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Eliz_M try, tries again in 2018

Club Read 2018

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1ELiz_M
Edited: Jun 8, 9:50pm Top

In real life I go by Liz. This will be my fourth year in Club Read (although maybe only 3.5 years, as I seem to have stopped posting mid-way through 2017). I love reading and do try to keep up with most of your threads, but I am terrible at maintaining my own thread.

I am mostly obsessed with the 1001-Books-to-Read-Before-You-Die List, and have read about 771 books from it. I intersperse 1001-list books with what my book club is reading and the occasional mystery.

I currently live in Brooklyn, but I grew up in MN and still don't quite feel I am a New Yorker, despite living here for more than 15 years. I work for a large performing arts organization in a logistics/management capacity and when not at work or reading I enjoy spending time at museums. I am still, desultorily, attempting to visit every room in the Met Museum and I also enjoy going to MoMA. Sundays are usually spent cooking a week's worth of food and I bake cookies on a semi-regular basis for the office; I may contribute a few recipes to La Cucina.

. .

The Artist's Wife by Albert Bartholomé . . . . . . A Woman Reading by Camille Corot . . . . . Louise Tiffany, Reading by Louis Comfort Tiffany

I am grateful for Club Read -- it provides a home for all my non-1001 list reviews. It is fabulous to be part of an intelligent, eclectic group of readers where I can find all sorts of non-list books to suggest to book club and to add to the tbr.

2ELiz_M
Edited: Aug 28, 6:21pm Top

Currently Reading:

LT adds to the TBR:
White Tears by Hari Kunzru (recommended by RidgewayGirl)

3ELiz_M
Dec 30, 2017, 9:00am Top

2017 stats:

Books read/listened: 70
paper/ebook: 67
total pages read: 22,182
ave. # pages: 331
audio: 3

1001-list-books: 44 (62.9%)
Female Authors: 24 (27.1%)
In Translation: 39 (55.7%)
Non-fiction: 8

Pre-1800: 2 (2.9%)
1800s: 8 (11.4%)
1900-1949: 11 (15.7%)
1950-1999: 30 (42.9%)
2000s: 19 (27.1%)

Libe books: 24 (34%)
Owned-pre-2016: 38 (54%)
Bought & read: 9 (13%)

Bought-2017: 96

4ELiz_M
Edited: Aug 28, 6:22pm Top

2018 goals:

Read more books from the owned-tbr than from other sources
At least 50% of books written by non white, straight men
At least 50% of books translated into English
At least 50% of 1001 list books
Read at least 10 non-fiction books

& way too many challenges/projects:

Classics A to Z: American Tragedy, Blindness, Cider with Rosie, Democracy*, Elective Affinities*, Floating Opera*, Go Tell It on the Mountain, House Mother Normal*, Indigo, Journey to the Alcarria*, Kestrel for a Knave*, Looking for the Possible Dance*, The Midnight Examiner*, Nana*, Old Devils*, Path to the Spiders' Nest*, Quartet in Autumn*, Ravishing of Lol Stein, Shame, To the North, Underworld*, Voyage Out, World for Julius*, Young Törless*, Z*

Booked 2018:
Popsugar 2018:

1001-gaps: The Discovery of Heaven*, Homo Faber, The Castle* or Alberta and Jacob*, Nana*, The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr*, Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, The Pilgrim's Progress*

5ELiz_M
Edited: Jun 16, 2:00pm Top

First Quarter Reading Ideas::

January:
Real-life book club: Letters to Memory
GR Translated Book: Independent People
LT 1001 Book: The Moon and the Bonfires

February:
Real-life book club: Underworld
RT Bracket A: The House of Mirth, The Handmaid's Tale, Tempest-tost
GR Classics: Middlemarch
LT 1001 Book: The Idiot

March:
Real-life book club: The Lost City of the Monkey God
RT Bracket B: The Moonstone, Pale Fire, The Passion According to G.H
GR Non-Fiction: The Lost City of the Monkey God
LT 1001 Book: Underworld


Second Quarter Reading Ideas::

Reading Globally: Black Rain

April:
Real-life book club: Numero Zero
RT Bracket C: The Handmaid's Tale, The Moonstone, Middlemarch
RT Author Read: Iris Murdoch, The Saint and the Artist
LT 1001 Book: Remembering Babylon
R1001-BotM: A Ballad for Georg Henig, Titus Groan
R1001-Div: Black Box, Survival in Auschwitz (If This is Man), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Austerlitz
TBR Takedown: The Ravishing of Lol Stein

May:
Real-life book club:
RT Bracket D: A Complicated Kindness, The Voyage Out, The Flamethrowers
GR Literary Prize:
LT 1001 Book: The Case of Sergeant Grischa
R1001-BotM: Pastoralia, The Moor's Last Sigh
R1001-Div: Leaden Wings, All About H. Hatterr, The Artamonov Business, Max Havelaar
TBR Takedown: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

June:
Real-life book club: Do Not Say We Have Nothing
RT Bracket E: Absalom, Absalom!, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
GR Non-Fiction: I Contain Multitudes
LT 1001 Book: The Violent Bear it Away
R1001-BotM: Fathers ans Sons, The Wonderful O
R1001-Div: Written on the Body, The Lost Language of Cranes, A Boy's Own Story, Tipping the Velvet
TBR Takedown: On the Heights of Despair
Key:
strike through book linked - A book I read this year
strike through - A book I have read before and don't plan to reread
book linked - A book I am thinking of reading for the relevant group/challenge/theme
book title - A book that I haven't read and currently don't plan to read
* - A book I own (paper copy)

6ELiz_M
Edited: Yesterday, 8:53am Top

Third Quarter Reading Ideas::

2018 Backpack Europe:
Netherlands: All Souls' Day, The Garden Where the Brass Band Played
Germany: Death in Rome, Pavel's Letters, Couples, Passersby, The German Lesson
France: Under Fire, Nana, The Opposing Shore, Exercises in Style
Switzerland: Homo Faber
Italy: As a Man Grows Older, The Child Of Pleasure, One, No One and One Hundred Thousand, Death in Rome
Slovenia: Alamut, A Day in Spring
Austria: The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
Czechia: The Castle
Poland: Dog Years, The Magician of Lublin
Ukraine: The Cathedral
Russia: The Life of Insects, A Lear of the Steppes
Norway: Alberta and Jacob
Sweden: By the Open Sea, The Book About Blanche and Marie

July:
Real-life book club: Saving Arcadia
RT Bracket F: The Voyage Out, East of Eden
RT Classics: The Man of Property
LT 1001 Book: Under the Net
R1001-BotM: Unless, Requiem for a Dream
R1001-Div: Life is a caravanserai
TBR Takedown: A World for Julius

