Arrr! (Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day) Thar be a hunt for treasure, Mateys!
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Lucy (Sibyx) Reads in 2018

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Mar 4, 1:22pm Top

The thread title ought to be The New Year to the Spring Equinox but I got so excited about 2018, I forgot!

New puppy photos are in!

The gang is around five weeks old now.

This is Mena, Posey's SISTER and these are her PUPPIES, born YESTERDAY.

We are hoping hoping hoping that we are firmly on the puppy list.

Edited: Mar 20, 4:29pm Top

Currently Reading in March 2018

new Testosterone Rex Cordelia Fine socio
✔ ROOT Futility Wiliam Gerhardie classic fic
new Oathbringer(3) Brandon Sanderson fantasy
new ♬ I Shall Wear Midnight Terry Pratchett fantasy

Finished in March
31. new ♬ Wintersmith Terry Pratchett fantasy
32. reread E Sons and Lovers D. H. Lawrence classic
33. new Barren Island Carol Zoref contemp fic ****1/2
34. ✔ The Genius of Birds Jennifer Ackerman nat hist ****

Put Down
(Jan)new Engine City Ken MacLeod sf
(Feb)♬Roma Stephen Saylor

✔=off shelf
♬ =audio
E =e-book
new =acquired in 2018 (or end of 2017)

Edited: Mar 1, 4:54pm Top

Read in January 2018
1. Dark Light (2 of 3) Ken MacLeod sf ***1/2
2. ✔ROOT The Genesee Diary Henri Nouwen memoir, spirituality ****
3. ✔ The Cutting Edge Penelope Gilliatt contemp fic ****
4. ✔ The Garden in the Clouds Antony Woodward memoir Wales, gardening *****
5. new (group read) God Stalk P.C. Hodgell fantasy ****
6. new Rules of Engagement(11) Bruce Alexander hist mys ***** Last one!
7. ✔ The Invisible Library Genevieve Cogman fantasy ****
8. ✔ The Masked City(2) Genevieve Cogman fantasy ****
9. ♬ The Graveyard of the Hesperides (4) Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
10. new The Burning Page Genevieve Cogman fantasy ****1/2
11. E Penric's Demon Lois Bujold fantasy****
12. ✔ ROOT A Time to Dance, No Time To Weep Rumer Godden memoir ***1/2
13. E/new Penric and the Shaman Lois Bujold fantasy****
14. E/new Penric's Fox Lois Bujold fantasy ****
15. E/new Penric's Mission Lois Bujold fantasy ****1/2
16. E/new Mira's Last Dance Lois Bujold fantasy ****
17. The Prisoner of Limnos Lois BujoldFantasy ****
18.✔ ROOT Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy classic fic

Total: 18
Men: 5
Women: 13
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 3
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 2
SF/F: 11
Mystery(inc hist mys): 2
YA or J: 0
Poetry: 0
New author: 4
Reread: 0

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
Audio: 1
New (to my library): 6
e-book: 5
Off Shelf: 7
Did not finish: 1

TOTAL physical books in(for year) IN=8
e-books in= 6
audio in=1


Physical books acquired in January:
(really these are late arriving xmas books, my husband's mysteries!)
1. Bad Intentions Karin Fossum
2. A Climate of Fear Fred Vargas
3. The Murder of Harriet Krohn Karin Fossum
4. Don't Look Back Karin Fossum
5. The Book of English Magic Philip Carr-Gomm
6. My Struggle: Book 5 Karl Ove Knausgaard
7. Neogenesis Sharon Lee
8. Dark of the Moon P.C. Hodgell

1.-5. Penric and Desdemona (series) Lois Bujold
6. The Sharing Knife book 4 Lois Bujold

1. The Third Nero Lindsey Davis

E-books acquired in January
1.-5. Penric and Desdemona series Lois Bujold
6. The Sharing Knife book 4 Lois Bujold

1. The Third Nero Lindsey Davis

Reflections January 2018
My reading this month reflected the weather outside, with temperatures rocketing up and down (and down and down) in extremes. On the down side, I soldiered through Jude the Obscure, right up there with Most.Gloomy.Books.Ever.Written. (Hmm should I start a category, no, too depressing). On the up side I fell into the Bujold Penric series, as a weary traveler sinks into a featherbed. Of course, there was lots in between, including a second high -- the first three books of The Invisible Library series which are terrific. Solid non-fiction reading with The Garden in the Clouds being the most enjoyable and The Genesee Diary being the most enriching. Godden's memoir although worthwhile to a fan or British India fan, was not her best work. An interesting Penelope Gilliatt and, let me see, finishing up the last in the series about Sir John Fielding. Wonderful series if you like historical mysteries.

Reflecting on 2017--The best of the best

The Long Ships Frans G. Bengtsston
My Struggle: Book 4 Karl Ove Knausgärd

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World Andrea Wulf

Fiction notables:
My Struggle: Book 3 Karl Ove Knausgärd
A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
The Sunlight Pilgrims Jenni Fagan
(underappreciated) Smoking Poppy Graham Joyce

Non Fiction notables
George Washington: A Life Ron Chernow
The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben
(underappreciated - a gem) Paddy R.D. Lawrence
Me, Myself, and Us Brian R. Little
Imaginal Dialogues Mary Watkins

Science Fiction notables
Too Like the Lightning Ada Palmer
A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers

Fantasy notables
The Stormlight Archives - books 1,2 Brandon Sanderson

Series notables
The Last Policeman Ben H. Winters
Marcus Didius Falco Lindsey Davis

Our brilliant leader Dr. Neutron has created a 2017 reading summary thread. For mine go to comment #13 at READING ROUND-UP.

Edited: Mar 2, 7:32am Top

Read in February
19. new Moonglow Michael Chabon contemp fic****1/2
20. new Dark of the Moon P.C. Hodgell fantasy ****
21. ✔ Transition Iain M. Banks sf ***1/4
22. ♬ The Third Nero Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
23. ✔ Intruder C.J. Cherryh sf ****
24. ✔Break it Down Book One in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis Lydia Davis contemp fic
25. ✔ Protector C.J. Cherryh sf ****
27. ✔ Peacemaker C.J. Cherryh sf ****1/2
28.new The Lost Plot Genevieve Cogman fantasy ****
29. ✔ ROOT The Metaphysical Club Louis Menand Am hist *****
30. ♬ A Hatful of Sky Terry Pratchett fantasy

Total: 11
Men: 4
Women: 7
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 1
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 2
SF/F: 7
Mystery(inc hist mys): 1
YA or J: 1
Poetry: 0
New author: 1
Reread: 0
Did not finish:1

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
New (to my library): 3
✔ or ROOT: 6
Audio: 2
e-book: 0

TOTAL physical book (for year) IN=13

Physical books acquired in February 2018
February 2018
9. The Gathering Edge Sharon Lee etc
10. Tracker C.J. Cherryh
11. Visitor C.J. Cherryh
12 The Rules of Civility Amor Towles
13. Seeker's Mask P.C. Hodgell

7. Sons and Lovers D.H. Lawrence - free

2.Wintersmith Terry Pratchett
3. I Shall Wear Midnight Terry Pratchett

Reflections February 2018
The stand-out read of the month was the Louis Menand The Metaphysical Club about the development of American philosophy in the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th. A ten-page-a-dayer. Not for the faint of heart, but yes for those who love history, especially US history. In fiction, getting a start on Lydia Davis's short stories was also nourishing and Michael Chabon's Moonglow the story of "his" grandfather was a delight. It was a stressful month and I retreated into sf and fantasy -- If you love fantasy, books and librarians (and you know that you do) The Invisible Library series is a hoot. I indulged in my annual 3 book feast of the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh and read the second in the P.C. Hodgell fantasy series (liked it better than book 1). Finished up the last of the Falco family on audio, but then listened to Pratchett's A Hatful of Sky which has to be his best for me yet. Iain Banks's Transition was the only true disappointment. If it hadn't been a Banks I would have put it down. No oomph to it. A good month, balanced.

Edited: Mar 20, 6:11pm Top

M/W writing together:
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction:
Mystery(inc hist mys):
YA or J:
New author:

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed:
New (to my library):
Off Shelf:
Did not finish:

TOTAL physical book (for year) IN=

Physical books acquired in March 2018

Reflections March 2018

Edited: Feb 15, 10:02am Top

Jan 1, 3:19pm Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 1, 3:23pm Top

Wow! You are fast! Happy New Year back at you!

Jan 1, 3:34pm Top

Hey there, Lucy, happy your thread is up and running.

Jan 1, 3:37pm Top

Happy New Year, Lucy. All the best to you and yours.

Jan 1, 4:11pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Lucy!

Jan 1, 4:20pm Top

Happy New Year, Lucy! May you have some great reads in 2018.

Jan 1, 4:50pm Top

Dropping off a star, Lucy! Happy New Year to you!

Jan 1, 4:55pm Top

Starred Lucy - wishing you a great year!

Jan 1, 5:24pm Top

There's a mini Posey!! Welcome back to the fray...

Jan 1, 5:47pm Top

Love the little Corgi!! Happy new year to you all.

Jan 1, 7:44pm Top

Welcome back! Happy new year!

Jan 1, 7:46pm Top

Happy 2018, Lucy!

Jan 1, 11:31pm Top

Ah! Here you are!!!! Happy 2018 and much, much good reading to you! (Also good writing, good music, good walking, good family time!)

Jan 2, 12:25am Top

Happy 2018 reading!

Jan 2, 12:49am Top

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.

Jan 2, 6:26am Top

Happy New Year, Lucy! Happy Reading and Happy Publishing/ Writing! :)

Jan 2, 10:15am Top

Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

Jan 2, 10:48am Top

Hi Lucy! Happy new thread!

Jan 2, 5:46pm Top

Hope you had a good New Years, Lucy. Dropping my star.

Jan 3, 7:04am Top

Whoop whoop whoop! I won a copy of your book through Early Reviewers!!

Jan 3, 8:49am Top


Jan 3, 9:27am Top

>26 lauralkeet: Me, too, me, too! I'm excited.

Jan 3, 12:07pm Top

I missed it!! Your book is out? What's the title? I want one.

Jan 3, 12:21pm Top

And I did NOT win a copy of your book. :-(

Edited: Jan 3, 12:27pm Top

>28 karenmarie: wonderful!

>29 RebaRelishesReading: and >30 ronincats: The novel is called The Hounds of Spring and the official publishing day is March 1. The advance reviews really mean a lot (and are terrifying) but I am also hoping people will like the book enough not to mind mind buying a few copies! That is all I will say as it is 'not on' here at LT to promote oneself and not really my style anyway.

Jan 3, 12:39pm Top

Lucy dear, The Hounds of Spring isn't on Goodreads and it really, really needs to be.

Edited: Jan 3, 1:17pm Top

First book of 2018!
1. ***1/2 sf
Dark Light Ken MacLeod

The story line of this saga (of which Dark Light is book 2) is so complex I hesitate to even try to outline it. Krakens, humans, saurs, all sentient beings from old Earth were relocated to a solar system on the far side of the galaxy. But why? Well, it appears the gods--that is the complex life forms that have evolved in the vacuum iof outer space have had a hand in that. In the first book the goal is to re-achieve mastery of light speed travel, this second installment addresses the Why Did They Put Us Here? The answer is . . . well, that would be a spoiler, eh? I like the story and many aspects of the characters but there is something about MacLeod's writing style I don't like and find annoying. That would be too many short-hand sentences, that is, rough writing, choppy and often without a subject or verb. I've questioned my periods of confusion about who is fighting whom and why wondering if I'm just stupid but I don't think so. The political piece here mainly human-human and comprised of a socialist/democratic/capitalist debate that crops up in the conflict between some human immortals (to tinker or not to tinker in politics) plus the issue of interstellar trading and the enormous effect the infrequent visits of huge trading ships on the peoples they visit (as well as themselves). Any one of these could have been a fine focus -- I truly think there is too much crammed in here for any one aspect to be analyzed sufficiently. It is also seems improbable to me that the other alien races don't have their own compelling agendas - the books seem very anthropocentric. On the other hand, MacLeod just about pulls it off. Not easy reading is what I'm saying, this is relatively demanding sf many-layered, worth it though. ***1/2

Jan 3, 12:51pm Top

>32 richardderus: I will speak to the publishing gods. I wonder why not, they are fairly thorough. Thanks for the tip.

