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mathgirl40's 2018 Category Challenge, Part 1

2018 Category Challenge

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Edited: Jan 1, 9:26pm Top

Here are my categories for 2018:

1. Tournament of Books
2. Evergreen Award
3. 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
4. Hugo and Aurora Awards
5. Long SFF Series
6. Other Science Fiction and Fantasy
7. Doorstoppers
8. Short Stories
9. Graphic Novels
10. Arthurian Legends
11. BookCrossing Roundabout
12. Cross-Canada Journey
13. Scottish Mysteries
14. Mysteries Around the World
15. Golden Age Mysteries
16. Other Mysteries
17. Scary books
18. Nonfiction

I will try to read a minimum of 5 books in each category.

Edited: Aug 2, 7:17am Top

Category 1: The Tournament of Books

This category will include books from the 2018 Tournament of Books, held in March.

1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Jan. 21)
2. Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Jan. 24)
3. Dear Cyborgs by Eugune Lim (Feb. 4)
4. White Tears by Hari Kunzru (Feb. 4)
5. So Much Blue by Percival Everett (Feb. 19)
6. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (Mar. 5)
7. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Mar. 6)
8. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (Mar. 24)

Category 2: The Evergreen Award

This category will include nominees for the 2017 Evergreen Award, given by the Ontario Library Association. The nominees are announced in February.

1. All We Leave Behind by Carol Off (April 19)
2. The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis (May 8)

Category 3: 1001 Books

These are books listed in Peter Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Jan. 12)
2. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (April 22)
3. The 39 Steps by John Buchan (May 23)
4. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (June 22)
5. Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Edited: Sep 14, 8:02pm Top

Category 4: The Hugo and Aurora Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards

This category will include nominees for and winners of the Hugo and Aurora SFF Awards. This year, I plan to rejoin as a voting member and read from the Voter Packet for each of these awards.

1. Provenance by Ann Leckie (April 21)
2. City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett (June 7)
3. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (June 18)
4. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (June 30)
5. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (July 5)
6. Exo by Fonda Lee (July 16)
7. And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker (July 28)
8. The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (July 31)
9. Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee (August 15)

Category 5: Long Science Fiction and Fantasy Series

I seem to be attracted to never-ending series, or those that have ended but just seem to be never-ending. This category will encompass my reading from the Liaden, 1632, October Daye, Wheel of time and other long SFF series.

1. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (Jan. 17)
2. Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone (Mar. 2)
3. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Mar. 28)
4. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (Apr. 12)
5. Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey (Apr. 26)
6. Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Apr. 27)
7. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (May 4)
8. Mort by Terry Pratchett (May 17)
9. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (May 31)

Category 6: Other Science Fiction and Fantasy

1. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Jan. 4)
2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Jan. 29)
3. Satellite by Nick Lake (Feb. 6)
4. All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault by James Alan Gardner (Feb. 7)
5. All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Feb. 16)
6. Shift by Hugh Howey (Feb. 28)
7. Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren (Apr. 7)
8. Doctor Who and the Masque of Mandragora (Apr. 30)
9. The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall by Chris Dolley (May 13)
10. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (May 28)
11. The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu (July 12)

Edited: Aug 2, 7:21am Top

Category 7: Doorstoppers

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Jan. 20)
2. Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (Mar. 22)
3. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (July 10)

Category 8: Short Stories

Artwork by Tom Gauld for The Guardian

1. The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint (Feb. 18)
2. Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond edited by Bill Campbell (Mar. 8)

Category 9: Graphic Novels

Artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez, from Locke & Key series.

1. Saga, Volume 4 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Jan. 19)
2. Chew, Volume 4 by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Jan. 21)
3. The Real Story of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandra Franc (Feb. 25)
4. Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Feb. 26)
5. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson / Madeleine L'Engle (Mar. 26)
6. Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Apr. 28)

Edited: Aug 2, 7:13am Top

Category 10: Arthurian Legends

These are books about or inspired by the King Arthur story.

1. Greenwitch by Susan Cooper (Mar. 10)

Category 11: BookCrossing Roundabout

I signed up for a "Favourite Books of 2017" roundabout on BookCrossing, with 11 other BookCrossers. We'll be mailing the books along to one another throughout the year.

1. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Jan. 25)
2. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik (Feb. 12)
3. A Basket Brigade Christmas by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser and Grace Whitson (Mar. 14)
4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Apr. 10)
5. Hunger by Roxane Gay (May 20)
6. The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly (June 26)
7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (July 26)

Category 12: Cross-Canada Journey

Inspired by lkernagh, I started a virtual walk across Canada in late 2016, starting in Vancouver and working my way East, using the World Walking app. On January 1, 2018, I reached Manitoba. I expect I'll be spending much of this year working through Manitoba and Ontario, and I'll be reading books related to the places I pass on my journey. I also "missed" Alberta on my way through and plan to go back to that province sometime this year!

1. Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson -- Alberta (Feb. 22)
2. A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence -- Manitoba (May 11)

Edited: Aug 2, 7:22am Top

Category 13: Scottish Mysteries

1. The Black Book by Ian Rankin (Jan. 6)
2. Where the Bodies are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre (Jan. 28)
3. Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (currently reading)

Category 14: Mysteries From Around the World

1. The Ice Child by Camilla Läckberg -- Sweden (Jan. 13)
2. Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich -- US (Jan. 23)
3. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood -- Australia (Feb. 11)
4. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith -- Botswana (Mar. 25)
5. August Heat by Andrea Camilleri -- Sicily (Mar. 27)
6. The Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall -- India (Mar. 31)

Category 15: Golden Age Mysteries

1. They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie (Feb. 9)
2. Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh (Apr. 9)
3. Traitor's Purse by Margery Allingham (Apr. 16)
4. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White (May 14)
5. Miss Silver Comes to Stay by Patricia Wentworth (currently reading)

Edited: Aug 2, 7:22am Top

Category 16: Other Mysteries

1. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur (Jan. 27)
2. Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson (Feb. 3)
3. Bad Move by Linwood Barclay (Apr. 4)
4. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (currently reading)

Category 17: Scary Books

Books for the ScaredyKIT and other horror.

1. Carrie by Stephen King (Mar. 9)
2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (Mar. 24)

Category 18: Non-fiction

1. South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackieton (Feb. 13)
2. A Hot Glue Gun Mess by Mr. Kate (Mar. 3)
3. Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron (June 12)

Edited: Aug 2, 7:20am Top

Books that don't fit into any of the previous categories:

1. American War by Omar El Akkad (January 7)
2. The Mystery of the Green Cat by Phyllis A. Whitney (Mar. 11)
3. Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies (June 23)
4. Tempest Tost by Robertson Davies (June 29)

Dec 30, 2017, 10:55pm Top

I'm a little late coming to the party ... but not THAT late, since it's not 2018 yet. :)

I thought I'd start by reserving some space here, and I'll fill out the details over the next few days.

Dec 31, 2017, 6:41am Top

Good to see you back. And no you are not late!

Dec 31, 2017, 9:58am Top

You're right on time! The rest of us are ridiculously early ;) Looking forward to seeing how that space gets filled up!

Dec 31, 2017, 11:53pm Top

Happy 2018 reading!

Jan 1, 9:20am Top

I look forward to seeing how you set up your categories for this new year. Have a great one!

Jan 1, 9:37pm Top

Looks like you plan on lots of mysteries and SFF this year.

Jan 2, 4:16pm Top

Happy reading! Just stopping in to follow along. :-)

Jan 2, 4:49pm Top

>10 majkia: >11 rabbitprincess: >12 thornton37814: >13 mamzel: >14 hailelib: >15 LibraryCin: Thanks for the greetings! We've had a lot of family and friends visiting so it'll be a little while yet before I get going on the challenge. I'm eager to check out everyone else's thread too!

>14 hailelib: Yes, these are my favourite genres. I'm especially looking forward to the MysteryCAT, SFFKIT and ScaredyKIT.

Jan 3, 9:29pm Top

No, you are not late. You're right on time. Looking forward to following your reading again this year!

Jan 3, 9:33pm Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 3, 9:50pm Top

Welcome back. I'm looking forward to seeing which books are picked for the Tournament of Books. Though I still haven't read any of last years books that I bought.

Jan 5, 1:12am Top

Happy New Year, Paulina. I've dropped my star and I am looking forward to following along with your 2018 reading.

Jan 5, 10:41pm Top

>17 VivienneR: >18 ronincats: >19 VioletBramble: >20 DeltaQueen50: Thank you all for your good wishes!

>19 VioletBramble: I too am excited about the ToB list. I've only read 2 from this year's list but there are many on the list I'd like to read.

I've finally settled on my categories! Many are the same ones I've used in previous years but I'll mention a few changes for this year.

I'm devoting 4 categories to mysteries, as I expect to be participating extensively in the MysteryCAT this year. One of them is "Scottish Mysteries"; I was inspired by rabbitprincess's enthusiasm for Scottish mystery writers the last time I met up with her.

I have a "Scary Books" category, in anticipation of the ScaredyKIT. I have again my "Cross-Canada Journey" category as I'm continuing my virtual walk across Canada. I recently left Saskatchewan and entered Manitoba.

A new category is "BookCrossing Roundabout". I joined a group of 12 BookCrossers from across the world who will be mailing their favourite books of 2017 to one another in a ring. My own contribution is Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood.

Another new category is "Arthurian Legends", as I have a surprising number of TBR and wishlist books that have some link to this theme.

Jan 5, 10:44pm Top

>21 mathgirl40: Hurray! I'm looking forward to discovering more Scottish mysteries with you :)

Also planning to read Arthurian Romances, by Chrétien de Troyes, soonish.

Jan 6, 12:45am Top

Looking forward to following your reading and anything else that shows up here in 2018!

Jan 6, 2:34pm Top

I'll be interested in seeing which Arthurian connected books you read and what you think of them.

Jan 17, 9:09pm Top

>22 rabbitprincess: I'll have to add Arthurian Romances to my list!

>23 lkernagh: Thanks for dropping by, Lori!

>24 hailelib: I have a few in mind already. I'd bought my daughter Kevin Crossley-Holland's YA trilogy years ago so that's already on my shelves. I've always wanted to read Mary Stewart's series, and I vaguely recall some talk about a group read this year. Also, if my patience holds up, I may continue with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. This series doesn't strictly follow the Arthurian legends, but it does borrow a lot from them, including many characters' names.

