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Beth's Books in 2018 (BLBera)

This topic was continued by Beth's Books in 2018 (BLBera) Part 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Jan 4, 9:30am Top

"Being around books is only half about actual reading, after all. The other part is talking about books with other people, a rich topic, and yet another is enjoying their presence."

My name is Beth. I love books – talking about them, writing about them, reading about them.

I teach English at my local community college, so I am always looking for books I can use in my classes. I like to discover new writers.

I tend not to plan my reading, other than for my book club, which meets once a month. We meet in January to plan our year’s reading.

I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction and more women authors than men.

Welcome to my thread. Lurk or stop and say hello.

Edited: Jan 31, 10:44pm Top

I read some great books in 2017, starting with my first book of the year, Moonglow; it has been one of the books I recommended most throughout the year. I read more nonfiction than usual in 2017, and those books were among my favorites.
Best of 2017


Honorable Mention
The Widow Nash
Ban This Book
The Woman Next Door
Born a Crime
The Call
The Essex Serpent
Goodbye, Vitamin

Edited: Jan 31, 10:33pm Top

Currently reading

Edited: Jan 2, 9:07am Top

Goals for 2018
I'm not very good with reading goals, but I would like to:
- Read first-time writers
- Read at least 12 nonfiction
- Read at least 12 poetry collections
- Finish A Jury of Her Peers - I made good progress last summer but fell behind once school started.
- Be thoughtful about my reading and read things that nourish me

Edited: Jan 2, 9:31am Top

Happy New Year! I wish everyone a great year filled with wonderful books.

I'm already daunted by the numbers of posts I missed in the last week. I was on St. Croix, and internet service was spotty. We had planned the trip for a long time, and went despite the hurricanes. We figured we would do our part for the recovery effort. About half of the island is still without electricity, many houses still don't have roofs and piles of debris are everywhere. Yet people are coping as best they can and are very welcoming. More later.

Jan 2, 9:34am Top

Scout Story:

You can skip if you have a low tolerance for funny granddaughter stories.

Scout and I shared a room in St. Croix. One morning I slept late because I didn't sleep well. Scout and her mom woke me up. My daughter said that Scout came to find her because she couldn't find me. She said I was camouflaged; she couldn't see my white hair on the white pillow.

Jan 2, 9:40am Top

>7 BLBera: LOL what a beautiful Scout story.

Happy reading 2018, Beth.

Jan 2, 9:42am Top

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

Jan 2, 10:01am Top

Dropping off a star, Beth! Happy new reading year!

Edited: Jan 2, 10:13am Top

>8 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I am so far behind, but I hope to get to some threads today, in between work on my syllabi and laundry!

>9 The_Hibernator: Happy New Year to you as well, Rachel. Maybe we'll meet this year?

>10 katiekrug: Hi Katie - thanks. I'll stop by and see what you are up to soon.

Jan 2, 10:14am Top

Welcome back!

Jan 2, 11:20am Top

It's so good to have you here, Beth! I look forward to hearing more about your trip to St. Croix. The temperature change must have been a shock when you landed back in Minnesota!

Jan 2, 11:21am Top

Yay! You're here! Happy New Year.

Jan 2, 11:22am Top

>12 drneutron: Thanks Jim.

>13 rosalita: You cannot imagine the sympathy we got in St. Croix when we said we were from Minnesota. I have to upload some pictures. Yesterday we experienced about a 90 degree temperature change from the morning in St. Croix to when we got back. I turned my thermostat up a couple of degrees.

Jan 2, 11:23am Top

>14 SuziQoregon: Finally, Juli. Thanks. I'm off to visit and wish happy new years to my fellow LTers -- I'm way behind.

Jan 2, 11:43am Top

Dropping a star, Beth! I LOVED the Scout story! SO sweet.

Jan 2, 11:51am Top

>15 BLBera: Ha! You came back for the warmup! Hope your car started. Mine was awfully slow to turn over.

Jan 2, 12:05pm Top

Hope your 2018 is filled with fantastic reads!

Jan 2, 3:39pm Top

Thanks Mamie - She is a lot of fun. After seeing her all day, every day for a week, I miss her.

>18 Oberon: My car did start - the year started off very promisingly, Erik. Our trip back went smoothly. No delays, or other glitches. Except for the Minn. weather, of course.

>19 thornton37814: Thanks Lori.

Jan 2, 5:28pm Top

Hi, Beth! Happy New Year and warm wishes for a wonderful, book-filled 2018!

Jan 2, 5:56pm Top

Yay! You're here, you're well, you've had a wonderful week on St. Croix (I missed you and have to admit that I started to worry a wee bit.... having missed the whole St. Croix thing).

Happy New Year, my friend!!!

(star duly dropped off)

Jan 2, 6:05pm Top

>21 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary.

>22 EBT1002: Not your fault, Ellen. I mentioned only that I would be gone. I was so busy the last two weeks in December that I spent little time here. It was a fun week; my daughter, son-in-law, and Scout all had a great time, so it was a success.

Jan 2, 6:09pm Top

I'm glad your trip was a success, Beth! Time with Scout -- always a bonus.
When do your classes start back up? (Ours start tomorrow.)

Jan 2, 6:20pm Top

My classes start on Monday, but I still have syllabi to prepare, including one class that was added to my schedule. So, I'll be camped out in my office for the rest of the week. Oh well. It will keep my mind off our freezing temps.

I also visited an independent bookstore in St. Croix, so you may have a bookmark coming your way...

Jan 2, 7:46pm Top

Love the Scout story Beth, glad you had a good break.

Jan 2, 8:22pm Top

Hi Beth. I love your Scout story.

Would love to hear more about your time in St. Croix.

Jan 2, 8:28pm Top

Hi Beth! Glad to hear you had a good winter break. I have you starred and I am looking forward to another year of reading and friends.

Jan 2, 8:36pm Top

Happy New Year, Deborah. Most of our time on St. Croix was spent on the beach. We found lots of shells and sea glass. The beaches are still pretty beat up after Maria, but the sand is coming back. The linesmen were working nonstop; there's a cruise ship moored out of Frederiksted where they are staying. In fact, the place where we stayed was running on generator power for the first day we were there; power was restored after that. Very few traffic lights work and about half the island is still without power. Lots of houses have tarps for roofs still. Restaurants have limited menus, but the people were gracious and grateful that we went. Personally, I didn't find it much of a hardship. I would like to go back, maybe in a couple of years.

Hi Rhonda - I don't think mine was as good as yours, but we did have a good time. Breaks are too short.

Edited: Jan 2, 9:01pm Top

Happy Reading in 2018, Beth. I love your Best Books of the Year list. Somehow, I missed Moonglow in '17. I need to get to it this year. I also want to get The Twelve Lives.

Jan 2, 9:08pm Top

Hi Mark: Happy New Year. You'll love both.

Here's a great article about Sue Grafton: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/02/575068781/a-is-for-appreciation-how-sue-grafton-helped-transform-the-mystery-genre

Jan 2, 9:16pm Top

Hi Beth, I’ll take as many sweet Scout stories as you can throw out. She sounds adorable.

I loved A Manual for Cleaning Women when I read it a few years ago and Manhattan Beach was a close one for my best of list. I’ll look forward to your reading in 2018.

Jan 2, 9:45pm Top

Thanks for the update on St. Croix. We hear so much about how Puerto Rico is still without power for the most part, but I wondered how the other islands were faring.

Jan 2, 11:09pm Top

>31 BLBera: Thanks for sharing that Grafton article from NPR, Beth. I think the author captured the appeal of Kinsey Millhone very well.

Jan 2, 11:24pm Top

Happy New Year, Beth, and I hope it contains many Scout stories. "Camouflaged" is quite an adult word!
I look forward to hearing what you think of your reading. BBs will fly!

Jan 2, 11:36pm Top

Hi Beth - dropping a star - excited to see so many of my to reads on your best of 2017s! Time for me to catch up :) - and the Scout story is lovely.

Jan 3, 8:49am Top

Happy New Year and new thread, Beth! I loved the Scout story and I'm glad you were found safely despite the camouflage :-)

Jan 3, 11:01am Top

Hi Beth - so great that your trip went well. We spent a few days in Puerto Rico doing some clean-up and found people greatly concerned about wooing back the tourists.

I just started Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney - it was shortlisted for the Costa prize but I haven't heard any talk about it on LT.

Jan 3, 11:18am Top

>2 BLBera: I bought The Defender based on your recommendation last year, Beth, but still have not managed to get it read. Maybe this is the year?

Jan 3, 12:06pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, Beth!

Jan 3, 12:26pm Top

Happy New Year Beth. Thanks for the recommendation of MoonGlow. I've placed a hold on it in my local library.

Jan 3, 12:31pm Top

Happy new thread! It looks like you had a great reading year last year, and your trip to St. Croix sounds lovely.

Jan 3, 1:44pm Top

>32 brenzi: Bonnie, I remember that your recommendations always worked for me, so I'm glad to see that you are back. And I LOVE grandchild stories, so if you want to share, feel free. My daughter has asked me not to post pictures, so I just have to tell the stories.

>33 thornton37814: I think all the islands are in pretty bad shape, still, Lori. People kept thanking us for coming, but we really didn't feel any hardship. Sand and beaches, what's to complain about?

>34 rosalita: I've always loved Maureen Corrigan's comments on mysteries; she's a big fan, and it shows.

>35 LizzieD: Hi Peggy - Yes, Scout has quite the vocabulary. One can tell that she gets read to, which reminds me of another Scout story.

Edited: Jan 3, 1:47pm Top

Time out for a Scout story:

We were on the airplane, waiting to take off, and Scout pulled the safety instruction card from the back of the seat. She studied the drawings for a bit, then proceeded to ask me about them. What really struck me is the no smoking sign. She didn't know what a cigarette was, a "sigret," as she called it. After I sort of explained, she said, "That sounds disgusting." Smart kid. We also looked at the oxygen masks and the slide from the emergency door; I think she thought the slide would be a good way to exit.

She likes to sit by the window on the planes, and when we land, she says, "Wheeee."

Jan 3, 1:51pm Top

>36 lalbro: Thanks Liz. I hope you like the reads that I loved this year. No pressure, of course.

>37 susanj67: Hah, Susan. I told the woman who cuts my hair this morning. She thought it was pretty funny, especially since I've been toying with the idea of purple streaks.

>38 vivians: I haven't heard of that one by Penney, Vivian. I quite liked the one I read by her, I don't remember the title right now. This must be new? I'll watch for your comments.

>39 alcottacre: Hi Stasia - I hope you like it; I was fascinated, but it took me awhile to finish it.