Jan 3, 1:03pm Top

>33 sibyx: Touchstone error...Dark Light is 3rd on the list.

>34 sibyx: Maybe they're waiting for a giveaway to start? Dunno.

Edited: Jan 3, 1:42pm Top

True, they might do the ER thing in a more leisurely fashion. I know absolutely nothing at all about Goodreads. I suppose I should sign up. All in good time.

Touchstone fixed -- I did get the book right up above . . . then forgot as I often do that I have to check those.

Jan 3, 4:31pm Top

Hi Lucy. Very happy to be along for the ride with you again this year, especially as it promises to be such an exciting one for you! Go get 'em gal!

Jan 3, 5:48pm Top

I couldn't apply for the ER book, wrong country once again. Do you know if the ebook will be available outside the US?
This is so exciting! :D

Jan 3, 6:12pm Top

>38 Deern: One way or another I will make sure you get a copy, no worries!

Jan 3, 8:40pm Top

>31 sibyx: The Hounds of Spring
I've been soooo out of the LT loop... Congratulations! and Happy New Year!

Jan 4, 10:26am Top

>35 richardderus: Checked in and the marketing elf will be arranging things with Goodreads next week. Thanks for the heads up.

Jan 4, 10:38am Top

>41 sibyx: Whew! Glad to have started the process for you.

Jan 4, 7:07pm Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 4, 7:24pm Top

>42 richardderus: So glad you brought it to my attention!

>43 quondame: Welcome!

Edited: Jan 5, 6:04pm Top

2. ****1/2 memoir
The Genesee Diary Henri Nouwen

Before writing about the book, a couple of disclaimers as my reasons for reading it have less to do with matters of Christian faith and more to do with curiousity albeit both secular and spiritual. I grew up about a mile as a crow flies from this monastery and many times, especially during the 1970's, attended the midnight mass at Christmas in the company of a Catholic friend. (I also grew up eating Monk's bread--the raisin-cinnamon was the best) so I could well have been at the midnight mass Nouwen writes of on his last night at the monastery in 1974. I acquired the book because the word "Genesee" drew my eye. The river was less than a quarter mile from our farmhouse. The idea of my own large, messy, noisy and complicated family being so close by to a place of such quietude and contemplation bemused me.

So the book. Henri Nouwen, Dutch, and a devout Catholic, Jesuit-trained but also a restless man (and troubled) with an interest in the places where spirituality and psychology meet, asks to stay at the monastery and is granted the unique gift of a seven-month long residency. Henri, a teacher, writer, speaker, arrives in a burnt-out state, feeling that he is losing sight of his relationship to the core matter of his life, his relationship to God. Every week he spends an hour with the Abbot, John Eudes, a remarkable person in which they discuss his "progress".

Two compulsions form his efforts of the first few months, dealing with restlessness and anger, finding the source of each and ways to move beyond both. In the former it is, he realizes, his competitiveness, a constant measuring of himself versus others that causes him, when he is with people, to exhaust himself. Conversely being alone makes him feel crazily bored and even more so if it involves spending half a day hauling rocks out of a creek for the walls of the new chapel or washing raisins or bread pans. When he is alone he craves people, when with people, he craves being alone. He is not comfortable in himself in the moment. Eudes says "Without solitude there can be no real people. The more you discover what a person is, and experience what a human relationship requires in order to remain profound, fruitful, and a source of growth and development, the more you discover that you are alone--..." Nouwen also experiences flashes of anger (and longer bouts of resentment) when, say, he realizes that one monk is simply "nice" to everyone, not just him. Nouwen grapples with his need to be special, to stand out, to garner praise and not to resent it when others receive more praise than he. These first concerns gradually ease during the months of his stay and he has genuine insights into the underlying causes too which helps a shift and ebbing of turmoil as, gradually, the emotions subside. After six months he finds he can spend the day messing with the rocks or mucking about in the bakery if not quite happily, then contentedly and it feels wonderful. He knows he does not have a vocation to be a monk, so now Henri's hopes begin to turn toward taking what he has learned here with him when he returns to his regular life in the secular world. While in his epilogue he says he didn't do so well with it, I doubt that. I can say unequivocally that there is much here for the secular seeker and that my curiousity was satisfied. I'm happy to think of these good people being nearby, especially during my tumultuous adolescence. I have spent several hours all told in the "new" chapel, built in that year, and it is a lovely tranquil place. I love knowing that Henri Nouwen had a hand in it. ****1/2

Jan 5, 5:10pm Top

Hi Lucy!

Definitely sounds like something I'd be interested in.

Peggy just posted that she joined LT on this day in 2009 and that you joined on this day in 2010!

Happy Thingaversary!

Jan 5, 5:14pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Lucy! As you know, you were the first person I met on LT, so I am very thankful for your presence here and for your guidance all those years ago.

Jan 5, 5:30pm Top

>45 sibyx: That one sounds interesting, Lucy, like you mainly out of curiosity.
I once watched a movie with a similair theme, that might interest you: Into great silence about a Carthusian order/monastry.

Happy Thingaversary!

Jan 5, 5:38pm Top

Hey Lucy, happy Thingaversary!

Jan 5, 5:52pm Top

>45 sibyx: I actually have this book, and though I never got around to reading it and don't recall specifically when or why I acquired it, it's sitting next to other religious memoirs that I did read some years ago. The time is past, but your review reminds me.

Edited: Jan 5, 6:10pm Top

>46 karenmarie: Oh my gosh, my thingaversary. In the beginning I would reward myself with books to match the year, but since then I've had to rein in! This year would be eight new books, and I don't think that would fit with my program to be more reasonable!

>47 Crazymamie: Oh, Mamie. Every year you remind me of this and I am so glad!

>48 FAMeulstee: That does sound like an interesting movie. I will check it out.

>49 richardderus: thank you richard

>50 qebo: 'the time is past' -- I gather you have moved on from the religious memoir interest? My interest in matters spiritual seems to ebb and flow I suppose depending on what is going on inside me. This book, though, I really did pick up because a)ROOTS and b) relative slimness. Most of my non-fiction ROOTS reads are doorstoppers. 😉

Jan 5, 6:09pm Top

>51 sibyx: I always say I'll get # of years on LT + 1 books specifically for my thingaversary but never do - it's just so nice to acknowledge this wonderful place and how many great people we've met here.

Jan 5, 6:11pm Top

>51 sibyx: Oh boy, one to grow on would make nine. My shelves would explode!

Jan 5, 6:35pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Lucy! Too bad your shelves are so combustable!

Jan 5, 9:28pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Lucy!

Jan 5, 11:52pm Top

A belated Happy Thingaversary to you too, dear Lucy!
I love your review of Genesee Diary and remind you quietly that I gave it to you for Christmas a year or so ago because of the location.........just saying.
Also, I got an ER copy of The Hounds of Spring. I literally Cannot Wait!!!!!!

Jan 6, 12:47am Top

Belated Happy TA to you Lucy! :)
I'm having my 10th this year and should also give up on the extreme book-buying, but as no-one ever gives me books or book vouchers for Christmas or my birthday (because I have "enough books", grrr... ) it's the year's great occasion for a bigger treat to myself.

Jan 6, 7:43am Top

Holy moley! You have the book? I haven't seen it!!!! I thought they'd at least send me a copy or two.

How odd about the book! You gave it to me? . . . it's listed as having been in my books since 2010. What you say also resonates. Maybe it was on my wishlist since 2010? That could be! Have you read it? Could you or someone here have written about it, which caused me to put it on my WL. I bet that is what happened. When you shift a book from the WL to your regular collection, it doesn't note the change as a new date. I think I've figured it out!

Edited: Jan 6, 1:07pm Top

Roni has just reminded me of this very fun meme:

Describe yourself: We Are Legion

Describe how you feel: Odd Girl Out

Describe where you currently live: Cosmonaut Keep

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Grand Tour

Your favorite form of transportation: The Ferryman Institute

Your best friend is: Paddy

You and your friends are: Witches Abroad

What’s the weather like: Nemesis

You fear: A Body in the Bathhouse

What is the best advice you have to give: The Love We Share Without Knowing

Thought for the day: World of Trouble

How you would like to die: See Delphi and Die

Your soul’s present condition: The Opposite of Fate

This was hard! I read a lot of books with rather depressing titles!

Jan 6, 11:55am Top

Wonderful review. Thumbed!

Jan 6, 11:58am Top

Ditto, Lucy. Thumbed. A lesson many of us need to learn. Well done.

Jan 6, 12:14pm Top

>58 sibyx: Oh, this language! What I meant is that ER has promised me a copy of *HoS*; it certainly hasn't arrived.
And I did read the Nouwen and love it and speak to you about it. I don't know that I saw it on your wish list, but since I knew a bit about that part of your history, I sent it to you. Since I share a few of HN's faults (I wish, I wish I shared more of his talents!), I read it deeply and with respect since I'm not going to make the opportunity for that kind of healing.

Jan 6, 12:50pm Top

>59 sibyx: What’s the weather like: Nemesis


Jan 6, 1:14pm Top

Lucy--Happy New Year! Happy Thingaversary! And congrats on the new book coming out! Whew. That's a lot of exclamation points. ; )

I gave up purchasing the same number of books as years on LT, but I still treat myself to a few in celebration. I will look for Hounds of Spring in March...

Jan 7, 6:19am Top

Belated happy new year wishes Lucy and congratulations on publishing a book!

Jan 7, 8:49am Top

-20. Too. effing. cold.

So that else is there to do? Even the New York Times recommends giving up and bingeing, so we fell down the winter well and took our free HBO week and binged on Game of Thrones. We've quit for now as the week has run out, thank the seven gods (as the Westerossi would say). We got to where we could stand stopping, the, um, the condition of an important character made clear -- episode two of season 6 -- which other ensnared will understand. I am relieved to be free of it until next year. It cut in on my reading in a big way this week! Amazing acting and scenery.

Jan 7, 8:56am Top

>66 sibyx: -20
Oh my. A balmy 0 here, with improvement expected tomorrow.

>51 sibyx: moved on
Yeah. Too much religion in religion, or something.

Jan 7, 10:51am Top

Happy New Year, Lucy. Great Best of list. At least the cold is good for staying inside and reading.

Edited: Jan 7, 4:44pm Top

3. contemp fic ****
The Cutting Edge Penelope Gilliatt

I have to admit first thing that when I read this class of contemporary(ish) English novel I often have to fight off a sense of intellectual inadequacy. It's not an easy to matter to write convincingly about people who are brilliant but Gilliatt succeeds. And she does more than that. The novel is an exercise in crisp economy, in not one wasted word or detail. I didn't want to like either the novel or to care one bit about the two brothers, Benedick, musician and composer, and Peregrine Corbett, a well-known conservative literary/political writer of a type we don't have any more in the U.S.A. but who might be epitomized by the late William F. Buckley. The one quibble for me is that the woman, Joanna, whom they both love never really came to life as did the brothers and there is, as often happens, that slightly kinky British thing (I'm thinking of Mary Wesley, Iris Murdoch and so on) of complicated love tangles that Americans just can't pull off or tolerate. It's short and intense and smart, and to do it justice I expect I should read it again aloud and slowly, although that is not likely to happen, I admit. I would listen to it though if I came across it.

