souloftherose's 2018 reading - thread the first
This topic was continued by souloftherose's 2018 reading - thread the second.
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I’m Heather and this is my 9th(!) year in the 75 Book Challenge Group. I'm in my midthirties and live in a small town to the northwest of London in the United Kingdom with my husband and our rescue cat, Erica.
I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction (including children's/young adult books) as well as a good spattering of crime/historical/other fiction. A fair number of the books I read are older books - I particularly enjoy 18th and 19th century fiction, golden age detective novels and fiction from the first half of the 20th century. I read mainly for pleasure and relaxation/stress relief - I do occasionally try to take myself out of my comfort zone by reading contemporary literary fiction and I also started to read some books about the Bible (specifically the Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament) last year - so there will probably be a bit more of that although as the latter are not exactly light reading it takes me a while to get through them.
Last year I read 165 books - I don't have a specific target for this year other than the perpetual resolution to make a dent in the TBR piles.
Erica on the sofa:
Books read in January
#1 Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (Reread)
#2 Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (TBR)
#3 Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (TBR)
#4 Mockingbird, Vol 2: My Feminist Agenda by Chelsea Cain (Marvel Unlimited)
#5 God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell (TBR)
#6 The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Croft (Amazon Prime)
#7 Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (Library)
#8 The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (TBR)
#9 The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (Free kindle)
#10 Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft by various authors (Free kindle)
#11 Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (Reread)
#12 Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (Reread)
Books read in February
#13 Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (TBR)
#14 White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple (Library)
#15 Crooked House by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#16 The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter (TBR)
DNF Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron (Marvel Unlimited)
#17 The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (Library)
#18 Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Reread)
#19 A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (Reread)
#20 An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows (TBR)
#21 Memory of Water by Emma Ittaranta (Library)
#22 A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (TBR)
#23 Dark of the Moon by P. C. Hodgell (TBR)
#24 Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin (TBR)
#25 Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler (Humble Bundle)
#26 Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned to Ask Questions by Rachel Held Evans (TBR)
Books read in March
#27 Mother of Winter by Barbara Hambly (TBR)
#28 Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (Library)
#29 The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield (TBR)
#30 Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (Library)
Books acquired in 2018
#1 Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle (Kindle)
#3 Saplings by Noel Streatfeild (Paper))
#6 Frederica by Georgette Heyer (Kindle)
#7 The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer (Kindle)
#9 Young Wizards New Millennium 9-Volume Box Set by Diane Duane (Kindle)
#12 Feast or Famine? by Ekklesia (Paper)
#14 Royal Assassin & Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb (Kindle)
An idea borrowed from Liz (lyzard), this lists ongoing series that I am actively reading. This doesn't include series where I have the first book in my TBR pile (i.e. series I haven't started reading yet aren't included). An asterisk indicates a series where I already have a copy of the next book and bold indicates an intention to finish the series soon(ish)...
Series I'm actively* reading (*for a rather lax definition of active)
*Albert Campion: Next up The China Governess by Margery Allingham (17/19)
Arbai trilogy Next up Raising the Stones by Sheri S. Tepper (2/3)
*Barsetshire Books by Angela Thirkell: Reading out of order. Next up The Brandons (5/29 read)
*The Bear and the Nightingale: Next book The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (2/3)
Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Next up Seeker's Mask by P. C. Hodgell (3/8)
Dark Gifts: Next up Tarnished City by Vic James (2/3)
Darwath: Next up Icefalcon's Quest by Barbara Hambly (5/5)
*The Expanse: Next up Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey (5/7)
Fables: Next up Fables, Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham (16/22)
The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire: Next up The Custodian of Marvels by Rod Duncan (3/3)
Finishing School: Next up Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (4/4)
*Gilead: Next up Lila by Marilynne Robinson (3/3)
*Green Knowe: Next up: The River at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston (3/6)
Hainish Cycle: Next up The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin (6/8)
*Helliconia Trilogy: Next up Helliconia Winter by Brian Aldiss (3/3)
The Illuminae Files: Next up Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (2/3)
Lady Trent's Memoirs: Next up In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan (4/5)
Liaden Universe Novels: Next up Ghost Ship by Shareon Lee & Steve Miller (14/21)
*The Long Earth: Next up The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (2/5)
Lumberjanes: Next up Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters (6/?)
The Manifold Worlds: Next up A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows (2/2)
Ms. Marvel 2015: Next up: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage per Second by G. Willow Wilson (3/4)
Peter Grant: Next book The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (6.5/7)
*Realm of the Elderlings: Next up Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (2/16)
Saga: Next up Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (4/7?)
*The Stormlight Archive: Next up Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Witches of Lychford: Next book A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell (3/3)
Wolves Chronicles: Next up The Witch of Clatteringshaws by Joan Aiken (11/11)
Series I've stalled on but want to get back to
The Adventures of Arabella Ashby: Next up Arabella and the Battle of Venus (2/3)
*Barsoom: Next up The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (3/11)
Bas-Lag: Next up The Scar by China Mieville (2/3)
*Dolphin Ring Cycle: Next up Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff (5/8)
Dragonslayer: Next up The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde (3/4)
*Ebenezer Gryce: Next up The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green (9/13)
*Fionavar Tapestry: Next up The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay (3/3)
The Fractured Europe Sequence: Next up Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson (2/3)
*The Girl Who: Next up The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente (3/5)
Hilary Tamar: Next up The Shortest Way to Hades by Sarah Caudwell (2/4)
Jimm Juree: Next up Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (2/2)
Les Voyages Extraordinaires: Next up From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne (4/54)
Luna: Next up Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald (2/3)
Maigret: Next up Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon (7/76)
The Penderwicks: Next up The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall (2/4)
*Richard Hannay: Next up The Three Hostages by John Buchan (4/5)
*Roderick Alleyn: Next up Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh (2/32)
Romantic Poets and Nephilim: Next up A Time to Cast Away Stones in The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers (2/3)
Ruth Galloway: Next up A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths (5/9)
Simon Schama's A History of Britain: Next up A History of Britain: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 by Simon Schama (2/3)
Dr. Siri Paiboun: Next up: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/10)
*Tales of a New Jerusalem: Next up Family Britain, 1951-57 by David Kynaston (2/5?)
*Turtle: Next up Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (2/2)
Vlad Taltos: Next up Dragon by Steven Brust (8/14)
Young Pilots: Next up Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (3/3)
Series I'm rereading
*Discworld: Tiffany Aching: Next up I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (4/5)
*Chief Inspector Armand Gamache: Next up A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (7/11)
*Thursday Next: Next up The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde (7/7)
Up to date series
The Cinder Spires: Latest book The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (1/?)
Craft Sequence: Chronological Order Latest book The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone (6/6)
Empire of Masks: Next book The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (1/?)
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Next up The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (4/7?)
The Kingkiller Chronicle: Next up The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (4/4)
Lady Helen: Latest book The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (2/3)
Matthew Shardlake: Latest book Lamentation by C. J. Sansom (6/6)
Mistborn Latest book Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson (7/8)
The Murderbot Diaries Next book Artificial Condition (2/4)
Old Kingdom: Latest book Goldenhand by Garth Nix (5/5)
Penric & Desdemona - Publication Order: Latest book The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (6/6)
Planetfall: Next book Before Mars by Emma Newman (3/3)
Shades of Grey: Latest book Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (1/3)
A Song of Ice and Fire: Latest book A Dance with Dragons by G. R. R. Martin (5/7?)
Sorcerer Royal: Latest book Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (1/3)
The Sunbolt Chronicles: Latest book Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani (2/3)
Vorkosigan Series: Latest book Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (17/17)
Wayfarers: Nextbook Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (3/3)
Wayward Children: Latest book Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (3/5)
Wolf Hall: Latest book Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2/3)
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (3/3)
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain (2/2)
The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson (4/4)
I'm quite a humbug when it comes to all the Christmas/New Year merriment but I appreciated this message from my favourite author I've never read, Matt Haig, so thought I would share here:
"Happy new year! Don't ever feel you aren't enough. Don't feel you have to achieve more just to be accepted. Be happy with your own self, minus upgrades. Stop dreaming of imaginary goals and finishing lines. Accept what marketing doesn't want you to: you are fine. You lack nothing."
And in that spirit, happy New Year to all visitors!
The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter - so, so close to finishing this one.
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now by James Kugels - very interesting but lots to digest
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple - stalled 100 pages in. Not sure if I am going to get back to it.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding; and An Integrated Man by Julia Strachey - I read Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and wasn't overwhelmed. Trying to decide if I try An Integrated Man or just take to a charity shop.
I think I definitely need to add something lighter to that mix!
>1 souloftherose: Heather, Your cat is marked ever so lovely. I wish we could have a cat, but Will has allergies and asthma. I am most impressed at how many books you read in 2017. May 2018 follow along the same path, and I hope you have room for all the books!
This could be a dangerous thread for book bullets :) Happy new year and happy reading!
Dropping a star, Heather. Happy New Year to you. Love the Matt Haig quote and the Erica topper. Please give Erica my love.
Have you starred now Heather. I have to say you have more series going than I knew were in existence haha. Happy reading!
Cats are always the perfect thread toppers! Hope your 2018 is filled with good reads!
Happy New Thread and Year, Heather! (In that order, of course!)
Just to let you know, the threads are up for the group read of The Semi-Attached Couple & The Semi-Detached House, but there's no hurry about starting. See you there whenever! :)
Happy New Year, Heather! Looking forward to keeping up with your reading more this year than last.
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.
Happy new reading year, Heather - hope you find some less meaty books for your mix :)
Fascinating mix of books. Looking forward to following your thread in 2018.
Happy New Year Heather! I suppose I ought to post some pictures of Jasper, as lots of others are showing off their pets; he does have some odd poses.
Hi Heather! Looking forward to spending lots of time hanging out here this year! Intrigued by your description of Matt Haig as "my favourite author I've never read". How did he acquire that status?
>5 souloftherose: I like that quote about "Never think you aren't enough" especially as it takes on the marketing myth. Happy reading in 2018!
I'm not sure how I haven't followed your thread before this, Heather, but I'm dropping off a star and planning to hang out around here this year.
Thank you all for the new thread/happy new year wishes! I am still trying to get round to everyone's thread and still writing up my last few reviews of 2017 on my 2017 thread (3 to go): http://www.librarything.com/topic/266494
>7 FAMeulstee:, >8 archerygirl: Thank you!
>9 Whisper1: Ah, sorry to hear about Will's allergies Linda - I'm glad you've been able to have Lilly as a source of joy and companionship over the last few years.
>10 ronincats:, >11 SandDune:, >12 kgodey: Thank you!
>13 Narilka: Welcome!
>14 Crazymamie: I will give Erica your love Mamie - she's in winter cat mode at the moment which is mostly curled up on one of her favourite blankets.
