Donna Reads and Reflects
This topic was continued by Donna Reads and Reflects: Second Quarter.
Join LibraryThing to post.
These words from Mary Pipher's Seeking Peace touched me and seemed like a good way to open a new thread for a New Year.
"Living is a complicated process, a journey of discovery that never ceases. As I grow older, the basic facts of life seem increasingly simple. The closer we live to our core, the more we realize that we are like other people. My fear and sorrow are yours, as is my harsh self-judgment. My desire to be good and to feel loved is your desire, too. We all seek peace."
I wish you all Peace in your hearts and in the world. I have always found books to be good company when I need a respite from a busy life or a harried world. Here's to a new year of sharing the books that enchant us and soothe our souls.
One Star......Not worth my time
Two Stars....Finished grudgingly
2.5 Stars......Fair, but not for me
Three Stars..Liked it pretty well but had reservations
3.5 Stars.....Good but not great
Four Stars...Great book
4.5 Stars.....Excellent - a keeper
Five Stars....Superb - Timeless, a real treasure.
My Top Ten Books of 2017…listed in the order I read them.
Jimmy Bluefeather by Kim Heacox
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
The Blue Hour by Laura Pritchett
Seven for A Secret by Lyndsay Faye
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
I've gotten so much satisfaction with my free-spirited reading this year that I will continue in the same vein in 2018. However, there are some great challenges out there and I may just dip in and out of them if a particular challenge calls to me.
Here are links of the challenges I am most interested in:
The Suspicions Of Mr. Whicher - January
The Woman Who Smashed Codes - February
***Irish Author Challenge***
Death in Summer by William Trevor - February
Time Present and Time Past by Deirdre Madden - March
*** British Themes***
Here is another group read I’m interested in. It is the follow-up to last year’s wonderful Longmire readalong.
***The Two Guidos Read***
Death at La Fenice
Death In A Strange Country
I enjoy reading The Modern Mrs. Darcy's Blog on FB.
Here is her simple challenge that looks very doable to me:
***2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge***
1. A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read
2. A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste
3. A Book in Translation
4. A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018 - Miss Burma
5. A Book of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection
6. A Book You Can Read in a Day - Autumn
7. A Book That’s More Than 500 Pages - Beneath A Scarlet Sky
8. A Book by a Favorite Author
9. A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie Bookseller
10. A Banned Book
11. A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative Nonfiction - Personal History
12. A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your Own
Am I Crazy? Here is yet another FUN thing I just found on Ellen’s thread. I love playing Bingo, and it’s not like I have to plan my reading. I’ll just fit in the books when they fit a particular category.
#1 -- Mozart's Starling
#4 -- Fools Crow
#8 -- Exposure
#9 -- Personal History
#15 - Cryoburn
#24 - Blue Highways
2017 Reading Meme
Describe yourself: Nobody’s Fool
Describe how you feel: Anything Is Possible
Describe where you currently live: At Home in the World
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Out Of Africa
Your favorite form of transportation: The Wailing Wind
Your best friend is: The Wonder
You and your friends are: The Bridge Ladies
What's the weather like: South Pole Station
You fear: The Stranger in the Woods
What's the best advice you have to give?: Hum if You Don’t Know the Words
Thought for the day: This is How It Always Is
How I would like to die: 10% Happier
My soul's present condition: Seeking Peace
I will be traveling the first week in January and will be listening to the latest two books in The Vorkosigan Saga. My print book is Slade House by David Mitchell.
Books Read in January:
1. Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. 3.5 stars. Comments.
2. The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens; audio by R.C. Bray. Comments.
3. Slade House by David Mitchell. 3.8 stars. Read for my Book Group. Comments.
4. Fools Crow by James Welch. 4.3 stars. Review.
5. Death at La Fenise by Donna Leon. 3.5 stars. Read for the Two-Guidos Group Read. Comments.
6. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. Read for the Nonfiction Challenge. 3.5 stars. Comments.
7. Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. 3.3 stars. Comments.
8. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold; audio by Grover Gardner. 3.3 stars. Comments.
9. Mozart's Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. 4.2 stars. Review.
Books Read in February:
10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. 3 stars. Comments.
11. The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone; audio by Cassandra Campbell. 3.9 stars. Comments.
12. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. 4.1 stars. Comments.
13. Artemis by Andy Weir. 3 stars. Comments.
14. Autumn by Ali Smith. 4 stars. Comments.
15. Personal History by Katharine Graham. 3.6 stars. Comments.
16. The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh; audio by Lloyd James. 4 stars. Comments.
17. Death In Summer by William Trevor. 3.2 stars. Comments.
Books Read in March
18. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. 3.8 stars. Comments.
19. Time Present and Time Past by Deirdre Madden. 3.9 stars. Comments.
20. The Leavers by Lisa Ko. Read for Book Group. 4 stars. Comments.
21. Exposure by Helen Dunmore. 4.2 stars. Comments.
22. Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon. 3.6 Stars. Comments.
23. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. Reread. 4 Stars. Comments.
24. Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig. 4.5 Stars.
Happy New Year's Thread, Donna! Your topper sentiments are so spot on.
I look forward to your thoughts on Slade House as I read it awhile back and my first David Mitchell.
Cheers to 2018!
I made it to Colorado in time to greet the new year. I love new beginnings! Here’s wishing much joy in reading and life to my LibraryThing Friends!
>4 Donna828: Ooh, Slate House! I'm with Lynda, very interested to read your thoughts when you finish it.
Happy New Year, Donna!
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.
^I hope you have a blessed year, Donna. This will be our 10th year of LT friendship. Can you believe it?
>5 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. It's good to start another year with this chatty and encouraging group.
>6 Crazymamie: Mamie, the best solution for this cold weather is to curl up with a warm "fuzzy" book!
>7 Carmenere: I think this will be my 4th Mitchell book, Lynda. This one is for my Book Group on January 9. Cloud Atlas is my favorite so far.
>8 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita. Same to you!
>9 The_Hibernator: Aww, so cute. Thanks, Rachel.
Happy new year, Donna. Here's to new beginnings in Colorado and to a year ahead of good reads. Starred you. The traffic is already exploding in the group and I am in real danger of losing people I have been following in previous years.
>10 Ameise1: That is beautiful, Barbara. Happy New Year to you!
>11 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. I hope 2018 is good to you and P.
>13 cushlareads: Good to see you here, Cushla. I seem to keep up better with you on FB than here. Your children are growing up. Happy Reading to you in this new year.
>14 rosalita: I have to start it first, Julia. I have a lovely Hope distraction. It may take me all week to read Slade House. I'm guessing that you've read it?
>15 ronincats: Thanks for that sparkly star and the good wishes, Roni. I always think of you when I drive by Abilene!
>16 PaulCranswick: You are quite agile, Paul. I hope you land safely in 2018.
>17 Carmenere: One Happy Day at a time, Lynda. Thank you.
>18 msf59: Ten Years and counting, Mark. Will this be the Magic Meetup Year? Too bad you won't be in Denver this week. Meetup with my peeps here on Saturday.
>19 nittnut: I love that sentiment, Jenn. It is so easy to set lofty goals that may not be realisitic. That's why I am free-wheeling it this year again. We will miss you at the meetup Saturday.
So my son runs an Airbnb in his big new house here in Brighton, Colorado. That's great for him but my sleep was interrupted by a pothead party in the garage last night. There is no smoking in the house proper but the heated garage has a sofa, a few chairs, and a big-screen TV. Unfortunately, it is next to the room I'm staying in.
I am trying to be more positive this year, so I will say I was glad for the opportunity to finish the audiobook I started on my trip across Missouri and Kansas. Always have a Plan B. That could be my new mantra.
Book No. 1: Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. Hoopla Audio read by Grover Gardner, 448 pp., 3.5 stars.
The Vorkosigan Saga has been my favorite road trip series since Roni suggested it to me years ago. This is my 14th Bujold book. Sadly, only one more to go.
Miles' trip to the planet of frozen bodies left me cold at first (can't resist those puns) but I was hooked by 11-year-old Gene's story. Who can resist a kid who looks after his younger sister and a menagerie of strange pets, including the Wolf Spider he finds on his travels? I don't expect great plots - just entertainment - and the soothing voice of Grover Gardner to help the miles fly by.
>21 cameling: You sneaked in there, Caro, and I'm so glad you did. This LT New Year's Party gets bigger and better every year. It is fun to reconnect with lost friends. Happy New Year to you. May your travels go well and your books be amazing!
>1 Donna828: Hi Donna. I very much like your opening image. We are going through a cold, cold spell here in my area of Pennsylvania. Thus, the weather has provided a lot of time for hot tea and good books. I look forward to seeing what you read, and the photos of your adorable grandchildren.
All good wishes to you.
Got you starred now Donna. And found a few nuggets to add to my pile from your Best of list so thanks for that.
Happy New Year🎉
Happy New Year, Donna. I look forward to following your reading for another year.
To all my visitors: I am slow to get around the new threads this year. Hope is glued to my side most of the day! I do plan to pay return visits when I can.
>27 Whisper1: Linda, it is warmer here in CO than Cold Missouri. My husband sent me a picture of kids and young adults playing ice hockey on the lake behind our house. That has never happened in the 18 years we have lived there!
>28 jnwelch: I love the “Best Of” lists that people are posting. My TBR list is growing as fast as my grandchildren! I’ll be by to see you soon, Joe.
>29 thornton37814: Same to you, Lori.
>30 brenpike: Hello Brenda! I hope to see you in KC at the end of the month. I will barely have time to recover from this trip before I head out again. It’s good to be needed!
>31 brenzi: Bonnie, I still have a few unread books on my TBR list with your name on them! I look forward to more book bullets now that you’ve gotten your reading mojo back.
>32 Berly: Flexibility and keeping a positive attitude are key goals for me in 2018, Kim. I will have to add more laughter to my repertoire. It beats crying!
>33 Deern: Thanks for stopping by, Nathalie. Feel free to borrow my Plan B approach!
>34 Carmenere: Lynda, I think Mitchell is one of those authors who doesn’t write the same kind of book twice. My first by him was a coming of age story, then I read Jacob de Zoet which was historical fiction. His later books have been more experimental fiction: a little fantasy, dystopia, and paranormal...all very good. He is becoming one of my favorite authors.
