Whisper1 (Linda) Thread #1 of 2018
This topic was continued by Whisper1 (Linda) Thread #2 of 2018.
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The Lady of Shalott
Happy New Year to All!
I'll start my first thread of 2018 with the lovely image by J.W. Waterhouse, a Pre-Raphaelite painter. His works are incredibly detailed, with an eye for detail and soft rendering of women.
I'm Linda, by vocation I work at Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, PA. I am the business adviser to the student newspaper, and I am the adviser of the university yearbook. In addition to those tasks, I am the financial adviser for the department. Prior work in social work enables me to relate to the students. In mid life, I went back to college and obtained an accounting degree. Thus I am fortunate to have a job where my skills match the job. After 35 years of working with students, I will retire in September of 2018.
My reading is eclectic and you will find that I read books regarding art, fashion, and I very much enjoy children's illustrated books, as well as Young Adult genre.
I am the mother of two grown daughters and the grandmother of four. My partner is a retired eye doctor who also reads, but fortunately he doesn't collect. I am the collector of books, and my goal in 2018 is to read as many of my accumulated books as possible, and to try not to bring home more.
BOOK NUMBER ONE OF 2018
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Book Off the Shelf
Christina Rossetti was the sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Dante Rossetti was one of the first artists who began the Pre-Raphaelite artistic movement. Christina's Goblin Market was published in 1862. This is a tale of two sisters, one strong in character, the other prone to follow her desires.
When they come upon the Goblins in the brookside rushes, both listen to the Goblins who call for the ladies to buy their fruit. In rhyming fashion, they tell of fresh, lushion, wild, rare and ripe fruit that is sweet to the tongue and sound to the eye.
Laura cannot resist the Goblin men and their luscious fruit. Depicted as ugly rat like men who crawl like a snail and are creatures who sound kind and full of love. As Laura becomes satiated with the juicy fruits, her sister Lizzie runs toward home.
Returning, Laura tells her sister she ate and ate her fill and longs to buy more. Now, she learns that she cannot live without the fruit of the goblins. When she appeared at death's door, brave Lizzie finds the goblins and though the temptation is near overwhelming, she does not yield to the hugs and kisses and lusciousness of their wares.
As the goblins now scratch, grunt and snarl, looking evil tore her clothes and squeezed the fruit against her. When she arrived home, telling Laura to partake of the juice fruit so that she may be saved, Laura is healed.
This tale is explained in Victorian time when women were to be exceedingly chase. Thus, by partaking of the fruit and the Goblins, Laura is no longer pure. In the end, she is not saved by men, but by a woman -- her sister.
Rossetti is a great way to start the new year! Hope your 2018 is filled with lots of great reads.
Happy reading in 2018, Linda!
Glad to follow you again, our 10th year together in the 75 Book Challenge! It is your 11th year, but I skipped 2013.
>8 FAMeulstee: Anita, I have read many YA books thanks to you! I wish all good things for you and Frank.
And, I wish I had the courage to wear my hair short like you. It looks great!
>9 Whisper1: Thank you, Linda, I am sure you would have discovered YA without me, maybe a bit later ;-)
It took a while before I dared to go back to short hair, but now I am glad I did. Besides looking good, it is so much easier in the morning!
Happy new year, Linda! I have your thread starred!
And you've already finished a book !
Happy new 2018 thread Linda my dear, starred and ready to visit and post dear friend, sending love and hugs from both of us.
Happy Reading in 2018, Linda! And I am hoping for a healthy year for you, as well.
>10 FAMeulstee: Anita, You look marvelous in the short haircut. I do wish I had courage to cut my hair that short. I've always had long - medium length hair, except as a child when our yearly back to school cuts were shorter than short.
>11 ronincats: Hi Roni..It is so nice to see you here. I look forward to sharing ideas about books during 2018. Good luck with all your endeavors.
>12 tymfos: Hi Terri. I actually read another today. It was colder than cold. We remained inside these last days. Snug as bugs in rugs as my grandmother would say. I look forward to seeing images of the amazing Sig.
>13 rosylibrarian: Hi Marie, I appreciate your visit. I hope to visit your thread often
>14 johnsimpson: John, It would not be as nice if you were not part of the group. Thanks, as always for your good wishes.
>15 Ameise1: Thanks for stopping by Barbara. I always appreciate your lovely images.
>16 jayde1599: JESS! You have been missed. I smile that you are back and posting. All good wishes to you!
>17 alcottacre: My very dear friend Stasia. I will seek your thread, and visit. Just like the ole days when you would have so very many threads it was difficult to keep up with you. Much Love!!!!
>18 msf59: And, Mark! What would the group be like without your great selections of books and sunny spirit
Happy New Year To All!
BOOK NUMBER TWO OF 2018
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Book Off the Shelf
This is an author that goes for the heart and seems to wring emotions to high levels. In this book Picoult writes of very serious topics including, infertility, invitrofertilazation, babies born too soon, love lost as imperatives change, love found and a new marriage -- a same sex marriage which brings joy and acceptance of each other. As if it isn't enough, enter a radically strict value-based minister who loves the limelight and seems to use people so that he can stand pontificating center stage. Whew, hold on to the pages when you read this book, situations change quickly.
Zoe is an accomplished musician. She has a degree in music therapy and her skills are used when young and old need to get in touch with emotions, or to have something to focus on rather than bad burns or chemo treatments. She and her husband Max have unsuccessfully tried to have a baby. She is 39 and tragically, the last attempt with Max resulted in a still born baby boy who was preciously made but not able to live. When Zoe wants to continue to try again, Max refuses and wants a divorce.
Max is an alcoholic who uses great quantities of alcohol to deaden his feelings of inadequacy. When his only choice is to live with his brother and his brother's wife who happen to be members of a church that accepts and teaches literally from the bible, he is grateful for their assistance. When Max had an alcohol-fueled accident and nearly died, he accepts Christ, and the teachings of the devot minister help him in his struggles with loss, inadequacy and the need to get his life in order. And, on the positive side, Max becomes a changed person. No longer selfish and changing with the wind with one day sober and the next flat out drunk, he changes and as he becomes a stable member of the congregation, he enjoys and needs the support he receives.
There are three frozen embryos, and neither Zoe or Max thought of them as property when the divorce occurred. Now, Zoe found someone who loves her unconditionally and wants to have one final chance to have a child. Because Zoe is no longer able to carry the embryo to term, her partner Vanessa would very much like to have the embryos implanted.
When they learn that Max needs to give his permission, they also learn that Max's brother has encouraged him to allow the embryos be given to he and his wife. They too have experienced many heartaches trying to have a child.
In a circus atmosphere, Max, his brother and sister in law, the minister of their church, Zoe and Vanessa, and their lawyer, along with many in the courtroom stage their opinions loud and clear.
The definition of parenthood, love, marriage, commitment are all issues to be brought to bear on the decision.
While I recommend this book, I do so with the caveat that there are many issues packed therin. As I read, it was difficult to determine where I stood and who was "entitled" to raise this child in a solid, loving, successful atmosphere. The author's writing challenges the reader to bring forth their own opinions, with the end result of overload.
And when I finally thought all emotions and issues were brought forth, Picoult ended with yet another puzzle piece in the panorama.
Picoult is a strong author, and where others might fail, she succeeds in writing about a group of people, all of whom have a clear definition of family.
Happy 2018, Linda!
I hope it's relatively pain-free for you, and you get to read lots of good books.
Thanks so much for your support. It is a long journey, and after eight invasive surgeries, I still do not know the ending. But, one thing I do know is that my friends, family and members of this group have been the glue that holds me together. And, I want to add, my spiritual base that has been constant throughout. I deeply appreciate the fine person you are.
>20 Whisper1: You are doing well, Linda. I may finish a second tonight, but it probably won't get reviewed until tomorrow.
Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.
So glad to find your thread this morning. The first image is lovely, absolutely lovely.
I hope that every day is an improvement over the previous one, and I'm sending healing thoughts to you!
>20 Whisper1: I listened to My Sister's Keeper several years ago and was stunned by it but strangely haven't read more by Picoult. I have Nineteen Minutes on my shelves, given to me by a friend. Have you read it?
Happy 2018, Dear Linda! I look forward to your reading this year, and to keeping in better touch with what's going on in your world. Here's to reading only excellent books!