>15 brenzi: I think many series is a problem with reading science fiction, fantasy and crime novels! That and I don't have the discipline to finish one before starting another. But check out lyzard's thread if you want to be overwhelmed by the number of series one person is reading....
>16 Ameise1:, >17 drneutron:, >18 katiekrug:, >19 jnwelch: Thank you all!
>20 thornton37814: I think we agree about the cat pictures :-) Lots of people started adding art pictures to their threads but I quickly ran out of ideas for that theme but I am always taking pictures of our cat in some random pose and hence the idea was born!
>21 lyzard:, >22 cushlareads:, >23 PaulCranswick: Thank you!
>24 ctpress: I have found some less meaty books but made the mistake of starting them all at once so who knows when I'll finish anything!
>25 The_Hibernator:, >26 libraryperilous:, >27 LauraBrook: Thank you!
>28 humouress: Thanks Nina!
>29 HanGerg: Well, I've never read any of his books for some reason (not without receiving lots of recommendations from others) but I follow him on some social media and he's very good at speaking about life with mental health issues and just generally calling bullshit when he sees it. So I really like what he writes but have never read any of his books - hence favourite author I've never read! It used to be Claire North/Kate Griffin whose blog I enjoyed for a long time before getting round to reading her books but now I've read several of them she just falls into the more usual favourite author category :-) Maybe there should be a small NY resolution for 2018 to actually read one of Matt Haig's books?
>30 Familyhistorian: I think that quote was what I needed to hear on Jan 1st so thought it might be worth sharing :-)
>31 MickyFine: Welcome Micky!
No books finished for 2018 and no further progress on the books in >6 souloftherose: (they require concentration so are definitely only for reading on non-work days) but added to my currently reading list are the following:
The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden (group read)
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (reread)
God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell (group read)
Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft by various authors
Did I mention that I always read far too many books at once?
Hello, Heather, I'm pleased to have found your new thread. I'm part of an online daily photography group and I often use Kevin, my cat, as my photo. He poses so well!
>1 souloftherose: starring your thread! And such a beautiful tabby-cat. I like the ginger coloring in the fur.
I have read the first two Expanse books by James SA Corey, and loved them. Alas! My life is such that huge books are hard to fit in. I own #3, will get to it...
>9 Whisper1: oh, what a lovely library!!!!
Just dropping in a star :) I'm trying to get back out and about this year after a few years of very limited LT. I had forgotten how many books we have in common! You are making me want to pick up some more Fantasy.
Plus it seems a shared issue with reading far too many books at once...
>32 souloftherose: "Maybe there should be a small NY resolution for 2018 to actually read one of Matt Haig's books?" Well far be for me to tell you what to do but...heck, yes! you should! ; )
You remind me I should have another go at the Midnight Mayor series of Kate Griffin's - I stalled two books in and it was pretty good. And, who is this P.C. Hodgell character please?! They seem to be popping up everywhere and I have no idea about them!
Hi, Heather. Dropping a star.
I'm interested to see that you are reading quite a few of the same series as I am. I've been thinking that I'd like to start the Peter Grant series for some time now, but never get around to it. Maybe this year.
>32 souloftherose: Your description of Matt Haig is intriguing- maybe I'll try to track down one of his books. Look-- you've never even read his stuff but you're already converting new potential readers!
There seems to be a bit of overlap in what we enjoy reading.
I'm new to LT, but not to reading or book chatting, that's for sure.
Hi Heather, great to see that old habits die hard!
(Did I mention that I always read far too many books at once?)
Finally made it here, Heather! I hope that you will get back to the Mughals. It does pick up when they get into Kirkpatrick's life so that getting through the rest was worth it to me. I hope I'm going to have time for more India this year. That's about as close to a plan as I get.
I also wish you a satisfying 2018!
>50 souloftherose: Hope you feel better soon! Both of those sound like excellent light reading choices.
We'll have to work out a time for a Farseer read now that you've finished Assassin's Apprentice :-)
Heather, sorry to hear you are under the weather. Hoping you feel better very soon.
>33 MickyFine: Sometimes reading that many books does stress me out - at the moment it's not so I'm just going with the flow. It's partly that I'm taking part in two group reads this month and I'm trying not to get too far ahead of the schedule.
>34 CDVicarage: Glad you found me Kerry! I wouldn't say Erica poses that well (I have to sneak up on her when taking photographs otherwise I get grumpy cat face) but I just like taking photos of her!
>35 Whisper1: Aw, thank you Linda. I love her colouring - especially the ginger tints.
>36 BLBera: Thanks Beth!
>37 fuzzi: Lovely to see you here fuzzi and thanks for the kitty compliments - I really like her colouring too (I have ginger hair myself so clearly I had to have a cat with some ginger in her colouring!) I had a bit of a binge on the first four books in the Expanse series at the beginning of last summer but for some reason haven't got round to picking up Nemesis Games even though we have a copy. They are great reads.
>38 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda!
>39 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka - I seem to have gone on a real fantasy and science fiction kick over the last couple of years. Based on my currently reading list that doesn't look like something that's going to change....
>40 HanGerg: Ok, goal to read Matt Haig book in 2018 accepted. I liked the Midnight Mayor series but I actually think I find her books written as Claire North more interesting. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August or Touch for example.
>40 HanGerg:, >43 humouress: P.C. Hodgell is the author of God Stalk, the first book in a fantasy series and ronincats is hosting a group read of God Stalk this month. The link's in >43 humouress: if you'd like to join us!
>41 rretzler: I really, really like the Peter Grant series Robin so would encourage you to start that. I seem to be very good at starting new series and not so good at making progress or finishing any of my current ones. Probably something I need to work on in 2018!
>42 staciec: Ha! Well, let me know what you think of his books if you try them! I think avatiakh is one of the people who've recommended them to me.
>44 quondame: Welcome to my thread Susan!
>45 LovingLit: Yep, which is why I don't really bother with plans or new years' resolutions anymore!
>46 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara!
>47 Fourpawz2: Glad you found me Charlotte - I think I have most people's threads starred now but haven't necessarily stopped by to visit yet.
>48 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa!
>50 souloftherose: Glad you found me Peggy. I do want to get back to the Mughals - maybe once I've shaken off this cold I'll dive in again. I'd also like to read more about India generally especially as a number of my close colleagues are Indian or of Indian heritage.
>51 archerygirl: Heading over to your thread now to discuss dates for the Farseer read - I am itching to get to the next book!
>51 archerygirl:, >52 Crazymamie: Thanks Kathy and Mamie! I am feeling a bit better today I think but glad that tomorrow is my regular non-working day so I don't have to make a decision about whether I'm well enough to go back to work. I was due to take the cat to the vet for a check-up (can't decide if she has been a bit out of sorts lately) but have rearranged for next week.
>53 souloftherose: Heather, I'm the same way with series. I am working on way too many right now, but I'm not one to say no to another good series. I guess that way I just stretch out my enjoyment, if I only read one or two books a year from the series.
Hi again, hope your vet plans and your get well plans are coming to fruition. I feel I have been fighting off something these last few days, I hope it dissipates as I don't fancy a sick day.
Thanks for the link in your old thread! I'm looking forward to following your reading again this year (and hopefully to another meetup in person).
Hi Heather! I dropped my star quite a while ago and have been lurking.
Happy new year and thread. Erica is 'dorable.
Ugh, I think I may have underestimated this cold - it feels very slow to go away. I went back to work on Wednesday which I thought I felt well enough for (any signs of a temperature had long gone) but now I seem to be getting a cough/sore throat. No plans for the weekend so just going to rest, read and keep drinking lots. At least it's not flu!
Also Dan has had a flurry of cooking (if he does it slowly enough throughout the day it doesn't make him too tired) and he had made several meals worth of meatballs al forno AND pudding - apple crumble on Thursday night and bread and butter pudding yesterday. Yum!
>54 rretzler: It's good to know I'm not the only person with that problem Robin!
>55 Berly:, >56 calm:, >57 BLBera: Thanks Kim, calm and Beth!
>58 LovingLit: Oh, I hope you don't go down with something Megan. Honestly I felt like I was fighting something off for most of December so in some ways it was a relief to finally get sick (realised, hey that's why I've been feeling so cruddy).
>59 HanGerg: Cool, see you over there Hannah!
>60 roundballnz:, >61 Sakerfalcon:, >62 karenmarie: Glad you all found me!
Ok, I need to get my opening lists and tickers set up and I have also finished some books so will try and write some reviews this weekend. But first I need to get Dan up for our usual Saturday morning market trip.
But before I start my 2018 reviews I'm going to copy my best reads of 2017 from last year's thread.
Stars (*) mark my overall top five for the LT Top Five Books of 2017 (which for me includes 3 non-fiction reads which is unusual).
*The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter
*Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
*March: Book One by John Lewis
The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell
A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell
The Life Project by Helen Hearson
Fiction (excl rereads)
*After Atlas and Planetfall by Emma Newman
Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
The Duke's Children: The Complete Text by Anthony Trollope
*A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
Mortal Engines and A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve
Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man and Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King
Ms. Marvel Vol. 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson
Mockingbird Vol 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain
>65 BLBera:, >66 Whisper1: Thanks Beth and Linda!
Book #1: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb - 4.3 stars
In many ways this fantasy series by Robin Hobb isn't doing anything new for the genre - Assassin's Apprentice was first published in 1995 and it's a coming of age story of a young boy, bastard son of the heir to the throne, in a medievalesque kingdom where some individuals have some magical ability (called the Skill). But what separates this series from the many others with similar premises is the writing and characterisation - Hobb really makes you care deeply about the main character and the secondary characters. Sometimes too much given what the characters end up going through - I first read these books 15 years ago and ended up giving up midway through the Tawny Man trilogy because it was just too much. I'm hoping that (a) not being clinically depressed and (b) not binge-reading will mean I can make it further on this read through as the books are soo good (and now the series is completely finished I really want to find out what happens).
We're planning a group read of the rest of the series if anyone's interested in joining in.
Your books off the year look so pretty displayed like that! (Or maybe you just have great taste in book covers!) There's a few there that caught my eye that I didn't know about - Planetfall and After Atlas sound intriguing but possibly a bit gruelling, but All Systems Red definitely sounds like fun.
>63 souloftherose: Honestly I felt like I was fighting something off for most of December so in some ways it was a relief to finally get sick (realised, hey that's why I've been feeling so cruddy).
I hear you! I haven't come down with anything, yet oddly, the other night I had a clogged episode involving mucus from the nasal passage (e.g. snot !). It wasn't pleasant, but agin, didn't turn into anything! Which I am OK with :)
>67 souloftherose: Is the group read of the whole Realm of the Elderlings or just the Farseer trilogy?
