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SqueakyChu 2018 - The sky's the limit! - 1st Quarter

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Feb 26, 10:19am Top

My reading for 2017 was so little! I hope to improve in 2018. To say the sky's the limit is really overstating what I hope to accomplish. However, it sounds good ...and it can be accompanied by some dramatic cloud pictures from Flickr. Heh!

My Book Counter:

My Page Counter: My count on this is purposely low because I did so poorly in 2017.

My 2018 Calendar:

GOAL: To have less than 490 books in my "To read" collection at the end of 2018.

A look at my numbers:
02/26/18 = 472 books

Edited: Feb 3, 7:16pm Top


Photo by isamiga76 - Flickr.com - CC,A

1. BookCrossing meetup on January 20, 2018 from 1pm to ??? at Panera in Rockville, Maryland, USA
2. Trip to The Book Thing of Baltimore on January 21, 2018 some time before lunch

1. Meet the Knights - Julia March - TIOLI: The WIKI Rolling Challenge: read a book with 'w', 'i', 'k', 'i' in the title (K) - 48 pages
2. Nic Bishop Snakes - Nic Bishop - TIOLI: Answer the questions with a book title you read (eat what) - 48 pages
3. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra - TIOLI: Read a book having a title which includes an animal with exactly three letters in its name (hen) - 348/396 pages = 88%
4. Monsters - Catherine M. Petrini - TIOLI: (none) - 48 pages

Edited: Feb 27, 10:52pm Top


Photo by Scott S - Flickr.com - CC,A

1. BookCrossing Meetup and Book Release in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, in memory of fellow young BookCrosser, Becky Johns.

5. Canada in Colours - Per Henrik-Gurth - TIOLI: Read a book with an animal on its cover (beaver, moose) - 24 pages
6. Long Nights Alone - Miki Fujita - TIOLI: Read a book with one or more words in the title suggesting a type of loss (alone) - 257 pages
7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie - TIOLI: Read a book tagged "friendship" - 230 pages
8. Giovanni’s Room - James Baldwin - TIOLI: Read a two-word title without an article - 168 pages
9. Crossing Over - Richard Currey - TIOLI: Read a book where a number higher than 2 is written somewhere on the front or back cover (1980) - 49 pages
10. The Stones Cry Out - Hikaru Okuizumi TIOLI: Read a book with something you love in the title (stones) - 138 pages
11. The Toad Who Loved Tea - Faiz Kermani - TIOLI: Read a book with title word or author name starting with GOLDSILVERBRONZE in rolling order (L) - 49 pages
12. Squeek Goes Adventuring - Olga Wierbicki - TIOLI: Read a book with an animal on the cover (mouse) - 32 pages
13. Dark Places - Jillian Flynn - TIOLI: Read a book with a word in the title suggesting darkness - 542 pages
14. Clover - Dori Sanders - TIOLI: Read a book by an author who is part of the African diaspora - 183 pages

Edited: Apr 1, 10:02pm Top


Photo by Ian Mackensie - Flickr.com - CC,A

1. BookCrossing Meetup at Starbucks in Springfield, Virginia. There we can restock the OBCZ (Official Bookcrossing Zone).

15. Shh! We're Writing the Constitution - Jean Fritz - TIOLI: Read a book where the title includes at least two different words beginning with the same letter (W) - 64 pages
16. Night Cats by Anthony Taber - TIOLI: Read a book that isn't a "book" (wordless illustrations) - 58 pages
17. The Mouse in the Matzah Factory - Francine Medoff - TIOLI: Read a book where the title includes at least two different words beginning with the same letter (M) - 32 pages
18. Ms. Miller's Etiquette for Cats - Melissa Miller - TIOLI: Read a book that features a cat - 85 pages

Edited: Feb 21, 1:11am Top

Message deleted

Dec 27, 2017, 6:14am Top

Happy reeadin 2018, Madeline. I love your clouds theme. I dropped a .

Dec 27, 2017, 9:53am Top

>1 SqueakyChu: Did you mean to have 12/27/17, not 12/27/18?

Is that your little boy in your profile pictures? He's adorable!

Dec 27, 2017, 10:17am Top

Welcome back!

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 12:17pm Top

>6 Ameise1: Wishing you a good reading year for 2018. Thanks for stopping by!

>7 neverstopreading: I changed the date. Thanks for your good eye! That's my only grandchild so far, but he's waiting for his little sister to arrive the middle of January. Everyone is excited we're having a girl!

>8 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. I hope I'll get to see you this year at some of our meetups. May there be many! I love them so much,

Dec 27, 2017, 4:39pm Top

So there you are have a *. I will be in the comfy chair in the corner.

Dec 27, 2017, 4:43pm Top

Love all the cloud photos!! Best of luck reducing the TRs. Starred.

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>10 BBGirl55: Hi, Bryony. Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful New Year!

>11 Berly: I love your stars! They go well with my sky pictures. Haha! Happy 2018!

Dec 27, 2017, 10:28pm Top

Good luck with your goal. I am ready to follow along to see how you do.

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 10:43pm Top

>13 Familyhistorian: Heh! I didn't do so well in 2017, but, hey, 2018 is a new year! Happy New Year, Meg!

Dec 28, 2017, 10:36am Top

Happy Holidays- I hope that I can make the May meet up!

Dec 28, 2017, 11:13am Top

Just stopping in to drop a star and wish you a happy new year!

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 12:30pm Top

>15 torontoc: That would be so super if you can, Cyrel! What fun! If you have any ideas what we should include, let me know. Happy New Year!

>16 tapestry100: Hi, David. I wish you a great 2018. Have fun in the New Year!

Dec 28, 2017, 2:46pm Top

Hope your 2018 is filled with good reads!

Dec 28, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Happy new thread! Exciting to hear about the coming new grandchild!

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 3:35pm Top

>18 thornton37814: Happy New Year, Lori. I'll try for those good reads!

>19 _Zoe_: Thanks, Zoe. I wish you and Mark a happy 2018. I'll keep you posted about any baby news!

Dec 28, 2017, 4:05pm Top

Happy new one, Madeline! I'm working on mine....

Dec 28, 2017, 5:02pm Top

Thanks, Shelley. I'll check it out when the cookies are out of the oven! :D

Dec 29, 2017, 4:39pm Top

I'm dropping by to star your thread! Thank you, again, for bringing back the TIOLI Challenges for 2018.

Dec 29, 2017, 8:34pm Top

>23 Dejah_Thoris: I am so happy the wiki problem turned out to be a minor annoyance so I was able to get the TIOLI challenges up and running for 2018. Happy New Year!

Dec 30, 2017, 12:58am Top

Found you, starred you, too! :)

Dec 30, 2017, 5:25pm Top

>25 fuzzi: It’s nice to be found. :) Happy New Year!

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 11:28pm Top

Anyone have any "bookish" New Year's resolutions for 2018?

Mine is to stop (sabotaging my reading by) reading several books at once. That is a sure fire way for me to not finish books. Ill try to only read one book at a time. I'll allow myself to not finish any book that doesn't start out interesting...although I already do that.

Let's see how long I'll last with one book at a time. I'll try not to even peek into any other book until I'm almost done my current read because peeking seems to be my downfall!

Dec 30, 2017, 8:56pm Top

Hi Madeline! I, like you, am hoping that I can get closer to hitting my reading goals this year - 2017 was not a good year at all for me. Dropping a star to follow along with you.

Dec 30, 2017, 9:15pm Top

My bookish resolutions are as follows:

- read more of the books already in my house and off my shelves.
- read more of my hardcover books to free up shelf space and get them out of the house
- just to read more in 2018 than I read in 2017

Of course, I always swear I will not acquire ANY MORE books but that *resolution* rarely lasts past January. Still, I can try

Dec 30, 2017, 9:33pm Top

>27 SqueakyChu:

After looking over the 100 books read in 2017 and not being able to recall plot or characters for at least 7-10,
my 2018 resolution is to read fewer books and savor more.

Dec 30, 2017, 10:01pm Top

>27 SqueakyChu:

I would like to try to be a monogamous reader, but my problem is that I need different styles of books for different settings/moods! But I run into the same problem-- I have probably 30 bookmarked books on my nightstand. I haven't even opened most of them this year. For 2018, I'm hoping to read more books I already own!

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 11:28pm Top

>28 lalbro: Hi, Liz. What are your reading goals for 2018?

>29 jessibud2: Those are good goals, Shelley. At the end of the year have you usually acquired more books than you moved out of your house, or vice versa?

>30 m.belljackson: After looking over the 100 books read in 2017 and not being able to recall plot or characters for at least 7-10

This totally cracked me up. I have the same problem, but I don't read very many books per year. So what is my problem? Could it be senility? I actually started writing down characters and plots and am transferring that information to my book's information here on LT. At least if I can't remember what a book was about, Ic an read a synopsis of the story that I forgot! Haha!

>31 staciec: I have probably 30 bookmarked books on my nightstand.