I'm afraid I've been neglecting my and everyone else's threads these past couple of weeks. My excuse is that I'd been travelling a lot, for business and to visit family. The good news is that I'd still managed to get lots of reading time on airplanes and buses, even if I'd not gotten as much computer time for LT as I'd like.

Edited: Jan 18, 9:37pm Top

1. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Category: Other Science Fiction and Fantasy
Challenges: SFFKIT

My first completed book of the year is a near-future science fiction novel showing a dystopian New York City, drastically altered as a result of climate change. In this New York, sea levels have risen dramatically, and as a result, citizens travel by boat through canals and real estate is a scarce resource.

Despite the intriguing premise, I didn't love this book because plot and character development take a back seat to world building and exploration of scientific and economic ideas. I still enjoy reading Robinson's books because, though he's not a great storyteller, he always makes me think. This novel also makes me fearful. It's not all depressing, though. Robinson seems to convey the message that humans are greedy, short-sighted and bent on destroying the planet, but people are also extremely resilient and resourceful. Perhaps things won't be so bad in the long run if more of us listen to cautionary tales like this one.

Jan 17, 9:25pm Top

2. The Black Book by Ian Rankin (4 stars)
Category: Scottish Mysteries
Challenges: ColorCAT

I'm happy to start my new Scottish Mysteries category with a solid installment from the Inspector Rebus series. This one begins when one of Rebus's colleagues is attacked and then continues with an old unsolved case of a hotel fire. In the meantime, Rebus's estranged brother comes back into his life while his relationship with Patience goes through some bumps. I'm always happy to read a Rebus mystery, though I'm also hoping to populate my Scottish Mysteries category with some new-to-me authors.

Jan 17, 9:45pm Top

>27 mathgirl40: We get most of the Rankin books at the library, but I've never managed to read one before they are returned to the lease book company. I guess I didn't realized they were police procedurals. I'm sure I can probably find them through the public library though so I may need to correct my oversight!

Jan 18, 9:36pm Top

>28 thornton37814: The Rebus series is quite long, and I've only just finished #5 but I've enjoyed every one so far. I hope you'll get a chance to try one of the books sometime.

Jan 18, 9:48pm Top

3. American War by Omar El Akkad
Category: Miscellaneous

It was interesting to read this novel immediately after finishing New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, as both books are set in a futuristic dystopian United States suffering from circumstances brought on by climate change. El Akkad's novel follows the life of Sarat, a woman who grows up in the midst of the second American Civil War, learning tough life lessons along the way and surviving however she can. This is a brutal story and even scarier than Robinson's but hopefully it's also less likely to come about.

Jan 18, 10:19pm Top

4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Category: 1001 Books
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

Thanks to the group read, I finally got around to reading this classic. I listened to an excellent audio version of Frankenstein narrated by Simon Vance. I enjoyed the story and the gothic elements, though there was sometimes a little too much melodrama for my tastes. So much has been written about this well-known book that I really don't have anything more to add.

A few years ago, I'd read a YA book based on the Frankenstein story, This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel, which I'd also recommend.

Jan 19, 2:43pm Top

>31 mathgirl40: Lots of us reading that one! I thought about doing an audio version, but I decided I really didn't want my read influenced by any voice but my own since we've all seen the movie.

Jan 19, 8:50pm Top

>25 mathgirl40: "I'm afraid I've been neglecting my and everyone else's threads these past couple of weeks."

Understandable at this time of year when posts arrive at a blistering rate! I read everybody's threads but then I rarely have time to comment - or to make lists of BBs.

Jan 22, 7:08am Top

>32 thornton37814: I'm embarrassed to admit I've not yet seen the movie. :)

>33 VivienneR: It's true that there is a lot of new stuff in this group in January! Oh well, I'll catch up eventually.

Jan 22, 9:55am Top

>26 mathgirl40: I bought this one for kindle a couple of months ago but haven't gotten to it yet. Your thoughts on it kind of mirrored my feelings about his 2312. He's great with the world building, but sometimes the characters are lacking a bit.

Jan 23, 8:38pm Top

>35 virginiahomeschooler: I felt the same way about 2312 too. Nevertheless, I'll keep reading KSR!

Jan 23, 8:39pm Top

5. The Ice Child by Camilla Läckberg (3.5 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World (Sweden)
Challenges: MysteryCAT

This is the 9th installment in the Erica Falck and Patrik Hedstrom series. The books feel formulaic but I still enjoy reading them, as I've gotten quite attached to the various characters and want to know how they're getting along in their lives. This particular story, involving the abduction and torture of teen girls, is rather more disturbing than the previous ones, but like the others, it is fast-paced and suspenseful.

Jan 23, 8:40pm Top

6. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (4.5 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series
Challenges: ColorCAT, SFFKIT

This is the third book in the Temeraire series, an alternative-history fantasy series featuring dragons serving as airships in the Napoleonic Wars. I've loved everything that I've read from Naomi Novik so far. She is wonderful at world-building and developing characters (both human and dragon). In this book, Temeraire and Laurence travel across Asia to return to England after their stay in China. They have exciting adventures and meet new dragons along the way.

Jan 23, 8:43pm Top

7. Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (4 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

This is another solid installment in the excellent Saga series featuring great space opera and terrific artwork. This one ends with a real cliffhanger so I'll need to get to Volume 5 soon.

Jan 25, 4:26pm Top

>39 mathgirl40: I need to get back to the Saga volumes. I will have to order both Volume 4 and 5 from the library in order not to be left hanging!

Jan 26, 9:18pm Top

>40 DeltaQueen50: That's a good idea. I should have done that myself, as Volume 5 has a waiting list at my library!

Jan 26, 9:31pm Top

8. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (4.5 stars)
Category: Doorstoppers

This book was chosen for the book club at my workplace, and I had some misgivings as I'd heard mixed reviews. Several of the comments I'd heard from friends were of the "I started it but I abandoned it partway" variety. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, this novel is terribly long and there are slow parts, but I really did enjoy the entire journey.

With so many readers and reviewers on LT, I don't think there's much I can add to the descriptions and reviews. I'll just say that I loved the world that Clarke built and the detailed descriptions of magic. I've always enjoyed alternate history and it was especially interesting to read this alongside Black Powder War (which I mentioned earlier in this thread), another fantasy novel set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Jan 26, 9:32pm Top

9. Chew, Volume 4: Flambe by John Layman and Rob Guillory (4 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

This is another great installment in the Chew series, which I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't mind a little grossness in their graphic novels. (It is about a cannibalistic detective, so there are more than a few disgusting scenes.) This one features mysterious writing in the sky possibly of alien origin, a plotline that involves Tony's twin sister Toni, and an appearance by Poyo, a vicious rooster recruited by the US government. I just realized there is a Poyo spin-off, Chew Secret Agent Poyo #1. More for the TBR pile!

Jan 26, 9:37pm Top

10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (4 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

This is my third book from the 2018 Tournament of Books shortlist. Much as I enjoyed reading it, I don't think it's a strong contender in the ToB.

This is a historical family saga that follows the lives of a Korean family that relocates to Japan. It explores the challenges that immigrants face in a country that refuses to recognize them as full citizens and where many people continue see them as unwanted foreigners. Though this story is historical fiction, it undoubtedly has relevance for us today.

Jan 26, 9:48pm Top

11. Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich (4.5 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World (US)

This noir novel from 1948 follows a serial killer as he murders one woman a year, always on the anniversary of his fiancée's death. It also describes a determined detective's quest to hunt this killer down. I knew from the start who the murderer was, and I had a good guess about how it would end. Despite that, I found this novel incredibly suspenseful and page-turning. Woolrich is truly a master at creating scary thrillers.

A small bit of trivia ... if you're a Smiths fan, you might enjoy the fact that the main character is named Johnny Marr and he victimizes a character named Morrissey. :)

Jan 27, 11:54am Top

>45 mathgirl40: I don't remember picking up on that name coincidence when I read it! It was a great book.

Jan 28, 4:40pm Top

>45 mathgirl40: I love Cornell Woolrich and so I immediately picked up Rendezvous in Black for my Kindle when you mentioned that you were going to be reading it. Glad to hear it's a read I can really look forward to.

Jan 29, 5:48pm Top

>44 mathgirl40: - That one got my Zombie vote since I really enjoyed it and figured it was going to need the help compared to some of the more popular titles in the tournament. The third generation started to get on my nerves, but I find that I still think about the book which speaks well of it.

Jan 30, 8:01am Top

>46 rabbitprincess: I might not have picked it up either, but for the fact that I'm also reading Middlemarch (slowly, via the Serial Reader app) and ran across the line that the Smiths adapted: "To be born the son of a Middlemarch manufacturer, and inevitable heir to nothing in particular."

>47 DeltaQueen50: I hope you like it too. It was such an intense and gripping read!

>48 LittleTaiko: I can see Pachinko doing well in the Zombie poll. I really did enjoy it, even if I don't think it's among the top contenders. I wouldn't be surprised if it came back as a Zombie (assuming it needs to).

Jan 30, 8:08am Top

12. Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward (4.5 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

This is my fourth book from the Tournament of Books list and I think it is a strong contender. At first, I was going to give this book 4 stars, as I can't say that I "enjoyed" it all that much. However, it seems to have stayed with me over the days and will probably do so much longer, and so I boosted the rating.

This novel, which explores racism, violence, mortality and parenthood, is told through a number of narrators, most from the same extended family. The voices are truly haunting, and not just because some of them are ghosts. This is my first time reading Ward's work, and it makes me think of William Faulkner and the Southern Gothic style. Faulkner's another author whose stories tend to stay with me over the years.

Jan 30, 8:16am Top

13. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (5 stars)
Category: BookCrossing Roundabout

I'd already read this book a few years ago but decided to reread it, as it was one of the selections for my BookCrossing roundabout (as described in post #5). I'm very glad I did reread it, as I was able to appreciate the themes and details more the second time around.

The story is told through the diary, discovered by a Canadian woman Ruth, of a Japanese girl, Nao, who is the victim of bullying and whose father is suicidal. On this reread, I especially liked learning more about Zen Buddhism through Nao's unique perspective, and I found the story of her uncle, a WWII kamikaze pilot, deeply moving. I was impressed by Ozeki's skill in covering themes with huge scopes (death, quantum physics, the Eocene Epoch) while making the reader care about the everyday details of life. For example, I loved how she described the Schrödinger's cat experiment while keeping the reader on edge about the fate of Ruth's cat.