>35 rosalita: Julia, I have to get to it before next Tuesday evening. I took it out of my suitcase today which is progress. I fully expect to like it. The cover is pretty clever with that cutout.
>36 BLBera: Same here, Beth. We tend to like the same types of books so I trust your recommendations. I also love your Scout stories. Grandchildren are the best entertainment!
Thanks for the connector (wish I knew how to do that). I've dropped my star and look forward to many BB's from you in 2018.
Hi Donna - I just finished one that I think you loved, by Louise Erdrich, Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country? I think I remember enthusiastic comments from you.
>40 RebaRelishesReading: So glad we are connected again, Reba. You can find out how to do links on the group wiki. Some purdy neat stuff there.
>41 Whisper1: Both good choices, Linda. Enjoy!
>42 karenmarie: Fun! That’s my goal...to put the Fun back in Reading. For me that means no plans and schedules to follow. Glad you are following along, Karen.
>43 BLBera: Oh Yes, I did love that book. I would like to visit that island! Running over to your thread to check out your thoughts on it...
Cryoburn was spoilered for me before I had a chance to read it for myself and I spent the entire book waiting for the shoe to fall, so I did not enjoy it as much as most of Miles' books, and granted, the themes were more somber. The next book, featuring "that idiot Ivan" is lots of fun, (unless you've already read that and only have The Red Queen and Gentleman Jole left, which is very interesting, more Cordelia and less Miles.
Great topper, Donna. I hope you find lots of soothing reads this year.
Happy New Year Donna!
So happy to see you listed Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye as one of your favorites from 2017. I love the entire trilogy. I see you are still plugging along with the Vorkosigan series >25 Donna828: I enjoyed Cryoburn because Miles was able to be "back in the field" so to speak. I agree with Roni that >48 ronincats: is so much fun.
Hi Donna! It was so nice to see you and Joanne and Kris today - thanks for bringing us together again! Looking forward to seeing your photos:). And following your reading, of course!
Safe travels tomorrow.
>46 ChelleBearss: The New Year looks promising, Chelle. I am looking forward to getting home after being gone for over ten days. I’m sure you can appreciate that.
>47 brenpike: I will let you know when the final plans are made. I know for sure my stint in KC starts Jan. 27. The other grandparents may be in town. If so, I will let them share the fun and only stay 5 or 6 days instead of the usual 10.
>48 ronincats: Roni, I did love the book featuring Mark. Too bad Cryoburn was spoiled for you. My DH will be with me on the return trip to Springfield so we will be listening to The Deep Dark Descending for 8.5 hours of the 12-hour trip. I will sneak in a bit more of Gentleman Jole when I can.
>49 Familyhistorian: Soothing sounds good to me, Meg. Slade House does not fit that description.
>50 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. Today was a meetup day in downtown Denver with some CO LTers. Great fun. I’ll post some pictures when I get home.
>51 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta, I have the third Faye book waiting for me at the library. I listened to the first two so I’m looking forward to the print version to mix things up. Glad to have another Vorkosigan fan visit.
>52 AMQS: Anne, it was great seeing you today. I think our last meetup was in March of 2017. I enjoy our book talks and hearing about family happenings. Have a wonderful week when you return to school on Monday!
>54 Donna828: Oooh. A Denver meet up. I miss you ladies. Can't wait to see photos and hear if you bought books.
We got up at 5:00 a.m. today and drove 12 hours. It is sooooo good to be home. Tomorrow is the start of my New Year. I have been in limbo the past ten days!
Here you go >55 BLBera: Beth and >56 nittnut: Jenn! You were both mentioned in the best ways at yesterday’s meetup. Beth, we would love to meet you, and, Jenn, you are sorely missed.
Anne (AMQS), Me, Joanne (coppers), Kris (Augustau). Kris’s books are in her backpack.
Admiring each other’s books before we ordered at The Thirsty Lion in Denver’s Union Station.
My titles: Pachinko, Fools Crow, Boys in the Trees.
Hi Donna! It was so good to see you and thanks for posting the photos. 12 hours in the car is no fun but being home again is certainly worth it! Thanks so much for taking the time to get us all together. It was a lot of fun and so good to see everyone in person.
I’m about 100 pages into Fools Crow and I like it a lot. I don’t often start a book as soon as I buy it but I guess the timing was right - I was hunting around for something and it clicked.
Book No. 2: The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens. Hoopla audio read by R.C. Bray, 285 pp., 3 stars.
I really liked the author's first book, The Life We Bury, but this one was a disappointment. In the opening scenes, Minneapolis Homocide Detective Max Rupert is beating a man with an axe handle and trying to decide whether or not to pummel him with a death blow. The reader doesn't have a clue why these two men are alone in the Minnesota woods trying to kill each other.
We are given the backstory through Max's tortured memories of his wife's death almost five years earlier and the recent developments that make him believe it was not the accidental hit-and-run that it had seemed to be. I'm not giving anything away as all this happens in the first few pages. It is the long drawn-out struggle between the "smaller gods of vice and virtue" and the sketchy investigation of Jenny's death during the three preceding days that provides the drama. Max is torn between his morality and the hate that overpowers him. He has always believed that vengeance does not lead to justice, but he isn't so sure anymore as he fights the elements of snow and ice and his overburdened conscience. The premise sounded so good but the slow pace and inner dialogue dragged a supposed suspense story into a "let's get this over with" reaction from me.
>58 Copperskye: Hi Joanne, I look forward to our meetups and Saturday’s was just perfect. I liked that we could all take the Light Rail to downtown Denver from different directions. LoDo should be our new gathering place.
I need to finish Slade House for tomorrow night’s book group and then will jump into Fool’s Crow.
Finally getting over here (I will NEVER catch up to all the first-of-the-year activity). I think you may take the prize for your meme answers. There are all perfect!
Happy Tuesday, Donna! Love the meet-up photos - thanks for sharing.
>59 Donna828: I have this one out from the library - looks like I am fine to return it unread, so you've saved me some time.
>57 Donna828: Thanks Donna. THAT'S why my ears were burning.:) I would love to meet you all as well. It will happen. We aren't all that far apart. And you are probably due for a Birchbark Books visit.
I loved Fools Crow. I'll watch for your comments.
Great comments on the Eskens. I'll pass on it. I have his first one, autographed. He came to read at school one year.
Great meet up pics! I'm hoping to get out to Denver again someday to see the crew again.😁
Glad you all had a great meet up!
I can totally appreciate being in limbo and away from home. It must be so nice to be in your own bed again, I know I was happy!
>61 laytonwoman3rd: Linda, I am woefully behind with threads but I am getting used to that situation. I'm glad you found your way over here. The meme was fun, and I guess I read the right titles in 2017, although I still had trouble with the transportation blank. Maybe I should do a yearly reading of The Little Engine that Could, one of my favorite children's books!
>62 Crazymamie: I read some reviews said that Eskens previous three books were good. I read the first one and liked it. This one had too much inner conflict filler imo.
>63 BLBera: Beth, I still want to go to the Iowa Book Festival. I just wish it wasn't in early October. It conflicts with my youngest son's birthday. Eskens writes about your neck of the woods for sure. This one was set in the dead of winter in the north woods near the Canadian border. He wrote beautifully about the Northern Lights as the protagonist was fighting for his life on a frozen lake. I do like his writing, but this book was too slow and violent for my taste.
>64 Whisper1: We were having so much fun, we almost forgot to have our picture taken. My Colorado Peeps are awesome!
>65 drneutron: Jim, who knows, maybe someday we will be in the area at the same time. I try to go out there twice a year but the times are picked rather randomly. My next trip will probably be in the second half of April. I'd love to meet with our Awesome LT Leader!
>66 ChelleBearss: Chelle, my situation was not even in the same category as yours. To have a baby undergoing major surgery over the holidays will go down in your family history. Glad everyone is home and life is getting back to normal. "Home Sweet Home"!
Book No. 3: Slade House by David Mitchell. Library, 278 pp., 3.8 stars.
"Tonight feels like a board game co-designed by M.D. Escher on a bender and Stephen King in a fever." (122)
These are Sally's words, the third visitor to the mystery house that only blinked into existence every nine years. It was her story that clicked with me and made me realize the cleverness of David Mitchell's trip to the dark side. I don't seek out books about the occult, and this follow-up to The Bone Clocks was a chiller! It was the Hotel California with a ghoulish twist that would have made me quit reading in the early pages if i weren't reading it for my book group. We had one of the best discussions ever about this unusual book, and I will probably read the third one in the trilogy when it comes out, but I may wait until a time near Halloween when I don't mind the creepiness of being caught in a lacuna in time where the forces of good and evil meet.
Wow, I am so confused… Apparently Slade House is the 3rd book in the Horologist Trilogy. Apparently Marinus was in Jacob de Zoet which I don't remember at all. She showed up at the end of Slade House as the force for Good, a member of the Deep Stream gang as opposed to the Shaded Way club. How did I not know this? It didn't come up in our discussion last night. I want a replay!
I need to read The Bone Clocks I didn't know it was part of a trilogy.
I would like to go to the Book Festival; it's just at an awkward time of year.
Hi Donna! I'm also late getting around to visiting my favorite threads, but since there is a lot of the new year left : Happiest of New Years!
I love your meet up picture. So much fun and it's cool that you have been meeting up with the same and new people for quite a few years, now. I'm envious.
I thoroughly understand your guilt free, free-reading. I'll be doing similarly this year; I can't visit a single thread without being hit by book bullets and my physical MT TBR is in desperate need of being whittled down. I have 9 library books checked out now, and most of them are new books that are non-renewable.
Like you, I'm not opting out of the all the other challenges and I'm still liable to dip in and out. When I get caught up. When (?) :)
>69 Donna828: , >70 Donna828: It is already the third one? What a pity! I never read De Zoet, couldn't even make it through the sample, had mixed feelings about Bone Clocks, but loved Slade House, such "easy" fun! Must remember to reread it soon.
Looks like another wonderful meetup, thank you for the pictures!
Wow, and I was thinking Slade House, which I very much enjoyed, was a stand alone. Two more books to add to my wishlist.
HI Donna , You know how some books are "in one eye and out the other" well The Thousand Autumns has stayed with me pretty vividly. I can still picture so much of what he described. I must get to his other books. I have been following other peoples' opinions about the follow up books and there sure is a mixed feeling about them!
I always love to see photos of meet ups, thanks for sharing. And, just as important, thanks for providing LT user names and real names!