Jan 8, 9:03am Top

4. memoir, Wales, gardening *****
The Garden in the Clouds Antony Woodward

What a delightful book! On a day that began at -20 F I settled down in front of the wood stove with Woodward and more or less stayed right there until bed time. Thumbnail: The Woodwards, Tony and Vez, buy a hilltop farm in the borderlands of Wales and are determined to get into the Yellow Book of the National Gardens Scheme, a charity, and open for garden visits as soon as possible which, if I have my reckoning right, was a year (or maybe two?) and a half later. My spouse and I didn't do all the things in this book, no dry stone walls, for example, and no bees, and no hauling about of a railroad car (though we have dreamed of it and we did build me a work building that is quite similar to one) but we have done much of this basic homesteading stuff in our time. The amount of work to be done was staggering and, indeed what could be more pleasurable than to read about other people working insanely hard on a day too cold to think about going outside (at least until the thermometer went into the positive). I finished up this morning with their grand opening and felt as proud of the Woodwards' achievement as can be. Along the way the book is laugh out loud funny and full of wry observations and learned wisdom about 'how things get done' (or not). *****

Edited: Jan 8, 11:40am Top

Reporting in that I have stopped reading Engine City by Ken MacLeod. There is nothing at all wrong with the book, it is simply not what I want to read right now. I would say the most important aspect of it is exploring socio-political systems and ways to disrupt and alter and reshape them (and ways not to). I'm keen on the concept, but bogging down endlessly and impatiently. I will put it back with the first two volumes which I have read (I hate quitting a series this far in, but I just can't bring myself to read any further) with the bookmark in place. Things could change and if so I will pick up where I left off.

Jan 10, 5:12pm Top

5. fantasy ****
God Stalk P.C. Hodgell

The story opens with a young woman fleeing from a dark and terrible adversary toward a city where she hopes she will find safety. It is apparent there is a large gap in her memory and that she is very much alone as one thing she is sure of, even her own family had not cared for who she was and what she represented. She enters a bewildering city that appears to be dead but miraculously finds her way to a safe haven, an inn run by good people. During the course of the novel she will make friends, get some of her memories back, and simultaneously create havoc while trying to solve problems and be helpful. She is one of an alien people, the Kencyrath, who came to this planet hundreds (thousands?) of years ago to try and protect it from an entity known as the Perimal Darkling. I read this in a group read and therefore will say no more although I might come back when the read ends. Suffice it to say I liked the book enough to purchase the next one. I know there are six more beyond that and likely I will seek them out. It starts a bit roughly, but somewhere between page 70 and page 90 either it smooths out or I somehow "got" the setting and was thoroughly engaged from then on. ****

Jan 11, 9:46pm Top

>72 sibyx: No-spoilery-stuff question for you: does it seem to you that, in the 35 years since this book's initial appearance, the fantasy genre has bloated up the page counts? I keep expecting that Hodgell will be delving into some relationships and expand on some events and she simply doesn't seem to care to.

Did that come across to you?

Edited: Jan 13, 10:15am Top

>74 sibyx: Every time I go to the 3rd floor of our house where we have the vast sf/f collection I am struck by how slim the older books are--with a few exceptions like The Macroscope, Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land and even they are relatively slim. Hmm the Arthur books had a certain heft, but really, none were as large as some of these doorstoppers we have to somehow manage nowadays.

So yes, it did indeed come across, but I also assumed it would be this way. Very little introspection or "character development" and all the things we seem to have added to the mix.

It was one of the things I debated when writing the last Hiero book -- whether to write it crisp (which I didn't think I could do) or bring it into the 21st century. I chose the latter, so it is a much longer book. Some of length wass so I could wrap up all the different story threads but some was showing how the characters develop and think about things. I couldn't see how anyone would be interested in a conclusion in the old style.

On the whole I like the new way, but I think some folks get a little carried away with detail and introspection.

On the other hand you sure can get through them fast!

Edited: Jan 13, 12:30pm Top

6. hist mys *****
Rules of Engagement Bruce Alexander

The eleventh and final installment in this marvelous series about Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate, brother of Henry and founder of the Bow Street Runners. The stories are all told from the point of view of Jeremy Proctor, adopted as a boy by Fielding and brought up by him. This final book was mostly written when Alexander died and there were plenty of notes to work from. The story is a little shakier than some of the others, involving a hypnotist and necromancer, but it is fun nonetheless. The series ends with Jeremy at the threshold of his adult life. I give the whole series a hearty five stars--if you like historical mysteries (I've discovered I have a real taste for them) they really don't get any better than this.*****

Jan 13, 10:49am Top

>75 sibyx: Ahem, touchstone. I bet I'd enjoy these.

Jan 13, 12:34pm Top

Somehow I missed your thread! Happy belated new year to you!

Jan 13, 12:37pm Top

Oh, Oh -- book bullet!! Would they be good in audio do you think?

Jan 13, 12:44pm Top

Whoops, fixed it! Did it up above, then forgot I had to do it again here.

Jan 13, 12:49pm Top

>72 sibyx: Nice review of God Stalk, Lucy. I liked it, too. Interesting discussion with RD about how streamlined it is compared to more recent fantasy. That's a plus, IMO - I liked her sticking to the story and not getting sidetracked into (too much) character development and side stories.

The worst for that, for me, was in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series when, after the success of the first few books, no editor would say no to him, and they got more and more bloated.

Jan 13, 1:37pm Top

Unfortunately, that happens.

I want to be punctilious about LT's self-promotion rules, so I will post no links here, but if you are curious about my book, go to my page on Facebook (Lucy Andrews Cummin) where you will find a link to the blog I am setting up. There I hope to post about the whole process of (this word kind of chokes me, so out of my usual ken) self-promotion.

Jan 13, 2:45pm Top

>74 sibyx:, >80 jnwelch: I keep thinking there's a happy medium somewhere and more authors need to seek it out.

>81 sibyx: Don't be squeamish, Lucy, it has to be done.

Is the old Hepzibah Starkweather blog still up?

Edited: Jan 13, 4:49pm Top

>82 richardderus: I know Richard! I intend to write about it, at least in my journal, to see if there is anything of interest for a well-brought up lass like me (and my family folkways are relentlessly Quaker/rural New England--both of which discourage horn-tooting to a possibly crippling extent). I am determined to do what is needed with grace. I have to say that seeing how gracious Karl Ove Knausgaard was at the reading I went to last fall with my bro, is going to serve as an example and an inspiration. Also, in my Irish music life there is a very embedded tradition that the greater musician you are the more warmly you should behave with all aspiring musicians. Not everyone practices that--and if your own behaviour in return is bad you can lose the privilege and patience of these folk--but the greatest of them do abide by this and it is one of the many joys of that musical tradition.

No the old Hepzibah blog was removed a while back -- the new one has been built on that foundation, so to speak.

Jan 13, 5:50pm Top

>83 sibyx: Oh dear, the Self-Abnegation Selfies are out in force. New England plus Quaker plus Woman in a Man's World...dear, dear...it's a wonder you speak at all.

I wish that was a joke.

Remember one big thing: You have support in place for your ambitions.

Jan 13, 5:56pm Top

Lucy, would you post your remarks about God Stalk and bloated fantasy on the group read thread? I'd love to be having this discussion over there!

Jan 13, 7:48pm Top

>75 sibyx: I've read one or two in the Bruce Alexander series and enjoyed it/them. I need to get back to that series.

Edited: Jan 13, 7:54pm Top

>45 sibyx: I went to add that one to the BlackHole only to find that it is already there. I guess I had better track down a copy!

>75 sibyx: That is a series I need to reread. I has been a while!

Jan 13, 8:28pm Top

>84 richardderus: That is so so encouraging to me, Richard.

>85 ronincats: Happy to, Roni - I didn't want to post the review there though, in fact debated holding off.

>86 thornton37814: I loved them.

>87 alcottacre: I do that too, completely forget I've already WL'ed something. Sometimes it happens more than once.

Jan 15, 7:11pm Top

7. fantasy ****
The Invisible Library(1) Genevieve Cogman

I romped through this one so fast that it never made it up top in the "currently reading" category. I do love the intrepid librarian/bibliophile trope in fantasy and this is a sterling addition to the sub-genre. Irene is sent out to an alternate world on assignment to find and bring back a special edition, unique to this world, of Grimm's Fairy Tales. She's given an unwanted assistant, not the least of whose offences is that he is attractive and competent and seemingly devoted to her. Of course, complications ensue, a very bad baddie, fae--who cause chaos and dragons--who impose order and humans with their Library culled from the many alternate worlds in between. It's fun.****

Jan 16, 12:40am Top

>74 sibyx: I'm cataloging the F&SF+misc collections my husband and I acquired from the 70's thru 90s, lots of them 20-30 years old already. So many are so short - 138 to 160 pages being quite normal. I do wish there were more series with books shy of 500 pages. I loved the Robert Jordan WoT series, but as much for all the silly diversions, once I got used to them, as for the over-arching plot.

>75 sibyx: I love historical mysteries! It looks like LT is giving me a TBR pile for the first time in decades.

Edited: Jan 17, 10:12am Top

>89 sibyx: a fun fantasy novel about a book, sounds perfect!

Jan 17, 10:50am Top

>89 sibyx: Does it have bibliomancy as well?! Sounds like a fun read.

Jan 17, 12:04pm Top

>90 quondame: Can you believe how short those books are? Funny, because when you think about it, the late Victorians were madly into endless series and loooonnnnggg books. Then it got snappier, now the trend it back to length.

>91 ChelleBearss: It is fun. I love the idea of intrepid librarians!

>92 richardderus:. Hmm have to go look up bibliomancy -- my guess answer would be . . yes? The existence of the stories in the alternate worlds does effect their 'destinies'.

Jan 18, 9:24am Top

Error alert: Any of you who might have received an Early Review copy of Hounds. On p. 44 substitute Lord Eglinton for Lord Elgin. Three mentions, all wrong, in one paragraph. Shudder.

At least I caught it before the final edit.

Jan 18, 10:45am Top

Hi Lucy!

>89 sibyx: A BB. Sounds wonderful. And fun.

>94 sibyx: Duly noted. I haven't started your book yet because I want things to be calm around here so I can give it proper attention. We're socked in with about 12" of snow, just came off generator back to Duke Power, and my husband is home with a wrenched knee from wading to the generator yesterday. He would have been home anyway what with the terrible roads and all, and won't go to work today or tomorrow for the same reason.

Jan 18, 9:43pm Top

>93 sibyx: I think serialization puffed up the 19th century novels, and deadlines shrunk the pulps.

Jan 19, 2:10am Top

>89 sibyx: Sounds great: wishlisted. Maybe a bit like Jasper Fforde?

Jan 19, 7:37am Top

>96 quondame: That sounds right enough. I'm thinking another piece might have something to do with what readers are craving too?

>97 charl08: Yes!

Edited: Jan 20, 7:28am Top

I've received a few queries about ordering "the book" and want to say I just got word from the publishers that the "official" date for Hounds has been pushed back to April 1 (not sure I like the idea of April Fool's -- but it does "go" with the April-ness of the book itself). I expect however that the book will be available sooner than that. You'd get it soonest by pre-ordering direct from Tupelo Press. It would be lovely if they see interest!

Back to say I've checked: if you go to Tupelopress.org and put in the title Hounds of Spring you can put in your pre-order!

Jan 19, 8:43am Top

8. fantasy ****
The Masked City Genevieve Cogman

Book 2 in the delightful Invisible Library series. Our intrepid Irene (about whose real identity I have my suspicions) (she's in the dark about it too) ends up in hard-core Fae turf, a perpetual Venice of masks and parties, on a rescue mission to save Kai who has been kidnapped. Of course, with Kai off stage for almost the entire book, no more tensions can develop between the three principal players: Irene, Kai, and 'the great detective Vare"--it would seem that pretty much everyone has a crush on everyone else, and, yeah, that is almost more intriguing than the mission. What I seriously enjoyed in this one were the 'junior' fae, and also the hint that there is a great variation among them, some are (by fae standards) sensible and moderate. Their love of story makes them vulnerable in some ways and also, occasionally, endearing, despite how dangerous and chaotic they really are. Dragons are formidable and, dare I say it, possibly a little lacking in humor? So these insights into their characteristics were fun. I can't help but plunge into book 3 and I've ordered book 4. Sigh. ****

Jan 19, 12:42pm Top

>99 sibyx: Done! Can't wait for April to come :)

Jan 19, 4:30pm Top

Excellent review of God Stalk which I plan to start this weekend. I also love your description of walking up to your 3rd floor and perusing your vast SF/F collection and observing (in response to RD's question) the relative slimness of older volumes. It's the image of you walking up the stairs to be greeted by a vast book collection that makes me smile.