Oh, man! You made me laugh, too, Stacie! I do the same thing. The trick is to pull out the bookmarks after a certain period of time. Could you do that? Then you have to decide if the book is a reread or a giveaway. Heh!

Dec 31, 2017, 8:33am Top

>30 m.belljackson: do you write a review for each book you read? Writing reviews for LT helps me to recall what I've read, as I rarely retain much of a book's plot unless I jot down details, or unless it's a very, VERY good story.

Maybe we're reading too many mediocre books?

Part of my inability to remember what I've read could be due to age, except I've been that way for as long as I can recall. I think some of us just love our reads while we are immersed in them, and forget so much that a reread is like a new opportunity to enjoy.

Dec 31, 2017, 8:59am Top

Found and starred you, Madeline! Good luck on reaching your goal of less than 490 TBR's. Is it that you borrow many books from the library? Or that you read some from your TBR but purchase twice as many? It's a dilemma I share. I've just got to wittle down what I have on the shelf.

Dec 31, 2017, 9:45am Top

I am going to read what I like- so I don't do challenges. I have to remind myself that I read because I like to-

Dec 31, 2017, 9:49am Top

>34 Carmenere: Sadly or happily, those almost 500 books are real books in my house which I’ve acquired in many ways, the most being free acquisitions through BookCrossing, Little Free Library donations, or BookMooch (here postage was the only cost). There are more books in my home than I could read in my lifetime so I cull through that To Be Read pile from time to time. In addition, I use a spare upstairs bedroom to store book donations to my Little Free Library. I would not be surprised to find I had at least 1,000 of those (but I have no intention of reading them!).

Dec 31, 2017, 9:52am Top

>35 torontoc: Cyrel, My TIOLI challenges were created because I, too, only want to read what I like. I also don’t want to be forced to finish a book I find I don’t like once I start reading it.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:42pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Madeline!

>27 SqueakyChu: I am going to read less overall and more of my own books ;-)
I have neglected my housekeeping duties to stretch my reading as far as I could last year, so this year first the cleaning and then the books!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:48pm Top

Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:53pm Top

Hi Madeline, just dropped my star off my dear and will be popping by to see what you are up to, lol.

Dec 31, 2017, 1:55pm Top

>38 FAMeulstee: Thanks!

The house cleaning sounds like less fun than the reading. That's why I have Housekeeping Day on the TIOLI Challenges! ;)

Dec 31, 2017, 1:56pm Top

>39 The_Hibernator: Hi, Rachel. Have a wonderful 2018! Cheers!!

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 1:57pm Top

>40 johnsimpson: Hi, John! Happy New Year!

I'll probably be here counting 'pages read"...and being disappointed. :D

Dec 31, 2017, 4:12pm Top

Happy New Year🎉

Dec 31, 2017, 5:09pm Top

view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

Dec 31, 2017, 5:10pm Top

>44 BBGirl55: Happy New Year, Bryony! Have a great 2018!

>45 Ameise1: Have a fantastic 2018, Barbara!

Jan 1, 4:16am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 1, 7:15am Top

Jan 1, 7:24am Top

>41 SqueakyChu: On the other hand, reading is a perfect reward after house cleaning ;-)

Jan 1, 9:12am Top

I am hoping to keep up better around here this year. Time will tell. I love your dramatic cloud photos. :)

Edited: Jan 1, 11:17am Top

>47 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul. I wish you and your family a wonderful 2018.

>48 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. Happy New Year to you and yours!

>49 FAMeulstee: I guess, Anita. Unless I'll be too tired then. :)

>50 nittnut: Hi Jenn, Best wishes for a good 2018!

Jan 1, 11:49am Top


I wish you a Happy New Year and that you will accomplish the reading you want, even if you feel the odds are against it.

Jan 1, 12:17pm Top

>52 PawsforThought:. Me, too! Haha! Happy New Year to you!

Jan 1, 9:13pm Top

Happy 2018!!

Jan 1, 9:19pm Top

Hi Madeline! I’m starring your thread, and hope to drop by throughout its twists and turns! Happy reading, and hows the garden? Tu b’Shvat is coming...

Jan 1, 10:03pm Top

>54 Berly: Thank you so much, Kim. I need laughter because I feel so sad. My favorite feral cat of 15 years has been gone for two days. I’m afraid something happened to her. That’s been on my mind all day.

Jan 1, 10:07pm Top

>55 Polaris-: Haha! My garden looked so bad in the summer, but tonight it’s going gown to 11 degrees F here in Rockville, Maryland. I think I’ll just eat dates to celebrate Tu B’Shevat!

Jan 1, 10:07pm Top

>32 SqueakyChu: My reading goals for the year are tri-fold: (1) to actually finish the books I start ;) -- I must have 25 books that I got about 1/2 way through and just put aside; (2) to read at times other than right before bed; and (3) to actively engage while I read - to take notes or write mini-reviews. Last year was one of those years where RL was so very very distracting and I could not concentrate on my reading and I feel like I was disconnected from everything that typically keeps me grounded - that is, reading. And I know that LT will be a great way to keep me focused!

Edited: Jan 2, 12:47pm Top

>58 lalbro: Hi Liz. Happy New Year!

- to take notes or write mini-reviews

I just started taking notes recently when I was reading more complicated books with many characters. Now I find that helpful for most fiction with multiple characters and a more convoluted plot. Doing this actually helps me engage more with each book so I'm not as likely to give up reading it in the middle because I've gotten confused about plot or characters.

In addition, I think my advancing age contributes to what I can remember. The longer it takes me to read a book, the more likely I am to forget the books detail's from the first few chapters. When I'm done each book on which I take notes, I save all of the information to the book's entry on LibraryThing. It is really useful! I include characters, plot, and vocabulary. I look up vocabulary words as I go along.

to actually finish the books I start

I find that, if I don't finish a book in a timely manner it is more useful for me to begin to read that same book from the beginning again at a later date.

to read at times other than right before bed

Yeah. Falling asleep while reading sure puts a damper on total pages read! :)

Jan 2, 12:47pm Top

>58 lalbro: >59 SqueakyChu: nothing wrong with making notes. I did that when I read Tom Clancy books, kept the characters on an index card, which can double as a book mark.

I have gotten in the habit of writing small reviews for EVERY book I read. It helps me remember later on.

Edited: Jan 2, 12:53pm Top

>60 fuzzi:

kept the characters on an index card, which can double as a book mark.

That's a great idea!

I have gotten in the habit of writing small reviews for EVERY book I read. It helps me remember later on.

I try to do that as well, but I was doing that even before I joined BookCrossing in 2003 and LT in 2006. When the internet was a new thing, I was on a reading listserv where someone suggested doing just that. I am really glad I got in the habit of doing that. In the beginning, I was only saving those mini reviews on my pc, but I always used those reviews when I wanted to look back at a book in order to recommend books to others. The listserv I used back then was called CapAccess under a system called Sailor. I doubt if anyone not from the MD/DC area has ever heard of it. :)

Jan 2, 3:25pm Top

>59 SqueakyChu: >60 fuzzi: Thanks for the encouragement :) re note-taking and mini-reviews. I am sure it will help my memory of what I read - one of the reasons that I started LT was to keep track of my reading! And, I love the note-card idea.

Jan 2, 6:23pm Top

>62 lalbro: If you keep note cards, transfer that information to LT later. You might want to access that information at a later date without saving lots of paper. Alternatively, create a file of your index cards!

Jan 3, 8:27pm Top

>59 SqueakyChu: complicated books with many characters
I definitely find that when I jot character names with a brief description, I'm better able to keep track of the plot because each character is meaningful.

Happy New Year!

Jan 3, 11:57pm Top

>64 qebo: Happy New Year, Katherine! I hope to get to see you this year!

Jan 4, 1:28pm Top

Happy New Year, Madeline!

My bookish goal is to actually get to 75 books in a year ... someday. ;0)

Edited: Jan 5, 10:39am Top

>66 humouress: Happy New Year, Nina! Great bookish goal! That's mine. too. However, I seem to be moving more and more backward on that goal each year. No biggie, though. :)

Hey! My drawing today was making capes from card stock and coloring them with my four-year-old grandson for our LEGO NEXO Knights! I'm sure that counts. :) Then my grandson, son, husband, and I drew creepy monsters for a Monster Book. Some of these really made me laugh!

To put the capes on the LEGO characters, we just take off the head, slip both of the holes onto the neck, and replace the head. Be sure to cut a slit between the holes (as I'm not sure if you can see this on my picture). The capes allow our characters to fly! :D

We were inspired to do this by the library book Meet the Knights. :D

Jan 4, 7:55pm Top

>67 SqueakyChu: love them!

Jan 4, 10:25pm Top

>67 SqueakyChu: It counts! Good idea - my son has lots of Lego, but maybe not Nexo. He does have superheroes though, I’m sure.