On January 7, I wrote that it was the official start of my New Year. Wrong! A few days later, the cold I had been ignoring decided to turn into bronchitis. I barely got unpacked and got some groceries in the house before I was laid low. 2018 may turn out to be a very challenging year if this is how it's going to treat me! At least I was able to make to to my book group. I hope I didn't infect everyone…
>71 BLBera:: "Awkward time of year"… Yup, for me, too.
>72 streamsong: Hi Janet! Our fourth person in the CO group has had some turnover. I haven't given up on Mary (storeetller) joining us, though, as she still lives a short 2-hour drive away. Ha! I get some great recommendations from Kris. She has a new grandson in the area, so I'm pretty certain she won't move away from us!
>73 Deern: Jacob was my favorite of those three Mitchell books, Nathalie. I am not much into fantasy or the occult. I squirmed a bit reading them, but do love his writing so I hung in there.
>74 thornton37814: I did love Jacob de Zoet because it fit into the historical fiction genre I enjoy so much. I notice that I gave all three of the Horologist books 4*. I guess I liked them for different reasons. Looking back, Jacob is the only one I might be interested in rereading, mainly to find the references to Marinus the recurring character in all three books.
>75 jnwelch: Joe, you may have already read the third one if you have read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
>76 Carmenere: Lynda, the books have a loose connection. So loose I completely missed it in the first book.
>77 mdoris: Mary, the Jacob book was certainly the most memorable for me. I wish I had remembered its connection to Marinus so we could have talked about in book group, although I was the only one who had read all three books. They all have merit simply because they came from the same brilliant mind!
>78 karenmarie: You're welcome, Karen. I like seeing names and "handles" when others post meet-up photos so I try to include them.
>57 Donna828: LOVE the Meet Up photo, Donna. Any chance you may be in CO, the first week in August? We are planning a trip. We plan on staying mostly in the FT. Collins area, with side trips to Denver and the Rocky Mountain National Forest.
Hi, Donna. Glad you enjoyed Slade House. I may have liked it a bit more than you and it was nice to see him do something this good, in a much slimmer volume.
>80 Donna828: Hi Mark. I WILL be in Colorado from July 28-August 3. We have booked a 6-bedroom lodge outside of Breckenridge to celebrate our 50th anniversary with family. I would love it if you and Sue could stop in and drink a flute of champagne with us!
Slade House was a bit out of my reading comfort zone. Something about sucking out people's souls didn't resonate with me. haha The book was saved by the excellent writing and the discussion with my book group so I could appreciate the genius of it.
Book No. 4: Fools Crow by James Welch. Book was part of my small Tattered Cover Haul, 391 pp., 4.3 stars.
"After Eagle Ribs left, the young men sat back in a hollow surrounded by rosebushes. They checked their weapons and war paints; they prayed and thought of the night two sleeps hence when they would prove they were men of heart. The long march had sharpened their senses, the nights of seeing and feeling their way across the plains, the cold water of the fords, the almost constant hunger in spite of the meat they had killed and eaten. Each of them had watched the stars closely and had become attuned with the night and the four directions. Now they had to test their courage." (22)
James Welch has given us a wonderful account of Native American life in the late 1800s. Things are changing in northern Montana as more settlers discover the area, infringing on the hunting grounds of the natives. Fools Crow is a young brave in the Pikunis branch of the Blackfeet Indians. Specifically, he is part of the Lone Eaters, a close-knit band deeply rooted in the earth. The members "help each other, depend on each other…fight and die beside each other." (187) Welch gives the reader an in-depth look at the daily lives of these people and makes us privy to the dreams that guide them on their hunts and determine their personalities. We tend to lump people we don't understand into a group, forgetting that they have their strengths and weaknesses as we all do.
As their hunting grounds shrink and the white settlers bring disease west with them, a hard life becomes a fight for survival. The smallpox epidemics shrink their numbers and sap their strength. Fools Crow has seen a vision of what will become of his people and he is helpless to stop it. Honor and the blackhorns (buffalo) make his people what they are, and both are slipping away. It's a story we know well, but Welch makes it seem personal to me, even though I don't have a drop of Native American blood in me.
>83 Donna828: Great comments, Donna. This one is a favorite of mine. It might be time for a reread.
Well, I am not too impressed with 2018 so far if it's going to give my friend Donna such a hard time! I'll have to see if I can exert some sort of influence to make it lighten up —for all of us!
>84 BLBera: Fools Crow is definitely going in my permanent collection, Beth, for that very purpose. Have you read other books by Welch?
>85 Familyhistorian: Meg, I am getting better each day. The cough seems to be a part of me now, though. I plan to get out in the world tomorrow despite it. Hooray!
>86 rosalita: Crossing my fingers that your influence with the universe works, Julia. I need to get through a 4-hour bridge game tomorrow. I’ll take my tissues, cough drops, and hand sanitizer with me for backup...just in case. 😉
Good review of Fools Crow. If you post it, I will thumb.
I liked this one very much when I read it back in the day.
Hi Donna! Lovely meet-up pictures!
I have yet to read anything by David Mitchell other than The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. The whole trilogy thing is news to me, as well, and it suggests I should read The Bone Clocks next. I don't think I'll remember that character who carries over, either.
Also, Fools Crow looks really good.
Ooooo, sorry to read about your bought of Bronchitis! Hope it's not stopping you from enjoying the bridge tonight!
>91 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne...and thank you again for calling it to my attention in The Tattered Cover.
>92 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, you must read more Mitchell, especially Cloud Atlas. The trip through time is fun and worth the puzzlement of the adventure.
>93 jnwelch: Duly noted, Joe. I will be on the lookout for The Indian Lawyer.
>94 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle, it has been almost two weeks now. I am ready to feel well again.
>95 Carmenere: I’m pretty certain I’m not contagious anymore, Lynda. My bridge game was extra challenging as I haven’t played since early December.
>96 BLBera: I’m better but still coughing, Beth.
>97 brenzi: Bonnie, it seems like libraries are too quick to unload the older less obscure books. It’s a good thing I enjoy scouring the shelves of used bookstores. The Jacob Trilogy took me by surprise. LibraryThing is a great resource for our book knowledge. I’m so glad you are back in the fold where you belong.
>99 Donna828: Our public library got a new director who was probably a bit too heavy-handed with his weeding. A lot of books that used to be available no longer are. One of the long-time assistant librarians is now director so I'm hoping she observed lots of us wanting some of those books that used to be there. I know from some observations that she thought the weeding had gone too deep, but she was professional and usually just offered to order books through Interlibrary Loan for persons who wanted something culled too quickly. In bigger systems, they usually try to keep one copy somewhere in the system--often the last branch where it was used. Some states offer warehouse-style depositories where a last copy can be housed. I just wish it were practiced more widely.
>100 thornton37814: Thank you for that informative post, Lori. Libraries are having a tough time making everyone happy. I want books, books, books…but many patrons want the other services such as computers and coffee bars. I often have the option of ordering a book from another library but it seems like such a hassle and it could be very expensive if the book gets damaged. That shouldn't be a deterrent as I take good care of my books, but things can happen. I can usually find the newer books I want at the library, although sometimes I have to exercise patience. Not a bad thing, though, especially when I have such a large library of TBR books.
Book No. 5: Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon. Mine, 270 pp., 3.5 stars.
"Once the capital of the dissipations of a continent, Venice had become a sleepy provincial town that virtually ceased to exist after nine or ten at night. During he summer months, she could remember her courtesan past and sparkle, as long as the tourists paid and the good weather held, but in the winter, she became a tired old crone, eager to crawl early to bed, leaving her deserted streets to cats and memories of the past." (33)
I really enjoy books where the setting is almost like another character. This is a very promising series as I liked Commissario Guido Brunetti for his sense of humor, his earnestness, and his family. I loved learning more about Venice even though it may not have the glamour it once had. The description (which was written 26 years ago) doesn't add to it's luster, but it did make me want to know more. I kind of like the idea of a city past its prime but with a storied past.
The mystery about a famous orchestra conductor who died between scenes at the opera of cyanide poisoning didn't grab me that much as he seemed like such a despicable person with a Nazi background. However, that didn't keep Guido from doggedly investigating his background until he solved the mystery and handled the outcome in a most satisfactory manner. I like the idea of getting to know Guido and Venice better with the company of some other LTers in the Two Guidos Group.
>103 msf59: Mark, I'm so glad you loved Black Swan Green. It was my introduction to Mitchell--and yes, indeed, he does Rock! I will be looking for more of Welch's books about the Blackfeet. I do love my Native American books thanks to the influence of Louise Erdrich. Thanks for the thumb. I haven't posted a review in ages.
It was in the mid-60s here today. Quite a change from the subzero temps we had earlier this week.
Hi Donna! I am almost done with Black Swan Green although I sheepishly admit to starting it before Mark. LOL.
Really enjoyed the first Guido in our thread this year, for the same reasons you did. My library doesn't have the second series, so it is probably Kindle for me and then we will see if it is worth the series buying for the rest of the year.
Enough of the cough already! Two weeks is too much. Be well. : )
>99 Donna828: yes, two weeks is a long time to be sick! Hope it doesn't linger much longer!
Donna! I read Mitchell's Slade House last year and found it creepy but not too much so that it ended up being quite interesting. I TOTALLY didn't realize it was the third book in the series. I have the other 2 books lounging in my TBR mountain and didn't even realize they were connected. *smacks forehead*.
Looking forward to following your thread again. Always a bb danger zone for me. :)
Hello Donna! It looks like your new year in reading is off to a good start. I hope all is well with you!
>105 Berly: Hi there, Kim. I agree with "enough of the cough already"…it is getting better but not completely gone.
>106 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. I am ready to be completely well again. The old body doesn't want to cooperate, though. At least it's not stopping my life in its tracks like it did the first week or so.
>107 drneutron: Haha. I scored an indirect hit. I'm glad you read about it on my thread, Jim.
>108 AMQS: I am turning the corner, Anne. My energy level is much better but the cough lingers. I am still smiling about our meetup and looking forward to the next one in August when Mark comes to Denver. Hooray!
>109 jolerie: Valerie! It is SO good to have you back. The three Mitchell books are very loosely connected so it's not surprising you didn't know about the trilogy. I think any of them could be a stand alone but it would have been fun to make the connections between characters if I had known in time. Hope all is well with you and the family.