Yeah! I've finally found you, now the new year celebrations are complete! Best wishes for a wonderful new year for you and Will!
Digging the thread topper my friend!
Have you ever heard the Lorena McKennett setting for "the Lady"? haunting and beautiful.
>26 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I haven't read this one. I have others on my shelf to read, given to me by Diane Keenoy. Picoult's books are super charged and emotional. I'm going to take a break for a month or so, then will read the ones I own.
>27 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel, I wish the same to you. I'll be sure to visit your thread.
>28 cyderry: Hi Cheli. Let's hope that for both of us, 2018 brings better health than 2017.
>29 LauraBrook: Hi Laura. I look forward to 2018 in the hope that I can be more active and visit threads, certainly including yours, in 2018...Much Love
>30 Carmenere: Lynda 2018 (in September) will bring retirement for me. If I have to have another surgery, then I will retire earlier. I'm anxious to hear how retirement is for you.
>31 magicians_nephew: Ah, Jim! So good to hear from you. I haven't heard Lorena McKennett The Lady! I know that after the death of her loved one she went into hibernation. It is good to know that she is back in full swing. I love her music. I have a dvd of her in Alhambra. Are you familiar with this? If not, I highly recommend it.
And, Happy New Year to you and Judy!
BOOK NUMBER THREE OF 2018
Ophelia's Muse by Rita Cameron
Book Off the Shelf
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood began as a reaction to the Royal Academy of Art and the academy's acceptance of what they thought of as staid art, such as that of Joshua Reynolds or Turner. Seeking the "truth" in painting, the small group sought lovely models who, to them represented purity. The were rosy-cheeked ladies with long flowing hair, and soft, lovely features that made them what the brotherhood coined as "stunners."
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Siddal worked as a milliner at a hat shop. Her family was poor. Her father spent his life in a useless battle to obtain what he thought his rightful inheritance. Because herr father's attempts were unfruitful, Lizzie at 19, had to seek gainful employment. Tall, with grey eyes, heavy lids and thick, rich red hair, she was spotted and was convinced to become a model. This was not a suitable profession in Victorian England, still she was drawn by the bohemian lifestyle, the thrill of praise, and of becoming one of the very first models for the small group of painters.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millias and William Hunt found her angel-like and all of them, in varying times, used her as their model.
Her family did not approve of her lifestyle, and thus eventually, she became the mistress of Rossetti. A narcissistic cad, he loved, but used her, and it wasn't until her near death that he married her.
Her image looks out from many Pre-Raphaelite paintings, but she is best know as the model in John Everett Millias'
rendition of the love-lost character of Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Lying in a tub of water, lit by candles at the bottom of the tub, soon Millias, enraptured with his work, forgot to continue to keep the water warm.
Many believe this led to Lizzie's poor health, laudanum addiction and eventual death.
Forever captured on the canvas, best known as one of the premier stunners, her life was a sad one. Forever desolate by Rossetti's refusal to marry, and his continued cheating, she overdosed on laudanum. She was buried with Rossetti's book of poems, and forever haunted him.
Hiring men to dig her grave so that his poems could survive, even in death, he defiled her.
While Rita Cameron's portrayal is in novel form. It is very obvious that she did a lot of research in painting Lizzie as a beautiful, talented woman, stuck in Victorian time. forever a muse and stunner.
Happy New Year, Linda. Are you going to read a book a day? Three books already. Impressive. I hope your 2018 is fabulous -- and what fun that retirement is approaching.
Happy new year, darling! Just stopping by to drop a star. And three books already! Way to start out your reading year!
Ah ha! Found you at last. Starred you so I don't lose you in this crowd.
You've managed to hit me with a book bullet with your review of Ophelia's Muse .. sigh.... I was hoping to avoid book bullets until I manage to get my teetering wish list into some sort of order and whittle down my TBR Tower by reading more than I add.
>34 BLBera: Thanks for stopping by Beth. I am going to try to be more active this year than last. I can't wait to see what you will be reading!
>35 tapestry100: Ah, ha! Friend David, it is wonderful to see your footprint here. I hope you are well.
>36 SandDune: Rhian, Happy New Year to you!
>37 cameling: Karo...Hello. If you like Pre-Raphaelite art, then Opelia's Muse is a great book.
We got 2.5-3" of powdery snow yesterday. Everything's gorgeous, of course, but we're both staying inside.
Stay safe and warm - looks like you're still in the storm.
We have a good covering on the roads, and the snow continues. It is a lovely day. Our Granddaughter is here, and her school is cancelled. We will enjoy her company, stay in pjs and enjoy the lovely day.
Sounds like you are looking forward to retirement in September, Linda. I just retired at the end of last September and I am finding it busy and not getting done near as much as I thought I would but maybe part of that is trying to keep up with the threads on LT. LOL
Hi Linda! Wishing you a wonderful 2018! I really enjoyed The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and I hope you do too.
>42 foggidawn: Foggi, Have you read any great books you could recommend? I'm hoping to get the the library to pick up a few I have on hold.
>43 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle. I was in a reading slump for a long time. it is good to be back to reading. I randomly choose a book from my huge piles throughout the house. My resolution is to make a dent in the books I own.
44 HI Meg. I think my major projects will keep me busy when I retirement. Our basement really needs to have some semblance of order.
>45 vancouverdeb: Deb, my only quarrel with The Love Son of Miss Queenie Hennessy is that I thought it was a bit too long. But overall, it really is a good book.
BOOK #FOUR OF 2018
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
Book Off the Shelf
I did not read prequel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but reading out of order didn't cause confusion. When Harold Fry receives a note from his long ago co-worker Queenie Hennessy, he decides to walk across England, believing that as long as he walks, she will not die of the cancer currently taking over her body.
Queenie has no idea that her note to Harold would spark this outcome. Now, those who live in the hospice with her find purpose in tracking Harold's journey. As each post card arrives, it is added to the "Harold Fry corner."
Queenie now is driven to write her life story as a missive for Harold to read. With the help of a loving caretaker, Sister Mary Inconnu, from St. Bernadine's Hospice, Queenie writes and writes, of her childhood, of her time spent at Oxford, her relationship with a married man, her miscarriage of a child from that relationship, her journey to place "Mr. Shit" behind her, landing in the place where her job placed Harold in her life.
As Sister Mary helps write the stories, as Queenie's cancer becomes more invasive, Queenie is compelled to tell it all, including her love of Harold, her friendship with Harold's son, and a secret that she needs to divulge. As Harold walks, and Queenie writes, the reader hopes that Harold arrives on time.
I loved the way in which this book was written. I was however, very disappointed with the convoluted ending.
I finally found you!! Sorry it took me so long. : ) Four books already--good job.
>1 Whisper1: Beautiful Wodehouse painting and one of my favourites! Hoping for better health for you in 2018 and that retirement helps with this! I know how much you have been through in recent years.
BOOK NUMBER FIVE OF 2018
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
If you like to read about body functions, people slurping their food, picking their skin, wiping hands on clothes, then this is the book for you. The mention of these habits, and many more, were mentioned so much that it took away from the story line.
Many books are written about Lizzie Borden. There are those who believe she alone was responsibly for the axing of her father and his wife. Then, there is an other minded group who are firm in advocating that she did not do this dastardly deed.
The tale of deaths on a stinking hot August 4, 1892 is told from varying points of view of the characters. Broken into chapters, Lizzie, her sister Emma, their Uncle John who visited the family during the time of the murders, Bridget, the Irish maid, and a new before-known character of Benjamin, we learn of their thoughts and behaviours.
Benjamin, a creepy near-do-well character who supposedly was hired by Uncle John to perform maiming and killing of the Borden family, was hiding in the house and barn when the murders occurred, leaving him without the payment he was promised.
The internal machinations of Lizzie's thoughts are portrayed in a manner that clearly points to an unhealthy mental state. Both Andrew and Lizzie's step mother are not liked, and there is a long litany of grievances they did, with enough ugliness of character to render their bloody, over the edge deaths.
The continued hacks to the bodies with a rendering that is clearly one of vengeance is vividly described, and leaves the reader knowing that who ever did the killing was not someone you would like to have in your house for dinner.
