9:02am Top

Merry Christmas, Tess!

Dec 25, 2017, 1:09am Top

>3 tess_schoolmarm: Ooh, Terracotta Army, good choice for Digging up the past. You look like you have 2018 planned out well, Tess, but FYI Thinksaversary book buys are one for each year and one to grow on.

Edited: Dec 26, 2017, 8:23pm Top

>>>> >18 Familyhistorian: Meg, I'm saving the other 3 for later in the year......

I've also been doing some deep thinking about my compulsion to read all books once I start them. I'm well over 60 years old and I no longer have time to read anything less than 3's, and even some of those are not worth it--average. So I'm going to set my own rule: 40 pages for books 200 or less and 60 pages for books with more than 200 pages. If it doesn't grab me by then or have great potential, it's going into the donation pile or off to the Kindle cloud never to be seen again! I was too hasty when Kindle first came out and they were giving away almost a book a day and I got every single one....a big mistake!

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 10:14am Top

I spent about 2 hours last night entering books on LT that were on my Kindle but that I had failed to put on LT. Added 50----most of them will probably won't be read in their entirety as they were the group that I d/l for free about 4-5 years ago. But at least they are accounted for.

Dec 28, 2017, 10:30am Top

>19 tess_schoolmarm: That resonates with me! Over on the 75 it is called "the Pearl Rule" (somebody there could tell you why but it's not me) -- 50 pages. I tend to extend it a bit further depending on the book and the writer as some writers are tougher, but rewarding once you acclimate.

Good luck with your reading goals, esp the Gulag books.

Dec 29, 2017, 9:12am Top

Hi Tess, nice to see you here again and I hope you meet your 2018 goals - with bells on! :)

Dec 29, 2017, 3:56pm Top

Hi! Good luck w/ your 2018 goals!
I'll be stopping in to say hi when I can :)

Also - I missed it in being gone, but Congrats on the newest addition to your family!! She's beautiful!

Dec 29, 2017, 4:29pm Top

>1 tess_schoolmarm: Glad you're back and aww sweet girls, full life!!

>I read 20 ebooks to 1 paper book last year
Wow! Guess it's the reading in bed?

I too find it hard to quit a book :( And many times a book will be just okay but there'll be something I'm glad to have encountered in it, and I'm conflicted about whether it was worth it. I think the early pages do tell a lot -- just started one and it's so clear that it's a capable author with a confident story.

Dec 30, 2017, 10:35am Top

>24 detailmuse: Yes, it is the reading in bed! If I'm not on my way to sleep, I plop on top of my book with my cozy fleece blankie and can read for hours! No glasses or light needed with ereader!

I purchased my number 4/6 Thingaversary gifts--the audio companion to Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles. I already had the book for several years. I l love history books by Margaret George but they are hefty tomes, most over 800 pages long. This way, I can listen while I drive and read at home.

Dec 30, 2017, 11:48am Top

Made my other 2 thingaversary purchases: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See who is one of my all time favorite authors (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which was recommended to me by a reader friend. Ok, back to the book diet!

Dec 30, 2017, 12:01pm Top

>26 tess_schoolmarm: And the book-bullets have begun! The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane looks very good, and onto the wishlist it goes!

Dec 30, 2017, 12:49pm Top

>26 tess_schoolmarm: Would you recommend the snowflower too, Tess? Because I have an ebook with that title.

Dec 30, 2017, 1:05pm Top

>28 connie53: Oh yes, Connie. Snowflower and the Secret Fan is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I rated it a 5!

Dec 30, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Good! It's on my Kobo now!

Edited: Jan 1, 3:28am Top

May this year give you the opportunity to follow your dreams, love like there is no tomorrow and smile unconditionally.

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 9:00pm Top

My first book read for this year is not a root, I just purchased it a week ago, The Bear and the Nightingale. I was drawn into the hype and sorry that I was. This is a Russian folktale but is heavy with the demons and yes, even a person who came back to life to suck the main character's blood?! I didn't really find a substantial plot when reading and soon tired of all the demons, the one in the oven, the one sitting at the spinning wheel, the one in the haymow, the one that mended socks, etc. And let's don't forget the corrupt priest, go figure! 338 pages (and felt like 500). 2 1/2 stars

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 10:03pm Top

My first root for 2018, Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff. This was an excellent read! In 1942 a cargo plane slammed into the Greenland icecap and 3 successive rescue attempts were made with 3 more crashes. Why was Greenland important for the Allies in 1942? German Nazi submarines. The real life saga centers around the many rescue attempts, most of which were unsuccessful. The history and the survival stories are mixed with the modern day attempt to uncover the "Duck" and repatriate the bodies. Although this is a non-fiction it read like a thriller novel and kept me on the edge of my seat. 391 pages 5 stars

Dec 31, 2017, 10:16pm Top

Good job! 2 down already! I am praying for downtime at the library so I'll have time to tuck into a few of mine... and not just find new books to read.

Jan 1, 3:02am Top

Happy New Year, Tess!

Sorry to hear about De beer en de nachtegaal. It's on my TBR too!

Jan 1, 12:52pm Top

Ah ha, found you Tess!