August:
Real-life book club: n/a
RT Bracket G: The Road, Possession, Molloy
RT Author Read: James Baldwin
LT 1001 Book: An Artist of the Floating World
R1001-BotM: Day of the Dolphin
R1001-Div: Look Homeward, Angel
TBR Takedown: A Severed Head

September:
Real-life book club: The Red Tent
RT Bracket H: Their Eyes Were Watching God, All the Light We Cannot See, Pride and Prejudice
RT Non-Fiction: Killers of the Flower Moon
LT 1001 Book: Day of the Dolphin
R1001-BotM: Sula, Ada, or Ardor
R1001-Div: Money to Burn, The House of the Spirits, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Underdogs
TBR Takedown: The Floating Opera

------------------

Fourth Quarter Reading Ideas::

October:
Real-life book club: Killers of the Flower Moon
RT Bracket J: Anna Karenina, The Road, P&P?
RT Lit Prize:
LT 1001 Book: Wild Harbour
R1001-BotM: Absolute Beginners
R1001-Div: Faces in the Water, Turn of the Screw, Mrs. Dalloway
TBR Takedown:

November:
Real-life book club: The Inquisitor’s Tale
RT Bracket H: Middlemarch, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Bracket J, ???
RT International Read:
LT 1001 Book: A Handful of Dust
R1001-BotM:
R1001-Div:
TBR Takedown:

December:
Real-life book club:
RT Non-Fiction:
LT 1001 Book:
R1001-BotM:
R1001-Div:
TBR Takedown:

Key:
strike through book linked - A book I read this year
strike through - A book I have read before and don't plan to reread
book linked - A book I am thinking of reading for the relevant group/challenge/theme
book title - A book that I haven't read and currently don't plan to read
* - A book I own (paper copy)

7AlisonY
Dec 30, 2017, 1:53pm Top

I loved The Line of Beauty - hope you enjoy it. Happy reading in 2018.

8OscarWilde87
Dec 31, 2017, 5:52am Top

Happy reading in 2018! I just dropped a star so it's easier to follow your reading. I find it amazing how many 1001 books you have read already!

9ELiz_M
Dec 31, 2017, 8:58am Top

>7 AlisonY: So far, so good!

>8 OscarWilde87: Thank you! It is an obsession, but a good one :)

10MGovers
Dec 31, 2017, 10:52am Top

Hi Liz, passing by to wish you a wonderful new year and to add a star here. I've been following your 1001-book-project with a lot of admiration and a little envy. I look forward to what you'll be reading in 2018.

11ELiz_M
Dec 31, 2017, 12:53pm Top

>10 MGovers: Thank you, and a Happy New Year to you as well!

12katiekrug
Dec 31, 2017, 3:41pm Top

Hi Liz! Just dropping my star here so I can follow along :)

13ELiz_M
Jan 1, 10:08am Top

>12 katiekrug: G'morning and Happy New Year!

14dchaikin
Jan 2, 2:43pm Top

Happy New Year Liz. 771 off the list is impressive. I’m following, of course.

15arubabookwoman
Jan 2, 6:05pm Top

Hello Liz. Looking forward to following your reading this year, 1001 and otherwise. And following your Metropolitan Museum visits!

16ELiz_M
Edited: Jan 2, 7:54pm Top

>14 dchaikin: Thank you! You say impressive, I say obsessive..... ;)

>15 arubabookwoman: Thanks, I am looking forward to many more Met visits; they have some fabulous exhibits right now that I need to see!

ETA: good gracious, I forgot how busy the first week of the year is! If I ever catch up on posts, I will try to pop in and say hello in other people's threads.

17NanaCC
Jan 2, 10:12pm Top

Hi Liz, just dropping my star.

18ELiz_M
Edited: Feb 25, 10:03am Top

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, pub 2013
Finished 1/1/2018



I should not have had that after-dinner cappuccino. Seven hours later, suffering from insomnia, I gave up and pulled this book off the shelf. I had certainly heard of the Humans of New York project, thought maybe there had been an exhibition somewhere so when I saw this sitting in stoop giveaway box a few weeks back I snatched it up.

My vague awareness of this lead me to expect expect extraordinary pictures of ordinary people. The introduction discussed how it started out as an unformed project to spend a week photographing New York, grew into a move to the city and the idea of photographic census, complete with interactive maps, of New York, but finally settled into social media -- facebook, tumblr, and instagram.

Out of tens of thousands of photographs, a few hundred were select for this book. And they are lovely, touching photographs. Each with a caption, often just a statement of where the person was seen, but sometimes enough to hint at a story. Some brought tears to my eyes. But, by the end of the book I was disappointed. The overwhelming impression was that is composed of good photographs of extraordinary people. In my head, I not very kindly re-titled it "weirdos of New York" because the vast majority of photos were of people that dress to be noticed, that use their appearance as a work of art and taken as whole the citizens of New York in this book are a colorful circus-like cast. In this collection, I feel that Stanton has selected mostly photos of those individuals that are very visibly individual.

Having spent an hour looking through Stanton's current photographs, I think the instagram feed is what I was hoping for in this novel -- pictures and stories of ordinary people that have their own bit of extraordinary. So, I think I am recommending either Humans of New York: Stories, which hopefully has more text and more representative people, or following Stanton on the social media platform of your choice.

19markon
Jan 3, 10:55am Top

Hi Liz, interesting take on the book Humans of New York. Makes me want to find Stanton on the web -as if I need something else to read.

20MGovers
Jan 3, 2:46pm Top

>16 ELiz_M: - ETA: good gracious, I forgot how busy the first week of the year is! ... Have you ever tried to catch up on the 75-group :-)?
>18 ELiz_M: - Excellent review. I'd never heard of that project, but it's a pity you did not find it representative for New York.

21baswood
Jan 3, 5:02pm Top

>18 ELiz_M: So Humans of new York does not capture the spirit of the city? I suppose it is tempting always to select the most striking photos.

22ELiz_M
Edited: Jan 3, 9:15pm Top

>21 baswood: Exactly!

>20 MGovers: I think the focus changed after this book was published, to incorporate more text, more of the individuals' stories. Hence, I suspect the second book and the current instagram/facebook/whatever feeds are more interesting and feature more "ordinary looking" New Yorkers.

>19 markon: But it's mostly pictures, not so much reading required ;)

23ursula
Jan 5, 10:30am Top

Hello! I see you're tacking the Popsugar challenge. Me too, along with the Book Riot one. (I am hoping for lots of crossover.)

