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Sibyx reads in 2018


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Edited: Aug 3, 8:47pm Top

ROOTS 2018
I joined LT in January 2010. All the books on this list went into LT that year but are still hanging about!
My plan is to read (approximately) 2 per month. There are a few extras as it is a) nice to have choices and b)I am assuming there will be a few I decide I won't ever read.

General Fiction including A Few Languishing Greats and One Beloved Reread:

1. DeBeauvoir, Simone The Mandarins
2. Eliot, George Daniel Deronda
3. Frazier, Charles Thirteen Moons
4. Gerhardie, William Futility DONE
5. Hardy, Thomas Jude the Obscure DONE!!!!!
6. Moon, Elizabeth The Speed of Dark
7. O'Faolain, Sean The Heat of the Sun
8. O'Faolain, Sean I Remember! I Remember! DONE
9. Powys, John Cowper Owen Glendower READING
10. Smith, Dodie I Capture the Castle
11. Smith, Dominic The Beautiful Miscellaneous DONE
13. Nancy Willard Things Invisible to See DONE!

14. Benford, Gregory In the Ocean of Night tried it out and decided I don't need to read this one
15. Islandia Austin Tappan WrightDONE!!!
16. Brust, Stephen and Megan Lindholm The Gypsy DONE
17. Hamilton, Peter The Reality Dysfunction (start of series)
18. McKillip, Patricia Riddle-Master Trilogy (a reread) a.The Riddle-Master of Hed b.Heir of Sea and Fire c.Harpist in the Wind DONE!
19. Phillips, Marie Gods Behaving Badly DONE
20. War With the Newts Karel Capek tried it out and decided I don't need to read this one

21. Ehrlich, Gretel This Cold Heaven
22. Forster, Margaret Hidden Lives DONE
23. Godden, Rumer A Time To Dance, No Time To Weep DONE!
23. Menand, Louis The Metaphysical Club DONE
24. Nouwen, Henry The Genesee Diary DONE!
25. Rayfield, Donald Chekhov: A Life
26. Weil, Andrew Healthy Aging DONE!

Dec 22, 2017, 11:54am Top

Good to see you, Sibyx and good luck with ROOTing.

Dec 22, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Good luck with 2018 rooting!

Dec 22, 2017, 11:02pm Top

Glad to see you joining us again! Enjoy going through your list :)

Dec 23, 2017, 12:51pm Top

Good luck for 2018! Good to see you here again :)

Dec 25, 2017, 1:44am Top

Good luck with your ROOTing in 2018!

Dec 26, 2017, 6:59pm Top

Glad you're with us again!

Dec 27, 2017, 5:09am Top

Found and starred you and joined the 2018 group with the best intentions to get some books off my own shelf.
2 per month seem doable, I'll try the same and hopefully it'll be a better year than 2016 and 2017...

Dec 27, 2017, 8:28am Top

Greetings everyone! And thank you for stopping by and being encouraging!

>8 Deern: Hooray and lovely to see you! I'm hoping it works for me too. I pulled all of those books on my list out of the shelf and it is a daunting bunch. I carefully put some fun ones in--just some books I've been meaning to reread for yonks.

Dec 27, 2017, 4:03pm Top

I'm one of those list people so I always have a list and just get a great deal of satisfaction when I get to put a ✔ next to one of those books that have been sitting, waiting so patiently for their moment to shine.

Hope you find some great books that have been waiting for you!

Dec 27, 2017, 6:28pm Top

I've finished my 2017 goals, including one extra! So satisfying!

Dec 30, 2017, 12:38pm Top

Hi, welcome back and happy ROOTing in 2018!

Jan 1, 3:23am Top

Happy New Year, sibyx!

Jan 1, 1:28pm Top

Welcome back, and happy ROOTing!

Jan 1, 3:25pm Top

Onece more happy reading in 2018!

Jan 4, 9:59am Top

Hello and good luck with your ROOTing!

Jan 4, 10:24am Top

I'm twenty pages from finishing book #1!

Jan 4, 11:01am Top


Edited: Jan 28, 5:47pm Top

January ROOTing I've finished my first ROOTS read of the year!