The reader is left to ponder who actually did the killings. Like many books before this one, this is an ageless tale with no definitive answer regarding who committed the murders.
Good morning, Linda!
I like your goal of reading more of your own books. I can't quite bring myself to just choose a book off your shelves like you do, so more power to you. So glad you're getting some good reading in.
Hi Linda, I have a friend going in for back surgery and that made me think of you. I hope you are continuing to recover from yours. You're off to a great start with your reading. Here's to a great 2018.
>46 Whisper1: That is a good resolution and one I should try! I have a few books waiting that I really wanted and bought right away. They are so sad sitting there waiting for love.
>56 karenmarie: I went to the library to return a book and came home with 13. I fell off the wagon, but vow to read more of my own books this year than those I aquire or check out of library.
>57 Oregonreader: Hi Jan. All good wishes sent to your friend. I hope the surgery is successful and relieves pain issues.
>58 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle. I have a lot of books throughout the house "waiting for love." Currently, I am slowly going through those I own and donating ones I know I will not read. Reading habits change over the years, and I have many that I know I won't read.
Happy Day to Everyone!
13! Good for you, Linda. I currently have 14 library books at home, and am reading from my shelf right now. None of them appealed to me when I had to choose a new one.
I read Harold Fry and was happy to leave it at that. I don't know if I'll pick up Queenie's story.
BOOK NUMBER SIX OF 2018
(See post number 55 to read review of book #5)
The Kennedy Detail byGerald Blaine
Book Off the Shelf
Captivating, interesting and worth time spent reading this story from the perspective of the secret service men, many of whom were impacted by the assignation of President John F. Kennedy on a fateful day of November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
Clint Hill was forever haunted by the fact if he would have been able to run a few seconds faster, he could have made it to the limo containing the President. He then would have taken the second and third bullets shot from the book depository, and the President would live.
Well written, and of important note is the fact that it was JFK who told the agents to give a wide berth in following or surrounding the cars. Kennedy believed that he was not particularly liked in Texas, and thus wanted to be visible to those watching the President.
This was the first time Jackie Kennedy accompanied her husband on a tour. In detail, we learn of her bravery in accompanying her husband into the hospital, holding his head and in shock, praying for the best outcome.
This is the story of before, during and after. The impact on the nation and the ensuing far-fetched manifold conspiracy theories as well as those who believe they failed to protect the President, is told in a clear, undramatic fashion.
I zoned out into a frenzy. There were so many new books at the library. It felt like a delayed Christmas.
I confess that I won't read all of them. I started two and put them down as they didn't connect with me.
Happy Saturday to you.
And, yes, I understand about Lizzie Borden books. This will be my last.
Happy Saturday, Linda! Look at you! 6 books read thus far! You're rocking it, my dear! I'll wishlist The Kennedy Detail as it looks like something my son, Will might enjoy.
Belated Happy New year to you Linda. You've read some excellent books so far this year. Like you, I'm determined to read mainly from my own bookshelves this year.
Hi Linda! 13 books...you emptied out the library! LOL Good luck reading more off your shelves than you borrow with those kind of numbers. ; )
Hope you are starting to feel marvelous!
Hi Linda, hope you are well and Will too. Your reading this year is really good my dear. Sending love and hugs from both of us.
>59 Whisper1: I need to read some of the ones at home too, but I find the library ebooks to be very convenient. I read some of the books we get at the university library, but the e-books from the library are where I get the majority of my reads now. I'd like to clear out most of the "stash" on hand over the next three or four years, but I'll need to do better than I've done this month to accomplish that goal.
Wow, Linda. You are starting the year with a bang. The Kennedy Detail sounds really good. Is it a new book?
Excellent review of See What I Have Done, but I''m quite sure I will skip it! Thanks for reading it for me!
>64 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, Yes, The Kennedy Detail is very good. Told from the perspective of those who protect the President and family, it was sad to learn just how many were emotionally impacted. Some became drank far too much alcohol, many never opened up and told about their emotions, and others left secret service. Clint Hill stayed on and wrote a book titled Five Presidents. In particular, he suffered mightily. One of the things I learned is that there were three bullets fired from the book depository building. The first missed, the second hit Kennedy in the front, the third was the one that was the most damaging. The sound as the entourage drove down, around the turn sounded like an echo.
Clint Hill followed in the car protecting Mrs. Kennedy as her husband's damaged head was in her lap. While there was some vivid detail of the murder, overall, I came away in awe of the secret service people.
>65 avatiakh: HI Kerry. In order to keep on track, I am noting either from the library or off the shelf. I think this will provide a concrete way to keep on track of taking more off the shelves.
>66 Berly: Hi Kim. I also hope you are feeling well. This last surgery will be the final. Though the surgeon mentioned one more, I said NO. It is difficult to recover from this last one, and management of pain is an issue. I go back to work at the end of he month, then will retire in September. These recoveries have shown that retirement for us will be fine. Will sold his practice when he was 59. My concern was that he would be accustomed to having the house to himself. But, these recovery times have proved that we can manage just fine.
>67 johnsimpson: Hello Dear John. You are indeed a very kind man. Thanks for your visits.
>68 thornton37814: Lori, most recently I am going through books and giving away those I know I accumulated, but will not read.
>69 BLBera: Hi Beth, No, it isn't a new book. It was published in 2010. It is one I grabbed off the shelf, and I'm glad I did. I note from your home page that you are reading Walk Two Moons. That book remains one of my favorite Newbery's.
>70 vancouverdeb: Thanks for your kind words Deb. I'm all finished with reading about Lizzie Borden. If the crime occurred today, the evidence would point to who did it. Maybe because the crime isn't solved is the reason why so many books are written about the subject.
THANKS TO ALL FOR VISITING I was MIA for long periods last year. It is so wonderful to be active again.
BOOK NUMBER SEVEN OF 2018
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This is very well written with excellent character development and a story that will stay long after the last page is read. Eleanor is quite weird. Her clothes are all black; her shoes are old fashioned her hair is long, mousey and straight. She keeps to herself both at work and socially. Often she reminds herself that she is just fine by without others.
As the story unfolds, the reader learns that Eleanor's mother calls each Wednesday evening, and the calls are filled with negative nasty comments. Accustomed to the derogatory words, Eleanor doesn't miss a call, listens to the nastiness, then waits for the next week's call.
When she got out of the house and attended a small venue, she immediately fell in love with the singer. He is just what her mother would like. And, she obsesses about how to meet him. In her mind, she will have a wonderful relationship and he will emotionally be there for her. This becomes somewhat creepy and when she faces reality, it is rather painful and powerful.
When she meets a co-worker Raymond who is the IT person at her place of employment, she does not consider him a possible lover/friend. She would rather continue to fantasize about Mr. Right. Walking out of the office building, she and Raymond see an elderly man who falls, together they visit Sammy, and then his family.
As Raymond gently brings her into his world, and she learns that while she social skills are greatly compromised, Raymond accepts her and gently, gradually she, Raymond and Sammy depend on each other for company and are no longer isolated.
Gradually, we learn of the horror of Eleanor's childhood. Her past is damaged, and with tremendous courage, and with the help of Raymond she moves forward. She no longer needs to obsess about what never will happen, nor does she need to listen to the internal words of mommy dearest. Endearing, charming, lovely, heart warming, this is a book to read and recommend. This book is destined to be one of the top of 2018
>72 Whisper1: Great review! I have this one waiting in the stacks and you reminded me why I picked it up in the first place!
>72 Whisper1: Good review, Linda.
It is already on mount TBR, else I would after your review ;-)
>59 Whisper1:. I aim to read more books off my shelf this year too. I have already bought 3! I have not gone to the library yet this new year because I know that will be trouble too. I need to go through my TBR pile and figure out what I will actually read. My reading habits have change quite a bit over the last 10 years (since my TBR pile began to grow) and I should donate those I know I will not read. That should make room for more books! :)
Linda, the members at the ROOT Challenge (Read Our Own Tomes) work hard throughout the year to get at least a few of those books that are waiting to be read removed from the TBR like. We'd be happy to have you join us as you try to read your piles.
Hope your are keeping warm.
>73 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle. It took a bit of time to get into the book, but when I did begin to appreciate it, I wanted to keep reading all the way through.