That's a shame about the Humans of New York book. I have seen posts from the Facebook page shared by my friends and the stories are the interesting part!

24dchaikin
Jan 6, 6:08pm Top

>18 ELiz_M: seems a perceptive take, Liz. Wonder what other readers thought.

25AnnieMod
Jan 8, 1:29pm Top

>18 ELiz_M:

I tend to look at their Facebook account now and then and read some of the stories and look at the pictures. I knew there was a book but... it is something created for a different media and as much as I like photography, it's not what makes this memorable. It may work as a coffee table book but I could not imagine just reading it through. Sounds like my thinking was right.

26ELiz_M
Jan 9, 7:13am Top

>23 ursula: I am using popsugar (and other challenges) as a way to select 1001-books, so only tracking about 1/2 the prompts. But I did make those into a bingo card. :)

>24 dchaikin: Thanks!

>25 AnnieMod: I think so. Luckily the book was free, so I enjoyed it more than enough for the price.

27SassyLassy
Jan 9, 9:52am Top

Whenever I read about Humans of New York, it makes me think of the more intimate and personal film Smoke based on a Paul Auster story: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/smoke-1995

I am a sucker for those kind of books though.

28ursula
Jan 9, 11:04am Top

>26 ELiz_M: Same, sort of. I'm not exclusively planning to use 1001 books, but I'm sure hoping to fill a lot of the prompts with them because last year was abysmal on that front.

29ELiz_M
Jan 12, 1:46pm Top

My first museum visit of the year was a continuation of an exhibit from early November, before the holidays swallowed available free time. I first fell in love with Rodin on a visit to France many, many years ago, but i have not seen much of his work since. So I was thrilled that the Met put together an exhibit of his work as well as some of the artists he interacted with.

. . .

Echo by Alexandre Cabanel
The Tempest by Auguste Rodin
The Bath, Jávea by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida
Beside the Sea by Auguste Rodin

I also took the opportunity to zoom through "World War I and the Visual Arts":

. . .

Mobilization or La Marseillaise by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen
Doomed City from Mystical Images of War by Natalia Goncharova
Returning to the Trenches by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
Rockets by Léon Spilliaert

30ELiz_M
Jan 12, 1:50pm Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



Young Torless by Robert Musil, pub. 1906
Finished 1/7/2018

A compelling, complex bildungsroman set at an elite boys boarding school in the beginning of the twentieth century that I did not fully understand.

31ELiz_M
Edited: Jan 12, 1:59pm Top

>17 NanaCC: Hello, happy to see you here! You posted while i was in the midst of writing a review and I didn't see it until just now.

>27 SassyLassy: Oooh, I don't think I've seen that film. Looks interesting!

>28 ursula: Best of luck! And if you need a 1001 book about a heist, Money to Burn was alright.

32RidgewayGirl
Jan 12, 2:00pm Top

The WWI exhibit looks amazing. I was able to see quite a bit of the German Expressionism created right after the war and it tended to be both brilliant and gut-wrenching in an utterly unsentimental way. It was especially interesting to see how the artists who served in the war had it intensely affect their art.

33BLBera
Jan 20, 12:59pm Top

Hi Liz - Good luck with all of your challenges this year. I look forward to following your reading and your museum visits. I was lucky enough to see a Rodin exhibition last year, and it was stunning.

34ELiz_M
Feb 10, 12:52pm Top

>32 RidgewayGirl: Definitely! The art from this period is astonishing and affecting!

>33 BLBera: Thanks, it's nice to have vicarious company on these real-life and bookish adventures.

I always have trouble keeping up with my reviews (I struggle with writing them), but I decided sort of spur-of-the moment to move to a cheaper, pet-friendly apartment further into Brooklyn. So I spent several weeks in January looking at places and all of February, so far, packing. I have already moved the bookcases and 18(!!!) boxes of books to the new place (priorities) and the rest goes on Tuesday. With luck, I may be back to a slightly more regular presence soon.

35ELiz_M
Feb 10, 12:56pm Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis, pub. 1986
Finished 1/17/2018

While I do not always enjoy satire, Amis is so very good at capturing these rascally old men with all of their ingrained prejudices and sexism and vulnerabilities that, in the end, I was charmed.

36katiekrug
Feb 11, 5:37pm Top

Good luck with the new apartment! Pet-friendly, eh? Cat or dog in your future?

37fannyprice
Feb 11, 6:30pm Top

>29 ELiz_M:, Really liking the WW1 exhibit you posted about!

38ELiz_M
Feb 12, 7:40am Top

>36 katiekrug: Oh a cat, definitely. It's too small and I am too lazy to take care of a dog.

>37 fannyprice: Thanks for stopping by!

39janemarieprice
Feb 12, 6:21pm Top

>34 ELiz_M: Good luck with the move! What neighborhood if you don't mind my asking. I was in Park Slope for years and liked it much better than I had expected to.

40ELiz_M
Feb 13, 6:59am Top

>39 janemarieprice: Wow, Park Slope is the dream, if I ever win the lottery. I am moving to the sketchy neighborhood between Ditmas Park and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The broker would call it Prospect Park South, but I think it is really Flatbush.

41janemarieprice
Feb 13, 5:13pm Top

>40 ELiz_M: Yeah we were extremely lucky with that apartment! I have a friend that lives over in that area and she likes it so hopefully will be a good move!

42ELiz_M
Edited: Feb 25, 8:56am Top

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, narrated by Adam Lazarre-White, pub 1953
Finished 2/5/2018



As Baldwin's first novel, it draws on his own life and experiences. Framed as the story of John, the stepson of a preacher named Gabriel, as he comes of age in a religious epiphany, the novel includes the thoughts and memories of his parents.

Set in 1930s Harlem, race relations underlie the events of the story, but the main focus is faith, religion, and sin. The mastery of language and storytelling is visible here, but it is a less-than compelling audio book. This was a re-read and I am not sure if the narrator was a touch plodding or if the sermon-like language of the novel was what plodded.


43ELiz_M
Edited: Feb 25, 11:33am Top

Even in the midst of packing, I did take a museum break to see the David Hockney exhibit at the Met. Even during member-early hours it was incredibly crowded, so I zipped through and saw the exhibit backwards. It was an excellent decision, as I was able to view his stunning, vivid later works in relative peace and could hurry through the crowded rooms of his less interesting (to me) early works.

. . . .

"A Bigger Interior With Blue Terrace and Garden"
"Breakfast at Malibu"
"Gregory Swimming, Los Angeles, March 31st 1982" (a collage of Polaroids!)
"Celia in a Black Dress with White Flowers"
"A Lawn Being Sprinkled"

--------------------------------

When the crowds were too much, I retreated to some quieter rooms:

. .