Thanks for the info about ordering your book. I've been otherwise looking around and not finding it (with the publication date out a few months yet, that makes sense). I know you're walking that line of not engaging in self-promotion but I'm excited to read your work!

Jan 19, 8:11pm Top

Jan 19, 10:02pm Top

>99 sibyx: You need to go to tupelopress.org, not tupelo.org. And I've got it pre-ordered.

Jan 20, 7:28am Top

Thank you, Roni! I knew that, I just get too hasty.

Edited: Jan 20, 7:31pm Top

hist mys ****
Graveyard of the Hesperides Lindsey Davis

Tiberius is starting in on his new career as a builder, which takes him to a bar called The Garden of the Hesperides, where he and his men find six skeletons buried in the courtyard in back. Flavia takes on the job of figuring out who the dead ones might have been and why they were killed. At the same time, wedding prep is going on and Flavia is only too happy to have something else to do to keep wedding jitters at bay--not that she isn't sure of her Tiberius and he of her, but . . . The usual romp. ****

This next is the last one, at least for now, I have no idea if Davis is writing any more of them. Must check!

Jan 21, 1:46pm Top

10. fantasy ****1/2
The Burning Page Genevieve Cogman

Irene, with the help of Kai and Vale, continues to battle against the mysterious Alberich the evil Librarian who, it appears, is plotting to destroy the entire Library so that he can take control. Meanwhile the Fae and the Dragons, opposing forces of chaos and order are unable to cooperate. Irene, navigating on her loyalty to the library and instinct, throws herself into the battle. I can't say much more without spoiling, but I couldn't put the book down which tells you all you need to know. Book 4 is ordered and on its way here. ****1/2

Jan 21, 1:52pm Top

Hmm I think I "must" finish one of the two ROOT books I have going before starting another totally fun book. Sigh.

Jan 21, 1:56pm Top

I have pre-ordered your book!! : )

Jan 21, 5:57pm Top

Thank you! Thank you!

Edited: Jan 22, 8:16am Top

11. fantasy ****
Penric's DemonLois Bujold

On his way to his engagement party Young Lord Penric encounters a group by the side of the road where an elderly lady lies dying. He stays by her side, and well, it turns out she was a sorceror in the Bastard's Order (one of the five gods of this world) the demon she hosted in her lifetime jumps into Penric. It's great fun.

However like everyone else I have to wonder why publish what is clearly part 1 of a longer book as a single. There is no reason except that Bujold has such a secure fan base she and her publishers know we'll buy whatever she puts forth for us. It makes me very uncomfortable.

The stars are for the story. SO FAR. ****

Edited: Jan 22, 10:04am Top

12. memoir ***1/2
A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep

Godden writes of the years from her 1907 to 1946 when she returns to England with her two children after the war's end. The story is a familiar one: her father worked for one of the many companies based in India so the family, four girls and parents, travelled back and forth in various combinations. Most of her childhood was spent in a big house in a small town in the Narayanganj (in present-day Bangladesh). She had a fine teacher during a sojourn at a good progressive school in England who recognized her potential and asked her not to even try to publish anything until she was 26, which promise Godden kept. The story wanders a bit and feels very disjointed -- this happened and then that happened, dogs come and go, houses and possessions come and go, marriages fail and everyone soldiers on. The care and coherence of her novels is in absolute contrast to the chaos of her life, but she certainly lived things fully and completely as she was in the midst of them! That might be my biggest takeaway. For those who love reading about British India, both fictionally and non -- this is the real deal. ***1/2

Jan 22, 9:02am Top

I've been seeing mention of your book and glad to finally find a link to it! Looks interesting!

Jan 23, 9:13am Top

Jan 23, 1:54pm Top

>113 sibyx: *ow*ow*

Drat it all, I forgot to wear my BiblioKevlar.

Jan 23, 2:28pm Top

Hi sixby! I hope all is well. Dropping a star. It looks like your reading it going well out of the gate. Sadly, mine is lagging a bit. I can't settle on a book to read in print. I am almost done with my first audio, Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.

Jan 23, 3:08pm Top

>116 richardderus: Was I being too tough? This is the second writer's memoir I've read that rather disappointed--too much about the Pekingese, not enough about the writing? (Both, interestingly, were in my "books on shelf longer than I've belonged to my LT" category that is the basis of my ROOTS reading--eight plus years and counting.) Godden's life though is darned interesting as a life.

Edited: Jan 23, 3:10pm Top

>117 brodiew2: It helps that I am in snow country. Today, for example, we are housebound because our very long driveway is a sea of snow mush. You could drive on it, but then you'd make ruts three or four inches deep and tonight it drops wayyyyyyy below freezing and those ruts would make the driving a bit too exciting.

Anyway, hang in there with your reading and congrats on getting close to finishing your first audio!

Jan 23, 3:54pm Top

>118 sibyx: No, I'm being pelted by book bullets everywhere I go these days...I'm a Godden fan and somehow never read this. I can't resist it.

Jan 23, 5:29pm Top

You should read it -- as any Godden fan should (which is why I did) -- you learn so much about her and the basis for her books.

Jan 23, 8:43pm Top

>113 sibyx: Her The Dolls' House was one of my favorite books as a child.

Jan 23, 8:44pm Top

Yes, that and Candy Floss!

Jan 24, 12:38pm Top

>113 sibyx: That sounds fascinating. I've been meaning to read Godden for a long time, but still haven't yet.

Jan 24, 5:50pm Top

>124 lycomayflower: I was mad for An Episode of Sparrows that was my Godden adult entry book.

Edited: Jan 25, 11:53am Top

13. fantasy ****
Penric and the Shaman Lois Bujold

Second installment in Penric's story. It's a few years later and Penric has finished school at Rosehall in half the usual time and is back on his own turf working for his Princess-Priestess boss. A young man has died in suspicious circumstances in the far north and a Locator, Oswyl, has been pursuing the man, a young shaman, friend of the deceased, who is suspected of the murder. The study of shamanism was frowned (forbidden really) after the full takeover by the Five God religion, but the King has revived the study and development of the shamanic magical path, very different from the demon-sorceror path that Penric is on.

So Penric is roped in to help Oswyl locate the fugitive and the fun begins. He and Oswyl have to learn to get along and trust one another and then they have to untangle what really happened between the shaman and his friend. His god, the Bastard, definitely wants him to be engaged on this case, that much is certain.

Edited: Jan 25, 12:07pm Top

14. fantasy ****
Penric's Fox Lois Bujold

Another fine novella, or should I say, long story, in the saga of Penric's education. If I could wait for someone to issue a book with all of the Penric stories collected together, I would, but I can't. I'm weak, and Bujold is too much fun.

Characters overlap from the previous, Oswyl and Idris and there are a few fine new characters, mainly shamans-in-training. Penric has traveled to their turf with his Princess boss for a princely christening and gets entangled in a sorceress-murder-with-awol-demo-in-a-vixen situation. ****

It looks like I'm racking up the tomes, but these Bujold's are mostly shorter than my book! But it will all even out as I have some major door-stoppers in my reading queue!

I'm getting through these so fast I can't even keep my Currently Reading list current!

Edited: Jan 25, 12:07pm Top

Have you read Lois's blog on Goodreads, Lucy? She answers questions so patiently. Her interactions there are exemplary to me, since how she behaves is exactly like your sister who's a senior talking to your freshman hiney in the hall.

ETA link

Edited: Jan 25, 12:09pm Top

I've visited that blog in the past, but not recently! Must get back to it. I've never asked a question, I admit. Perhaps she explains her publishing logic, so I will go and see.

Edited: Jan 26, 6:43pm Top

fantasy ****
Penric's Mission Lois Bujold

I've galloped through the four-so-far installments of Learned Penric's adventures, leaving him on a mountain pass and safe enough for the moment. Penric who has begged to be released from medical duties is sent out by his new employer on a diplomatic mission which, of course, goes awry. I especially liked this one. ****

When I first stumbled into Bujold I tore through every book she had written up to then . . . since then I've studious ignored what she has been up to, to let the well fill. All that remains after I finish up with Penric, is, I think, the 4th book of The Sharing Knife which I somehow lost track of and then I'll be caught up again. Sadly. Once I start in on Bujold there is no stopping.

Jan 26, 10:57pm Top

>130 sibyx: Bujold is addicting. I started reading her books almost as soon as they were published and since the 90s have been buying them as they came out, in hardback, which is rare for me. I haven't binged on re-reading her books for quite some time. Looks like I am overdue...

Jan 26, 11:23pm Top

Bujold Rules! I'm glad you're enjoying Penric & Co. I look forward to following you past #2 at some point.
I also need to get the Godden books; somehow, I had missed them.

Jan 27, 12:52am Top

just stopping by to wish you a happy relaxing weekend with lots of books!

Jan 27, 8:03am Top

>130 sibyx: Apologies if I'm misunderstanding you here, but did you know there are two more Penric books after Penric's Mission (though they don't follow the naming scheme): Mira's Last Dance, and The Prisoner of Limnos? I think you'll find them worthy continuations of the series. Prisoner of Limnos is my favourite of them so far, I think.

Great to read your reviews of the Invisible Library books - I've been meaning to read past the first book in that series for a while now.

Jan 27, 11:31am Top

>134 Arifel: For some reason I thought they stopped with Penric's Mission -- I was DELIGHTED to find I had a couple more to read. One of them is already done! (Mira). Can't wait to start Limnos but I am going to use it as a carrot/reward for doing the things I need to to do today!

Edited: Jan 27, 8:37pm Top

16. fantasy****
Mira's Last Dance Lois Bujold

Penric and his companions have to get across the border into a neighboring country. To do this they must disguise themselves and Penric gets a little carried away! ****

17. fantasy****
The Prisoner of Limnos Lois Bujold

Nykis's mother has been made prisoner on a very secure island sanctuary--a ploy to attract her brother--and (since her brother is not there to object) she enlists Penric's aid in the rescue.****

Well, I gobbled these up! But I am done. For now.

I feel a bit guilty about calling these 'books'. On the other hand I read plenty of ridiculously long books, so maybe not.

Jan 28, 8:58am Top

I feel a bit guilty about calling these 'books'. On the other hand I read plenty of ridiculously long books, so maybe not.

How about listing all your *reads* then? Not specifically books...reads. Like I only count as "read" a book that I write some kind of review for...I read about the same number of books that I don't care to review as the ones I do.

Edited: Jan 28, 11:45am Top

>137 richardderus: Good point and good idea. Although I can't say that I write a review of every book I read but I try -- it's as much an aide-memoire as anything, and I need that more and more! Especially with fantasy, only the exceptional ones stand out and stay in my mind.

I really came here to whine some more about what a supremely nose-bleedingly depressing book Jude the Obscure is. I'm not saying I'm sorry I'm reading it--it's the sort of book that had to be written, it's prophetic, in the right company/classroom it would spark endless conversation about just what the heck marrying anybody is all about. (As far as I can figure out it's like democracy, not great, but the best we can do so far.) Hardy's bitterness--rage even--at what social mores and cultural conventions do to these two young people still resonates after these one hundred and some years. Things are better, at least in some countries, but not that much. Not really. Only for the lucky few, in which I include myself. But it still is the sort of book that makes you ask yourself, "Am I settling? How can I even tell?"

Anyway I have about 70 pages to go and feel that I must.finish.today if it kills me. I can't let it go and I can't let it go on.

Jan 28, 11:20am Top

Yeup. Thomas Hardy Fatigue has set in. It's a well documented side effect of consuming the man's work, that sense of being ground down, salted, ground even finer, and then splashed with vinegar and kerosene before being lit with a blowtorch.

Good times.

Jan 28, 11:45am Top

You got that right!