****1/2 memoir
The Genesee Diary Henri Nouwen

Before writing about the book, a couple of disclaimers as my reasons for reading it have less to do with matters of Christian faith and more to do with curiousity albeit both secular and spiritual. I grew up about a mile as a crow flies from this monastery and many times, especially during the 1970's, attended the midnight mass at Christmas in the company of a Catholic friend. (I also grew up eating Monk's bread--the raisin-cinnamon was the best) so I could well have been at the midnight mass Nouwen writes of on his last night at the monastery in 1974. I put the book on my wishlist long ago, the "Genesee" having caught my eye. A friend here gave it to me. The river was less than a quarter mile from our farmhouse. The idea of my own large, messy, noisy and complicated family being so close by to a place of such quietude and contemplation bemused me.

So the book. Henri Nouwen, Dutch, and a devout Catholic, Jesuit-trained but also a restless man (and troubled) with an interest in the places where spirituality and psychology meet, asks to stay at the monastery and is granted the unique gift of a seven-month long residency. Henri, a teacher, writer, speaker, arrives in a burnt-out state, feeling that he is losing sight of his relationship to the core matter of his life, his relationship to God. Every week he spends an hour with the Abbot, John Eudes, a remarkable person in which they discuss his "progress".

Two compulsions form his efforts of the first few months, dealing with restlessness and anger, finding the source of each and ways to move beyond both. In the former it is, he realizes, his competitiveness, a constant measuring of himself versus others that causes him, when he is with people, to exhaust himself. Conversely being alone makes him feel crazily bored and even more so if it involves spending half a day hauling rocks out of a creek for the walls of the new chapel or washing raisins or bread pans. When he is alone he craves people, when with people, he craves being alone. He is not comfortable in himself in the moment. Eudes says "Without solitude there can be no real people. The more you discover what a person is, and experience what a human relationship requires in order to remain profound, fruitful, and a source of growth and development, the more you discover that you are alone--..." Nouwen also experiences flashes of anger (and longer bouts of resentment) when, say, he realizes that one monk is simply "nice" to everyone, not just him. Nouwen grapples with his need to be special, to stand out, to garner praise and not to resent it when others receive more praise than he. These first concerns gradually ease during the months of his stay and he has genuine insights into the underlying causes too which helps a shift and ebbing of turmoil as, gradually, the emotions subside. After six months he finds he can spend the day messing with the rocks or mucking about in the bakery if not quite happily, then contentedly and it feels wonderful. He knows he does not have a vocation to be a monk, so now Henri's hopes begin to turn toward taking what he has learned here with him when he returns to his regular life in the secular world. While in his epilogue he says he didn't do so well with it, I doubt that. I can say unequivocally that there is much here for the secular seeker and that my curiousity was satisfied. I'm happy to think of these good people being nearby, especially during my tumultuous adolescence. I have spent several hours all told in the "new" chapel, built in that year, and it is a lovely tranquil place. I love knowing that Henri Nouwen had a hand in it. ****1/2

Jan 6, 2:57am Top

Wow, Lucy. Nice review.

Jan 6, 7:33am Top

Thank you! I get a little carried away.

Jan 6, 8:05am Top

I don't mind!

Jan 6, 9:22am Top

Great review and an interesting book to get carried away by, with its unique personal resonance.

Edited: Jan 8, 11:55am Top

Well, I just picked out a new non-fiction book, thinking, NOT a ROOT, but then I thought: "This book has been around for awhile." Went to check and it is a 2010 book, so now I have another one going. This would be A Time To Dance, No Time To Weep by Rumer Godden one of those writers whose books I have read and reread. That is fine, because I keep finding more ROOT books hiding in my shelves. Maybe they like being there and hide?

Jan 8, 11:58am Top

>19 sibyx: That sounds really interesting, and a brilliant review. I have really enjoyed the other Nouwen books I've read.

Edited: Jan 15, 7:54am Top

>25 Jackie_K: You're too kind!