Fleur de Lis by Robert Reid, ca. 1895–1900
Surf, Isles of Shoals by Childe Hassam, 1913
Christ Carrying the Cross by El Greco, ca. 1577–87

44ELiz_M
Feb 25, 11:41am Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the pictures to read the full review):



Underworld by Don DeLillo, pub. 1997
Finished 2/6/2018

A fabulous, freewheeling epic story, in which DeLillo created tension and continual questioning of the narrative by opening the novel with the final moments of a baseball game witnessed by a few real-life characters, thus keeping me guessing for the rest of the 900 pages how much was "real".

----------------------------



Journey to the Alcarria by Camilo José Cela, pub. 1948
Finished 2/15/2018

I am not familiar with this area of Spain in the present tense, let alone as it was more than 70 years ago and Cela does not seem interested in shaping a world or creating a narrative -- just describing scenery and the occasional encounter.

45ELiz_M
Edited: Feb 25, 12:13pm Top

One of the challenges of living in small spaces, especially if one has a large book collection, is that once the books are off the shelves and in boxes there is not enough room to pack all the other household items. The solution, of course, is to move the shelves and books first (priorities!):



The new studio as of 2/5/2018. Eventually, when the rest of the apartment is unpacked and stored away, I'll use the shelves as a room divider. Sadly, this means the books will be the last thing to unpack.

46baswood
Feb 25, 6:20pm Top

>43 ELiz_M: Nothing like Hockney for drawing in the crowds, which is a great thing. I have never seen so many people walking round an art gallery with so many smiles on their faces than at a Hockney retrospective.

47janemarieprice
Feb 27, 6:08pm Top

Glad you were still able to make it to the museum in the midst of a big move. Were you able to see the Michelangelo exhibit there? I thought you might like this sketch guide to it.

48ELiz_M
Feb 27, 8:04pm Top

>46 baswood: It is a good thing! I hope it helps the Met keep more galleries open for more hours. And it's wonderful when art in stodgy museums can affect peoples emotions.

>47 janemarieprice: No, I missed the Michelangelo. It opened a week after I saw "Leonardo to Matisse: Master Drawings" and felt to similar and too overwhelming.

The guide is fun. Thank goodness M liked muscular men, because his sculptures of them are beautiful!

49ELiz_M
Edited: Mar 3, 7:51am Top

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, narrated by Anna Fields, pub 1905
Finished 2/20/2018



Lily Bart was raised to be an ornament, a beautiful, graceful wealthy young woman raised to be an decorative asset to a wealthy man. But her family is ruined at age 19 and and eventually, begrudgingly, she is taken in by an aunt. With no money of her own and no practical education, Lily's only option is to marry wealth, but some undefinable characteristic prevents her from doing so. As another character says,

"That's Lily all over, you know: she works like a slave preparing the ground and sowing her seeds, but the day she ought to be reaping the harvest, she oversleeps herself or goes off on a picnic.... Sometimes I think it's just flightiness, and sometimes I think it's because, at heart, she despises the things she's trying for. And it's the difficulty of deciding that makes her such an interesting study."

Now age 29, Lily's time is running out as as her options narrow, she finds herself in worse and worse situations.

I re-read this for a year-long project in one of my goodreads groups. And i read it badly this time, during the chaos of moving and in random chunks, switching between a bad audio file and paper copy. Even so, i can recognize its excellence, even if I can't connect with the story. The difficulty is that it so wonderfully done that one might not even realize the frustration and irritation felt are perfectly manipulated. The downfall is so slow and goes through so many stages and is so interior that the reader becomes as trapped as Lily -- knowing there should be an easier/better way to manage the deteriorating situation, but not being able to see how.

50ELiz_M
Edited: Mar 3, 7:55am Top

The Handmaid's Tale by Edith Wharton, pub 1985
Finished 2/24/2018



Another re-read. A quick, compelling read due to the simplicity of prose. I can see how it feels so relevant right now. But this time through, it didn't really grip me as it should have and a few weeks later I don't remember anything more about it than I had before the re-read.

51tess_schoolmarm
Mar 3, 11:45am Top

>50 ELiz_M: I wanted to so love this book and be impressed, because everybody else was. I wasn't. Read it last year and rated it 2 1/2 stars.

52chlorine
Mar 4, 8:42am Top

>49 ELiz_M: Interesting review of the Wharton.
Sorry to hear your re-read of The Handmaid's Tale didn't work out for you. Had you enjoy your first reading at least?

53ELiz_M
Mar 14, 8:19pm Top

>52 chlorine: Yes, the first reading was a 4-star read. I left the rating as is, because i was not in the right mood for the re-read.

54lilisin
Mar 14, 10:47pm Top

>50 ELiz_M:, >52 chlorine:

That should be Margaret Atwood, not Edith Wharton.

55ELiz_M
Edited: Mar 24, 8:23am Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



Blindness by Henry Green, pub. 1926
Finished 3/2/2018

This slim novel at first seems disjointed and rough around the edges, but its unusual structure reinforces the story.

56ELiz_M
Mar 24, 8:48am Top

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston, pub 2017
Finished 3/7/2018



I believe this would fall under the category of popular non-fiction. It is an entertaining account of the various trials and tribulations suffered in the search for an anciet city long since rumored to be hidden deep in the untouched jungles of La Mosquitia, Honduras. Several expeditions, over several years are lead by one obsessed man, the documentary film maker Steve Elkins. He puts together a team of film makers, journalists, and scientists to document and validate his discovery. His ability to raise money from the film industry and his unconventional approach to archeology allows him to pay of r a new aerial mapping technology, LIDAR. Using LIDAR, the team discovers what looks to be two huge settlements, but political upheaval allows only for a short ground exploration. The expedition return three years later to spend more time on the ground and substantiating the claims that it is a settlement of a civilization contemporaneous of the Maya civilization, about which little is known.

The book also touches on the history of the area, speculates about the possible rise of this previously unknown civilization and the causes of its sudden collapse as well as briefly discuss the current political upheavals in Honduras that impeded the investigations. Also, the unconventionality of the team and its use of technology lead to much controversy in the academic world. Nature is also a problem. There is much discussion of the impenetrability of the jungle and the harsh conditions at the site as well as a mysterious, deadly disease infecting the explorers.

Overall, the book was rather disjointed. The author was a member of both expeditions and suffered the mysterious illness. In the end, in trying depict all the aspects of his experiences, he was not able to shape the material into a coherent narrative. Plus he's really heavy-handed with the foreshadowing. So, a fun read but not an intellectual one.