I've made it to your thread, hurrah! Sorry to hear you have a cold, I hope you've had a restful weekend. I've had a sore throat with cough for over two weeks, keep thinking it's getting better but it is just lurking. The fact that I get something similar every New Year is no consolation. Roll on the spring!
The cover of Assassin's apprentice looked familiar to me - I checked and it's among the many as yet unread ebooks in my Kindle stockpile. Perhaps it's time to get round to it...
>67 souloftherose: Hoping you feel better soon! Trevor Noah's was one of my top picks for 2017, too. That one sounds interesting...but not until at least February because my January to-read list is more than I can handle. LOL
>67 souloftherose: You are totally right that caring for Robin Hobb's characters can make what happens to them especially painful. What I like most about them is that their faults are so well integrated into their development and they are all the more likeable for not being perfect.
>68 SandDune: >71 Narilka: We're going to read book #2 in March - hopefully that gives people time to read book #1 if they want to join in but haven't started the series yet. At the moment the plan is to read the entire Realm of the Elderlings series (so after the Farseer trilogy to move on to the Liveship Traders trilogy). I'm hoping to get a thread set up with a proposed timetable later today and will post a link here (and in group announcements etc.)
>69 HanGerg: Although they deal with some dark topics I actually didn't find Planetfall or After Atlas gruelling emotionally - I'm never quite sure exactly why some books leave me feeling that way and others don't. Perhaps with these it's because although the worlds as a whole are not comforting, Newman writes about her characters with a lot of sympathy even when they are flawed and therefore I see a message of hope in them? When I bought the Newman they had only been published in the US by Roc (I think) but I've heard Gollancz have picked them up for UK publication following her Clarke award nomination last year. So they might now be more easily available in the UK.
All Systems Red is a lot of fun and there are two sequels planned for this year.
>70 LovingLit: Fingers crossed you continue to dodge the germs Megan! I keep thinking, as long as I don't get flu I'll take that.
>72 gennyt: I hate that lurking stage. I felt noticeably better yesterday after I rested all weekend (I slept in until 9am on Sunday!) but maybe a bit worse today after a busy day at work yesterday and a busy appointment filled 'day off' today. I think an early night is probably in order!
I think they had a kindle deal on Assassin's Apprentice a while ago which was when I picked up my copy (it might even have been free) so that might be when it made its way on to your kindle stockpile... :-D
>73 Berly: Thanks Kim - yeah, I keep looking at my January to-read list and thinking, 'Oh, we're halfway through the month already? Oops!'
>74 quondame: Yes, and it must be a difficult balance for an author to write flawed characters that readers still sympathise with. I think Hobb does it very well. Have you read the entire series?
>76 souloftherose: Thanks for the link. I read The Rain Wilds Chronicles last year and was planning to do The Fitz and the Fool later this year. Looks like I can jump in with the group read in a few months :)
>75 souloftherose: Yes to the entire series. Probably at least twice for most of the books. Though I almost gave up when I was reading Ship of Magic - it was my first Robin Hobb - and Kennit mutilated Wintrow. Too much detail. I still feel there is more detail than I require, but I can live with it.
Hi, Heather. I see you signed up for Airtable - thanks for the referral. I think you'll get a lot of use out of it. Hope you feel better soon.
>75 souloftherose: I may have to join you for the March 2 read in March. I haven't read 1 yet, but I've been meaning too. I've got a bunch of ARC books that I really need to read, but if I can get those done, then I'll join.
>76 souloftherose: I'm tempted by this as well as I've never read Robin Hobb before.
Hi Heather, coming over to drop a return star. Looking forward to the Robin Hobb group read!
>77 Narilka: I think it might be a while until we get to The Fitz and the Fool (2019?) but it would lovely to have you comment along on the ones you've read.
>78 quondame: I'm hoping that company and spreading the books out this time helps me through those parts of the series where the really terrible things happen to the characters this time....
>79 Kassilem: He was certainly compelling to read about Melissa.
>80 rretzler: Yes, I created and account at Airtable and did a bit of investigating. I think I need to sit down and watch some of the introductory videos/tutorials to understand all the things it can do.
>80 rretzler:, >81 Arifel: You'd both be very welcome at the Robin Hobb group read - I am really looking forward to it.
Book #2: Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine - 3.4 stars
This is a very Jules Verne/Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired steampunk fantasy, but with feminism. According to the book blurb, Isaac Newton witnessing a bubble rising from his bathtub instead of an apple falling from a tree sets scientific discovery in a new direction and by the late 17th century the first expedition to Mars has taken place. Our story is set in the early 19th century, during what are still the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France fighting over their colonies - but the colonies now stretch to Venus and Mars. Arabella Ashby was born on Mars on her parents' plantation in the British colony but on her father's death her mother brings Arabella and her sisters to Britain leaving Arabella's brother in charge of the plantation. But when Arabella discovers a plot to murder her brother she'll stop at nothing to make her way back to Mars to warn her brother.
This was a fun, young adult novel that did require a certain suspension of disbelief - not only can interplanetary travel happen by means of airships (but how are they breathing?) but I also found the central plot about Arabella's brother a bit unconvincing. Saying that the combination of airships, automata and Mars was pretty cool. And although it's fairly slow-paced I liked the detail of life aboard the airship as Arabella travelled back to Mars. I would have liked a few more female characters for Arabella to interact with and something addressing the colonialism inherent in this society - I'm hoping the subsequent books in this series may start to look at this in more detail.
This won the Andre Norton award last year.
>82 souloftherose: This looks fun, Heather. I could have used it for the steampunk category last year.
>83 BLBera: Thanks Beth - it was a fun read.
Book #3: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire - 3.9 stars
I am a big fan of McGuire's Wayward Children series of novellas - this is the third in the series and I think it would make most sense if you read at least the first novella, Every Heart a Doorway. In BtSS we revisit several of the characters from EHaD and meet some new ones and travel to several of the portal worlds as part of a quest. I really enjoyed this instalment in the series but I did feel like McGuire was trying to squeeze a bit too much in to a short book. So, it's my least favourite instalment of the series so far but still very enjoyable.
I find McGuire's writing very comforting (even though she doesn't always write about comfortable subjects) and I think I am going to try to start her October Daye series later this year which is one I've had on my reading list for ages.
>84 souloftherose: My reaction to Beneath the Sugar Sky was the same as yours, I think :-) I loved it even though it's not my favourite and McGuire's writing is somehow really comforting even when she's writing very disturbing stuff. You should definitely start her October Daye books!
Hello, Heather! I am also chiming in to say you should read her October Daye books - they are great fun.
>84 souloftherose: I will third the recommendation for October Daye - it's a series that just seems to get better and better. It's also 11 books and counting...!
I just finished Beneath the Sugar Sky, and it's now my favourite of the Wayward Children novellas so far - it's fascinating that everyone seems to rank them differently, I guess because on one level they are very personal books. There were large elements of BtSS (descriptions of water worlds and of baking) that resonated with me to a much greater extent than anything in the previous two novellas, which made all the difference for me.
Another recommendation for the October Daye series from me! The first two books were good enough that I wanted to read on, despite some quibbles, but book 3 left me in awe at its brilliance and each subsequent book has been even better.
>89 Sakerfalcon: Completely agree with that assessment!
Hello, Heather. Happy Friday to you!
>88 Arifel:, >89 Sakerfalcon: Good to see more recommendations for October Daye :-) I'll remember your comments on the series really kicking off from book 3 Claire!
>90 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie - hope you're having a good weekend!
>88 Arifel: Good point about the Wayward Children novellas being so personal Adri - I can see why BtSS was your favourite. For me it was Down Among the Sticks and Bones because of the gender issues and probably also the wonderful gothicy-ness.
>91 rosalita: If you find it I hope you enjoy it Julia!
>92 humouress: So sorry about the BBs Nina - which ones in particular?
>93 souloftherose: I say! Are you trying to add insult to injury? ;0) Too many to count, and the advantage of having a bad memory is that by the time I get to the end of a thread, I've forgotten which books sounded good. But, if you must know, Arabella, the Jemisins and Born a Crime - all of which I've seen elsewhere on LT but your endorsements are yet more nails. And the Chrestomanci books are already on my radar.
ETA: 'Sorry,' my foot. *hobbles off, grumbling*
Book #4: Mockingbird, Vol 2: My Feminist Agenda by Chelsea Cain - 3.8 stars
This included another three issues of Chelsea Cain's wickedly funny Mockingbird series but sadly these were the final three issues. However, they were still great fun - there's a Caribbean cruise, a herd of Corgis and a murder mystery.
The trade paperback is padded out with a couple of issues of an old New Avengers series which also feature Mockingbird as a character - I tried reading them but gave up after the first issue as I couldn't follow the storyline at all.
I loved the Chelsea Cain issues but I'm still really sad and a bit annoyed that Marvel cancelled this especially reading it straight after She-Hulk, another well-written Marvel series with a female lead which got cancelled after a very short run. Sigh, I suppose I should just be grateful that the G. Willow Wilson Ms. Marvel's still going strong....
Book #5: God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell - 3.4 stars
This has been on my TBR pile for years and Roni's group read gave me the kick I needed to get this one down off the shelf.
First published in 1982 this is a fairly short fantasy novel with a female protagonist and lots of detailed worldbuilding - so much worldbuilding that the story itself ends up feeling a little episodic. Jame, our heroine, is also suffering from memory loss so there are lots of hints of things going on in the background that I hope will be explained more in later books.
Personally I felt that maybe this one suffered a little from being a first novel - I like worldbuilding and I like hints of mysteries that aren't resolved in this book but the balance felt wrong to me - there was so much worldbuilding and so many unexplained mysteries that I wasn't at all sure I understood what was supposed to be happening a lot of the time which left me feeling either frustrated or confused when reading.
I'm hopeful that things will become a bit clearer as I continue on with the series - I suspect this is a book where a lot of things make more sense on rereading and there were lots of things I liked about the book (cats, thieves guilds, possibly asexual heroine).
>97 ronincats: Thanks Roni - heading over there shortly!
So, it's February and I was really hoping that my long-term currently reading list would not still include the same books as it did at the beginning of January:
The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter - still very close to finishing
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now by James Kugels - Not nearly finished but I have made progress.
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple - made progress, within 25 pages of the end
I've removed Cheerful Weather for the Wedding; and An Integrated Man by Julia Strachey from the list - I haven't picked it up for over a month so saying I'm currently reading it is a bit of stretch even by my standards.
Ah, I have those first two books, and intend on taking a good look at them when I re-adopt my bible project. Not sure when that will happen, though.
it's February and I was really hoping that my long-term currently reading list would not still include the same books as it did at the beginning of January
Thanks for tracking me down.