>110 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie. The new year of reading is starting off pretty well. No "wow" books yet.
I am heading up to Kansas City tomorrow to stay with my 3 oldest grands while their parents go to Cabo San Lucas for a well-deserved vacation. I have been doing this for so long now that it is just part of my winter routine. It is a great opportunity to connect with the two teens and 10-year-old without the parents around. I don't see these guys often enough!
Book No. 6: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. Mine, 350 pp., 3.5 stars.
"Since Whicher was sure that the murderer was an inmate of the house, all his suspects were still at the scene. This was the original country-house murder mystery, a case in which the inestigator had to find not a person but a person's hidden self. It was pure whodunnit, a contest of intelligence and nerve between the detective and the killer." (82)
It was difficult to read about a 3-year-old taken from his bed in the wee hours of the morning and brutally killed and stuffed down a privy. As unnerving as that was, it was sad to see how many suspects there were among this large Victorian-age family and their servants. The book was a bit rambling and included a great many references to fictional books in this time of the 1860s that were either based on this crime or were of a similar nature. At first I enjoyed the references to Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens et al., but was more interested in the solving of the case. Summerscale included lots of details about family and society in the Victorian Era. I especially enjoyed reading the newspaper accounts of this crime with the abundance of speculation and sensationalism. This book wouldn't appeal to everyone but I would recommend it to fans of gothic mysteries.
>112 Donna828: that's so nice of you to watch the kids while their parents vacation! I'm sure that they appreciate that so much!!
Have a good time!
Hi Donna! You must be feeling better if you're watching the grandkids. I hope you all have a wonderful time!
>114 Deern: Thank you, Nathalie. It’s good to spend time with my grands. Our weekend was all about sports. I attended Griffin’s basketball game and Sadie’s indoor soccer game. Good times!
>115 ChelleBearss: It’s good for all of us, Chelle. These are my older grands that I don’t see much of anymore because they are so busy. We get caught up and their parents get some R&R. Win-win!
>116 nittnut: I am feeling better, Jenn. This week will be spent following a busy schedule of school, homework, and getting kids to sports practices and dance classes. Just like the good old days. I’m glad that snow isn’t in the forecast.
Book No. 7: Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. Library, 524 pp., 3.3 stars.
“You never want to be the absolute leader in the game of life, the man out front, the one everyone sees and looks to...in the game of life it is always preferable to be a man of the shadows, and even the darkness, if necessary. “ (274)
This is the advice given to 18-Year-old Pino Lella, the driver and interpreter to General Leyers, a feared Nazi Commander in occupied Italy during WWII. They have a troubling relationship that puts them both in danger. Pino does many amazing things for one so young, which is my main quibble with this book. The author tells us up front that it is fiction based on fact which leads me to believe many of the coincidences in the book were fabricated.
Still, it is an amazing account of how the Italian people helped save many Jewish lives and thwarted the Germans in many ways. It is a long book that reads quickly due to the so-so writing that was easy to skim in places. I don’t regret reading it, but it will not be on my list of favorite books about WWII.
I'm sorry you've been under the weather, Donna. I hope your cold or whatever gunk you have finds somebody else to bother soon!
Thanks, Julia. I have complained enough here. I will consider myself well and learn to function at less than 100%. I am so lucky that my health is good for a septuagenarian!
I almost forgot to add this little gem that I listened to earlier this month...
Book No 8: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. Audio by Grover Gardner. Hoopla, 432 pp., 3.3 Stars.
From riveting space opera to a gentle romance, Bujold can keep my attention with her interesting characters and quiet humor. I started out this series with a book about Cordelia and greatly admired her courage and grace under pressure. Her son Miles quickly took center stage with only a mention here and there of his parents.
His father died a few years ago and it is time to revisit the aging Cordelia to find the same drive and resourcefulness is there. She finds love with an old friend and a new purpose in life. This is a subdued kind of story yet it appealed to me as I look for strong women characters, especially those past their prime.
Sooo...babysitting the older kids comes with special challenges. Look what Griffin brought home from school. The perils of playing goalie in soccer with 4th-graders. He wasn’t the victim of a wild ball hitting his eye; a fellow player’s shoe flew off when he kicked the ball and found it’s target on G’s face! It could have been worse and was indeed a bit more colorful and puffy this morning. The donut was purely medicinal and seemed to help.
>122 Donna828: Ouch!! But yes, donuts do magical things to our spirits don't they. ;)
>122 Donna828: Oh dear!! poor boy. But then, perhaps it's a badge of honor ?
>123 ronincats: Very expressive responses, Roni. ;-)
>124 jolerie: Magical for our spirits, Valerie, but not so good for the waistline. I gave my share to the kids!
>125 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel, I am drawn to attractive covers...loved the cover of the book I am about to comment on.
>126 RebaRelishesReading: Exactly, Reba! He didn’t want an ice pack last night so it would be puffier today. Boys!
Book No. 9: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Borrowed from a friend, 277 pp., 4.2 Stars.
“As a child, Mozart was as wide-eared as a starling, swiftly learning new languages and absorbing musical styles and influences in his travels, and he would forever use modeling, imitation, and parody playfully and gorgeously in his own compositions...He was surely surprised and delighted by the ever-changing, ever-mischievous vocal capacities of his pet, so much like his own. In their shared vocal play, their clever backing-and-forthing of aural possibility, Mozart found the closest thing to an avian kindred spirit that the green earth had to offer.”
I enjoyed this book from the beautiful cover to the author’s philosophical musing about the music of the spheres near the end of the book. At the heart is Carmen, the Starling rescued from a condemned nest by the author’s husband. Haupt raised the bird from its sickly beginnings into a sleek and charming companion. Her motives were somewhat selfish, but the end result was a happy bird and a most unusual book about Mozart’s compositions and his life that also included a pet Starling aptly named Star.
Whether or not Star was an inspiration to Mozart or just a whimsical member of the family mattered not a whit to me. I enjoyed the parallel stories between the two birds and the joy that the owners received from their feathered companions. I also learned some things about composing music and the relationship between nature and art. The author has done her homework and presented a new way to ponder the harmony of life.
>113 Donna828: I gave it the same rating - felt pretty much the same about it. I read it 5 years ago.
>122 Donna828: A soccer shoe. Wow, it certainly could have been worse. And doughnuts are medicinal, for sure! I'm glad I live in the sticks - if there was a Dunkin' Donuts nearby I'd be in serious trouble.
>122 Donna828: Oh dear! What are the odds of that happening?!
I bet the donut worked wonders! They always do for me ;-p
>122 Donna828: Oh my! Wouldn’t have considered a flying shoe injury Donna. Donuts work wonders don’t they?
I am just waiting for another load of laundry to dry before I head home. I posted on FB that my New Year is starting again today. January was not a good beginning...
>129 karenmarie: I try to stay away from donuts and other delicacies, too, Karen. Back to healthier eating (and more sleep) for me today!
>130 ChelleBearss: I definitely needed one after I got the call from the school nurse, Chelle. Luckily, that was the only glitch in my week with the kids. I was very nervous about Sadie driving to and from school. I was also grateful, though, as she leaves before 6:00 a.m. for soccer workouts. *Big yawn*
>131 brenzi: Bonnie, as you know, some kids are accident prone but this was a first for Griffin! He took it in stride and went to basketball practice the night of the shoe incident.
>132 thornton37814: It was very interesting, Lori. I’m so glad my friend told me about it and loaned me her copy. I enjoy unusual books.
You've been reading good stuff!
I picked up a copy of Fools Crow from our library's independent book shop earlier this month, because Mark (at least) had been warbling about it. I'm looking forward to reading it soon. Great review!
Also, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher has been on my TBR stacks for much too long, and I want to get to that one pretty soon.
Mozart's Starling is on my wishlist (or should be...must check...I know I've taken note of it before. "Note"...see what I did there?)
I'm glad you survived G's badge of honor. He may have a donut, but he's also copping a tough guy pose.
Good review of Mozart's Starling. I enjoy unusual books, too. Starlings are so vilified since they take habitat from native birds, that it's easy to forget that they are also interesting and valuable in their own way.
I remember a boy at school when I was a child that had a pet starling that he brought to show and tell. Someone asked him if it could talk and he said that no, he'd have to split the bird's tongue for it to be able to talk. I was so horrified (and fascinated in a ghoulish way) that it is one of my most vivid memories of second grade.
>122 Donna828: A shiner! Well, of course he couldn't put ice on it. Ha! And good thinking with the doughnuts.
Hoping that February is full of fabulous for you, Donna.
Ohh, that's quite the shiner that Griffin has. Ouch! A shoe to the eye, even thought accident. Yikes. I'm glad he is doing okay. Doughnuts, perfect!
I read Mozart's Starling last year and loved it. Carmen was such a charming bird!
Hope you had fun visiting the grandkids (other than the shoe incident). Our NY grands are joining the Texas grands over President's day weekend, so we are headed for that gathering. (In May the Texans will visit the New Yorkers so we will be going to NY then).
img src="http://cliparts101.com/files/605/C6B44A6255C1C0AC5A834427DE2C6400/3D_Spiral_Star.png"/ height =100 width =100/> will try to avoid BB's but looking forward to more fantastic ideas.
Sorry I've been AWOL again…too busy celebrating my second start to the New Year! Ha!
>135 laytonwoman3rd: I have been reading some good stuff, Linda. I'm glad you took note of it. Haha.
>136 streamsong: Janet, the author addresses the villification of Starlings. As a species, they are not a good thing, but as individuals, they can be quite endearing is her position. She also mentions splitting the birds' tongues to enable talking. Neither Mozart's pet Star nor Carmen had to undergo that and spoke just fine.
>137 BLBera: Glad I could add to your list, Beth.
>138 Crazymamie: February is turning out to be a Fabulous month, Mamie. Thanks for the good wishes.
>139 vancouverdeb: Donuts to the rescue! Griffin has always been accident prone. Some people just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
>140 AMQS: Anne, I'm just glad Griffin's accident didn't involve a trip to Urgent Care. He takes these things in stride…
>141 arubabookwoman: Hi Deborah, I read your review. I seldom post reviews anymore, but thought this book needed a little more publicity. Thanks for helping get the word out there.
>142 tututhefirst: Thanks for the visit, Tina. I'm always happy to recommend a worthwhile book to you.
