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Here's Ruth - ready for another good reading year

2018 Books

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12wonderY
Dec 23, 2017, 8:53am Top

Good morning! Again, thanks lesmel.

I never start with a plan. I'm much to blown by any reading wind that passes by.

Next week, I do intend to get control of the library pile again, and set a few of my own books out convenient like.

Going to the kitchen now to make a pot of tea.

2fuzzi
Jan 2, 12:35pm Top

Starred!

3harrygbutler
Jan 2, 12:40pm Top

Starred as well.

42wonderY
Edited: Jan 2, 12:47pm Top

Welcome Lor and Harry!

All I've got so far is a couple of returns to the library.

Landscape Gardens on the Hudson wasn't as interesting as I had hoped. It popped up when I was searching 'Hyde Park on Hudson.'

Dead Snails Leave No Trails was a bit of a disappointment. There might be two items of interest in the entire book.

52wonderY
Jan 2, 2:32pm Top

In film, I watched Tales from the Royal Wardrobe, and may watch again before I return it. The anatomy of some renaissance costumes. The documentarian actually gets to prance around in several.

Also, on my iPhone Netflix, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. An odd way to watch a movie. I liked the clarity though; as I recall the first film was muddy, both visually and story-wise. I missed big Groot.

6harrygbutler
Edited: Jan 2, 2:48pm Top

>5 2wonderY: I don't know if I could handle that small a screen, but then again, I do watch videos on my laptop, and I don't always expand them, so they aren't very large. Years ago I had a portable DVD player for travel purposes that had a fairly small screen, too. There'll be many movies mentioned in my thread this year, as I'm aiming to average one a day.

72wonderY
Edited: Jan 2, 2:48pm Top

Okay, I've got 41 physical items on my card right now and 8 or so electronic items.

Each daughter has custody of one title, I've misplaced another in my travels and I don't recognize one more.

I'll be returning half a dozen today.
I've started 18, and I'm in various postures of completion. I think I need help.

>6 harrygbutler: There appears to be little in the way of good films, just from my first spin through titles. A LOT of garbage.

8fuzzi
Jan 2, 10:35pm Top

>5 2wonderY: I'm not much of a movie-goer, but I enjoyed Guardians 1 enough to go see Guardians 2 at the theater, and loved it.

92wonderY
Jan 3, 8:50am Top

I borrowed Guardians 1 from the library yesterday and watched most of it again. Yes, it's a kick-ass film and the music is a huge part of that. But it's still very muddy.

Someone in Name that Book was asking about a Nativity story featuring cats. In researching, I've ordered a few to look at. (I collect Nativity stories.)

So, a good place to start the new year.

The Witness - 1, illustrated by Sophy Williams.
I've read and really liked several of Robert Westall's novels. This is a good'un as well. There is a bit of awkwardness in places, but his eye for the right detail helps to smooth it over. An Egyptian cat is stolen and carried to a town in Israel and sold as a mouser. Heavy with her first litter, she searches for a quiet place to give birth in a suddenly crowded noisy place. ... The other characters are given more humanity than is typical, with a grouchy Joseph and pleasantly rubic (adjective form of rube) shepherds.

Williams work is a bit uneven as well, recovering by doing a real swell job of the cats and especially the book cover. Imagine a dark skinned holy family! How proper!

Next, Digital Effects - 2 by Jim Zuckerman. He came to my attention through LT, an odd route. The written material doesn't interest me, as he is advising how to use photoshopping software. His original photo material is worth dwelling on. Just take a look at the cover!!

102wonderY
Edited: Jan 7, 2:55pm Top

Having just spent time again in Becky Chambers’ Galactic Commons world, I felt totally comfortable in Terminal Alliance - 3. The varieties of sentient species were not as well done here, but it was a valiant effort nonetheless. Characters were slightly less engaging, but the concept of heroic janitors made up for it. The creative ways the team dealt with all challenges was great fun. I plan to read more of Hines.

112wonderY
Edited: Jan 18, 12:27pm Top

My attention span seems awfully fractured. Not able to stay with one book for very long.

Did finish In the Hand of the Goddess - 4, but it's a re-read from when my children were young.

Also, just about done with Cheech is not my real name - 5, read by the author. Some funny bits, and a real effort to tell a balanced story.

*sheesh! already my numbering is faulty!*

122wonderY
Edited: Jan 18, 12:27pm Top

Artemis - 6 by Andy Weir, was not nearly as compelling as The Martian. Jaz is immature and her problems are self-inflicted. What saved the story for me was the details about welding on the moon, and the other pertinent physics of the location.

13lesmel
Jan 13, 11:13pm Top

>12 2wonderY: What did you think about Weir's portrayal of Jazz? I never found her realistic as a woman. Also, I don't know if you follow Weir on social media, but he has publicly mentioned he is collecting mistakes from the novel for the next printing. I mention this b/c I found Weir's research compelling in both The Martian & Artemis. Even when flaws end up in the books.

142wonderY
Edited: Jan 17, 10:07am Top

>13 lesmel: I think Weir failed in character development. Jazz's rebellious stance at her age is not attractive. And although the story line is entertaining, she actually learns the wrong lessons because her knowledge and ability to act quickly saves her butt from her bad decisions. I can spend all day hanging with Watney, and will repeat often. Jazz is a one time visit.