Happy new year and I hope you have a wonderful year of reading.

Jan 1, 1:42pm Top

Happy New Year, and happy ROOTing once again!

Jan 1, 3:29pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Tess!

Jan 1, 3:47pm Top

Good luck with your reading and happy new year! Looks like you've got some very interesting picks lined up - looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Edited: Jan 1, 6:47pm Top

Root # 2 for the New Year was a very short 125 pages, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by William H McRaven. Mr. McRaven is a past commander of the Navy Seals and his premise is that everybody can be successful at least once a day, even if it is a small thing. He also believes that making your bed is just reinforcing your mind of habit-making. He also has other advice and tips that are very (too) general but also good ideas 125 pages 4 stars

Edited: Jan 1, 5:46pm Top

read #3 ,Gather ‘Round the Sound: Holiday Stories from Beloved Authors is NOT a root, although I did listen to it on New Year's Eve. It was a freebie from Audible and while most of the stories were "filler", there were a few good short stories such as The Signal Man by Charles Dickens. It took about 1 hour to listen to in its entirety.

Edited: Jan 6, 5:58am Top

Read #4 was All Those Things We Never Said by Marc Levy. This book was pure drivel from beginning to end. If it wasn't such a quick, easy read, I would have pitched it. It is the story of a young woman who did not have a great relationship with her father when she was young. On her wedding day she hears that he has died and postpones her wedding. When she returns to her apartment there is a crate in her living space and upon opening finds out there is a protoype of her father who worked for a scientific company, that has been programmed with his mind and nuances but only has power enough to last for 5 days. I should have stopped reading right there, because it gets even more fantastical. 279 pages 2 stars

Jan 1, 6:30pm Top

Anybody still got the link to the 2017 root group? I forgot to copy my ratings system and I unjoined the group!

Jan 1, 6:52pm Top

It's here: https://www.librarything.com/groups/2017rootreadourownto

You can also find your 2017 thread in Talk by going to the left sidebar and clicking "Started by you".

Jan 1, 7:31pm Top

>40 tess_schoolmarm: coincidentally a friend was telling me today that her son has started making his bed at the age of 26 as a result of reading a book - must be this one, should be required reading for teenagers!:)

You’re making great progress already! Shame about #4.

Jan 1, 8:02pm Top

>44 rabbitprincess: TY RP, for both bits of info!

Jan 1, 11:16pm Top

You are fast of the mark with your reading in 2018, Tess. Way to go!

Edited: Jan 2, 12:24am Top

>47 Familyhistorian: Well, as put forth in my 2017 Root....I started about 6 books after Christmas ....so just finishing them now and so far only 3/4 are roots

Jan 2, 1:19am Top

>48 tess_schoolmarm: Ah, that was about the time that I was completing a bunch of books for the end of the year which is why I read so many ROOTs at the end of December.

Jan 2, 8:29am Top

Ha, here I am new in the ROOT challenge and catching new book bullets already instead of reading off my shelves. >40 tess_schoolmarm: sounds great! This is a dangerous place! :D

Happy New Year to you, I'll try to follow this thread.

Jan 2, 11:59am Top

>40 tess_schoolmarm: I went back and forth about whether to get this as a little gift for my husband ... the inspiring part. Decided he was a couple decades too far in life experience to get much from it, so didn't. Your comments make me think it's both and I'm waffling again! :)

Jan 2, 12:39pm Top

>51 detailmuse: This is an extended graduation speech that the Commander made. The first chapter is very invigorating. The other 9, they are great ideas, but being a teacher I sort of already "knew" the material.....but it was worth it to me for just the first chapter.

Edited: Jan 2, 3:38pm Top

Root #4 for the year was Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. From other reviews I was prepared for this to be a ho-hum book, but I was pleasantly surprised. In many ways I think this book had an exceptional storyline. Tis the story of Maud, who suffers either from severe dementia or Alzheimer's. Sometimes Maud can't recognize her name, her home, or her daughter. There is more to Maud that meets the eye, though. Maud remembers detailed snippets from her childhood, including that her sister, Sukey, went missing and was never found. Maud is also missing her best friend, Elizabeth, who Maud claims is missing and this drives the story. We do find out in the end what became of Elizabeth and Sukey. This book really spoke to me about aging and the fears that I think many people of my age (post 60) confront. It's about families and loss. A great read! 279 pages 5 stars

Jan 2, 6:49pm Top

I love that you share your Kindle account with your grandsons. Good luck clearing out the tree books!

Jan 3, 4:23am Top

>53 tess_schoolmarm: I've read that book too, Tess. Loved it.
You are of to a very good start with ROOTing.

Jan 3, 12:23pm Top

>55 connie53: TY, Connie. But I must confess, I started about 6 books The week after Christmas and am just finishing them all now. Twill work in the end, because I go back to work today and my reading time is cut by at least 50%.

Jan 3, 12:32pm Top

Root # 5 was A Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft. This was Ms. Croft's debut novel and for a first time author the book was very good. It was billed as a psychological thriller and I think that may be a bit misleading.