I’ll pass the idea on to him; it’s the kind of thing he’d love - if he’s in the right mood. (For such a small person and the youngest in our household, he’s awfully bossy.)

As for the goal... well, I haven’t achieved it yet, for all the years I’ve been a 75er.

Edited: Jan 5, 10:40am Top

>69 humouress: If you make some capes, post the pictures here. I'd love to see them and share them with my grandson! :D

How old is your son? I love LEGOs. It one of the few "guy" things I like to play with..and I'm 70 years old. :D

Edited: Jan 5, 10:40am Top

1. Meet the Knights - Julia March

January 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
The WIKI Rolling Challenge: read a book with 'w', 'i', 'k', 'i' in the title (K)
This book is a favorite of my four-year-old grandson. He loves these characters. I found the book helpful to learn who was who...although my grandson already knew all the characters and could not figure out why I kept getting them confused. At the end of the book is a quiz on those characters. I read the questions, but I didn't know the answers. He did!

We used this book as a jumping-off point for many hours of play with our LEGO people...making them into the characters of this book. I know that this book is for early readers, but my grandson did not need to know how to read a thing in order to enjoy this book. He loved listening to me read it. We had so much fun with it together! :D

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Jan 5, 10:46am Top

>67 SqueakyChu: library book Meet the Knights
You're not counting the book on your ticker? Complete immersion and real life application! (Plus one fortunate grandson.)

ETA: Ah, there it is.

Edited: Jan 5, 4:20pm Top

>70 SqueakyChu: I like Lego too, but I leave it to my boys. My 9 year old is the one addicted to it, though.

When we go to Legoland in Malaysia, the restaurant there has one wall covered in baseboard marked off into numbered squares and then it supplies a picture, the small (10 x 10?) squares which are colour coded and bricks so that the diners’ kids can put together the mosaic while they’re waiting for their orders. But I think I’m more enthusiastic than any of the kids :0)

(Image from the Internet)

Jan 5, 4:18pm Top

>72 qebo: I was actually debating whether or not to add it. I've read it before and sort of skimmed it this week, but it was definitely worth the review...and one book on my ticker. Ha!

Jan 5, 4:19pm Top

>73 humouress: I can't see your image. :(

Jan 7, 10:56am Top

Happy New Year. Grandchildren are wonderful, aren't they? I have a four-year-old granddaughter who is a delight. She is currently enjoying funny books like David Wiesner's Tuesday and The Day the Crayons Quit.

Jan 7, 4:10pm Top

>76 BLBera: Happy New Year, Beth! My grandson only wants superheroes and fighting books. It's really crazy, but I guess that's probably age-appropriate for boys. It makes for boring reading for me, although I like to play with the action figures and LEGOs.

Jan 11, 11:19am Top

Hi there! So, did your feral cat show up again? I hope? LOVE the capes you drew. I don't usually take notes unless it is for bookclub or a class, so I can remember character names, dates, important themes, etc. It does always help me remember the book better. Maybe I should do it more often!! Happy Thursday.

Jan 16, 8:10pm Top

2. Nic Bishop Snakes - Nic Bishop

January 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
- Answer the questions with a book title you read (What eat?)

For anyone interested in learning about snakes, this is an excellent book. I originally took this book out of the library to share with my four-year-old grandson, but after I brought it home, I read through all of it right way. Some of the material was familiar, but I was most enchanted by the amazing snake photographs. Many of these had the snakes enlarged up to three times their usual size so many details can be seen on their bodies. At the end of the book is not only a glossary but also a delightful narrative by the author about how he photographs snakes. I can't wait for my grandson to discover this book in my home!

Rating - 5 stars

Jan 16, 8:13pm Top

Thanks for the warning about the *size* of those photos. EEK. I will be sure to skip this one. As you can probably guess, I am rather snake-phobic! I even covered my computer screen until I could scroll past that book pic!


Jan 16, 8:14pm Top

>78 Berly: Lord Bravery never came back. I wish I knew what happened to her, but, in a way, maybe it's better I don't know. Either way, I still feel sad.

Edited: Jan 16, 8:18pm Top

>80 jessibud2: Jose is just as scared of snakes as you are. My daughter-in-law has a phobia about spiders. I like all animals with the exception of mosquitoes and cockroaches. I'm not afraid of them, but mosquitoes are too annoying, and cockroaches make my skin crawl. :(

I find snakes very interesting. In a park this summer, I took a video of a black rat snake. I wanted to show the video to the mom of my grandson's friend, but she refused to look at the video much less the snake itself. My younger son and grandson both LOVE snakes! :D

Jan 16, 8:22pm Top

I am not fond of spiders either but I can deal with them. The worst is when, reading in bed at night, the cats suddenly look up and just stare. Damn. I know what that means... ;-)

Jan 16, 8:29pm Top

>81 SqueakyChu: I am so sorry Lord Bravery has gone on to other adventures.

>79 SqueakyChu: So...I don't get it. How does the question "What eat?" have to do with snakes? Help me out! : )

Edited: Jan 16, 8:38pm Top

>84 Berly: It's part of the TIOLI challenges. It was a challenge presented by paulstalder as noted here...


Challenge #14: Rolling challenge: Answer the questions with a book title you read

Read a book with a title that answers one of the following questions:
- Who do you want to meet in 2018?
- What do you want to eat in 2018?
- Where do you want to go in 2018?
- How do you want to travel in 2018?
- Why do you want to read in 2018?

Bolden the answer

The 'rolling' works groupwise: As soon as a block of the 5 questions are answered a new block can start. So somebody may fill in the 'how' question first and someone else later the 'what' question. When all five questions are answered then I (or someone else) adds a new block of questions.

All clear? Have fun! :)

Jan 16, 11:00pm Top

>79 SqueakyChu: There is a little boy in my house who would be a big fan of this book. Thanks for the review.

Edited: Jan 16, 11:19pm Top

>86 Oberon: You’re right! He would love this book.

The big news here is that my little guy has a brand new sister! I can start saving the books he doesn’t like now to read to her later. That would be any book that does not have weapons, action heroes, snakes, ninjas, LEGO characters, or dinosaurs! :D

Jan 16, 11:20pm Top

>87 SqueakyChu: Hmm. I remember once having a lot more books about princesses and they were replaced by subjects similar to your list. How very exciting for you to have another little one around!

Jan 16, 11:26pm Top

>88 Oberon:. Yeah. The days when he wanted me to read to him about princesses are long gone! We’re very excited about the new baby. I am soooo tired of playing Star Wars and Ninja Turtles. I love playing with the LEGO characters, though. I go for the strong women. I’m also about thirty years late in learning the names of some Transformers, but I know quite a few now!!

Jan 17, 12:34pm Top

Congratulations on your new granddaughter!
My own little GD is one and a half. I'm going to see her next week. They're on the west coast and I'm staying till March. Had enough winter weather!

I always appreciate your suggestions for 4 yr old boys! My great nephew is the same age.

Edited: Jan 17, 12:47pm Top

>82 SqueakyChu: when I was in school, the boys would bring in garter snakes to "scare" the girls. I was the one who would say "Ooh, can I hold it?" and ruin their fun. I like snakes, although venomous ones are not allowed near the house.

I feel the same way as you about mosquitoes, and especially cockroaches. As we live where those nasty things (roaches) are outside the house and around most of the year, I've learned to deal with them. I still shudder after I smash them, though.

But spiders don't freak me, go figure.

Edited: Jan 17, 12:56pm Top

>90 nrmay: Thank you, Nancy! I'll keep posting those kids' books reviews as I enjoy reading them and they keep my reading stats number up. Haha!

>91 fuzzi: Once our house became infested with cockroaches brought inside in a box! We were able to completely eradicate them by putting boric acid powder at points where they entered and left the wall under and around the sink. I never saw another one...and we've been in this same house since 1978. I hope I haven't jinxed my house now! :D

We never saw the roaches at all during the day, but at night when we turned on the light, they ran to hide. That was the CREEPIEST thing ever!!

Jan 17, 3:13pm Top

>92 SqueakyChu: those were probably German roaches, small guys who come into the house in bags, boxes, even movers' rugs. We had those in our apartment up north for a short time, but using Borax in the corners of the room, behind the appliances, etc, fixed it.

Down here in the South they live outside, and can be found under the house, big and brown, not German-types. I don't spray, as there are lots of lizards and small snakes living around the foundation and under the house, critters that eat bugs, and keep the insect numbers under control.

The roaches occasionally wander in, and are either met with a shoe, or they walk through the Borax and eventually die. I can't keep them from sneaking in but they don't find a warm welcome, either.

TMI? Ha!

Jan 17, 3:38pm Top

>92 SqueakyChu: I'm not someone who screams very often, but my first night time encounter with cockroaches had me screaming. Never seem them before, never want to see them again. No idea what they were, but they freaked the living daylights out of me. In the kitchen, turned the light on and they were all over the worktops and floor. I learnt my lesson; shut your eyes, turn on the light and count to 10. They vanish and I didn't need to see them.

my skin's crawling just at the thought.