57ELiz_M
Edited: Mar 26, 5:52pm Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



Democracy by Joan Didion, pub. 1984
Finished 3/8/2018

This is a strange, wondrous story; I am still not sure I understand the plot, such as it is, but the writing is so phenomenal that I don't care.

58katiekrug
Mar 25, 10:02am Top

Hi Liz! Are you all finished with the move now? Glad to see it hasn't stopped your reading :)

59ELiz_M
Mar 25, 10:16am Top

>58 katiekrug: ~sigh~ Sadly, not quite. The last thing is getting the bookcases in place. But the floor is so uneven that the bookcases lean into each other. I have to get shims to make them stand up straight before I dare add hundreds of pounds of books. :(

60katiekrug
Mar 25, 10:33am Top

We had a similar problem when we moved here with uneven floors... Frustrating, but it will be worth it in the end and lots of fun shelving the books.

61SassyLassy
Mar 25, 10:35am Top

>55 ELiz_M: Just finished this book last month and it is my next to review. I agree with you completely.

>57 ELiz_M: One of my favourite authors, and once again I agree completely about the writing... "phenomenal".

62ELiz_M
Edited: Mar 26, 5:54pm Top

>60 katiekrug:

This is the corner where the floor is relatively even & I was able to unpack all the TBR boxes:


This is the other corner. Notice anything amiss with the middle bookcase? ~sigh~

63ELiz_M
Mar 26, 5:55pm Top

>61 SassyLassy: I must be doing something right if SassyLassy agrees with me! ;)

64avaland
Mar 29, 3:14pm Top

>29 ELiz_M: How long is that exhibit going? I'd love to see it.

65ELiz_M
Mar 29, 3:58pm Top

>64 avaland: Unfortunately both are closed. I saw the WWI exhibit in it's final weekend and the Rodin was extended into Feb., but is now finished.

66NanaCC
Mar 30, 9:46pm Top

I’m hoping to see the Versailles exhibit with my daughter.

67Simone2
Apr 5, 4:22pm Top

>62 ELiz_M: I was going to say ‘oh lucky you to be able to fill all those shelves’ and then I noticed the shelves are missing! Hope you have found them and that you can show us a picture of them, stacked!

68katiekrug
Apr 5, 4:51pm Top

>62 ELiz_M: - I could have sworn I commented on this!

I would just move my chair directly in front of the set-up in the first photo and blithely ignore the rest. That's what I've done in my living room. There are still boxes in it, and two furled rugs, and random bits and pieces, but I've positioned my chair so that when I look up from reading, I just see my nicely ornamented fireplace mantel and built-in bookcase :)

69ELiz_M
Edited: Apr 5, 9:03pm Top

>66 NanaCC: That does look like a good one! And I hope your daughter is a member, so you can avoid the new non-NY-resident entry fee if you need to.

>67 Simone2: Well...... I am making progress:


>68 katiekrug: :D That is why the chair has its the back to the stack of unpacked boxes.

I've decided a book does not go on the shelf until I've confirmed its LT catalog entry, so it will be a slow process. I am also purging as I unpack.

70NanaCC
Apr 5, 10:59pm Top

>69 ELiz_M: My daughter has a family membership, which includes me. Hopefully my schedule will work with hers.

71Simone2
Apr 6, 12:27am Top

>69 ELiz_M: it looks perfect! What is your system? How do you organize your books on the shelves?

72ELiz_M
Apr 6, 11:56am Top

>71 Simone2: Oh boy, each set of shelves is different.

in >62 ELiz_M: the nine-cube shelf is 1001-TBR with most recently published in the top left to the oldest in thbottom right. The tall, thin bookcase is misc. tbr, by author. The Bookcase perpendicular to the screen is nyrb-tbr by title (avoiding blocks of color, since an author's works all seem to have the same color spine) and then two shelves of Soho mysteries and Europa Noir, by author.

In >69 ELiz_M: the closest bookcase in "Classics" sorted by publish date oldest -to-newest. The other two shelves are fiction, sorted by author.

73ELiz_M
Apr 28, 9:18am Top

On Beauty by Zadie Smith, pub 2005
Finished 3/15/2018



On Beauty is a complex, convoluted book. It is a contrived story of two families in an academic town -- the Belseys, a liberal, mixed race family and the Kipps, a conservative Trinidadian family transplanted to Britain and now Massachusetts. Howard Besley escaped his white, lower-class London childhood into academia. He is a stereotypical, pompous professor staking his reputation on dismantling the idea of beauty in art. Monty Kipps, also an art historian, is invited for a one-year guest lectureship by the university at which Howard teaches. Monty's delights in his reputation as a provocateur of liberals, proposing a lecture series on taking the art out of liberal arts.
Kiki Besley is an Earth-mother figure, Florida born and working as a hospital administrator. Kiki strikes up a friendship with Carlene Kipps, Monty's enigmatic, stay-at-home Christian wife. Jerome Besley falls in, and quickly out of, love with Victoria Kipps. Zora Besley is Victoria Kipps opposite -- aggressively academic and tending towards the heavyset, Victoria is seductively, slyly smart and gorgeously slender. Levi Besley, a hip-hop aficionado, yearning for authentic Black culture, falls in with the lower-class and immigrant populations. Other players include Clare, a poetry professor that champions creativity wherever it is found; Carl a poor young black man educating himself as well as he can with a genius for rap lyrics, as well as various other academics and students.

Smith, loosely basing this novel on E. M. Forster's Howards End, also incorporates an academic satire, interrogates beauty and art, and touches on class and race and culture. It is a lot for one novel to accomplish and some aspects are more successful than others. While the writing is generally excellent, there are times when the plot clunks and many characters are too stereotypical; oddly, many of the female characters never seemed real to me. It is an ambitious work and well done, but at the same time a bit too much.

74ELiz_M
Edited: Apr 29, 12:32pm Top

Persuasion by Jane Austen, narrated by Nadia May, pub 1818
Finished 3/15/2018



I listened to Nadia May's excellent narration of Persuasion during the slow process of unpacking and cataloging my books. This is undoubtedly my favorite Austen movie to watch, perhaps because the satire is more subtly portrayed in both the text and the movie (I find Mrs. Bennett too painful to watch). It is wonderful how slowly Anne comes to the forefront -- we are shown the senselessness of her family first -- the inability to manage money and their vanity and snobbishness. While Anne is in the shadows, unremarked and taken for granted by them.