Jan 30, 10:43am Top

I think Pachinko's an odd choice for the Tournament of Books, but looking at past tournaments, there are usually a few traditionally structured novels in play, although one has never won.

Jan 30, 3:38pm Top

>50 mathgirl40: It sounds like a good book club book! Someone in my f2f book club nominated it (if you suggest it, we will read it and you lead the discussion), but just recently emailed to say she read it and hated it, so she's taking it off the list!

Jan 30, 9:06pm Top

>52 RidgewayGirl: That's very true. Well, it'll be interesting to see what the judges say about it. I don't mind when the ToB includes a few conventional choices, as often these are books that I end up enjoying a lot and might have overlooked otherwise.

>53 LibraryCin: I can see that Sing Unburied Sing would not suit everyone's tastes. It's a disturbing book with some unpleasant characters, or at least characters that do very unpleasant things.

Jan 30, 9:22pm Top

14. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur (3.5 stars)
Category: Other Mysteries

A "throwback readathon" on Litsy motivated me to reread this juvenile mystery from 1965. When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden and other similar mystery series but my absolute favourite series was Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. In this one, Jupiter, Pete and Bob investigate an Egyptologist's mummy that appears to be speaking to him.

By the way, I was very surprised to see a scene in which one of the boys attempts to contact chauffeur Worthington by calling the mobile phone in his car. While car phones did exist in 1965, they must have been rather unusual. I recall one of the reasons I liked this series so much as a child was that the investigators always used or encountered cool technology (for that time, anyhow)!

Jan 31, 7:55am Top

15. Where the Bodies are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre (4 stars)
Category: Scottish Mysteries
Challenges: RandomCAT

This was my January RandomCAT selection, as the author had been recommended to me by a number of LTers, including rabbitprincess, AHS-Wolfy, DeltaQueen50 and RidgewayGirl. I am very happy that I've discovered Brookmyre! This particular novel is the first in a series involving private investigator Jasmine Sharp and Detective Superintendent Catherine Macleod. I really liked the characters, the humour and the Glasgow setting.

I'll definitely continue with this series but am also interested in trying Brookmyre's Jack Parlabane series. The name makes me think of Robertson Davies's memorable character John Parlabane. I'm also intrigued by Brookmyre's new sci-fi novel Places in the Darkness.

Jan 31, 7:59am Top

16. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (3.5 stars)
Category: Other SFF

I think my expectations for this book were too high and so I ended up disappointed. The trilogy had gotten a lot of hype and for some reason, I thought it was hard science-fiction, given that it's set on Mars. However, it is more like The Hunger Games mixed with Roman mythology. The story features plenty of clichees and I found the parts of it a real slog. It definitely could have been made more compact. However, I found the premise involving the houses of Roman gods interesting, and Darrow's pretense among the Golds and his consequent difficult choices add complexity to the plot. Despite my mixed feelings about the book, I do want to find out what happens next.

Jan 31, 8:04am Top

January summary

Books finished: 16
Books off my shelves: 7
Favourite books: Rendezous in Black by Cornell Woolrich and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

January was a good reading month. I was able to participate in all 3 CATS and 2 KITs, and I started reading from the 2018 Tournament of Books list.

I'm trying to get through books on my own shelves, but the Canada Reads list was just announced yesterday and this weekend, the Ontario Library Association's Evergreen list, a favorite of mine for the past decade, will also be announced.

Jan 31, 9:45am Top

Hi Paulina, I'm glad to see you've been reading lots of good books lately. Always good to see a Brookmyre listed and enjoyed. That's one of his more serious efforts. Although the banter is still there the situational comedy aspect is toned down from his earlier works. The later entries into the Jack Parlabane series are along the same lines as these. He distinguishes between his serious and not so serious by using the shortened version of his first name for the former. It will be interesting to see his take on a proper science fiction novel when his new one is released.

I should also get back to Saga as it's been a while for me too. Have to get around to picking up book 6 at some point.

Shame Red Rising didn't quite hit the mark for you but happy to see there's enough there for you to continue with the series.

Jan 31, 7:18pm Top

>56 mathgirl40: I seem to recall reading that Brookmyre is indeed a Robertson Davies fan; in addition to Parlabane, one of his characters is named Simon Darcourt :)

Jan 31, 9:10pm Top

>60 rabbitprincess: OK, that can't possibly be a coincidence then!

>59 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks for stopping by! I'm even more interested in reading Brookmyre's other books now that rabbitprincess has confirmed that he's a Robertson Davies fan.

Feb 1, 9:32pm Top

>42 mathgirl40: - Wonderful review! I have a copy of that one lurking on my TBR stacks, just waiting for me to read it. If we have a Red month for the ColorCAT I will read it then as the copy I have has a red cover, similar to your black one.

Congratulations on 16 books read in January!

Feb 4, 9:27pm Top

>62 lkernagh: Thanks, and I hope you enjoy Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell when we get to the Red ColorCAT month!

Feb 4, 9:29pm Top

17. Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson (3.5 stars)
Category: Other Mysteries
Challenges: ColorCAT, MysteryCAT

This installment of the Gaslight historical mystery series, set in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City, has midwife Sarah Brandt investigating the murder of a young woman living in a Christian mission. This mystery was not especially remarkable but it was a good entertaining weekend read.

Feb 4, 9:30pm Top

18. Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim (3.5 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books
Challenges: RandomCAT

This is my 5th book from the Tournament of Books list. It's a short novel with an unusual (inscrutable?) structure. It left me confused a lot of the time, though the connections become somewhat clearer in the final chapter. It was difficult to follow the narrative, but there are some really compelling brief stories embedded in the whole. Looking at others' reviews, I see that some people really hated this book. I didn't and I would actually consider rereading it at some time, to see if I can get a better grasp of it. I suspect I won't understand it any better, but I might give the book another look if it survives the preliminary ToB rounds.

Feb 6, 10:04am Top

So there go my plans of having you explain the book to me. :)

Feb 7, 9:24pm Top

>66 LittleTaiko: Sorry I can't help you there! After I finished the book, I read some reviews as well as an interview with the author, hoping to get more insight. I didn't succeed but I realized that being confused was OK, and I did like some aspects of the book after all. :)

Feb 7, 9:59pm Top

19. White Tears by Hari Kunzru (4.5 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

White Tears is about a young man who, with the guidance of his wealthy friend, immerses himself in early blues music. When his friend develops an obsession with a piece of music they'd recorded, mysterious and disturbing things start to happen.

This is my 6th book from the Tournament of Books shortlist and I loved it. The book is atmospheric and suspenseful, with horror and mystery elements woven through the story. I really like how the author explores cultural appropriation and racism. I hope this book does well in the ToB. I see it as an underdog that may end up surprising everyone.

Feb 7, 10:21pm Top

20. Satellite by Nick Lake (5 stars)
Category: Other Science Fiction and Fantasy

A friend of mine who's a book blogger and reviewer received several copies of this YA book and suggested we read it for our SFF book club. I'd never heard of the author and wasn't terribly enthusiastic, especially when I saw that the entire book was written in text-speak. Well, I shouldn't have been so judgmental, as I ended up loving this book!

The story is about a teenager who is born on a space station orbittng the Earth and who has lived there for the first 16 years of his life, along with two other children. Finally, all three get a chance to return to Earth. There is a lot of science in this science-fiction novel, which I always appreciate, but it's mostly a story about family and relationships. The story combines interesting scientific facts and ideas, fast-paced action, and thoughtful heartwarming moments.

It was a wonderful coincidence that I finished this book, which described in detail space-craft launches, landings and manoeuvres, just hours before the Falcon Heavy launch. I found the real-life launch truly exciting. The landing of the side boosters was a thing of beauty (so much so that I just have to include a picture here, though I'm sure you've all seen it by now). The amount of work and technical knowledge needed to pull this off is astounding. Well done, SpaceX!

Feb 8, 9:22am Top

>69 mathgirl40: i started this one and set it down after about 30 pages. I thought the story seemed good, but I wasn't sure I could get past the way it was written (the no capitalization thing was really bothering me). Maybe I should pick it back up and try again.

Feb 8, 4:29pm Top

>68 mathgirl40: - I just started this one last night and so far am enjoying it. There are some weird similarities between it and The Animators. I probably wouldn't have noticed but am reading them so close together that it stuck out.

Feb 8, 7:59pm Top

>70 virginiahomeschooler: It didn't take too long for me to get used to the style. However, I have had years of experience reading text messages from my daughters. Actually, word prediction software is so good these days that their messages finally look like English. I just have to figure out how to translate the various emojis. :)

>71 LittleTaiko: The Animators is one that I definitely want to read. With luck, my library hold will come in before the tournament starts.

Feb 9, 2:08am Top

>69 mathgirl40: Elon Musk is a weird kind of visionary, but darn is he effective at building teams and inspiring people! I hadn't seen the photo before, so thank you for sharing.

Feb 9, 7:55am Top

>73 pammab: I think you've summed him up well. I was especially impressed by the landing of the side boosters because it is a huge step for reuse of spacecraft. Also, coming from a math/science background, I can (almost) envision the scale of the calculations and engineering work needed to bring about such a perfect landing. All I could think about while watching this was how many ways things could go wrong! :)

Feb 9, 11:29am Top

I'm reading White Tears now and, boy, is it hard to put down. I dislike all of the characters, but I need to know what happens next. I agree that it's a good bet to at least make the semi-finals.

I'm also reading Sing, Unburied, Sing, which is coincidentally this month's choice for my book group. I expect that people will hate it -- there are a few women who dislike any book that is at all unpleasant or dark and one of them had a big problem with the idea of an interracial couple. I'm really enjoying it, though. Ward can write well.

Feb 9, 11:30am Top

Turns out your thread is a very dangerous place for me - you hit me with three book bullets: Rendezvous in Black, Where the Bodies are Buried, and White Tears. With that first one, do I need to read the series in order? I noticed that Rendezvous in Black is the sixth book in the series, and I didn't know how important the backstory is if at all.

Feb 9, 12:01pm Top

>75 RidgewayGirl: I'm definitely interested in hearing your review of White Tears once you've finished the entire story. Too bad you have those difficult-to-please members of your book club. Actually, one of my book clubs has a woman who had similar views about dark and disturbing books. I'm happy to say that now, 8 years later, she has broadened her scope and is willing to try much more. So there is hope! :)

>76 Crazymamie: I think Cornell Woolrich's "Black" series is connected only by the titles. Rendezvous in Black is a standalone novel, as far I know. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Feb 9, 12:05pm Top

>77 mathgirl40: Okay. Thanks for that!