I'm also reading a classic fiction ROOTS choice, Jude the Obscure, taking it slowly, so I'm glad I've started it now as it will likely be one of the February. ROOTS reads. That way maybe I'll feel I can tackle another really LONG one for my second February book.

Jan 15, 9:39am Top

>26 sibyx: I read Jude the Obscure last year - it was my first Hardy novel - I’m interested to hear what you think.

Edited: Jan 22, 1:24pm Top

Book 2 for January
memoir ***1/2
A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep Rumer Godden

Godden writes of the years from her 1907 to 1946 when she returns to England with her two children after the war's end. The story is a familiar one: her father worked for one of the many companies based in India so the family, four girls and parents, travelled back and forth in various combinations. Most of her childhood was spent in a big house in a small town in the Narayanganj (in present-day Bangladesh). She had a fine teacher during a sojourn at a good progressive school in England who recognized her potential and asked her not to even try to publish anything until she was 26, which promise Godden kept. The story wanders a bit and feels very disjointed -- this happened and then that happened, dogs come and go, houses and possessions come and go, marriages fail and everyone soldiers on. The care and coherence of her novels is in absolute contrast to the chaos of her life, but she certainly lived things fully and completely as she was in the midst of them! That might be my biggest takeaway. For those who love reading about British India, both fictionally and non -- this is the real deal. ***1/2

I can totally see why I took forever to get around to this! I love Godden's fiction, but . . .

Edited: Jan 28, 12:04pm Top

>24 sibyx: They breed there!

Jan 23, 8:56am Top

>29 tess_schoolmarm: Do they ever!

Jan 23, 3:11pm Top

Just want to say that it was well over an hour before my ticker changed from 1 to 2.

Jan 23, 4:33pm Top

>31 sibyx: The tickers are slow, but I find if once I get back to my thread I hit 'refresh' then it updates then and there.

Jan 23, 5:27pm Top

>32 Jackie_K: I'll try that next time. Thanks!

Edited: Jan 28, 11:20am Top

Popping in to say that I have met my 2 book January goal in a timely way and that I'm glad that I plunged into the Godden when I did.

February's ROOTS:
1. Jude, the Obscure (which I started a week or two ago) has been a slow and painful read so far as I always knew it would be. I will likely finish it today or tomorrow, but I will place it February as I met my goal for January. No overdoing things or I will burn out!

2. The Metaphysical Club (about the rise of pragmatism as opposed to idealism (yuh, transcendentalists, abolitionists, early suffragists) after the Civil War -- principally four very influential white men are the focus, with a smattering of women and people of other ethnicities mentioned. The focus shifts from thinking to doing, from dreaming to real down-to-earth problem-solving. The principals are: Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, Benjamin Peirce, and John Dewey. It's a very long and meaty book and will take the whole month to read, I have little doubt, so it is good that I will be done with Jude.

Very clear to me already that there is a reason I have repeatedly skipped over these books -- all are rewarding in some way, but none, so far, have been at all easy or even pleasant. No escape or entertainment here.

Jan 28, 12:32pm Top

>34 sibyx: yes, I commiserate on having your worst fears about a book confirmed - that it is less than entertaining/a slog. Bah! But usually I'm glad I've made the effort and sometimes there's an unexpected gem among them. Hope you find one but I doubt it'll be Jude The Obscure ;)

Jan 28, 12:39pm Top

>35 floremolla: Commiseration very very welcome!

Edited: Jan 28, 6:23pm Top

First February ROOT done!

I hunkered down and finished up Jude, the Obscure today. As I said above at >34 sibyx: it will take me the whole month to get through the other February book.