>40 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

Jan 3, 1:53pm Top

>41 Whisper1: I hope you like it, Linda. It was the first book I finished last year, and I thought about it all year. I might have to reread it. Happy New Year to you. I am still working my way through the threads.

>42 _Zoe_: Thanks Zoe. The trip was great. I have to upload some pictures.

Jan 3, 2:43pm Top

>44 BLBera: - I agree with scout. I think the emergency exit slide would be fun. Assuming it was deployed ina non-life threatening situation, of course....

Jan 3, 3:00pm Top

>47 katiekrug: Katie - Agreed. I was trying to explain things in a way as to not make them scary. So far, the kids loves flying. She has coopted the window seat from me.

For those of us who like book lists, here is one about books that weren't on lists:


Jan 3, 3:27pm Top

>44 BLBera: Another great Scout story, Beth! Thanks so much for sharing her with us.

Jan 3, 3:48pm Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 3, 5:39pm Top

>49 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie - It is my pleasure.

>Hi Roni - Happy New Year to you! I'm still in the process of stopping by people's threads. I will get to yours.

Edited: Jan 3, 8:08pm Top

Never mind.

Edited: Jan 3, 8:05pm Top

Edited: Jan 3, 8:06pm Top

>44 BLBera: (((((Scout)))))
She is so adorable!

Jan 3, 8:24pm Top

I forgot to mention that I also LOVED A Manual for Cleaning Women and I have a copy on my keeper shelf.

Jan 3, 10:54pm Top

It is taking a while to get around to the threads. Sounds like you had a great break and a great trip, Beth.

Jan 4, 1:42am Top

>53 EBT1002: For some reason, I can't see the picture. :(

>54 EBT1002: Yes, she is definitely a keeper.

>55 msf59: It's on my keeper shelf as well, Mark. I've been recommending her to my colleagues as well.

>56 Familyhistorian: Me too, Meg. I did have a wonderful break. The only problem is that they fly by.

Jan 4, 9:30am Top

2. Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country is a jewel of a memoir. Erdrich describes her journey through Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, and other parts North. She visits ancient Ojibwe stone paintings and contemplates life and literacy. This is an intimate memoir; she discusses things dear to her, her feelings of having a child in her late forties, her love of books, and her struggles to learn Ojibwe. The Afterward is a brief description of a similar journey made ten years after the original one.

Wonderful start to my reading year. I'll continue to read Erdrich throughout the year. There were lots of great quotes about books, but one I found apropos of LT, and which I'll add to my thread topper: "Being around books is only half about actual reading, after all. The other part is talking about books with other people, a rich topic, and yet another is enjoying their presence."

Jan 4, 11:52am Top

Yay! Two Scout stories! So glad you that that week making memories with her on St. Croix. I am having my week with Hope in Colorado. I just wish she wasn’t sick. We were planning to check out the local library. They have been in their new house two months and haven’t done that yet. Crazy!

I loved that quote from Books & Islands, in fact I loved the entire book! I didn’t get to my proposed Erdrich rereads last year so will put that on my Reading wish list for this year. Sometimes procrastination can be a good thing.

Happy New Year Of Reading, Beth!

Jan 4, 11:54am Top

>53 EBT1002: Well, I'm better at images than gifs. I'm not even sure what a gif is. The words are "I can hardly wait!"

>58 BLBera: Oh good. I'll keep an eye out for that one.

Which other Erdrich works are you thinking you'll read this year? In 2017, one of her books made my 5-star list and at least three others made my Honorable Mentions (4.5 stars) list. I will also keep reading her work although not with a specific challenge/goal in mind.

Jan 4, 12:08pm Top

>59 Donna828: I hope Hope feels better soon. It's so sad when the little ones are sick. I have to write down the stories. She is such a funny kid. My daughter, the first grade teacher, said that she is going to be reading soon; she is sounding out letters and words, something that her first graders are doing.

There are so many great book quotes in the Erdrich book; I loved it.

>60 EBT1002: I haven't read The Painted Drum, Tales of Burning Love and the revised Antelope Wife; I'd like to read both the original and the revised, to see what choices she made in the new edition. I don't know whether I'll get to all of them. I also have a collection of short stories to finish.

Images are a challenge for me as well. I don't have the techie gene.

Tomorrow my book club meets to choose our 2018 books. I can hardly wait.

Jan 4, 12:21pm Top

Happy New Year, Beth. What a wonderful trip you had and seeing it all with your granddaughter must have been wonderful! I love your colorful display of your best books of 2017 - I may just have to copy that idea for my thread. :)

Jan 4, 12:31pm Top

Hi Judy - Happy New Year to you - thanks. I take it as a compliment from you; you always have a colorful thread. :)

Jan 4, 12:37pm Top

The Painted Drum was my last read of 2017. I LOVED it.

Jan 4, 1:02pm Top

The Erdrich memoir sounds wonderful Beth, added it to the wishlist.

Jan 4, 2:11pm Top

Happy new year and welcome home, Beth. How wonderful that you decided to proceed with your holiday in St Croix to help the locals after the devastating hurricane instead of cancelling your holiday.

I loved the Scout story!

Bet you're all wishing you were back in St Croix and the gorgeous weather there instead of freezing MN.

Jan 4, 6:13pm Top

>64 EBT1002: I remember your commenting that you loved it, Ellen. Maybe that should be the next Erdrich.

>65 charl08: It's a lovely little book, Charlotte.

>66 cameling: Hi Caro. Scout is a lot of fun, and yes, I am missing the warm weather.

Jan 4, 6:33pm Top

>45 BLBera: Love the Scout story

Jan 4, 6:46pm Top

Oh, the Scout story is so cute! Happy reading in 2018, Beth!

Jan 4, 8:53pm Top

Happy new year, Beth! Nice to have you visit my thread.

I liked what you said in >6 BLBera:
Be thoughtful about my reading and read things that nourish me

Sounds like a very good thing to aim for!

Jan 4, 9:43pm Top

Happy New Year, Beth. I’m already behind, but will try to follow your reading this year. This is a chatty group. :)

I also love grandchild stories though, so I’ll be checking in.

Jan 4, 9:59pm Top

>70 EllaTim: Thanks for stopping by, Ella. I was thinking that sometimes I read too many light things, that don't challenge me, and I want to be more mindful of my reading because of the limited time I have for it.

>71 NanaCC: Yes, Colleen, this group is very active. I was thinking I would try a thread in the Club Read also, but I don't think it's going to happen. I do have you starred though, and will be checking in. I'm glad you like my Scout stories. She is so much fun.

Edited: Jan 4, 10:23pm Top

This is the pie I'm making for my book club meeting tomorrow, cranberry lime pie. It's very tasty and looks festive.

Jan 4, 10:10pm Top

Um, recipe, please? 😁

Edited: Jan 4, 10:30pm Top

Here you are Jim:

I used graham crackers instead of ginger snaps and only 1/2 cup butter. It's super easy and can be done the day before. It has been popular with my friends and family and looks nice.


And here is me with the dessert:

Jan 5, 12:06am Top

Happy New Year, Beth! You're starred. I hope you have a wonderful reading year. I look forward to all the Scout stories you have!

Nice looking pie, too - AND its baker!

I'm glad you had a nice time in St. Croix.

Jan 5, 8:28am Top

Happy new year, Beth! How did I miss your thread?! To think I almost missed your Cranberry Lime pie! I'm sure the book club will be so involved in discussion to realize a sliver is missing.

Jan 5, 10:48am Top

That pie looks beautiful and sounds delicious, Beth.

Jan 5, 11:09am Top

>75 BLBera: Awesome! I'll have to give it a try soon.

Jan 5, 11:10am Top

Happy new year, Beth!
That pie looks delicious! I bet my husband would like that. I prefer sweet like blueberry but Nathen loves all things with lemon and lime.

Jan 5, 1:03pm Top

Hi Beth! Happy new year!

Gorgeous looking pie, fun-sounding recipe. I've saved it.....

Jan 5, 1:22pm Top

Pie looks amazing Beth! No chance your book club might tour in this direction?

Jan 5, 2:00pm Top

Look forward to hearing what your book club chose as its reads for this year!

Jan 5, 2:47pm Top

>76 AMQS: Thanks Anne.

>77 Carmenere: Lynda - Thanks for stopping by. I think you're right. We always have a lot of food.

>78 Crazymamie: It is tasty, Mamie. I like cranberries and tart things.

>79 drneutron: I hope you like it, Jim.

>80 ChelleBearss: It's easy Chelle.

>81 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. It is easy. I am not one for fiddly recipes.

>82 charl08: It's one that is pretty, Charlotte, without making extra effort.

>83 katiekrug: I'm always excited to see what we decide on, too, Katie. I'll be sure to share the list.

Well, off to put finishing touches where they need to go. Scout just left, so there is some clean up needed.

Jan 5, 10:19pm Top

Hi, Beth. The Erdrich memoir sounds great. I will have to get my mitts on that one.

And the pie looks fantastic. Yum.

Jan 6, 2:32am Top

Hi, Beth. Dropping a star.

>75 BLBera: The pie looks soooo yummy. I may have to give it a try.

I love the Scout stories - how old is she? I may have missed that somewhere.

Jan 6, 4:08am Top

>73 BLBera: Oh, this pie looks delicious. Happy weekend, Beth.

Jan 6, 8:48am Top

>75 BLBera: Lovely photo, Beth! (of you *and* the pie). I hope you got the Scout cleanup finished. I don't see any sprinkles on the pie, so has she moved on to some other form of decoration?

Jan 6, 9:24am Top

>85 BLBera: I've read four of those, Beth, and I liked them very much - A Gentleman in Moscow, Homegoing, The Lightkeepers, and Snow Child.

Hoping your weekend is full of fabulous!

Edited: Jan 6, 10:13am Top

>86 msf59: If you're an Erdrich fan, you'll like it, Mark. Happy Saturday. Are you enjoying the temps? :)

>87 rretzler: Hi Robin. The pie is good and easy and looks nice - all requirements for desserts. Scout is 4.

>88 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara - I'm not sure it matches up to your desserts, but it did get eaten.

>89 susanj67: Thanks Susan. I did get the Legos picked up and the books tidied. You know, I didn't ask Scout's help with the pie, or there would have been sprinkles. When she comes to my house, she gets sprinkles on her oatmeal. Her mom was complaining that at home she also requested sprinkles on her oatmeal. Her mom told her that my house is where she get the sugar.