Anne begins to come into her own with her visit to her younger sister, Mary. There she is shown in a more sensible, care-giving role -- confidant and nurse to Mary, crisis manager during accidents. And then with the visit to Lyme, we see another side -- the intellectual, sensitive reader. It is through the interactions with the Admiral & Mrs. Croft, Benwick and Harville, that she seems to become her own person; that once outside of society's formal structures and constraints, in the company of "self-made" men and people newly risen in status and wealth, she can be seen as something other than the role her family and friends expect her to fulfill.

And, of course, I love the romance, the story of a second chance. The romance of the main character finding that the person she loved and let go loves her still and they are able reunite and form a relationship that has a better chance to provide happiness.

Final caveats: I have seen the movie far too many times for this review to be solely about the novel. I was impressed with how closely the movie adheres to the novel, catching only a few minor inconsistencies. And knowing the portrayal of Anne and the eventual outcome carries me through any of the rough patches of the text.

75ELiz_M
Apr 28, 9:53am Top

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, pub 2017
Finished 3/19/2018



I read this novel is a few days while home with a horrible, horrible cold. reading in a very short time frame is recommended, but perhaps not when one is distracted by coughing and blowing one's nose constantly.

It is an conceptual novel, loved or hated due to the structure. Reservoir 13 is a series of time-lapse photographs of a small town. Each chapter encompassing a year, each paragraph depicting a month. It is an all-encompassing novel such as a War and Peace or, more closely, a Middlemarch reduced to the simplest, barest fragments. The focusing event (which to me felt too gimmicky -- more later) is the disappearance of a the daughter of some tourists visiting the town. It is used, I assume, to create tension and to show the passage of time in a notable way -- each year the references to the disappearance become less prominent, less important, more veiled and the mentions of individual townspeople and descriptions of nature accumulate into characters and a sense of place. It is beautifully done.

But. Perhaps as the product of large American cities, I just didn't understand or believe the disappearance of a stranger would have such a momentous, long-lasting impact. I did not understand why the incident would reappear years and years later. So each mention would stop me and I'd wonder why that particular character/reporter would be bringing up the disappearance of a girl that wasn't from the town and whom most of the characters never knew or met. Perhaps it an American problem, where the media cycles emphasize much more horrible things happening to children and much more frequently, so the story of one child disappearing would not be a big news story months later, let alone years. I think I would have liked the book just as much without that particular plot line.

76katiekrug
Apr 28, 9:59am Top

Great reviews, Liz! I especially like your comments on Persuasion, as it is my favorite Austen novel. I also love the film - I assume you mean the one from the 90s with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root? Just perfection.

"You pierce my soul....." *sigh*

77BLBera
Apr 29, 12:18pm Top

What Katie said. I have both Reservoir 13 and On Beautyon my shelf. They both sound like ones I would enjoy; I'm a big fan of Smith.

Persuasion is my favorite Austen as well -- although I think I often change it to whichever one I most recently read!

78ELiz_M
Apr 29, 12:22pm Top

>76 katiekrug: I have heard rumors of another movie version of Persuasion.

>77 BLBera: I hope you enjoy both when you get to them!

79katiekrug
Apr 29, 12:59pm Top

There was a more recent version done by the BBC but I didn't like it nearly as much. It wasn't bad, just not as good.

80lisapeet
Apr 29, 4:49pm Top

I've had Reservoir 13 on my shelves for a while... I'll basically read anything Catapult puts out. Their choices are always interesting. Also, there's a prequel to it out now, called The Reservoir Tapes. Don't know much about it though.

81OscarWilde87
May 9, 4:00am Top

Reservoir 13 sounds really intriguing. Thanks for the review!

82ELiz_M
May 12, 7:13am Top

>80 lisapeet: Thanks for the heads-up.

>81 OscarWilde87: You're welcome! I would also recommend If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by the same author. The telling of the events of a single day, from the perspective of the residents of a single street.

83ELiz_M
Edited: May 12, 7:28am Top

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, pub 1925
Finished 4/14/2018



This is a very, very long novel that took weeks to read. Clyde Griffiths is the second son of a poor family. His parents drift from city to city, working at different religious missions and bring their kids along as they preach on street corner. but Clyde is not religious and wants a different, better life. As a teenager he gets a job in a soda fountain and then talks his way into working as a bell-hop for the fanciest hotel in Chicago, where the money and glimpses of the rich life turn his head.

On day Clyde meets his wealthy, East Coast Uncle and after making a good impression is offered a job and opportunity in his Uncle's manufacturing plant in upstate NY. But these happy turn of events have terrible downsides. Placed in a precarious social position, Clyde can neither make friends with colleagues (tarnishing the reputation of his uncle) or be accepted into the elite social circle (not the right social skills or enough money). Trapped on the outside, looking in Clyde makes all the wrong choices in his futile pursuit of the American Dream.

I wanted to like this book; I really enjoyed Sister Carrie. But there was So. Much. Plot. A dozen pages describing every thought in a character's head as the vacillate between two alternative choices. It read as if the author used the short, declarative sentences of Hemingway to write a convoluted, too long Henry James story. I suspect the movies/plays/opera adaptations are much, much better.


84ELiz_M
May 12, 7:32am Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras, pub. 1964
Finished 4/17/2018

While interested the the style, the cold depiction of characters and events and the non-liner presentation with authorial asides, I was never absorbed and it did not leave much of an impression.

85ELiz_M
May 12, 7:35am Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



A Ballad for Georg Henig by Victor Paskov, pub. 1987
Finished 4/21/2018

A charming story, told through a child's eyes, with an elasticity of time and hint of magic and naïveté that is able to portray horrible events simply and without ugliness.

86ELiz_M
May 12, 7:52am Top

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco, pub 2015
Finished 4/23/2018



Set in Milan of the 1990s, this convoluted, short espionage/thriller did not resonate with me at all. The narrator, a ghostwriter that has never made much money, is offered a job at an unusual newspaper. The newspaper purports to report on tomorrow's new today and a motley group of reporters are hired to create a half dozen or so mock-ups of this newspaper for the owner to use as "fund-raising". But this turns out to be a risky adventure and the novel begins with one of the reporters, following fifty years of conspiracies about Moussilini's body, who turns up dead.

I did not read this novel well. The set-up, the frame story was what i thought I was getting and i also read the first few chapters as a parody of conspiracy novels and then one of he characters settles into monologing overly long, overly complicated conspiracies and I just didn't care. I never understood what was happen with the story or the structure and only read the entire book because it was for bookclub.

87OscarWilde87
May 12, 1:19pm Top

>82 ELiz_M:, Oh, thanks, I will have to look that up!