Feb 11, 3:02pm Top

>68 mathgirl40: I've taken a BB on White Tears. I agree with >76 Crazymamie: your thread is a dangerous place!

Feb 16, 6:15pm Top

>79 VivienneR: Thanks! I'm only returning the favour as I receive so many BBs from everyone else here!

Feb 16, 6:31pm Top

21. All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault by James Alan Gardner (4 stars)
Category: Other SFF

This new novel from Gardner, the first after his last League of Peoples novel in 2004, is about four university women who turn into superheros and start fighting the forces of evil. I'm not sure this book is for everybody. However, I grew up reading superhero comics and still enjoy graphic novels and comics. This story reads very much like a superhero comic turned into a novel, with fast action and witty dialogue.

I especially liked the fact that Gardner is, to me, a local author (I got to see him speak about his book recently) and the book is set at my Alma Mater, the University of Waterloo. Even better, the main character is a young 4'10" Chinese Canadian woman studying at the university, which describes me (30 years ago) perfectly. :)

Feb 17, 9:42am Top

>81 mathgirl40: I requested that one from the library on the basis of the title alone! I'm glad also to see that it's set at Waterloo (my dad's alma mater).

Feb 18, 4:14pm Top

>82 rabbitprincess: I wonder if your Dad would like it too. He'll probably recognize most of the places mentioned in the story!

Feb 18, 4:19pm Top

22. They Do It With Mirrors by Author (3.5 stars)
Category: Golden Age Mysteries
Challenges: MysteryCAT

This was a fairly enjoyable mystery, very typical of Agatha Christie's style, but it is not among my favourite Miss Marple stories. The plot and family relationships were sufficiently complicated, but the ending didn't come as much of a surprise.

Feb 18, 4:29pm Top

23. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (3.5 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World (Australia)
Challenges: MysteryCAT

I recently discovered the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on Netflix and I love the series. Essie Davis is terrific as Phryne Fisher but the supporting cast is just as good. Watching the show made me want to try the first book in the series on which it is based. I liked it well enough and will definitely continue the series. Plot seems to take a back seat to character development, but that's OK with me. I did find the descriptions of Phryne's wardrobe a little tiresome, which surprised me, as the stylish and often lavish outfits are, for me, a highlight of the TV show.

Feb 20, 10:59am Top

>85 mathgirl40: Ahh, "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" is so good! Glad to you know are enjoying it!

Feb 23, 7:52am Top

>86 christina_reads: I'm almost at the end of season 3 and sad that there are only a few episodes left to watch! I do hope they go on to make a movie based on the show, as they've said they might.

Feb 23, 7:56am Top

24. The River at Night by Author (3.5 stars)
Category: BookCrossing Roundabout
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

I received this book as part of a BookCrossing Roundabout and probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. It's a thriller about four friends who go on a white-water rafting trip in a remote part of Maine. Their adventure quickly turns nightmarish. I didn't especially care for the characters but this was a fast-paced read that I quickly devoured in a weekend.

Edited: Feb 23, 7:59am Top

25. South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton (4 stars)
Category: Non-fiction
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

Shackleton's first-hand account of the Endurance expedition to Antartica that started in 1914 makes for exciting and compelling reading. I enjoyed both the descriptions of the heroic feats of the men involved in the expedition and the interesting details of everyday life in their struggle to survive on the ice floes. My only complaint is that, after the amazing story of the Endurance, Shackleton then presents the story of the Aurora, a separate ship that was meant to support Endurance's mission. The story of the Aurora's crew is impressive in its own right but seems anticlimactic and repetitive after the Endurance's story.

I've heard that Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a better account of the expedition, so I may pick that one up sometime.

Feb 23, 4:23pm Top

Endurance is excellent. I have South on my tbr list as well.

Feb 23, 4:59pm Top

>37 mathgirl40:
Ha! I thought there was a new Läckberg out, but I went to its page and realized that this is the one called Lejontämjaren (the lion tamer) in Swedish. That is one heck of a translation. :)

>39 mathgirl40:
Such a great series! I have a few unread volumes that I'm saving for one of those days when I can just get into that world and not have to leave for a while.

>42 mathgirl40:
Another favorite of mine. The BBC TV-version they made was a really good version. Did you manage to catch that one?

>59 AHS-Wolfy:
That's really good to know - I notice that all his books that I have on Mt. TBR are "Christopher" versions, no "Chris" yet.

Feb 23, 9:22pm Top

>90 rabbitprincess: We can compare notes after we've read both accounts. :)

>91 -Eva-: Hmmm ... in that light, "The Ice Child" does seem like a strange choice for the English version of "The Lion Tamer". I've not seen the TV version of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but it's definitely on the list of things to watch!

Feb 24, 7:01pm Top

26. All Systems Red by Martha Wells (5 stars)
Category: Other SFF

This book, the first in the Murderbot series, is a perfect example of why I love well-executed novella-length science fiction works. In less than half the length of a typical SFF novel, we get a fast-paced suspenseful adventure with interesting sci-fi elements. We also get to know well the snarky part-flesh part-robot entity who calls itself Murderbot, who learns to imitate human behaviour through watching human-made movies. Wells packs a lot into this compact work and I can't wait for the next Murderbot installment!

Feb 24, 8:33pm Top

27. The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint (4.5 stars)
Category: Short Stories
Challenges: SFFKIT, ColorCAT

Charles de Lint is one of my favourite writers and this collection shows why he is considered by many to be a pioneer of urban fantasy. These stories are set in the fictional city of Newford and feature characters that have appeared in many of his other Newford books. The stories frequently have characters from society's underclass and explore their challenges such as homelessness, poverty and mental illness. De Lint also incorporates the arts (music, sculpture, painting, etc.) throughout his stories. One thing I especially like about de Lint's short stories is that most feature fully developed plots, if brief ones, as well as exploration of characters. This is in contrast to some science fiction and fantasy stories I've read which seem more like excerpts or exercises in world-building.

Mar 1, 10:06pm Top

So Much Blue by Percival Everett (4 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

In So Much Blue, Kevin Pace, an artist who is currently struggling in his relationships with his family reflects upon two earlier events in his life. The novel shifts among the three storylines: the current one, a short-lived affair in Paris from over a decade ago and a traumatic incident in El Salvador when he was a young man. At first, I didn't think I'd like Kevin at all, as he's an especially flawed character. However, I did grow to like his honest, self-deprecating and often funny observations of his life.

This is my 7th book from the Tournament of Books list and I hope to finish one or two more before the tournament starts.

Mar 6, 10:03pm Top

29. Precious Cargo: My Year of Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077 by Craig Davidson (5 stars)
Category: Cross-Country Journey (Calgary, Alberta)

This is one of the books on the current Canada Reads shortlist and in it, Craig Davidson describes his year driving a school bus for special-needs teenagers in Calgary. I loved this book! I found the stories honest, sensitive and extremely funny. Most of the humour came from Davidson's own reactions to the challenges of his work rather than from the children's antics.

Recently, I was at a local book event in which Davidson was promoting his horror fiction, written under the pseudonym Nick Cutter. I am looking forward to trying those books too.

This book goes into my Cross-Country Journey category. I'm walking through Manitoba right now in my virtual cross-Canada tour. However, I zoomed through Alberta last year and missed an opportunity to read something from that province and had been intending to go back, so this book fits perfectly.

Mar 6, 10:28pm Top

30. Agatha: the Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandra Franc (3.5 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

This is an interesting take on Agatha Christie's life story -- a graphic novel in which she interacts with several of her famous characters, including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple of course. I'd recommend this book to dedicated Christie fans, who would appreciate the many references to specific books. This novel captures both the great successes and the very difficult moments of her life.

Mar 12, 10:02pm Top

31. Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (4.5 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

This is another excellent installment in the Saga space-opera series. There is both action and lots of character development in this one. I love the artwork of Fiona Staples. Most of the alien creatures are imaginative and weird, in a good way, with some like the seal-man Ghüs that are simply adorable.

Mar 12, 10:03pm Top

32. Shift by Hugh Howey (4.5 stars)
Category: Other SFF
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

This second book of the post-apocalyptic Silo trilogy is a prequel that describes the events leading up to the time where the first book starts. This book follows the paths of a completely different set of characters. The characters and just as appealing and the plotlines just as gripping as those of the first book. I'm looking forward to reading the concluding book of the trilogy, in which the various plotlines merge and the characters come together.

Edited: Mar 12, 10:03pm Top

33. Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone (4 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series
Challenges: SFFKIT

This is the third book in Gladstone's urban-fantasy Craft Sequence. In this story, Kai, a high priest in a business that creates idols, investigates the death of one of them while crossing path with resourceful street child Izza. I enjoyed this one more than I did the first two, as the characters seemed to have more depth to them. The real attraction of this series is the unusual world created by Gladstone, with its mix of religion and business/economics.

Mar 12, 10:08pm Top

I'm a little late with my February summary but here it is. I managed to read so many books only because a number of them were very short ones!

I continued reading from the Tournament of Books list, and I'm glad I got through a good number of them before the tournament started last week. I also finished a few more that I'll be nominating for the Hugo awards later this week.

Books finished: 17 (out of 33 for the year)
Books off my shelves: 7 (out of 14 for the year)
Favourite books: Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson and All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Mar 12, 10:25pm Top

>99 mathgirl40: I really need to get to Shift as I loved the first book so much. Great to hear it's a good one as well!

Mar 12, 11:15pm Top

>99 mathgirl40: I've just placed the first Silo book on hold on Overdrive because of your review. LT's algorithm doesn't seem to think I'll like it, but it sounds fantastic so I'm going to give it a shot.

Mar 16, 7:52am Top

>102 DeltaQueen50: Yes, I really enjoyed this one, as it answered a lot of questions I had after reading the first.

>103 virginiahomeschooler: I'll be interested in hearing how you like it. I've found that LT's algorithm isn't always reliable.

Edited: Mar 16, 7:59am Top

34. A Hot Glue Gun Mess by Mr. Kate (2 stars)
Category: Nonfiction

One of my parent-child book-club members picked this book. Otherwise, I would never have chosen it myself, and I only managed to get halfway before I gave up on it. It's part celebrity memoir and part craft book. I do like that idea and the format of the book, just not much of the content. My friend, who happens to be the book-club member most leery of "inappropriate" content, was appalled and embarrassed when she actually got around to reading the book she'd chosen based on a superficial skim. The rest of us were more amused than annoyed at having to read this book and the book-club discussion was lively indeed!