This is the story of Leah, who has a past she desperately tries to hide. However, on the 14th anniversary of the major event from her past, she receives an anonymous threatening letter. In the remainder of the book we find out about that past. The story is told alternating between the past and present day. The premise of the book is "everybody has secrets, but some are deadly." The story line flowed well and the characters were fairly well developed. I figured out pretty early who the "bad guy" was and so was a bit impatient at his discovery. 302 pages 4 stars

Jan 4, 4:19am Top

>57 tess_schoolmarm: BB, but not translated. So I'm still dodging BB's.

Jan 4, 10:43am Top

You've been reading up a storm, Tess. Great start to the New Year!

Jan 5, 7:01am Top

At least since it's -5F (-20 C) school has been canceled and I have the entire day to lay with a warm soft blankie and read! Going to make a pot of chicken and rice soup for the day and I'm done!

Jan 5, 9:59am Top

>60 tess_schoolmarm: I can't even imagine such temperatures. Stay warm and safe with your book!

Jan 5, 2:35pm Top


Edited: Jan 6, 12:33am Top

Root #6 was Embers by Sandor Marai. This is the story of 2 childhood friends who had not seen each other for 41 years. This book has some eloquent truths: Facts are not truth; and friends can kill each other but death does not end a friendship. The main character, the General, philosophizes for most of the book making this an overlong rambling soliloquy. This would have been much better as a short story. 214 pages 3 stars This book is on the 1001 BYMRBYD---and not really!

Jan 6, 1:26am Top

Welcome back Tess. I too plan on reading (actually listening to) The Gulag Archipelago this year. You seem to be doing well with your reading so far. Keep up the good work!

Edited: Jan 6, 5:13am Top

I was pleasantly surprised by Elizabeth is Missing too - I'd intended to give it to my mum after reading but my daughter has gone off with it, showing that it's a book that has appeal for all ages!

Hope you're cocooned in your blankie if it's still cold. Turning cold here too overnight. Planning to get back to my own 'nest' this afternoon, hopefully with a good read. (Though I've still to catch up on tv adaptations of The Miniaturist and Little Women...spoiled for choice!)

Jan 6, 11:16pm Top

>63 tess_schoolmarm: hmmm... this was one of the Mr. B's choices for me this year... I was a little surprised that it was picked for me. Even more so, now having read your response. It's not my usual... but since they sent it to me, I'll someday give it a shot ;)

Jan 8, 5:44am Top

Hi Tess. After my week away it's taken me a while to catch up on the last of the 2017 and all the new 2018 threads, so although this is late I wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about the death of your father-in-law. I hope that you and your family find lots of comfort in good memories.

How are the temperatures there now? Today we're due to have a high of (*checks Met Office website*) 2 degrees C and that's chilly enough! I'm still going to put some washing out though :)

Edited: Jan 8, 6:49am Top

>67 Jackie_K: We had 7 running days of -20 to -25 C! My skin is so dry that I look like flake-lady! We are having a heat wave today, about -1C which has caused all the snow (about 2 inches) to temporarily thaw and then refreeze into black ice. School is canceled today---another day with a blankie and a book--I could grow to like this!

I hope that you enjoyed your travels and it's good to see you back on the boards.

Jan 8, 6:59am Top

>68 tess_schoolmarm: That's really, really, really cold! And black ice is awful, so I'm glad school was canceled and you can stay home safe and warm.

Jan 8, 7:20am Top

>69 connie53: TY, Connie! The older I get the less I like to go out in sub-zero weather. I'm quite content to stay at home, with a fire going, a blanket, and a book and sometimes an old movie. I do have a goal today, though, of dusting and vacuuming the parlor now that the Christmas tree is down. I have sparkles and such all over the floor. I got all the laundry done yesterday in anticipation of going back to work today! (even changed sheets on 2 beds)

Jan 8, 8:56am Top

We had very similar weather this week - although not for quite as long. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all about -21 C but it's considerably warmer today. Thank goodness because our pipes were starting to freeze yesterday!

Jan 8, 9:12am Top

I like the idea of at least 'one small accomplishment a day' -- I've learned to think that way because anything else is poison. Sometimes I do laundry on a very difficult day just so I can say (to myself), "At least I did some laundry!"
Oh, I am with you about the finishing book compulsion -- can it have something to do with the "clear your plate" thing? I am working on this too, and just this week (over on the 75 with a non-ROOT book) am going to exercise that choice. A perfectly good book, just not what I want to spend my time on.

-20 here yesterday. I am glad this weather is moving on!

Jan 8, 9:18am Top

Wow, I can't even begin to imagine -20! Definitely a duvet day, for sure. Stay safe, and hunker down!

Jan 8, 11:03am Top

We're having a measly -3C, but at least it's frost, which we need. Stay warm and safe!

Jan 8, 4:05pm Top

Cute photos! You're very blessed to have a large family and living close by, I think :). Good luck with your 2018 challenge, although it looks as though you're already making great progress. Stay warm!

Jan 8, 5:15pm Top

>75 readingtangent: Yes, I am blessed beyond measure. I only had 2 sons; thought I might have 2-3 grandchildren, but I have 7! They are close enough to get to them with 15 minutes or driving, but not close enough to walk---which might be a blessing! I love them all dearly. I can't imagine life without seeing them 2-3 times per week.