>74 jnwelch: Hi Joe. It really is a book that is difficult to describe. I struggled with the review. Thanks for your thumbs up!
>75 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. Many thanks for your visit, and your kind words.
>76 jayde1599: HI Jess. Each day I take a bit of time to go through books throughout the house, asking if I will ever read it. If it is a book I don't think I will read, it is donated to the library.
>77 cyderry: I will check out the ROOT challenge. Thanks for recommending it.
>78 tapestry100: David. So very good to see you here. Both of these books have negatives and positives. I hope ou are well!
BOOK NUMBER EIGHT OF 2018
If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield
Book Off the Shelf
I was surprised to see this listed as a four star rating. This is, as the title states, a look at what possibly could have happened had JFK survived the assignation attempt. The book begins with the trip to Dallas on a rainy day. The bubble shield is on the limo. As the car makes the turn past the book depository, shots ring out and the bubble top explodes in pieces. A bullet hits Kennedy in the spine. A hurried drive to Parkland Hospital with an invasive surgery, allow the polls to increase, and a temporary hero is back in the White House.
Kennedy's injuries add to his already compromised spinal health, but he can walk. From there on we see a president who is physically, emotionally weak. Kennedy pays a high price in lack of southern support because of his pro-civil rights legislation.
Living with the fact that his terrible mistake in the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba is a thorn in his side when he seeks another term. His ensuing decisions not to take pro- active stances regarding war label him a soft candidate when he runs for his second term.
Kennedy's meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna showed him as an ill-prepared weakling resulting in the Berlin wall. As Kennedy's personal life spins out of control his sexual liaison are now fodder for the a media no longer willing to look the other way.
Overall, I can't recommend this book. It was dry, pedantic and uninteresting.
BOOK NUMBER NINE OF 2018
Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
Book Off the Shelf
Long on the tbr list, I read this never expecting the drama, the sadness, the overwhelming twists. It was a bit overwhelming for me. This is a story that packs a punch -- a nasty one. This is a tale of love, of loss, of birth and death, of the Korean war and it's brutality.
Termite, a baby born with disabilities to a father, (Leavitt) fighting in Korea, hoping and praying to return to his bride Lola who is carrying Termite when Leavitt leaves for the war. Lark is also a child of Lola, father unknown till the end of the book. Both are left with Lola's sister to raise in poverty in West Virginia.
Replete with never ending sadness, I found this book to be too heavy. I finished it, but don't like the haunting feeling and wonderment of the need to be overbearingly intense.
Linda, you are doing a great job reading the books off your shelves. So, you slipped up at the library. It was all for a good cause. Eleanor Oliphant was one of my favorite books of 2017. I'm glad you loved it as well. Too bad you didn't care for Lark and Termite. I have fond memories of that one from 2009, but then I really like dark books most of the time.
I know you are looking forward to retiring this year. I hope that means we might see you at the Joplin meet-up after Thanksgiving.
Hi Donna. Thanks for stopping by. I am hoping to make the Joplin meet up this year. It would be wonderful to meet you and those I haven't met, but long to do so.
The Lizzie Borden case is endlessly fascinating.
Unfortunately the only people who know the truth about what happened that day ain't talking.
I've read and liked Clint Hill's book about JFK. Sort of wish he would get over his guilt trip.
I've read other authors who say that the fact that Kennedy was wearing his back brace that day in Dallas was what killed him - the brace held him upright after the first shot and allowed the second and third shots to hit home. Who Knows?
What a weak and wounded JFK would have been like as president frankly doesn't interest me much. Thanks for reading the book so I don't have too.
smiling to be writing on your thread and having you back active in the 75'ers group.
Hi Linda! I'm glad that you're enjoying reading again.
Yup, on those pesky TBR piles. It's so much fun to discover all the lovely new books and authors on everyone's threads.
Right now I'm dealing with a deluge of library books that all arrived at the same time. I have all sorts of resolutions as to how to cut down my TBR pile - but then I say the same thing every year. :)
5 stars for Eleanor Oliphant! I already have it on my wishlist, but your review made me move it up. Of course, this will be after I get the current library books and a few more off the shelf. :)
Eleanor Oliphant is one I've been meaning to read for some time. I must move it higher up the list.
Linda--you are doing some great reading and reviewing. So glad to see you "back"! I already have Eleanor Oliphant on my WL but it got buried. Should have read your thread before I went to Powell's yesterday. Dang it! LOL Happy Weekend. Hugs.
Hello to all, and thanks for visiting. I will write individual messages in a few days. Last Friday I had eight trigger point injections. They helped the pain, almost immediately. But, they always make me sleepy for a few days. I've read and slept most of the weekend. Will and I were able to meet Diane Keenoy and her husband Kevin for lunch at a dinner 1/2 way for us. It was great to laugh and talk books.
So glad the injections are helping with the pain. Definitely worth a few naps. (((Linda)))
>91 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I return to work after next week. I'm doing everything I can to control the pain level. I will have an epidural later next week. I hope all is well with you my friend!
ILLUSTRATED BOOK #1 OF 2018
DELIVERING JUSTICE BY Jim Haskins WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY Benny Andres
BOOK OFF THE SHELF
Because Lark and Termite was a haunting book of seriousness, I read one of the illustrated books I bought last year. Delivering Justice tells the tale of a mailman who, during his regulat postal route, also delivered fliers regarding various civil rights events that were occurring.
BOOK NUMBER TEN OF 2018
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Book off the shelf
A small child is missing. The mother only left her in the yard with her grey cat for a short time. Told in varying perspectives, the first chapter is that of The Widow who watches as her husband is hit by a bus. Her first thought is that she will no longer have to put up with his "his nonsense."
The media frenzy is back in full force after calming a bit after the disappearance of the child. The Widow allows a smiling, friendly newswoman into the house. Eager to discover if, now that the husband is dead, the widow will disclose if her husband was responsible for the little kidnap of the little girl, the woman charms, but can't force if her husband did indeed take the little girl.
The reader learns that the husband, Glen, was quite controlling, and the wife was very complacent. The detective who was on the case for a long time, is also eager to re open the case and learn if the crime can now be solved.
This is a well-written, taunt, twisting story wherein the thoughts of the husband, his widow, the detective, the newswoman and the mother of the missing child are uncovered, leaving the reader to guess the final outcome.
>84 BLBera: Hi Beth. Previously I had the goal of reading all Newbery books. While I did make great progress, alas, I realized that it was a goal difficult to obtain. Though I smile when I am in the children's section of a bookstore and can see the titles of all I read. I have favorites, and Walk Two Moons is up at the top. If you haven't read Missing May, I highly recommend that one. Also, The War That Saved My Life is great. Too many to mention, I am always happy when I learn of one of the members of our group reading a Newbery favorite.
>85 msf59: Hi Mark. It brings a smile when you visit here. I thought Lark and Termite was just too sad.
>86 magicians_nephew: Hello Jim, always good to see you here. I agree with your comment about reading if Kennedy would have been a weak president, and also, the wish that Clint Hill would work through the guilt of what happened to JFK. I hope January has been good to you. I head back to the university a week from today. Three months went by rather rapidly. I look forward to retirement next semester.
>87 streamsong: Hi Janet, Like you, my commitment to reading my own books interferes with library books that look too good to pass, including The Child Finder which I now have to obtain because your review was so great!
>88 SandDune: Hi Rhian. Happy New Year! It was a good book to start 2018 with!
>89 Berly: Hi Kim. I read on one of the threads that you had car problems. I hope all is well.
Hi Linda, glad that the injections are helping with your pain levels my dear and you are reading some really good books dear friend. Sending love and hugs to you and Will from both of us.
>94 Whisper1: Good review of The Widow. I enjoyed it but a few in my book club found the content very disturbing.
BOOK NUMBER ELEVEN OF 2018
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
I'll start by saying I am disappointed with this book. Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite young adult authors. Raised on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington, this, and his other books have a very strong theme of the treatment of American Indians and their difficulties at the hands of non Indians who unfairly treated them as outsiders and those who never belong.
This book is first and foremost a song to his mother. It includes some stunningly beautiful poems, and then there are the emotions that bubble up and ferment, letting the reader know his mother was a drama queen, a liar, and an unstable influence. To her credit, she kicked the booze, but Alexie also writes of her undrunken rages.