Don't worry bout the numbers. Its quality over quantity right?? ;)
>99 The_Hibernator: I definitely purchased the Kugel based on your comments from the bible project last year Rachel - it is really interesting.
>100 lyzard: I think posting that gave me the push to actually sit down and finish one of them because I finished White Mughals yesterday!
My next non-fiction read will definitely not be something that will take 3-4 months to read - I'm thinking George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London because it's short and my husband really enjoyed it.
>101 jolerie: Welcome back Valerie! :-)
>102 souloftherose: I also really enjoyed that one.
Happy Saturday, Heather! Here's hoping that you weekend is full of fabulous! And please give Erica my love.
>103 Crazymamie: Thank you Mamie! Erica had her monthly flea treatment last night so she is feeling a little hard done by so I will give her some special strokes from you. BUT Dan had the brilliant idea of putting a whole pot* full of her favourite treats in front of her while he did it and whilst she still ran away as soon as he let go of her, she came back much more quickly (to eat more of the treats) and is only slightly put out today. (It is not unknown for her to avoid us entirely for 24 hours after we've dabbed the flea treatment on the back of her neck).
*We didn't let her eat the whole pot.
Book #6: The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Croft - 3.1 stars
Another golden age mystery that's been brought back into print as part of the British Library Crime Classics series. This is the 10th book in Freeman Wills Croft's Inspector French series - there are some references to earlier cases Inspector French has solved but I think you can read this without having read the earlier books in the series. This book represents my least favourite style of golden age mystery - a crime novel that's very focussed on the puzzle element of the detective novel. There are a lot of obscure clues and detailed alibis and timings and I wouldn't say there was that much attention to character - either the people affected by the murder or the detective's. I never have the patience to pay attention to the clues and alibis so although this novel 'plays fair' in the sense that all of the clues are given to the reader and the reader, in theory, has all the information needed to solve the crime (Croft even goes so far as to include page references in the final section where the detective describes his solution so attentive readers can check the relevant section of the book), I was not a reader who had anticipated the solution.
I don't know if this approach is typical of Croft's other books - I may try more of them but I don't think he's going to become a favourite (and I'm certainly not going to commit to all 30 Inspector French books).
>106 Crazymamie: They are lovely covers, aren't they?
Book #7: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz - 3.8 stars
From an actual golden age murder mystery to what is, in part anyway, a pastiche of a golden age murder mystery - Magpie Murders is an intriguing story within a story about an editor reading the latest in the Atticus Pund murder mystery series sent to her by one of her author's and then discovering that the final chapters are missing. Her investigation into the missing chapters itself turns into what starts to look suspiciously like a murder investigation.....
Both parts of this novel were good fun although I think I enjoyed the Atticus Pund story slightly more than the modern day mystery (I did find myself almost hoping Horowitz might decide to write an actual Atticus Pund novel) and wonderfully self-referential of the tropes of golden age murder mystery stories (especially Agatha Christie's). I had seen this book on so many best of the year lists that I was initially a little disappointed that I didn't love it more but this was a lot of fun.
Whoo! Well done. :)
Ugh, poor Erica! Kara is flea-free these days, but I used to give her those treatments and it made her go berserk: I think she was very sensitive to the delivery medium, and was often unwell and lethargic afterwards. I was very relieved when I could stop treating her, though not as relieved as she was...
Averting my eyes, but also reminding myself that's a long-neglected series I need to get back to: easier now they're appearing on Kindle. My early impression of the books is that they're stronger for their police-procedural aspects (and were vitally important in the development of that subgenre) than as mysteries---would you agree?
>108 lyzard: Oh poor Kara! I don't think they leave Erica feeling unwell but she definitely feels the unspoken cat-human contract has been breached. Unfortunately as she does go outside and I react badly to flea bites the flea treatment is not optional (although we do it bimonthly instead of monthly as a compromise which still seems to keep things under control).
Yes, the Inspector French book was stronger on the police-procedural aspects than the mystery. I can understand important, I'm just not sure how much I enjoy that aspect of detective novels.
Book #8: The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski - 4.1 stars
My introduction to Marghanita Laski was the Persephone Classics edition of Little Boy Lost - a fairly heart-wrenching story of a father searching for his young son by his French wife in post-WWII France. That made me determined to track down all of Marghanita Laski's books - happily Persephone have four currently in print and a fifth to be published.
The Victorian Chaise-Longue* is a short novella published in 1953 in which Melanie, a slightly silly young wife, is recovering from TB which is still being treated here without use of antibiotics (I wasn't sure if that meant the book was set slightly earlier than publication date or it just took a while for antibiotics to become the standard treatment for diseases like this). Melanie contracted the disease while pregnant with her first child and the doctors reluctantly agreed to allow the pregnancy to continue as long as Melanie undertook strict bed rest. Her son was born healthy and Melanie survived but she has spent the last 12-18 months doing nothing but lying in bed (a quick google reveals this is exactly how they treated TB and I can only begin to imagine how isolating and suffocating that must have been). Melanie is overjoyed at the prospect at being allowed to move into another room of her house for the first time in months and with nurses, doctors and husband in attendance she is carefully moved to a Victorian chaise-longue that she bought at an antique shop when first married. Settled comfortably on the chaise-longue Melanie drifts of to sleep but later awakens to find herself still on the chaise-longue but in a dark, cold room, feeling unwell, unable to move and cared for by people who think she's called Milly and that it's sometime in the 1860s....
The confusion Melanie feels is very well-written and there's also a creeping sense of horror as she realises that she has no way of moving from the chair due to her illness. As Melanie starts to understand what seems to have happened she discovers more and more parallels between her life and Milly's. The interpretation of what exactly has happened to Melanie is left to the reader - it's a very unsettling read.
*apparently in the US a chaise-longue is often called a chaise-lounge. Either way you spell it, it would look something like this:
And nothing makes you feel worse than the reproachful look that accompanies the breaking of the 'contract'... Kara does go outside but she hates other cats and doesn't socialise, so she has fortunately stayed flea-free.
Purely a matter of taste, of course: some people get impatient with the puzzle aspect of traditional mysteries and prefer the increased realism of the procedurals. I'm happy to devour both. :)
Very nice! I should be reading more Persephones (and need to consider 'whither' for our Viragos...)
>111 lyzard: I feel like I should be reading more of everything but I have been particularly neglectful of my Persephones and Viragos (apart from the chronological read). I'm hoping to rectify that a little this year. Also looking forward to the next chronological Virago too...
The Wayward Children series sounds just like my cup of tea! I'll keep an eye out for them.
>95 souloftherose: The Mockingjay comics sound good. I'll have to see if my library has them.
>98 souloftherose: I have books from last year that are still on my "currently reading" list, so no one is judging.
>105 souloftherose: I like Golden Age mysteries, but I'll pass on this one. I did also enjoy The Magpie Murders. The structure was interesting.
Have a great week.
I felt suddenly inspired over the weekend to try some new recipes out. Generally I only do cooking from scratch if it's something I can make a huge batch of (otherwise I rebel at the idea of having to cook two days in a row) but I decided to try a new recipe our veg box people emailed to me over the weekend:
Our version actually didn't look all that different to the picture and it was yum! The breaded chicken was a bit fiddly and I'm sure I saw breaded chicken in the supermarket next to the normal chicken so I would probably just buy that next time. But I would have quite happily eaten the roast sweet potatoes and tomatoes on their own - why have i never thought to try that before?
>115 souloftherose: That looks and sounds fabulous, Heather! Nicely done.
That sounds delicious and my stomach is growling now. Time for dinner me thinks. :)
>110 souloftherose: I have that book, so I didn't really read your review but noted the 4 stars. Must get to it sooner rather than later.
>102 souloftherose: Ah yes, the Bible project which I dropped out of when I went manic. *sigh I had such big plans for that year. :) But I guess real life happens big time sometimes. At least this year (despite recent hospitalizations of parents and problems for teenaged nephew) is actually going a LOT better than last year so far. :)
I'm glad you're enjoying the Kugel. I only got about half-way through and will probably restart it if/when I ever try the project again.
I have just noticed that I forgot to star your thread this year. Now rectified.
With 322 books we share (and good ones at that), I think your reading is worth watching - and the reason I found you again is that I am about to mention you having just completed Illuminae.
>115 souloftherose: I like honey roasted vegetables - it can be good enough for a main meal. Tomato, of course. Sweet potato or parsnip (or both), onion, peppers (a range of colours looks nice), leek, courgette, potato. Consider a dash of salt, some mixed herbs or basil, depending on your tastes. Sprinkle with honey and a little olive oil. Roast, and eat warm :)
Having said that, that dish looks delicious. The above can, of course, be eaten with chicken :)
Nice review of Magpie Murders, one of my favorites at the end of last year. And that chicken schnitzel looks marvelous!
>115 souloftherose: That sounds amazing! Although I should never look at recipes when I'm hungry.
Good for you trying out new recipes. I love oven roasted veg dishes - I often do one as the main meal, with whatever veg I have to hand (lots of root veggies in winter, beetroot makes an especially colourful and earthy addition; and lots of peppers, cherry tomatoes, maybe aubergine etc in summer) and with just some goats or other cheese melted over the top for a bit of protein.
I'll have to check my recipe books for inspiration soon - my housemate and I are going vegan for Lent. Vegetarian would be easy, but vegan... I'll miss all my butter, eggs and cheese!
>102 souloftherose: I'll second the recommendation of Down and Out in Paris and London - interesting and thought provoking. I read it just at the time I was starting to volunteer in a community cafe, so his descriptions of working in Paris restaurants gave some interesting matter to compare and contrast!
I didn't intend to have a week-long absence from LT but this week sort of got away from me. Very busy at work, ended up working in the morning of my midweek day off and in the afternoon of that day we had a 3 hour long meeting with a local charity advising us how to navigate the ridiculously complex and adversarial benefits system in the UK for Dan (who has been too ill to work since January last year). We managed to get the two forms (ESA and PIP) we need to send off completed in the assessment (yay!) but although the charity were really helpful it was still very draining. In general we've adjusted to Dan being ill and feel pretty content with life but spending half a day going into lots of detail about all the things Dan can't do and all the things I have to do for him left me feeling quite emotional.
And of course, now the forms have been completed and sent off we will be asked to attend assessments (one for each form) to justify everything on the forms which it is an understatement to say I'm not looking forward to (if you don't attend the assessments you don't get the money, if you do attend then in some cases they have used this as evidence that you're well enough to work - I'm not kidding). The good news is that we're not financially reliant on the benefits being paid to us as I earn enough to keep us going even with Dan off work. I can only imagine how ridiculously stressful this process is for people who won't be able to pay essential bills if they aren't awarded the money.
So this week I reread Gail Carriger (Curtsies and Conspiracies) and Agatha Christie (A Murder is Announced) because that's what my brain could cope with.