Jan 8, 6:12pm Top

Well, that's good that the schools are closed when it is so cold, Tess. I can't recall our schools ever being closed due to cold when I was a kid in Montreal. The only time something similar happened was when there was no electricity for a week due to an ice storm. Enjoy your time in your reading nest.

Jan 9, 6:13am Top

Hi Tess, I just wanted to say a big thank you for the Christmas card you sent me - it arrived this morning! Nice to start the day with a smile for being remembered across a long long distance :) Thank you very much!

Jan 9, 2:30pm Top

>78 Jackie_K:. Same here, regarding the Christmas card!

Jan 10, 3:50am Top

Hello Tess, just dropping in to say the Christmas card arrived yesterday. Thank you so much!

Edited: Jan 12, 11:01am Top

Root #7, The Gulag Archipelago Volume I by Aleksandr Scolzhenitsyn. I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by this book. I was prepared to learn about life in the gulags, the inhumanity, the wretchedness, and the desolation. This first volume only really gave a glimpse of this as it was focused primarily on the arrests and the court system. Solzhenitsyn writes at the beginning that he is not changing names because there are no innocents. The author spends a lot of time explaining Article 58 of the Soviet Criminal Code and the other 140 other non general articles. (14 sections). He also spends a lot of time explaining the make up and organization of the Cheka, GPU OGPU, NKVD, NKGB, MGB, MVD, and KGB. This was all very confusing to this reader. Solzhenitsyn does describe his time at Lubyanka and several other prisons, although it is very general. I would suspect that more detail will be in Volumes II and III. I think that the author, in this volume, is trying to stress the arbitrariness of the Soviet State. For example, many of those that aided Lenin in the first revolution were imprisoned because they were "revolutionaries" and Stalin was afraid they were still revolutionaries at heart. The book also discusses the purges of the bourgeoisie, clergy, intelligentsia and political opponents. According to the author, the "terror" was the swiftness of the night arrests and the night interrogations. As of yet, Solzhenitsyn's worst experience was the lack of sleep, which was a main form of torture in the transit camps. Another terror for the political prisoners were the actual convicts who were savvy to the system and preyed upon those who were not.

The prisoners often sat around and discussed poetry and literature that they had read previously. I found it amusing that Solzhenitsyn did not agree with Tolstoy's views and he thought Pasternak lacked any real talent!

Copious descriptions of "Black Marias" and "Stolypins", paddy wagons and cattle cars respectively, in which the prisoners were transported.

Although I know this book is historically significant and I'm glad I read it, there so many organizations, so many laws, etc., that at times I felt I was reading very large lists without any context. I do plan on reading the other 2 volumes, but I'm not sure when; I need a break! 672 pages 3 stars

Jan 11, 2:31pm Top

Well done, Tess, that sounds hard going. Hopefully the next two volumes will be more focused on his experiences. A Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich was enough gulag for me!

Jan 12, 11:08am Top

Root # 8, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell was not as satisfying or as interesting as the other two Gaskell's I've read, Cranford and North and South. I'm not sure what the plot was and I really didn't like many of the main characters. This was definitely a Victorian romance and I'm giving it 3 1/2 stars because this time period piece was generous with its Victorian manners, attitudes, and situations. Gaskell died before she finished the last chapter of this book; but I could write it! The reader will easily be able to predict/assume the ending of this novel. 766 pages 3 1/2 stars

Jan 12, 4:55pm Top

I think I've got North and South on my TBR, but can't remember if I also have Wives and Daughters as well. There are so many classic books and authors I feel I really should have read but haven't, Gaskell being a prime example.

Jan 12, 9:21pm Top

Hi Tess, thanks for the Christmas card. I received it today.

Jan 13, 8:40am Top

So electricity off for 2 hours...really not too bad. THEN.....was going to get a plastic bucket to fill with water and sit in the bathtub (for flushing!) in case it went off again.....and there was 1-2 inches of water on our basement floor. Seems as if the pipe in the sump pump had come apart and it was spouting water all over the basement floor. Thankfully nothing was on the floor except what was in plastic tubs. But still 2 hours of sucking up water with the shop vac, just not a fun Friday night for us!

Jan 13, 8:45am Top

>86 tess_schoolmarm: O my! Was it the sump pump? (whatever that is. googling the word now).

Jan 13, 8:47am Top

>86 tess_schoolmarm: Oh my word, what a hassle! I hope it's sorted out now, and your weekend is more relaxed!

Jan 13, 8:50am Top

>87 connie53: the pump in the basement to pump out water that comes from underground streams. Picture:

Jan 13, 9:05am Top

>89 tess_schoolmarm: Aha, I thought it might be something like that. I hope it's under control now.

Jan 13, 9:05am Top

I know it's a mess but I'm glad you caught it when you did!

Jan 13, 10:07am Top

oh that’s been a bit of a disaster - hope things are back to normal quickly!

Jan 13, 10:11am Top

Hi Tess!

I've only read Cranford by Gaskell, so will pass on anything else by her. Fortunately I don't have anything else on my shelves, so won't feel guilty. *smile*

Sorry to her about the power outage and the flooded basement.