152wonderY
Jan 18, 1:46pm Top

Book three of the Alanna quartet The Woman Who Rides Like a Man - 7.

Because it expires soon, I'm tearing through Wild Magic - 8, a sequel series to the Alanna books. Besides the Circle of Magic and the Protector of the Small, I like this set of Tamora Pierce characters the best. What a good crew!

I tried very hard to plow through Testosterone Rex. It expired from my feed before I got half through, but I certainly got an earful of science. I'll count it as half, as I don't intend to order it up again. Whew!

In film, I'm watching the 3rd season of The West Wing. The issues never seem to change. They could be taken from today's headlines. I never watched the show before, as we eschewed cable. Also watching the first season of The Fringe and will probably stop there. Too gory for my tastes, and I don't like the very deep conspiracies.

162wonderY
Jan 19, 11:15am Top

I downloaded the audio of Lonesome Dove. In the first minute I discovered the writing is luscious, but the narration is not acceptable to my ears. The narrator’s voice is deliciously Texan, but the pace of his reading is rushed. At least for a southerner. It’s not natural. At 20 hours, I suppose there was an editor’s decision involved. My only slow down choice was 50% and that was obviously too slow. I will check whether there has been another audio publication. I may even try it in print.

17lesmel
Edited: Jan 19, 11:33am Top

Can you listen to it slowed down? Ugh. 50% ONLY?! I've found that changing the speed of the narration can help tremendously. Whether it's speeding it up a little or slowing it down a scooch. Good luck finding another version!

182wonderY
Jan 19, 8:22pm Top

Lioness Rampant - 9. Moving through the entire Tortall canon.

192wonderY
Jan 23, 4:46pm Top

I've read as much as I want to of Carol Burnett's In Such Good Company - 10. Just about 75%, and fatigued out with her exhaustive detailing. I'd rather watch the videos.

Patterns in Nature - 11 is a gorgeous book. There are three pages of photo credits; they are uniformly spectacular images. The book is categorized in nine ways, with examples from all over the natural world. Did you know that bees' eyes are organized as bubbles or foam? Stunning, absolutely stunning.

A Long Day in Lychford - 12 was also magnificent. The first half was hard going, and I tossed it several times; but I'm certainly glad I came back to it. The crisis and resolution contain some excellent imagery and a satisfying conclusion. I'm tagging this book 'right living.'

20qebo
Jan 23, 8:44pm Top

>19 2wonderY: Patterns in Nature
Oh dear, he's written a bunch of others too. A slew of books added to my Amazon WL.

212wonderY
Jan 24, 8:30am Top

>20 qebo: Oh! I hadn't looked at the author page. Yeah, some interesting stuff.

222wonderY
Edited: Jan 27, 12:24pm Top

Third generation Tortall, Trickster’s Choice - 13, before finishing up the short stories of Tortall and Other Lands.

232wonderY
Edited: Jan 29, 1:02pm Top

Tossing No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club. Boring.

Finishing up Tortall and Other Lands - 14. Eleven stories. Narwat is a follow-up story from the Trickster Duology. There were three stories I skipped because they were either written or read too twee; I'm not sure which. The stories are read by various readers.

The change in the weather helped to motivate me to some tasks I've been ignoring.
Re-fastened a downspout, cleared the kitchen of lots of misc. stuff, got on a ladder at the back of the house and reinforced the screening and insulation to keep birds from nesting under the eaves.

My yard has been a hotbed of birding activities.

24fuzzi
Jan 29, 5:50pm Top

>23 2wonderY: what kind of birds?

252wonderY
Jan 30, 11:48am Top

The normal sparrows and robins. Just lots and lots of them foraging for food and nesting materials.

26fuzzi
Feb 2, 6:13pm Top

>25 2wonderY: we had a huge flock of robins after our wintry event a couple weeks ago. They didn't forage around the feeding stations, but spent their time out in the backyard, under the pines.

272wonderY
Edited: Feb 6, 3:31pm Top

I've been dithering for a week now, sorting piles and reading only bits of books.

So, finished 14 in January.

So far this month, I've only finished Skulduggery Pleasant - 15. It wasn't interesting enough to continue the series.

282wonderY
Feb 9, 8:01pm Top

Finally was able to finish reading the next Iron Druid book on my stack. Shattered - 16 happily introduces Owen Kennedy.

because of mr. terupt - 17 introduces a teacher who really knows how to connect with kids. I’ll tag it ‘right living.’

29fuzzi
Feb 10, 12:48pm Top

>28 2wonderY: we're close, I am currently reading book #17...

302wonderY
Feb 10, 6:58pm Top

This is a reading weekend for me. I hope to have several more finished by Monday.

Murder by the Book - 18 was entertaining, but I doubt i’ll read more. Straight murder mysteries just don’t interest me much.

312wonderY
Feb 12, 12:41am Top

Hot Dogs and Cocktails - 19 covers the visit to North America by the king and queen of England in 1939. We are included in all the planning through to their lasting friendship with the Roosevelts. Their few days spent at Hyde Park are full of quirky fun. Franklin’s mother, Sara, bought a new toilet seat for the queen’s bathroom, but returned it to the hardware store afterwards. She ended buying it back, as the store owner displayed it in his front window along with its provenance.