(don't feel in the least obliged to read this review -- it is as much to remind me of what I read and help fix it in my mind as anything)

Can't help adding that this is the second ROOT book that literally fell apart as I read it, an old Penguin, and it meant I could scribble all over it as I wished and also that I could toss it in the recycle bin when done! (One reason to have written this copious review.)

classic fiction ****1/2
Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

Oh la, how to begin? Can I say I am ecstatic to be finished with Jude and Sue and their woeful lives? Can I also say I am so glad to get out of the cold rain of a story steeped in an uncomfortable blend of pragmatism, melodrama, farce and the dourest view indeed of most human endeavors? Jude Fawley (Folly) and Sue Bridehead (Hmmm) are cousins and when they meet they like one another, for Jude it is instant love both sacred and profane. He has already tumbled somewhat off of the path he set himself as a lad, to study and achieve a place and a degree at Oxford, the great university town that is the crown of Wessex, but Sue is all for his dreams. The melodrama comes in when Sue and Jude are both warned that marriage in their family always ends in tragedy and disaster. They don't marry one another, oh no, they stubbornly ignore their hearts and marry disastrously, but back to melodrama and plot twisting, those marriages fail, but wait the drama goes on and on . . . And in between all this Sue and Jude debate and discuss and, amazingly, convince me that they do love and understand one another but are such total ninnies that they will mess up their own chance of happiness.

But here's the thing, the novel is chock full of ideas--serious ones that, in the right book group or classroom could lead to endless discussion. Sue is something special and something new (although it did occur to me she would have gone to be a nun in the old days and would have perhaps been happy enough) a woman who wants to think and do for herself. That she cannot sustain her independence is one of the mysteries that haunts the core of the story. That she is terrified of sexual intercourse, and, even with Jude probably cannot enjoy herself,is a given. For all we like a strong fictional heroine and etc. the reality is that most of us, men and women, are weak and in the face of societal convention and disapproval most of us do wilt under scrutiny. Hardy gives us a real and heart-breaking person in Sue. Jude was slightly less real to me, his utter vulnerability to the machinations of Arabella, his first wife, stretched my credibility. He so readily and naively gives up his dreams for sex, although not having ever been a lustful young adult male, what do I know? And there is never any hint anywhere that any couple are conjugally loving--there is no sense with Arabella that sex is anything other than a transaction that gets her what she wants--a man for appearances. For all her moral appearance, she is far more immoral (and so is everyone else by implication) than poor Jude and Sue with their attempts to live up to their pure ideals.

Hardy puts intellectual striving and sexual desire at firm odds. Marriage, he sees as a social contract the purpose of which is utterly crass and damaging to both men and women, given how prone we are to making bad mistakes with our hearts. He also points out that men consider women something to possess, that marriage is a contract that ensures a form of possession, and that the contract of marriage does assume that the woman will do her duty (It is a given that any man who marries will be game.) In return the man will, supposedly, protect her and their children. There are some horrifying passages where the friend of Sue's first husband advises him to break her spirit if he gets the chance. In the end, this good man, Phillotson is just about convinced and it is left ambiguous just how stern he will be with her. Sue's aversion to getting married, which starts out seeming perverse, by the end seems like good sense, at least for her.

Of course I am not at all sorry to have read the novel. I don't know when I will tackle another Hardy, for this makes three, of which The Return of the Native was one I most enjoyed, but probably that was due to the brilliant reading of it by Alan Rickman. (the other was Tess) I have to give this book ****1/2 stars because of what it is, what Hardy presents us with and made me think about, however unwillingly. Rating this sort of book seems idiotic to me, by the way, but so be it.

Some quotes:
beautiful writing: "the fresh harrow-lines seemed to stretch like the channelings in a piece of new corduroy . . ."

On the architecture of Oxford: These were the ideas in modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry. Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical. How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men."

Here is a moment that illustrates the sometimes pedantic motion of Jude's thoughts: "Strange that his aspiration--towards academical proficiency--had been checked by a womn, and that his second aspiration--towards apostleship--had also been checked by a woman. 'Is it,' he said, 'that the women are to blame; or is it the artificial system of things, under which the normal sexual impulses are turned into devilish domestic gins and springes to noose and hold back those who want to progress?'

"Sue held that there was not much queer or exceptional in them: that all were so. 'Everybody is getting to feel as we do. We are a little beforehand, that's all in fifty, a hundred years these two {a bridal couple she and Jude are observing} will act and feel worse than we.' I think that rates as mildly prophetic.