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now by James Kugels (only book started in 2017 - woop!)
Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin (short story collection)
An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta
>117 BLBera:, >118 Crazymamie:, >119 jolerie:, >121 karenmarie:, >124 humouress:, >125 rosalita:, >126 MickyFine:, >127 rretzler: It was very tasty! And only a little bit fiddly.
>120 lauralkeet: It's a good one Laura, and one that I found myself thinking about quite a lot after I'd finished.
>122 The_Hibernator: One of the reasons I try not to make too many reading plans is that all too often I find life gets in the way. I'm glad this year is going better for you - the Kugels will wait until you feel like picking it up again. I also think it's a book that can be dipped into - I'm sure I will refer to chapters on specific sections of the Bible when reading in future.
>123 sirfurboy: Oh, Illuminae, I will have to check out your review. I'm hoping to read the second book, Gemina, soon as I think the third book in the trilogy is released this year.
And honey roasted vegetables are lovely, though as I have a sweet tooth I try not to cook these too often. Honey roasted beetroot in particular I've found works very well. I will make a note to try the combination you recommend too.
>126 MickyFine: Yes! Like if I go food shopping when hungry, I will always buy way more food than I need.
>128 gennyt: That does sound delicious Genny! The other recipe I tried this week was actually a vegan recipe from Jack Monroe's website:
It was nice but not amazing - but for something that's quite easy to cook and uses ingredients that I'm very likely to have in the house (apart from the cider which never hangs around in our house) and will do multiple portions I'm happy to add it to my repertoire. I think most of her new recipes are vegan now so it might be worth checking her website out for other ideas.
I have to confess we ate it with bread and butter so strictly it wouldn't count as vegan for us. I would find it very hard to give up butter, eggs and cheese too - good luck!
And thanks for adding your recommendation to Down and Out - I haven't started it yet but I'm looking forward to it.
Heather, I'm sorry to hear about the bureaucratic quagmire you and Dan are navigating. That sounds really stressful, and even when you're not in the middle of a specific event, there's the waiting for the next thing. I hope all goes well for you.
>129 souloftherose: That sounds tough, Heather. I’m glad you still managed to find time to yourself to read.
> 115 I’ve stocked up on sweet potatoes and intend trying your recipe (or something similar).
>129 souloftherose: What you say about the process of filling in the PIP and ESA forms sounds all too familiar from several friends here, Heather. They are usually trying their hardest to remain positive, focus on the things they *can* still manage to do and not dwell on the things they can't - but the forms and the whole benefits process requires them them to describe all the ways they are not coping, and that in itself is depressing even before you factor in the harsh judgmental nature of the whole system. I hope Dan gets sympathetic assessors for his applications. I too am very thankful that I have found a way of managing financially without trying to claim any of these benefits, as the very thought of that process just adds to my weariness.
>131 souloftherose: Oh, I hadn't though of honey roasting beetroot. I will have to try that.
Sorry to hear about all the stress Heather! Hopefully you can squeeze in some time to do something fun and relaxing after all the hard work.
Adding my sympathies on your stressful week, Heather. Sounds like you had some excellent comfort re-reads though. :)
>132 lauralkeet: Thank you Laura.
>133 humouress: Thanks Nina. I hope you enjoy the recipe - let me know how it goes!
>134 gennyt: Thanks Genny - we're hopeful for sympathetic interviewers but trying to prepare as if they won't be if that makes sense.
>135 sirfurboy: It's a good combination - I recommend it!
>136 jolerie: Thanks Valerie - I'm trying to take some time today to just rest and relax. Probably going to get up to date with The Good Place on Netflix which we have been really enjoying.
>137 MickyFine: Comfort reading for the win :-) I am very much enjoying rereading Carriger's Finishing School series and it sets me up to read the final book for the first time (which somehow I didn't get round to when it was released) which means I will (*drumroll*) finish a series!
>138 lyzard: Thanks Liz. I usually don't read the Christie's until the end of the month either but it was there and I needed something that didn't need too much concentration.
This week's drama: our car was due for its MOT this month (annual inspection - if the car doesn't pass then you aren't allowed to drive it anymore). It was booked in yesterday and we were expecting there to be a couple of issues but the full list of problems after the initial healthcheck/assessment was 10 red/high priority items and another 4/5 that weren't urgent (meaning the car would probably pass its MOT even if you don't get those fixed) but are annoying like the heating/air-con only working when turned on full blast.
The cost of the repairs is much higher than the value of the car. So, I think it is time to say goodbye to my little Vauxhall Corsa. It's 13 years old and I've had it 12 years - it was my first car and my 'I just graduated and have a proper job' car. I did toy with the idea of getting a brand shiny new car through my employer's company car policy (because shiny!) but I don't think it's worth it for the amount we use the car (I get the train to work and Dan doesn't work so at most we only use it 2-3 times a week). We had a look round the local dealers today and one has something the right size and price (small and not very expensive) so they're going to bring it across on Saturday and I'll test drive it.
Book #9: The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden - 3.8 stars
The next part of our Virago chronological read was two short novels by Emily Eden, The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House. Although the titles might seem to imply a connection between the two stories they are unrelated (apart from being written by the same author).
The Semi-Attached Couple was written first (in the 1830s) but not published until 1860. The Semi-Detached House was published first in 1859 although it is set in a later, contemporary period.
I can see why people compare Eden's writing to Jane Austen: both short novels are witty and satirical and both poke fun at prevailing customs in society. I enjoyed both books but although there are sections which sparkle in a way I find Austen's works can, neither attains anywhere near the depth of character Austen managed.
For those interested in 19th century society and women's roles both offer up some interesting thoughts and observations.
The Semi-Attached Couple follows Lady Helen Eskdale and Lord Teviot during their short engagement and marriage after a very short courtship. Although both care for each other, Helen's lack of experience and exposure to the world and Teviot's impatience and jealousy mean their engagement and marriage is not always a happy one. Neither can turn to anyone for help - Teviot has no family and Helen's family seem determined not to understand that there could be anything wrong. There are also some wonderful supporting characters whose arguments are often some of the funniest moments in the book. From a modern reader's perspective TSAC suffers from needing to have a happy ending and the rush in the final chapters to resolve all the problems and leave everyone happily coupled up left me a little breathless.
The Semi-Detached House is again about a newly married couple, Lord and Lady Chester. In this book Lord Chester has to leave the country for some kind of diplomatic mission and as Lady Blanche Chester's health is delicate she's advised to move to a house in the suburbs which turns out to be (dum, dum, dum) semi-detached (*gasp* - I find this so amusing because I live in a semi-detached house). Lady Chester is initially very perturbed at the thought of who might be living next door to her and, at first, her fears seem to be confirmed when the family turns out to be middle-class. Equally however, the middle-class family are perturbed at the thought of an upper-class lady moving in next door to them especially when, due to a misunderstanding, they believe she might be separated from her husband (the scandal!) It doesn't take either family long however to discover that the next door neighbours are kind, good people in each case and this short novel is a good glimpse of how social boundaries between the classes were starting to break down.
Liz wrote some excellent reviews of the two novellas on her thread here and on the book page.
>139 souloftherose: How sad to be getting rid of your first car. I hope you can find something you like for a good price. Car shopping is always very stressful, I think.
>141 rretzler: Thanks Robin. I completely agree about the car shopping - I think because there is just so much choice and it's quite an expensive purchase (until we bought a house my car was the most expensive thing I had ever bought). Also, it means getting new car insurance quotes and breakdown cover - the good news is that the model of car we're looking at would have cheaper car insurance :-)
Book #8: Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft - Various authors - 3.5 stars
This was a collection of short fiction I picked up as a kindle freebie a couple of years ago (and I just checked and it's still free on Amazon UK) which includes a number of short stories by well known science fiction authors which were commissioned by Microsoft with the idea that each author would focus on a particular technology that Microsoft are exploring.
Robert J. Sawyer
Along with a short graphic novel by Blue Delliquanti and Michele Rosenthal
As a collection it works better than I feared it might to start with and there was only one story that didn't really work for me (The Tell by David Brin). The other stories were all interesting (and the graphic novel worked surprisingly well in kindle format) but the only one I loved was Another Word for World by Ann Leckie which is a story of two people from totally different planets, races, cultures and languages trying to communicate in desperate straits. In fact I think it might have been Ann Leckie's name which made me download the collection in the first place. Recommended if you have any interest in science fiction with a technological/scientific focus.
Moving on from your first car must be hard Heather. Lots of memories with it I'm sure. If we ever move from our current home, I'd be teary too because all my children were born in it. Good luck with the car hunting and I hope you find something to fit your needs!
>129 souloftherose: So sorry for Dan that he has to go through this.
I went through similair procedures, that have changed for the worse in the last two decades.
When I got too ill to work in the 1990s, getting benefits was much easier. After the first time a re-evaluation was done very 5 years. Never had problems until the last time in 2007. That was an horrific experience, even the fact that I left my bed in the morning was seen as a sign I might be able to work :-(
I am glad I am now considered too be to old to be re-evaluated again, as my benefits are the main source of income for us.
I'm hearing there was an earthquake over there. Everything okay in your neck of the woods?
>146 humouress: Earthquake? Good grief!
I've sort of skimmed through and wish you and Dan continuing courage and patience and peace - and lots of good reading!
I'm happy to see that you got back into the *Mughals*. Now that I've finished it, I like it a lot more than I did in some longish chunks while I was reading.
My reading crush at the moment is Kelley Armstrong and her Cainsville series - the first that I've read, and I'm in only the second book. I have a lot of things more worthy, but I can't put these down. In fact, I'm off to read!
ETA: Flea treatment! GAH. Our Tully Tubby tends to lick all his fur off when he has even one (1) flea. He grew back most of his hair this winter, but our weather has been so peculiar (80°+ yesterday) that a flea is a possibility; ergo, the treatment.
>143 jolerie: Thanks Valerie. Part of the reason I'd kept my old car (apart from sentimental reasons) is that I really didn't want to go through the hassle of choosing a new car. We spent a good part of Tuesday and Saturday this week researching options online and visiting car dealerships and have had to reassess our budget and size requirements a couple of times. We have a test-drive booked with another car on Tuesday this week - it's a bit over our original budget but I think our original budget was a little optimistic and out of date (being based on the last time I bought a car 12 years ago!).
>144 FAMeulstee: Sorry you had to go through something similar Anita - it sounds like this sort of process can be horrific in any country. :-(
>145 rretzler: Thank you Robin!
>146 humouress: It didn't affect us at all Nina - in fact, I didn't realise there had been one until I saw your post! :-) Apparently it affected the west of the country and Wales more but it was still a fairly small earthquake (even though apparently it is our biggest in 10 years) - it doesn't sound like anyone was hurt or anything damaged.