And congratulations on 8 ROOTs so far.

Jan 13, 12:59pm Top

Thanks all! We are dry and got a good night's sleep. Husband duck taped the pipe; what else can one do at 10pm? He is at the hardware store now picking up some new piping.

Jan 14, 3:29am Top

Sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation, Tess. Hope the rest of 2018 is better for you, with lots to read.

Jan 14, 1:05pm Top

>86 tess_schoolmarm: It's funny that such disasters always happen on weekends. Good luck with the repair!

Jan 14, 2:33pm Top

>86 tess_schoolmarm: I feel for you! I so appreciate a well-working sump pump!!

Jan 14, 3:00pm Top

>96 MissWatson:
>97 detailmuse:

About $15 and a lot of swearing and it's working as good a new. Later today I will go down with some cleaner and mop the floor just to make sure that it's clean because the water from the sump pump came from where? LOL!

Jan 14, 3:13pm Top

>98 tess_schoolmarm: At least it's groundwater not sewer!

Jan 14, 4:22pm Top

>99 detailmuse: That is a blessing!

Edited: Jan 16, 7:25pm Top

Root #9 was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. It was the story of Eve, who served in the Alice Network during WWI in France (a real spy ring) and it alternated with modern day (1947) Charlie St. Clair, whose best friend disappears sometime during WWII. I really loved the 1915 part as it was tense and believable and historically accurate. The 1947 section, seems a bit contrived and of course it contained the requisite love interest. The entire book was wrapped up a little too bit conveniently for my tastes, but all in all a great read. 528 pages 4 1/2 stars.

Jan 15, 1:09am Top

Good thing that you caught the problem so quickly, Tess. It seems to be the time of year for things like that to happen. Good review of The Alice Network, I know I have that somewhere on my shelves.

Jan 15, 3:48am Top

>102 Familyhistorian: It always seems to be winter when this sort of thing happens, isn't it? A few years ago our boiler finally died, in the middle of the coldest February we'd had for years.

Jan 15, 4:30am Top

>101 tess_schoolmarm: you might be interested in the book my husband is currently reading Fighters in the Shadows which is about the role of women in the French Resistance - I'm not sure how he's getting on with it as he keeps falling asleep, but that's not necessarily a reflection on the book!

Jan 15, 2:22pm Top

>104 floremolla: Thanks, Donna. I look it up!

Edited: Jan 15, 2:36pm Top

Root # 10 was National Geographic Magazine (January, 2018) Why Birds Matter. I was debating on whether to count this magazine as a book, but since it's 149 pages long and I read every single article, I decided it should be counted. Although dated Jan. 2018, I received it in December. In general, I'm not a huge fan of National Geographic for several reasons. One: it is liberally biased. Two: Being a historian I expect science to be as exact as history, and I just don't find that in some of the articles. I bought 2 years of this magazine from my grandson who was selling them to fund a trip to Washington DC.

Examples of why I'm not a big fan: in the article "Why Birds Matter" the following sentence ends a paragraph explaining how birds came from dinosaurs (which is another problem in and of itself), but here goes the sentence: To consign birds to oblivion is to forget what we're the children of." I would assume they are talking about evolution??? I want facts, not theories!

Another example: same article, "....our cats and our windows and our pesticides kill billions of them every year.........I'm not sure what the author (who has already irritated me) is trying to say....but I'm not going without my windows and some would not go without their cats.

My favorite article in this month was 'The Arctic's Last Sea Ice' which made a compelling, coherent, non-meandering argument.

Also included were articles on The Science of Good and Evil and The Healing of Colombia.

Because of the beautiful and gorgeous full-color bird pictures I'm rating this 3 1/2 stars.

Jan 20, 9:12am Top

>106 tess_schoolmarm: It's interesting that you think NG has a liberal bias - I have heard (very liberal) commentators who really don't like it (primarily, as far as I can tell, they think it's simplistic, and often essentialising of various different cultures). I very rarely buy it, although their photos are often stunning. I do remember buying a copy in Romania several years ago, so that I could try and work my way through the articles in Romanian. I still have that knocking around somewhere.

I hope your sump pump woes are now over!

Jan 20, 11:14am Top

>108 Jackie_K: Yes, Jackie, I would agree that it is simplistic; although I think that is its niche. This really isn't written for scientists or historians and I think that's why it might bug me a little! And yes, the pictures are stunning! I like the travel articles as I probably won't ever get to Machu Picchu or the rainforests of Vietnam; but I can't trust 100% that they are giving me the entire "correct" story.

Sump pump all fixed and working great!

Jan 20, 11:30am Top

Okay, now I have a very silly question that needs some explaining. There is a show here in Holland where some of Hollands known people compete for the title: best photographer of 2017. This year Estelle Cruijff won and her price was a shoot for NG about Machu Picchu. So now I'm curious if the pictures of Machu Picchu are made by Estelle?

Jan 20, 11:56am Top

Connie, not a silly question. I have seen pictures in the past of Machu Picchu in NG. However, not for several years.....so I can't confirm that they were in fact Estelle Crujiff's that I've seen. But if I run across any of her pictures (I will be looking now) I will let you know!