As Sue disinegrates later in the novel Hardy has Jude ask, "Is it peculiar to you, or is it common to woman? Is a woman a thinking unit at all, or a fraction always wanting its integer?" Yowza. It's a perfect metaphor in that it is setting the logic of math against the illogic of art and emotion.

Jan 28, 5:56pm Top

>37 sibyx: Hardy is one of my favorite authors and I have this one on deck!

Jan 28, 7:36pm Top

>37 sibyx: great review, I don’t mind the length at all. I too like to review as an aide memoire. Apparently I found Sue an irksome contrarian and thought the novel was the literary equivalent of spending time with an acquaintance whose negativity leaves you feeling you've had the life sucked out of you.... but I still gave it four stars! I have the Alan Rickman-narrated audiobook of Return of the Native and a paperback Far From the Madding Crowd as ROOTs to look forward to.

Feb 9, 12:33pm Top

It's been awhile since I posted here. Just to say then that I hope to finish The Metaphysical Club before the end of the month. It's a dense book and small print and the combo means slow going. It's very good however. Completely worth it. Menand examines the directions philosophy and scientific thinking evolved during and after the Civil War up to the turn of the century. Pragmatism, etc.

Feb 9, 6:10pm Top

>40 sibyx: Glad to hear you're enjoying it!

Feb 10, 12:16pm Top

>40 sibyx: I've already over-committed myself on the dense/small print but will wishlist this for the future. Probably every nation should have a periodical review of its philosophical and scientific thinking!

Edited: Feb 26, 9:31am Top

Done! The Metaphysical Club Louis Menand.

You can read the "review" on the book's page. It's horribly long so I thought I would not inflict it here!

Feb 26, 11:16am Top

>43 sibyx: Brilliant review and great quotes! I don't think I need to read it now, you've done such a great job of pulling out key points ;)

Feb 28, 4:30pm Top

>44 floremolla: Thank you! That was a real ten-page a day and no more-er.

Now I'm thinking about March. While I have some doorstoppers hanging about in line, I think I am going to go "lite" this month with fiction and lighter fiction at that. Haven't decided what those will be yet. Leaning towards the three McKillips (fantasy and also a reread and which for ROOTS purposes count as one book, a,b, and c.) and the Gerhardie Futilitywhich has the virtue of being short and, at a glance, in a clear and direct prose.

Feb 28, 7:23pm Top

>45 sibyx: Light books for spring sounds like a good idea!

Mar 9, 7:35am Top

Slow start to my ROOTS reading this month, but I got an extra book slipped in for a library book group I'm trying out! (Sons and Lovers)

Book 5 for this year will be William Gerhardie's Futility -- one of those Russian classics no one's ever heard of

Mar 26, 8:38pm Top

Futility William Gerhardie

Review is on the book's main page.

I'm lagging behind a bit -- I have the reread of the McKillip trilogy listed as the 2nd book of March, but I'm only about halfway through book one! But I'm going to go for it as none of them are terribly long and they read right along.

Mar 27, 4:12am Top

>48 sibyx: yes go for it! I'm doing the same - slow start and then cramming like mad before the deadline - just like my schooldays! :)

Edited: Apr 1, 11:42am Top

ROOT #6 The Riddlemaster of Hed (trilogy) Patricia McKillip
a. b. c.

This was a squeaker, time-wise, finished up late last night! But I made it! A long-intended reread. It was only possible to do as these are "old fashioned" fantasies, not one of the books was over 250 pages.

Now I have to figure out something sensible for April which will be a busy month.

Edited: Apr 1, 8:57pm Top

Well, I've figured out (I hope) half of my April ROOTS reading -- that is Nancy Willard's Things Invisible To See which lies somewhere between ordinary fiction and magical realism, not quite fantasy . . . I don't know what the second April book will be yet. Probably a second book from the fiction list.

Edited: Apr 28, 10:35am Top

#7I have finished up the Willard, book #7 and if you like the review is on the book's page Things Invisible To See.

Then I started an sf read, a Gregory Benford, part of my spousal unit's collection and a novel I've never read, but after a very few pages was absolutely sure it was not going to be my thing. I think I've mentioned that there are extra books on the list (my goal is 24) for just this reason. If it happens so often that I end up with fewer than 24, no worries, there's plenty more where these came from! Some of these are chunksters too and could take up an entire month. Possible I won't make my goal as I seem to mostly be drawn to the the shorter ones right now!