>90 Crazymamie: I had remembered someone praising The Lightkeepers, Mamie. It must have been you. One member has read A Gentleman in Moscow twice and recommended it enthusiastically. I have only read Bad Feminist and Homegoing. I'm in the process of reading The Power and think it will be a great discussion book.

I'm almost done with the cleanup. But now I have to go to school and do some work to get ready for Monday and the first day of classes.Why do breaks pass more quickly than work? The philosophical question of the day.

Jan 6, 10:47am Top

>91 BLBera: Yep. I gave it the full five stars.

Jan 6, 11:17am Top

>85 BLBera: - What a great list, Beth! I feel like your book group would be right up my alley!

Jan 6, 11:27am Top

I don't know the answer to the philosophical question of the day. I have been back three days and it feels as though Ive never left. Two people responded to emails with "happy new year" and I thought "didn't we do that already?"!

I love your daughter's comment about sugar.
Had a lovely time volunteering on Friday. One little one wanted to look at the books! I nearly fell over in surprise.

Jan 6, 1:50pm Top

>92 Crazymamie: Can't wait, Mamie.

>93 katiekrug: You're welcome anytime, Katie. Third Friday of the month. :) It is a good group.

>94 charl08: I imagine I'll be feeling the same way in a week, Charlotte. Isn't it great when kids want to read? Love it.

Well, enough school work for today. I'll finish up tomorrow.

Jan 6, 1:56pm Top

3. Love That Dog is a story in verse about Jack, maybe a fourth grader? learning about poetry. It is perfect. I love the poems Creech uses, and Jack's comments. For example, "The Red Wheelbarrow," which some of my colleagues hate, claiming it's the reason students hate poetry. Jack might agree, at least when he first reads it:

I don't understand
the poem about
the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
and why so much
depends upon

If that is a poem
about the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
then any words
can be a poem.
You've just got to
short lines.

Love, love, love it.

Jan 6, 2:43pm Top

I'm just stopping by to say hi, Beth. I'm trying to limit my lurking!

Jan 7, 10:33am Top

Thanks Jan. Feel free to lurk all you like.

Jan 7, 11:49am Top

That cranberry lime pie looks amazing!

>85 BLBera: Excellent list of book club books.

Jan 7, 6:31pm Top

Your book club list looks good as it has several I’ve already read and loved. And lucky book club members who get to enjoy that wonderful looking pie Beth🥧🍴

Jan 7, 9:28pm Top

A Beth and Pie Picture! Both look fabulous! That’s a great list of books chosen by your book group a few are new to me. Jack and I are kindred spirits. I need to read Love That Dog. Maybe it will give me the patience to read and appreciate poetry.

Jan 7, 10:39pm Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. Hooray for Love That Dog. An LT favorite. I just snagged The Power on audio. Has it been good?

Jan 8, 1:05am Top

>96 BLBera:

... any words
can be a poem.
You've just got to
short lines.

Now that's poetry.

I doubt that "The Red Wheelbarrow" is "the reason students hate poetry." I doubt there is any *single* reason why "students hate poetry"; but I suspect that a leading reason is that the poems they like aren't recognized as poems for classroom purposes.

Jan 8, 1:16pm Top

>73 BLBera: and >75 BLBera: The pie looks delicious (and you look quite lovely presenting it there!). I hope it was a big hit at the book club meeting. I would think it's a bit tart as well as sweet?

I've read a few of the books in your club's list: Home Fire, Gentleman in Moscow, Homegoing, Snow Child, and Mothering Sunday. I'll look forward to hearing how they work for your group.

>96 BLBera: Yay! Love That Dog was a five-star read for me last year and I'll probably read it again, maybe a few times, this year. If I do reread it more than once, I'll only give myself credit for one of them. Heh.

You are back to classes today and I can totally resonate with your philosophical question.

Edited: Jan 8, 2:17pm Top

Hi Beth!

>2 BLBera: Some great reads from 2017 - Autumn, Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? the March series and The Dark Flood Rises are all on my list of books to read.

Also really pleased to see The Children of Green Knowe made your list which is a wonderful children's classic. There are sequels although it's a series linked by location (the house) rather than characters - so far I've only read the first two books but The Chimneys of Green Knowe (aka The Treasure of Green Knowe) is also lovely and worth a read if you enjoyed *Children*.

>7 BLBera: So funny!

>85 BLBera: Several of your book club picks are on my list and I'm very impressed that I've even read one! (Homegoing)

Jan 8, 2:28pm Top

Lovely looking pie and the baker, Beth. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I've bookmarked it as one I might make one f these days.

...any words
can be a poem.
You've just got to
short lines.

I had a good laugh.

Jan 8, 4:50pm Top

Oh dear - How did I get behind on my own thread? Classes started today and went well. At least I was there -- I had a dream that I forgot about classes and had lunch with my sister instead.

>99 SuziQoregon: Thanks Juli. It does look like a good list. I was happy that I had only read two and that I already owned several. The pie was good -- no leftovers. The cheese and prosciutto that was left over came to school with me today, and I am very popular with my colleagues.

>100 brenzi: Thanks Bonnie. The pie is good - and easy - a requirement for company desserts.

>101 Donna828: Thanks Donna. Love That Dog is a beautiful book. I may show it to my students when we start poetry. You will love it.

>102 msf59: The Power is absolutely amazing, Mark. I'm sure it will end on the list of best books for 2018. I've been promoting it with my colleagues all day. I might use it for my class next year. There is so much to discuss, and it is so relevant. LOVE it. I'll watch for your comments. Has it warmed up in Chicago? It's in the 20s here today.

Well, back to work.

Jan 8, 4:54pm Top

I'm glad your first day of classes went well, Beth. We don't start back until the day after MLK Day, always, so this is my last week of freedom. Although the phone calls have already picked up with students wanting to make appointments for when they are back in town.

Jan 8, 5:55pm Top

"How did I get behind on my own thread?" It's a thing that happens to me all too regularly. I have been known to browse around everyone else's thread, avoiding my own because I'm so far behind. It's not perhaps the most effective way of managing this circus.

I'm not feeling much like working today. I've attended a few meetings, had one insight that helped me develop a proposal I've been chewing on for a while, watched the video of Oprah's GG speech from last night.....

Maybe I should get back to work my own self, now that you mention it.

Jan 8, 8:13pm Top

>103 swynn: Hi Steve - It's not just "The Red Wheelbarrow." I think it helps to reinforce an idea that a lot of students seem to have is that poetry is too hard for them to figure out.

>104 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. I have a few go-to desserts. Yes, this is nicely tart, and I sent the last piece home with one of the members for her husband. :(

You have read many of the books on the list; I think it's a good one. Good books don't always produce good discussions, so we'll see. I've only read two, but I own several, so I'll get to read books from my towering TBR piles.

Love That Dog was absolutely beautiful. I remember your speaking of it last year. I'm sure I will read it again.

Classes started well. I had one very quiet group, so I will have to work to animate them a bit, especially because it's a two-hour class.

>105 souloftherose: Hi Heather - You will love all of those books. I have Winter on my shelf but am wondering if I want to reread Autumn. It was so wonderful. I think I will search for the other Green Knowe books; I imagine Scout will like them eventually. She is a lot of fun. She has a great imagination and is developing a fun sense of humor. Right now one of her favorite books is Tuesday, which she describes as "hilarious."

Jan 8, 8:15pm Top

>106 cameling: You are very kind, Caro. It is a compliment from the foodie extraordinaire.:) I think you would like it.

>108 rosalita: Lucky you with an extra week off, Julia. Actually, my schedule is not too bad; I just would have liked another week off.

Jan 8, 8:18pm Top

>109 EBT1002: It sounds like you had a productive day, Ellen. I'm exhausted now, but I paid for my spring parking, sent out emails to some students I am mentoring, uploaded my syllabi, and had nice chats with my colleagues, whom I hadn't seen since the end of the semester. And I'm all ready for class tomorrow. I've earned an evening with a good book, I think.

I finished The Power, which everyone must read. Five stars for sure. It is such an intense book that I am going to think a while before I post my comments. And something lighter is definitely on the menu for the next read.

Jan 8, 9:41pm Top

>75 BLBera: Yummy sounding pie! You, and it, look so festive!

>85 BLBera: I like the book club picks. Several are on my list. I’ve only read Mothering Sunday and I liked it a lot.

I have fond memories of reading Love That Dog aloud and trying to see the words through my tears. It’s a lovely book.

Jan 8, 10:24pm Top

Thanks Joanne. I look forward to our discussions this year. I can't imagine that any dog lover not being moved by Love That Dog.

Edited: Jan 8, 10:32pm Top

4. The Power is amazing, a big, intense novel that surprises on many levels. It certainly fits into our current discussions of gender violence. Alderman cleverly frames this as an historical novel submitted by a male author to a female friend. In this novel, girls suddenly discover the power to discharge electric shocks. The balance of power changes. Boys fear to walk the streets alone. Oppressed women rise up and vanquish their oppressors, mostly men, causing regime changes and massive shifts in power throughout the world.

The novel follows four characters, two of the young women, the woman mayor of New York City, and a male photojournalist. Through their eyes, we see the changes as power shifts, and perhaps it's no surprise that the world does not become a better place.

I can't wait to discuss this with our book club. It will provoke a lot of discussion. My comments don't do justice to this novel, but I am trying very hard to avoid spoilers.

There are some pretty violent scenes. I need something light next. Off to check the shelves.

Five stars.

Jan 9, 2:16am Top

Twin!!! How can I be so far behind on your thread? So glad you had fun with Scout and I know the weather was better in St Croix than MN. I am 1/3 of the way into The Power and loving it. Your bookclub reads look really great and I am taking note of your best reads from last year. Thanks! Be seeing you now that I have you starred.

Jan 9, 3:04am Top

Great review Beth, I also thought The Power was a really good book, if Litsy is anything to go by it's been a popular one too. Can imagine there is lots to talk about : I was a bit nervous about her Nigerian sections, but thought it worked pretty well. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

Jan 9, 4:06am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
Its brew of erudition and good cheer.

I don't know how your thread slipped past me until now, Beth!

Edited: Jan 9, 9:03pm Top

>116 Berly: I'll love to talk to you about The Power when you've finished. We'll probably have to use a few of those spoiler thingies...

>117 charl08: There were some pretty gruesome parts, Charlotte. I think the answer to your question is absolutely.

>118 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. Thanks for the New Year's wishes.

For a change of pace, I've picked up Cranford, which has been on my shelf for a while.

Jan 9, 9:21pm Top

>115 BLBera: Good review of The Power, Beth. If you post it, I will Thumb it! Looking forward to the book.

