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rretzler (Robin) Reads Reams in 2018 - Chapter 1

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Jan 3, 7:47am Top


Hi, I'm Robin, and this is my 7th or 8th year with the 75'ers Group. I'm 54, and I've been married to Ed (54) for 26 years. We have two sons, Beckham (16) and Keegan (almost 13), and four cats, Picasso (12) and the kittens, Mycroft, Bandit, and J'Zargo (8 months.) Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus (the capital of Ohio) has been our home for the past 20 years. Our boys are involved in travel soccer and many school activities, and they keep us very busy driving them around. That may change when Beckham gets his driver's license soon.

I own a tax practice which I have run out of my house for the past ten years - prior to that, I was the Tax Director for one of the top 100 accounting firms in the US for five years, a shareholder in a small accounting firm for five years, and worked at Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm for 12 years where I headed the local tax compliance department. I have been slowing down my tax practice for the past few years intending to retire soon to spend time with my boys before they go off to college. Ed is in IT at Huntington Bank, a national bank headquartered in Columbus. Beckham is in 10th grade and is accelerated in math - he finished his high school math credits while he was still in middle school. He is currently taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses at one of our local high schools. Keegan is in 7th grade at a local middle school and is accelerated two years in math. He has been struggling with hearing issues since he was about four months old and has been wearing hearing aids in both ears for two years. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia, but he also does very well in school.

I learned to read at a very young age, and have rarely been without a book (or many) since then. My library on LT reflects those books that I have kept track of since I started as a member seven years ago. I am slowly trying to capture books I have read before that time, but I'm guessing that a lot of books that I have read will never be recorded as I have forgotten them. I am totally an addict, and the daily deals on Amazon for $1.99 will probably be my financial ruin. I just cannot help myself when it comes to a bargain of that sort!

I mainly read mysteries, science fiction, fantasy and children's/young adult books (along with my sons.) Specifically, most of the mysteries that I read are British mysteries in the style of the Golden Age of Detection, and I enjoy soft sci-fi, especially dystopian, a bit more than hard sci-fi. Until this past year, Beckham, Keegan and I read together every night, but it has been difficult with Beckham's course load to do this. I hope to start reading together again this year, but realistically it will be weekly, not nightly. In school, I never had to read many of the classics, so I am slowly going back to read some of those. I also try to read several best sellers each year. Additionally, I have been working my way through the Newbery, Hugo, and Nebula awards.

I proudly consider myself to be a geek (okay, maybe a nerd too). My favorite TV shows are Sherlock (BBC version) and Doctor Who (both classic and new series). We enjoy Marvel movies - The Avengers, Captain America, Doctor Strange, etc. - and also the Marvel TV series - Agents of Shield, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Punisher, etc. My other hobbies include making beaded jewelry and sometimes knitting. I love to travel, but since we have children who are quickly approaching college age, we don't do as much as we used to.

If we would win the lottery, the first thing I would do (aside from paying off the mortgage and setting aside the funds for college for my sons) is to go back to school myself! I love to learn and would probably take lots of psychology, philosophy and literature courses.

I'm so glad to be back with the 75'ers again this year and am going to attempt to visit more than I have in the past.

Edited: Jan 3, 7:48am Top

Family Pictures

I thought I would share some pictures of our family.

Ed and I on vacation on the beach at Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 2018

Keegan and Beckham in Massachusetts showing our vacation tradition of trying on gift shop hats - here they try on Pilgrim hats in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


Bandit, Mycroft and J'Zargo inspecting the snowflakes outside

Edited: Jan 6, 5:11pm Top

2017 Summary

Goodreads 2017 My Year in Books

By the numbers

Books read - 181
Average days to read - 2.0

Pages read - 49,009
Average pages per book - 271
Average pages per day - 134

Series read - 68
Books in series read - 122

Longest book read - Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Pages - 592