I am in the process of reading two wonderful nonfiction books about strong women. I decided to take a break to sneak in this quick read from the library. My lukewarm review may reflect my desire to get back to more fulfilling books…
Book No. 10: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Library, 338 pp., 3 stars.
"She had spent her whole life in Shaker Heights, and it had infused her to the core. Her memories of childhood were a broad expanse of green--wide lawns, tall trees, the plush greenness that comes with affluence--and resembled the marketing brochures the city had published for decades to woo the right sort of residents." (156)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, was a sort of Utopia in the latter years of the 20th Century. Mrs. Richardson is the "she" in the above quote, and is just the sort of person who thrives in a planned community. When Mia Warren and her teen-age daughter Pearl rent a house from her, she knows they are not the type who belong there, but it makes her feel good to help this bohemian mother-daughter duo out. She even offers Mia a part-time job as housekeeper/cook so she can work on her creative photography in her spare time. I will give Ms. Ng credit for creating a very believable villain disguised as the "perfect" mother. Mrs. Richardson is not even given a first name in the book!
I really wanted to like this book more than I did because I had such mixed feelings about Ng's first book. Apparently, she is not the author for me because I once again became bogged down in her endless details and was put off by her treatment of sensitive topics. I disliked wading through the teenage angst of the four Richardson children and Pearl and will use the author's own words "bad teen drama" against her. The book was just too contrived for me to believe when two separate stories about single mothers set years apart under very different circumstances were woven together. The book read like it was written for young adults, and I dislike being deceived. I am done with this author!
Hi Donna - great comments on Little Fires Everywhere, which I read last month with my book group. I was the least enthused of the group, and felt the same way about her last novel as well. I thought the villain (Mrs. Richardson - I think her first name was Elena) vs. heroine (Mia) presentation was ridiculously simplistic and that really annoyed me. I'm glad I'm not alone!
Enjoy the weekend!
Ouch! Sorry your second time around with the author ended up being your last. I haven't read any of her books yet but it is on my to borrow list. No rush to get to it I think. Hopefully your next one will be a winner, Donna. :)
>146 vivians: Thanks for the reassurance, Vivian. Yes, Elena sounds familiar! Although her first name wasn’t used very much, was it? I always thought of her as Mrs. Richardson in a creepy sort of way like Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, even though she wasn’t a sexual predator. I would have been happy to support you at your book group. There were many Little Annoyances Everywhere in that book. 😉
>147 jolerie: Oh don’t mind me, Valerie. I am just getting old and cranky when I read silly books. There are many Celeste Ng fans around here.
I need to get back to Personal History and The Woman Who Smashed Codes which both have substance.
>149 jnwelch: Maybe not, Joe, but if you are on the fence, maybe you should try it. I didn’t hate it. Haha.
>150 Copperskye: Hi Joanne. I dropped LFE off at the library this morning and my favorite librarian asked me about it. I gave her my honest opinion and we agreed some authors are just not a good fit for certain readers. I’m glad I gave Ng a second chance, but there are too many authors out there that I click with to have a third date!
Book No. 11: The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone; audio by Cassandra Campbell. 3.9 stars.
This was a fascinating true account of an American couple who loved words and used their passion to crack codes. They met while working on a bogus project to "prove" that Francis Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's works, something I hadn't heard about before listening to this book. Apparently there were scholars devoted to proving this through coded messages found in Bacon's writings. That is how Elizebeth Smith Friedman learned the art of cryptography which lead her her long career in U.S. intelligence during World Wars One and Two. She didn't believe in the Shakespeare project, but it gave her invaluable training. She and her husband, William Friedman were a collaborative team, but as often happened during the early and mid-20th century, the accolades went to the male partner. I'm glad someone researched the topic and gave Elizebeth credit for her skill and dedication. I liked the title of the book. She was such a whiz at what she did, that she "smashed" the codes instead of merely figuring them out.
Thanks for the warning about Ng -- I think I can safely pass on her work. I liked The Woman Who Smashed Codes a lot too!!
Hi Reba, glad you were a fan of the Fagone book. It was a story that needed to be told so Elizebeth could receive credit for her service to the country. It may be too late for her, but I'm sure her family appreciates the story of her hard work and selflessness.
Book No. 12: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. Library, 273 pp., 4.1 stars.
"Naomi couldn't remember the years she was captive--entire years bland as an empty sky--and yet that was not the same as not having memories. Memory was incongruous. It was the feeling of a touch you had forgotten that somehow came back to you in the shape of an apple. It was the scent of walking by a stranger's home when dinner is cooking that suddenly floods you with yearning." (123)
Rene Denfeld has done it again. She sucked me into the pages of a deep, dark story and made me see the light beyond the shadows. The Enchanted is the first book I read by her and I was suprised by how quickly I was swept up into a hopeless situation and came under the spell of the elements of fantasy that provided some hope. In her second book, she uses the fairy tale of The Snow Girl as a device for a lost child experiencing the worst kind of abuse to mentally escape her situation and gather the strength she needs to survive.
This is a raw story about a woman who uses her own sordid past to look into cold cases of lost children when everyone else has lost hope. We gather up bits and pieces of her situation as she tries to remember what happened to her as a child while searching for young Madison in the Oregon forest where secrets are well hidden. Have a clear schedule if you pick up this book because you won't want to interrupt the flow of this mesmerizing story.
>128 Donna828: It looks like I NEED to read Mozart’s Starling. Good review. Thumb!
Happy Friday, Donna. I love seeing all the books. I appreciated your thoughts on Little Fires Everywhere and since I also was underwhelmed by her first novel, I think I will be taking a pass. Try to track down The Power. I think you would like this one.
Have a great weekend, my friend.
>158 karenmarie: Do read it Karen -- it's very interesting and well done.
Hello Donna! I'm sorry its taken so long to drop in.
>155 Donna828: Excellent review, though I'm not sure it's my cuppa tea.
>156 msf59: Mark, you and Mozart's Starling are meant for each other. Really. Just read it. In return, I will look for The Power. Do we have a deal?
>157 ChelleBearss: If you like suspenseful books, Chelle, you will probably like The Child Finder. There are a few scenes involving children that you might want to read with your eyes closed, though.
>158 karenmarie:, >159 RebaRelishesReading: Take it from me and Reba, Karen. I can almost guarantee that you will find the codesmasher book fascinating. I sure did.
>160 brodiew2: I haven't been circulating enough around the threads either, Brodie. I'll be paying you a return visit soon.
>161 brenzi: Well, I'm glad I am not the only one who has to take unread books back to the library, Bonnie. I try to manage my holds but sometimes they surprise me and come in too close together. I listened to The Woman Who Smashed Codes so I didn't have access to the charts on codebreaking. I think that would have added another level of interest.
Book No. 13: Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir. Library, 305 pp., 3 stars.
"I walked to the middle of the room. 'This moment--this moment right now--is where we decide what kind of city Artemis is going to be. We can either act now, or let our home degenerate into syndicate rule for generations. This isn't some theoretical scenario.'" (217)
Jazz, a 20-something smuggler and delivery girl on Artemis, a colony on the moon, is sassy and smart, just the combination to save her home from takeover by a hostile corporation. She's a bit too much of a Supergirl for me, but it did make for a quick and fun read. I didn't quite get all the scientific explanations about the chemical compounds in the air, although it was quite evident the community was in dire straits for awhile during "the nap" which knocked most everyone out when chloroform was released by mistake. Jazz was also being hunted down by a hitman while she was trying to thwart the bad guys. Like I said, it's a fun book unlike most of what I read. It is good for me to sample some other genres so I don't fall into a reading rut.
>164 jolerie: Valerie, I liked The Martian more than I did this one, but I'm still glad I read it. I just read another book out of my comfort zone that worked better for me. More on that below…
I wonder if they will make a movie out of Artemis? I will probably pass on it if they do, but I did enjoy Matt Damon in the adaptation of The Martian. Did you see it?
I did and really enjoyed it. He captured the character quite well. I'm waiting for the holds to calm down at the library before I can snag a copy of Artemis.
Book No. 14: Autumn by Ali Smith. Library, 264 pp., 4 stars.
"I'm tired of the news. I'm tired of the way it makes things spectacular that aren't, and deals so simplistically with what's truly appalling. I'm tired of the vitriol. I'm tired of the anger. I'm tired of the meanness…" (56)
This quote by Elisabeth's mother is a reaction to the Brexit vote in Great Britain two years ago. It applies to just about any day here in the U.S. as well after reading the morning newspaper or watching the evening news. Ali Smith's "montage" is so much more than a book about Brexit, however. It's a composite of images and vignettes about friendship, art history, politics, immigration, family life, and aging. The book has an almost dream-like feel as it flows between past and present in a stream-of-consciousness style.
I loved the story of the friendship that began when 8-year-old Elisabeth met her neighbor Daniel Gluck who was well into his 70s. When he said he was finally pleased to meet her and she reminded him that she and her mother had just recently moved in, he replied, "The lifelong friends. We sometimes wait a lifetime for them." (52) Their friendship was sweet and enduring. It was based on a love of reading, imagining, and having fun with words. His wisdom and her innocence and curiousity provided numerous and deep conversations over the years until he lost the ability to talk and she kept him company as only a soulmate can.
A secondary story line informed me about British Pop Artist Pauline Boty. Many of Daniel's talks with Elisabeth centered around imaginary collages which we learn later were based on Boty's short career in the 1960s. Elisabeth recognizes her work when she comes across an old art book and decides to write her college dissertation on this forgotten and shortlived artist.
The book is unconventional and poignant. It also contains one of my favorite passages about aging from the mind of an 8-year-old: "Old people couldn't do anything except sit in front rooms as if they'd been stunned by stun guns." I know, it's not that poetic, but I've had days like that and found in quite humorous. I can see why Autumn has both its fans and its detractors. Instead of a plot, it focuses on connections between people, nature, and art…and it worked for me. I am looking forward to the other three books in this seasonal quartet.
I was fascinated with the references to Pauline Boty in Autumn. I looked her up and found out that she was the only female artist in the British Pop Scene in the 60s. I’m not crazy about that type of art but I did like her go-go boots! The second photo of Pauline was mentioned in the book and the collage is called “my coloring book“ and is based on the song by Barbra Streisand and several others back in the day.
Pauline died at age 28 after she decided to carry her baby girl to term after being diagnosed with cancer. It was too late by then for treatment to be effective, and she died when her child was just 5 months old.