Jan 17, 4:30pm Top

Hi Madeline, congratulations my dear on the birth of your Granddaughter.

Jan 17, 5:27pm Top

My heart is racing due to the picture on the last book you read (unless I scrolled by another one in my attempt to get past the one). I'm glad it doesn't take you long to get to a new thread!

Edited: Jan 17, 7:46pm Top

>93 fuzzi: I know those big (I thought they were black) roaches in North Carolina! We call those water bugs... or are there many more roach species with which I’m not familiar? Yep. The inside ones are the German cockroaches.

>94 Helenliz: LOL! My reaction exactly!!!

>95 johnsimpson: Thank you so much, John.

>96 thornton37814: I didn’t realize my book’s cover photo would cause so much consternation! :)

Jan 17, 8:03pm Top

They’re Palmetto bugs and they’re huge!

Jan 17, 9:54pm Top

>97 SqueakyChu: I always hyperventilate when I see photographs, drawings, etc. of that particular reptile. It really doesn't matter if they are realistic or not. My heart always speeds up. I guess it is a true phobia.

Edited: Jan 18, 12:39am Top

>99 thornton37814: I’ve heard that such phobias have to do with an instinct for survival. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it’s an interesting idea.

Jan 18, 1:02pm Top

>97 SqueakyChu: I believe water bugs are Oriental roaches. We had them in Cincinnati, and they are huge.

The red ones are Palmetto bugs. We used to have them fly through our open door at night, attracted to the light, back when we lived in SC, ew.

The brown ones are probably American roaches, but since they live outside, I don't worry about them except when they come inside. (smack!) They can grow up to about 2" long. My son no longer goes barefoot at night after an incident years ago when he stepped on one in the dark, ick. >94 Helenliz: has the right idea: turn on the light and wait.

Roaches are actually clean insects, as they keep themselves clean. That's why using boric acid or borax works so well at controlling their numbers: after walking through boric acid/borax they clean themselves and ingest it...bye bye.

Jan 18, 1:48pm Top

>101 fuzzi: TMI ;0)

Jan 18, 2:39pm Top

>101 fuzzi: I feel icky all over again. I'm sure they are clean, that wasn't the bit that freaked me out. So glad I live in more temperate climes. I'll even take the dodgy weather here over those.

Edited: Jan 18, 4:19pm Top

>101 fuzzi: I guess I saw Oriental roaches in North Carolina. Those don't bother me, except their feet are very noisy when they click-clack along a hard floor! :D I knew about the German roaches being clean and ingesting the boric acid powder, but they still give me the creeps. :)

>102 humouress: Just the right amount. I find the info interesting. Thanks!

Edited: Jan 20, 12:09am Top

3. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra

January 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book having a title which includes an animal with exactly three letters in its name (hen)
What a tough book to read! It was more than I ever wanted to know about Chechnya, but a book which was rewarding in that it taught me about this republic which has been dominated by Russians who oppressed and tortured its people. Although this book is a novel, it led me to learn more about Chechnya as I was reading the story. It is a gruesome read about three friends, Dokka, Akhmed, and Ramzan whose friendship turned sour as a result of two wars. It is also about two sisters, Sonja (a brilliant doctor) and Natasha (the more beautiful woman four years her sister's junior), who have to decide whether or not to stay in Chechnya.

I guess in times of hatred, war, divisiveness, torture, and fear, one has to look for anything good at all. There is some deep good in this book...the need to protect Havaa, a young girl whose father Dokka was taken twice to the "Landfill", a place of torture and disappearance.

At first, I wasn't sure that I could make it all the way through this book because each chapter took place in a different year or years. The years skipped all over the place. The reason for this confused relationship of years to each other was to hint at and finally reveal the story of all the characters and how they related to each other in a compelling way. The writing was extraordinary. At the last sentence of this book, all I could utter was, Oh, my God!"

Rating - 5 stars

Jan 20, 12:04am Top

>104 SqueakyChu: The information is certainly interesting but it makes me feel icky thinking about it :0)

>105 SqueakyChu: That is a strong-sounding book. Probably too intense for me, though.

Jan 20, 10:12am Top

Does anyone else read the way I do? Recently, I’ve started taking notes on my reading of adult fiction, keeping my phone handy to jot down characters, plot, new vocabulary words, and to add quotes to LT’s CommonKnowledge. It’s taking a bit longer to get through novels, but I feel that I’m getting more into depth with these novels and understanding them better.

Jan 20, 10:20am Top

>107 SqueakyChu: - Well, no, not really though I probably should! lol

I do often put bank yellow sticky notes inside the front cover, though, so I can jot down either words I need to look up, or page numbers of passages I want to copy or go back to, afterwards. Of course, that's all a moot point, when I am listening to audiobooks. I do love a book that has a family tree or map or some such, at the beginning and when they do, I find myself referring to the constantly. Very helpful

Edited: Jan 20, 9:07pm Top

Disclaimer: This book was written by my friend, fellow BookCrosser authorauthor, and LTer petrini1. It was fun to read a book she wrote!

Foiks, I'm not sure if this book cover is as scary as the snake cover. I hope not. If so, forgive me!

Sadly, this book did not fit into any of the Janary TIOLI challenges, but I wanted to count it with my stats. :D


4. Monsters - Catherine Petrini

I'm not much into dragons, but I did enjoy reading this children's book about how dragons evolved in our imagination over the years and in various cultures.

In this book, I actually preferred the friendly dragons, although my favorite one, but a sad one, was Puff the Magic Dragon of Peter, Paul, and Mary folk song fame.

A most interesting fact in this book was when I learned that Chinese dragons are afraid of centipedes! I have that over dragons. I find centipedes quite interesting. :)

Rating - 3.5 stars

Jan 22, 5:04pm Top

>109 SqueakyChu: Yay! I am braver than a dragon, too!

I am taking notes for the class I am taking so I can sound somewhat intelligent: timeline, interesting quotes or happening, questions. In everyday reading, I tend to jot down character names if there are a lot of them. Otherwise, I use copper book darts to point to a particular phrase or event, maybe something I want to quote for a review here.

Edited: Jan 22, 5:56pm Top

>110 Berly: Cool! What class are you taking? What book are you reading?

Jan 29, 10:14pm Top

>107 SqueakyChu: I am trying to get better with taking notes as I read, but I am finding it challenging given that I often read in bed :)!

Jan 29, 10:19pm Top

>112 lalbro: I read in bed, too...and take notes on my smart phone! :D

Feb 2, 1:59am Top

>111 SqueakyChu: Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Loving them so far. 6 weeks with a professor leading about 12 of us in 2-hour weekly discussion. Two meetings left.

Feb 2, 7:47am Top

I generally read in bed, though I rarely take notes. I will begin a "study" of the classics soon, and I'll probably start by doing it at the kitchen table so I can take notes on my computer. But since the notes will be in Evernote, I can easily switch to reading in bed and taking notes on my phone. In fact, I might chicken out and decide to take notes on my phone, regardless. We'll see what I feel like. :)

Feb 2, 5:07pm Top

Everybody is talking about Octavia Butler - time for me to get on the train

Feb 2, 7:35pm Top

>113 SqueakyChu: I try really hard to NOT bring my phone to bed....

Feb 2, 8:26pm Top

>...which is probably a good idea...except that I do most of my reading there.

Feb 2, 9:03pm Top

>118 SqueakyChu: Me too - but my husband is in play season, so he's in rehearsal often in the evenings, and I can reclaim the coach for READING!

Feb 2, 9:17pm Top

>119 lalbro: Hurray!

Feb 2, 9:18pm Top

>114 Berly: Sounds wonderful! I haven't read anything by Octavia Butler yet, but I want to as I see her name often.

Edited: Feb 3, 10:48am Top

5. Canada in Colours - Per Henrik-Gurth

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with an animal on its cover (beaver, moose)

This book is great for kids in so many ways. There is lots to talk about with youngsters, especially the colors which are the focus of this richly designed book.

However, one thing that especially jumped out at me for future use is the heavy outlines of the pictures. Those will be just perfect for tracing and then using the tracings from this book for coloring. I look forward to the day I will be able to do that with my granddaughter (as my four-year-old grandson pretty much nixes any arts and crafts project I propose).

Rating - 5 stars

P.S. Thank you so much, Shelley, for this lovely "Welcome my new granddaughter" gift. I love this book so much-- not the least reason of which is that it will always remind me of my trip to Canada this past July! :D

Feb 3, 10:46am Top

>122 SqueakyChu: - You are most welcome, Madeline. Just fyi - touchstone goes to a different book. I love this author's style!

Edited: Feb 3, 10:50am Top

>122 SqueakyChu: Haha! The reason that the touchstone was pointing to the wrong book was that you didn't give me time to finish my post!

Did you use this author's books with your students? If so, I can see why.