322wonderY
Edited: Feb 19, 12:03pm Top

Three finished this weekend - mostly, I guess because I was back in the car.

Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare -20 was excellent. There are several agents and capers I plan to research in more depth.

Fire and Fury - 21, which was a lot less sensationalist than the advance brouhaha indicated it might be. I was relieved. And I thought Wolff conveyed more depth of character and motivation explanations than I've been able to gather elsewhere.

Wild Magic in pursuit of Tortall. I like this series about Dane very much.
Whoops, I see I counted this one above even though I hadn't finished it before it disappeared from my audio list.

33fuzzi
Feb 19, 12:35pm Top

You've gained on me, I'm at 19...

342wonderY
Edited: Feb 20, 6:15pm Top

You’d better read faster.

If Walls Could Talk - 22 is a history of English homes. It covers the subject in great detail without talking about any particular houses. Worsley strikes me as snobbish; but the material is interesting.

Abandonning The Book Thieves, and it seems quite incredible that the subject could be made non-fascinating, but it is so.

35fuzzi
Feb 20, 7:50pm Top

>34 2wonderY: history of English homes...? Argh! BB!

362wonderY
Feb 21, 12:05pm Top

The Whole Thing Together - 23 was a lot more substantial than I would have expected. Although the main characters were all teens/young adults, I would not necessarily call it YA. Brashares draws these 5 characters very nicely. Ray and Sasha's relationship is the most intriguing. As 'blended family,' they've never met or had any contact before the summer that they workshare a grocery store job. But they share sisters and a beach house where they have always used the same bedroom on alternating weeks. That history, and how it infuses their knowledge of each other is striking. This relationship is the main thread, but each of their sisters are given important plot threads as well. Quin, Emma and Mattie have stories and inner lives that are also worth following.

372wonderY
Feb 23, 10:18am Top

Discount Armageddon - 24 Got left in Cincinnati at Christmas. I just got it back and finished it. It promised more than it could deliver. The ending fell very flat.

38lesmel
Feb 23, 10:20am Top

>37 2wonderY: I keep seeing this series pop up in my recommendations (mostly on GR) and then I read the blurb and look at the cover and I'm like...WHY!?!? Hrm.

392wonderY
Feb 23, 1:41pm Top

Yeah, I don’t recall how the book came to my attention, but i’ve been reading a lot of good stuff with alien species, and enjoy a good urban fantasy. This didn’t hit any of my bars, though it had the potential.

402wonderY
Edited: Feb 23, 3:46pm Top

Skim read News of the World. Again, I can't recall where the BB came from. It's an unpleasant world, with some surprisingly decent people inhabiting it. There was one scene enacted in a pouring rainstorm. That was unusual, and well done.

412wonderY
Edited: Feb 24, 2:36am Top

Returning Grass-Fed Nation, having held on to it for too long. I did skim through the whole book, but the writing was not compelling. The subject is important; but Harvey fails to vitalize it.

One important concept is the reduced nutritional value of foods because of changes in cultivation practices. A robust alive soil enhances mineral exchange into plants, and into animal flesh as well.

422wonderY
Edited: Feb 24, 12:51pm Top

Abandonning Love Saves the Day after the first disc. The narrator inserts too much superiority into the voice of Prudence to be tolerable. The story might improve, but I won’t be around for it.

It may sound as if i’m dissatisfied with everything, but that’s not the case. I’ve got lots of good stuff i’m in the middle of, just not finishing yet.

Watched the short mini-series, Beyond the Medal of Honor. I wouldn’t recommend it. Contrived.

432wonderY
Edited: Feb 27, 4:23pm Top

The Wisdom of Tuscany was a clear disappointment. It starts in Tuscany, but it’s a mythical Tuscany that may never have actually existed. According to the author it was, but is not quite now, idyllic in every way. He begins with each of those excellent qualities and then takes you along to other parts of the globe that compare poorly with his ideal.

There are one or two nice thoughts at the beginning, but the book is tiresome after just a little bit.

Máté claims that Tuscans value this, here and now. That translates to the assumption of extreme quality in all that they attempt, make or buy. Permanence is valued. Relationships and community are intimate. In chapter 2, he points out that food security and medical care security contribute much to their contentment.

442wonderY
Edited: Feb 25, 11:23am Top

I tried to add some thoughts to yesterday’s post, but failed and will try again later.

Flynn - 25 was a visit with an old friend.

The Speedy Vegetable Garden is pretty and new. It starts with sprouts, moves on to leafy greens, flowers and then the other typical garden veggies. It devotes some space to simple trendy recipes.

45qebo
Feb 25, 1:11pm Top

>44 2wonderY: And who doesn't need a pretty and new garden book in February?

462wonderY
Feb 25, 2:25pm Top

And it is a particularly dull day around here. Thankfully, the Ohio River is cresting lower than first expected. I’ve been on stand-by to assist friends.

I just discovered Olga da Polga - 26. She is utterly charming, especially as illustrated by Catherine Rayner. I do want to go back and see other illustrators too. Rayner’s animals and botany are both exceptionally well done.

47fuzzi
Feb 25, 3:07pm Top

>42 2wonderY: sorry the audio version of that book ruined it for you. I loved reading it, even gave my copy to my daughter and bought another for myself.