Hi Donna - I really enjoyed Autumn as well, and, like you, spent a lot of time reading about Boty and the British art scene of the 1960s. I love it when a novel draws me in to the point of wanting to know more. Your review was terrific - thanks. I finished the second book in the quartet, Winter, which I thought was good but fell short of Autumn.
Also agree about Artemis - not as good as The Martian but still an enjoyable read.
On Mark's recommendation, I just finished The Heart's Invisible Furies - just fabulous and certainly will be in my top books of the year.
Hope you enjoy the weekend!
Hi Donna - I'm glad to see another fan of Autumn. That was one of my favorites from last year. I'm interested in your comments on The Child Finder. I found it hard to put down, but in the end, I was wondering how realistic it was. It seems to me that it was more hopeful than realistic, and that bothered me a little as I thought about it. I think both Naomi and Madison would be in worse shape than Denfeld shows. Still, I would like to read more by her.
You got me with Little Fires Everywhere and The Woman Who Smashed Codes.
>171 rosalita: Julia, I am kind of a lazy reader and don't always pursue side stories, but Pauline Boty really piqued my interest. I'm glad Smith brought her to our attention.
>172 BLBera: I totally agree with you on the lack of realism, Beth, but Denfeld's books are more fantasy than anything else imo. Her first one was a prison story…and it really relied heavily on the author's imagination. It is not my favorite genre but somehow Denfeld's writing works for me after I put on my magic hat that allows me to suspend belief!
Book No. 15: Personal History by Katharine Graham. Borrowed from a friend, 643 pp., 3.6 stars.
"I had another important asset in my passionate devotion to the company and to the Post. I cared so much about the paper and about keeping it in the family, that despite my lack of knowledge and feelings of insecurity, I felt I had to make it work…I felt I was wandering aroud in a fog, trying to grasp the rudiments: who did what, when, why, where, and how. It's hard to describe how abysmally ignorant I was." (343)
Katharine's confession about her ignorance was the turning point in the book for me. I had set it aside several times in the first 300 pages and was on the verge of abandonment when I picked it up again and decided I might like this woman after all. Katharine Graham was born into wealth which was certainly not her fault, but it made it difficult for me to relate to her. Whenever a small hurdle erupted in her privileged life, it could ususally be fixed by throwing a party or going on a cruise. Tougher issues called for trips to Europe. It was only after her husband killed himself and she grew a backbone that I began to admire her. I feel awful saying that because I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. However, it turned a dull book into a worthy story. The second half of the book was all about overcoming adversity and accepting challenges. Still, I wish she had one of her editor cronies take a red pencil and cut out the unending details that probably only mattered to her. I suspect she won the Pulitzer Prize for her life's work rather than for her writing.
Donna great review of the Katherine Graham book. Loved your honesty and your personal reaction to it!
>174 Donna828: I have been coming across mentions of this book for a few years, but seeing The Post recently makes me want to read it. Meryl Streep was terrific as Katherine Graham.
Happy Sunday, Donna. You are knocking out the books at an impressive pace. I also loved Autumn. Looking forward to Winter. I recently finished Artemis and agree with your assessment, although I hope Weir goes a bit deeper next time and cuts down a bit on the profanity.
I read Personal History several years ago and had a similar reaction to yours (no surprise there). Seeing "The Post" a few weeks ago reminded me of how much I ended up admiring her.
Hi Donna, I’m glad to see you liked Autumn! I did the same thing as you when I read it - I had to see if Pauline Boty was a real person and then posted an example of her art on my thread. I was so glad she wasn’t just made up!
I remember when my mother read Personal History years ago. She admired Katherine Graham quite a bit after she finished it and urged me to read it. I thought of it recently after seeing The Post. I’m glad to see you wound up liking it -I may give it a try sometime.
>167 Donna828:, >168 Donna828: Wonderful review of Autumn, maybe my 2016 favorite! Like you and the others, I looked up Pauline Boty and all her paintings. Ali Smith's latest books are so inspiring and all led me to some new-for-me art. I liked Winter very much as well, and it really had a "wintery", frosty, paralyzed feeling about it, which might partly explain why it fell a bit short of Autumn for me.
I caught up here. You did some fab reading.
>155 Donna828: I put that one on my library list.
Happy Wednesday, Donna.
>175 mdoris: Mary, I don't filter out my feelings for a book because that is what I take away from the reviews of others. Let the critics or book promoters write the summary of a book. I want to know how real readers feel about it. Thanks for your kind words.
>176 AMQS: I do so want to see the movie, Anne. That's why I read the book in first place. Alas, I took too long and The Post is no longer in our local theaters. I will wait for Red Box unless they bring it back after the Oscars. Meryl Streep has not disappointed me yet.
>177 msf59: Mark, I didn't even address the profanity and
>178 RebaRelishesReading: We do tend to have similar responses in our reading, don't we, Reba? I didn't dislike her in the beginning, I just couldn't relate to her lifestyle. Dang, I may be the only one who hasn't seen The Post.
>179 Copperskye: Joanne, I have fallen for "made-up" characters before. I don't really have a problem with that if the book is fiction, but like you, I was glad to find Pauline Boty existed and was a fascinating addition to Autumn. I will probably be reading Winter sometime this spring. That's me…always running behind it seems. I'm glad I read Personal History but it is overly long and I confess to doing a big of skimming in places.
>180 Deern: Maybe it will be good for me to read Winter after the cold weather is over and done with here. I like the idea of winter but the reality makes me long for sunshine and beaches! I'm glad you liked Autumn so much, Nathalie. It's a book that took me out of my ordinary life and put me in a dream-like trance…in a good way!
>181 Ameise1: Barb, I hope you like The Child Finder. It's not a book for everyone, but I did enjoy the fantasy aspect of a very troubling topic. It certainly made it easier to read knowing that the young girl (Madison) had a mental escape in "The Snow Child" story to help her through an abusive situation.
>170 vivians: Sorry, Vivian, I didn't mean to skip over you up there. It seems to be the consensus that Autumn has the slight edge over Winter. Can't wait until I read it to compare the two. I also have The Heart's Invisible Furies on my TBR list attributed to Mark's warbling. My LT friends give me an unending supply of recommendations which I do so appreciate.
I am finishing up February with two short books. I want to stay on track for my projected goal of 100 so I don't fall behind like I did last year. It wasn't the end of the world, and I read some really long books. I tend to enjoy the longish books and becoming immersed in stories I can fall into for more than a day or two at a time. The year is young so I won't worry about the numbers. These short books just worked their way into my reading schedule at the same time.
Book No. 16: The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh; audio by Lloyd James. Hoopla, 240 pp., 4 stars.
The intended audience of this book may have been readers (and listeners) in the business world, but the benefits of spiritual faith, diligence, mindfulness, concentration, and insight are valuable to anyone who wants a more contented and powerful life. I was a little disappointed that the Buddhist Master did not read the book himself even though the narrator was adequate. The books read by Hanh are like listening to Wisdom Personified and resonate with my soul. Still, his words are gentle and full of suggestions for incorporating meditation and mindful living into a world of craving the kinds of power that do nothing for developing a calm inner life. He is a great motivational teacher and guide to slowly transforming this scattered mind to one of clarity and compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh makes the transformation process sound so simple…
Book No. 17: Death in Summer by William Travor. Mine, 214 pp., 3.2 stars.
"Among the memories that linger after the funeral there is Letitia learning the secrets of the garden--how to prune the wisteria, when to trim the yew, cosseting the ceanothus when frost threatened. There is Letitia resting beneath the catalpa tree, pregnant with the child she has left behind." (2)
So begins this dark story of a young woman's life ending after a freak accident on her bicycle when she was bringing some baby chicks home and got distracted and veered into the path of an oncoming car. Not to worry, the chicks survived which is one of the few bright spots in this dreary little book.
This is my second Trevor book and I am beginning to think he belongs on my list of authors who leave me cold. For me the problem is too many obscure phrases and vague references to everyday Irish things. I don't even know what a ceanothus is, though a quick look at Google Images shows me a lovely little shrub that reminds me of a hydrangea. I've admitted to being a lazy reader who doesn't mind looking up the big things but does not have much curiousity about minutiae. And Trevor's writing abounds with little things unfamiliar to me. Plus, his wooden characters do their utmost to keep their distance from the reader. I felt bad for the motherless Baby Georgina, although she might as well have been a doll because there was no interaction between her and her distant father and duty-bound grandmother. I usually enjoy Irish books, but I was glad this one was short.
>186 Donna828: I've enjoyed both books by Trevor I read. I enjoyed a discussion with our Irish literature professor when I stopped by his office to borrow a March book. He also shared with me a piece he'd written on Deirdre Madden for a reference work back in the early 1990s. He is quite impressed by our list of Irish authors for the year and said the powers that be picked good ones. I told him Trevor was becoming a favorite of mine.
"For me the problem is too many obscure phrases and vague references to everyday Irish things."
Well, he is Irish and not necessarily writing for an American audience!
Sorry he leaves you cold - he's a favorite of mine. I always have strong emotional reactions to his work - both positive and negative.
Welcome, Visitors! Different points of view are always most welcome here. How dull if we all agreed on books and authors...
>187 thornton37814: Hi Lori! That is wonderful feedback from the professor. I wish I could take a class in Irish Lit. I am looking forward to reading Madden’s Time Present, And Time Past this month. I loved One by One in the Darkness when I read it a few years ago. I wish I liked Trevor’s style more. Maybe if I took that class...
>188 katiekrug: Yes, he is Irish and I should make more of an effort. I’m glad he works for you, Katie. I also had trouble engaging with the characters in Lucy Gault which I know you loved. I think the “remoteness” of his stories are part of the appeal to his many fans. I just need to feel closer to the characters to better understand their actions. *Sigh* It’s my loss that I’m such a simple reader.
I know that you are not a short fiction fan (did I remember that correctly?) but just wanted to let you know that there is a short story by William Trevor "Mrs. Crasthorpe" in the New Yorker mag Feb. 26th, 2018. Haven't read it yet but will keep you posted.
>191 mdoris: Yes, you remembered correcly, Mary. I get frustrated with short stories because they are so slight. I want long, detailed stories and well-developed characters. Sometimes short stories just seem incomplete to me. Let me know, though, what you think of the Trevor story. Hope all is well with you these days.