Edited: Jan 20, 12:44pm Top

>111 tess_schoolmarm: Thanks. She won this price just a few weeks ago so the pictures will come in the future.

Jan 20, 2:33pm Top

>112 connie53: I will watch for them!

Edited: Jan 21, 9:07pm Top

Root #11, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is an award winning book, but alas, not for me.

First, let’s get to the form. Atwood doesn’t use quotation marks so makes it irritating to read the book trying to figure who is speaking, the protagonist or the narrator (which sometimes is the same person). Also, Atwood has a clear and annoying pattern of using “triplets” thus: the theatre was cold, dark, sitting in silence. Three adjectives separated by commas and never using the word “and” before the third one. It seemed that when I wasn’t trying to figure out who was speaking, I was counting “triplets.”

Secondly, the story. It was your typical dystopian. Because the U.S. economy was top heavy with rich, a group of fundamentalist Christians overthrew the government and destroyed the constitution. You really do have to get into heavy fiction to even believe that one. This small group of rebels closes the U.S. borders and institutes a theocracy where women have no rights except to reproduce; which is difficult because the soil, food, and water have been poisoned.

Anything good I would have to say about the book was ruined by the last three chapters: 1) a question and answer period 2) an afterward by Atwood 3) an afterward by Valerie Martin (?) analyzing the main character and faintly singing Atwood’s praises.

I was hoping for so much more from this book since it was on the 1001 BYMRBYD list and more specifically from my first Atwood. 325 pages 2 1/2 stars

Jan 22, 4:27am Top

>114 tess_schoolmarm: I'm sorry you didn't enjoy The Handmaid's Tale. I loved it when I read it a couple of decades ago. I don't remember having a problem with the grammar but it might just be that my memory on that is not very good!

I didn't question the government coup by rich fundamentalist Christians because, in general, dystopian novels require a suspension of disbelief to some extent - although thinking about it in isolation, it does seem highly unlikely (...but then I would have said that about Trump!). I suppose it was a necessary plot device, given the premise that the novel's setting is a totalitarian theonomy where people still remember the freedoms of their old lives, so it all had to have happened quickly, it wasn't a dystopia that could evolve over generations.

Bearing in mind too it was a reaction to an environmental/biological disaster that caused women to lose their fertility. The human race was endangered. That's the kind of back-to-the-wall scenario where people panic and look to strong leadership - even to the promise that God will save them if they just follow the (albeit rather weird) rules.

I enjoyed the recent tv adaptation but it wasn't how I envisaged the novel. A potential reread for me, but somewhere down the line when I've forgotten the adaptation too.

Jan 22, 5:09am Top

>115 floremolla: I think we are both on one line, Donna. I loved it too.

Jan 22, 5:17am Top

I have wanted to read The Handmaid's Tale for ages, so much so it turns out I bought it twice! One copy is on the pile to take to Barter Books on our next visit. I'm particularly interested in it as Atwood has apparently said that one of her inspirations for writing it was Ceausescu's Romania (which I studied, and then subsequently did my PhD research in post-Ceausescu Romania looking at sexual/reproductive health) where women's reproduction was very much an overt political project.

Jan 22, 7:48am Top

Root#12, The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystyna Chiger was one of the best Holocaust survivor stories that I have read, and I've read hundreds. Is is the story of the Chiger family who is forced to live in the sewers below Lvov for 18 months. This ranks right up there with Wiesel's Night. 272 pages 5 stars

Jan 22, 1:41pm Top

>115 floremolla: LOL Donna to Trump....but if you talk with people, not the media, or from big cities, this would not have been a surprise. Several of the smaller media outlets called the election 18 months before it actually happened. That is why Trump had met with the leaders of other countries before the election; (as did Clinton) he was pretty much assured a win.

Jan 22, 5:15pm Top

>119 tess_schoolmarm: I didn't know that, but by the time the US presidential election came around I'd lost the ability to be surprised at election outcomes because of what was happening here in the UK, and yet I was still incredulous about Trump being president, if that makes sense!

Jan 22, 7:55pm Top

>120 floremolla: makes sense to me! What is incredulous to me is that we had only 2 choices: Clinton (a known criminal) and Trump (the unknown)...........I mean, a leader in the free world, can't we come up with anybody better than either of them?????

Jan 23, 3:31am Top

I am currently listening to The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1 on audio. I agree that there are a lot of lists in there. It reminds me of a book on WWII I read a couple of years ago, derived largely directly from military dispatches and official documents. It too wound up being largely a bunch of lists. But in that case the lists of people killed and how they died finally became kind of overwhelming and made its own point.

I also listened to The Handmaid's Tale on CD a couple of years ago. That way you don't notice the anomalies in the writing. And I too loved it. The scariest thing to me was the way the new regime managed to take over so suddenly by canceling all the women's bank cards so that they had to rely on their husbands or fathers to transact any business. Also how they separated children from their families.

And I too still can't believe Trump. In some ways more so now than when he was first elected. Most times after a presidential election everything settles down to mostly normal except for the occasional scandal or tempest in a teapot. But it seems like this time it has been a constant uproar. And uproar in an internationally dangerous way (as opposed to the ever popular sex and money scandals).