And then, while I was feeling sad for him and his childhood, the theme changed and suddenly, what appeared to be out of context, I was reminded of feelings I have when I read Anne Lamott. I am captivated by the writing and clear images, only to feel side swiped by ranting political views.
I'll state that this is my opinion and that I understand others might not feel this way, but, I am taken aback by political diatribes (whether republican or democratic) that seem to fly out of nowhere and appear to be disjointed by the theme, and seem inappropriately added in the context of the book.
This has nothing to do with if I agree or disagree with his political opinions. I simply feel that unless the title leads me to know this is a book about politics, then I feel used by someone who must sneak in his views and hold me hostage.
Regarding his comments about his parents, so many, including myself, have feelings of parents that were selfish, narcissistic and would not win an outstanding mother of the year/life award. His feelings are certainly well detailed and clearly described, leaving the reader with a heavy dose of empathy for the way in which he was treated as a child.
So much of Alexie's writing in this book is the disappointment of his mother. Sadly, while his father couldn't hold a job and was a full-blown alcoholic, he seems to be treated more kindly and given a broader leeway in the parenthood category.
I was most taken aback by comments of Alexie's high school friends. Attending school away from the rez, was not easy, and yet, he found that he was treated kindly and was given many well-deserved awards while there. In truth, conversely, he was treated most unfair by his Indian friends who seemed to bully, punch and beat up. while in schools on the rez.
Yet, Alexie takes it upon himself to say (even though he doesn't know this), that many of those people in high school who liked and helped him, now as an adults, probably voted for Trump! He ends this diatribe with some cold, callousness to the effect that they shouldn't look for him because he would not be found and would be placing distance between himself and them.
Ah, Sherman, I so love your young adult books. But, I cannot rate this one as highly.
I think I liked this book more than you did and am still fascinated with Kennedy.
This is but one of the many reason s why I like our group so much. We have varying perspectives on books, and no one tries to belittle if our opinions don't match.
I too am interested in the Kennedy's. Perhaps it is because I vividly remember my sixth grade principal entering the room and telling us that JFK was shot. I still remember that day. And, the more I can read about it, the more I am inclined to read.
The sun is shining today. I've already had my accupressure appointment. I've been slowly going through my stashes of books. Those I know I won't read, or have already read, are going to the library. Today, Will and I will be taking three large boxes. It feels good to declutter and focus on the books that I will read.
>103 Whisper1: Sounds like a good day. Last year I focused on reading my oldest TBR books, and got rid of some that no longer interested me. De-cluttering can be so freeing. I should probably do more of it!
>72 Whisper1: Hi Linda... I'm not doing too mucn posting or book tracking this year, but I do love to stay in touch with old friends to keep my reading pump primed. I started Eleanor Oliphant sometime last summer and didn''t get very far. Your wonderful review however, has given me pause and I'm now determined to go dig it out and give it a 2nd chance.
>94 Whisper1: The Widow Another BB Yikes, and it's still only January.
So good to see you in good spirits and that the shots are doing some good. Let's hope 2018 is a fabulous year for all of us.
Linda--I hope the trigger injections do their magic. And how fun that you had a meet-up with Diane! I recently carried books up and down stairs, rearranging my TBR priorities. And I have been culling, which feels good. Either books that no longer interest me, or ones I have read that I probably won't reread.
>101 Whisper1: I almost bought this one, but I didn't have a good feeling about it. Now I know why. I love Alexie's other work. Great review. : )
>104 foggidawn: Hi, and thanks for visiting here. I am trying not to undo the good that the trigger point injections did for my pain, so I'm asking for help from Will, my daughter and grand daughter to carry the boxes into the car, and then to go with me to the library to drop them off. It is a good feeling. I'm trying to learn that simply because I can buy a book for .50 at a library book sale, does not mean I should bring iit home. I'm looking at some of the books and wondering what? Why?
>105 tututhefirst: Dear Tina, How great to find you here. A few months ago I had a very nice, long phone conversation with Cheli. She always cheers me. I do understand about taking a break sometime but still wanting to stay in touch. I hope 2018 is a magnificent year for you!
>106 Berly: Hi Kim. Yes, it really is good to go through books and make some hard, and some easy decisions. Regarding the Sherman Alexie recent book, I felt sad as I was reading it because I simply did not like what seemed to be self righteousness. The use of the F word dwas way to over prevalent and unnecessary.
BOOK NUMBER 12 OF 2018
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Book Off the Shelf
While reading this book, i began to feel old and out of place. Similarly to Sherman Alexie's recent book, I felt the "F" word was used way too often. And, as I began to read more of the book, I wanted to put it down and not waste the time, but kept going hoping that my thoughts might change and the book would redeem itself. But, in my opinion, there was no redeeming value. This is a harsh statement, but an honest appraisal.
After I finished, I checked reviews here on LT, and I found that some felt the way I did. This book seemed way over the top and sensationalist. His mother was crazy. His father was nuts. His parent's therapist had a "masturbation room." The therapist was way over the top.
I know that many have experienced rough childhoods, yet Burroughs pushed the limit on freakishness.
I'm sorry I wasted time and finished it. But, at least I can say that I stuck with it and gave it a try.
No stars for this one.
Hi Linda! I'm so glad to see that you are still with this wonderful group and still reading up a storm. I'm slowly trying to get back into the swing of things. Nothing like adding a new baby into the home to make you feel ambitious about keeping up with the LT threads..haha!
>109 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Congratulations on a new baby! And, all good wishes for a wonderful 2018.
Ooooo, you've read Eleanor Oliphant! I've been meaning to but all these other books keep jumping in the way! Yikes, I have to gain some control around here ;0)
>90 Whisper1: Darling, I'm SO glad the shots have helped! You totally deserve a couple of days rest after that.
I have Eleanor Oliphant on audio and I'm looking forward to it.
>100 Whisper1: "My reading will dramatically slow down when I return to work next week." Ah yes, the joys of semesters, I assume? We're in week 3 of winter quarter.
I see that you're retiring in September. I figure I'm on the 5-7 year plan at this point. I'm ready for the leisure of retirement but I'm also still loving my work. So we'll see how it unfolds. P is retiring in June and that will be an interesting shift in our lives.
BOOK NUMBER 13 OF JANUARY 2018
The Accountant's Story Inside the Violent World of the Medellin Carter by Roberto Escobar
At his top of the famous Pablo Emilio Escobar's drug trade, he was roughly estimated to have a worth of $30 billion dollars per year. His cartel was noted as responsible for at least 80% of the cocaine trade smuggled into the United States.
Delivered at first by a small airplane wherein the cocaine was hidden in the wheels, as time went on and he could never in his wildest dreams imagined just how profitable this illegal trade would bring him, later he even had submarines built to go underwater to the United States.
Paste made in Peru was used to produce the cocaine cooked and produced in the jungles of Medellin, Columbia. Rich soil, a country of poverty and crime, governmental corruption was not something he invented. Long the bane of the poor, those in power were rich and it was increasingly difficult for the poor to get out of povery.
Pablo Escobar paid well, and from the producers of the cocaine through those in high ranks in both the government and police force, this was an incredible win/win situation for all. All but, those in the United States who became addicted. It is true that Escobar could never have been as successful if he wasn't such a savvy businessman, and if the demand in the United States was ever higher than he could produce.
The wealthiest criminal in history was listed in Forbes magazine as one of the 7th top wealthiest men. By the 1970's, approximately 80 tons were shipped to the United States Monthly. His problem became that of laundering the money and hiding it. Approximately 10% of the money made was lost to rats who ate it when packed in the ground, or water seepage that destroyed the currency.
He began his career as a small time hood with criminal activities in selling contraband items. Not above kidnapping he all too soon became know not only for his cocaine distribution, but for the way in which he violently meeted death to any who crossed him. He paid well, and he demanded loyalty.
Distributing bundles of money to the poor, building houses, schools, playgrounds, and paying college tuitions, he became a folk hero.
Told from the perspective of his younger brother, who was on the lamb with Pablo many years when it all started to fall apart as a result of other cartels becoming stronger, and the government of Columbia seeking the assistance of the United States to curb the violence and to bring him to his final act, the one he could not escape, death on the rooftop of a building in his home town of Medellin.