>83 ELiz_M: Too bad that you didn't like An American Tragedy. It's been a couple of years now that I read it, but I have a very fond recollection of that novel and remember that I loved it very much.

88ELiz_M
May 19, 8:07am Top

>87 OscarWilde87: Actually, that is the way I feel about Sister Carrie ;)

89ELiz_M
May 19, 8:21am Top

It took a while, but May finally began to feel like spring and so on a lovely Friday evening I went to the Met for a drink on the rooftop and to visit a few rooms:

. . .

1) "We Come in Peace" by Huma Bhabha
2) "Lotus, Pagoda" lamp Tiffany Studios
3) Verplanck Room, 1767
4) The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment by Jan van Eyck

90ELiz_M
Edited: Jun 25, 10:01pm Top

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, pub 1985
Finished 5/06/2018



“Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently. Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end. The best you can do is admire the cat's cradle, and maybe knot it up a bit more.”

This first novel is Winterson's first attempt to tell her story, perhaps to see her life differently. In telling this story, she uses the language and structure she knows so well -- the Bible. Having been raised in a Pentecostal sect, assuming her life would be one of a Missionary, Winterson's world was created and filtered through Biblical stories. So the chapters of her novel are titled after the first 8 books of the bible and the incidents related, loosely chronologically, are loosely similar in theme. If her story was told with less lyricism and more linearly, I suspect it would be harrowing (I have not yet read Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, the actual autobiography that parallels this novel).

The writing at time melodious and portentous and lends itself to breath-taking quotes. It gives a sense of there being many layers, allusions, and allegories that I do not understand. I can see why many people have found the work distant, unemotional -- here, in this novel, everything reflection is fragmented, and I am not sure if I am seeing the facets of a brilliant diamond or a shattered mirror.

91ELiz_M
Edited: Jun 25, 10:01pm Top

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf, pub 1915
Finished 5/16/2018



As Woolf's first novel, this had a troubled, difficult publishing process. She began writing it in 1906 or 1907, writing and re-writing it and setting it aside for a few years when ill. It was finally submitted to a publisher in 1913, but suffering a breakdown, Woolf was to ill to revise the work and it was not published for another two years.

The Voyage Out is primarily the story of Rachel, a 24-year old women who has been sheltered from life by her widowed father and the two elderly aunts that raised her. Her father runs a shipping business and the novel begins aboard one of his cargo ships on which he is taking Helen and Ambrose (Rachel's aunt and uncle), an eccentric friend Mr. Pepper to South America. And in Portugal, Mr. & Mrs. Dalloway talk their way onboard. The voyage is filled with clever banter between the travelers, and culminates in Helen convincing Rachel's father to leave Rachel on shore with them in South America while he travels further into the wilds.

The rest of the book is set in the resort town in South America. Helen and her family are staying in a villa outside of town, but are soon drawn into the closed social world created by the English guests at the hotel. Rachel gradually falls in love with a young, wealthy intellectual and the reader becomes aware that the voyage of the title encompasses Rachel's journey into adulthood.

For those that are familiar with Woolf's most well-known, experimental novels, I am sure there are hints at what is to come -- a touch of stream-of-consciousness (only depicted as dreams in this first novel) and a way of using third person to details a character's thoughts, which mirror societies thoughts. And, although there does not seem to be a smooth story arc or cohesive plot, there are passages of stunning beauty. I loved the opening pages and a scene where Helen and Rachel are eavesdropping. I would have enjoyed this more if I had been able to read it in a less disjointed fashion.

92ELiz_M
Edited: May 26, 7:57am Top

My department at work is undergoing some restructuring - some planned and some required as a consequence of the restructuring.... The current result being that I get to accompany the head of the department on a couple of whirlwind work trips -- 72 hours in Paris a few weeks ago and upcoming 48 hours in Amsterdam. I was able to schedule myself to travel a day ahead of the meetings and as it was a cold rainy week in Paris, visited a museum instead of seeing all the outdoor sights. Musée de l'Orangerie is exactly the art I love best and instaed of boring y'all with dozens of Cezanne, Renoir, Derain, I am posting (mostly) new to me artists:

. .

Le gros arbre bleu by Chaïm Soutine
Grande Cathédrale d'Orléans and Notre Dame by Maurice Utrillo (I loved the display of artists works side by side like this. The museum had several beautiful pairings)
Portrait of Madame Paul Guillaume by Marie Laurencin

The museum also had an exhibit of American Abstract Painting that I loved:

. . .

Blue by Sam Francis
Riverhead by Helen Frankenthaler
The Beginning, 1946 by Barnett Newman
The Good-bye Door by Joan Mitchell

93katiekrug
May 26, 9:04am Top

Oooh, I love that Laurencin (who is also new to me) portrait. Thanks for sharing!

94Simone2
May 27, 2:31am Top

>92 ELiz_M: I have been catching up on your thread. You read so many books I always fall behind! Great reviews again and I love the paintings you posted (Renoir, uggh!) If you need tips for Amsterdam (I don’t know if you’ll have time to spare), let me know. I owe you!

95ELiz_M
May 27, 6:48am Top

>93 katiekrug: I always gravitate towards landscapes and abstract art, so she is one of the few "people" painters whose work I enjoy.

>94 Simone2: It is a ridiculous 48-hour work trip. But, I might need restaurant recommendations.... I have a reservation for Bolenius (Michelin starred and vegetarian! Yay!). I guess I should figure out where I am staying and where the work meetings are taking place.

96Simone2
May 27, 10:34am Top

>95 ELiz_M: Bolenius is very good indeed! Only thing is it is situated in the business district (Zuidas), in a bit of a boring part of the city. It is close to the center though. And anyhow you may just want some peace and quiet during this hectic trip.
Let me know if you need another restaurant as well. I know them all 😉

97ELiz_M
Edited: May 28, 7:43am Top

Pastoralia by George Saunders, pub 2000
Finished 5/17/2018



Saunders excels at the short story. He can create a whole world, similar to our own, and show a lifetime in a few pages.

Pastoralia - the narrator works as exhibit in a sort of living panorama in a failing History Museum/Park. Both he and his co-worker in the caveman display are struggling in the personal lives, but he is able to maintain a professional facade while she loses her work ethic. In the end, karma is a b***h.

Winky - the narrator attends a self-help seminar, determined to change his miserable loner life living with his needy sister, to come unstuck. But the necessary changes require effort and hurting the person closet to him.

Sea Oak - the narrator lives in a run down housing project with his sister, cousin, their kids, and his aunt. They family are barely surviving on what he earns at a "ladies club" and the aunt's minimum wage job. Then a near tragedy becomes a black comedy which becomes an underdog story.