Jan 23, 4:34am Top

>122 LoraShouse: Don't know if that is intentional or the lack of never having learned to compromise. Either way doesn't make for a stable Whitehouse.

Jan 23, 8:22am Top

Hi Tess!

>114 tess_schoolmarm: I've had The Handmaid's Tale on my shelves since at least 2002 because that's when our book club read it and I didn't even want to open it. Your review confirms that I should just really get rid of it. I haven't wanted to watch the TV series either.

Jan 24, 7:46am Top

>114 tess_schoolmarm: I wasn't a big fan of this one either when I read it in 2013, but I'm generally having a hard time with Atwood books and I don't like dystopean - my head is mostly in the way and says "wouldn't work like this", building a whole argumentation and refuses to be drawn into the story.
This was also the case with Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I rated The Handmaid's Tale with 4 stars, mainly because everyone loved it and I felt I had missed something.

Edited: Jan 24, 12:03pm Top

your review/opinion is as valid as anyone’s, Tess! it could be that it seemed more ground breaking and had more resonance when it was first published over two decades ago - I was in my feminist hey-day then (I’m still a Ms!) and thought it was very clever and ‘different’, but there have been a lot of dystopian novels under the bridge since then.... the fact the tv adaptation is going for a second series that will explore ‘the colonies’ and other tangential aspects of the story suggest it’s being repackaged for a modern audience. And also milked for every penny they can squeeze out of one story! I must say I particularly liked the concept of the handmaid’s story being discovered in a much later/different epoch thus perhaps casting a shadow of doubt as to its veracity - but also hinting at a different, more equitable future. I wonder how/if they’ll work that into the tv series?

Jan 25, 1:34am Top

I hope that your house is now behaving itself, Tess. Looks like it must be as you are catching up with your reading.

Edited: Jan 26, 8:01pm Top

>126 floremolla: I don't watch TV (now that Downtown Abby is finished) so I often don't make connections....however, I may look this one up! As much as I loved Outlander, I still haven't watched that series, although I will after the very last book comes out, hopefully this year.

Edited: Jan 27, 11:40pm Top

Root # 12, The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch, is the story of Jakob Kuisl, the hangman of the town of Schongau, Bavaria. It is mid 17th century and there has not been a hanging for witchcraft in 100 years. However, due to mysterious circumstances and the death of 2 young children, the mid-wife, a middle-aged, single woman, has been accused of witchcraft. It was Jakob's job to torture her to confession. Jakob didn't believe she was guilty. The story really isn't about Jakob's daughter, but she does have a part in the story. At the end of the book the author states that he is a descendant of Jakob Kuisl. This was your good, average book. It dragged in a few places and the dialogue and vocabulary were very simple; this could be due to translation. I think with some good editing the book could be cut by 100 pages. I'm glad I read this book, but I won't be reading the other 4 in the series. 448 pages 3 stars

Jan 27, 11:55pm Top

Just stopping by to say hi and wish you good luck with your challenge! :-)

Jan 28, 10:47am Top

>130 Lisa805: Thanks, Lisa!

Edited: Jan 28, 11:05am Top

Root # 13, Have Personality Disorder will Rule Russia: An Iconoclastic History by a Recovering Russophile by Jennifer Eremeeva is a short, sarcastic, self-published, brief history of three of Russia's most famous Czars: Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. I was most disappointed because it spoke nothing of their mental conditions, which I thought would be the focus of this book. Upon researching AFTER I read this book, I discovered it was a companion book to Lenin Lives Next Door written primarily to give background history to that book. As to anything historical in the book, there was nothing that I could not find in the high school textbook that I use in my classroom. Very disappointing. Glad it was really short! 135 pages 2 stars.

Jan 28, 12:38pm Top

>132 tess_schoolmarm: I got that as a BB the other year (and took it as I found it for free in the kobo store!). I won't hold my breath when the Jar of Fate gives me this title to read! Sorry it was disappointing, hope your next read is better!

Jan 28, 5:49pm Top

Root # 14, National Geographic November 2017 The Search of Happiness, Nov. 2017. The highlights:

The Search for Happiness--the author claims Costa Rica, Denmark, and Singapore are the most joyful places on the planet. Hard to believe......but I don't have time or energy to argue. For example, Singapore is listed on the web as the 3rd busiest place for human trafficking. Guess, it's who you interview. Costa Rica has an annual average income of $6800; things are cheaper there?

The largest article in this magazine "Weirdest wonders on Wings-Pterosaurs." How I love their science! These winged dinosaurs just jumped up and down and never came back down!????????

The articles on the Okavanga Valley and also Why Vaccines Matter were very good.

148 pages 3 stars

Edited: Jan 28, 7:06pm Top

>132 tess_schoolmarm: Oh dear. Sorry to hear it was so disappointing, Tess. I had it tentatively planned for February's AlphaKIT. What is the reverse of a BB?

Edited: Jan 28, 7:53pm Top

>114 tess_schoolmarm: I didn't care for it, either. What's funny is I just randomly read it a few years ago, and then all of a sudden there was a show and it seemed like everyone else was reading it and talking about it, too :).