Feb 3, 5:44pm Top

>119 lalbro: Apparently I should use my extra time for spelling lessons - I meant couch, not coach!!

Feb 3, 5:50pm Top

>125 lalbro: Awwww! I thought you had an extravagant coach especially for reading! ;)

Feb 3, 5:51pm Top

Edited: Feb 3, 6:02pm Top

6. Long Nights Alone - Miki Fujita

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with one or more words in the title suggesting a type of loss (alone)
This was a very interesting story and one that, under other circumstances, I would not have read. I like to read contemporary Japanese fiction, but the setting for this novel was 10th century Japan. It was based on an actual diary of an 10th century aristocratic Japanese woman.

I liked the first half of the book the best, in which the author described the courtship of Bellflower by Tomonaga who was already married to Lady Wisteria. It really delved into what it must have been like for a Japanese bride becoming part of a polygamous marriage. It sounded dreadful to me. I'm not sure how I would have felt had 10th century Japanese culture been my own, but I think it would have felt very much like what Bellflower experienced. The poetry in the book was an especially nice touch.

By the middle of the book, I was more interested in the outcome of the story rather than what was actually going on. The middle of the story involved some political intrigue in which I was not that interested, but which I had to try to understand in order to follow the story.

I've come away from this book with a greater appreciation of some Japanese customs, celebrations, and holidays. I enjoyed this opportunity to live the life of a 10th century Japanese woman, but I was happy (in most ways) to return to the twenty-first century.

Rating - 4 stars

Feb 4, 5:55pm Top

7. The Absolutely true Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book tagged "friendship"

Arnold Spirit (aka Junior) was a Spokane Indian boy who lived on a reservation ("rez", to him). In an effort to improve his situation, he asked permission from his parents to attend an all-white school, also on the reservation, but a vast distance from his home and with students and faculty who were more affluent and not the drunks who were his family and friends on the rez.

Arnold's story touches on what it means to be a part of a family, how friendship really works, how cultural differences can be a barrier, and how to deal with death and other difficulties.

The artwork in the book, by Ellen Forney, was excellent. It represented drawings done by Arnold to illustrate the high and low points of his life and the characters who filled his days.

I know this was a novel, but Junior sounded like a real person. I often wondered, while I was reading this book, just how much of Sherman Alexie himself was embodied in Arnold Spirit.

Rating - 5 stars

Feb 4, 6:01pm Top

>129 SqueakyChu: I often wondered
You can find out! You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir was published last year. My RL book group is scheduled to read it in a few months.

Feb 4, 6:57pm Top

>130 qebo: Oh, that’s cool. Thanks!

Feb 4, 8:30pm Top

Today I culled twenty books from my To Be Read pile in my home. I placed them in a box of books to be used for my Little Free Library of Twinbrook (#7720). :D

Some books I bought a few years ago I no longer want to read as much. Some I've started, but I don't seem to ever get back to. I will never live long enough to read all the books I've accumulated here to read so I might as well start moving them out to share with others. That's not to say that I'll never add books to that pile! :D

Feb 4, 9:22pm Top

Edited: Feb 8, 11:22am Top

Edited: Feb 19, 9:14am Top

8. Giovanni’s Room - James Baldwin

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a two-word title without an article

I guess there's a reason that James Baldwin is such a noted author. This book was amazing. It kept me up at night to finish it. The writing was simply captivating. It was deeply bleak and melancholy because that was its story, but it was so descriptive that you felt as if you were there in person to see all the action (or even body language).

There is so much French in this book! I took advantage of that by sitting down with Google translate so that I wouldn't miss any nuances of this story. I am so glad that I did because I learned a bit of French at the same time.

This is the story of David, a young American man who lives in 1950's Paris. His girlfriend Hella goes to Spain to "find herself", and he has to contemplate what to do going forward. He is out of money so he tries to hit up his father for money, and, when that doesn't work, seeks monetary help from an acquaintance named Jacques. There were strings attached to that latter financial transaction which would not become clear until later. During the course of this story, David has to deal with his own homosexual tendencies and decide how to handle them.

This sad, painful story is a must read for anyone who ever dealt with such a problem, knew anyone who dealt with such a problem, or simply wants to understand others just a bit better. To learn about others through well-written fiction is to better comprehend and empathize with those in the world around us.

I only had one question about this book. David, the protagonist, was a white man. The author, James Baldwin, was a black man. I wondered why. I'm guessing the reason for this was because David's problems were enough for one story without also introducing race as an issue.

Rating - 5 stars

Feb 8, 1:36pm Top

>135 SqueakyChu: - Ooo, I have this book on my shelf! Good to know it's a 5-star read!

Feb 8, 2:35pm Top

>136 jessibud2: Read it soon! Barbara recommended it to me. It blew me away! What writing! It was the first book by James Baldwin that I ever read. Needless to say, it won't be the last.

Feb 8, 3:23pm Top

>31 staciec: >32 SqueakyChu:

Except for the true losers which don't warrant even a half-hearted review,
I review them all
and usually add lengthy TAGS.

The TAGS help me to remember what impressed me about the book as I read it.
As for the 7-10 mentioned, even they didn't help until I re-read my reviews.

When someone raves about a book (like The Country Girls Trilogy)
and all I can recall
is the boredom of waiting for something to redeem it, comparing reviews and clicking
on the inspiring ones is a lot of LT fun.

Feb 8, 3:53pm Top

>137 SqueakyChu: - The first Baldwin I ever read was many moons ago, The Fire Next Time, whch I reread last year, something I seldom do with books. I also read the new book that came out last year, I Am Not Your Negro which was made from the superb documentary film of the same name, which I saw last year and is being shown again next week at our Hot Docs theatre. I may go again. It is created all in his own voice and words:

I Am Not Your Negro

I also have 3 other titles by Baldwin on my shelves at this moment.

Edited: Feb 8, 7:23pm Top

>139 jessibud2: I was just thinking that Giovanni's Room is a book that I would not at all mind rereading. It's just that good. I think a second reading of it would give me more insight since I now know where it was headed. I loved learning the French! I wonder if I'd remember any of it later?

The film sounds great, but, for myself, I'd want to discover more about James Baldwin on my own before I would see it. At least read a few more of his books, especially those that deal with race.

Feb 9, 2:24pm Top

>135 SqueakyChu: Giovanni's Room is on my TBR as well. When I look at your opinion on it, it may just have jumped to the top of the mountain :-)

Edited: Feb 9, 2:26pm Top

>141 BoekenTrol71: Oh, Grada, do put it on top of your mountain. It is such a mesmerizing read. I want to hear what you think of it.

Feb 10, 12:40am Top

9. Crossing Over - Richard Currey

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book where a number higher than 2 is written somewhere on the front or back cover (1980)
It's hard to know what to say about this book. I read it quickly in one sitting, feeling that was the best way to get the most out of it. It was like a montage...in which scenes from the Vietnam war came forward and then retreated. The scenes came from the thoughts and sights of the author, a medical corpsman ("Doc"). I was most touched by his interactions with Maldonado, a Cuban-American who lost a leg in this war. Other scenes were not quite as straightforward. Most of what I read was gruesome. War is gruesome. Then it was quietly over for "Doc" who returned home to grow old, but never to forget what he experienced in Vietnam.

Not a pretty read, but deeply moving.

Rating 4 stars

Edited: Feb 11, 12:58am Top

10. The Stones Cry Out - Hikaru Okuizumi

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with something you love in the title (stones)

This was a mesmerizing, but confusing tale. It's the story of stones. Manase was book store owner whose main interest was geology and stones. This interest started at the time he had been a soldier in Leyte (Philippines) and encountered a dying lance corporal who was a stone expert. After the war, Manase married and had two children, but only one of them was interested in stones.

A strange part of this stone story was a scene that kept replaying throughout the book. We don't always know exactly what happened in each scene, but we do know that each time it took place in a cave with a light in the distance. Various people entered this cave, resulting in different outcomes at the end of each cave scene. Which scene was the true story? Which scenes were hallucinations? Were any of them true?

Beyond that, we experienced the disintegration of a family: Manase, his wife, and their two sons. How did that happen? More importantly, why?

Stones are a fascinating feature of this novel. They brought back memories of when I was a kid and used to collect rocks. I took a hammer and smashed them open to see what was inside to try to identify them. I loved reading about how the older son Haraoki would work with his father on collecting and identifying stones. That part of the story I found quite heartwarming.

Rating - 4.5 stars

Edited: Feb 11, 11:32pm Top

11. The Toad Who Loved Tea - Faiz Kermani

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with title word or author name starting with GOLDSILVERBRONZE in rolling order (L)

This book is adorable. It had me laughing out loud. It's the story of Tungtang, a frog who goes to a town called Cobblestone to seek an adventure. While there, she takes refuge in a tea shop and learns all about humans. Here she shares her thoughts about them...

Unlike toads, who could have a deep and meaningful conversation by exchanging a few well-chosen croaks here and there, humans feel the need to talk loudly all the time - usually while the person they were speaking to was also speaking.