The End of FIRPO in the World - the shortest story in the collection and the most straightforwardly tragic.

The Barber's Unhappiness - the narrator, a middle-aged bachelor living with his mother, attends a remedial driving school

The Falls - a story with two narrators that each witness an impending tragedy and how they react to it.

Saunders is an incredible writer. My impression of this collection is one of distaste. dislike, but it not because the stories are bad. In fact, they are so well-written that the despair and resentment of the narrators permeates the reading experience and colors how I feel about the work as a whole. Almost all of these stories feature male narrators trapped in a grey existence. And while it is clear they are crushed by poverty and social structures, they are also complicit in the hopelessness of the situation -- they have internalized and accepted their situation and don't or can't change.

98avaland
May 30, 7:34pm Top

>92 ELiz_M: Thanks for sharing your photos. They're very interesting.

99lisapeet
May 30, 7:54pm Top

>92 ELiz_M: I love that Soutine. He has a show at the Jewish Museum in NYC right now but I've been a little reluctant to make time for it, since it's all portraits of meat. Gets into the question of whether my affection for his painting wins out over my dislike of meat, since I'm a vegetarian. It's a strange issue, since there are many many traditionally "distasteful" things that I wouldn't bat an eye at going to see as the subject of an exhibition. But meat is pretty icky to me. Aesthetics vs. icky, not sure which wins.

I also really like that Laurencin. Reminds me a little of Florine Stettheimer (whom I also saw at the Jewish Museum, come to think of it).

100ELiz_M
Jun 25, 9:45pm Top

Reviewed in Reading Globally's "Japan and the Koreas" thread (click the picture to read the full review):




Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse, pub 1965
Finished 5/20/2018

An important, excruciatingly detailed, book about a small family living through the aftereffects of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

101ELiz_M
Jul 9, 12:27pm Top

I was hoping a beautiful memorial weekend day would have all the tourists in the park and at the beaches, leaving the Met museum quiet, and so spent a day visiting a random selection of rooms.

First stop was the modern wing:
. .

Let My People Go by Aaron Douglas
Seven ponds and a few raindrops by Ranjani Shettar
Untitled by Norman Wilfred

The floating sculpture was an "extra" -- it is installed in a room that opens onto the staircase between floors 7 was a beautiful, surprise revelation as I went from the first floor to the second for the two rooms I had planned to visit. A magical moment.

----------------------

Then I headed over through the European paintings and walked through the Islamic wing:
. .

Cypress in Moonlight by Edvard Munch
Sunset, Sorrento by Thomas Fearnley
Pair of Minbar Doors, ca. 1325–30, Attributed to Egypt, Cairo

And finally, I spent some time in the "Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence" which I absolutely adore (two visits and I need to make a third before it closes). I won't post pictures, because I would be re-posting almost the entire exhibit!

102ELiz_M
Edited: Jul 9, 12:33pm Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



The Case of Sergeant Grischa by Arnold Zweig, pub. 1927
Finished 5/30/2018

A generally enjoyable book and a perspective of WWI that I have not seen before, but the many, many machinations of the various factions in the German armed forces and their use of Grischa's case in their power plays grew tedious.

103ELiz_M
Edited: Jul 9, 12:35pm Top

Reviewed in my 1001-books thread (click the picture to read the full review):



Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym, pub. 1977
Finished 6/02/2018

The writing is economical and not a word is out of place, just very well done. Unfortunately, I could not get over the sense that I had read this before and I suspect it is too similar to her Excellent Women.

104ELiz_M
Jul 9, 1:02pm Top

I read most of Quartet in Autumn on the plane to Amsterdam for a 48-hour work trip. I had a day of walking around, too jet-lagged to do anything of interest (other than eat at restaurants recommended by Simone2). After a Sunday work meeting, I had a few hours to visit Rijksmuseum, made even less by my complete lack of spatial orientation. I somehow managed to walk by
on the way from to .
Opps.

So, I took the whirlwind audio guide tour of highlights from the collection. Please note, the items I loved may not necessarily be the ones highlighted by the guide (Rembran-who? Verm-what? :D):
. . . . .

105ffortsa
Jul 23, 8:27am Top

Thanks for all the art posted. What nice bonuses to a work trip! And thanks for stopping by on my thread. I left a long reply (maybe I should have posted it here!)

106NanaCC
Jul 23, 12:24pm Top

>101 ELiz_M: I met both of my daughters at The Met on Saturday. We got there at opening time, and went directly to the Heavenly Bodies exhibit to try to avoid some of the crowds. Passing it later in the day, we were very glad that we had done that. Have you seen that one yet? The floating exhibit that you show above was really different and special. We also spent time in Public Parks, Private Gardens. I’ll probably not get a chance to see that one again, as it is closing at the end of the month. Have you seen History Refused to Die? I thought it was very good. We did see a few other exhibits, and always wish we had time for more. We were there for five hours, and would have spent more time, but we had to drive to our hotel to get ready for dinner and a show.

I’ll be going again in August, and I’m looking forward to that.

107katiekrug
Jul 29, 4:12pm Top

Liz - it's always great to see you! I'm glad all our schedules matched up yesterday. What a great time we had. See you soon....

(We didn't make it to Housing Works or McNally , and nor did we get any Pimm's, so the potential for the next meet-up is excellent.)

108RidgewayGirl
Jul 30, 12:23pm Top

Thank you so much for all the reports on art seen and enjoyed. Of all the things I miss from my time in Munich, the easy ability to just drop into an art museum for a spare hour tops the list.

109ELiz_M
Jul 30, 9:35pm Top

And I should pay attention to my own thread rather than just tryinng to keep up with other people's threads.

>105 ffortsa: Hello! Thank you for stopping by.

>106 NanaCC: I haven't seen any of Heavenly Bodies (other than fighting my way through the crowds to get to the exit). But I have a day off tomorrow and am hoping to go to the Cloisters t see the half of the exhibit installed up there.

>107 katiekrug: I'll start researching low-key cocktail bars, British pubs, and October theater shows. :)

>108 RidgewayGirl: My pleasure. :) NYC museums are the top of my list for why living in an insanely expensive shoe box in Brooklyn is worthwhile.

110NanaCC
Jul 31, 10:12am Top

>109 ELiz_M: We purposely got to the museum when it opened and went directly to the Heavenly Bodies exhibit. We were so glad we did, as we walked past the crowds there later in the day.

I’m hoping that we will get to the exhibit at the Cloisters before it closes. I’ve only been there once, and that was when I was in high school, so don’t remember much about the venue itself.

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