Jan 28, 2:24pm Top

>125 sibyx: Wishlisted. :-)

Edited: Jan 28, 6:21pm Top

18. classic fiction ****1/2
Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

Oh la, how to begin? Can I say I am ecstatic to be finished with Jude and Sue and their woeful lives? Can I also say I am so glad to get out of the cold rain of a story steeped in an uncomfortable blend of pragmatism, melodrama, farce and the dourest view indeed of most human endeavors? Jude Fawley (Folly) and Sue Bridehead (Hmmm) are cousins and when they meet they like one another, for Jude it is instant love both sacred and profane. He has already tumbled somewhat off of the path he set himself as a lad, to study and achieve a place and a degree at Oxford, the great university town that is the crown of Wessex, but Sue is all for his dreams. The melodrama comes in when Sue and Jude are both warned that marriage in their family always ends in tragedy and disaster. They don't marry one another, oh no, they stubbornly ignore their hearts and marry disastrously, but back to melodrama and plot twisting, those marriages fail, but wait the drama goes on and on . . . And in between all this Sue and Jude debate and discuss and, amazingly, convince me that they do love and understand one another but are such total ninnies that they will mess up their own chance of happiness.

But here's the thing, the novel is chock full of ideas--serious ones that, in the right book group or classroom could lead to endless discussion. Sue is something special and something new (although it did occur to me she would have gone to be a nun in the old days and would have perhaps been happy enough) a woman who wants to think and do for herself. That she cannot sustain her independence is one of the mysteries that haunts the core of the story. That she is terrified of sexual intercourse, and, even with Jude probably cannot enjoy herself,is a given. For all we like a strong fictional heroine and etc. the reality is that most of us, men and women, are weak and in the face of societal convention and disapproval most of us do wilt under scrutiny. Hardy gives us a real and heart-breaking person in Sue. Jude was slightly less real to me, his utter vulnerability to the machinations of Arabella, his first wife, stretched my credibility. He so readily and naively gives up his dreams for sex, although not having ever been a lustful young adult male, what do I know? And there is never any hint anywhere that any couple are conjugally loving--there is no sense with Arabella that sex is anything other than a transaction that gets her what she wants--a man for appearances. For all her moral appearance, she is far more immoral (and so is everyone else by implication) than poor Jude and Sue with their attempts to live up to their pure ideals.

Hardy puts intellectual striving and sexual desire at firm odds. Marriage, he sees as a social contract the purpose of which is utterly crass and damaging to both men and women, given how prone we are to making bad mistakes with our hearts. He also points out that men consider women something to possess, that marriage is a contract that ensures a form of possession, and that the contract of marriage does assume that the woman will do her duty (It is a given that any man who marries will be game.) In return the man will, supposedly, protect her and their children. There are some horrifying passages where the friend of Sue's first husband advises him to break her spirit if he gets the chance. In the end, this good man, Phillotson is just about convinced and it is left ambiguous just how stern he will be with her. Sue's aversion to getting married, which starts out seeming perverse, by the end seems like good sense, at least for her.

Of course I am not at all sorry to have read the novel. I don't know when I will tackle another Hardy, for this makes three, of which The Return of the Native was one I most enjoyed, but probably that was due to the brilliant reading of it by Alan Rickman. (the other was Tess) I have to give this book ****1/2 stars because of what it is, what Hardy presents us with and made me think about, however unwillingly. Rating this sort of book seems idiotic to me, by the way, but so be it.

Some quotes:
beautiful writing: "the fresh harrow-lines seemed to stretch like the channelings in a piece of new corduroy . . ."

On the architecture of Oxford: These were the ideas in modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry. Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical. How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men."

Here is a moment that illustrates the sometimes pedantic motion of Jude's thoughts: "Strange that his aspiration--towards academical proficiency--had been checked by a womn, and that his second aspiration--towards apostleship--had also been checked by a woman. 'Is it,' he said, 'that the women are to blame; or is it the artificial system of things, under which the normal sexual impulses are turned into devilish domestic gins and springes to noose and hold back those who want to progress?'

"Sue held that there was not much queer or exceptional in them: that all were so. 'Everybody is getting to feel as we do. We are a little beforehand, that's all in fifty, a hundred years these two {a bridal couple she and Jude are observing} will act and feel worse than we.' I think that rates as mildly prophetic.

As Sue disinegrates later in the novel Hardy has Jude ask, "Is it peculiar to you, or is it common to woman? Is a woman a thinking unit at all, or a fraction always wanting its integer?" Yowza. It's a perfect metaphor in that it is setting the logic of math against the illogic of art and emotion.

Jan 28, 6:20pm Top

Hi Lucy!

>142 sibyx: Okay, I love Thomas Hardy and Jude the Obscure is on my shelves just waiting to be read. It sounds like I have to be in the proper analytical and philosophical mood.

Jan 28, 6:22pm Top

>143 karenmarie: Absolutely. I was just barely able to stay the course.

I should add that this is the second ROOT book that literally fell apart as I read it, an old Penguin, and it meant I could scribble all over it as I wished and also that I could toss it in the recycle bin when done! (One reason to have written this copious review.)

Jan 28, 6:37pm Top

Corgi/puppy/dog people go to >1 sibyx: immediately! News flash!

Jan 28, 7:27pm Top

>142 sibyx: Yep, Hardy wrote prophetic lines for Sue's mouth. Grim stuff.

>145 sibyx: *baaaaawwwww* Puppies! I hope you get one, too.

Jan 28, 7:34pm Top

AW!!! Lucy, that is the sweetest photo up top. Crossing my fingers that you get a puppy.

Jan 28, 8:27pm Top

>145 sibyx: Awwwwww.

Jan 28, 11:46pm Top

>1 sibyx: Puppies! Yes. Wishing you the puppy of your heart! Dives into bed with dachshunds.........

Jan 29, 1:17am Top

How will Posey take not being the only dog-child in the family? They are darling, though.

Jan 29, 3:14am Top

>145 sibyx: Puppies! I do hope you manage to get one.

>142 sibyx: I do like Thomas Hardy, but he’s not cheerful is he? Jude the Obscure is one of the few that I’ve never read.

Jan 29, 4:34am Top

>1 sibyx: Aaaaaaw, I want one! *LOVE*

>142 sibyx: Wonderful, wonderful review!!!

Jan 29, 7:01am Top

>1 sibyx: Oh they're gorgeous!

Edited: Jan 29, 7:03am Top

>150 ronincats: Posey will be very happy to have a puppy of her very own to boss around. We're quite aware that she loves playing with puppies and other friendly dogs even when they are three times bigger than she is! In some ways she might even be happier, she's always trying to get the cats to play and Tenzing will a little, but never for long. She's the perfect age too, young enough to have a blast, old enough that a pup will keep her lively. The last time we had two it was a "howling" success. But we have to wait and see where we are on the "list".

Jan 29, 7:23am Top

>1 sibyx: PUPPIES!!!! I'm crossing all digits that you are on the list, Lucy! Oh my goodness how fun that would be for Miss Po.

Jan 29, 9:26am Top

>154 sibyx: Good luck with "the list"! When will you find out if you get one?

Jan 29, 9:34am Top

>1 sibyx: How adorable. I do hope that you are high up enough on the list to get one.

I hope that Posey gets her puppy-to-boss-around. I know it's not dogs/puppies, but I'm in the two-kittens-next-time camp when Kitty William goes to kitty heaven - Inara may or may not take to new kitties but they will be there for each other.

Jan 29, 4:50pm Top

Good luck with the puppy list. Will you get photo updates of them as they grow? If so, please share :)

Jan 30, 10:47pm Top


Jan 31, 6:38am Top

Good luck with the puppy list!

Feb 1, 8:09am Top

My stats are posted up above at >3 sibyx: (you have to scroll down past best of 2017) but I thought I'd pop this down here as it sums up January nicely.

Reflections January 2018
My reading this month reflected the weather outside, with temperatures rocketing up and down (and down and down) in extremes. On the down side, I soldiered through Jude the Obscure, right up there with Most.Gloomy.Books.Ever.Written. (Hmm should I start a category, no, too depressing). On the up side I fell into the Bujold Penric series, as a weary traveler sinks into a featherbed. Of course, there was lots in between, including a second high -- the first three books of The Invisible Library series which are terrific. Started a new (but older) series too, God Stalk with a group and we will go on. It's good with very dense world-building. Solid non-fiction reading with The Garden in the Clouds being the most enjoyable and The Genesee Diary being the most enriching. Godden's memoir although worthwhile to a fan or British India fan, was not her best work. An interesting Penelope Gilliatt and, let me see, finishing up the last in the series about Sir John Fielding. Wonderful series if you like historical mysteries.

Feb 1, 11:27am Top

>161 sibyx: A terrific summation of the month.

I liked those Bruce Alexander Sir John Fielding books when I read the first three or maybe four of them, and then the series fell off my radar for some reason.

I read the first six Sano Ichiro books by Laura Joh Rowland and forgot about them too. Neither case was about series fatigue, like the Donna Andrews books...just forgot. How does that happen, I wonder.

Feb 1, 12:20pm Top

Great January stats, Lucy! And I am so glad I went back up there to peruse them because I saw The Long Ships as one of your favorite reads of last year, which reminded me that I bought my own copy and need to get to it.

Feb 2, 12:27pm Top

That is the best way to wade through Hardy, with lots of more entertaining books on the side. Your stats for January are impressive, Lucy. Good luck with the puppy list.

Feb 4, 1:07pm Top

19. contemp fic ****1/2
Moonglow Michael Chabon

So far my favourite Chabon is The Yiddish Policemen's Union but Moonglow settles firmly into second place. The protagonists are "Mike" Chabon's grandpa and grandma. He, born 1916 was exactly the right age and with the right skills (engineering) and interests (rocket mania) and temperament (can do) to be useful at the end of the war rounding up the nazi physicists (so the Russians wouldn't get them) as well as looking out for any useful hardware (like the V-2 left lying around as the Germans retreated. This (I gather largely fictional) grandpa arrives only a day after the liberation of the Dora camp and the Nordhausen rocket-building assembly plant hidden in the Harz mountains with all attendant horrors. This grandpa's story is many-layered; he marries a troubled woman and does his best to care for her, his obsession with rocketry serves him well in the course of a varied, but never quiet life. It helped a lot that I recently reread Gravity's Rainbow (which required endless amounts of time on-line following up in order to figure out where fiction was fact and vice versa--closer than you'd think). The story of Mike Chabon's grandmother is as important as the story of his grandpa, the story of one utterly damaged by the war and full of turns and surprises.

This is a style of fiction-writing a conceit, really, where the writer gives the narrator their own persona and whatever history that fits the narrative they have in mind. Actual events and some authentic memories used as a springboard, if you will, to reach a certain emotional or felt truth, say about a time and a place or a type of family. By declaring that it is "mostly" made up, you protect yourself and your family from closer scrutiny. It leaves me feeling a little cheated, but that is more in retrospect; when I was immersed in the book I was in over my head, so to say, and I think in the grandfather especially, Chabon has created a marvelous and consistent character with the ring of authenticity. ****1/2

Feb 4, 2:18pm Top

>1 sibyx: Puppies!!!

See what I've been missing by dropping out of planet LT for the past couple of years! So much of interest just in this first month of 2018, I dread to think what I've missed of you reading adventures while I've been away.

I'm delighted you've discovered a taste for historical mysteries, one of my favourite genres - and the Lindsey Davis Falco books are a firm favourite. I read most of them in library editions, but have been gradually collecting my own copies when I've found them secondhand, so that I can re-read the whole series. I haven't yet started the Flavia series - I own the third or fourth, but haven't yet spotted the first one in my regular charity shops.

I first heard of the Cogman Invisible Library series in December, when my Dad requested the fourth book, the Lost Plot, on his Christmas wishlist and I bought it for him. He was recommending the series highly, and adding that to your enthusiasm, I think I must search that one out...

Re Jude the Obscure, I'm glad you made it through to the end - definitely not one to re-read in a hurry! I mentioned on the Classics thread about the Rickman audiobook of Return of the Native, but having now caught up on your thread, I see that you have already discovered and enjoyed that, not least for the quality of the reading (oh, that voice!).