>147 LizzieD: Poor Tully Tubby. It's funny in that I think Erica does feel immediate relief from the fleas once I've giver her the treatment (she stops scratching so much) but I cannot explain to her that the treatment she detests gives her the relief from needing to scratch so much....
I am totally exhausted after another busy week at work and car shopping (I hate shopping at the best of times). I would like to write some reviews and visit some threads later today but it may be a lie on the sofa and sleep/watch TV day....
>148 souloftherose: Good to hear; I didn't think the UK was on any fault lines. I don't think we ever had earthquakes when I was there (maybe I should come back?) and though there have been incidents in Indonesia etc while I've been living here, I haven't felt any of them, fortunately. My husband said he did feel a slight shiver once or twice at work, when he was on a high floor. Luckily for us, Singapore is so protected by the surrounding land that we didn't even have repercussions from the Boxing Day tsunami except from a slightly higher tide.
Just dropping by to wish you a lovely Sunday, Heather.
Glad to see that you weren't shaken up at all by the very British version of an earthquake today.
Loved these tweets about the earthquake:
Glad it was such a non-event and that no one was hurt.
>129 souloftherose: Sorry you have to deal with bureaucracy as well as illness. It doesn't seem fair. Good luck.
>139 souloftherose: Good luck car shopping - I HATE to shop for cars. I'm hoping I am on the last one I will ever need. Fingers crossed.
>140 souloftherose:, >142 souloftherose: Both the Eden and the short story collection sound good. Onto the list they go.
>149 humouress: I don't think the UK is on fault lines either, Nina - so I'm not really sure why we get the occasional earthquake. Glad you aren't really affected by earthquakes either.
>150 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul,
>151 rretzler: I saw some of those on social media too Robin - so funny! Thanks for sharing.
>154 BLBera: I'm reassured to know we're not the only ones who hate car shopping Beth! I think the hardest thing for me has been trying to make the judgement call between buying something older and cheaper or newer, more expensive but hopefully more reliable and long-lasting. I think we've come round to the latter approach and have another test-drive car to look at this afternoon which I'm optimistic may be the one (we've already looked at another car in this model and liked it). Fingers crossed! I'm so ready for the car-buying process to be over.....
Ok, reviews (still trying to finish January):
Book #11: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger - 4.0 stars
Book #18: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger - 4.0 stars
Some comfort rereads (and an intention to actually finish this 4 book series after rereading the first 3 books) - set in a steampunk/paranormal version of Victorian England these are the first two books in the young adult Finishing School series. Housed in a dirigible floating above Dartmoor this is a school where young ladies are trained in the usual matters of etiquette as well as receiving covert spy training. It's very silly and very enjoyable. I think I actually prefer this series to the author's adult series which starts with Soulless because the protagonist of E&E is more likeable and forms strong friendships with the other girls in the school. The protagonist of Soulless has a tendency to be superior especially when it comes to other women and that starts to grate on me after a while.
Onwards to a reread of Waistcoats and Weaponry.
Book #12: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor - 3.8 stars
Book #13: Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor - 3.8 stars
A reread of the second volume in the series, Binti: Home before reading the conclusion, Binti: The Night Masquerade. (N.B. This series starts with Binti and the books do need to be read in order).
I loved the melding of African culture and mathematics in this series. I was a bit annoyed on first reading Binti: Home last year to find the book ended on a huge cliff-hanger. Binti: The Night Masquerade picks up where Home left off and wraps the story up. It was a very emotional conclusion to the trilogy and sometimes it felt like things were happening so fast there almost wasn't time to process them - maybe the story as a whole would have been better served by Okorafor writing a longer work, particularly for Night Masquerade but I really enjoyed this trilogy and would recommend it.
And I'm very happy to say that we will have put a deposit down on a car and will pick it up next week (just needs servicing and some minor bits sorted). So happy not to have to do any more car shopping :-) We may celebrate collecting the car by using it to go to the cinema and see Black Panther but it will depend on how Dan feels (coming with me to look at umpteen new cars over the last week has made him more tired than usual).
Also, the science fiction and fantasy awards have started publishing their shortlists for 2017. First up was the British Science Fiction Award (BSFA):
Nina Allan – The Rift (Titan Books)
Anne Charnock – Dreams Before the Start of Time (47North)
Mohsin Hamid – Exit West (Hamish Hamilton)
Ann Leckie – Provenance (Orbit)
I've read and loved Provenance. Haven't read any of the authors but Exit West got a lot of positive comments last year as it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Anne Charnock and Nina Allan are both British authors I've heard of and have been meaning to read for a while - I've read one of Nina Allan's short stories last year (The Art of Space Travel) and enjoyed it but haven't read either of her novels.
Best Shorter Fiction
Anne Charnock – The Enclave (NewCon Press)
Elaine Cuyegkeng – These Constellations Will Be Yours (Strange Horizons)
Greg Egan – Uncanny Valley (Tor.com)
Geoff Nelder – Angular Size (in ‘SFerics 2017’ edited by Roz Clarke and Rosie Oliver, Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
Tade Thompson – The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Tor.com)
Haven't read any of these. Interesting to see Anne Charnock again (and makes me think I should definitely try her writing). Also I've seen some very positive comments on Tade Thompson's Molly Southbourne.
And the American Nebula award nominations were announced today:
Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit US)
Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)
I've read The Stone Sky and thought it was a very good conclusion to Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. I've heard good things about Jade City and already have Autonomous reserved at the library. Of the others on the list I think only Spoonbenders has been published in the UK. I would really like to read Six Wakes and The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.
River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
Passing Strange, Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing)
“And Then There Were (N-One)”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
Barry’s Deal, Lawrence M. Schoen (NobleFusion Press)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
Loved All Systems Red, haven't read anything else but a number of these are on the list.
“Dirty Old Town”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 5-6/17)
“Weaponized Math”, Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3)
“Wind Will Rove”, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 9-10/17)
“A Series of Steaks”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld 1/17)
“A Human Stain”, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 1/4/17)
“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time”, K.M. Szpara (Uncanny 5-6/17)
“Fandom for Robots”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™”, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
“Utopia, LOL?”, Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons 6/5/17)
“Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)”, Matthew Kressel (Tor.com 3/15/17)
“Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/11/17)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)
The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit” (Written by Michael Schur)
Logan (Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green)
The Shape of Water (Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Written by Rian Johnson)
Wonder Woman (Screenplay by Allan Heinberg)
Dan and I just finished binge-watching both seasons of The Good Place and we loved it so my vote would go to that. Also enjoyed TLJ and Wonder Woman.
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Exo, Fonda Lee (Scholastic Press)
Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren (Tor)
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
Want, Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse)
Glad to hear the car shopping is over and done with, Heather! I'm like you in that shopping on the best of days is just another chore to get done. I'm in and out a store with my mind focused on getting my list crossed off.
Thanks for all those lists of books. I'm going to have to take a closer list to see which ones to add to the TBR mountain. There are few titles there that are familiar to me already.
>155 souloftherose: You're not the only one who hates car shopping by a long mile. I'm really hoping not to need a car when I move, and avoiding car shopping might possibly be a little bit of the motivator in that!
>159 souloftherose: I've read The Stone Sky and just finished Jade City and they're both great. I've had The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter on the list for a while so I should probably push that up a bit. I loved All Systems Red and “And Then There Were (N-One)”, so I'm glad to see them there. River of Teeth has been on my Kindle for a while - must get to it soon. I haven't read any of the novellas or short stories, so I really need to dig into some of them before Hugo nominations close. As for dramatic presentation, I'd have a hard time picking between Wonder Woman and The Good Place!
>160 humouress: I'm not sure of the availability of the Binti books in paper format Nina - they are available as ebooks in the UK but I think in the US they are also released in paper format. Hopefully you can get hold of them (I can't remember if you have an ereader or not).
>161 norabelle414: Amberlough sounds fun and it's been added to the list. I'm never quite sure how to classify alternate history type books either but I think for these awards they define science fiction and fantasy fairly loosely.
>162 jolerie: Thanks Valerie - we've managed without a car the last couple of weeks but it has involved a few taxi trips and it will be a relief to have one again.
>163 archerygirl: Yes, I saw you enjoyed Jade City so that one's on the list. Wonder Woman was also very good but I wished there had been more female characters throughout the whole film - the opening section on the Amazonian island was my favourite part.
Our local library was flooded twice over Christmas and New Year (some problem with the new pipework that had been installed) - since then only a mini-library has been open with most of the library closed (it's been 2 months now - part of me wonders whether the council is involved in some legal battle with the contractors who installed the pipes because I can't see that any work is being done in the part of the library that got flooded). So, I've been taking this as an opportunity to work my way through my backlog of library loans and as I was down to one unread book I rewarded myself by checking out 5:
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (reservation)
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdich (reservation)
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (to make progress with a series)
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (random impulse)
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (to finish a series)
The one book remaining from my loans last year is The Dervish House - I really want to read it and I'm not sure why I haven't yet.
>164 souloftherose: I do have a Kindle, Heather. Or I can try and borrow it on Overdrive; I have a few libraries I can check, if only I can find my membership details.
>166 humouress: I'd forgotten Overdrive might be an option - hope you can get hold of a copy.
Book #14: White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple - 3.5 stars
This took me a long time to read because of the vast amount of detail about Indian politics in the late 18th and early 19th century but this was a very interesting (albeit slow) read about the East India company in India and how a number of the British who visited India integrated into and adopted Indian culture of the time until views changed in the early 19th century and the two cultures were divided again. In particular the book focuses on the story of one British diplomat, James Kirkpatrick and his love-marriage to a young Mughal bride, Khair un-Nissa. It's a love story but perhaps inevitably not one that ends happily.
Book #15: Crooked House by Agatha Christie - 3.4 stars
(I'm totally baffled by this cover - there are no clowns in this book! but I suppose it does give a creepy effect)
A standalone Christie mystery and according to the introduction one of her personal favourites. The patriarch of a family where multiple generations are living in one house after WWII is murdered and (of course) all the relations are under suspicion. As well as the police investigation into the death the fiance of the grand-daughter of the murdered fan is also investigating and as the story is told from the fiance's point of view this personal, insider interest in the case adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the book - unlike some Christie novels this didn't strike me as one where the majority of the suspects were capable of murder (although they all arguably had some motive) and so along with the fiance we feel that we don't want any of the members of the family he's marrying into to be guilty. I couldn't remember/didn't guess the conclusion but it's quite a chilling one.
This is an interesting work by Christie - the rating isn't higher just because I don't feel this type of psychological, claustrophobic story is where her strength lies but it's interesting to see her try this style.
Book #19: A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie - 4.2 stars
Although I've read almost all of Christie's books before there are very few where I can remember details of the solution - this is one of those few books and so I was more able to appreciate the structure and the way Christie plants the clues to the solution and at the same time masterfully diverts the reader's attention from them.