Jan 9, 10:01pm Top

I'm thinking of reading Cranford this year. I've never read any Gaskell. Are you a fan?

Jan 10, 1:02am Top

>115 BLBera: The Power was completely off my radar until I saw it show up in several "Best of 2017" lists. Now I know why, and think I ought to read it.

Jan 10, 9:54am Top

>119 BLBera: Oh, I liked Cranford!

Jan 10, 3:35pm Top

Thanks Mark. I'll watch for your comments.

Hi Katie - I've only read her bio of Bronte, but I am enjoying this so far. On the first page the narrator talks about how men are absent from Cranford, and really, there's no need for them. I like her sense of humor. I'll post the quote when I have the book at hand. I think you might like it. And >123 Crazymamie: likes it!

Yes, Steve, everyone should read it. It is a powerful novel.

Hi Mamie - I am enjoying it although I've only read the first few chapters.

Jan 10, 5:46pm Top

I'm still trying to make it around the threads, so I finally got here! Belated Happy New Year!

Jan 10, 6:09pm Top

Hi Foggi - Good wishes are appreciated at any time. Thanks.

Jan 10, 8:31pm Top

>115 BLBera: Good review - BB here!

Jan 10, 8:38pm Top

Oh I’m going to have to move The Power It sounds really good. Gave up on getting the touchstone to work but you know what I mean.

Jan 10, 9:35pm Top

Thanks Robin. It is a good one.

The touchstone on this one is tricky, Bonnie.

Jan 11, 12:46am Top

The Power has landed firmly on my wish list. I will look for it when I visit Powell's later this month. Happily, my visit to Portland and Powell's will map perfectly onto my Thingaversary, providing an unnecessary excuse for purchasing 8 (7 years plus 1) books.

Jan 11, 12:37pm Top

>115 BLBera: Sounds like an excellent book and one that will generate plenty of discussion for a book club. I've added it to my library wishlist.

>130 EBT1002: How convenient!!

Jan 11, 5:20pm Top

>130 EBT1002: Lucky you. Definitely get and read The Power. You will love it. It is incredible.

>131 SuziQoregon: I'll watch for your comments, Juli. Is there a long waiting list at your library?

Jan 11, 6:05pm Top

> 132 Don't hold your breath. I'm number 64 on the hold list. They have 14 copies though so it might move fairly quickly.

Jan 11, 6:28pm Top

It's worth the wait, Juli.

Jan 12, 10:34am Top

>115 BLBera: The Power sounds like a perfect book for my book club. We pick books in December for 2019, and I wonder if there will have been anybody that hasn't read it yet?

Jan 12, 2:37pm Top

Hi Beth - I really enjoyed The Power but not quite enough to make my "best of 2017" books. I thought the premise was fabulous but it just seemed to wander. I wish my book group would have chosen it....I would have really benefited from a discussion.

My most anticipated book for 2018: Kate Atkinson's next novel. A God in Ruins remains one of my all-time favorites.

Edited: Jan 12, 3:12pm Top

Karen - I'll let you know how our discussion goes.

Hi Vivian - I didn't know Atkinson has a new one coming this year. That is good news. I was just thinking I only have two by here that I haven't read, so I was going to dole them out while I wait for her next one. I think I liked Life After Life a little more than A God in Ruins but both are wonderful. I read Behind the Scenes at the Museum last year and love that one as well.

The Power definitely won't work for everyone. If there were a part I could do without, it would be the violence.

Jan 12, 10:56pm Top

The Power got a nice little write-up in the Bestsellers column of Publisher's Weekly this week.

Jan 12, 11:32pm Top

>135 BLBera: Some of those new books for 2018 look pretty enticing, Beth.

Jan 13, 9:40am Top

I'll have to check it out, Robin. I thought it was amazing. I imagine we'll be hearing more about it this year.

>140 DeltaQueen50: They do, don't they, Judy. It's so hard to resist those shiny new books. New books by Lauren Groff and Meg Wolitzer are two that excite me, and while it wasn't on the list, Vivian mentioned that Kate Atkinson has a new one coming this year as well. All good.

Jan 13, 11:01am Top

Happy Saturday, Beth! I've added Love that Dog to my wishlist because, like Jack, I want to learn more about poetry too. Will it help me?

The Most Anticipated books of 2018 list is tempting me, but no, don't do it Lynda, I must not peek......ok just a little.

Jan 13, 11:14am Top

I'm not sure that Love that Dog will teach you about poetry, but it will bring tears to your eyes, Lynda. I think it also helps understand not to overthink poetry. One poem that I used last semester when we were starting poetry, really helped my students: "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins.

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

When students started to overthink, we stopped and asked ourselves if we were beating it with a hose. That seemed to help.

I tried to skim through the list and not add to many to my TBR list.

Stay warm. Are you getting the frigid weather now, too?

Jan 13, 12:14pm Top

>143 BLBera: "beating it with a hose" made me flashback to the days when my friends and I would would take a new album and go over the words to each song (in those ancient days, lyrics were often included on the record sleeve) and guess what the singer/songwriter wanted to get across. I'm sure we beat many a nonsensical song to pieces. I'll try my best to waterski across the next poem I read.

I'm going to look forward to the Charles Frazier book, Varina. I enjoyed Cold Mountain and Nightwoods and expect the Davis' tragedies will be well told by him. Especially interesting because on our trip to Virginia we took a short tour of their home and saw the children's room.

The snow and ice have passed leaving very cold temps. Oh wait, as I type this a squall is coming through! Right now, 18 but it's going to get colder before it get warmer. *sigh*

Jan 13, 12:50pm Top

The Frazier does sound good, Lynda. I loved Cold Mountain, his others not so much, but I'll probably give Varina a try.

We got a few inches but now will be in the deep freeze for the next week. January in Minnesota.

Jan 13, 1:14pm Top

The Power is a great read. 2/3 of the way in and RL book club discussion on Thursday. I can't wait!

Happy Saturday, Twin.

Jan 13, 2:15pm Top

Hey Twin - Happy Saturday to you. I can't wait to hear about your discussion. Don't you think it's a great book for that? I'll watch for your comments.

Jan 13, 2:26pm Top

5. Cranford is the story of a group of unmarried women who live quiet lives in a small town. However, even though their lives are quiet, they follow a strict set of rules that the narrator points out with a gentle sense of irony. The chapters follow different characters; originally this novel appeared as a serial. I love the humor.

The novel starts with an explanation of the Cranford society:
"In short, whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford. What could they do if there were there?...For keeping the gardens full of choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully at said flowers throughout he railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture into the gardens if the gates are left open; for deciding all questions of literature and politics without troubling themselves with unnecessary reasons or arguments; for obtaining clear and correct knowledge of everybody's affairs in the parish...the ladies of Cranford are quite sufficient."

The women live very well without the presence of men. One of the passages that caused me to laugh aloud: "...Miss Pole began a long congratulation to Miss Matty that, so far they had escaped marriage, which she noticed always made people credulous to the last degree; indeed, she thought it argued great natural credulity in a woman if she could not keep herself from being married."

I'll read more by Gaskell.

Next: My book club selection Walk Two Moons. I also started a nonfiction: Under Another Sky, thanks to Susan.

Jan 13, 2:33pm Top

Here for a wonderful visit and great to see your best of's for 2017 and to see what your bookclub is reading for 2018.

Jan 13, 2:35pm Top

Great review Beth. I fear Cranford is one of those books I think I've read because I watched the tv series. Bad.
It's based on a place not far from me - Knutsford.

Jan 13, 2:56pm Top

The Power sounds really good-- maybe I can talk my book group into it.

Jan 13, 3:00pm Top

Nice review of Cranford which I think may be on one of my shelves. Atkinson’s book comes out in September. She remains one of my favorites writers with Life After Life still being my favorite.

Jan 13, 4:36pm Top

>148 BLBera: Beth, I'm glad you enjoyed Cranford! The TV series is also worth a look - it's based on Cranford and a couple of short stories and really well done. My favourite Gaskell is Wives and Daughters, although North and South is also very popular, but possibly due to Richard Armitage in the TV adaptation.

Jan 13, 6:15pm Top

>149 mdoris: Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

>150 charl08: I have been waiting to watch the series until I read the book. Now I have another series to watch. Cool that you live near Cranford.

Jan 13, 6:19pm Top

>151 banjo123: It would be, at least I think it would be, a great discussion book. Good luck, Rhonda.

>152 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. It has been on my shelves for a long time as well. I can't wait for the new Atkinson. Now I can save Emotionally Weird for next year.

>153 susanj67: Now that I've finished the book, I can watch the series, Susan. It does look good. I have North and South but perhaps will pick up Wives and Daughters first.

Jan 13, 6:45pm Top

Lovely review of Cranford. I have a second hand copy at the ready to read. I'l push it further up the pile.

Jan 14, 8:34am Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. Long weekend? Sadly, I have never read Gaskell. One of those holes in my reading life. Maybe, this year?

Jan 14, 9:06am Top

Hi Beth!

>148 BLBera: I have a lovely copy of Cranford published in 1924 and it was my book choice for our January 2010 book club. I thought Miss Matty Jenkyns was one of the bravest people I've ever read about. I loved the book and then, separately, loved the BBC production with Judi Dench.

Edited: Jan 14, 10:31am Top

>156 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I think you will like it when you get to it. I liked Gaskell's sense of humor.

>157 msf59: Yes, a long weekend, Mark. I think you'd like Cranford; and it is a quick read.

>158 karenmarie: I can now watch the BBC series, Karen. I usually like to read the books first. Yes, Miss Matty is a great character. I think the relatively anonymous narrator, an outsider, was also interesting. It will be interesting to hear about your book club discussion. My copy is a paperback with a cover promoting the BBC series. So, nothing special.

And, with Cranford I can fill in one of the blanks for my library's reading challenge. This year the categories are:

Minnesota Book Award winner
Fiction or Nonfiction about WWI
Read or listen to a book on the Libby app
Lambda or Stonewall Award winning book
A book from a library book list
A book from an independent or small publisher
A book set in the 19th century: Cranford
A book about the internet/social media (fiction or nonfiction)
A Western novel
A book about the Civil Rights Movement (fiction or nonfiction)
A book by a Chinese or Chinese American author
A spy novel
A romance novel
A book related to The Frankenstein Project

A doable list.

Jan 14, 12:05pm Top

I am so slow making the rounds - but Happy New Year! It may be late but it's heartfelt; and there is lots of New Year left.

>7 BLBera: Wonderful Scout story! How could anyone not love that!

and in >91 BLBera: And that's what Grandma's are for: to let one know about the possibility of sprinkles on oatmeal! I think I'll take that as a metaphor for this year. I can think of lots of things a few sprinkles would improve.