The Genesee Diary is a book I'm aware of - haven't read that one though have several others of Nouwen's which I have much appreciated. Did you know that part of his later journey was to give up the academic life and go and live for the last ten years of his life in one of the communities of L'Arche, where people with and without learning difficulties live together. His later writings explore the challenges and learning he experienced there - it seems he continued to wrestle with some of the stuff you mention in your review from his earlier life.

I'm very excited to see you have a book about to appear, and ER copies winging their way to those within the qualifying country. Am sorry that this is the first I knew of this - see again what I've been missing!

I'm sure there was something else I wanted to comment on... Oh yes, Rumer Godden - one of my favourites. The Diddakoi was the one I read as a child, but am slowly catching up on others, most recently the excellent An episode of sparrows. I heard parts of her biography (I think, not autobiography) read aloud while I was staying in a Benedictine nunnery in Kent - it was the book being read to guests at mealtimes during the week I was staying, very appropriate choice.

I've probably missed something else, but that's enough catching up for now. Will try to keep up to date with your always interesting thread, while not paying too much attention to the book bullets until I've whittled down my own TBR substantially!

Feb 4, 3:57pm Top

>165 sibyx: After the utter fail of Kavalier and Klay, I consigned Chabon to the DFW-Franzen-Eugenides heap. This one might lure me out of sneering mode, since I also loved The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

Feb 5, 12:05am Top

>167 richardderus: But I liked Kavalier and Klay. Of course my husband is a comic collector and I've osmotted a good deal. I'll have to try Moonglow.

Feb 5, 7:12am Top

>165 sibyx: BB for me! And when I read "V-2" I thought "Pynchon". I was surprised there was any memory left of GR. :)

Feb 5, 7:33am Top

>166 gennyt: Genny! I'm so happy to see you here! I'm going to try to respond to all your comments.
-I'm on the last Flavia . boo-hoo! Have you tried the Fieldings?
-Wow, your Dad is up on things!
-I will never reread Jude, that is a certainty.
-While reading the book I did poke around on line to see what else Nouwen got up to, so I did know. Complex person, full of conflicting ambitions and desires and well aware of it all.
-Thanks about da book (we pronounce it like spook)!
-An Episode of Sparrows is a book I read over and over and over in my teens.

>167 richardderus: I knew Kavalier and Klay wouldn't work for me --but I regard Chabon as a superb writer and someone who keeps moving, keeps experimenting, so I take each of his books as they come and decide.

>168 quondame: Does yr husband have a specialty? If you like Chabon there's nothing not to like here except if you are bothered by the memoir-fiction thing.

>169 Deern: Have you read other Chabon?

Feb 5, 3:48pm Top

I can't decide if it's Jude the Obscure that I read, but I read a very depressing Hardy a few years back and vowed to stay away. Even worse was the Emile Zola book I read last year. L'Assommoir. Eurgh. At least with Hardy, his aim seems to be to point out failings in society that make individuals suffer. Zola just seems to show lots of suffering. Oh, and that miserable, poverty stricken people and alcohol don't mix. Shocker. Think we all had that one figured out already, thanks Emile. (shakes fist at ghost of EZ)

Feb 5, 4:55pm Top

>171 HanGerg: Made me chuckle!!! Needed that today!

Feb 5, 5:55pm Top

>168 quondame: No fan of comics, me, nor of superheroes.

Edited: Feb 6, 12:01am Top

>170 sibyx: Just the first one, sth with Pittsburgh in the title? Decades ago and in German, when he was the new wunderkind of literature.

Feb 6, 12:02am Top

>170 sibyx: I sure he does, but I would have a hard time naming it - lots of Batman and there used to be more Superman & DC characters around, also some of the series like Sandman/Book of Magic, Bone, Fables which I read. He likes superheros and The Shadow and has collected lots of the reprints - though with his huge new iPad he reads them online lately. Oh yes, we have all sizes of reprints of Prince Valiant and Little Nemo.

Edited: Feb 7, 9:19am Top

20. fantasy ****
Dark of the Moon P.C. Hodgell

Very much enjoyed this second installment of the Kencyrath chronicles. With Marc, her Kendar ally and the ounce, (think big smart cat) Jame has left the city of Tai-Tastigon where she had found refuge and friends to seek out her brother and return their father's sword and ring to him. Naturally things won't go according to plan. Lots to like here -- complex world, where the dead are more likely to transform into something else and where the living, if they aren't careful are also in danger of losing themselves in the darkness that surrounds. We get two protagonists this time (and brief moments in the minds of some lesser but interesting characters) and Torisen, Jame's brother really does balance well with her. It's entirely convincing that he binds people to be loyal. Some fun baddies too here, along with the scary ones. More humor as well, a sign that Hodgell is feeling more confident as she moves us deeper into the story. I've got the next to ordered, will plunge back in when they arrive, no doubt. Much less confused this time. My only complaint would be that people do occasionally bla on handing out information. It's so hard to do well and this story is so complicated things really do have to be explained from time to time. ****

Feb 7, 11:47am Top

>176 sibyx: Very nice review, Lucy. If you posted that, I will add my thumb.

Feb 7, 12:27pm Top

I am a corgi owner too - best dogs ever. Congrats Mena!!

Feb 7, 12:51pm Top

Edited: Feb 7, 12:59pm Top

>177 Crazymamie: Will get right to it!

>178 JMC400m: Yes, corgis are the best, no question. Thanks for stopping in!

Feb 7, 4:39pm Top

>176 sibyx: Agree, very nice, and I'm so happy you continue to enjoy the series, but I cannot figure out what word "bla" in the next to last sentence is meant to be, although I believe you are talking about info-dumping.

Now that you've read the end of The Dark of the Moon, you can see why the next book, which is all about trying to fit Jame into the Women's Hall, is sure disaster!

Feb 7, 9:39pm Top

>181 ronincats: Yep, Jame is not going to fit in there, no sirree!

And yes, bla or blah or blah-ing. Just a wee bit too much of that goes on here and there.

Edited: Feb 8, 10:55am Top

21. sf ***
Transition Iain M. Banks

I've been dragging my heels over this review. The first Banks I've actively disliked. I know he ventured into dark, creepy, violent stuff and I have avoided that part of his oeuvre. Supposedly this book is connected with his greater sf "culture" works, but there was no evidence of it. Here, there is a multi-verse situation and a group, called the Concern, that can travel between these different worlds -- all our Earth -- and who have taken it upon themselves to monitor and eliminate the people who they deem to be likely to harm "progress" toward peaceful and rational societies, manipulate behind the scenes. A pill enables this travel, but the Central Committee has been exploring other possibilities and ways not only to travel but to monitor their own agents. The theme is power and the inevitability of the desire to retain power to corrupt even the best of intentions. Also, the naivete of the many to the manipulations of the few. The ever present tendency of all of us to be solipsistic (pathologically self-oriented, in a nutshell) is also explored. (It can't happen to me!). That all sounds rather intriguing, sort of. But it plays out in a way that smacks of a boyish sort of fantasy (talking philosophy with some gorgeous dame in a hot tub while she strokes your, ahem, with her feet? Are you kidding me? Take note fellas, not workable.) The ultimate geeky fantasy??? Anyway, didn't float my boat. I read it through out of respect for Banks and, because it was Banks, there were some moments. But I never once even cracked a smile. Only for hard core Banksians, I'd say. Three stars is kindly. ***

Feb 8, 5:45pm Top

Yes, I read that Banks, though it was some time ago and it took me a while to place it as my copy had a completely different cover. Yes, not one of his best, and I had no idea that it was meant to fit into the Culture universe. It would rather complicate things beyond all sense. My hazy memory of this was that the central conceit didn't work, as on the one hand parallel universes are opening up constantly at millions or billions of different divergent paths that are happening all the time, and yet people are travelling through these universes seeking to pull strings in the background and alter things to their liking. How are these two ideas remotely combinable? They ain't, says me.

Feb 8, 8:43pm Top

>176 sibyx: Off to add my thumb!

>183 sibyx: Yay! A fellow unfan of this misfire of a Culture novel.

Feb 8, 11:45pm Top

Yes to puppies! I hope they are progressing well and that Mena is doing well, too.
So Posey might have a niece or nephew to romp around with in a few weeks, eh?

I loved Moonglow; it was a favorite in 2017. I still need to read The Yiddish Policemen's Union which is on the shelves.

I'm sorry you won't be able to join us in Philly next month, Lucy, but of course totally understand. Perhaps another meet-up opportunity will present itself in the near future.

Also, I pre-ordered your book from the publisher and very much look forward to reading it!

Edited: May 22, 6:17am Top

22. ♬ hist mys ****
The Third Nero Lindsey Davis

Domitian was not a popular emperor although revisionist history has that he ruled well. Lacking in any personal charm, I would guess. He saw plots to assassinate him under every toga (and rightly so for the most part) and Davis takes advantage of this and of a historical reality, that there were some 'false Nero' attempts to oust the Flavians with a puppet.
Flavia Alba is very different from her father, for one thing she hasn't (at least so far) gotten herself beaten up as he regularly did but she is a funny and wry and observant as her father. In this one she is asked to help trying to unravel a third false Nero plot, only to uncover . . . you guessed it, much much more. Her new husband, Tiberius the aedile, having been struck by lightning on his wedding day, plays a quiet but not very active role. We meet some Parthians and other new characters are introduced who I expect will be around and about in future volumes. As always it is the setting and small details that make the books irresistible to me. For now I am caught up, but I see there is a new one coming along later this year (2018). Lucy Brown narrated and she is my favourite of the various actors. ****

Feb 12, 7:46am Top

23. sf ****
Intruder C.J. Cherryh

Indulging in my annual 3-book binge of the Foreigner series, 13-15. Everyone is back in the Bujavid, the crisis seems to be over, but there are still lots of loose ends to tie up and young Cajeiri, in his own words is "bored, bored, bored!". I am as fascinated as ever by the difference between atevi "man'chi" and association and human "love" and friendship. One's sense of it grows richer with each book.****

Edited: Feb 16, 10:57am Top

24. in short stories, 1986
Break It Down Lydia Davis from Collected Stories

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis contains four previously published books of her short stories and for two reasons, the excellence of the stories themselves and because there is a publication chronology here and possible shifts in themes or emphasis, I want to take each book on its own. The first, published in 1986 is called Break It Down - and contains more than thirty stories, but be advised, many of Davis's "stories" are no more than a paragraph. A few are barely more than a sentence or two. And some are of "normal" short story length. Lest you think I am obsessing about a minor detail--let me admit I am inclined to obsess about every aspect of Davis's writing. I read a piece on Davis a few years ago in The New Yorker that led me to buy this book whic then languished on my shelves the way a very fat book sometimes will. I am also clinging to minor details because I don't know how to even begin to write about these stories in a sensible way. The truth is I would be only too happy to write at length about every single one. So let me start saying that I think Davis, like many contemporary writers (Karl Ove Knausgaard comes to mind immediately), writes in a clear and stripped down prose, not minimalist, but not prosy. As you read you suspect that what she writes intersects very closely with her own experience, perilously autobiographical. For instance, there are references and two stories devoted to fat men, in one the fat man is stated to be the person the narrator feels lives inside of her and might be her true self, in another we get a portrait of Vassily, who, we gradually realize is fat man/self seen from the outside in. Or there is an older woman who is afraid of everyone and everything. Oh yes. Some of the predicaments are quite humorous, often there is wry self-awareness, but it's not enough to carry that person through whatever is holding them back. (There is a lot of holding back.) The personas are not always obviously autobiographical, rarely would you think their name is Lydia Davis, but often, such as in one story where the narrator talks to her friend/lover about how she will be relieved to be older and just less tormented by everything from sex to ambition and his incredulous response that what you get instead is pain, had she thought of that? Well, no, she hadn't. That story sounds like a conversation. It could be Lydia's internal dialogue. Many stories involve break-ups, difficulties communicating, but all the characters even if they talk to no one else, talk to themselves sometimes so much that they create even internal confusion. I am sure I have, in fact, confused you -- what are these things this person writes? Meditations? Vignettes? Stories? Confessions? I don't know, all I know is that I feel enlarged by reading them! Do I recommend? You know best whether you care for the form. Now and then I encounter a short story writer, Chekhov, Turgenev, V.S. Pritchett, H.E. Bates, Mary Lavin, Edna O'Brien, John Cheever come with no effort at all into mind; all of whmo lift the short story into some sublime place of revelation like a dish that, at the last second, offers an explosion of unexpected flavor. If that happens to you too, you want to read Davis. *****

I won't read all the stories at once, will sandwich other fiction in between.