I'd encourage you to read it instead of listening to it.

482wonderY
Feb 28, 5:39pm Top

I ordered two titles of Karl Blossfeldt's wonderful botanic photographs. I'll only count The Alphabet of Plants - 27 because it actually has some text to learn from, rather than just being eye candy. Blossfeldt was only interested in recording for science, but when his work was discovered, the art and architecture world went crazy over his style and how the vocabulary of plants informed architecture especially.

That's 13 for February.

Tossing back Golden Hill and When the English Fall, as none of the characters are the least bit interesting, though the circumstances had some promise.

49fuzzi
Feb 28, 6:02pm Top

Second Nature arrived through ILL. Will start it in the next day or so!

502wonderY
Feb 28, 6:08pm Top

yay!

512wonderY
Feb 28, 7:08pm Top

Also returning The Seed Underground. It was too much of the author relating her personal anecdotes while investigating the movement. Not enough solid subject matter.

522wonderY
Mar 1, 9:43am Top

I don't usually count picture books, but I want to extoll Jack and the Baked Beanstalk - 28 to any and all.

This is the illustrator's first book he's written and illustrated, but I'm excited to see his other work as well. He's spent most of his career working in film animation. His visuals are crazy interesting and good. I'll be ordering a couple more titles if possible. See one of his pages HERE.

53lesmel
Mar 1, 9:53am Top

>52 2wonderY: Have you read any of Torben Kuhlmann's stuff? His illustrations are spectacular!

542wonderY
Mar 1, 10:23am Top

Oooh. I hadn't. Thanks!

55fuzzi
Mar 1, 10:35am Top

>53 lesmel: arrgh! Book bullet!!!!!

Thank you.

56lesmel
Mar 1, 12:46pm Top

>54 2wonderY: & >55 fuzzi: Heh. I bought two of the titles for my youngest cousin.

572wonderY
Edited: Mar 9, 9:33pm Top

I've been handling a lot of books, but not reading them.

Got a third of the way into Dragon Run and realized it hadn't gotten anywhere yet. Tossed it.

The double disc video Grow Your Own Groceries, by Marjory Wildcraft, shows an excellent method for butchering rabbits simply.

Hmm. She hasn't been listed on LT yet.

Here is her website: http://thegrownetwork.pages.ontraport.net/grow-your-own-groceries

582wonderY
Mar 9, 9:46pm Top

Gave Robert Ludlum a try. The Road to Gandolfo drops you right into the action, but I’m left feeling cold by it - no chance to bond with the characters, so who cares what happens to them. Would probably make a better movie.

I finally did finish one. Saving Tarboo Creek - 29. It’s about the restoration of wetlands, including the process of re-meandering a salmon spawn creek. Isn’t that a lovely concept? Beavers moving in complicated the process of re-forestration, but they were accommodated and of course made the ecology that much richer.

592wonderY
Edited: Mar 10, 12:37pm Top

Attracted by the concept, Armstrong: the adventurous journey of a mouse to the moon - 30. Tells some of the story of astronautics in a way attractive to random kids, with a dash of whimsy. Detailed full-spread pictures.

The Furthest Station - 31. Eagerly received, though sad the audio is not yet available. A thin story, tossed together to stave off hungry fans. Love the introduction of the juvenile River Chess.

Also some entertaining pictures by Levi Pinfold in Black Dog

602wonderY
Mar 13, 5:10pm Top

Tossing The Long Winter. It's a 1962 British speculative fiction about a new rapid onset ice age. I've read lots better.

612wonderY
Edited: Mar 15, 1:53pm Top

Ordered two others by Torben Kuhlmann, who uses rodents to tell human stories. The one I liked was Moletown. It is almost entirely wordless, having only intro and final page couple of sentences. It has complex full page spread illustrations of a burgeoning mole metropolis. Two sadnesses - halfway through the book, the moles dress and move in identical swarms and the green field is corrupted to dark and smog-filled wasteland. The endpapers are full of photos from Moletown, including a solitary mole holding a protest sign "Save the Tree."

62lesmel
Mar 15, 1:46pm Top

I haven't "read" Moletown yet. I'm glad you liked it!

632wonderY
Mar 16, 3:58pm Top

Every Dog Has His Day - 32, grabbed randomly from the new shelf at the library; as picking have been light in audio. Standard romance with pleasant characters.

I’ ve got the audio of Three Men in a Boat. It’s even more fun than in print. I sure wish the British film was available here. Great story, well done!

642wonderY
Edited: Mar 22, 1:44pm Top

Tried really hard to get through the topically relevant The Hate U Give - 1/2, but finally abandoned it.

Also only got through half of Frackopoly - 33. It tries to summarize the politics and the devastation of drilling in the last century. I think it was too big a task. The last third of the book is notes. Yikes!

65lesmel
Mar 22, 12:16pm Top

>64 2wonderY: RE: The Hate U Give -- oh no. I have that on my to-read-at-some-point-in-my-life-maybe-oh-my-god-all-the-books list. That list is not the same as my TBR list. My TBR list is actual books in my possession that will get read. Maybe. Some day.

662wonderY
Edited: Mar 22, 12:45pm Top

>65 lesmel: The print book is on it's way to me. I'll probably browse through to see whether there is any improvement in character likeability. The audio was painful. I'm not African American. I'd like to be able to leap the gap in experiences.