Copied the pie recipe into my 'possibles for potlucks' file. It looks beautiful and delicious.

Oh dear the book bullets here. I won't even get started.

So I'll leave one for you, instead. Since you loved Love That Dog, give Hate That Cat a try. It took me a bit to warm up to the sequel and while it's not quite as good as LTD, it's still Pretty Darn Good.

Jan 14, 2:31pm Top

Happy Sunday, Beth! Nice review of Cranford - I had a feeling you would enjoy that one. You are so right about the humor.

Jan 14, 6:15pm Top

Hi Janet - Thanks for stopping. There is lots of year left, and things are crazy around here. Eventually, I'll give Hate That Cat a try, but I just read another by Creech, so I think I'll give her a rest now.

>161 Crazymamie: Mamie - Have you read others by Gaskell? I have North and South but I will definitely be reading her novels.

Jan 14, 6:22pm Top

6. Walk Two Moons is another wonderful book by Creech. It's the story of Sal's journey with her grandparents. They travel cross country to Idaho to see her mother. The journey retraces her mother's journey, allowing Sal to accept that her mother isn't coming back. Wonderful layered story. As they travel, Sal tells the story of her friend Phoebe. In the end, Sal learns:
"It seems to me that we can't explain all the truly awful things in the world like war and murder and brain tumors, and we can't fix these things, so we look at the frightening things that are closer to us and we magnify them until they burst open. Inside is something that we can manage, something that isn't as awful as it had at first seemed. It is a relief to discover that although there might be axe murderers and kidnappers in the world, most people seem a lot like us: sometimes afraid and sometimes brave, sometimes cruel and sometimes kind."

This will go on Scout's shelf. This was written in 1993; I'll have to ask my daughter if she read it. I don't remember reading it to her.

Next, I'll continue with Under Another Sky, a fascinating look at Roman ruins in Great Britain, and I have to look at my pile of library books.

Jan 14, 6:24pm Top

Oh, and go Vikes. Halftime Vikes 17, Saints 0.

Jan 14, 8:29pm Top

Wow! Congrats to your Vikings! What an incredible finish!!

Jan 14, 8:59pm Top

Yes, wow! What an ending!

Jan 14, 9:13pm Top

Thanks Lynda and Joanne. I can't believe it. We Vikings fans are used to it going the other way. Woo hoo!

Jan 14, 9:18pm Top

Dropping by for some pie. Or did you eat it all?

Jan 14, 9:20pm Top

Sorry, Bill, it's gone.

After the Vikings win, how about a glass of wine?

Jan 14, 9:28pm Top

Okay then, wine. I watched some of the Vikings game; hope that's their peak, since they're coming to Philly next Sunday, and we wouldn't want them winning here.

Jan 14, 11:01pm Top

We'll have to agree to disagree about that, Bill. It's going to be a tough game. May the best team win!

Jan 15, 10:18am Top

>163 BLBera: I remember reading Walk Two Moons to one of my boys and having trouble keeping my voice steady. I'll have to see what else she wrote (I love Love That Dogtoo) and add them to my list!

Jan 15, 11:26am Top

I used to have that problem reading as well, Vivian. I will definitely look for more by her for Scout. My daughter is probably also familiar with her work (She's a first grade teacher).

Jan 15, 11:33am Top

>162 BLBera: Nope, just Cranford.

Morning, Beth! Watched your Vikings win yesterday - very fun game to watch. I love when they go right to the wire like that.

Jan 15, 11:45am Top

>174 Crazymamie: Might be fun for you non-Viking fans. For those of us here in Minnesota the stress is a bit much!

Jan 15, 12:53pm Top

I totally get that.

Edited: Jan 15, 1:44pm Top

Hmm Cranford sounds interesting.

Jan 15, 3:23pm Top

>163 BLBera: Walk Two Moons was the first book I read by Sharon Creech. I have loved all other books by her I have read.

Jan 15, 6:58pm Top

>174 Crazymamie: Well, Mamie, maybe we'll have to read another one together. I could do without football drama; we've had way too much in Minnesota.

>175 Oberon: Agreed, Erik. On one show they showed all of the times it has gone the other way for us.

>177 SuziQoregon: If you like nineteenth century lit, Juli, I think you'd like this. And each chapter is a separate story, so you can put it down and pick it up without really loosing the thread.

>178 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. I don't remember reading it to my kids, so I think they must have read it by themselves, if they did. I imagine my daughter may have. I've only read Walk Two Moons and Love that Dog and loved both. I'll look for more for my granddaughter's shelf.

Jan 15, 7:00pm Top

Hi, Beth. Hope you had a nice day off. Boo to the snow. Hooray for the Vikings. Crazy, but great win.

Jan 15, 7:04pm Top

We'll take the win, Mark. The snow was powdery and light, so it wasn't too bad. My day was pretty relaxing.

Edited: Jan 16, 5:59am Top

Beth, in case you interested in The Break by Katherean Vermette as you mentioned on Charlotte's Thread, it will be sold via amazon com ( and maybe elsewhere in the US? ) as of March 06, 2018. It was runner up for several prizes in Canada . Here is a link to amazon com https://www.amazon.com/Break-Katherena-Vermette/dp/1487001118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516099919&sr=8-1&keywords=the+break+katherena+vermette

I sent my copy off to Charlotte, so I'm glad that it will be published in the USA for those that might be interested. Nancy aka Lit Chick also enjoyed it - though it is a " rough " sort of a read.

Jan 17, 4:57pm Top

>143 BLBera: >144 Carmenere: I'm fairly certain I waterski across most poems when I should be beating them with a hose a little more. When I read a lot of poetry, I'm left with that vague feeling that the poet is trying to tell me something, but I've no idea what it could be.

Jan 17, 6:24pm Top

Beth, my library only has the audio version of Love That Dog. I just finished a rather heavy book so I downloaded it for my "in-between" treat. I'm bummed, though, because I fear I may be missing out on some cute illustrations. Oh well, it's only 35 minutes long. I may have to listen twice to get the full effect!

Jan 17, 8:50pm Top

>182 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I have it on my Amazon wishlist.

>183 rretzler: Hi Robin. Waterskiing is perfectly fine.

>184 Donna828: Hi Donna - There aren't illustrations, so no worries there. It's written in the form of a poem, so you'll miss seeing how the words are arranged, but I think it will be OK. I'll watch for your comments. It might be a good one to listen to.

Jan 17, 8:54pm Top

>58 BLBera: Beth. I own many Endrich books, but haven't read one yet. I'll be sure to move one to the top.

And, I loved the Scout story!

Jan 17, 9:09pm Top

Oh, you should read Erdrich. If you own it, you might start with The Round House; this is one told in a more linear narrative. I love Love Medicine and Tracks as well, but the narrative structure turns some people off.

I've got hundreds of Scout stories. She is a fun little girl.

Jan 17, 9:12pm Top

I am being blown away by Go, Went, Gone. It is outstanding. I'm about halfway through it and haven't seen comments on it, but people should read this book.

This is the Amazon description:
Go, Went, Gone is the masterful new novel by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck. The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes.

I'll comment more when I finish.

Jan 18, 7:33am Top

>188 BLBera: I have that out from the library, need to get to it!

Did you see this report on 9 women making the top ten bestseller list?

Jan 18, 9:35am Top

Thanks for the heads up onGo, Went, Gone - I've just requested it from my library. I'm especially interested since my brother lives in Berlin and has been very involved in refugee issues there.

Edited: Jan 18, 5:46pm Top

>189 charl08: Very interesting article. Thanks for the link! I found the link from it at the bottom of the page is a very good one too. I got lots of reading ideas....


Jan 18, 2:45pm Top

>189 charl08: Thanks for the article Charlotte. I liked the Shamsie link as well.

Jan 18, 2:49pm Top

>189 charl08: Thanks for the article, Charlotte. I also liked the link to the Shamsie essay.

>190 vivians: I'll be interested to see what you think. This novel is shaping up to be close to five stars. The writing is lovely.

>191 mdoris: It was interesting, Mary. The links were good as well.

Jan 18, 2:51pm Top

>191 mdoris: That's a great article. Here is my favorite bit from it:

"For the record, purporting to love literature while dismissing the work of female writers is like claiming to be passionate about music while refusing to listen to anything but Ed Sheeran."

And Hi Beth! It sounds like you are getting some good reading in.

Jan 18, 4:23pm Top

Hi Rhonda - Yes, that quote jumped out at me as well. I think I originally saw the article on Julia's thread. I've been talking about it with my male colleagues all week.

Yes, I am savoring Go, Went, Gone right now - so far it seems close to five stars. I'm about halfway.

Jan 18, 4:25pm Top

>188 BLBera: That sounds very intriguing, Beth! I will look for your final thoughts before haunting the library for a copy. :-)

Jan 18, 5:00pm Top

>188 BLBera: I have it on my library wish list, Beth, and hope to get to it soon.
I read her book The End of Days earlier this month and was impressed.

Jan 18, 5:28pm Top

>194 banjo123: Rhonda, that quote got my attention too!

Jan 18, 5:34pm Top

>194 banjo123: The Ed Sheeran line had special meaning for me, because while we were in Spain and Portugal, it seemed like every restaurant or bar we went to was playing Ed Sheeran. It drove my daughter crazy. She is not big on literature, but I think I will send her the article, just for that line.

Jan 18, 6:49pm Top

Hi Beth! I'm behind so paying just a flying visit!

Jan 19, 1:07am Top

Hi Beth. I am back in the land of LT, trying to catch up (ha).

Kim and I heard Jesmyn Ward speak this evening and her talk was profoundly moving. She mentioned that she wants to write poetry but hasn't yet succeeded at it. She commented upon Erdrich's poetry (which I have not read), saying she loves her novels but that her poetry is particularly wonderful. Have you read any of Erdrich's poetry?

I'm adding Go, Went, Gone to the wish list and may pick it up at Powells tomorrow.

Jan 19, 9:21am Top

>196 rosalita: I hope you can find a copy in your library, Julia. Mine is a library copy, too.

>197 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. This is my first book by Erpenbeck, but it definitely won't be my last. I wish my German were good enough to read it, but the translation is very good.

>198 mdoris: Yes, Mary, I was tempted to post that at the top of my thread. Maybe the next one.

Jan 19, 9:30am Top

>199 banjo123: I love it, Rhonda. You were meant to read that article at this time.

>200 katiekrug: Hi Katie, waving as you fly by.