>129 tess_schoolmarm: I almost read that one this month. It's available to borrow from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (if you're a Prime member). I'll probably give it a shot in a couple months.

Jan 28, 8:04pm Top

>136 readingtangent: I am a Prime member and use the Lending Library frequently.

Edited: Jan 29, 5:56pm Top

Root # 15 was a psychological thriller, The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea. This was a surprise, a chilling tale. It starts out as a simple kidnapping; but it's not really so simple. The plot builds and builds and everytime you think you've got it pegged, something else happens. Kept me on the edge of my seat till the very end! 340 pages 4 1/2 stars.

Edited: Jan 30, 8:25am Top

Another paper root on my shelf since 1989! It's actually one of those museum books you get, or at least that I get when I go places. I visited Israel in 1989 and went to Massada. I purchased Massada Pictorial Guide and Souvenir while there. I promptly put it on my shelf when I returned and there it sat. This is a glossy book that highlights the history, structure, and current (1989) excavations of Massada, the Jews last stronghold in Jerusalem. In about 72 CE (AD) the Jewish zealots had holed up in Massada, originally King Herod's summer palace. They were besieged by the Romans and in the end they all killed themselves and their families rather than be taken alive. I was in Israel for 10 days and of all the places I think I liked this one the best, as it was historical and much of it remained. 39 pages 5 stars.

Jan 31, 1:30am Top

>139 tess_schoolmarm: Good for you for finally reading the book on Massada, Tess. I hope it brought back some of the interesting things from your visit.

Edited: Jan 31, 8:52pm Top

>140 Familyhistorian: Oh it did, Meg. Everything came back in my mind!

Root # 17 was my 2nd Joyce Carol Oates book and it was more odd than the first! Black Water takes place in 2-3 minutes after a car driven by a senator and his secretary careen off the road and plunges underwater. The senator escapes, but his secretary does not. The entire book are her thoughts before she drowns. It reminds me of the Ted Kennedy incident in Chappaquiddick in 1969. A lot of the book was the making of gurgling sounds and hisses and coughs. Not my type of book! Read this for my RL book club. Most of the girls didn't like it either, but one did say she thought it showed the bare ideas of the soul???!!!! I had the audio companion to this book and it was dreadful, also. This is a 1001 BYMRBYD book. 160 pages 2 1/2 stars

Feb 1, 3:51am Top

>140 Familyhistorian: sounds awful, did it make the 160 pages seem much longer?!

Edited: Feb 1, 10:53am Top

It has been a nice time here in ROOTS. However, I feel my time has come to an end. There didn't seem to be much political chat here when I joined and out of respect for my country I now must leave. I have joined a group in which the administrator has promised there is no political chat. Why do people have to be offensive? Why can not people live an let live? Why do people think that their opinion is the only one that matters? Why are people such sore losers? Why do people bring politics (or religion or sex) into a book chat forum? My mother certainly taught me better manners than that! I have my own political and religious beliefs but I would never ever post them in a forum of this type especially when there are political chat forums on LT. This should be an peaceful place to which one can retreat, as we all do in our books. I find those that claim to be liberal or tolerant are by far the least tolerant of all. Happy rooting!

Feb 1, 10:55am Top

I’m sorry you feel that way, Tess, particularly if my opinions expressed elsewhere upset you.

Feb 1, 11:20am Top

I'm sorry too Tess, if anything I have said has been offensive or upsetting. That was certainly never my intention.

Personally, I think a fair bit of my reading either reflects or challenges my political views, so it's hard to entirely leave it behind and read them apart from that. But I hope that, whether here or elsewhere where I hang out online and in 'real life' (this is real life too, but you know what I mean), I can listen to opposing views respectfully and not just live in a bubble of 'people like me'. I'm sorry for the times that I've fallen short of that in any way, and wish you nothing but good. I hope you can reconsider some time and we see you here again, I will miss you.

Feb 1, 8:52pm Top

Sorry to hear you're feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable, Tess. If anything I've said has contributed to your feeling that you must leave, I am very sorry. I shall miss you.

Feb 2, 3:21am Top

I am very sorry to hear that you feel uncomfortable in the group, Tess.

Feb 2, 6:45pm Top

I'm sorry, too, Tess, and if I'm one of the people who have made you uncomfortable, I'm truly sorry.

Feb 3, 3:13am Top

Wow Tess, I'm really sorry to hear you're leaving us and I hope you feel comfortable in your new group. I hope it was nothing I did to make you feel this way.

Edited: Feb 12, 3:22pm Top

So sorry to hear you are leaving, Tess. :-( I hope you will be happy in your new group.

Otherwise, Jackie makes a good point in mssg 145. ....I will leave it at that. :-)

Feb 17, 4:52pm Top

Sorry to hear that you have left the ROOTing group, Tess. You will be missed.

Mar 22, 11:48am Top

:( I see you've left the ROOTers :(
I don't know what political chat has occurred because I've been very out-of-the-loop, but I'm sorry people have been offensive! Hope you are finding joy where you land and know that you're missed here!


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