There is much to know of this story. It is true that if the United States had not ever increasingly demanded the product, at the time in history, Pablo Escobar perhaps could have remained a small town hood, making a living above the standard of most.
Reaching far heights, he was brought down, only to be replaced to a more deadly Cali Cartel that gladly took his place.
BOOK NUMBER 14 OF JANUARY 2018
The Killing of Pablo Escobar by Mark Bowden
Excellently written, and while the life of Pablo Escobar was filled with violence, the author tries not to be dramatic regarding the way in which Escobar. killed, tortured, held a country in grips, and went down in history as one of the greatest Cocaine lords .
It took a team of many to finally hone in on Escobar's final hiding place. Using radio signals monitored by a team, in particular the son of one of the highest governmental generals, in the end, after many slick escapes, Pablo died in a hail of gunfire, and Bowden is quick to note that only one of Escobar's thugs died with him.
While filled with details, the book is never boring. The lowly street thug, Pablo Escobar, could have worked in the shadows, continued to amass his billions, instead his ego cried for recognition and fame. It was when he tried in vain to be part of the government, thereafter, the megalomaniac was know as a drug king who killed many, succeeding periodically at bribing governmental men on the take.
CHILDREN'S ILLUSTRATED BOOK #2
EARLY REVIEW COPY
Wolfie & Fly by Cary Fagan
Book off the Shelf
This is a very cute story about a girl who is happy with her introversion. While her parents try to push extracurricular activities, Renata is more happier when she is alone reading a book.
Livingston Flott (Fly) is a neighborhood friend who pushes himself on renata, Encouraging her to join him in the school talent show, When Renata does not answer the door, he finds an open window and shoves himself into the Living room. With his plastic guitar strapped to his side, he convinces Renata Wolfman to beat the time on pots and pans using wooden spoons.
Magically, she envisions that they are a successful band with many followers. They do perform at the talent show. And calling a truce, she decides he isn't all that bad.
Great review Linda...just enuf info for me to decide to pass on this one. I'm still floating along in cozy land.
Happy Sunday, Linda. Love the flurry of books and some good ones too. Sorry, you didn't care for Running With Scissors. I thought it was great memoir. I guess, I just revel in dark and freakish. LOL. I also liked the Alexie memoir more than you, but I agree it was trying at times. A bit heavy-handed.
I have wanted to read The Killing of Pablo Escobar for a few years now. I have to track it down.
Hi Linda, hope you and Will had a good weekend my dear, I love seeing your reviews and what you are reading. I do hope that your pain levels are good after the trigger injections and that life is treating you well dear friend.
Sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us.
>118 tututhefirst: Tina, There are so many wonderful things about this group, including the fact that we can choose how much we want to, or can be involved. People will always welcome us back. I image winter in Maine is pretty!
>119 msf59: Hi Mark. It is unusual for us to have different thoughts/feelings about books. I started to watch Netflix Narcos series, which lead to me wanting to learn more.
>120 johnsimpson: Hi John! Ever kind and sincere, how wonderful it is to have you as a member of the 75 challenge group! I hope all is well with you and Karen. While the trigger point injections are painful -- they are injected into the muscle -- they do work. Last week's brought almost immediate results. The epidural is done at a surgical site and is more painful and invasive, but worth the effort. Yesterday was my first day back to the office after a three-month recovery. I'm taking it slow. I so like what I do, so it is good to be back.
Hi Linda--You have officially saved me from reading several books with your reviews. Running with Scissors, the Alexia book, and now Pablo. I didn't even like Narcos on Netflix.
Glad the injections worked and now if you just stick to the plan and take it slow, maybe you can enjoy your last semester!
BOOK NUMBER 15 OF 2018
Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
This was a pleasant read. I learned a bit about the self-made millionare Andrew Carniege. Clara needs a job as soon as her feet hit the pavement in this strange land called America. Leaving her poor Irish family, she is responsible for finding a position and sending money home. By accident, she finds a job as the personal maid to Andrew's Mother.
Much of the story focuses on the new rich who want to succeed and know all the social mores of those who made much money before them, and the class system of the new rich and the poor who scramble to find decent employment. Many who arrived in the mid-late 1800's were poverty stricken, looking for a new opportunity, only to find hard labor that paid barely enough to eek out a living.
Clara is intelligent and Andrew Carnegie is draw to her. Theirs is a forbidden friendship.
I really like the way you read more than one book on a subject when it interests you!
I've added Killing Pablo to my wishlist. I read a book by a Columbian author earlier this month and it made me realize how little I know about the problems of that country.
I like the Alexie book a lot, but I listened to it on audio. Hearing him read it (and obviously fighting back tears toward the end) was very affecting.
>124 streamsong: Hi Janet. Thank You for acknowledging that I get on a topic and find as much as I can before moving on. My former husband always snidely commented that I should be tired of reading about Anne Boleyn. This was 25 years ago when I read a lot about Henry VIII, the history of England, and I've always had an interest in Anne! At one point he asked me if I was going to continue reading about her until I found a book wherein she was not beheaded.
I actually like that I exhaust a subject. I have one more book waiting at the library regarding Pablo Escobar. It is written by his son who now in his later years admits that his father was a brutal killer and placed the family in many terrifically vulnerable situations.
I hope you like Killing Pablo. It is written by Mark Bowden. Interestingly while listening to NPR yesterday, I learned it was the 50th anniversary of the Tet offensive in Vietnam. McNamara warned Johnson that this was a telling accomplishment of our enemy in their ability to take us by surprise with such a well orchestrated attack. Mark Bowden was mentioned and quoted from his new book regarding Vietnam and American involvement. I hope to obtain a copy of this book tonight on my way home, stopping at the excellent local library.
Thanks for visiting. I do like the works of Sherman Alexie. On my profile page, I've listed him as one of my favorite authors, I simply didn't connect with what felt to be judgmental of those who didn't think like him.
>108 Whisper1: I sort of wondered how much of this memoir was actually true.
>103 Whisper1: I was in 5th grade, had just come in from recess, and Mrs. Greenblatt told us that she had terrible news. For some strange reason I immediately knew that the President was dead, and then she said that Kennedy had been shot. *shiver*
Getting closer to retirement! Yay for you.
I've only read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian and it was one of the few books where I actually laughed out loud.
Just realize I don't know beans about Andrew Carnegie - the Carnegie's Maid book sounds interesting
Hi, Linda. I'm soooo slowly making it around the new 2018 threads. I haven't even started one of my own, yet.
Completely agree with you about The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy; the ending was just wrong.
My library has The Kennedy Detail on audio. Your review made me need to get to that one.
I keep reading raves about Eleanor Oliphant. Your review pushed me over the edge! I now have it held at the library.
Like you, I have enjoyed Sherman Alexie's YA stories. But I detest diatribes of any sort. I should go back and add that as a tag to all the books that bothered me in that way. I'll be skipping You Don't Have to Say You Love Me.
So many thumb-worthy reviews! Glad to see you reading up a storm. I hope your health continues to improve, and that spring will bring you birdsong and sunshine!
>126 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. I visited your home page. Did you take the photo of the huge grizzly bear in the snow? That thing is down right fearful. Regarding Running With Scissors, it just seemed so over the top crazy.
>127 karenmarie: Hi Karen. You and I are close in age. I was in sixth grade when our principal entered the class and told us the tragic news.
>128 jolerie: Hi Valerie, Yes, I also remember laughing right out loud. I was saddened by Alexie's story of his mother and their complicated relationship. I don't admire talented comedians, I'm thinking of Robin Williams, who can weave a dialog that has the audience laughing while holding their sides, but then feel the need to pepper the act with all-too-frequent F words. Sherman Alexie is an incredibly talented author. In my opinion, the tale was somewhat ruined by his diatribes.
>129 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim. Thanks for visiting. A good book is one wherein I am challenged to learn more about the person in the book. I've almost exhausted Anne Boleyn now, but I can clearly remember picking up The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn: 'The Most Happy' by Eric Ives which propelled me to read many books about Anne. One of the local libraries I visit is a Carnegie library. Last year, there is a notation on the home page of the library stating " In 1895 the Library Association was formed for the purpose of creating a library funded by the school board open to all residents of the city. The reorganization took place in 1901. The Library's new status allowed Easton's citizens to apply to Andrew Carnegie for a library building grant. Carnegie was so impressed with their plans that he donated $50,000 for a new building if the residents would supply the land and get the municipality to agree to continue to fund the Library's operating expenses."