>201 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - I saw that you are in Portland. Lucky you to get to see Ward and visit Powell's. Oh, and hang out with Kim. I'll be back in the summer. I've only read Ward's novels, both of which were impressive. I would like to read her essays. I've read some of Erdrich's poetry. I should pick up a collection. I love her prose, so it would have to be super special to top that.

You will LOVE Go, Went, Gone.

Jan 19, 12:08pm Top

Hi Twin!! Yup. Having a great time with Ellen and can't wait until you are out here this summer. You hit me with Go, Went, Gone and I will be looking for it at Powell's today. : )

Jesmyn Ward was simply amazing.

Jan 19, 2:53pm Top

I'm so glad to hear that you'll be in Portland again this summer, Beth! Another PDX meet-up -- yay!

I hope Powells has multiple copies of Go, Went, Gone or Kim and I will have to arm wrestle for it. Heh.

I plan to read Men We Reaped sometime in the next month or two.

Jan 19, 4:00pm Top

>204 Berly: Good luck finding Go, Went, Gone. I hope to finish it this evening after Scout goes home. I wish we had more arts stuff here. This is such a small town in some ways.

>205 EBT1002: Yes, end of June, beginning of July. When I have a date, I'll let you know. I'd be interested in who will win the wrestling for Go, Went, Gone. :) I haven't read Men We Reaped or The Fire This Time.

Jan 19, 4:54pm Top

Scout Story

She is at present busy sharpening pencils with one of those little sharpeners. She said, " I want to be a sharpener when I grow up. And a measuring girl."

Edited: Jan 19, 4:58pm Top

Love That Dog was very entertaining. I will recommend it to my teacher friends! Thanks for another good recommendation. My library doesn’t have Go. Went, Gone or any books by Jenny Erpenbeck. I snapped up the Kindle version for $2.99 even though that is not my favorite way to read books. Darryl(kidzdoc) has also highly recommended it.

ETA: Scout cracks me up!

Jan 19, 5:02pm Top

>207 BLBera: *smiles hugely*

Jan 19, 5:52pm Top

>207 BLBera: excellent

Jan 19, 7:37pm Top

Jan 20, 12:17am Top

Hi Beth, I too have only enjoyed the mini-series of Cranford but I fully intend on reading some Elizabeth Gaskell one of these days!

Jan 20, 10:04am Top

>208 Donna828: Hi Donna. I've also heard that Hate that Cat is good although I haven't read it yet. I've read two by Creech this month, so I think I will wait on that one. We had our book club discussion of Walk Two Moons yesterday. Everyone liked the book although some questioned why the mom's death is kind of a mystery for so long. We wished we could talk to a ten-year-old and get his or her opinion. Also, we wondered whether boys would like this book. One member who has an eight-year-old grandson said she didn't think he would like it.

Scout is constantly entertaining. She went to my book club meeting with me; by now she is familiar with most of the members. She went in her pajamas, saying it was a pajama day. I guess four year olds can do that. The sandwich maker gave her three pickles.

>209 EBT1002: Yes, Ellen. That's why Fridays are my happy day.

>210 SuziQoregon: Scout generates a lot of visits, Juli. Glad you liked the story.

>211 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie - grandkids rock. What else can I say. I only wish I were going to get more of them.

>212 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy - I think you would love Cranford. And I completed one of my library challenges with it.

Jan 20, 1:05pm Top

Twin!! Successful trip to Powells and I found Go, Went, Gone. : )

Also, keeping you in the loop. I have set up a thread for Portland visits. RebaRelishesReading is headed to Portland in April and you are coming in June! I have set up a thread so we can talk about visits and who can come and what we want to do. : )


Edited: Jan 20, 1:12pm Top

>188 BLBera: I have added Go, Went, Gone to the wish list. I thought the name sounded familiar and discovered that I already have a book by that author: The End of Days so maybe I should read that one first.

Jan 20, 2:21pm Top

>214 Berly: Gracias, Twin. I will post as soon as I have dates.

>215 SandDune: Hi Rhian. This is my first book by Erpenbeck, but it won't be my last. I have Visitation on my shelf, and I suspect I will read it soonish.

Jan 20, 3:03pm Top

Hi Beth. I’m going to give you a nudge towards North and South. I think you’d love it.

Jan 20, 5:16pm Top

Thanks Colleen. I'll pull it off my shelf and add it to the teetering "read soon" pile on my desk.

Jan 20, 6:13pm Top

>207 BLBera: So cute! My three year old Chloe told us all last year she wanted to be a dump truck, not a dump truck driver, but a dump truck :-p

Jan 20, 6:50pm Top

Love it, Chelle! I hope you wrire it all down.

Jan 20, 7:09pm Top

Just checking in, Beth. Looks like a lot of good reading getting done here. I was most impressed by the bookclub pie especially as it looks like I will need to bring something to Feb bookclub meeting and I never have any ideas.

Jan 20, 9:32pm Top

>208 Donna828: and >213 BLBera: Hate That Cat is very good. Perhaps not as wonderful as Love That Dog, but a worthy successor.

Jan 21, 1:21am Top

Beth, you got me with Go, Went, Gone. Onto the wish-list is goes!

Jan 21, 10:07am Top

>221 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. The pie is easy and it's pretty. I have a couple of go-to desserts that never fail, and the pie is becoming one of them.

>222 EBT1002: Ellen! Another book to add to the never-ending pile. :)

>223 vancouverdeb: Deborah, I don't think you'll be sorry. It was wonderful. I'm collecting my thoughts for comments.

Edited: Jan 21, 10:30am Top

7. Go, Went, Gone is a powerful, relevant novel that speaks to the ongoing immigration crisis throughout the world. Through the story of Richard, a recently retired Classics professor, Erpenbeck shows the ignorance and misconceptions related to this issue. Richard is in a rut. After his retirement, he follows a set schedule; he markets on one day, eats food on set days, and walks certain paths. This all changes when he notices a refugee camp and starts to question their presence in his city. When a group moves to a building near his home, Richard starts to interview them, and his view of the world changes forever.

The idea of borders is one that Erpenbeck constantly challenges. Richard grew up in East Berlin, until one day the wall came down, and it no longer existed. Talking to the refugees he understands: "When taking all these possible borders into consideration, it seems to Richard that the differences between one person and another is in fact ridiculously small...Whether you clothe your body in hand-me-down pants and jackets from a donation bin, brand-name sweaters, expensive or cheap dresses, or uniforms with a helmet and visor -- underneath this clothing, every one of us is naked and must surely, let's hope, have taken pleasure in sunshine and wind, in water and snow, have eaten or drunk this and that tasty thing, perhaps even have loved someone and been loved in return before dying one day."

Richard also comes to understand how our lives are centered on our own place. He tries to talk about history to the African refugees, and they have no knowledge of Hitler, for example.

In her acknowledgements, Erpenbeck thanks a list of people for conversations; one can assume that she has used some of the stories from these conversations as a basis for the immigrant stories in the novel.

This novel is thoughtful and important. The stories are heartbreaking, but through the evolution of Richard's character, we do see hope. One person can make a difference. Yet there is also a warning. One of the sentences that sticks with me is this one: "The Africans probably had no idea who Hitler was, but even so: only if they survived Germany now would Hitler truly have lost the war."

Highly recommended.

Jan 21, 10:29am Top

Next: A book recommended by Rhonda, I think: Out in the Open. I'll also continue my journey through Roman Britain in Under Another Sky.

Jan 21, 1:21pm Top

>225 BLBera: Good review of Go, Went, Gone. Thumb! I had not heard of the book or author, so thanks for putting her on my radar.

Happy Sunday, Beth. Another big day for the Vikings, eh? I'll be rootin' them on, although I like the Eagles too.

Jan 21, 2:02pm Top

>227 msf59: You'd better be cheering for the Vikes today, Mark!

Go Vikes!

Jan 21, 4:56pm Top

>115 BLBera: Glad you liked The Power Beth - I actually checked it out of the library last year but didn't manage to start it before it was due back (reserved by someone else). I'm hoping to get to it this year.

>148 BLBera: I loved Cranford. Have you seen the TV adaptation? It was a BBC one starring Judi Dench and it was superb (and fairly faithful to the book although they incorporated some of Gaskell's shorter works too). Definitely worth watching. (And I see Susan was ahead of me! >153 susanj67: and that you've been saving the TV series until you'd read the book).

>225 BLBera: Sigh. Go, Went, Gone added to the list.

Jan 21, 5:23pm Top

Great review of Go Went Gone Beth. It’s now on my library request list. I also admired (loved isn’t quite right) her novel Visitation a few years ago.

Jan 21, 6:02pm Top

Hi Heather - I think you will like The Power. I look forward to my book club discussion in a few weeks. I have the BBC Cranford to watch now that I've read the novel! I love Judi Dench.

Thanks Bonnie. This is the first Erpenbeck I've read. I do have a copy of Visitation on my shelves, which I will have to move up.

Jan 21, 8:36pm Top

Hi Beth,

I'm glad I saw your comment on the Club Read 2018 intro thread so I could follow you here. Like you, I've gotten to the point where one thread is enough to maintain, and I keep mine over there. Thanks for your comments on my thread, and I'll be coming back to yours here.

Jan 22, 2:46am Top

Hi Beth, I saw your talk of Autumn, by Ali Smith (on Rosalita's thread?) and loved the passion. I need to read her work, clearly!
(I think your said something about being convinced of her genius- what's not to look forward to re: me reading it eventually).

Jan 22, 9:29am Top

>232 auntmarge64: Thanks Margaret. The door is always open.

>233 LovingLit: Hi Megan. I have others by Smith on my shelves, but I want to savor them.

Jan 22, 10:08am Top

Snow Day!

At some point, I will have to shovel the foot of snow we are expecting, but it is still falling pretty fast, so in the meantime, I'll curl up with a book.

Jan 22, 10:16am Top

Hooray for a Snow Day, Beth! Hoping it is full of fabulous!

Jan 22, 10:16am Top

Enjoy your snow day inside reading! I would avoid going out to shovel too!

Jan 22, 10:16am Top

8. Out in the Open is a visceral coming-of-age story set in a bleak, arid landscape, inhospitable to life. Carrasco's descriptions make us feel the scorching sun and feel the constant thirst that accompanies his boy protagonist everywhere. Vividly written, it might suffer a bit in comparison with my previous read, Go, Went, Gone, but this is still a very good novel.