672wonderY
Edited: Mar 28, 12:35pm Top

Gosh, this is not like me. I've become too addicted to the internet and other media, and FreeCell. Not able to concentrate adequately.

I will continue to work at The Hate U Give because it might be an important touchpoint in discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement. But so far, it feels not true. Starr's parents are professionals, but they continue to live in the old neighborhood; but their children go to private schools. Starr is the only witness to a policeman shooting her unarmed friend. Her parents shield her, and the police don't urgently want to hear her story. No one else knows, and her life continues normally on the surface. It's just weird.

I returned Taste What You're Missing after opening it at random several times.

I did manage to finish Fair Game - 34, though it turns out I had read it once before. At least I can move on in the series.

I am deep into Three Men in a Boat - 35. This too is a re-read. There are some tedious parts, but also many giggles.

68fuzzi
Mar 28, 12:54pm Top

>67 2wonderY: I've been making myself turn off the internet (phone/iPad/laptop) by 8pm, so I can get more reading time.

692wonderY
Edited: Mar 29, 7:48am Top

The Flight of the Silvers begins very strong and compelling. But it quickly takes a turn to just weird and kinda creepy. Not worth continuing. Tossed.

702wonderY
Edited: Apr 5, 4:23pm Top

It took me a while to get back to it, but finally finished Naomi Kline's NO is not Enough - 36. The LEAP Manifesto is wonderful.

editing this March 30th entry to add that I only finished 9 books all month. That's an all-time low. 9!

712wonderY
Edited: Apr 2, 1:38pm Top

Joel Salatin is one of my heroes. He appears in documentaries about food; Michael Pollan interviews him. He has written a slew of encouraging books for beginning farmers and he finds time for lecture tours. Oh, and he’s a full time farmer.

He must have reached his nonsense limit a decade or so ago. His 2012 book, Folks, this ain’t normal - 37, takes a new tone of exasperation. He rails about modern life issues, beginning with youngsters brought up with gameboy vision and not given opportunities to contribute materially to existence. He has some common sense thoughts. He goes on to critique industrial food and agriculture. He seemed particularly peeved at a visitor to his farm who called a government agency to complain of his animal cruelty.

72fuzzi
Edited: Apr 3, 11:04am Top

>71 2wonderY: I've read several true stories about government agencies being called to report animal cruelties, but the charges were almost always proven false, usually after expensive lawyer fees paid by the farmers. People see an old horse lying down in a field and complain, even though the horse is healthy and content.

Oh, and I've added it to my wishlist.

732wonderY
Apr 3, 5:39pm Top

Right. Salatin has been a pioneer in encouraging "the pigness of pigs."

742wonderY
Edited: Apr 3, 5:50pm Top

Teri Garr reads her book Speedbumps - 38. It was mildly entertaining. An excellent line on her attitude for success: “There were no obstacles; only props.”

A fascinating locked room murder mystery of clones on a spaceship, Six Wakes - 39. I think it is also read by the author, which is amazing. Well done!

752wonderY
Edited: Apr 10, 3:10pm Top

Sucked in by the hot political climate, I'm trying to read a lot in this genre. Almost finished with Trumpocracy - 40. Nothing new here. It's a re-hash of the headlines. I suppose it'll have value for posterity. ETA that it does in fact have some valuable political analysis and commentary.

762wonderY
Edited: Apr 10, 3:42pm Top

Just about done reading Junk Raft - 41. Interspersed with the travelogue parts are all kinds of facts about plastics in history, science, ecology, and politics. Quite a tour de force, and always entertaining. The construction of the vessel from all trash, the emergency repairs en route when it becomes obvious that the design was flawed, the unexpected time length of the journey; you wonder that the author lived to publish. Remark on the deliberate mid-ocean meet-up with rower, Roz Savage, in her rowboat, The Brocade, in order to exchange food and fresh water. Wow! Erikson and his wife have gone on to publish scientific papers and help to lead the anti-plastics movement.

Here's a good summary interview: http://therevelator.org/junk-raft-polluted-ocean/

And a film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1SD4iyVK6Y

772wonderY
Apr 14, 10:20pm Top

Read The Shepherd’s Crown - 42. This installment was not necessary. Pratchett could have stopped at I Shall Wear Midnight.

782wonderY
Edited: Apr 17, 11:57am Top

In the Tortallian world, Wolf Speaker - 43. Daine travels with her mage mentor to assist her wolf pack and discovers a treasonous plot. When Numair speaks a word of power, his opponent is changed into a tree - an apple tree. Daine asks what the consequences of this magic are. Numair says he understands that somewhere else, an apple tree is changed into a human. That aspect is covered as a short story included in the collection Tortall and Other Lands.

I watched the film based on Nigel Slater's memoir. They are both titled Toast. It's billed as a comedy-drama, but I just thought it was strange. Not funny, not sad. Slightly pathetic.

792wonderY
Apr 25, 12:47pm Top

Finishing up The Marriage Bureau - 44 in print and The Protector's War - 45 in audio.

The latter is a re-read, just for fun. I'd have started with Dies the Fire if it had been readily available.