Shortest book read - The Tea-Leaf by Edgar Jepson
Pages - 12


ARC - 32
Borrowed - 26
New - 91
Reread - 6
TBR - 26


Audio - 15
Ebook - 154
Print - 12


Children - 2
Fantasy - 2
Fiction - 14
Middle Grade - 13
Mystery - 109
Nonfiction - 9
Picture - 1
Science Fiction - 31


Authors by book

Female - 104
Male - 75
Unknown/other - 2

Unique authors

Female - 55
Male - 52
Unknown/other - 2

Authors read for the first time - 59

Living or deceased - unique authors

Deceased - 25
Living - 84

Nationality - unique authors

American - 52
Australian - 1
Canadian - 1
English - 42
German - 2
Irish - 3
Portugese - 1
Scottish - 2
South African - 1
Swedish - 1
Unknown - 2


British Book Award - 1
Caldecott - 1
Eisner - 1
Hugo - 6
National Book Award - 1
Nebula - 4
Newbery - 7
Pulitzer - 1


5.0 - 9
4.5 - 31
4.0 - 85
3.5 - 26
3.0 - 24
2.5 - 3
2.0 - 1
1.5 - 1
1.0 - 1
0.5 - 0

Average rating - 3.86

Average rating of books read per LibraryThing - 3.77
Average rating of books read per Goodreads - 3.94
Average rating of books read per Amazon - 4.27

Decade published

1900 - 1
1910 - 0
1920 - 8
1930 - 4
1940 - 7
1950 - 1
1960 - 6
1970 - 4
1980 - 6
1990 - 12
2000 - 20
2010 - 112

Books added to library

ARC - 40
Purchase - 385
Other - 0
Total - 425

Average cost per book - $4.37

New releases - 33
Percent of new releases purchased - 7.82%

Full price - 118
Percent of full price books purchased - 27.76%

Favorite books by genre

Fiction - A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
Middle - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg
Mystery - The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley
Nonfiction - The Complete Maus by Art Spiegleman
SciFi - Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

Edited: Jan 30, 10:10pm Top

Challenges, Group Reads, etc.

Group Reads

The God Stalk Group Read
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens Group Read
Two Giudo's - Brunetti and Guerrieri - Mystery Read-Along- I'll just participate in the Donna Leon series - every other month - Death at La Fenice
Goodreads - Reading the Detectives - The Abbey Court Murder

Group Read of Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy - Assassin's Apprentice
Group Read Arthur & George
Goodreads - Reading the Detectives - Mystery Mile

Group Read of Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy - Royal Assassin
Two Guido's - Brunetti and Guerrier - Mystery Read-Along - Death in a Strange Country


I plan only to loosely follow the challenges - if I read a book and it fits, I'll count it, but I am not going to plan my reading to complete a challenge. If I need a book to read, I'll consider something that fits the challenge.

PopReadHarderSugarEtc Challenges

PopSugar Reading Challenge
  1. Book with characters who are twins - God Stalk by PC Hodgell
  2. Book mentioned in another book - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  3. Book made into a movie I've already seen - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  4. Book published in 2018 - A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
  5. Book by 2 authors - Last Train to London by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  6. Next book in series - The Curse of Mabb's Farm by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  7. Book with alliteration in the title - Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
  8. Book with a cover I hate - Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim
  9. Book about death or grief - Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  10. Book I meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to - Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

Read Harder Challenge
  1. SciFi with female protagonist and female author - God Stalk by PC Hodgell (equating SciFi with Fantasy here)
  2. Book with a cover I hate - Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim
  3. First book in new to me middle grade or YA series - Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Modern Mrs Darcy
  1. Recommended - God Stalk by PC Hodgell - recommended by Roni
  2. Classic - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  3. Read in a day - A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
  4. Recommended by librarian or bookseller - Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - Keegan's school librarian/teacher

Just the Facts, Ma'am Vintage Mystery Challenge
  1. Why - an author I've never tried - The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes
  2. How - at least two deaths with different means - Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
  3. Where - set in a small village - Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