The book consists of many short chapters, each containing a brief essay and featuring a craft project. Mr. Kate is a blogger who specializes in the "creative lifestyle movement". Born to a very wealthy family, many of the essays talk about her experiences in that world, like taking luxury cruises, meeting famous actors and having trysts with other celebrities. Sex comes up a lot in this book, so it is not one to share with a young child. (All the children in our parent-child book club are actually adults now.) To be fair, Mr. Kate occasionally touches on serious topics such as her struggles with eating disorders.

It wasn't the graphic language that bothered me but that the stories were especially dull. She even makes the "I had sex with Tiger Woods" chapter boring. The craft projects have clear instructions and nice photographs, but few appeal to me. Still, I have to reluctantly give 2 stars to this book because I think some readers would really enjoy these stories and projects; I'm just not the right audience for it.

Mar 16, 8:05am Top

35. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (4 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

This was my 8th book from the Tournament of Books list, and I was very surprised to see that it had beaten Lincoln in the Bardo in the first round last week. Though I also liked Lincoln in the Bardo very much, I'm not disappointed. I found Fever Dream, which follows the conversation and flashbacks of a critically ill woman in a feverish state, totally mesmerizing. It's a very short novel, with no real breaks, and it's the sort of work that is best consumed in a single intense sitting if possible.

Mar 16, 9:17am Top

Fever Dream really is mesmerizing. How are you liking the tournament so far?

Mar 16, 11:52am Top

>105 mathgirl40: That is not at all the type of content I would expect from that title and cover about hot glue! I am not surprised the content was unexpected. I hope your especially conservative friend wasn't too embarassed or uncomfortable that she was fooled!

Mar 19, 9:52pm Top

>107 RidgewayGirl: I'm enjoying the tournament, as I always do, but I was devastated to see that White Tears and The Animators won't be coming back as zombies! I'm only halfway through The Animators but really loving it so far.

>108 pammab: Fortunately, we all know each other well enough that the embarrassment didn't last too long, and we certainly had a fun meeting!

Mar 20, 9:03pm Top

36. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (3.5 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

This work of historical fiction set in New York City during the Great Depression was enjoyable enough, and Egan is a skilled writer, but this must be one of the most unexciting Tournament of Books entries I've seen in a while. It just seemed rather ordinary, which isn't a word I normally associate with ToB books. I liked the descriptions of diving (the career that the main character chooses), except for one scene that seemed totally implausible to me.

Mar 20, 9:03pm Top

37. Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond edited by Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall (3 stars)
Category: Short Stories

This book was chosen for a local SFF book club and I was excited about the subject at first. The title included the term Afrofuturism but the book actually featured authors from many other groups underrepresented in the SFF world. However, the scope was so wide that I had trouble identifying any common themes and the quality of the stories was uneven.

There were a few excellent stories by established writers like N.K. Jemisin, S.P. Somtow, Daniel Jose Older and Victor Lavalle. However, there was an enormous amount of what seemed to me "filler" material. The book is quite long, with over 30 stories and could have done with some culling. One of our book-club members recalled that the book was created from a crowd-funding campaign, and that might account for the greater volume (i.e. stories were added as stretch goals were reached).

Mar 20, 9:11pm Top

38. Carrie by Stephen King (4 stars)
Category: Scary Books

This well-known novel was King's first book, and a lot of people say it's not as strong as his later work. It was still one heck of a scary book! I liked the structure of the book, how the entire story was slowly revealed through the narratives from various points of view, as well as excerpts from newspapers and books. I have to confess that I've never seen the classic movie featuring Sissy Spacek; that is on my to-do list.

Mar 20, 9:22pm Top

39. Greenwitch by Susan Cooper (4 stars)
Category: Arthurian Books
Challenges: ColorCAT

This is the first entry for my Arthurian Books category. It's the third book of Cooper's The Dark is Rising YA series. Though the story is set in the time in which the books were written (mid 60's to mid 70's), the series makes use of stories and characters from Arthurian legends. This particular book is focussed on Jane and her interactions with the magical being Greenwitch. I really like Cooper's writing, and the reading/listening experience was made even better by the superb audiobook recording by Alex Jennings.

Edited: Mar 21, 9:58pm Top

40. The Mystery of the Green Cat by Phyllis Whitney (4 stars)
Category: Miscellaneous
Challenges: ColorCAT

The ColorCAT challenge inspired me to pull this old book, which I'd last read at the age of 10, from my shelves. I was prepared to be disappointed, expecting that my 50-year-old self would find it terribly dull, but I was pleasantly surprised. There is a mystery, but the story is mostly about how an 11-year-old girl and her sister adjust to their new life with their stepfather and stepbrothers. I particularly enjoyed the San Francisco setting.

Edited: Mar 20, 9:40pm Top

41. A Basket Brigade Christmas by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser and Grace Whitson (2.5 stars)
Category: BookCrossing Roundabout

I received this book as part of the BookCrossing roundabout that I'm participating in this year and so felt obligated to read through the entire thing. Getting this book was a bit of a surprise to me, as it's quite different from the books usually chosen for this roundabout.

The book consists of three novellas set during the American Civil War, about a group of women who prepare food for soldiers travelling on trains passing through their town. I am not fond of the romance genre to begin with, and seeing that this is considered a "Christian romance", I'm definitely not of the demographic that the authors had in mind. I can see, however, that the book might be more appealing to a different reader.

Mar 21, 1:27pm Top

>112 mathgirl40:
That's one where I think I actually preferred the movie-version. The book is fine, but it's not quite up to par with his later works.

Mar 29, 12:28pm Top

>112 mathgirl40: Carrie, (the Sissy Spacek version) is a classic and a cultural touchstone for so many books/movies/tv shows that followed. I hate horror - books and movies - but I love that movie.

What do you think of the final match up in the ToB? I haven't read either book but I'm rooting for Fever Dream. It sounds strange and interesting. I stopped reading Saunders years ago. I find his books very repetitive.

Mar 29, 2:27pm Top

>116 -Eva-: & >117 VioletBramble: Certainly the Spacek version is a classic, but the remake with Chloë Moretz was remarkably bad.

Mar 31, 7:58am Top

>116 -Eva-: >117 VioletBramble: >118 RidgewayGirl: I really do need to watch the Sissy Spacek version of Carrie. I was in my preteen and early teen years in the late 70's when all those classic horror films came out. I remember being really intrigued by them, but by the time I was old enough to watch them (many had the 14+ rating) as well as brave enough, I never went back to them.

>117 VioletBramble: Wow, that final ToB result surprised me! I am not upset or disappointed, though. I really didn't think Fever Dream would win, given the books it was up against, but I did like it very much myself and have been recommending it to friends.

>118 RidgewayGirl: When I hear a movie described as "remarkably bad", that somehow makes me more curious to see it. I can just imagine how bad a Carrie remake might possibly be!

Mar 31, 11:41am Top

>119 mathgirl40: You are in for a treat. I suggest having alcohol on hand to dull the pain.

Apr 3, 9:20pm Top

>120 RidgewayGirl: That sounds like great advice!

Apr 3, 9:22pm Top

42. Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (3.5 stars)
Category: Doorstoppers
Challenges: SFFKIT, RandomCAT

This is the third book of Robinson's Mars trilogy. It features everything I love about his writing, including ambitious ideas, vast scope and plausible science. It also features everything I hate about his writing, including one-dimensional characters and tedious amounts of detail. Actually, I love hard science fiction and I appreciated the great amount of scientific detail present in the first book, Red Mars. However, in this third book, Robinson's focus is on the politics and economies of Mars, which I find less interesting and also somewhat less plausible. Also, I do wish Robinson could give me just one character that I could like.

I listened to all 33 hours of the audiobook. In retrospect, I should have returned to my physical copy which I'd put aside because of the small print. I found that I frequently couldn't retain the enormous amount of detail that Robinson throws at us and had to refer back to the book to learn what I'd just finished listening to. On the plus side, I did a lot of walking and made great progress on my 3000-piece jigsaw puzzle while listening to this book.

Apr 3, 9:36pm Top

43. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (4.5 stars)
Category: Tournament of Books

This was my 10th and last read from the Tournament of Books list and it was a great way to end this year's ToB reading. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long in the tournament, but it ended up being one of my favourites. This is exactly the sort of book I probably would have missed if it had not been for the ToB.

This debut novel follows the chaotic lives of two brilliant creators of animated films who have both lived through traumatic experiences in their past. It's an excellent story about making art and one of the best books about friendship that I've read in the past year. I love animated films myself, and I especially enjoyed reading about the processes behind creating these. There are some heart-wrenching moments in this novel but also a great deal of humour.

Apr 4, 8:48pm Top

44. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (4 stars)
Category: Scary Books
Challenges: ScaredyKIT

Jeff VanderMeer is known as a "new weird" writer, so this made him a good choice for the March ScaredyKIT theme, weird fiction. This novel definitely has weird elements, including strange and wonderful creatures that result from biotechnology gone wrong. I also found this story much less confounding and the characters more appealing than with VanderMeer's acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy.

Apr 11, 10:45pm Top

45. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith (3.5 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World (Botswana)
Challenges: MysteryCAT

This was a heartwarming and relaxing read that I found to be a good break from the more intense and bleak works I've been reading lately. I liked that Mma Makutsi takes centre stage in this installment, as she sets up her own business and gets caught up in a romantic relationship. In the background, the story of Mma Ramotswe and her family continues.

Apr 11, 10:45pm Top

46. A Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel by Madeleine L'Engle (3.5 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

I'd reread this novel a few years ago, and recently, one of my local book clubs chose the graphic novel as its selection to coincide with the release of the movie. This is one of those books that I probably shouldn't have reread as an adult, as it lost a lot of the magic that I experienced as a child. I can't help thinking that this "classic" is rather overrated, especially compared to works such as Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence. Having said that, I did enjoy reading the graphic novel, as I liked the artwork and the faster pace of reading.

Apr 11, 10:47pm Top

47. August Heat by Andrea Camilleri (4 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World (Sicily)
Challenges: MysteryCAT

I enjoyed very much this installment of the Inspector Montalbano series. It starts off with some very funny comedic scenes, as Montalbano helps Livia find a vacation home for her friends, but then turns dark suddenly as a corpse is uncovered in that house. I liked the dramatic ending, though it wasn't entirely unexpected to me. I also liked the author's passing tribute to Sjöwall and Wahlöö, the authors of the Martin Beck series.