The former is non-fiction about a couple of women who recognized the need for such a service in pre-WW2 (and through the war) London and said "Why not us?" The records Halson has available are plenty rich in details and she pulls the story together well. We not only get to know the principals; our exposure to their clients brings them alive as well. There is a small section of photos too.

802wonderY
Apr 26, 8:21am Top

I'm most of the way through Twinkie, Deconstructed - 46. It's an odd contrast to The Protector's War, where most 20th century technology no longer works and the world has reverted to pastoral and feudal models. Ettlinger goes into elaborate descriptions of the massive industrial processes involved in each ingredient on the label of a Twinkies. And he also reviews how these ingredients are applicable in other non-foods manufacturing.

812wonderY
Apr 30, 7:52am Top

And I'm finishing the month with The Enchantment Emporium - 47. It took me long enough to start it. The library wants it back. So, where did I get this recommendation? Whomever, THANKS. I may have read one or another of Tanya Huff's short stories before, but didn't really know her writing. She writes an intriguing cast of characters and a strong story line. It's been a while since I've been so attached to one book.

That makes 11 books in April.

822wonderY
May 5, 5:26pm Top

The audio of Practical Magic - 48 ended with the disclosure that it was abridged. Dang! I hate when that happens. And it indeed seemed to skip past a lot of the material I half remember. But that could be the movie memories.

In the Tortall universe, finished Emporer Mage - 49. And immediately began the fourth installment.

832wonderY
Edited: May 8, 10:53am Top

Finished The Realms of the Gods - 50, and this one slipped greatly in it's appeal. The characters seemed to be just plodding along a pre-set track. Daine and Numair are caught in the Divine Realms for most of the book, isolated and powerless, while their friends are dealing with a serious war. Somehow, they manage to save the day, mostly because Dane has a knack for befriending the oddest allies, like the darklings.

I was stuck where I didn't want to be this weekend, and the only print book I had in the car was a mystery I had intended to abandon and return to the library. I was glad to have something to fall back on, but I wasn't quite impressed with A Curious Beginning - 51. The characters were too superior and self-righteous. The plot was ridiculous.

Also watched The Millionairess, starring a young Maggie Smith. It was just okay.

842wonderY
May 8, 5:45pm Top

There are no forbidden themes anymore. How to Cook Children attempts to be funny. It’s just nasty.

85fuzzi
May 8, 9:11pm Top

>84 2wonderY: did you bother to finish it?

862wonderY
May 8, 10:00pm Top

I could’t finish any paragraph. I had liked the illustrator’s other work.

872wonderY
Edited: May 14, 6:51am Top

There were parts of Bloodhound - 51 that I enjoyed; mostly her interactions with the animals in her life. But there were a lot of boring chase scenes at the end. Too formulaic anymore. I might read Mastiff, as a completist, but not for now.

Half credit for non-fiction The Water Will Come -1/2, which was disappointing. We visited all the usual places, Miami, NYC, the Maldives, Venice, and back to Miami. The author couldn't pull the material together cogently.

Sorting book piles for possible discards, I tried to read The Dagger, The Fish and Casey McKee - 52 and decided I could live without it.

Watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Enjoyed it more the second time around after having watched the bonus material. Why are films so frenetic anymore?

882wonderY
May 14, 7:27am Top

I see I missed counting my reading of Just One Damned Thing After Another - 53, which I listened to in March probably. I'd recommend the print book rather than the audio, as it was a tidge hard to follow.

892wonderY
May 17, 4:59pm Top

Just about done with Magic Burns - 54, and I'm finding it tiresome. The amounts of oddness that Kate has to deal with is just overload. Not enough time and space to develop the characters. I doubt I'll read more of the series.

90lesmel
May 17, 8:24pm Top

>89 2wonderY: I read the first in that series and disliked it.

912wonderY
May 31, 2:29pm Top

I may not even finish Magic Burns. I keep going back to it, because I counted it here, but can't stay for long. Forgive me my incompletion.

Meanwhile, to finish off the month's tally:

It's been a while since I've read a tattered tome. I found great satisfaction in The Following of the Star - 55.

I really really liked Michael Perry's non-fiction, so tried a novel. The Jesus Cow - 56 had a lot of the rural Wisconsin flavor. Great characters. The climax was great fun; but the resolution seemed totally disconnected from the rest of the book.

Two more by authors I appreciated first time around are a disappointment. I may not finish them, but I'll take a half credit for each. City of Secrets - 1/2 and Inside Out and Back Again - 57.

I'm also struggling with Ross Douthat's Bad Religion. I'm about a third of the way through and will probably abandon it. I do like his New York Times columns.

In desperation with the lack of audio list while travelling, I decided to try a classic. Treasure Island. I like the writing, but when the characters miss all the signs of their crew being the pirates they are opposing, I had to throw up my hands. What!!! I doubt I can continue.

So, May's count is 10.

922wonderY
Jun 1, 8:33pm Top

I’m down to 21 library books; several are Wind in the Willows to examine the illustrations.

Returning Miraculous Abundance - 1/2 with a waning interest in their commercial and high input farming operation. Admirable, but exhausting.

Spending today trying to fill a couple of boxes with more discards.

93fuzzi
Jun 2, 8:25am Top

21? Wow.

I'm trying to stay away from the library, so I can focus more on the books I've had for a while and that are still unread.