Now I am in a quandary of what should/will be book #8. Probably one of the Sean O'Faolain's. The other possibility is Daniel Deronda--a sort of chunkster.

Apr 15, 2:49am Top

Hi Lucy! >50 sibyx: I've read those books too. I gave them 3 or 3,5 stars back then.

I forgot you had all your ROOTs planned in the beginning of the year. I admire you for that. I could not predict what I was going to read so far ahead. I just go with my feelings in choosing a ROOT and with what my challenges, apart from LT, ask from me.

Edited: Apr 15, 9:49am Top

>53 connie53: Not all that planned: I joined LT in 2010 (Jan 3 or 4) and started entering books like a mad thing after that. So I'm going through my "holdings" to see what I still haven't read that got put in my LT "library" then. There are quite a few I've had around much much longer than that, of course and there are a few that escaped being noted (found a whole clutch of Santha Rama Rau's novels that fit that category but didn't get noted until later, who knows why?). Anyway, that list represents those books -- I didn't want it to be too long or it would just get depressing, so I picked what I hope would be a variety of things to choose from. I also plan not to force myself to read anything I start and find isn't my cuppa -- there is a reason, with some of these, why I have been putting them off. Anyway, if I cull something for that reason, I will replace it with another of these lingering shelf huggers. (I've done that twice so far!)

The above is such an LT paragraph! Probably I am the only person who cares at all about how I am doing this! But how much pleasure I get out of explaining in the one forum in the universe where others might find it almost interesting!

Apr 15, 9:53am Top

>54 sibyx: That second paragraph made me smile from ear to ear! I know *exactly* what you mean! I think it's why we often post our yearly stats and that sort of thing too. It doesn't matter if everybody skims past that post, I just know that everybody gets *why* I posted it!

Apr 15, 10:08am Top

Yep! Grinning here too!

Edited: Apr 15, 7:01pm Top

So I've begun Book #8 -- Well, more truthfully, I've put it in the pile of books I'm currently reading, haven't actually done anything so radical as to open it yet.

It is Sean O'Faolain's book of stories I Remember, I Remember. So far the only book of his I have read is a novel about the Easter Uprising that was somewhat biographical. His stories are considered his best writing. He must have been a favourite of my mother's because that is where I acquired the books from, her shelves after she died.

Apr 16, 11:06am Top

>54 sibyx: >55 Jackie_K: lol, yes - FWIW I like seeing LTers' stats and reading plans, it can be quite inspiring.

>57 sibyx: it's nice that you have your late mother's books - not just as physical keepsakes but for a sense of connection you might feel when you're reading them.

Edited: Apr 16, 7:32pm Top

Yes. We spent an entire summer in Ireland when I was a child and I think she bought the O'Faolain books then -- he was, in the early 1960's, "the" big name in contemporary Irish writers. I do admit I wouldn't likely seek him out on my own, but it is interesting to me to know that my mother read them.

And thanks for the reassurance about the stats and plans. I feel the same way -- other than reviews it is one of the few other things I tend to read more carefully in people's threads.

Apr 21, 2:24am Top

There is something magical about books read by one's mother ( or father in some cases, but my father did not read books). It gives reading them another dimension. My mother died in 1968 but I still remember silently going downstairs when my parents were playing cards at a neighbors house and reading my mother's Angelique books secretly. She thought I was too young for those books, so I just had to read them when she was out. And of course she was right but I did not care then (and still don't)

Apr 21, 6:55am Top

>60 connie53: What a lovely story!

Apr 21, 6:57am Top

>60 connie53: What a lovely story!

Apr 22, 2:18am Top

Thanks, Lucy.