This is a Miss Marple book published in 1950 and around the murder mystery includes quite a bit of commentary on the social changes to life in a village post WWII - from the illicit but oh so genteel bartering system in place to get around rationing and the fact that it's now almost impossible to know for certain about your neighbours backgrounds as everyone has moved around so much or lost contact with people because of the war.
>168 souloftherose: - Eeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!! Clown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's just mean. Why would they put that on the cover when there are no clowns in the book. And especially when there are hundreds of thousands of loons like me who freak out over clowns. I'm still tediously carrying on with my attempt to read all of Christie chronologically and wonder if I may have to skip over that one in the event that I may purchase it in ignorance (I usually try to buy my Christies used) or that - less likely - I borrow it from the library and that is what I end up with. *Shudder*
Congratulations on the car decision and purchase. Buying cars - such a stressful time. Wish I lived somewhere where I did not absolutely have to have one.
I'm glad your car shopping is done. I hope for many years of smooth running.
The Binti series sounds interesting. How many are there in the series?
Hi Heather! Goodness, but you've been busy.
I'll be joining you for Binti: The Night Masquerade - I finally got it from the library and amreally looking forward to it. And speaking of libraries, how awful that yours has had flooding problems - I hope it's fully dry and reopened, soon.
Congratulations on the new car!
>169 Fourpawz2: I can only assume they wanted to make the book look very creepy indeed. I think the clown cover for this book must be fairly rare as I couldn't find any matches for my cover on LT and add to scan it myself. Hopefully you would be ok if you bought a copy used (especially as mine is a UK edition and I think the US ones seem to have different covers) but I can understand your caution....
Yes, we are very pleased to have a car again (we collected it today). Even not having one for a short period made me realise that although we don't use it every day not having one really does restrict what you can do.
>170 BLBera: Thanks Beth - me too. There are three books in the Binti series and it's now a complete series (no more books to come). The books are:
2) Binti: Home
3) Binti: The Night Masquerade
Each book's novella length so about 100 - 120 pages long.
>171 kidzdoc:, >172 Whisper1: Thank you both!
>173 Dejah_Thoris: Hope you enjoy Night Masquerade Dejah. I am still sad about the library and a bit frustrated that there seems to be no discernible progress or updates about what's happening with re-opening the flooded section. I'm not sure why because I have plenty of books but I like knowing there's a whole building full of books I can borrow from just in case.....
>174 souloftherose: Congratulations on the new car. I'm currently sharing 2 with my husband and daughter and finding I don't enjoy being house bound when I want to be out and about. If I didn't live near the top of a rather steep hill, it would be much more convenient to carry a bit of shopping home from the stores, which aren't all that distant, but that last block and a half is a killer.
>155 souloftherose: Sorry, a bit behind here, but:
"I don't think the UK is on fault lines either, Nina - so I'm not really sure why we get the occasional earthquake."
Erm, think again:
The UK has very interesting geology because in a small area you have land that has been all over the world, ripped apart, and thrown together again. However the fault lines are very old, the earth's crust is thick under the island and we are not close to plate boundaries so earthquakes are very frequent here but almost always a non event.
Here is an interesting thought though. Take a look at this map of Britain's most significant fault:
Notice it goes right through the Great Glen (and is even called "the Great Glen Fault"). At one end of the Scottish line of the fault is Ben Nevis, the UK's tallest mountain, and at the other end is Loch Ness, the UK's deepest lake. The Great Glen bisects Scotland. Now that is a significant fault! (Albeit a very old one).
>175 quondame: I'm not a fan of steep hills either, especially not when carrying shopping. We're in a fairly flat area but it does mean that when I go on holiday somewhere hilly I'm very out of practice when it comes to walking up and down hills.
>176 sirfurboy: Wow - thank you for sharing that! I had no idea.
My long-term currently reading list has changed quite a bit since the beginning of February
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now by James Kugels - Getting closer to the end....
The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield - February's Virago author of the month book. Finding this quite slow going, about half way through.
Book #16: The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter - 5 stars
I started reading this for the Bible in a year project in 2017 and whilst a number of people did go on to complete the entire Christian Bible (so both Old and New Testaments) in a year, it took me over 13 months to finish the first five books (being Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) of the Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament. But the slower pace suited me and it's a not a reflection of the quality of what Alter has done.
I'm a bit in love with Alter's translation and commentary and definitely intend to go on and read the other parts of the Hebrew Bible he's translated - I don't know what his own faith position is but the commentary is written from a fairly areligious angle (focusing on history and literary technique) and yet is never disrespectful of the text or the faith people have in the text. Alter is a professor in Hebrew
and comparative literature so the literary aspects of the Hebrew Bible are where his commentary shines but he also mentions historical studies carried out by other academics which was also very interesting. I found this a really helpful book to give me a fresh perspective on these books and I think it would also be a useful introduction if someone wanted to read the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from a non-religious perspective.
Also recommended is Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative which explains in more detail some of the literary aspects to the Biblical texts (but covers more than just the first five books of the Hebrew Bible).
DNF: Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron - 2.5 stars
I read the first few volumes in this trade paperback collection and then lost interest - the story's set between Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I enjoyed the first volume as it seemed to capture the characters and banter I enjoyed from the original Star Wars films but as I read on I realised it was never going to do more than that. It felt like the writers wanted to squeeze in every major character from the original Star Wars trilogy but setting the story between two of the films meant that very little could happen and it started to feel artificial.
Book #17: The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth - 3.7 stars
I've wanted to read Maria Edgeworth's books ever since I discovered that her books were admired by Jane Austen - I read Castle Rackrent as part of a group read a few years ago but found that to be a book I could understand was important but not one that I particularly enjoyed. Then in January I was prompted by Liz's read of The Absentee to give it a try and found I enjoyed this a lot more.
Like Castle Rackrent, The Absentee takes up the problems caused by absentee Irish landlords - this time by following one family of Irish gentry who are currently located in London enjoying the season. The eldest son becomes concerned with the state of the family finances due to the cost of living in London and with the state of the family estates back home in Ireland and decides to travel to Ireland incognito to observe the estates. There's nothing really surprising about the plot but the novel as a whole is well done (albeit in a fairly didactic style but that's just early 19th century literature), there are some good comic moments and I enjoyed this a lot.
It seems quite difficult to find books by Edgeworth in the local libraries and information about her life which leaves me feeling a little sad given she's a good writer and at the time, far outsold Austen. I can feel a reading Maria Edgeworth project coming on. Maybe I should start by trying to get hold of a good biography.
>176 sirfurboy: That’s a lot of information for a non-geologist like me. The underlying sea bed seems solid enough - unless it’s sediment laid down afterwards.
>177 souloftherose: I used to live about 10 minutes walk uphill from the station. Sometimes on the way back from work, I’d do the groceries in the supermarket next to the station but if I got over enthusiastic with the shopping, I’d have to catch the bus back home. (I had a Travelcard, anyway, so the trip was already covered.)
>181 souloftherose: ‘Maria Edgeworth’ sounds like a character from a Jane Austen book; it rings a bell.
>179 souloftherose: I appreciate it when authors don't inject their religious (or political) views unnecessarily.
>180 souloftherose: after seeing the "original" Star Wars in 1977, I read Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which would take place in the same time frame as your read. I don't recall anything bad about it, but never felt inspired to read another story in that universe.
>179 souloftherose: I'm reading the Bible again this year. I'm using The New American Standard Bible Ryrie Study Bible this year.
>180 souloftherose: bummer! I have often wondered what those Star Wars books were like.
Hi, Heather. Congratulations on the car, and thank you for the lists! I have now wish-listed all the Nebula nominees except for *6 Wakes*, which I have on my Kindle and haven't read (naturally).
I'm glad you finished White Mughals and are glad that you read it. This was to be an India year for me, but I haven't put that into effect yet. I have an old Penguin history of India, which I do intend to start - sometime.
Heather, congrats on the new car purchase. I'm sure you're glad that's over!
>183 fuzzi: >180 souloftherose: I also read Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it, but I also didn't feel compelled to read anything else from that universe.
>168 souloftherose: Wow! I have no idea why a clown would be on that particular book - very strange. I have an excellent memory for most things, but when it comes to reading good mysteries, it seems that I can very rarely remember who the murderer was. I always tell my husband that its so I can read and reread the same books over and over and still enjoy them. I can usually recall the endings to other books! It's quite odd.
>182 humouress: Re catching the bus home I'd probably do the same with heavy shopping!
Good point about the name Maria Edgeworth - there's a Maria Bertram in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Can't think of Edgeworth's though (probably too well known a name to use for a character).
>183 fuzzi:, >188 rretzler: I'm not usually interested in reading stories set in worlds I've enjoyed in other mediums so not sure why I picked up the Star Wars graphic novel.
>184 BLBera: Thanks Beth - I'm not sure if my Edgeworth reading project will really take off (I have so many reading plans and not enough time) but some investigating found that I can get hold of a biography of Edgeworth through inter-library loan so I may reserve that once I've worked my way through my current stack of library books.
>185 thornton37814: Good luck with your Bible read Lori. I admire people who do read the whole Bible in a year even if it's not something I think I would ever manage.
>186 LovingLit: The series seems to have good ratings from others Megan and they're now on to Volume 6 so there must be a lot of people who do really enjoy it so it might still be worth you giving it a try.
>187 LizzieD: Hi Peggy. Six Wakes is the Nebula nominee I've heard most about and the one that's least available in the UK. I'm very close to ordering a US copy from Book Depo but I'm going to try and read a few more books from the TBR pile first....
>188 rretzler: Definitely glad the car purchase is over! Just a few admin bits to sort out re insurance and transferring my no claims bonus (do they have that in the US) from one insurer to the other.
Forgetting who did it can definitely be an advantage when it comes to rereading!
>189 Berly: Thanks Kim - happy Sunday to you too (you're up very early)!
Book #20: An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows - 3.8 stars
I have a big soft spot for portal fantasy novels (books where someone crosses from our world to another fantastical world). They're most commonly found in children's fiction (Narnia being the most famous example) and in the 80s and 90s there seemed to be a fair number but more recent examples are harder to find. But now there's Seanan McGuire's wonderful Wayward Children series and this new duology (I think) by Australian author, Foz Meadows.