942wonderY
Jun 6, 5:07pm Top

War Wife - 58, a truly tattered book. Published in 1941, it apologizes for the inferior materials used, necessitated by the war. The brown and brittle pages flaked away as I turned them. The story turns on highly improbable circumstances, yet it succeeds with some charm.

952wonderY
Edited: Jun 27, 11:02am Top

It's been a month of news watching and visiting friends. Oh, and the discard piles have grown too.

I've probably forgotten something too.

Dies the Fire - 59 is a re-read, just for pleasure.

I can't recall how I was alerted to the Welcome to the Museum series, but I highly recommend Botanicum - 60, illustrated by Katie Scott. I've added her website to the author page. You will want to go check her out.

I'm nearly done with a junk regency romance, Ten Things I Love About You - 61. I'm about to my annoyance limit with it.

962wonderY
Jun 30, 8:20pm Top

A small book, but several essays worth reading - I’d Rather be Reading - 62.

972wonderY
Jul 1, 10:46pm Top

11 Birthdays - 63 was just a lame version of Groundhog Day. Amanda was frustratingly blind to other peoples’ concerns.

982wonderY
Jul 7, 4:18pm Top

The Lady of the Blue Motor - 64 is a melodrama. It capitalized on the fascination with cars in the first decades of the 20th century; but it really isn't about motoring. Paternoster is not a skillful storyteller. Even the ending falls flat. Ah well.

Last Hope Island - 65 is excellent. I've encountered some of the material in previous books. This author doesn't shy away from faulting military, political and intelligence leaders for some of the horrible errors of the war. However, he makes others shine brightly.

992wonderY
Jul 11, 8:11pm Top

A Mango-Shaped Space - 66

The Glass Kitchen - 67. I get so tired of these books with such interesting premises, and they turn out to be just another tired romance.

1002wonderY
Jul 13, 2:27pm Top

Abandoning At the Strangers' Gate. Too self-absorbed. I was able to add a couple of other audio books to my phone instead.

1012wonderY
Edited: Jul 19, 11:48am Top

Yikes, I've slowed down quite a bit.

Last Sunday, on the road, nothing I'd downloaded was satisfying. I had to stop at McDonalds to search and download more audio.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - 68. Still not particularly my cup of tea. Floundering a bit.

1022wonderY
Jul 25, 11:38am Top

Bought my own copy of The Enchanted Barn - 69, and re-read it at once. It was just as charming as my first visit.

1032wonderY
Edited: Jul 26, 10:02pm Top

Filled in with another re-read download on the road. Death Masks - 70.

Oh, and I participated in the group read of Stardust - 71, though I did’t join the discussion.

104fuzzi
Jul 29, 1:38pm Top

>101 2wonderY: I never would have thought to do that...stop to download another book. How times have changed.

1052wonderY
Jul 29, 1:51pm Top

>104 fuzzi:. What i’ve got is addict’s behavior. Make sure you never run out, and always have a Plan B.

106fuzzi
Jul 29, 1:53pm Top

>105 2wonderY: my Plan B is an MP3 that plugs into the rental car's audio input...but I didn't use it this time, as we had a lot of excellent CONVERSATION. Wow.

1072wonderY
Aug 1, 8:58pm Top

Started reading Eight Cousins in print with g.daughter. But I make better progress in audio nowadays. Had to wait for it, so went ahead and listened to Rose in Bloom - 72 and it tugged so effectively on my heartstrings again.

1082wonderY
Aug 7, 2:44pm Top

I listened in tandem to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility - 73 and Joanna Trollope's modern re-make, also titled Sense & Sensibility - 74.

It may have been the production, but I liked Austen's version less. And her ending was too abrupt and dismissive. Although Trollope had several obstacles to conquer, I think she did a creditable job. One item I noted was that her modern Willoughby was more openly a jerk, right from the start.

1092wonderY
Aug 8, 9:38pm Top

Blood Rites - 75, just as a fill-in.

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch - 76; an old Kentucky tale.

Eight Cousins - 77; still my favorite!

110lesmel
Aug 8, 11:37pm Top

Is this your first run at the Dresden books?

1112wonderY
Edited: Aug 9, 10:04am Top

Nope. Third time ‘round. I like his snark. And he sometimes hits philosophy and theology points right on the nose.

1122wonderY
Aug 20, 11:21am Top

Sampled and abandoned Don't Get Too Comfortable, Then Again, Shrill and The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell.

Angels of Darkness got a 1/3, as I could only stand the Sharon Shinn story, Nocturne.

I did finish The Book Jumper - 78, but I will give it a negative review. The cover art shows paper characters, and that is pretty much spot on. Also, the main character was raised in Germany, but the narrator had a generic British accent. I liked the way she trilled the ends of sentences, though; drawing them out slightly. It was an interesting technique.

I'm on waiting list for most of the audio books I want. Luckily, SIL gave me access to his Audible account and recommends some good stuff.

1132wonderY
Aug 23, 12:21pm Top

My evening reading is abbreviated any more. I keep reaching for the end of my books, but sleep overcomes.