Apr 11, 10:54pm Top

48. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (3.5 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

Friends had been recommending the Discworld series to me for a long time. Several years ago, I did read The Wee Free Men for a book club but I didn't find it especially appealing. Last year, I thought I'd try Pratchett again and read The Colour of Magic. Again, I thought it was just OK.

Finally, now, after reading The Light Fantastic, I think I'm starting to get the appeal of Pratchett. This book continues the story of Rincewind, Two Flower and the Luggage started in The Colour of Magic. While I didn't completely love this book, I did start connecting to the characters and feeling well immersed in the world. I'm definitely hooked enough to read more in the Discworld series.

Apr 11, 10:59pm Top

49. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall (3.5 stars)
Category: Mysteries Around the World

This is the second book in Hall's Vish Puri series, featuring a private detective living in Delhi. This case involves a death that, at first glance, looks as if it involved divine intervention. For the first half of the novel I found the story a little tedious and silly but ultimately, it developed into a pretty good mystery. The main character is rather over-the-top and not especially likable, but some of the supporting characters are quite appealing. I love the setting, especially all the details of the Indian food that the main character enjoys. This is one thing this series has in common with Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano series, which also features a gourmand detective and mouthwatering descriptions of local culinary specialties.

Apr 11, 11:01pm Top

I'm a little late with my March summary, but here it is:

Books read: 16 (out of 49 in all)
Books off my shelf: 6 (out of 20 in all)
Favourite books: The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker and Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

It was a good reading month, with an emphasis on books from the Tournament of Books list. Two of those ended up as my favourite books of the month.

Apr 12, 1:40am Top

Glad you had such a good month! Pritchett is one of my favorites too, but I think he gets much better after the second book.

Apr 12, 1:43am Top

>128 mathgirl40: you're in for a treat. I don't think I'm alone in thinking the first two of the series are the weakest. By book 3 & 4 he's got into his stride and they improve. I know series completists say start at the beginning of a series, but I'd always say start somewhere between 3 & 9 of the discworld. Where the stories feature different character sets, there are multiple possible start points, none of which mean you've lost a great deal.
Mort is book 4 and that was my first, a present for my 16th birthday (30 years ago - gulp!). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and do.

Apr 12, 1:44am Top

>131 cmbohn: - see, great minds do think alike! that post wasn't there when I started typing! So that's two voices in harmony. >:-)

Apr 12, 6:58am Top

>131 cmbohn: >132 Helenliz: I've started book 3, Equal Rites, and it is totally engaging so far. It feels like a much more coherent story, compared to the first 2 books. Thanks for the encouragement. I do feel now that I am destined to become a Pratchett fan. :)

Apr 12, 1:26pm Top

>134 mathgirl40: Yay, glad to hear you're enjoying Equal Rites! That's next up for me, but I'm saving it for the "humorous" month of the SFFKIT.

Apr 12, 8:27pm Top

>135 christina_reads: I'll definitely be reading more Terry Pratchett in that month myself!

Apr 12, 8:40pm Top

50. Bad Move by Linwood Barclay (3.5 stars)
Category: Other Mysteries
Challenges: ColorCAT

I'm a big fan of Linwood Barclay's books and have read most of the novels he has published so far. This is his debut novel, the first in his Zack Walker series, and it's not as polished or page-turning as his later books. It is still a very entertaining read with some hilarious depictions of suburban life.

Apr 14, 11:37pm Top

>131 cmbohn:
I'd agree with that: book 3 and on are pretty much all great!

Apr 15, 5:59am Top

I'm making this year's first round on threads and can see I've already missed a lot of good stuff! Three BBs have hit their target, White Tears, The Animators and Where the Bodies are Buried...

Apr 23, 9:30pm Top

>138 -Eva-: Good to know!

>139 Chrischi_HH: Glad to have caught you with some BBs. These authors were all new to me and I was very happy with the discoveries.

I'm rather behind with my reviews and with following other people's threads, but I hope to catch up soon! In the meantime, I acquired more books at a huge annual book sale in my community:

As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories by Alistair MacLeod
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Police by Jo Nesbo
One Good Story, That One by Thomas King
Murder at Government House by Elspeth Huxley
Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley
Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
Pearls Before Swine by Margery Allingham
Cargo of Eagles by Margery Allingham
The China Governess by Margery Allingham
A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin
Night Frost by R. D. Wingfield
Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

I also bought two books as gifts:
With a Bang, Not a Whimper: Pierre Trudeau Speaks Out edited by Donald Johnston, for my daughter, and
Jamaica in the Canadian Experience edited by Carl E. James and Andrea Davis, for a close friend who grew up in Jamaica before moving to Canada.

Apr 23, 9:46pm Top

>134 mathgirl40: The first two books were really just satiric take-offs, parodies, of popular fantasy of the day. In the first book, these were Sword & Sourcery, Lovecraftian fantasy, and McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, in four separate novellas. The Light Fantastic ties everything together into one storyline while spoofing scheming wizards, druids, New Agers, Conan the Barbarian, red-headed warrior women, trolls, mysterious little shops, doomsday cults, and probably more and wraps up the Rincewind and Twoflower narrative quite nicely. From now on, we move out of broad farce and caricatures into more realistic people (and mocking THEIR behavior). And Granny Weatherwax is a key, pivotal character from here until Pratchett's final Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown. Enjoy the journey!!

Apr 24, 8:33am Top

>140 mathgirl40: Looks like a nice haul!

Apr 24, 11:20am Top

Oooh, nice haul! I do love a good booksale.

Apr 24, 6:24pm Top

Yay, nice haul! :D

Apr 24, 8:06pm Top

You'll have to let us know what you think of the Elspeth Huxley books. I have read a couple of her books and quite liked them, but they are hard to find.

Apr 24, 9:14pm Top

>141 ronincats: I finished Equal Rites (review to come later) and I have to agree with you. This third book moves from sheer comedy/satire to a really well constructed and heartwarming story. I am definitely looking forward to the next book.

>142 thornton37814: >143 RidgewayGirl: Thanks! It's nice to be here among a group of people who really appreciate book sales and book hauls. :)

>144 rabbitprincess: I thought of you when I picked up the Alistair MacLeod short stories!

>145 cmbohn: I'm glad to hear that you liked her books. I'm quite eager to read these.

Edited: Apr 25, 10:40pm Top

51. Weave A Circle Round by Kari Maaren (4 stars)
Category: Other Science Fiction and Fantasy
Challenges: SFFKIT

This is Kari Maaren's first novel and I was pleased to see that it was nominated for the 2017 Nebula (Norton) YA award. I'm familiar with Maaren's Web comics, as they've been nominated in past years for the Canadian Aurora SFF awards.

The story is about a teenager who finds herself, along with her sister and step-brother, unwillingly involved with a time-travelling pair of powerful beings who represent Order and Chaos. At first I feared this would be a retake of A Wrinkle in Time and there are indeed a few similarities, but it turned out to be a very different and interesting kind of time-travel story. It's definitely a strong debut from Maaren.

Apr 25, 10:48pm Top

52. Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh (4 stars)
Category: Golden Age Mysteries
Challenges: SFFKIT, RandomCAT

This is the 9th Inspector Alleyn mystery and possibly the one I've enjoyed the most of the Ngaio Marsh books I've read. The title of the book is especially appropriate as the mystery involves a lawyer and is set in a pub. I was kept guessing until the end.

Apr 25, 10:56pm Top

53. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Category: BookCrossing Roundabout
Challenges: ColorCAT

I really enjoyed my reread of this novel that I received as part of the BookCrossing roundabout that I'm participating in this year. Since I'd last read it several years ago, Google had opened an office near my home in Southwestern Ontario. I've visited the office several times and have friends who work there, and the Google culture is certainly compatible with that described in the novel. I especially like that the novel celebrates new technology while showing appreciation of the old.

May 12, 9:17pm Top

54. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (4 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series
Challenges: RandomCAT

So many people had recommended the Discworld series to me. I thought the first two books were just OK, but now, after reading the third, I can start to see the great appeal of the series. The story of Esk is a charming and funny coming-of-age story, and Granny Weatherwax is a wonderful and memorable character. I'm definitely hooked now and am looking forward to the fourth book in this series.

May 12, 9:22pm Top

55. Traitor's Purse by Margery Allingham
Category: Golden Age Mysteries
Challenges: MysteryCAT

In this installment of the Albert Campion mysteries, Campion loses his memory and finds himself embroiled in mysterious and dangerous circumstances. This novel seems darker than the other Campion novels I'd read, and it is more of a spy thriller than a typical Golden Age mystery novel. Allingham does a very good job of conveying the confusion, frustration and fear of Campion as he struggles to make sense of the situation in which he finds himself.

May 13, 2:13pm Top

>150 mathgirl40: excellent! Another convert. >:-)
>151 mathgirl40: I'm slowly making my way through the Campion books, so this one is still to come for me. I like that, so far, they've all been that bit different.

May 13, 10:24pm Top

>151 mathgirl40: I am also working my way through the Campion series and have yet to get to Traitor's Purse but I remember book #5, Sweet Danger was more of a spy thriller than mystery as well. I guess it just shows us how versatile Albert Campion is!

May 20, 8:09am Top

>152 Helenliz: I'm definitely a convert now, but it's intimidating to see how many more books there are to read.

>152 Helenliz: >153 DeltaQueen50: Yes, that's true. I guess, when I think about the ones I've read so far, they've all been different from one another, and they've all been enjoyable.

May 20, 8:23am Top

56. All We Leave Behind by Carol Off (4.5 stars)
Category: Evergreen Awards
Challenges: RandomCAT (March)

This is one of the books on this year's Ontario Library Association's Evergreen list. Carol Off is a well-known journalist with the CBC. In this memoir, she talks about a personal journey that started off as a work assignment. She tells the story of how Asad Aryubwal put himself and his family in danger by speaking with her when she was in Afghanistan filming a documentary in the early 2000's. She then describes the consequences the family faced and their long struggle to escape Afghanistan and eventually settle in Canada with Off's help.

I found this story to be riveting and moving. I also liked Off's examination of how she blurred the lines between her professional duties and her personal involvement. She does not make excuses for getting emotionally involved but simply tells the story as it happens (fitting, as Off is host of the CBC radio show "As It Happens"), while acknowledging that her objectivity was compromised.