>192 karenmarie: Hi Karen. I am in the minority here on my lack of love of William Trevor. I look forward to hearing what you think about Lucy Gault. It's about time I paid you another visit. It's been a busy March so far in my corner of the world.
Book No. 18: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. Library, 438 pp. 3.8 stars.
"At last they set down the chair near the water. Panting from the walk, Anna leaned her head against her sister's and watched a long wave form, stretching until it achieved translucence, then somersaulting forward and collapsing into creamy suds that eked toward them over the sand, nearly touching the wheels of Lydia's chair. Then another wave gathered, reaching, stretching, a streak of silver dashing along its surface where the weak sunlight touched it. The strange, violent, beautiful sea: this was what she had wanted Lydia to see. It touched every part of the world, a glittering curtain drawn across a mystery." (161)
Egan has a way with words that makes the ocean come alive in this book. When Anna arranges the difficult trip to the beach so her disabled sister Lydia can experience the wonder of the waves, it shows how much inner strength she has. It is ironic that the quoted scene occurred in the same place where she had met gangster Dexter Styles as a young girl accompanying her father on a business meeting. Styles was impressed with her bare feet on a cold day and proclaimed her to be a strong girl.
Anna's determination really comes to the fore years later when she sees the divers in Brooklyn Harbor where she works in the World War II effort and sets out to overcome the extreme odds and become a diver herself. However, this is not Anna's story alone. It is a book about relationships, both between Anna and her missing father, and Anna and the charming man on the beach she met as a child. The mysterious beauty and danger of the sea plays a role in the intertwining connections between the three principal characters as foreshdowed by the epigraph from Moby Dick: "Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever." ~Herman Melville
I enjoyed this book very much until it unraveled near the end. Anna's move to the other sea on the west coast completely changed the focus of the book for me. I had reluctantly accepted how Egan left some of the threads of her story floating, so I was suprised at how neatly she tied up the ending. I'm a sucker for well-researched historical fiction, though, and will give it an almost 4-star rating for effort… that unfortunately drifted away.
>194 msf59: Mark, I spent way too long pondering my comments on Manhattan Beach and almost missed your post. I did smile at the "float your boat" remark as it really pertained to the Egan book, too. I think I am becoming a picky reader in my dotage!
I have American Wolf waiting for me at the library. Joanne must have gotten to you, too!
My Sweet Thursday was a busy day. I am looking forward to a lazy Friday now. Hope you have a terrific week end.
>197 ChelleBearss: Endings are tricky, Chelle. I still liked the book up to the point where Anna got on the train heading west. After thinking about it, she didn’t have a lot of choices...
A picture of Paul’s bookshelves inspired me to do a book inventory. I can’t find the sheet of paper that had my numbers from approximately ten years ago, but I’m pretty certain my numbers are down due to some serious culling and cutbacks in book purchases over the past few years. I want to continue the trend in case we ever move out of this big house.
My Current Book Stats:
I own 1,091 books, most of which are on shelves.
have read 551 of them at least once. I didn’t include approximately 150 reference books which include cookbooks, gardening and bird manuals, art, and duplicate bridge study guides, along with dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. I also did not include any children’s books of which I have many.
This does not include books in the Man Cave downstairs. I doubt there are many that I would be interested in as they are mostly business books and mystery/crime series.
I also have a spreadsheet that keeps track of books bought versus how many of them get read. I think I'm in the low 30s..not good. But at least my book buying has really been curbed the last couple of years as my book borrowing from the library has ramped up.
I think my reaction to Manhattan Beach is similar to yours. I really should have liked it more and keep thinking about why it felt just a tad flat for me.
I've seen Manhattan Beach in so many book stores that I almost convinced myself that I had it so I checked and...nope! It did remind me, however, that Egan was author of "Visit by the Goon Squad" which I didn't much like so that, together with your comments, means I don't have to add another book to my wish list :)
>200 jolerie: Valerie, I love my local library for my main source of books. I will probably do a serious culling of unread books sometime this year. I want to keep my total number under 1,000–and read some more of my own books. Yes, Manhattan Beach was pretty good but “a tad flat”.
>201 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, my comments tend to tell the good and the bad (and sometimes the ugly) thoughts I have about a book. In the case of MB, the good outweighed the bad...and no ugly. ;-)
ETA: Goon Squad didn’t work for me either. Too experimental for my taste.
>199 Donna828: I keep track of my unread books on LT by putting them into a collection called To Be Read, and books that are culled in a collection called Removed From Library. Of course, it doesn't track your progress, but it's easy to see at a glance where you stand.
>195 Donna828: I have Manhattan Beach on my wishlist, but I was never tempted by A Visit From the Good Squad. I'm sorry the ending doesn't seem to work.
>>203 laytonwoman3rd: Hi Linda. Your system sounds very organized. I track my books differently on LT. My library here is more of a reading record of everything I’ve read in the past almost eleven years. I also keep a hard copy of the titles...just in case.
The ending of Manhattan Beach didn’t work for me. I read some reviews on Amazon where others thought the “cop out” ending was just fine.
I’m posting the Longlist for The Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction for reference just in case I feel the need to check out more library books. Ha! I will probably wait to see the short list which will be announced later in April.
The longlisted books are as follows:
H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
*The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
*Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
*Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
*Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
*Books I've read
ETA: Miss Burma has been requested from the library. See, I knew I'd feel that "need"!
I have a spreadsheet of everything I've read since 2008. I keep track of books read, books added, and books removed on my threads so that at the end of each year I can see how many I acquired and how many I got rid of, but don't keep track of adds or removes in a spreadsheet. And if they're not on my shelves, they're not in my catalog except for the ER books I have to keep there to keep the ER gods happy by showing my reviews. I use tags for each book's location and status - tbr, read, dnr (do not read - reference, cookbooks, etc.). Everybody has a different system and they all seem to make everybody happy.
>195 Donna828: Nothing I've read about this book makes me want to get it and read it, so thankfully I've dodged one book bullet. My wish list is 391 books, however.
>206 brenzi: Bonnie, I hope you like Eleanor Oliphant as much as I did. She is stuck in my head!
>207 karenmarie: Karen, I like your system for tracking books. I think listing the books on your shelves makes perfect sense yet I still want to keep track of books I've read rather than ones I own and might never read. Maybe I should have two accounts… My actual WL is fairly short; however, it won't keep me from grabbing books off the shelf at the library or buying them at half-price day at the upcoming Friends of the Library sale.
Book No. 19: Time Present and Time Past by Deirdre Madden. Library, 161 pp., 3.9 stars.
“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”
Don't read this book expecting a riveting plot. It is one of those episodic books that look into the life of a middle-aged Irish man and the everyday challenges that he and his family have faced over the years. The Fintan Buckley family has had their share of the usual relationship troubles that in no way compare to The Troubles that Fintan and his sister Martina experienced as children. No, the Buckley troubles were of the gentler sort that stemmed from the loss of their father at an impressionable age and having to deal with a cantankerous mother over the years with a few secrets thrown in for interest.
Fintan seems to be going through a mid-life crisis as he ponders his disappointments while trying his best to foster deeper connections to his children. Mealtime was an important event as they made a point to gather and talk together at the end of the day. Fintan wanted to "freeze" this memory as he had recently become enamored with old family photographs. So he asked his wife and children to sit quietly while he enjoyed the moment: "Bemused, they look at each other, but do as requested. For a short time they sit in silence, like worshipping Quakers waiting for the Spirit to move through the room."
It may be my age, but I did enjoy this quiet little book that looks deeply into the lives of this mostly happy Irish family. It was a pleasant change from the stories of dysfunctional familes that dominate many of today's books, television programs, and movies.
Book No. 20: The Leavers by Lisa Ko. Library, Reread, 352 pp., 4 stars.
“Daniel was malleable, everyone and no one, a collector of moods, a careful observer of the right thing to say.”
I usually don't reread books so close together. I listened to the audio version of this book last year. In my comments, I mentioned that I didn't care for the melodramatic narrator and might enjoy the book more in print. I was right! I revisited it so I could discuss it with my book group last Thursday night. I had planned to do a lot of skimming but ended up reading every word because, by golly, it was a pretty good book that explored the immigration issue through the eyes of a boy whose mother
We had a lovely in-depth discussion which included the themes of abandonment, adoption of children of a different race, the different possibilities of what makes a family, and the power of music to give meaning to life. I am glad I gave the book another chance and am grateful for my book group.
I have been lurking on threads recently (what else is new) and have discovered a "new" prize, for Historical Fiction, no less, one of my favorite genres:
The Walter Scott Prize
The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
*Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover
Sugar Money by Jane Harris
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr
The Draughtsman by Robert Lautner
Grace by Paul Lynch
The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath
Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers
The Horseman by Tim Pears
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
I am currently reading Exposure by the late Helen Dunmore (on Anne's recommendation). I love her writing so will put in a request for Birdcage Walk. No wonder my own books don't get read.
I can’t wait for Jane Harris’s Sugar Money to get released here. I loved her last two books. Really loved as in five star love😏. I don’t think it will be available until August or September.
I liked The Leavers just as well as you did Donna meaning four stars. And it’s stayed with me so that’s always a good sign. (I read it last year sometime.)
Oh no..an award for historical fiction...
My TBR mountain just keeps getting ignored. I think I've realized now that the way to for a book to get read is simply NOT to buy it....haha
>212 BLBera: Beth, I can't think of a book discussion we've had that wasn't enlightening in some way or another. It is a real joy to get together with others who like to read and discuss books…as you well know. Next month we will be reading The Great Influenza, a book I'm not familiar with. The Big Read in our city is Station Eleven, and since we have already read and talked about it, we will read the Barry book which was chosen as The National Academics of Science Outstanding Book in 2004. Both authors will be giving talks at separate times. I hope to attend both events.
>213 brenzi: So, I guess I should look into books by Jane Harris. Nothing better than 5-star love! I read about Sugar Money and am really looking forward to the U.S. release.
>214 jolerie: I know what you mean, Valerie. The books we own have to sit patiently while we bring those other pretty books home from the library. I love that there is an award for Historical Fiction. More books to add to the ever-expanding TBR lists.
>208 Donna828: I read so many library books that I NEED a collection of Read But Not Owned. Books actually on my shelves are in the My Library collection. If I get rid of them (PBS or donation), they move to the Traded Away collection. Couldn't live without collections in my LT account!