I admit I was partly drawn to An Accident of Stars by the wonderful cover. The book isn't as cozy as the cover might lead you to suppose - it starts with the teenage protagonist, Saffron, being sexually assaulted by a boy in her class at school and as Saffron travels to the fantasy world the book doesn't hold back on the dangers she's in and how difficult she finds it to adapt to the customs and culture of the new world she finds herself in. But this is far from being a grimdark story - although Saffron gets physically hurt in the new world and is scarred both mentally and physically by this she also finds a group of companions who support and accept her, something that was far from being the case in her own world. The book's also unusual in that 80% of the characters are female, there are a number of LGBTQ characters and there don't seem to be any role restrictions for women in this society. There were occasions when the pace of the story seemed to slow a little too much due to the world-building (so many names to remember) but I really enjoyed this and I'm hoping to read the sequel, A Tyranny of Queens, soon.
>179 souloftherose: I so agree with you about Alter--from what I can tell he does a fine of translating and making it artful and beautiful. I've read the Kugel book, too, and really enjoyed it.
I was reading with the Bible readers last year, and made some progress, but have been halted at the I and II Kings books. I really want to get going again. I've been using the Alter translations where they are available, and can't wait to get to the Prophets.
You've got me all psyched to get busy again! Thanks!
Wow, I remember Splinter of the Mind’s Eye - don’t remember anything about it, but I remember reading it. My only real venture into the extended universe too.
I always have the goal of reading through the Bible and then I get to Leviticus /Numbers/Deuteronomy, and then get stalled. Maybe I should read it backwards so then I'll have most of the book read before I get to the parts that always throw me off course. ;)
I have a soft spot for portal fantasy as well!
>195 jolerie: Numbers has some good stories, but I tend to get bogged down in the books of the Law, and Chronicles. Kings 1 and 2 are more interesting.
I have gotten through the entire Bible in a year by just making myself read a few chapters every day, even if it's a slog. The Psalms are lovely, as is Song of Solomon.
>195 jolerie: I've found some decent bible plans that mix up the New and Old Testament and you still do the whole thing in a year. It's easier going that way.
>190 souloftherose: Heather, it varies by insurance company, but to my knowledge, there is not a no claims bonus that can be transferred between companies. Some companies will not raise rates after an accident if you have been claim free for a certain number of years, but those perks don't transfer to another company. Rates vary with each company depending on your driving and claims record, whether you have other insurance with the company, and a ton of other factors. It sounds like insurance in the UK may be a better deal in than in the US if you get a no claims bonus that carries over.
>192 klobrien2: Really pleased you're also enjoying the Alter. I would like to start (and maybe even finish!) his Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets this year which would take me from Joshua through to 2 Kings. I'm really looking forward to his translation and comments on the David story.
>193 quondame: Glad to hear you liked A Tyranny of Queens Susan. Is it the final book in the series? I haven't been able to find any information about whether there are more books planned or not.
>194 drneutron: Hi Jim!
>195 jolerie: I think those books are where a lot of people get bogged down Valerie. I like your suggestion of reading backwards :-) As Micky said (>197 MickyFine:) I've seen some reading guides that read both OT and NT passages at the same time which may help if it's something you want to try.
>196 fuzzi: I am looking forward to seeing Alter's translation of the Psalms fuzzi. It will probably be a while until I get there though.
>198 rretzler: Oh that's interesting, thanks for sharing that. I'd heard the process of transferring no claims bonus (NCB) between insurance companies could be painful (like trying to move to a new mobile phone company and keep your old number) but it's been fairly straightforward so far. Maybe the US system takes account of the equivalent of a NCB by checking your claims record with your old company? As far as I know our insurance companies don't do that but instead rely on the NCB.
Just wanted to check that you're still up for Camilla next month?
I should be making a start on The Macdermots Of Ballycloran on Tuesday (assuming I remember to place my request for it tomorrow!), though I'm still debating the best way to tackle it as a project. If it seems feasible, I will start a thread where I hope you'll add some comments too; though don't worry about approaching it in a 'group read' manner. :)
>201 quondame: I saw her post about some of those issues on her blog - the attacks on her seem really vicious :-(
>202 lyzard: Yes, definitely still up for Camilla. Have no idea whether I will get to Macdermots this month or not but definitely interested in following your comments if you do a thread.
Book #21: Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta - 3.8 stars
Memory of Water is a beautifully written dystopian, coming of age tale about a young girl in a small Finnish town in a society where water is a scarce and rationed resource. Itaranta is Finnish and wrote this novel in Finnish and then in English - in both languages it's been nominated for several awards including the Arthur C Clarke award in 2015 which is what prompted me to pick it up.
The prose is beautiful and almost poetic. The Finnish society depicted has a lot of Chinese influences (it seems China has become the major world power in whatever post-apocalyptic future this is depicting) and the protagonist, Noria Kaito is studying under her father to become a tea master - a prestigious role in their community and one that grants the family additional water rations but not a role typically open to women. It's a book that raises a lot of questions in the reader about the world but leaves a lot of them unanswered. I'm still not sure what the ending meant but perhaps it's one of those books where you're not supposed to understand the ending.
Recommended if you like understated, literary dystopias.
Book #22: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson - 4.1 stars
This fantasy novella is set in the same world as Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps but the two novellas stand alone and there's no need to read them in a particular order. The world is one that seems to be fantasy at first glance - there's mention of gods and magic - but on closer inspection the gods seem to be a mathematically more advanced people and so the 'magic' may, I think, be science.
A Taste of Honey is a love story - a visiting military soldier starts a love affair with the local son of the royal keeper of animals but this society is not one which looks kindly upon homosexual relationships so the affair has to be kept completely secret. The structure of the book alternates between two time strands - one a later period after this relationship has ended and the other the brief period the two men could spend together. The story took a while to grow on me but once I'd finished I found it was a story that stayed with me and I think it deserved its plethora of award nominations last year.
Book #23: Dark of the Moon by P. C. Hodgell - 4 stars
The sequel to God Stalk was more evenly paced and less confusing (and therefore more enjoyable) for this reader. As well as following Jame, Mark and the ounce (big cat) we also see what Jame's brother Torison is getting up to. Still a lot of hints at secrets to be revealed and back story to come but also answers to some of the questions raised in the first book.
Good Sunday to you, Heather! I find the earthquake discussion fascinating and the comments about rebuilding, hilarious!
Many happy miles to you and your new car.
I'm trying something new as I too get slogged down mid way through the Old Testament. I recently downloaded a version of the bible without verse numbers so you actually read the bible as a story and as written without those pesky references. Of course, it probably wouldn't make a good study bible but so far I'm enjoying the unimpeded story.
Hi Heather - Memory of Water sounds good.
I've heard a lot about the Hodgell - maybe one of these days...
Hold our horses!
It turns out that the academic library not only holds an actual copy of the 1847 first edition, but also a copy of the Garland Publishing reprint from 1978, which is supposed to be a first edition reprint. If it is, that would make this exercise a lot easier; but it's in storage, so it will take me a few days to get access. I will place a request today and should have it by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, I will let others know that Camilla is definitely on - whoo! :)
>207 Carmenere: That sounds like an interesting variation Lynda - is it an ebook or audio? One of the things I like about the format of the Alter translations is that the verse numbers are in the margins of the page so it doesn't feel like they're breaking up the text as much.
>208 BLBera:, >210 jolerie: *grins re book bullets* - hope you both enjoy Memory of Water
>208 BLBera: There's a fair number of us reading the Hodgell series this year thanks to a group read organised by Roni so you will probably see these books cropping up again in the group.
>209 lyzard: Ooh! I read the note on the text section of my edition (World's Classics) and it mentions the cuts briefly, says my edition is based on the revised and 'drastically shortened' edition republished in 1860 but that three chapters omitted from the 1860 edition and all subsequent editions are included as an appendix. What it doesn't say is whether there were other cuts made to the 1860 edition other than those 3 chapters - I suspect the answer is yes there were. I'm also intrigued by the phrase 'drastically shortened' - given my edited edition is over 600 pages, how long was the original?
And I ordered Camilla from Book Depo today :-)
Hoping to get through my final three book write-ups for February:
Book #24: Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin - 3.8 stars
One of Le Guin's later short story collections - these are linked by a framing narrative that imagines that the if you reach the correct frame of mind whilst waiting in an airport you can travel to alternate realities (changing planes - get it?). Each story is set in a different world and is written as if by a traveller visiting a new place and writing of what particularly struck them about the world and its people. There's an anthropological feel to the stories - each one is thought-provoking but they're not stories where much happens. I dipped in and out of the stories as the mood took me over a few weeks and enjoyed these glimpses of imaginary societies - you could read these as pure imagination or as a fable/satire on elements of society in this world. Some stories I felt the latter element was clearer than others but all were interesting.
And I think this cover is terrible - I would never have picked this up if it hadn't had Le Guin's name on it.
Book #25: Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler - 4.0 stars
Unexpected as this collection is made up of two stories found and published after Butler's death. One is a noveletter and the other is a short story so the collection as a whole is still very short. The noveletter, I find it difficult to describe the stories in more detail but both were very good - I need to read more Butler.
Book #26: Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned to Ask Questions by Rachel Held-Evans - 4.0 stars
(previously published as Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
'Those who say that having childlike faith means not asking questions haven't met too many children.'
I can't remember where I first came across Rachel Held-Evans but she's an American Christian who I've been following on social media for a while. This book, her first, is about her experiences growing up in a conservative (or what some would call fundamentalist) church in Tennessee, how she came to question the beliefs she had been taught and her consequent struggles and doubts. The original title of the book (Evolving in Monkey Town) came about because Held-Evans grew up in Dayton, Tennessee, the small town that was the location of the Scopes Trial regarding the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools in 1925. I prefer the new title - the link between the Scopes Trial and Held Evans' memoir is quite tenuous. Her argument that an evolving (i.e. changing faith) can actually turn out stronger than one that clings rigidly to the same belief is one I agree with but I'm still not sure that's enough to try to structure the entire book around the biological theory of evolution.
Anyway, structure aside I found a lot of this resonated with me (even though my experience of conservative Christianity is outside of the US) - I don't know how appealing or interesting this would be if that's not the case.
That's exactly why I want to tackle this project. My understanding is that for subsequent editions, three chapters were removed *and* the remaining text was censored. The chapters were easy enough to include as an appendix, but no-one has yet attempted a The Duke's Children-esque comparison of the cut and uncut texts to see what other changes were made.
I don't know yet how long the first version was! It was certainly a traditional "three-volume novel", though. Even if it does turn out that I don't have to read the 1847 edition in Rare Books, I will probably request that first edition at some point anyway, to take some photos and investigate questions like number of pages, etc.
>206 souloftherose: Glad you liked this one. Yes, a few questions answered but a lot more raised. Next book is where they try to fit Jame into the Women's Quarters--I'd guess you can imagine how well that goes over!
Delurking long enough to say that I'm sorry about all the paperwork related to Dan, glad that your car hassles are over, and impressed with the variety of books you've been reading. I particularly love Agatha Christie, and liked your reviews.
This topic was continued by souloftherose's 2018 reading - thread the second.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.