Edited: Feb 13, 12:14pm Top

Double post here, so this one was taken out.

Feb 13, 8:47pm Top

>189 sibyx: That's a great "between book," as Jerry Karp calls them.

Happy Lydiaing.

Edited: May 22, 6:15am Top

25. sf ****
Protector C.J. Cherryh

Cajeiri's 'felicitous nine' is fast approaching, so is the birth of his little sister. He's gotten the green light on having his three friend/associates from the space station attend his party. The "shadow" Assassin's Guild is still causing havoc though, so the question of security is plaguing everyone. Strife between the three human groups, the earth-based, ship-based, and the rescued Reunioners (another space station, now abandoned) is building, no doubt to be covered down the road in further installments. As ever, Cherryh is a 'minute-ist' (pronounced with a long i)-- that is every detail and nuance of conflict and resolution is explored. The atevi are a very formal people and it somehow suits and makes clear the vast gulf between the two cultures. You either love it or you don't. ****

Feb 15, 9:22pm Top

>192 sibyx: I was always a bit boggled by that the Atevi don't use nth year so that being 8 would be bad, except that it is the 9th year, so good. I haven't re-read apurpose to check for uses of nth in Atevi speech. I do notice that formes of figured and calculate have been used where English speakers use determined and done.

Feb 16, 8:37am Top

>192 sibyx: Not sure I completely follow? Nth? I thought they just "ignored" that "infelicitous" years, not bothering to celebrate them. The numbers are there, they just try to avoid them -- say -- a train should have three or five cars etcetera . . .

And I need help with the last sentence too. Do you mean that it is customary for atevi to leave a kind of "open door" on actions? An example would help me?

--If I don't appear to answer this, around noon today we are heading out for a weekend at a place with NO INTERNET. Back on Sunday.

Feb 16, 11:27am Top

>194 sibyx: nth is generic for ordinals 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th ...9th. When you are 8 then you are in your 9th year as you aren't yet 1 in your first year. As to the last sentence, Cherryh uses language that embraces the mathematical concepts rather than emotional - figured rather than understood. I find I am not always in the mood for the games she plays with language, but when I need to stop obsessing about something, reading her books or Gene Wolfe's helps, but her's more because I usually just get obsesses with Wolfe and go through a shelf of his books.

Enjoy the weekend!

Feb 19, 2:05pm Top

27. sf ****1/2
Peacemaker C.J. Cherryh

Bren and Cajeiri and everyone else in the aish-d'at await both Cajeiri's felicitous 9th birthday and the birth of his sister. Cajeiri's human friends from the ship are cleared to come for a visit. Meanwhile, the trouble that has been brewing for decades among certain clans in the atevi appears to be reaching a crisis. True to Cherryh form with this series, the story arcs, set in auspicious threes, comes to a boil in this, book 15, and everything happens at once! ****1/2

Feb 19, 2:07pm Top

>195 quondame: Ah, that all makes sense. I've never really sat down to read the ins and outs of the atevi numbers systems and how Cherryh implants them in the stories, although I think I have picked up, over time, the simplest aspects of the basics.

Feb 22, 3:16pm Top

I'm so far behind, Lucy...just catching up on this thread. Those puppies are beyond adorable. I hope you get pick of the litter.

Congratulations on the book! I didn't see it on the ER list, because I've been avoiding those for a while. I have SO many unread books in general, at least one ER selection I haven't read and another I've read but haven't reviewed. But I'd rather BUY yours anyway!

Feb 22, 3:33pm Top

>198 laytonwoman3rd: I really don't know if we are in line for one of these puppies. I expect that they may favor people they feel sure of but who have no corgi at all. My sense is that we are first alternate . . . I'm sure they plan to keep one of the puppies and possibly two, which leaves only three. In truth this is not an ideal time for us to take on a puppy but we all agree that we are psyched and we love these breeders who do a magnificent job and have a litter only once every few years (it's actually been six) and are getting older so this may even be it. What I am sure too of is that Posey would love having a puppy of her own, so if this doesn't work out, I will get busy.

Happy to see you, and no worries. I do my best to get around the threads but it isn't easy to keep up.

And I like your attitude!

Edited: Feb 24, 5:06pm Top

Had to let it go for now just not the right thing . . .

A small fetish necklace passes from generation to generation of a family very much a part of the settling of the city of Rome. Perfectly good and interesting, just not what I need right now. I might prefer it as a book than a listen, also. I had meant to get the first in Saylor's mystery series and since I had it, thought I would try it. Oh well.

Edited: Feb 24, 6:15pm Top

28. fantasy ****
The Lost Plot Genevieve Cogman

Book 4 in the adventures of Irene Winters, Librarian. Two dragons vying for a post have been ordered by their queen to find her a particular book. Rules are being broken right and left and the Library's rules to stay neutral between the order loving dragons and the story-loving fae is in danger of collapse when some librarians seem to have agreed to help find the book. Irene and Kai to the rescue in an America (mainly NYC) stuck during Prohibition. ****

Edited: Feb 24, 7:23pm Top

28. fantasy ****
The Lost Plot Genevieve Cogman

In this book 4 of the adventures of Irene Winters, Librarian she and her dragon assistant Kai, get caught up trying to rescue another librarian who has been swept into a plot hatched by two dragons vying for a promotion from their queen who has set them the task of finding a book -- and who better to find it than a Librarian of the Invisible library. The problem is, the Library is adamantly neutral between the dragons who create worlds that are orderly and the fae who like worlds full of story and excitement and want to preserve worlds in balance, the balance that is best for ordinary humans. To lose their neutrality would be to lose their credibility with either side and disrupt the precious balance. The world in which this tale plays out is American, mainly NYC, during Prohibition. ****

Feb 25, 10:33am Top

LT friends, I apologize for not visiting much of late. I've had various preoccupations, among them concern about our daughter's physical health. She had mono a year and a half ago, quite a serious case accompanied by severe depression, and took a long long time to get over it, but it has returned, which points to Epstein-Barr (all that means is recurring mono since mono IS the E-B virus) so she has had to withdraw from college and come home.

Too soon to say she's doing great -- she's just so tired and so depressed by not being able to focus on much of anything for very long -- and she is very happy to be safely at home.

Feb 25, 10:39am Top

>203 sibyx: So so sorry. And glad that she is safely home in caring hands.

Feb 25, 10:54am Top

>203 sibyx: I'm sorry to hear your daughter's mono has been triggered again, Lucy. I hope it retreats as quickly as possible.

Feb 25, 11:47am Top

>203 sibyx: Lucy, I am so very sorry. Keeping you both in my thoughts and wishing her well.

Feb 25, 12:59pm Top

>203 sibyx: So sorry to hear about your daughter Lucy - glad at least that she's back home with you.

Feb 25, 4:30pm Top

Sorry to see your daughter is unwell. Hopefully being home with you will help her recover.

Feb 25, 5:28pm Top

Sorry that your daughter is having to deal with this. I'm glad that she's home so you can help her recover.

Feb 25, 7:58pm Top

>203 sibyx: Adding my sympathetic gratitude to the well wishes. She's where she needs to be, for her sake and yours.

Edited: Feb 26, 6:20pm Top

29. philosophy history *****
The Metaphysical Club Louis Menand

After the trauma of the civil war the focus of American philosophy began to shift away from the notion of "perfectability" (individual or universe) as well as the idea that evolution, under the guiding hand of a divine entity, strives toward a goal. The shift was toward "pragmatism", that is, using philosophy to improve lives in the here and now. Three men, William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and John Dewey, and one woman, a social worker, Jane Addams emerged as leaders of a new way of thinking and acting--acting being the essential ingredient here. Each in their own way began to see humans as being, always, part of a greater whole, acting but also acted upon by the people around them, fluid, ever-changing, predictable only when the whole is considered. However, their ideas did not emerge out of nowhere, they were all three acquainted with or at least aware of one another, although Dewey and Addams were one generation removed, children during the war, as opposed to Holmes and James who lived through it, Holmes as a soldier injured three times and changed forever. Curiously one of the foremost influences was of "Vermont Transcendentalism" founded by George Marsh which contains the seed of the idea of the individual human as being inseparable from a community context. (His goal was to securely fasten religious belief to philosophy.) John Dewey, a Burlingtonian by birth, and student at UVM of which Marsh was president for decades, received this teaching early and took it with him. Many other threads went into what eventually emerged, from Jane Addams's view of conflict and resolution, to the discoveries of statistical analysis but it is where ideas of pluralism, of strength in diversity and many that (most of us) hold dear emerged. Holmes as a lawyer and judge, James as a scholar of the human mind each contributed in unique ways--and don't think they all agreed with one another. And that is, in a powerful way, the point that Menand makes. These thinkers understood something that we still struggle with, that a democracy to work, has to take in the ideas of everyone within--so that no matter how much you might disagree with someone else's views it is the clash, discussion, and compromise that will place the majority of the people in the best possible situation. There is so much content in here, from the legacy of slavery to the founding of unions that I could write a book about this book, but I will spare you. One takeaway is that the Civil War was a watershed of watersheds, a traumatic event from which this country has not yet moved on. The takeaways are that whatever your ideas about 'how things should best be' don't happen in a vacuum--you fabricate these ideas out of your experiences and contexts, e.g. your social units of family, friends, associates.

One last comment before I sock you with quotes: one thing that struck me sideways is that Bernie Sanders emerged from this Burlington context and all of the serious Vermont politicians from Leahy to Kunin to Dean to Sanders are fully aware of and devoted to the idea of the intertwining and inseparable responsibilities of the community and the individual to one another that forms the basis of the successful democratic form of governing.

On Holmes: "The war did more than make him lose those beliefs. He lost his belief in beliefs." (e.g. beliefs change with changed contexts and needs.)
"The lesson Holmes took from the war can be put in a sentence. It is that certitude leads to violence."

Charles Peirce (contemporary mathematician and philosopher). "... perception is fallible, knowing cannot be a matter of an individual mind "mirroring" reality. Each mind reflects differently at different moments--and in any case reality doesn't stand still long enough to be accurately mirrored. Peirce's conclusion was that knowledge must therefore be social."

"Addams said she believed that antagonism was always unnecessary. It never arose from real, objective differences she told Dewey, 'but from a person's mixing his own personal reactions--the extra emphasis he gave the truth, the enjoyment he took in doing a thing because it was unpalatable to others, or the feeling that one must show his own colors.' "The antagonism of institutions was always unreal: it was simply due to the injection of the personal attitude & reaction; & then instead of adding to the recognition of meaning, it delayed and distorted it."

"Dewey taught that there is no such thing as an individual without society. We think we know in order to do,. Dewey taught that doing is why there is knowing,"

James, summarizing pragmatism: " . . . the soul and meaning of thought . . . can never be made to direct itself toward anything but the production of belief . . . .When our thought about an object has found its rest in belief, then our action on the subject can firmly and safely begin. Beliefs, in short, are really rules for action . . . .

On pluralism: "People come at life from different places, they understand the world in different ways, they strive for different ends. This is a fact that has proved amazingly hard to live with, and the reason is that as associated beings, we naturally seek to find our tastes, values and hopes reflected in other people."

"Coercion is natural; freedom is artificial. Freedoms are socially engineered spaces where parties engaged in specified pursuits enjoy protection from parties who would otherwise naturally seek to interfere in those pursuits. One person's freedom is therefore always another person's restriction . . . ."

Finally -- "Democratic participation isn't the means to an end . . . it is the end. The purpose of the experiment is to keep the experiment going."


Cleaned up a lot of errors!

Feb 26, 1:07pm Top

Oh Lucy, I'm so sorry to hear about LD's health issues. My thoughts are with you all with hope for a happy outcome.