Having a collection for books disposed of is a good idea. I have just been deleting them but then there's no record of having owned or read them. Next time I'm getting rid of some I'll try to remember to do that.
Book No. 21: Exposure by Helen Dunmore. Library, 392 pp., 4.2 stars.
"Lily lies back in her chair by the fire, eyes half-closed. Today, more than ever, she has been glad to draw the curtains and shut out the world. But who is she kidding, as Simon would say. The world has battering rams if it wants to use them." (119)
Simon Callington is mostly content with his peaceful life, but when he unwittingly gains possession of a Top Secret document, he knows he is in trouble. He is a low-ranking civil service worker who enjoys trainspotting with his son and quiet family time in 1960s London. However, things can change in the blink of an eye. A past relationship with a prominent intelligence officer puts him in a predicament that ends up with him being held in jail after being accused of espionage.
This could have been an edge-of-the seat spy thriller but instead is more of an introspective look at how a family copes when their mundane life is turned upside down. Lily accepts the challenge and manages to keep her family functioning while anticipating life without her husband. She loses her part-time job teaching French and moves the children out of London. She suspects she is being watched and the tension builds slowly but surely as Lily recalls her childhood in Germany where she was hated by her neighbors because she was Jewish. The strength she developed then serves her well in this other horrifying situation that was no fault of her own. A very satisfying read. Many thanks to Anne for the recommendation.
>216 ronincats:, >217 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Roni and Reba. When I started listing books here on LT almost 11 years ago, I didn't think in terms of my actual library. I just wanted a record of my reading. Of course, I wasn't aware of all the various components on the site. I guess I'll just go look at my shelves when I want to know what is in my physical library! Thanks for stopping by, Ladies.
Hi Donna! I can't believe I haven't stopped by since late January. Sigh. You've been doing a lot of great reading. I think I liked Artemis less than you did. I really liked Personal History when I read it several years ago. I agree with you that her life became much more interesting after she experienced some hardship.
Totally sucked in by the Award for Historical Fiction. Sigh. Thank you. :)
>219 Donna828: I was your complete opposite, Donna, as I came to LT to catalogue my books. I had my own listing of books on floppy disk, but only very few computers had a floppy drive anymore, so I was looking for a place to store that information on-line. It only occured to me, after cataloging my books, that this place could be used to record my readings.
I hope you're having a good weekend. Exposure sounds intriguing and I've added it to my wish list.
You've been reading some great books since I was here last!
I've only read one from The Bailey’s Prize list, although that is usually my favorite prize list to consider. I loved Sing Unburied Sing, which you haven't read yet. Drat this trying to read more from off my shelves!
The Walter Scott Prize also looks interesting.
Great review of Exposure. I do like Helen Dunmore, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Sadly, Phillip Kerr just passed away at the young age of 62. I don't know the cause of death.
>211 Donna828: Oh, another prize to read from! Currently I'm trying to read some of the books from the Women's Literature Longlist. I do enjoy historical fiction though. I'll check the list.
HI Donna, Long time to get back to you about the W. Trevor short story in the New Yorker mag. I was horriblly behind and did binge reading to catch up which is always very interesting as it takes you from soup to nuts. Anyway I always read the short story and they are pretty interesting too and the ones I caught up with were written by amazing writers Jhumpa Lahiri, Jeffrey Eugenides, Rachel Kushner, Nicole Krauss and William Trevor. Captivated by all except the Trevor that I just didn't "get" (2 parallel characters NOT connecting). Oh well. I did really like the Lucy Gault book! Hope spring has come your way!
>220 nittnut: No worries, Jenn. I haven't exactly been a social butterfly on LT this year. I miss hanging out on the threads, though. I know…another prize list to follow…life is good. I'm glad we will never run out of good books to read.
>221 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. LibraryThing is indispensible for us book lovers, no matter how we make use of it. I saw where you have passed the 100 mark now. You are amazing! Thanks for taking the time to post here. I'm guilty of being more of a lurker this year…
>222 BLBera: Beth, I think Station Eleven was a great choice for our Big Read. It is so cool to see the excitement building in our library system with all the book groups and programs coming up. I hope you enjoy Exposure. I will be picking up Birdcage Walk tomorrow. So many good books...
>223 karenmarie: Hello, Karen. The weekend was quiet and too cool for the first few days of spring. Oh well, at least we don't have snow! I hope you like Exposure when you get to it.
>224 streamsong: I also find the Bailey's Women's Prize a great source for books. It will always be Orange to me! I used to think of Historical Fiction as romances with a little history thrown in, but they've come a long way from that bad rap. I love the "story" part of History and think some of the current authors do a great job making the past come alive. It's always good to see you here, Janet.
>225 vancouverdeb: I saw that about Phillip Kerr, Deborah. Sadly, I've not read any of his books. Is he a favorite author of yours?
>226 mdoris: Thanks for letting me know about the Trevor story, Mary. I guess authors can't make everyone happy all the time. I was somewhat disappointed in the last works of some of my favorite suthors recently…Louise Erdrich and Peter Heller come to mind. It doesn't mean I don't like their writing, it's more like I wasn't taken with the subject matter or their way of approaching the story. My mood probably, more than their writing. I just shrug and wait for better days. Kinda like spring. We have some trees in full bloom and lots of daffodils and forsythia, but the cold temps make me tend to enjoy them from the warmth of house or car.
Book No. 22: Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon. Library, 304 pp., 3.6 stars.
"It would have been easy for Brunetti to grow inifferent to the beautify of the city, to walk in the midst of it, looking and not really seeing. But then it always hapened: a window he had never noticed before would swim into his ken, or the sun would gleam in an archway, and he would actually feel his heart tighten in response to something infinitely more complex than beauty…He had never spoken of this to anyone. No foreigner would understand; any Venetian would find it redundant." (57)
This mystery series is growing on me. Not so much for the mysteries but for the lovely descriptions of Venice and the development of Brunetti's character, a hardworking police detective who cares about his family and friends as well as the victims of the crimes he encounters. Number Two in the series opens with the investigation of the body of an American Army Sergeant found floating in one of the canals. I was honestly surprised about the twist in the motive for the murder. Did not see that coming. I'm looking forward to reading more of these books with the group here on LT.
Hi, Donna. Good review of Manhattan Beach. I liked it more than you, probably because I didn't mind the ending. I really like her writing and I need to read her first few novels. Have you?
I am so glad you tried The Leavers again. I loved this one too and also read it in print. I always enjoy your book choices.
Book No. 23: Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. Hoopla, Audio by Joe Barrett, 421 pp., 4 stars.
"In the morning an incident of blackbirds happened. Swarm following swarm wheeled above Ghost Dancing and dropped into the tall oaks to watch the dawn. They seemed to be conducting some sort of ancient bird worship of the spring sun. New arrivals fluttered helter-skelter into the branches but immediately turned toward the warm light with the others. Like sunflowrs, every head faced east." (11)
Who can not love writing like that? I first read this travel memoir in 1996 about the ultimate roadtrip beginning in Columbia, Missouri, and making the big loop around the U.S. keeping off the soulless interstates and exploring the back roads of America, the blue lines in his old atlas. Bill is in a sorry state of mind despairing over his disintegrating marriage and looking for meaning in his life by meeting all kinds of people in different situations and finding solace in their resilience. Accompanied by Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and his own philosophical thinking based on his Native American father's teachings, he ponders life and nature in all its beauty and harshness.
I don't think this book will appeal to all readers because of Heat-Moon's attention to detail. One would think only the most interesting sights and people would enter the pages of his book, but he chooses to write as much about the mundane as the extraordinary people and places he encounters. I listened to the book for my second visit, but found myself following along in my printed copy just so I could reread some of my favorite passages. I rated it 4 stars 22 years ago and will keep the same rating just because there were some uninteresting (to me) parts that went on too long. However, there were so many nuggets of wisdom and beauty that I consider this book a favorite of mine. I might even be inspired to pick up my copy of PrairyErth, a 624-page exploration on foot of the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas.
>230 msf59: Mark, I've only read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Egan. I didn't care much for the experimental aspect of the powerpoint chapter but give her props for creativity. I enjoyed her latest foray into historical fiction more. I don't always make the best book choices it seems but I usually get something out of whatever I read. I am still waiting for my WOW book of the year. Lots of year left thank goodness.
Morning, Donna! Lots and lots of good reading here! Hope you find your WOW book soon so you can tell me about it!
Donna - I hope you get to a wow book, soon. I love the Brunetti series for exactly the reasons you do. And I always get hungry when I'm reading; I'd like Paola to cook for me.
I LOVED Good Squad but I understand why Manhattan Beach might be more generally appealing to people. Experimental doesn't work for everyone.
TIME PRESENT and TIME PAST felt like a welcome warm glazed chocolate reward treat after enduring Edna O'Brien's COUNTRY GIRLS
and William Trevor's The Children of Wynmouth. Yet those two pale compared with my attempt at Irish Crime which I'll add to the Irish thread.
Blue Highways is one I savored, but rarely see mentioned. PrairyErth, far denser though greatly informative, went a lot slower.
>233 Carmenere: Well, Lynda, I finished Miss Burma on Saturday...and it was a solid 4.5 Stars, which is a Wow in my book. Lol. Love me a book pun.
>234 rosalita: Julia, the older I get, the more traditional I get. I still like to get out of my comfort zone occasionally, though. How else would I have discovered I do like some sci-fi?
>235 BLBera: Experimental is good for my brain, Beth. I will go there for an occasional “jolt”! And a big Yes for Italian cooking!
>236 mdoris: I better stay away from that cookbook, Mary. I might drool on the pages.
>237 m.belljackson: Welcome to my thread, Marianne. I love having first-time visitors. I also loved your mouth-watering description of Time Present. Always glad to talk about Blue Highways...an oldie but a goody. I was happy to meet Missouri author Wm. Least Heat-Moon aka Bill Trogdon about a decade ago. I have a picture of us together but sadly it isn’t in digital form or I’d post it.
>239 ChelleBearss: My Easter was lovely, Chelle, despite the temps which barely crept above freezing. We had some sleet and Haley and Molly had to have an indoor Easter Egg Hunt. Didn’t faze them in the least. it’s all about the candy! Your April Fools’ pics on FB were a hoot!
This topic was continued by Donna Reads and Reflects: Second Quarter.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.