The Easton, PA Public Library
A few years ago, the library was struggling for funding. Alas, Andrew had a wise plan, he donated money for the building, but the rest was up to the municipality. I think some thought that the funding was included in Carnegie's plan.
>130 countrylife: Hi Cindy...so good to see you here. Thanks, as always, for your kind words. January was a stellar reading month for me, alas last week was my first full week back at the university. Ive read only one book thus far this month.
I send all good wishes to you!
>131 SandDune: Rhian, I visited your home page. WOW, you certainly have done a lot of traveling! I hope that my partner Will and I are able to take visit Finland, Germany (he lived there for some years), England, and Norway. Those are my priorities..
Happy February. Thus far January and the few days of Feb. have been snowy and very cold.
BOOK NUMBER 16 OF THE YEAR 2018
The Last To See Me by M. Dresslerr
This is a well-written ghost story. Without over dramatization, the author tells a tale from the perspective of Emma Rose Finnis, who died 100 years ago. With dreams of having a good life, a grand life, employed by the wealthiest family, she continues to haunt the Lambry mansion. Her dreams did not rise to the level of the least satisfaction.
Stubbornly, she holds fast to her right to live specturally in the many rooms of the mansion. But, alas the town has proclaimed that it will be cleaned of all spirits and the "hunters" are paid well. Lambry mansion is in the process of being sold to a rather wealthy couple.
When Emma Rose follows them with the realtor throughout the house, she learns many things, including the fact that they will gut the inside totally. All the charm and beauty will be demolished. Emma will not let that occur. She mightily haunts the perspective buyers who are just as determined as she to win.
As she fights, a "hunter" is called. He slowly tries to work his magic in taunting her spirit to come forth so that he might send it to the grave where it belongs.
The fight is brutal. The story of Emma is a sad one. At times, I routed for hunter Pratt to put dear Emma at peace, and yet, Emma, whose lonely life never rose to anything but a mere chambermaid, is bound and determined to stay. She's earned that right, and she will continue to claim it.
A great read! Never over the top. Commanding and lively. This is a book to be recommended.
Happy Sunday, Linda. Hooray for 16 books! I am sure you will be cheering on the Eagles. I know I will be:
Hi Mark. People in this area are excited. When I went to the grocery store yesterday, there were banners, cakes with the Eagles logo, many buy one/get one free items if you routed for the Eagles, and the check out lady was singing a ditty "Go, Eagles Go!" And, she was doing a shuffle as she sang. It was a rather fun atmosphere.
Will usually watches college football, but we will watch the game tonight. Are you back from your time away?
Enjoy Super Bowl euphoria, Linda! I hope the Eagles pull the rug from underneath NE.
I, too, have noticed how you've been reading at least two books on a given subject. Very smart thing to do and, maybe one day, I'll attempt to do the smart thing too.
Ouch, that was a strong book bullet! I've added The Last To See Me to my every growing list!
Oh you snagged me with The Last To See Me. Thank you for always writing such thoughtful reviews Linda. :)
>137 Carmenere: Lynda, Thanks for your kind words. This area is VERY excited. I'm told that every hotel is booked solidly in Philadelphia in preparation for the parade.
I'm thinking of you and the love you show to your mother!
>138 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle. It is a good book. I hope you enjoy it.
>139 jolerie: Hi Valerie. Thanks for your nice affirmation! It means a lot
BOOK #17 OF 2018
Pablo Escobar My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar
Written by the son of Pablo Escobar, he clearly outlines the price the family had to pay for a life they did not choose. At first, it was difficult to understand why his father was such a wanted man, then as he grew, Juan Pablo Escobar became very aware of the sheer violence and hedonism of his father.
Once while traveling in an SUV with his father during the day time, his father was made aware that at a check point, agents were ready to capture and kill him. As his father pulled off to another location, and placed his family in another vehicle, when the got to the check point before his father, bullets rang through the air. Juan Pablo's mother and sister were in the vehicle as their lives were in danger. Not the first, or last time the family was in a very compromising position, increasingly as Pablo became more and more violent, the family needed to get out of the country.
Going to the airport, packed and ready to go to Germany, agents stopped their plans, and the family could not go to another country. Held hostage by the government, they waited while Pablo hid out. Defenseless, the agents no longer agreed to protect the family. They were at the mercy of the many enemies of Pablo Escobar.
At times this book seemed to go on and on. I appreciated that Juan Pablo did not make his father into a hero. But, he could have done that with far less pages.
I've exhausted the need to learn more about the Cartel and the billions made while shipping cocaine to the ever addicted American public.
I was glad to see the Eagles beat the Patriots.
Have things settled down yet after the win and parade?
My son in law is a huge Eagles fan. My daughter told me that when the Eagles won, he had tears in his eyes! I guess for us, that would be analogous to finding a huge book sale with rooms loaded with loads and loads of books...for free!
>141 Whisper1: Good for you for taking that one on, Linda, and pushing through to finish it. The widespread desire in our country for drugs like cocaine (and opiates and on and on) has such a huge impact on lives here and in Central and South America. I wish a magic wand could make it disappear, but that's not happening.
BOOK NUMBER 18 OF 2018
My Name Is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd
Book off the Shelf
Well worth the time spent reading this book. Venus is only 13 when she murders her step father. Her mother is dysfunctional, her step father is a creep, and the only solace Venus has is the love for Leo, her seven year old challenged brother. Her jail term coincides with the disappearance of Leo who is taken while playing in a sand box.
This is a story of adjusting, and Venus must learn to do so by herself. She is spunky and strong. When she is released from jail, she moves to a new area, gets a job at a coffee house, and rents a room from a single man who is raising his niece. Once again, it is a child that she loves that is the life line Venus clings to. Sadly, this doesn't pan out in the long run either.
The reader can't help but grow to like Venus and root for her in her attempts to push the past behind her and find some solid ground.
Highly recommended! Four Stars.
Oh NO!! Another to put on the list. Your wonderful review makes it a must read.
This was a great book, given to me by Diane Keenoy. She read it in one sitting. It kept my interest in the same way. It is a ER book.
BOOK NUMBER 19 OF 2018
Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry
High up on my list of one of the best I've read thus far this year, this captivating, well-written book pulled me in from the first page.
March 11, 2011 was a day of incredible disaster for Japan. In particular, the hardest hit were the Northern reaches which are comprised of small hamlets of hard-working people who lived off the land. Near the epicenter, and the hardest hit by after shocks and 30-foot tsunami waves and walls of crushing danger, everything seemed to happen so very quickly.
In Tokyo, 125 miles away from the epicenter, initially, a strong tremor was felt. Earth quakes are a common occurrence, and thus at first some thought it was no big deal. But others knew by the strength of the quake that this was something to be reckoned with. Those in underground transportation stations were very aware, and afraid that the ceiling had the potential of falling on them.
As skyscrapers swayed and buildings cracked, the earthquake measured a solid 9.0 of the Richter scale. Soon, followed by this roughly five minute solid tremor, a tsunami was predicted. Japan is located on four highly active tectonic plates. Yet, because they feared dependence on other countries for oil, they built nuclear power plants. Warned that this was not a wise undertaking given the daily shocks from the underground, still, they built 54 plants.
Four of the nuclear power plants nearest the center of the quake closed, The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station was the most impacted and the core failed.
After shocks measured a consistent 7 on the Richter scale, and soon after the major first five-minute tremor, a tsunami warning went out .
This book focuses on a small school in the Northern area. The was Okawa Elementary School branched out to many children living in small hamlets or villages. When the tremor was first felt, the teachers made the children duck and cover. Then, herding the children to the playground, they unwisely waited. A few parents drove through the winding roads to get their children. They witnessed buses running, but no children were boarding.
Approximately one hour after the first quake, the tsunami rapidly enveloped roads, huge pine trees and walls of 30 feet of black water rapidly engulfed everything and everyone in its path. For unknown reasons, the teachers did not move the children to higher ground. There was a large hill within distance, and if told, the children could have run up that hill. One teacher did. He lived. Later, he would be the scorn and hate of all parents who lost their beloved child or children.