Nearly done with The Invisible Library - 79. If there are no betrayals of trust in the last chapter or two, I'm good with continuing the series. The characters stay very busy, but it's possible to discern that they are likable, and their interactions are interesting. I doubt I'll be fascinated by their histories, though it seems obvious the author wants me to be. Same goes for the overarching raison d'etre of the Library itself. The hierarchy we've met are mostly repugnant samples.

Hugely enjoyed the audio of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) - 80, recommended to me by SIL, bless him.
He's given me access to his Audible account. That pulled me through a weekend on the road. This first book in the Bobiverse is funny, action packed, preposterous, and generally just a good time for all. It ends rather abruptly, so I'm primed for book 2. Will borrow the HB now, as access to the audio will have to wait till October at least. Ray Porter did the narration and imbues each of the Bobs with their own flavor. Astonishingly well done.

1142wonderY
Edited: Aug 29, 11:38am Top

This past weekend I travelled to Wisconsin with two siblings for a cousins reunion. So there was no time to read. When travelling on my own though, I listened to the next Iron Druid book in my line-up, Scourged - 81. I definitely like the contributing chapters by the ancient druid, Owen (or now Oaken), but I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy his new friend, Slow Mo. Huh. I get an impression from outside that this might be the last book. I thought Hearne left plenty of room for more sequels.

I'm starting several titles, sampling. One odd line from Omnitopia Dawn has a character, Rik, describing his wife as "the knot in his balloon." Vivid, I must say, but not attractive for either party.

115brodiew2
Aug 31, 1:51pm Top

Hi, Ruth. It was fun reviewing your thread.

>46 2wonderY: In stead of the long The Hate you Give, you might try Dear Martin. definitely topical and shorter, but none the less thought provoking.

I'll be back with more soon...

1162wonderY
Aug 31, 2:57pm Top

>115 brodiew2:. I will try that one. Thanks!

117lesmel
Aug 31, 7:38pm Top

>114 2wonderY: Hearne had a planned exit for his series (for which I am forever grateful). He's talked about it in interviews. Unlike some authors who don't know when to quit *cough*LaurellKHamilton*cough*

1182wonderY
Sep 1, 12:27pm Top

>117 lesmel:. ;-)

Skinwalker - 82. I have no idea if it was good, but it was absorbing. I had a good old-fashioned read fest for two days.

1192wonderY
Edited: Sep 2, 10:18am Top

The Seventh Most Important Thing - 83. Audio version, so I wasn’t aware till the end that it was based on a real work of art. The story was focused on a fictional adolescent who contributed to the work. Though the characters were quite engaging, Pearsall was less than successful at portraying Arthur’s inner growth. I will want to discover more about “The State of Eternity.”
Squeak was particularly lovable.

The art is properly titled ‘The Third Throne of Heaven’ or ‘Hampton’s Throne.’

https://psmag.com/.image/t_share/MTI3NTgyNTcyNjEwODU3NjAz/hampton.jpg

1202wonderY
Sep 2, 2:33pm Top

Picture book, Plume - 84, by Isabelle Simler. I was attracted by the lovely cover; black cat gazing up at various airborne feathers. Actually an odd little book. Left side illustrations are field guide accurate feathers taken from the bird depicted on the right side of the spread. But the right side illustrations are stylized to cartoonish lengths. Size differences are not consistent. Eagle feathers are similar in size to swallow feathers. The only point of the book is to showcase feather art; I can think of many better ways to achieve this.

1212wonderY
Sep 3, 3:53pm Top

A valuable conversation, it just didn’t live up to expectations: Losing Our Cool - 85.

Cox had some important things to say about how AC opened the southern states to white collar job expansion. He tried to argue about whether the human body was better or worse for reliance on conditioned air, but he had difficulty settling himself in a particular spot. Some discussion of community cooling centers and a dip into the economic divide especially in the third world. Not much in the way of constructive opinions.

122fuzzi
Sep 4, 8:38am Top

>121 2wonderY: I've read opinions about how AC has also indirectly caused more illness because our bodies are not sweating out toxins as much.

As a person who suffers from allergies I welcome the air-filtering qualities of AC; open windows tend to make me sick. :(

1232wonderY
Sep 12, 12:13pm Top

Recycling the Harry Dresden books, I listened to Dead Beat - 86.

I've got a lot of audio choices, but I'm not settling on anything. Don't like the narrations or can't follow the storyline.

I'm three chapters into The Gone-Away World and it seems mostly an excuse for the author to be wordy and witty. Which he is, bu-u-u-t... The first chapter sets up a scary crisis in a changed and very odd world, without explanations ---- and then switches to the childhood stories of two of the characters. I guess the book will drag us through and up to the present moment. Grrr. I feel jerked around.

1242wonderY
Sep 19, 3:42pm Top

In paper, I'm nearly finished with the second of the Gale family books, The Wild Ways - 87. I like the characters and the snark; I'm less happy with the nebulousness of the family rules and dynamics.

I was going great guns listening to Omnitopia Dawn, but got closed out when the book expired from my card. Again finding few others that pleased while on the road, so re-listening to Moon Over Soho as a quick grab.

Visited with the grandbaby. At two months, she is totally spoiled. The queen refuses to be put down, even while asleep. And she is so fixated on her mother, she would squall when I tried to turn her my way. It was quite funny. Love the bitty thing!

125fuzzi
Today, 8:12am Top

>124 2wonderY: grandbabies are wonderful. :)

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