May 20, 9:31am Top

>155 mathgirl40: I think that's a BB for me!

Jun 3, 9:04pm Top

>150 mathgirl40:
The first two aren't great - the following ones are (nearly) all great, though! Granny is always fantastic.

Jun 14, 10:25pm Top

>156 Jackie_K: I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did!

>157 -Eva-: That's what I'm finding too. I'm enjoying the series more and more with each subsequent book.

The past few weeks have been very busy for me and I have a big backlog of books to review, as well as lots of threads to visit! I'll try my best to catch up in the next little while.

Jun 14, 10:32pm Top

57. Provenance by Ann Leckie (4 stars)
Category: Hugo Awards

This is one of the six novels on the Hugo Best Novel shortlist this year. It's a science fiction space-opera story with mystery elements. I really enjoyed this novel and loved the characters. However, it won't be at or even near the top of my Hugo ballot. This is a solid novel but rather conventional in many ways, especially compared to Leckie's earlier Hugo winner, Ancillary Justice, which contained so many interesting and innovative ideas. Still, I can't wait to read the next book that Leckie gives us!

Jun 14, 10:33pm Top

58. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (3.5 stars)
Category: 1001 Books
Challenges: SFFKIT

This was an entertaining time-travel story in the usual satiric style of Douglas Adams. It was a fun read, but I'll admit I'm rather surprised that this ended up on Peter Boxall's 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. It's not an especially memorable science-fiction/fantasy story and it didn't embed itself in our culture the way The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy did.

Edited: Jun 14, 10:55pm Top

59. Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey (4.5 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

How I love this series! I can't decide, though, if I like the books or the TV series better. This third installment of the Expanse series introduces three new characters, Melba, Anna and Bull, as the various factions converge at "the ring", an artifact created by alien intelligence. I've been watching the new episodes of the third season and seeing with interest how these characters are portrayed. The TV Anna did not match my own picture of her based on the novel but I am getting used to her.

Jun 14, 11:05pm Top

60. Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (3 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

This book is the direct sequel to Scout's Progress and the two of them together form a prequel to the main sequence of the Liaden Universe books starting with Agent of Change.

I really loved Scout's Progress (which works well as a standalone and can be read even if you've not read other Liaden books). However, I found this follow-up novel disappointing, and my main complaint is the pacing. The first three-quarters of the book is slow and plodding and then everything happens in the last quarter.

Although I did not enjoy this installment as much as the others, I do recommend reading it if you are a Liaden Universe fan, as it gives a lot of the backstory for the Theo Waitley sequence of novels.

Jun 15, 5:41pm Top

>159 mathgirl40: I'll get to this one in about two years. This year I'm reading Ancillary Sword, and next year it will be Ancillary Mercy. Then I'll be free to read Provenance ;)

>160 mathgirl40: This reminds me I need to re-read Dirk Gently. It's been forever!

Jun 16, 9:33pm Top

I think I liked Mouse and Dragon better than you did. Once I have the three novels I'm missing I'll probably start at the beginning and reread the whole series.

Jun 16, 11:15pm Top

>163 rabbitprincess: Well, you can't go wrong with Leckie's Radch trilogy! I hope you'll enjoy the three books as much as I did.

>164 hailelib: What order will you be using for the reread? I've read only about half of the books, so I still have a long way to go, but I expect I'll want to do a reread one day. I've been following neither chronological nor publication order in my reading so far, and I have no idea how I'd want to tackle a reread.

Jun 23, 1:03pm Top

>162 mathgirl40: I think tht is the main reason Mouse and Dragon was written--to fill in the major gap in storyline between Scout's Progress and the Theo Waitley books. I agree it did not rise to the level of SP and wonder how much of that was because we already knew what had to happen in it. Perhaps it was the pacing.

For first reads, I go with publication order except that I might now recommend M&D right after Scout's Progress, but for a reread, it's really interesting to go in chronological order and see all the connections.

Jul 4, 10:23pm Top

>166 ronincats: That's a good point about chronological order. I'll definitely consider that if/when I do a reread. However, Lee and Miller are currently writing faster than I can work through the Liaden books. :)

Jul 4, 10:23pm Top

61. Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (4 stars)
Category: Graphic Novels

This is another great installment in the excellent Saga space-opera graphic-novel series. There is less action in this one but more character development. I'm looking forward to reading the next volume, which is one of the Hugo Best Graphic Novel nominees this year.

Jul 4, 10:23pm Top

62. Doctor Who and the Masque of Mandragora by Philip Hinschcliffe (3 stars)
Category: Other SFF
Challenges: SFFKIT (April)

I obtained this book from a fellow BookCrosser who passed it on at a meeting. This was a quick and fun read, set in an interesting time and place, 15th-century Italy. It was my first time reading a novelization of a Doctor Who episode, and now I'm curious to see the episode itself.

Jul 4, 10:23pm Top

63. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (4 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

I definitely enjoyed this third volume in the Dresden Files series more than I did the first two. Maybe it's because I'm getting better acquainted with Harry Dresden and friends or that this installment had more character development and a greater focus on Harry's relationships with Susan and Michael. There are vampires and a Faerie Godmother in this story, which was made even more enjoyable by the excellent narration of James Marsters.

Jul 4, 10:24pm Top

How embarrassing ... it is now July and I've just caught up with my April reviews. I'm not sure how I managed to get so far behind! In any case, here is a quick summary of the April books:

Books read: 14
Books off my shelves: 6
Favourite book: All We Leave Behind by Carol Off

Jul 5, 6:42am Top

>170 mathgirl40: I think you have just hit the point of consensus where that series really starts to take off. The growth of secondary characters really helps Harry to develop as a character. The rest of the series, for the most part, remains at a consistently high level of enjoyment so you still have plenty of good reading ahead of you. I'm waiting on book 16 to get finished though I might be tempted in a re-read of the series depending on how long a wait until Peace Talks finally makes its appearance. Been 3 years since I read Skin Game already so might need the refresher by the time it does come out.

Jul 5, 5:27pm Top

>169 mathgirl40: Ooh, I have that one! I should read it. Unfortunately that story doesn't seem to be on BritBox, which has a lot of classic Doctor Who eps. But the novelizations usually do a good job of standing in for the episode.

Jul 10, 10:03pm Top

>172 AHS-Wolfy: It's good to know that the quality of the series remains high after book 3. I'd also enjoyed The Aeronaut's Windlass and am wondering when Butcher will be continuing with that series.

>173 rabbitprincess: I've watched only a small percentage of all the Doctor Who episodes. I really do need to watch more, perhaps while working on a Doctor Who scarf. I've always wanted to knit one of those!

Jul 11, 5:31pm Top

>174 mathgirl40: Here's a website with information about the different variants: http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/

I've knitted two, although one of them ended up being only half length. I was running out of yellow and had bought all the yarn at a yarn store that was going out of business. So a bit difficult to replace colours!

Jul 13, 9:12am Top

>174 mathgirl40: I bought all the yarn to knit the Doctor's scarf a few years back. It was going to be a Christmas present for my then about 10 year old daughter. After starting I quickly realized she'd probably be 20 before I could finish it so I ended up adjusting the pattern and made one for her American Girl doll instead. Still took me forever.

Jul 16, 10:30pm Top

>175 rabbitprincess: That's a blast from the past! During one of the busiest times of my life, my son persuaded me to knit him a Doctor Who scarf. I had to watch the program to find out what it looked like. It was quite a novelty in cold, cold Edmonton where it should be de rigueur!

Jul 17, 7:17am Top

>177 VivienneR: Now that's dedication! And I agree, Edmonton would be the perfect place to wear it. It comes in handy here, although I prefer to keep it as an indoor scarf (it makes a great shawl in over-AC'd buildings).

Jul 18, 9:45pm Top

>175 rabbitprincess: That's a terrific site! Thanks for sharing the link.

>176 virginiahomeschooler: >177 VivienneR: >178 rabbitprincess: Nice to see fellow knitters here. Speaking of dedication, I figure one must be a pretty dedicated knitter to even contemplate making a Doctor Who scarf, regardless of whether it eventually gets finished or not!

Jul 18, 9:46pm Top

64. The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis (4.5 stars)
Category: Evergreen Award

This book, from the 2018 Ontario Library Association's Evergreen nominee list, is a collection of short stories exploring love in its many forms. I was impressed by the quality of the writing and found every story engaging. My favourite was "Girlfriend on Mars", told from the point-of-view of a pot dealer as his girlfriend participates in a reality-show competition for a spot in a Mars mission.

Jul 18, 9:49pm Top

65. A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence (4.5 stars)
Category: Cross-Canada Journey

I am still continuing my virtual cross-Canada walk. I am well into Ontario at this point, but as I am so behind in my reviews, this entry is still stuck way back in Manitoba.

A Bird in the House is an excellent collection of short stories set in Margaret Laurence's fictional Manitoba town of Manawaka. The stories describe episodes in the life of main character Vanessa Macleod, and taken as a whole, they form a beautiful coming-of-age story showing how Vanessa develops into a writer. Laurence herself has noted that there are semi-autobiographical elements in this book. I highly recommend this collection, especially if you're already a fan of Laurence's Manawaka novels.

Jul 18, 10:07pm Top

66. The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall by Chris Dolley (3.5 stars)
Category: Other Science Fiction and Fantasy

This was an Early Reviewers book that I received and it was my introduction to the Reeves and Worcester series. The story is a crazy humorous mix of Jeeves and Wooster, Sherlock Holmes and steampunk. It's satire, mystery, science fiction and fantasy all mashed together. I enjoyed the book but I found the mix a little bit too chaotic for my tastes. The audiobook version was competently narrated by Paul J. Rose.

Jul 18, 11:34pm Top

>180 mathgirl40: Yay! I've met Deborah Willis a couple of times! First, at a library conference.

And, I think it was just last summer, my (old) book club... run through my (previous) community association, where I used to live (different community, same city), read this book. Why? Because Deborah lives in the community! So, she came to chat with us and talk about her book. Was really fun!

Jul 19, 6:52am Top

>183 LibraryCin: Thanks for sharing the story! I'd love to meet her myself one day.

Jul 21, 8:59pm Top

>170 mathgirl40:
The audio versions are just fantastic - Marsters is the perfect reader for Dresden.

>172 AHS-Wolfy:
I'd agree with that. Other than the "wonky" one (Ghost Story), they are all solid reads.