Edited: Apr 24, 4:46am Top

>54 sibyx: Love this! I also used LT mainly for cataloguing at first. I admit nowadays I often forget to add books that I don't read immediately. It's the Kindle's fault, I can buy wherever I am, while with real books I loved bringing them home and adding to LT and selecting the right cover before putting them on the shelves.
I don't think there are more than 5 books I ever really pearl-ruled, I just put them on temporary (probably in many cases permanent) hold as it happened so often that a book I couldn't get into on several tries suddenly called me. Patterns of Childhood is such a case, and it got 5 stars when I finally read it.
I must memorize the expression "lingering shelf huggers", as it fits so well. Sometimes they stop hugging the shelves and jump on me after many years. :)

Edit: just made the big mistake of looking first through my tbr here and then through the Alls for the not-rated ones. I'm booked out/ ROOTed for years and years. There are so many (on Kindle) I had forgotten I owned. ://

Apr 28, 10:39am Top

#8 ss ***1/2
I Remember! I Remember! Sean O'Faolain

For the review, go here

Not doing too badly with a two day margin of getting my April books read!

Edited: May 1, 8:07am Top

So I'm plunging into May with a big challenge -- Islandia a 1013 page doorstopper, chunkster, heavyweight, etc. It's a fantasy, but not the fey kind. Wright made up a continent in out southern Hemisphere and wrote a complete history of it. Easily languishing on my shelves for 20 years, maybe longer.

Ah, back to say, I see that it is characterized as "utopian fiction" whatever that means!

May 1, 8:54am Top

>66 sibyx: just had a look at LT reviews of Islandia - it sounds very intriguing even though I'm not usually a fantasy fan - onto the wishlist it goes and I look forward to your verdict on it.

Edited: May 11, 8:07am Top

I'm being very quiet, but then Islandia is a very very long book (1013 p in my edition). I would categorize it as utopian, but even so realistic utopian. It is truly uncategorizable and relatively, for such a quiet book, un-put-down-able. Not a dry history, really a story of one young man. Set in 1908, that breathless moment before the last century got under its mostly nasty way. In short, quite wonderful. I'm close to halfway. Expect to finish well within the month, possibly even leaving room for a second ROOT choice, although I have to make that optional.

Edited: May 15, 9:35pm Top

#9 59. spec fic *****
Islandia Austin Tappan Wright

Review is to be found HERE

Apologies for the fact that it is so long! I may try to tighten it up.

I think book #10 will be the Andrew Weil Healthy Aging.

I'm thrilled to be getting through these books that have been hanging around for so long.

May 16, 6:36am Top

Great review!

May 18, 4:44am Top

Based on that wonderful review I'm also adding The Swerve and The Metaphysical Club to my wishlist! I'm currently reading Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, a memoir that encompasses the rise of various political regimes, including communism under Mao, which has made me curious about utopian ideals.

May 18, 7:27am Top

May 18, 9:52am Top

>72 Jackie_K: it's fascinating isn't it? A real eye-opener as to what was going on behind that part of the iron curtain during the 20th century and, while it includes harrowing stories of cruelty, torture and privation, there are really enjoyable parts too. I'm listening on audiobook and it's a very good production.

May 20, 8:31am Top

Hello visitors. I'll be starting Andrew Weil's Healthy Aging this week. My spouse bought it ages ago when I felt far too young to read it, but now, for better or worse, I don't. I intend to read it quickly and casually. Judging from the table of contents I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Edited: Jun 2, 8:45am Top

Phew. A day or two late I have met the May goal. The second book for May was Healthy Aging -- I will be posting a review on the book's page but it isn't there yet. It's an excellent book and I do feel that I am reading it just when I should be reading it, not too soon, not too late.

#10 (68.) Health *****
Healthy Aging Andrew Weil

I'll come back and say so when the review is up. The reviews currently on the book page are inadequate.

I'm not sure what the second book will be -- definitely something from the regular fiction list, but #11 will be the Brust/Lindholm from the spec fic list. The Gypsy.