There were 78 children, of which 74 died. There were eleven teachers, of which ten died. Sadly, dramatically, this was the lone school in all of Japan to suffer such overwhelming death. Later, as the author notes, angry parents demanded a reckoning. When they learned that in fact some of the children asked the teachers if they could run up higher, the anger of parents was white hot!
The author writes vividly about the emotional pain of parents who spent every waking moment digging and looking for their children. Piles and piles of bodies, and yet some of the parents still could not find their child.
> 148 Linda = I can't wait to read this one. Having lived in Japan through numerous earthquakes there and a few typhoons but never a tsunami, this one has landed at the top of the TBR list. I do remember in my first month there living in a small Japanese house off base, not speaking English, 7 mos pregnant with an 8 yr with me and a husband at sea, when a huge typhoon hit (41 marines were killed in a tragic fire at their camp on Mt Fuji when the storm caused a leak in a fuel bladder). We had no TV or radio (the english speaking station had been knocked out by the storm) and the Japanese notify people of disasters by loudspeakers on rolling sound powered trucks that drive through the neighborhoods. Of course, I had no idea what they were saying. I will never forget the kindness of Mrs. Sato, an elderly lady who lived next door, who risked her life coming to bang on my door in the torrential downpour to warn me in her very halting English "Typhoon missus, please to fill bathtub. Dam will burst. Keep flashlights ready. Do not use candles." She bowed and left, and Lisa and I spent the night huddled together (we never lost power) playing monopoly. A harrowing experience, and alas, the 1st of many.
P.S. I chuckle at the news reporters here in Maine who give us BREAKING NEWS whenever there is a 2.5 or lighter earthquake here in Maine - we've had 3 this year!
So glad you put this on the radar!
Let's hope your local library has this one. I was able to obtain in within the first days it was on the shelf. My review could never do justice to the absolute terror of those who experienced this terrible tragedy. Thanks for sharing your story. I can only imagine how you must have felt. What a wonderful neighbor. The author also did a wonderful job of writing about the caring, loving people of Japan.
I'm back to work and sadly, my reading has dropped drastically. Often, I begin to read, but am to tired. I imagine that March will be a more productive month because perhaps I will have more energy after the initial adjustment.
Hi Whisper1! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get over here. I hope all is well with you.
>134 Whisper1: Sounds interesting.
I'm reading a book to the family, Gone Crazy in Alabama, and enjoying it quite a bit. I was already a third of the way into it before discovering it is the third book of a trilogy. No matter. this book stands well on its own. And the cover art on all three books is fantastic.
Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone . That must have been a heart breaker of a read, Linda. I remember watching it on TV . Such a tragedy. Wonderful review. Hope all is well with you.
>152 brodiew2: Brodie. I read all three of the books in this story of girls with an absent mom.
Thanks for stoppig by.
>153 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb. It was quite sad. Just to think that these poor little children knew they should be going up the hill to safety, but the adult teachers made them stay put, and this caused their death. Thanks for visiting, and for your kind words regarding my review.
Dear Linda, no way I can catch up, but I'm HAPPY to see you here so often and reporting on so much good reading!
Being a contrarian, I'm much more interested in reading about Bobby Kennedy rather than Jack. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon is definitely on Mt. Bookpile for this year. I was a junior in college when JFK was killed; somebody interrupted college chorus practice to tell us. When I went back to the dorm, I was obsessed that the elementary school next door hadn't lowered their flag to half mast. I finally called and told them.
One of my best English students ever, a Native American, pretty much worshiped Sherman Alexie. I promised him that I'd read some and haven't ever gotten around to doing more than buying a book.
And this should have been first: SO GLAD that the treatments are working even a little!
Enjoy Lucy's book when it gets to you! I promise that you will!!!!!
Hi Peggy, it is always so good to hear from you. I have added the Bobby Kennedy book to the tbr pile. I agree with you, I've always felt stronger affinity to Bobby than Jack. I truly think Bobby would have been a very good president. But, sadly, his life was ended all too soon.
I hope you are well andd life is good. Our weather here in NE Pennsylvania is very mercurial. First freezy cold, then temps of 65. Icy roads, followed by a day of sunshine. Today snow was predicted, but the temps are in the 50's.
I am going to take two of my neighborhood girls shopping. One of them (Ashlee) is due a birthday present. Thus far, returning to work in February has made other imp0eratives fall to the side.
Though, I can say that despite the pain, life is very good. Wee life in a neighborhood filled with friends. It is so wonderful to be the grandparents to seven children. Winter has kept us inside, but as soon as spring arrives, Will will carry the large box of crafts outside, we will make some phone calls and lo and behold, laughter will prevail.
Yesterday was a special day. Our lovely grand daughter Kayla turned 15 and our wonderful Sheltalnd Sheepdog (Sheltie) Lilly turned five.
This is a photo taken a few years ago on one of the first days of spring. It was a happy day and I often go back to this photo in appreciation of moments that are special and how very much family means to me.
And, here is a collage my daughter pulled together shortly after Kayla was born:
And, here is Lilly shortly after her birth. She is the puppy on the left sleeping on the hot water bottle.
Hi, Linda! I just finished a book I think you would love: Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar.
Hi, Linda! Just catching up here on all the lovely reviews and photos. The Last to See Me sounds like one I would enjoy. Wishing you a great week. Hugs.
BOOK #20 OF 2018
Facing The Wave A Journey In The Wake of the Tsunami by Gretel Ehlich
This is a series of stories regarding some of those impacted by the March 2011 triple devastation in Japan. First the 9.0 earth quake, following by a 35-30 ft. tsunami, which then led to the devastation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The author is a journalist who interviewed those who survived and lost family members, fishermen whose livelyhood was wiped out, never to be restored. In addition, the author focused on the spirituality of the nation and interviewed monks and those who had the gift of helping "ghosts" pass on to the new life.
There were so many stories of devastation that after reading more and more tales, it grew to be depressing. Yet, how can a nation help but be depressed when so much occurred. There are many stories of those still seeking their loved ones whose bodies were smashed against the mountain or any structure that happened to be in the way.
I was very bothered by the fact that those in charge of the nuclear power plant, did the same thing that happened at Chernobly in the Ukraine -- they lied and covered up the fact that there were many problems with the plant before the tsunami hit, including the fact that the ruptured pipes were reported two years before as being vastly unstable. It was all too easy for authorities to blame the earthquake and tsunami for all of the problems. When the reactor core overheated, nuclear debris floated out to ocean, and also contaminated many. Seven years later and still it is difficult to know how many will develop cancer as a result.
There were 54 nuclear power plants in Japan at the time of the disaster. It is difficult to understand that a country experiencing daily earthquakes decided to build power plants, some, such as the Fukushima Daiichi plant, were close to epicenters.
>162 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Will and I have so many special memories of Kayla. She was a delightful baby, an intelligent and special child, and now she is quite a caring, loving and intelligent young lady. I imagine you feel the same way regarding your three children and wonder how time went by so very quickly.
>163 foggidawn: Hi Misti. I put this book on the tbr pile. I always appreciate your recommendations. Thanks!
>164 Berly: It is so good to see you here Kim. I hope all is well with you!
>165 souloftherose: Hi Heather. Thanks for stopping by. Life is good! My daughter was in college when we received the news that she was pregnant. The initial surprise quickly led to elation of having our first grand child. Breanna is a wonderful mother.
Time does indeed fly, Linda. I hope that even though going back to work will affect your reading time, the time that you do get to spend with the books will be refreshing and uplifting!
What Chelle said, Linda. Love those photos. We miss our kids being little, but we've got our first grandkid due at the end of April.
>168 jolerie: Hi Valerie. I am in a reading slump. This week, I've picked up a few books, then put them down. I hope to have time this weekend to read and to find a good book.
>169 LizzieD: Hi Peggy. Life is good. I am fortunate in many ways.
>170 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle. Hold on to your girls. Everyday is special.
>171 jnwelch: Congratulations Joe. There is nothing that compares with the joy of grandparenthood.
Here is a photo taken last year. Kayla wasn't feeling well and was home from school. Lilly gladly kept her company.
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