Aug 8, 9:26pm Top

>185 -Eva-: After seeing all this Dresden and Marsters love, I'm eager to read the next one in the series. I'll have to see if I can squeeze it into the next month's reading.

I'm so behind in my reviews that I'm not sure I'll ever catch up, but I will make the attempt!

Edited: Aug 8, 9:28pm Top

67. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White (4 stars)
Category: Golden Age Mysteries
Challenges: MysteryCAT (May)

The Lady Vanishes (originally published as The Wheel Spins) tells the story of a young woman who is disturbed by the sudden disappearance of a friendly passenger she meets on a train. To her amazement, none of the other passengers will admit to having seen this person.

After reading this, I had to watch the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock film, which I found very enjoyable, though there are some significant differences between it and the book. For one thing, the film has a lighter tone and includes a lot of comic elements. I've heard that later adaptations are not nearly as good.

Aug 8, 9:38pm Top

68. Mort by Terry Pratchett (4 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

I found the first two Discworld books just OK, but I really enjoyed the third book, Equal Rites, and this fourth book. Like Equal Rites, Mort is a coming-of-age story, and this one is about a boy who becomes apprenticed to Death. I'm starting to appreciate better Pratchett's humour, and I can see why his characters are so well loved.

Aug 8, 9:43pm Top

69. Hunger by Roxane Gay (4.5 stars)
Category: Bookcrossing Roundabout

Hunger, Roxane Gay's memoir describing the traumatic event that led to her eating disorder and her struggles with being obese in an inflexible world, is a powerful and thought-provoking book. I admire her candour in revealing these very personal aspects of her life. My one small complaint is that there is a lot of repetition, but possibly that is a consequence of the fact that parts of the book had been published before and Gay or her editor did not want to alter those essays too much. Otherwise, I found this book a very worthwhile read, as it made me reflect upon and question my own views on the subjects the author discusses. After reading this book, I realize that I need to be less judgmental of other people's bodies and more tolerant of what I see as my own deficiencies.

Aug 9, 1:17am Top

>188 mathgirl40: Mort was the first of the Pratchett books I read. Having read the entire series (more than once) I agree that 1 & 2 are not the best, it is by about now that he finds his voice and they take off. Enjoy, it is a fun ride from here on in.

Sep 13, 9:54pm Top

>190 Helenliz: Wow, I'm very impressed that you've read the entire series more than once! I guess it's confirmation that the series is well loved.

Well, I'm still struggling to get through my backlog of reviews. I had a busy summer and September started off with lots of events too. My husband and I joined our daughter in Toronto last weekend for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). We had a great time, and one book-related film we watched was Through Black Spruce.

There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Joseph Boyden and his claim of Indigenous heritage, so it was interesting to attend the premiere, at which the producer Tina Keeper and other members of the Indigenous community spoke. Even though the TIFF film description had no mention of Boyden (which I though somewhat unfair since he did write the story), the producer and her team invited him onto the stage and showed him great support. I thought the film was very good, though I've read mixed reviews, with some saying that it's flat compared to the book. I own a t-shirt that says "The book was better" so I can understand the sentiment, though I've not yet read Boyden's book.

Sep 13, 10:07pm Top

70. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (3.5 stars)
Category: 1001 Books

I found this short novel a very enjoyable but otherwise unremarkable spy thriller. Perhaps I expected too much, given that it was on the 1001 Books list. I did like it enough that I'd consider reading more of John Buchan's books and I'd also like to see Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation. Buchan was the first Governor General of Canada and founded the prestigious Governor General's Literary Awards, so for that, I am grateful to him!

Sep 13, 10:14pm Top

71. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (4 stars)
Category: Other SFF

I'd heard this book described as "Harry Potter for adults". Actually, it made me think more of Donna Tartt's work, though Tartt is, to me, the far superior writer. I discovered after reading the book that Grossman lists Tartt as one of his major influences, so I guess the similarity is not coincidental. I liked very much the book's setting and treatment of magic, though I can't say that any of the character were especially appealing.

Edited: Sep 13, 10:30pm Top

72. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (3.5 stars)
Category: Long SFF Series

This was another fun installment in the Discworld series. However, I didn't like it as much as Mort and Equal Rites. Maybe it's because I have a weakness for coming-of-age stories, or maybe Rincewind as a character is just not so appealing to me (though I do like the Luggage). In any case, this didn't lessen my appreciation of the Discworld series as a whole.

Sep 13, 10:41pm Top

>191 mathgirl40: It is nice they brought him on stage and were showing him support, but that is odd that there was no mention of him in the film's description.

Sep 14, 1:50am Top

>192 mathgirl40: I'd no idea John Buchan was Canada's Governor General. That makes me want to read more of his books - and polish up my Canadian history!

Sep 14, 4:29am Top

>191 mathgirl40: Is now the time I say that one upon a time (before there were too many of them) I used to read the series again before I read the new book... The nice shiny new paperback used to sit on the shelf for ages until I'd read them all again and would allow myself to read the new one. I think I stopped that about book 20, when they changed the paperback format. I then didn't buy it for ages, as it wouldn't have fitted on my shelf. Which tells you a lot about me.... Now collecting them all in first edition hardback.

They are such a varied series that there are some strands you'll enjoy more than others. I still think an average Pratchett is well worth a read.

Sep 17, 10:31pm Top

>195 LibraryCin: I was surprised by the omission too. There was also controversy over the fact that the director and screenwriter are non-Indigenous. The film has had mixed reviews, but I thought the acting was particularly good.

>196 VivienneR: I only discovered that fact myself at the 2017 Bouchercon, where John Buchan was chosen as the "Ghost of Honour".

>197 Helenliz: You are definitely a great Pratchett fan! It's already daunting reading the series for the first time, but I do agree with you that even an average Pratchett is very worthwhile.

Sep 17, 10:35pm Top

73. City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett (4.5 stars)
Category: Hugo Awards

This is the second book in the Divine Cities series which was nominated for the 2018 Hugo Best Series award. (Predictably, Lois McMaster Bujold ended up winning for her Five Gods series.) I enjoyed this book as much as the first. Some of the characters from the first book reappear but otherwise, this novel works as a very good standalone story. As before, Bennett combines excellent world building and character development in a well-paced story.

Sep 17, 10:36pm Top

74. Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron (3.5 stars)
Category: Non-fiction

I'd started this book way back in May for the ScaredyKIT's "Close to Home" theme. This ended up being a bit too close to home for me. Paul Bernardo's crimes occurred not far from my own city and I recall that they dominated the news for a very long time. I found some parts of this book very disturbing and ended up skipping past them. The book did do a good job of exploring Karla Homolka's role in the crimes. Her lenient sentence, a result of a plea bargain made before her full role was understood, is still very controversial.

Sep 17, 10:38pm Top

75. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (3.5 stars)
Category: Hugo Awards

This book was nominated for the 2018 Hugo Best Novel, losing eventually to the favourite, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. I was actually quite surprised that this book came in second in the voting, but John Scalzi does have a large fan base. I consider myself one of Scalzi's dedicated fans, but this space opera didn't stand out as anything special … yet. There was a good build-up of political intrigue and an introduction to the various characters and relationships, culminating in a cliffhanger ending. I'll certainly read the next book in the series and may revise my initial opinion about this first book at that time.

Sep 18, 9:58pm Top

76. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (5 stars)
Category: 1001 Books

I'd finished this earlier in the year, for the group read, but am still terribly behind in my updates. I'm really glad that the organized group read motivated me to read this family saga set in Norway during the Middle Ages. There is much I loved about it, first and foremost being Kristin Lavransdatter, a flawed but complex and admirable character. I also enjoyed the many small details that Undset provides about food, shelter and family interaction. I especially liked how Undset explores the role of the church and the difficulties that some of the Christians had with putting all pagan traditions aside.

On a related note ... several years ago, I watched "The Danish Poet", which won the 2007 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It's about a poet who travels to Norway to seek out the author of his favourite book but instead finds his true love. Of course, that book happens to be Kristin Lavransdatter. The film includes lots of references to the book and to Sigrid Undset. I highly recommend this 15-minute film because it is both charming and funny, but there are some spoilers for the book. You can see the film here at the NFB site.

Sep 20, 10:18pm Top

77. Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies (3.5 stars)
Category: Miscellaneous

Robertson Davies is one of my favourite authors but this one is unlike the others I've read. In this novel, the ghost of a murdered man attends a film festival in which he sees the stories of his ancestors. This book is more like a collection of connected short stories than a novel and some parts read like history lessons about Canada. It's an uneven work but contains some moments of Davies brilliance.

Sep 20, 10:44pm Top

78. The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly (4 stars)
Category: Bookcrossing Roundabout

I enjoyed this thriller about a woman who finds herself completely drawn into the erratic lives of two siblings and thought it an impressive debut novel. It started off slowly and I found most of the characters unattractive but once I reached the halfway point, I had a very hard time putting the book down. The author does a good job of sustaining the suspense and tension in the second half of the book. Like The Magicians, which I'd reviewed earlier, this book is also reminiscent of Donna Tartt's work without quite attaining her quality of writing.

Sep 20, 11:01pm Top

79. Tempest Tost by Robertson Davies (4 stars)
Category: Miscellaneous

This early work of Robertson Davies, the first in the Salterton trilogy, does not have the depth, insight and complexity of his later works. Nevertheless, this story about an amateur theatre group putting on a production of The Tempest is charming, funny and thoroughly entertaining. Davies's gift for satire really shows here.

Reading this book has got me wondering about how many books I've read that are retellings of The Tempest or about productions of the play. I also wonder if there are more for Midsummer Night's Dream.

Sep 21, 3:08am Top

Yaaaay Robertson Davies! Murther and Walking Spirits sounds just as strange as its title, but interesting! Good to know that it feels more like connected short stories.

Sep 21, 10:32pm Top

>206 rabbitprincess: It is indeed strange, but that Robertson Davies wit is still there. I only have The Cunning Man to read, and then I will have finished all his novels.

Sep 21, 10:37pm Top

80. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (3 stars)
Category: Hugo Awards

I'm a pretty big fan of Seanan McGuire, having read many of her works, including those written under pseudonym Mira Grant. This one, though nominated for the 2018 Best Series Hugo along with its sequels, didn't have much appeal for me. I do like the world McGuire had built, with all its strange and wonderful creatures, but I'm not sure it's enough for me to continue reading the series.

Group: 2018 Category Challenge

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