Not wanting to be discovered, Tangtung secretly tastes the various teas that are served to patrons and also steals the pastries that are served with the teas. Patrons are appalled at the muddy footprints they find on their tables and furious about their missing tea and their disappearing pastries. The store owners, Kamran and Lydia, finally discover Tangtung, but do not harm her after they discover that she has become quite a tea expert. This story has a very happy ending as Tangtung becomes the store's tea taster.

I would love to visit such a store! I wish that Tangtung were a real toad and could give lectures about the best teas to buy. I would attend her lectures!

This little book has some poetry which also made me laugh. Here is the poem that Tangtung recites while snuggling down in tea leaves she uses as a bed:

Toad for tea and tea for toad
How I love my humble abode
Rows of crates without an end
Filled with every luscious tea blend,

Pay attention to the very sweet art work by Korey Scott. If you don't usually like toads, you'll probably find an exception here, and fall in love with Tangtung by the end of this story.

Rating - 4.5 stars

Feb 15, 11:52am Top

>145 SqueakyChu: Glad you liked that one.

Edited: Feb 15, 12:11pm Top

>146 thornton37814: Faizy's books are so cute. He is a Bookcrosser who lives in France who has been sending me a copy of each book he has published. I am a "frog" person (as you know) so I love getting these...even though this book stars a toad! :D


jessibud2 also got a copy of this book. :)

Feb 15, 2:53pm Top

>147 SqueakyChu: I actually read the book too. I got a copy through NetGalley, I believe it was.

Feb 15, 5:44pm Top

>148 thornton37814: That's very cool! Faizy is speaking this year at the Bookcrossing convention in Bordeaux (France) so at least three of my local friends who are also attending that convention this April will get to meet him.

He also sent me bookmarks and frog stickers which I love and can't part with...yet! Maybe eventually, I'll give them to my grandchildren or other kids...but not right now. :D

Feb 15, 6:44pm Top

>149 SqueakyChu: - Madeleine met him last year at the convention in Oslo. She said he is the sweetest guy, which doesn't really come as a surprise, does it?

Feb 15, 10:11pm Top

>150 jessibud2: That’s so nice that Madeleine got to meet him. Did he do a presentation last year? Is Madeleine going to Bordeaux? The day of convention I’m chairing our BookCrossing booth at the International Day of the Book Street festival in Kensington, Maryland. That’s always such a fun event.

Feb 16, 7:00am Top

>151 SqueakyChu: - I don't know if he did a presentation. I will ask her. But she and Mike are not going to Bordeaux this year. I think she would have loved to but it just isn't in the cards for them this year.

Edited: Feb 26, 10:13am Top

12. Squeek Goes Adventuring - Olga Wierbicki

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with an animal on the cover (mouse)

I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure story, although I do have a few things to critique.

First of all, Squeek did not look like a mouse. I'm assuming that's what he was since that's what the woman screamed when she saw him. Mice don't have pointy ears. They have round ears! In one picture, Squeek looked like a cross between a cat and a dog!

Why was Squeek not named Squeak? I found that confusing. After all, he did squeak when he was in trouble!

A mouse in a toaster oven would have been severely harmed, not just lose a few toasted hairs.

A father mouse could not have opened a toaster oven.

A mother mouse would not have run up a human's leg.

Credibility aside, I loved the pastel drawings in this book. They were colorful, beautiful, and...so sweet!

The way Squeek got away from the snake was very clever.

The mice were adorable...especially the three of them hugging in the end. Awwwwww!

Rating - 4 stars

Feb 24, 7:48pm Top

Nice review of Giovanni's Room, Madeline. It's my favorite novel by Baldwin, and definitely worthy of a 5 star rating. I've read it twice so far, and I would love to read it again this year.

Edited: Feb 24, 7:56pm Top

>154 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. That was really an amazing book. So painful. I can't wait to find and read more of Baldwin's work. Giovanni's Room came highly recommended by my friend Barbara (whom you'll get to meet this May, I hope).

Do you have any guesses as to why Baldwin made David into a white man in his book?

Edited: Feb 25, 10:50am Top

13. Dark Places - Jillian Flynn

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with a word in the title suggesting darkness (dark)

This is the story of the Day family. The dad Runner is no longer living with his wife Patty, who is raising four children alone. The youngest, seven-year-old Libby, was hiding undetected in a closet while her mother Patty and two sisters, Michelle and Debby, were being killed. Her brother Ben had been convicted of the murder, but Libby was convinced by a member of the Kill Club (a society that investigates murders to promote justice after a conviction) that Ben may have been wrongly incarcerated. (Are there really such clubs?) She reluctantly meets with Kill Club member Lyle to get more information. Then she proceeds to investigate more thoroughly what happened on the day of the murder.

This book took me a while to get into because it's a whopping 532-page paperback. In addition, the chapters each focus on a different character, and the timing keeps moving back and forth from past to present. I'm surprised that I stuck it out with this novel, but I have enjoyed two previous works by Gillian Flynn so I thought the same might be true for this book.

As I continued through the book, I began to detest all of the characters whom I found needy and creepy. Again, this is not the type of book I usually find easily readable. However, somewhere in the middle of the book, I began to get more interested in the story as the plot became more twisty. I really did want to find out what happened at the murder scene. I read compulsively through the last half of the book and was somewhat disappointed to find out who the actual murderer was. You'll have to read the book to find out why!

Rating - 4 stars

Feb 25, 2:48pm Top

>155 SqueakyChu: According to this recent article by Colm Tóibín in The New Yorker Baldwin wrote about men he became friends with when he lived in Paris in the late 1940s and early 1950s. His publisher wasn't happy that he chose to write about white men rather than addressing the "Negro problem", but Baldwin persevered, and I'm happy that he did.

The Unsparing Confessions of "Giovanni's Room"

Edited: Feb 25, 8:22pm Top

>157 kidzdoc: That's so interesting. Thanks for sharing that information with me, Darryl.

Colm Tóibín's article was really good. Some thoughts...

"...the very word “America” remains a new, almost completely undefined and extremely controversial proper noun. No one in the world seems to know exactly what it describes, not even we motley millions who call ourselves Americans."

Sadly, that seems to be more true now.

‘‘I certainly could not possibly have—not at that point in my life—handled the other great weight, the ‘Negro problem.’ The sexual-moral light was a hard thing to deal with. I could not handle both propositions in the same book. There was no room for it,’’ he said."

That's what I thought, as well.

"This new book will ruin your career, because you’re not writing about the same things and in the same manner as you were before."

Sometimes I feel this to be annoying about authors who try to write about two completely different themes (or genres) in two separate books, in which an author does one theme so much better than the other. Authors, though, want to prove themselves by showing how versatile they are in their writing.

Edited: Feb 26, 8:10am Top

>153 SqueakyChu: sometimes is best not to think too much about some of the details of fantasy and children's books!

Edited: Feb 26, 10:16am Top

>159 neverstopreading: I hear what you’re saying, but some things are just wrong and take away from the story. Another example would be the book Golbo the Spider's Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure by Faiz Kermani in which the artist’s drawings of spiders made them with only six legs instead of eight! It’s good for the author to get feedback about confusing information - even in fantasy and even in children’s books. Sometimes we learn a lot more from fiction than from nonfiction. Let’s keep improving the quality of our fiction.

I did learn something from the Squeek book, though. I discovered that the word adventure can be used as a verb! :)

Edited: Feb 27, 11:12pm Top

14. Clover - Dori Sanders - TIOLI: Read a book by an author who is part of the African diaspora

February 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book by an author who is part of the African diaspora
This is a beautiful, soft, sad, and sweet story told by Clover Lee Hill, a ten-year-old black girl living in South Carolina. It reads almost like a diary. Clover's mom was no longer alive. Her dad, Gaten Hill, dies suddenly in an automobile accident just hours after marrying Sara Kate, a white woman. That leaves Clover in the care of a stepmother she hardly knows.

In the first half of the novel, we meet Gaten’s extended family and see their reaction to his dating a white woman. Most of the family at first seems skeptical. Later most remain unhappy with his choice to marry Sara Kate, but they were not downright hateful so this novel at least starts out with a glimmer of hope and on an upbeat note. Gaten’s sister Everleen did tell Clover, “People need to be accepted and judged by the kind of person they are inside, not on the basis of the color of their skin.”

As the novel progresses, we see family and friends interact and bonds tighten. It's really lovely how this happens and is reflected in Clover's words. Of all of the qualities of this novel, I think its gentleness is what moves me the most.

Rating - 4 stars

Feb 27, 11:00pm Top

>161 SqueakyChu: - This one sounds lovely, Madeline

Edited: Feb 27, 11:12pm Top

>162 jessibud2: It was lovely, indeed. If only people would act that way in the real world. The characters slipped in their speech when talking to each other, but those slip-ups were accompanied by embarrassment not hate of one another. It is normal to be skeptical of others not like yourself, but it would be a kinder, gentler world if we could all reach out to others to understand them instead of to judge them.