A boy runs away from home, fleeing the drought, poverty, and some unnamed horror. He has no real plan except to go north. He soon runs out of food and water and is helped by an old goatherd. As they journey together, we learn more about what the boy is running from, and he learns valuable lessons of survival:

"The old man was clearly not going to be the one to hand him the key to the world of adults, that world in which brutality was meted out for reasons of greed or lust. He himself had been guilty of meting out violence, exactly as he had seen those around him do, and now he was demanding his share of impunity. The elements had pushed him far beyond what he knew and didn't know about life."

Thanks to Rhonda for bringing this to my attention.

I'm touring Hadrian's Wall in Under Another Sky; the book is making me want to tour Britain's Roman ruins. I need to win the lottery.

I need to look at my pile of library books to see what to pick up next. I think I'm in the mood for something lighter. I thought I was making progress with the library pile, but yesterday I returned one and checked out three, so, not so much. Those shiny new books are so tempting.

Jan 22, 10:17am Top

Thanks Mamie and Chelle. It was great that they cancelled last night, so I knew I didn't have to get up to shovel to get to my 8 a.m. class this morning.

Jan 22, 4:32pm Top

Hooray for a snow day! Although I do wish we could get them without the actual, you know, snow. Meanwhile, it's 46 degrees here and cloudy but not raining (at the moment). Go figure.

Jan 22, 5:03pm Top

It is warm here, too. The snow is like March snow, heavy and wet, with that nice little icy layer under it. It sleeted first last night, froze and then started to snow. The winds are supposed to pick up later, making white out conditions. It's going to be messy around here for the next few days.

Jan 22, 6:28pm Top

>188 BLBera: I am headed to the library tomorrow to donate boxes of books. While I am there, I will look for Go, Went, Gone. Thanks for the positive comments about this one!

Jan 22, 10:30pm Top

So how many inches are you up too? My commute tonight was harrowing.

Jan 22, 11:17pm Top

Hi Beth! Your comments make me want to read Go, Went, Gone sooner rather than later. I think I'll try to queue it up for next month.

I'm reading Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions which is also "about" the immigrant issue that is so front and center right now. I'm learning a lot about the issues along the Mexican-US border and the process that children refugees experience as they try to acquire asylum (of sorts) here. It's heading for a very high recommendation rating from me.

Are you watching the Australian Open? All the top seeds are dropping like flies in the women's draw.

Jan 22, 11:18pm Top

I wish we would get a snow day.

Jan 22, 11:32pm Top

Hi, Beth! You got me in the heart with the Erdrich memoir and your book club's The Snow Child. Both have gone straight to my wish list.
Now you're really making me want to get to the Erpenbeck sooner rather than later, and I can't do it. Thank you anyway!!!!!

Jan 23, 12:33am Top

So glad you got to sleep in on your snow day!! That was nice of the school to cancel in a timely manner. LOL

I am sad about the Vikings. : ( And apparently I am the only one rooting for the Patriots over the Eagles!

Stay warm.

Jan 23, 7:55am Top

Hi Beth!

>159 BLBera: As far as I can recall, a few of us liked the slow pace and detail of Cranford, several didn't like ditto, and a couple abandoned it. Typical book club response, by the way.

>247 Berly: Yup, Kim, you are the only one rooting for the Patriots. *smile*

Jan 23, 11:42am Top

>242 Whisper1: Good for you, donating books, Linda. I usually try to move some on to new homes during spring cleaning. I hope your library has a copy of Go, Went, Gone.

>243 Oberon: I think we got about 10 inches, Erik. It was heavy stuff, too. I'm glad I had nowhere to go. Late afternoon, when it slowed, my son-in-law came to help me clear my driveway. For the most part, it was still clear this morning. I'll have a little shoveling to do later. Good luck on your commute today; it sounds like it's a mess in the Cities.

Jan 23, 11:54am Top

Uh oh. Book Bullets flying. I hadn't realized Sharon Creech wrote Walk Two Moons, although I do remember my kids reading it when they were in junior high or high school. I'll definitely have to search out a copy.

And Go Went Gone sounds wonderful. No copies in my library system, but perhaps I need to order a few books for my upcoming Valentine's Day present.

I really really want to make it down off my Montana mountain for a Portland meetup in June!

Jan 23, 11:55am Top

Whoops - also wanted to say that I enjoyed reading Cranford but *really enjoyed* the PBS series with Dame Judi.

Jan 23, 11:57am Top

>225 BLBera: great review of Go Went Gone. Definitely moving that one up the list.

Yay for a snow day yesterday.

Jan 23, 6:58pm Top

>207 BLBera: and >219 ChelleBearss: I love the things kids say they want to be when they grow up! My Maddie, age 4, wants to be a Ninja. She's constantly pouncing into the room and assuming the Ninja pose.

>225 BLBera: I purchased this as a Kindle deal. Based on your review I will have to get to it sooner rather than later. I especially love the line you quoted.

Jan 23, 9:10pm Top

>244 EBT1002: Ellen, you will love Go, Went, Gone. You hit me with Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions. Onto the WL it goes.

I've been watching a bit of the AO. Rafa is out, no Venus, no Serena, so I'm not really excited anymore. You? Any favorites?

>245 EBT1002: Do you really want a foot of wet, heavy snow? That's what you get with a snow day. :)

Jan 23, 9:37pm Top

>246 LizzieD: You are very welcome, Peggy. :)

>247 Berly: We Vikings fans are used to disappointment. The Patriots? Really?

>248 karenmarie: That does sound typical, Karen. I tried to sell my group on Cranford, and there was no interest.

>250 streamsong: I'm very happy to add to your WL, Janet. Yes, for a meet-up! Now that I have read Cranford, I look forward to watching the series.

>252 SuziQoregon: Thanks Juli.

>253 arubabookwoman: Four is a great age, isn't it Deborah? Lucky you to get Go, Went, Gone as a deal. Mine was a library copy. I did realize though that I have copies of two other books by Erpenbeck. So, 1. I will move those up the list, and 2. I will try not to buy more books until I read from my shelves.

At least cataloging them in LT has helped me not buy duplicates.

Jan 23, 9:55pm Top

Hi Beth! A snow day- lucky you! We got a major snow on Sunday, but by Monday it was clear and despite our wishes school came anyway.

Oh, several BBs here: Go, Went, Gone, and The Power, and (*blushes*) Love That Dog. My girls both read it, and kids check it out all the time, but I've never read it myself. Need to fix that ASAP! We were just talking about poetry today with my colleagues. I think a lot of kids hate poetry because teachers hate poetry and hate teaching it. It is a unit - at least in elementary school - that is to be endured rather than savored. I often partner with teachers to teach it because I enjoy it. So I REALLY need to read Love That Dog! I have Hate That Cat, too.

>207 BLBera: That'a an awesome Scout story, Beth! I love hearing the career ambitions of little kids. A friend's daughter wanted to be a train when she grew up. Not the conductor or engineer, but the train. Callia at 4 wanted to be a conductor (not the train kind but the orchestra kind) AND a mermaid:)

>148 BLBera: I read Cranford a few years ago after I fell in love with North and South. I listened to an audio narrated by Juliet Stevenson, and of course, adore the miniseries with Richard Armitage.

A favorite poem I love to share with students when we discuss poetry is Valentine for Ernest Mann by Naomi Shahib Nye. Especially if students have to write poems. I love the idea that poems are out there - everywhere.

You can’t order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two”
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, “Here’s my address,
write me a poem,” deserves something in reply.
So I’ll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn’t understand why she was crying.
“I thought they had such beautiful eyes.”
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the off sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

Jan 23, 10:02pm Top

>256 AMQS: I love this, Anne! Thanks.

Jan 24, 2:45am Top

Another fan of looking for poems in the sock drawer.

My godson (8) has mapped out his career from professional footballer to secret agent, then formula one manager.
I honestly don't remember wanting a particular job (just to read).

Jan 24, 7:33am Top

Ah, I didn't realize you are in Minnesota, too! How was your dumping of snow? :) We've managed to dig ourselves out...I luckily didn't have to drive in it, as my car really isn't well-suited. Great mileage, bad in a few inches of snow.

Jan 24, 11:02am Top

Just stopping by to recommend A Piece of the World which I just finished and loved. We seem to have some similar tastes so I thought I'd be presumptuous! Despite starting slowly, it totally captivated me and I've been thinking about it for days. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Jan 24, 11:08am Top

Hi Twin! Glad your SIL helped to dig you out of the snow. Well, enough about football. I am busy watching the Australian Open tennis this week. Good thing we have books in common! Had a great class last night finishing up The Parable of the Sower. Happy Wednesday.

Jan 24, 2:11pm Top

Beth, I love the variety of books you read. Such a dangerous thread you have here!

Jan 24, 7:14pm Top

>254 BLBera: "Do you really want a foot of wet, heavy snow?"
Well, no. I just want a snow day. :-)

Re the AO, I feel somewhat like you do. I'm rooting for Caroline at this point but not with any great fervor. I care less about the men's in any case but I'll probably root for the old guy to get one more win.

Jan 24, 7:33pm Top

>258 charl08: I don't remember wanting a particular job, either, Charlotte. It certainly is fun listening to the kids.

>259 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. We only got about 10 inches here. I stayed home on Monday, as well. My car is also a small one.

>260 vivians: No presumption, Vivian. That's what I love about LT. I think it does sound like one I would like. I did like Orphan Train. I just reserved it from the library.

>261 Berly: He is a keeper, Twin. I've been watching the AO a little, but without Serena or Venus, I don't get too excited. I need to find another player to love. I think I will read The Parable of the Sower for Black History Month. I'll look for your comments on your thread. Happy Wednesday for you. I love short weeks.

>262 jolerie: Thanks Valerie.

>263 EBT1002: I had coffee with a Catalonian friend to day, and we had a moment of silence for Rafa's departure. :)

Well, a box of books appeared at my door, so I'll go and check them out. :)

Jan 24, 8:03pm Top

Fortunately, our 6 inches of snow is all gone as of Monday, but when I looked out the window a little earlier it was snowing again!

Jan 24, 10:55pm Top

Good luck with the snow, Robin. I hope you don't get a lot more. The streets are still a mess here.

Jan 25, 9:58am Top

Hi Beth - finally caught up here! I have two books by Erpenbeck on my shelves and it looks like I need to add the latest, too...

Jan 25, 6:40pm Top

Hi Katie - Have you read the Erpenbecks you have? Any recommendations?

Jan 25, 11:12pm Top

Nope, haven't read either one!

Jan 26, 12:11am Top

Oh, I am going to have to read Go, Went, Gone after both you and Darryl have raved about it.

I am glad that Out in the Open worked for you; I was a little worried it would be too grim.