Feb 26, 2:17pm Top

I'm so sorry your daughter's mono has returned! I'll keep {{{you all}}} in my thoughts, wishing she'll be much better soon now she's home with you!

>211 sibyx: What a great review! I'll read it again, slowly, there's so much information. Not sure I'm ready for such a complex book, but I'll keep that BB safe.

Feb 26, 2:54pm Top

>203 sibyx: Sorry to hear that Lucy! Wishing her all the best.

Feb 28, 4:26pm Top

30.♬ fantasy *****
A Hatful of Sky Terry Pratchett

Pratchett outdoes himself in this second installment of Tiffany Aching's adventures and apprenticeship as a witch. The book is both funny and startlingly profoundly wise and if you only ever read one Pratchett this is the one. *****

Mar 2, 6:25am Top

Lucy, I, too, am sorry to hear of your daughter's health issues and having to withdraw from college. I hope things get better for her soon.

Mar 2, 7:33am Top

I have finished my February "summary" up at >4 sibyx:.

Edited: Mar 4, 1:24pm Top

New photo up top too. Pup pix just came in!

Mar 4, 3:11pm Top

>218 sibyx: Oh. My. Such cuteness!

Mar 4, 3:41pm Top

Mar 4, 3:42pm Top

Sweetness overload! How adorable they are, Lucy!

Mar 4, 3:47pm Top

They're so-o-o-o adorable! I understand why you want Posey to have a litter.

Mar 4, 4:11pm Top

Hah! I knew this pix would get a response! >219 laytonwoman3rd: >220 charl08: >221 Crazymamie:

>222 RebaRelishesReading: I want to get Posey her own puppy!

Mar 4, 4:12pm Top

>223 sibyx: It sounds like she would love having someone to "mother" but I thought you were thinking about "letting" her have a litter. No?

Mar 4, 4:20pm Top

*baaaawwww* so cute!

Mar 4, 6:40pm Top

>224 RebaRelishesReading: No no, she was spayed early on.

Edited: Mar 4, 7:10pm Top

Sorry to hear about LD, Lucy. I'm not familiar with these health problems but it sounds pretty awful. Being back in the safety and comfort of the parental home is surely the very best thing for her. I am often reminded of the video you posted a few years ago of the poetry recital she did, and think what a remarkable young women she seems to be. I wish her, and you, all the best.
I'm near fainting away from the cuteness of the puppies! We're not really thinking of getting a dog, but if we were...
The Metaphysical Club sounds fascinating but super hard work. I'm just glad you can read these books and then right such insightful reviews of them. That quote on pluralism alone gives me plenty to chew over.
And the Pratchett - not a series I ever got around to reading so perhaps I will try and squirrel it out. He could be very wise, old TP, couldn't he?

Mar 5, 7:38am Top

>218 sibyx: AWWWWW!!!! So adorable!

Mar 5, 8:53am Top

Suddenly 11 new posts... yup, it's puppies. Do new photos mean that one may be yours?

Edited: Mar 5, 9:53am Top

>142 sibyx:

Thank you for the insightful review - I'd rather reread all of Hardy and half of Dickens
than go through Jude again.

If you don't get one of these sweet puppies, is there any chance of finding a rescue one?

Further down - sure hope to hear that your daughter is doing a lot better!

Mar 5, 12:39pm Top

Now I have to open your page from the top so I can see those adorable pink tummies -- I just want to tickle them.

Edited: Mar 5, 5:43pm Top

>227 HanGerg: So nice to see you! How lovely you remember the LD's poetry recital. She puts her ALL and then some into whatever she does, and it does her in, I think.

I have a strong interest in the 19th century, especially in the US, so it made sense -- also filled in some gaps -- there is a tendency to leap from the Civil War to the early 20th century as if "nothing" happened in between, when a lot did!

>229 qebo: Well I think are chances are very very good that we will get a puppy, but I don't feel I can count on it as what they HAVE said is "We can't think of anyone we'd rather have one of our pups" but what they have NOT said, "We know we have a pup for you." They choose, by the way, who gets which pup. They chose perfectly, too. These folks breed only very rarely and do a tremendous job, truly "know" each pup.

>230 m.belljackson:
chuckling over Jude. It really is unbelievably over the top depressing. I couldn't help feeling that Hardy's rage at the way people's dreams were trampled by the educational snobbery and exclusiveness of the time was unforgiveable. But like Zola etc. it just makes for terrible reading. Which is the point, I suppose.

As for rescue our experience so far has been that the joy of having a puppy from the beginning and the fact that we usually have other cats and sometimes another dog around makes the adjustment work more smoothly for everyone. ( we also start with kittens for that reason). Adopting an older rescue animal seems like a great choice if you have just the one pet; so often they have needs and issues to work through. That's our reasoning anyway.

>228 ChelleBearss: and >231 RebaRelishesReading: pink tummies!

Mar 6, 12:39am Top

>232 sibyx: We adopted 3 dog so that we wouldn't have a singleton dog. After his brother died our remaining dachshund was absolutely distraught, inconsolable. Then we found the sweetest older dog to join us, and he mellowed out completely even though they never actually liked each other. When those two died and we were left with 5yr old Manny, he wouldn't get more than a foot from me most of the day and night and sighed and hung his head a lot. So we get the two girls, and he is so much happier, though really every body avoids Zette whenever possible (she lives under the bed covers and growls savagely when approached,) but Manny and Gertie are often caught keeping company in a 'I just happen to be here' sort of way.

Mar 6, 10:37am Top

That sounds wonderful!!!

Mar 6, 2:58pm Top

Wintersmith Terry Pratchett

Tiffany dances with the spirit of winter, cutting in on the spirit of summer and trouble follows. Meanwhile her present teacher learns of her imminent demise, party plans must be made. Tiffany gets reassigned to a surprising new mentor and Mistress Weatherwax continues to take a strong interest in Tiffany--without letting Tiff off the hook for the trouble she has caused when the Wintersmith develops a crush on her. She has to find a way to fix it. And her beau, Roland, is also coming along very nicely in the hero department. As always, the Mac Mac Feagols led by Rob Anybody are a delight. Add a rogue Blue Cheese name Horace and some Boffo . . . ****

Mar 7, 3:05am Top

>235 sibyx: Have just been listening to this! Love the boffo (and the cheese).

Mar 8, 6:45am Top

Adding puppy love to the thread before disappearing for a week or so.
>1 sibyx: OMG the pink tummies!! Where's that smiley with the heart-eyes?
>218 sibyx: It looks like it fits into my hand! *lovesigh*

Continuing sending good wishes to LD, I hope she's better.

Edited: Mar 10, 9:23am Top

32. classic fic ****
Sons and Lovers D.H. Lawrence

A love marriage between Gertrude Coppard of slightly better family than Walter Morel, a coalminer, in Nottinghamshire, produces four children. William, Paul, Annie, and Arthur. The novel is in part a portrait of a marriage and a family wherein one person is ambitious and the other is not. The novel focuses on two of the four children, William and Paul. William, the eldest is smart and handsome, but proves to have a similar weakness as his mother. Her attentions shift to Paul who has artistic ability and temperament and for the first three decades of his life (which are all we get) his affections are divided between his mother and two very different women.

For its time the book was "advanced" even shockingly open about sexual desire. Lawrence's turf is the inner self, the turmoil of emotions, instincts, and impulses that appear to govern much of human behavior. It is only with great effort and thought that a person can break even partially free of being entirely subject to those aspects of the self, free to make his or her own choices about how to live and who to be. With the two women Paul struggles to disentangle his sexual desires from whether he likes and respects them. With his mother he has a different struggle--to be loyal and loving to her without being dominated by her. Clara, his second lover, has herself struggled to define herself through the women's movement and this attracts and repels Paul. His ambivalence toward her, his need to conquer, but his honesty with her that his ideas of what men assume and women endure interested me more than anything else.

The writing--Lawrence's simplified and strange lush rushing repetitive sentences studded with obscure local words is as original as ever and perfectly suits what he is trying to do, pull back the curtain to reveal an underlayer of the human condition , new then with the emerging study of psychology and to announce the start of a titanic shift in the social fabric. ****

I read this in great haste for a book group at a nearby library. Didn't quite finish in time, but it was a good discussion.

Mar 9, 10:05am Top

>238 sibyx: That looks just like the copy of Sons and Lovers we read in college, Lucy. I think it's still here, somewhere.

Mar 9, 11:13am Top

Yep. That's the one!

Edited: Mar 25, 9:28pm Top

33. contemp fic ****1/2
Barren Island Carol Zoref

Set on a tiny (fictitious) island, Barren Shoal, near New York City, the story focuses around Marta Eisenstein's growing up time in the 20's and '30's. For decades the remains of dead animals (mostly horses) from the city have been sent to be stripped and rendered and burned here. The Eisensteins are one of a group of families living in 'company' houses. The men work at the plant and the women do everything else. Many never leave the island, most leave only rarely. While the island is fictional nothing else, including the presence of factories like this one, is. Zoref researched the period exhaustively enough to enter fully into the lives of her characters. This is a rare story, full of meticulous detail (from Greek cuisine to shoe-making) but combined with a large cast of characters, all distinct, all people to care about, all entirely believable. The book is told in the first person, which often grates me, but did not at all in this case. Marta narrates the story from the vantage point of old age, she's in her eighties, and that too, works brilliantly. Zoref fully deserves this year's AWP award for the novel. ****1/2

Mar 10, 9:18am Top

Hi Lucy!

The puppies are adorable, thanks for the pics.

I mostly agree about bringing in puppies or kittens. We have had exceptional luck with Kitty William (found us in an ice storm in 2002 when he was 3-ish), and Inara Starbuck, 15 months when we got her from the shelter. There were the usual power struggles and battles, but everybody eventually settled into the hierarchy. Other attempts to bring in older cats have not been success. Our next felines, after 18-year old KW goes to kitty heaven, will most likely be two kittens to keep each other company and balance Inara as she assumes senior cat position.

>238 sibyx: On my shelves, now I want to read it.....

Mar 14, 7:45am Top

I was here - just so you'll know. Won't read that tome. Likely won't retry Pratchett any time soon, but you are my true book sister.

Mar 14, 7:02pm Top

>243 LizzieD: Thanks for stopping by, not much going on here.

This is just to say quietly that 'the book' is at the printer, they send out on the 20th, to Amazon, me and the publisher, so all of you who have pre-ordered might get your copies fairly soon!

Mar 14, 8:11pm Top

Woo hoo!!

Mar 14, 9:34pm Top

>244 sibyx: Exciting!!

Mar 14, 9:36pm Top

*happy dance* Lucy, I am so excited for you!

Mar 15, 1:27pm Top

Perfect -- it can be the first new book in my new bookshelves :)

Mar 15, 2:09pm Top

Mar 17, 7:26am Top

Hi Lucy!

I'm looking forward to getting my copy.....

Edited: Mar 17, 9:52am Top

34. ****1/2
The Genius of Birds Jennifer Ackerman

As is happening often these days long held ideas are being reevaluated and more often than not demolished by new observation and study. In this case, that birds are stupid. Bird-brained as the saying went. Well, yeah, but turns out bird's brains are quite special. Birds, while vertebrate, parted ways with the mammal long long ago and yet, of all other animals they have on their own track evolved parallel skills: of cognition, communication and as builders with an aesthetic sense. Not all birds, of course, but some. And many have skills -- navigation, say, that surpass our own innate abilities by miles. The continuing arrogance of the human about their own uniqueness and superiority, is eroding one experiment at a time. Ackerman's book is a delight to any bird-lover and anyone else interested at all in the natural sciences.
I also want to add that I was mesmerized by the beauty of the cover and the liveliness of the sketches.

Mar 17, 10:08am Top

>251 sibyx: The Genius of Birds
Do I have this? Or has it just caught my eye several times? If I caught up with cataloging on LT, I'd know...

Mar 19, 9:38am Top

>244 sibyx: How exciting, I'm so happy for you!! :D
I can see it on amazon UK (not on IT or DE), but can't order it yet from there. I will, as soon as it's available somewhere in Europe.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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