One line from this book struck me as being so unfortunately "current": Clover's uncle Jim Ed (a black man) stated, "A white man never gets enough land or money." :(

What is really so intoxicating about money and power that they drown all else out? (rhetorical question)

Land should belong to everyone, not only to the rich and powerful. Nor should the rich and powerful transform land. Only nature should do that. I think native Americans understood that. They had respect for land and a spiritual world as well. *going off on a tangent now*

Mar 4, 1:23pm Top

Madeline--Love the sounds of both your latest reads, and such opposites, too! Thanks for sharing. Happy Sunday.

Edited: Mar 4, 4:37pm Top

I’ve read those last two.
Dark places was TOO dark and grim for me but I love
Clover and Dori Saunders. I heard her speak once ; she’s a lovely lady.
I’ve always wanted to visit her family’s peach farm which is not too far from me in York County, S.C.

Mar 4, 6:31pm Top

>164 Berly: They were both very good reads, but now I'm reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm only about 1/10 of the way through this book, but I'm very impressed by the writing!

Mar 4, 6:37pm Top

>165 nrmay: Dark doesn't bother me. Now I've read all three of Gillian Flynn's novels. I liked Gone Girl the best.

I would love to hear Dori Sanders speak. She sounds so interesting. Her family history is just as interesting. I'd like to get hold of her cookbook. I bet it's full of recipes for peaches! :D

Edited: Mar 7, 9:38pm Top

15. Shh! We're Writing the Constitution - Jean Fritz

March 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book where the title includes at least two different words beginning with the same letter (W)

I'm not saying everyone should learn about the writing of the United States Constitution through this book. However, being the frustrated student in American history that I was as a kid (I could never memorize names, places, or dates), I found this a terrific book. I think it is especially relevant to the present because I see so many challenges to the Constitution that I feel it is important to learn as much about it as I can.

I didn't seek this book out. It found me! It came as a donation to my Little Free Library. As I was about to release it to children in my neighborhood, I was interested enough in the book title and the amusing cover art of patriots in their black and white garb (and some with wigs) that I thought I'd browse through its pages. That didn't happen. Instead, I sat down to read the whole book. I'm glad I did. The story of the statesmen who came together to write the Constitution was an educational read, but also quite a lot of fun with excellent and often funny pictures by Tomie dePaola (whose artwork I knew from the days when my own kids were small) and tidbits of interesting information to complement the main thrust of the story.

This book not only provided me the incentive to read the Constitution, it also provided a full copy of the Constitution itself for me to read. I read it out loud so that I could understand it more fully. I think this may have been the first time that I actually ever read the entire U.S. Constitution, and I am seventy years old now. It was about time! Thank you, Jean Fritz and Tomie dePaola.

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Mar 7, 10:07pm Top

>168 SqueakyChu: - Sounds like a good one, Madeline. Sometimes, a children's book is a good way into a story that might otherwise be too dense or intense. When I read Blizzard of Glass earlier this year, that's exactly what I found. I was drawn right in and learned a lot about a part of Canadian history that I probably should have known more about but didn't.

Maybe someone (you) should send this book to trump. I bet he hasn't read the Constitution....he might learn a thing or two. If he reads...;-)

Edited: Mar 7, 10:20pm Top

>169 jessibud2: Haha! I'm giving this book to my husband to read next! I really did enjoy the experience of reading it. I think he'll like it as well.

The book did give me a greater sense of what it means to be a federation of states, which is what the United States really is. Even back in the days of the original thirteen colonies, the states were freaked out by the thought of being part of a nation.

I always heard Robert Reich talking about the "Emoluments clause" of the Constitution. I was delighted to find it and read it. Robert Reich (former commerce secretary during the Clinton administration who does educational political videos on Facebook) would have been proud of me! :)

Of course, 45 hasn't read the Constitution. He doesn't read at all. The only things he does are watch Fox news and tweet.

Edited: Mar 11, 12:14pm Top

>168 SqueakyChu: If I were currently living in the States, I think I’d look out for that one.

>170 SqueakyChu: Not getting the ‘45’ reference.

Edited: Mar 11, 5:48pm Top

>"45" is what I call donald trump because I cannot stand to even say his name. I find that man despicable. He is our 45th president, sadly enough.

Edited: Mar 11, 2:27pm Top

>172 SqueakyChu: Ah, got it. Thanks.

And sorry (for making you type his name).

ETA. I knew who, but not why.

Mar 11, 2:27pm Top

>173 humouress: I fixed his name in message 172. :)

Mar 11, 2:29pm Top

>172 SqueakyChu:

Agree. Despicable and a hundred other epithets . .

Mar 11, 2:48pm Top

>175 nrmay: Really.

Mar 11, 4:05pm Top

>174 SqueakyChu: etc - It's why I won't capitalize his name when I do write or type it. Using a capital letter for a person's name implies respect, and I have none for him. Period.

Mar 11, 4:52pm Top

If it makes you feel any better, a trump has a couple of definitions that might apply.
1) The noise an elephant makes
2) the sound a person makes when breaking wind. It's an older usage, my Granny would have said it.
Hope that helps, even if only a little.

Mar 11, 5:49pm Top

>177 jessibud2: I further amended message #172.

Edited: Mar 11, 5:50pm Top

>178 Helenliz: It does. :D
I hope it's no offense to elephants which are good creatures.

Edited: Mar 11, 7:52pm Top

>172 SqueakyChu:

When I read about his intended meeting with the head of North Korea,
the poem "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat" came up immediately.

If not a familiar one (we had to memorize it in the 50s in Oak Park, Illinois),
check out the ending!

Actual title is "The Duel."

Edited: Mar 11, 8:40pm Top

>181 m.belljackson: I'll go read it now.

Edited: Mar 11, 8:41pm Top

>181 m.belljackson: Read it!

Yep. I, too, imagine that's how it will go. Good analogy!

Mar 12, 9:57pm Top

>181 m.belljackson: "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat"
Hah. Probably close to 50 years since I've read that one, and now I'm imagining a political parody video...

Mar 12, 10:02pm Top

>181 m.belljackson: I haven't thought of that poem since elementary school.

Edited: Mar 19, 1:54pm Top

16. Night Cats - Anthony Taber

March 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book that isn't a "book" (wordless illustrations)

Did you ever wonder what cats do at night? Cartoonist Anthony Taber, in his black-and-white wordless illustrations, suggests what some of their activities might be.

Maybe a cat is wearing a fake beak and walking on stilts to masquerade as a flamingo among other flamingoes? Perhaps cats are biking and walking tightrope-style on telephone lines? Suppose they are digging a hole in the seat of your favorite wing chair to create a cat cave?!

Whatever they are doing, be it fun or plain bizarre, it's probably pictured in this book!

Rating - 4 stars

Mar 21, 1:19pm Top

Found you back! :D

Edited: Mar 21, 1:25pm Top

>187 -Eva-: See you on Litsy! LOL!!

Aren't reunions fun?!

Mar 21, 2:10pm Top

>186 SqueakyChu: - Adorable illustration! :-)

Mar 21, 4:31pm Top

>189 jessibud2: Isn’t it? It took forever to post because the picture kept showing up sideways. I had to keep editing it, but I had to cut off about half of the top of the picture to get it to post right side up. I wish LT would do something about our not being able to rotate pictures. That will probably never happen.

Edited: Mar 21, 4:37pm Top

Has anyone else here started trying out Litsy? Friend me there if you do. I’m also SqueakyChu there. It’s taking a while to learn how to use it, but I’m beginning to see how much fun it is.

I think this was a great purchase by Tim. I think it will increase membership for both LT and Litsy. I’m very happy for Tim that his business is doing so well that he is in the process now of acquisitions. I only like those if I like the values of the people doing them. Tim is high on my list of people who do good/great/fun things and who is a good person.

Mar 21, 4:50pm Top

>191 SqueakyChu: - I saw that announcement in the recent newsletter but I honestly have no idea what it is and am not likely to check it out. As you know, I limit the online places I participate in and am happy enough to stay where I am (LT, bookcrossing and my online Scrabble place, Pixie Pit). In fact, I am feeling a tiny bit smug today, feeling smart, even, that I have never been on facebook, what with the news.... I'm quite sure that no matter how bad the news is for Zuckerberg, far too many people are too addicted to give it up and probably nothing will change there at all, but I am still glad that I am not one of them. ;-p


Edited: Mar 21, 6:30pm Top

>192 jessibud2: Truthfully, the only reason I gave it a try is because it’s Tim’s baby now, and so I want it to succeed. I felt that same way about LT when it began when I was trying to get BookCrossers to join LT. I then pretty much failed miserably (except for you...I’m glad you’re here). I think lots of LTers feel the way you do and resist having to join instant response social media. I don’t have a problem with that. It has its benefits and faults.