Jan 26, 10:58pm Top

Beth, I turned green with envy when I read that you had a box of books at your front door. With the move and all I haven't ordered books for such a long time and I really miss that feeling of delight when a box appears at the door. Of course I have made up for not ordering books by stuffing my kindles! ;)

Jan 27, 1:03am Top

Finally caught up with your thread. Snow days are good as long as the snow disappears by itself allowing you time to catch up with your reading. We don't get snow days here but a case could be made for staying in out of the rain and catching up with the books.

Jan 27, 9:56am Top

>271 DeltaQueen50: I've begun stuffing my iPad with Library Overdrive books for February challenges. I'm finishing one book and intend to read one of my ARCs before I begin reading those, but I'm sure I can time it so any I begin reading before February are completed in the month of February.

Jan 27, 11:09am Top

>269 katiekrug: Well, Katie, get on it, so I now what to read next.

>270 banjo123: You'll love Go, Went, Gone, Rhonda. I'll have to see what Darryl said about it. I thought Out in the Open ended on an optimistic note, but yes, most of it was pretty grim. The descriptions and writing was amazing.

>271 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy - Well, my good intentions lasted almost a month into the new year. Now I have to cull some books. My goal these past couple of years is to not buy more than I pass along. Last year I was only off by 40 books, so I know I can get close.

>272 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yes, they are good days for lazing around the house.

>273 thornton37814: Good luck with your February reading, Lori.

Jan 27, 11:18am Top

9. Under Another Sky was an enjoyable jaunt around Britain, looking at Roman ruins. People who like history and enjoy ruins will enjoy this book. I loved the minivan! I was especially interested in how the Roman history is being politicized today. Higgins discusses how each generation tries to answer the question of what the Romans have to do with "us." This goes along with current discussions about citizenship -- especially here. When Trump says, "America first," what does he mean? Who makes up America? Higgins points out that "The Roman empire was multicultural in the sense that it absorbed people of multiple ethnicities, geographical origins and religions," and that that is problematic for some people when they talk about who is really British.

It is also fascinating to learn that after the Romans left in the fifth century, there's a gap in the written history: "I think of Roman Britain and its curious bequest to us: how it has become a place where we may play out our uncertainties and anxieties about the perils of empire; a place where we might, if we choose, consider a meaning for Britain that complicates, and long predates, the national boundaries and identities that are now so strongly reasserting themselves. I think of Roman Britain above all as the place where these islands were begotten in writing. In a landscape that vibrates with stories, where every crag and more, city and suburb, wasteland and industrial tract has been written into being, the Romans were the first to mould the land in prose."

I would have liked to see more pictures of the places she describes, as well as maps that show the areas she is discussing.

Edited: Jan 27, 12:31pm Top

>274 BLBera: Only being off by 40 books between acquisitions and culls is a very good result, Beth. Keep up the good work. I just wish it was catching.

Edited to add: you got me with a BB for Under Another Sky.

Jan 27, 12:55pm Top

I was just reading/lurking on your thread, Meg! Great minds...

I can't wait for the next Ruth Galloway - I think it comes out in May.

Always happy to add to others' WL, Meg. :)

Jan 27, 1:01pm Top

>275 BLBera: Sounds good Beth. A friend on my course in Edinburgh hired a van to drive around Scotland and it sounded wonderful. I think there are rules about overnighting on the road but there are plenty of campsites. Talking with the family about something completely different this year: renting a sailboat on the Norfolk Broads.

Jan 27, 5:54pm Top

>275 BLBera: I’ve been meaning to read that one for some time. I’ve always been fascinated by the period after the Romans left in the UK. What would it have been like living surrounded by the evidence of past civilisations? What did those dark age Britain’s think about all those ruins, which must have been so much more evident then than they are now.

Jan 27, 6:15pm Top

Happy Saturday, Beth. A nice day in the Midwest, eh? I finished The God of Small Things. I can't say I loved it. It is not a very easy or smooth book to get through, but I certainly admired her amazing writing chops. It is quite dazzling and deftly crafted for a debut. I am glad I finally got to it.

I hope you are having a nice weekend.

Jan 28, 2:23pm Top

>278 charl08:, >279 SandDune: Thank Susan for this one; I got the recommendation from her. I think you two might appreciate it even more than I did because many of the places will be familiar to you. It is too bad that so many antiquities were destroyed.

>280 msf59: Hi Mark. Safe travels. Enjoy your vacation away from the Midwest.

Jan 28, 4:33pm Top

>277 BLBera: I am reading the Ruth Galloways slowly so I don't run out of the series and have to wait for the next one. It's good to hear that another one is coming out soon.

Jan 28, 10:29pm Top

Ooh bang - you got me with Under Another Sky! Have a great week, Beth!

Jan 29, 3:49am Top

Twin--Finished Parable of the Sower and on to Parable of the Talent. They both would make great reads for Black History Month.

I was pulling for Halep in the women's and Federer in the men's tennis final. 1 out of 2. So glad Federer got his 20th Grand Slam though. It will be interesting to see how Serena does when she comes back...I assume she will kick butt again. : )

Jan 29, 12:05pm Top

Just catching up with you, Beth! You hit me with Under Another Sky - I added it to The List.

>256 AMQS: LOVE this poem!

Hoping that the week is kind to you.

Jan 29, 12:12pm Top

>275 BLBera: BB for me as well.

Jan 29, 1:47pm Top

Hi, Beth! I hope you had a good weekend.

Jan 29, 4:50pm Top

>234 BLBera: I have others by Smith on my shelves, but I want to savor them.
I am still saving the third in the Frank Bascombe Trilogy by Richard Ford...for a rainy day, or lengthy child-free holiday....

Jan 29, 5:10pm Top

>275 BLBera: Nice review! BB for me.

Jan 29, 8:05pm Top

>282 Familyhistorian: Smart idea. It's nice to be caught up with series, but sometimes the wait seems FOREVER.

>283 AMQS: Thanks, Anne. It's only fair.

>284 Berly: Didn't watch any tennis - It was nice that there was a first-time winner for the ladies.

You are way ahead of me with the Butler! It's a trilogy, right?

Jan 29, 8:10pm Top

>285 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. I'm happy to have made your list. The poem is great.

>286 Oberon: Thanks Erik.

>287 rosalita: It was good, Julia. I hope you had a great Monday.

>288 LovingLit: Good luck finding the right time!

>289 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda.

Jan 30, 5:19pm Top

Another fun Scout story. What is it with kids and pickles? My grands don’t even care if a sandwich is involved or not!

You are beginning the year with some mighty tempting books, Beth. I always wear my armor when I visit your thread.

Edited: Jan 30, 6:50pm Top

Hi, Beth! Liked Roger's win. The Butlers are a duology.

Jan 30, 8:29pm Top

>292 Donna828: Thanks Donna. It seems odd to me that kids like dill pickles. It's such a strong flavor. Happy to tempt you, Donna. I feel the same way about your thread.

>293 ronincats: Hi Roni - great news that there are only two of the Butler books!

Jan 30, 9:08pm Top

>294 BLBera: Kids do like strong flavours sometimes. My son was a very picky eater when young but ate hot salami (he didn't get that from his own family, his babysister was Croatian) and smoked oysters.

Jan 30, 9:14pm Top

10. Eternal Life asks us if we would really want to live forever. Rachel, the protagonist, can't die. As we learn about her long life, we start to wonder whether eternal life is something to be wished for.

I loved the premise and the interesting questions the novel raises. However, I found the book a little flat. Rachel, through all her lives, is basically the same person. I would have liked to see more changes. At times I felt that the story exists just to pose the question about eternal life. Still, overall, I did like the novel and it might work better for others than it did for me.

I loved Horn's The World to Come, and part of my disappointment may be related to my high expectations. And it did have a great start:"Either everything matters, or everything is an outrageous waste of time. That's what she would have said, if anyone had asked her. But no one asks crazy old ladies for their opinions."

Love it.

Next: A mystery, The Crypt Thief. I really enjoyed The Bookseller, the first in the series. Hugo Marston and his friend Tom are back.

Jan 30, 9:29pm Top

>295 Familyhistorian: We cross posted, Meg. You remind me; my daughter was a picky eater, and she loved sauerkraut. Go figure.

Edited: Jan 30, 9:46pm Top

Awww man another bb. Who am I kidding?! YES!!! Another book!! :D

Oh and added the book you mentioned in your review..hah. That's 2 for 1.

ETA your touchstones are leading to different books?

Jan 30, 9:47pm Top

>298 jolerie: Two for one! Score! Thanks Valerie.

Jan 31, 10:58am Top

>275 BLBera: Making a note of Under Another Sky that's a good possibitly for the March travel book for the nonfiction challenge.

Jan 31, 11:17am Top

>296 BLBera: An interesting premise indeed, Beth. It reminds me of one of my favorite recent songs, "If We Were Vampires" by Jason Isbell. Some of the lyrics are:
It's knowing that this can't go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we'll get forty years together
But one day I'll be gone or one day you'll be gone

If we were vampires and death was a joke
We'd go out on the sidewalk and smoke
And laugh at all the lovers and their plans
I wouldn't feel the need to hold your hand

Maybe time running out is a gift
I'll work hard 'til the end of my shift
And give you every second I can find
And hope it isn't me who's left behind

Jan 31, 6:27pm Top

>300 SuziQoregon: Enjoy Juli.

>301 rosalita: Love it, Julia. I'm not familiar with the song or the artist. Off to check him out...

Jan 31, 9:34pm Top

>296 BLBera: that premise does raise a lot of interesting questions! It's a shame it didn't work for you

Jan 31, 9:53pm Top

Megan - It was still a good book; great premise, maybe not great execution? Still, worthwhile.

Jan 31, 10:29pm Top

11. The Crypt Thief is the second in the series that features Hugo Marston, the chief of security for the US embassy in Paris. As in the first novel, Paris is a star, but this novel is all plot and not much else. When an American is killed near Jim Morrison's grave in the Pére Lachaise cemetery, Hugo is asked to investigate. The investigation leads to pursuit of a deeply disturbed killer. A bit gory for my taste in a couple of places, this was a fast, entertaining page turner. I'll read the next one.

Jan 31, 10:32pm Top

January Reading Report:

Books read: 11
Women: 9
Men: 2
Nonfiction: 2
Fiction: 9
In translation: 2

Next: Halsey Street

Feb 1, 12:05am Top

>290 BLBera: No, only the two Parables. She actually meant for it to be much more, like 8 I think, but she was working on the third and it hadn't come together yet.

Feb 1, 7:07am Top

Good for me - less to catch up on.

This topic was continued by Beth's Books in 2018 (BLBera) Part 2.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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