Edited: Jun 20, 9:55pm Top

#11 (70) fantasy ***
The Gypsy Steven Brust&Megan Lindholm

Almost pearl-ruled this one, a ROOT, but out of respect for both writers I persevered. I can't say it was worth it exactly, the book aligns with any number of urban fantasy tropes--here the Queen of the Sidhe (never called that) has invaded our world from hers and must be sent back. Three brothers, gypsies all, contracted to keep her out of our world. The relationship between the three policemen who get involved, one retired, one middle-aged, one young was probably the only redeeming thing, otherwise it did have a feeling of "let's write a book together" --I'm increasingly leery of these spontaneous joint-writing ventures. ***

Jun 6, 11:39am Top

Gee, the ticker is taking FOREVER to change . . .

Edited: Jun 20, 9:58pm Top

I've picked up The Beautiful Miscellaneous for this month's second read.

And I blasted through it:

#12 (74)
The Beautiful Miscellaneous Dominic Smith

Review is on the book's home page.

And I've decided to pick up Owen Glendower right away as it's very long and the summer gets very busy. I adore Powys and the book made it onto the ROOT list because I keep hoarding the ones I have remaining to read.

Edited: Jul 2, 7:46am Top

So now it is July and this is the month when I expect to fall behind on the ROOT reading. It's a busy month and I chose a chunkster thinking I could get a good start on the book (Owen Glendower)in June. Well. That hasn't happened. Mainly I'm carrying it around everywhere.

Given how large it is I am sure I am toning up some muscles.

Jul 25, 11:41am Top

ROOTS reading has been at a bit of a standstill, as I predicted. I am picking up a second book that I might be able to finish before the end of the month . . . (Gods Behaving Badly). We shall see!

Edited: Aug 3, 6:46pm Top

I've managed to finish book 13, Gods Behaving Badly -- read it fast. It was lively and here and there entertaining, but overall a book that lingered a long time on my shelves because I suspected it wasgoing to be exactly what it was. Not a thing wrong with it, not really, just not sufficiently engaging in some original way.

Must also confess I've made little to no headway with Owen Glendower. Possibly not the wisest choice of reading matter for this time of year.

I'm swapping out a book I know I don't want to read (William Carlos Williams's In the Money) for War With the Newts by Karel Capek which is an odd sf classic.

Not reading the Williams as it comes 2nd in a series Williams wrote about this family. I might read it if I get the first one!

Aug 3, 6:42pm Top

I feel I've suddenly come to my senses -- I have gotten over halfway but I just can't read anymore. This is an sf classic that has been knocking around forever . . . sentient newts (can talk and think) are discovered and badly exploited by humans. That's the idea. It was written by the Czech Karel Capek and published in 1937 and, in its own way, a clever and brave book. But, alas, also somehow tedious, at least for me to read now.

So, this one won't count, but I am glad I tackled it and am done with it.

Aug 11, 2:42am Top

Hi Lucy, after being away from LT for a while I'm trying to catch up on threads.

Why don't you count books you started but did not finish? You tried and it did not like it. I would count it for sure.

Sep 3, 10:13am Top

>83 connie53: It's very very tempting to count them, particularly given the fact that I seem to have come to a standstill, luffing out on the water, not reading my ROOT book. It was just too hot--I should be reading Ehrlich's book on the Arctic! Maybe at the end of the year I will take them into account when I see how I've done. I'm quite pleased to have done 14, plus thetwo I stopped -- they were all books that made me cringe a little at my reluctance to get reading them -- and several have been great!

Sep 18, 2:08pm Top

Mainly I'm stopping by to confess that I am utterly bogged down in the Powys novel. It is so not a good summer novel but then I'm not terribly drawn to any of the others left except the reread and I feel stubborn about it. Maybe the weather will turn and I will get interested? I hope so. I love the period (14th century) and the place (Wales) and I have hugely enjoyed all the other Powys I've read. I should pick up one of the remaining NF reads but I'm having too much fun with a new book right now, about dinosaurs. I've done pretty well, though, and I am sure I can get up to twenty, which would be sufficient. I am thinking that the ones I don't get to will be like those clothes that you set aside for a year to see if you ever want to wear them again. If they remain unworn, out they go.

Sep 18, 4:35pm Top

>85 sibyx: That's a good way to think about them! I hope the Powys book will pick up for you soon and that your remaining ROOTS are more interesting.


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