I think that the addition of Litsy to LT will grow LT’s membership, but only if we are friendly to those Littens who come to explore LT. LT is not known to be the friendliest place.

I will use Litsy and LT in completely different ways, but I’ve already found a few BookCrossers there, most notably ardachy 😃

Mar 21, 6:59pm Top

>193 SqueakyChu: - Good for you. You are a wonderful ambassador for LT (and bc!). Do keep us posted on how it is working out. I am sure Trevor will be a great ambassador as well. :-)

Edited: Mar 21, 7:07pm Top

>194 jessibud2: I admit it was fun to find him there!

It’s already working out well. The app is fun,and I’ll definitely continue to use it. I’m glad I actually checked it out in further depth as I was very skeptical of it at first.

Mar 22, 9:01pm Top

17. The Mouse in the Matzah Factory - Francine Medoff

March 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book where the title includes at least two different words beginning with the same letter (M)

This is such a cute book! It's the story of a mouse who saw the process of how wheat turns into matzo, leaving him proud to be the individual that did the watching. The story is sweet, the drawings are beautiful, and the information is interesting. I especially like the introduction "about matzah" for those who know nothing about the unleavened bread of the Jewish festival of Passover. I think this would be a fun book to save and share with the youngest seder guests every Passover.

Rating - 5 stars

Mar 23, 6:39pm Top

I wanted to explore Litsy,and it seemed the only way I could get on was to join so I did (also under my LT name arubabookwoman). I've looked around a bit, but I'm still not sure what people do on Litsy. How do you plan to use it/participate?

I got a list of suggested people to follow, but it looked like a lot of them hadn't posted in a year or more. I also got the feeling that a lot of Litsy users were quite bit younger than me.

Edited: Mar 23, 8:18pm Top

>197 arubabookwoman: First of all, friend me there as SqueakyChu. If others want to friend you, friend them back, whether or not you know them. Later on you can be more picky, but the site works best if you start with friends to follow who follow you back.

Next I'd suggest that you post a book that you're reading or a book that you just finished. To do that, press the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and select your book, finding your book in the book search. Then take a photo of your book. Make it a fun and interesting photo. That will attract others to comment on your post. You can either post a review, a blurb (which is basically anything at all), or a quote. The sit back and wait for others to make a comment. Answer those comments.

The way I plan to use Litsy is to comment on books while I read them. I almost never do that here on LT...where I finish reading a book and then post a full review before I even talk about the book. I find Litsy spontaneous and fun. It's lightweight, but in a good way. Hanging out with more book people is never a bad thing!

Actually, Tim said that the demographics are pretty close to what we have here on LT. I am 70 years old, and I feel fine on Litsy. I like to have fun with books, and I think that Litsy could be a good place to do so.

ETA: I found another great use for Litsy. There I can connect with other LTers spontaneously without having to read through hundreds of posts on everybody's LT threads. I used to do that when LT was younger, but now everyone's thread is so long, I don't have time to do that every day. On Litsy, I can touch base with my LT friends more often. It's ironic that we have to connect with each other at someplace other than LT. I like being back in touch with other LTers whose threads I haven't read for a long time!

ETA2: I friended you on Litsy. Go read my posts! Heh.

Mar 24, 5:48am Top

"LT is not known to be the friendliest place." That's surprising. I don't tend to wander far from my usual groups but when I do, I've always found everyone to be friendly.

I googled Litsy, and maybe I will download it and try it out, but I'm not on my mobile device at the moment. I see mention of Litsy on other threads.

Mar 24, 7:02am Top

I am not sure I need any kind of new computer thing that will suck up more time!! LOL. Maaaaaaybe I will check out Litsy. Because it is all about the books you know!

Edited: Mar 24, 9:16am Top

>199 humouress: I certainly hope that LT’s reputation has changed over the years, but when LT was younger and I tried very hard to get more bookish people to join me here, too many times I received the response that GoodReads was a much friendlier place than LT.

I’ll have to change my statement to “LT was not known to be the friendliest place.”

Mar 24, 9:19am Top

>200 Berly: So I’ve done a few days on Litsy. Before looking at it, I decided it was not for me. After I got the hang of it, I thought it was fun. Now I think it will have a “limited shelf life” for me. I’m not really sure how long it will hold my interest.

Mar 24, 10:32am Top

>201 SqueakyChu: But we’re all nice. Really. We’re even moving to make the TIOLI sweep easier next month ;0)

Mar 24, 4:57pm Top

>199 humouress:
In the individual groups, I've only found nice people, but I have also encountered newbies (and others) being met with quite tart comments (not naming any names), especially in the Book Talk group (where is where most newbies start off), so I'm not entirely surprised we have a little bit of that reputation.

>202 SqueakyChu:
I think I'll be using it for, as you suggested, mid-read thoughts and probably a place to record quotes I like.

>203 humouress:
We are indeed! ❤

Edited: Mar 24, 6:29pm Top

>203 humouress:

I think you just want to embarrass me. What if I don’t finish even a single book next month? ;)

>204 -Eva-:

We’re just not the gushy, effusive type of people more easily found on other booksites. I agree that some of us come across as tart from time to time. Newbies pick up on those vibes right away. Then they choose never to return and are forever left with a bad impression of LT. I get tart comments from time to time. Since I mostly know who will give them to me, I often simply choose to avoid conversations with those individuals.

Mar 24, 9:27pm Top

>205 SqueakyChu:
I too know who to avoid! :) It's a shame though, isn't it easier to just ignore a thread where someone post something you find inane rather than be rude? Oh well, not much we can do about it, other than be as nice as we can.

Mar 24, 9:32pm Top

>206 -Eva-: You want to hear something really funny/strange? One person (who shall remain nameless here) who annoys me so much here on LT and another book site is a person I've met before and like in person. Go figure!

I rarely am snippy, but I'm only snippy to those people who have in the past been snippy to me, not usually/never to a newbie or someone with whom I'm not familiar.

Mar 24, 10:33pm Top

>207 SqueakyChu:
How funny! I suspect sometimes people don't quite understand how they come across in print.

I try not to be snippy, but I do sometimes mime smacking people when I'm in front of the computer. :D

Mar 24, 11:21pm Top

>205 SqueakyChu: You and I can keep each other company.

>208 -Eva-: Ow?

Mar 24, 11:44pm Top

>209 humouress:
Haha! Nope, you’ve never been the recipient of one of my screen-smacks. :) (It’s usually the same “usual suspects” and, like Squeaky, I try to stay away from them.)

Mar 25, 11:07pm Top

>198 SqueakyChu: Thank you Madeleine. I have befriended you, and also PM'd you a question--I hope you don't mind.

Mar 25, 11:25pm Top

>211 arubabookwoman: I PMed you back with what I do. I hope that helps!

Mar 26, 10:15pm Top

18. Ms. Miller's Etiquette for Cats - Melissa Miller

March 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book that features a cat
This book is so sweet and funny. The way it was written, as a guide to etiquette told directly to cats, was just perfect. Some excerpts are laugh-out-loud hilarious!

I could see my own feral cat in the directions to "avoid meowing incessantly for no reason". Plus, now I know from where she adapted this piece of advice: "If your offering at mealtimes are not up to scratch, it is perfectly acceptable to walk off in disgust."

I'd recommend this book for anyone's cat...and even for those cats' owners!

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Mar 27, 9:19am Top

Today I learned that I won Michael Zadoorian's book Beautiful Music. I am so excited about that.

I discovered his first book, Second Hand, many years ago in a used book store (of course!). I read another of his books (The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit) after talking to him on an author chat here at LibraryThing many years ago. He also wrote The Leisure Seekers which is now a first run film starring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren. Michael now completed yet another book, Beautiful Music...which I just now won on Early Reviewers. I can't wait to tell him as I've been following him on Facebook since I first learned that The Leisure Seekers had been optioned for a movie. I am always thrilled when a little-known author finally reaches some degree of success.

Way to go, Michael! Thank you LT Early Reviewers program and publisher for the book which is en route to me!.

Edited: Mar 26, 11:51pm Top

Here's the author chat in which I spoke with Michael Zadoorian: Wow! That was in 2009. :O

Mar 27, 12:31am Top

>213 SqueakyChu: That sounds funny :0)

>214 SqueakyChu: Yay! For you and for Michael.

Mar 27, 7:25am Top

>213 SqueakyChu: 0 This one sounds like a hoot! Fun! I love this sort of thing.

>214 SqueakyChu: - I am hoping to get to see this film maybe this weekend. I have seen clips on tv ads and with that cast, it looks like it has to be good! Congrats on winning the book. That reminds me that I have 2 ER books that I need to get to!

Mar 27, 9:18am Top

>217 jessibud2: More books? Yikes!! :D

Apr 20, 11:42pm Top

Did you start your second quarter thread? Did I just miss it? : )

Apr 20, 11:45pm Top

>219 Berly: I did. My second quarter's thread is here.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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