New Release Challenge
  1. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
  2. Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan

Audiobook Challenge
  1. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  2. Last Train to London by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  3. The Curse of Mabb's Farm by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  4. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

NetGalley Review Challenge
  1. Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
  2. Alpha Alpine by Mary Daheim
  3. Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

British Book Challenge
  1. The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes
  2. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  3. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  4. Last Train to London by Neil Richards
  5. The Curse of Mabb's Farm by Neil Richards
  6. Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
  7. Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Newbery Reading Challenge

British Author Theme Challenge
  1. Debut - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Classics-I-Have-Not-Read Challenge
  1. Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens

  1. January - 15. Read a book with a title that contains the letter u at least twice - The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes
  2. January - 4. Rolling WIKI Challenge - God Stalk by PC Hodgell
  3. January - 4. Rolling WIKI Challenge - Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
  4. January - 4. Rolling WIKI Challenge - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  5. January - 4. Rolling WIKI Challenge - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  6. January - 16. Book with at least 2 word title, containing no prepositions - A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
  7. January - 14. Rolling answer question with title - where go - Last Train to London by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  8. January - 10. Book that has a relation to another book - The Curse of Mabb's Farm (6th book in Cherringham series) by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
  9. January - 16. Book with at least 2 word title, containing no prepositions - Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
  10. January - 10. Book that has a relation to another book - Alpha Alpine (27th book in Emma Lord series by Mary Daheim
  11. January - 4. Rolling WIKI Challenge - Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  12. January - 14. Rolling answer question with title - who meet - Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

Pick and Mix Reading Challenge
  1. God Stalk by PC Hodgell

Space Opera Reading Challenge

Choose Your Own Adventure Reading Challenge

Men of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge

Read the Sequel

I Just Have to Read More of That Author

Edited: Jan 27, 12:41pm Top

My Kindle Preorders

This is where I keep up with the books that I have preordered on amazon.com. These are mostly series books for which I am waiting for the next installment

  1. Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan - Mordecai Tremaine - January 2, 2018 - received, read
  2. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn - Veronica Speedwell - January 16, 2018 - received, read
  3. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley - Flavia de Luce - January 30, 2018 - received, read
  4. Death of an Honest Man by MC Beaton - Hamish MacBeth - February 1, 2018 - received, read
  5. Beau Death by Peter Lovesey - Peter Diamond - February 6, 2018 - received, read
  6. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen - February 20, 2018
  7. Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O'Connor - February 27, 2018
  8. The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George - Inspector Lynley - March 6, 2018
  9. Money in the Morgue by Stella Duffy and Ngaio Marsh - Roderick Alleyn - March 8, 2017 (in UK)
  10. To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs - March 20, 2018
  11. Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler - Bryant & May - March 22, 2018
  12. The Roubaud Connection by Estelle Ryan - Genevieve Lenard - March 22, 2018
  13. The Knowledge by Martha Grimes - Richard Jury - April 3, 2018
  14. Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry - Daniel Pitt (new series) - April 10, 2018
  15. Head On by John Scalzi - Lock In - April 17, 2018
  16. Dark Tide Rising by Anne Perry - William Monk - April 19, 2018
  17. So Pretty a Problem by Francis Duncan - Mordecai Tremaine - May 1, 2018
  18. The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths - Ruth Galloway - May 15, 2017
  19. Island of the Mad by Laurie R King - Mary Russell - June 12, 2018
  20. Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom by Nancy Atherton - Aunt Dimity - June 12, 2018
  21. Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen - Royal Spyness - August 7, 2018
  22. The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal - Maggie Hope - August 7, 2018
  23. Don't Eat Me by Colin Cotterill - Siri Paiboun - August 14, 2018
  24. The Paddington Mystery by John Rhode - Dr. Priestley - August 14, 2018
  25. Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves - Shetland Island- September 6, 2018
  26. The Dead Ringer by MC Beaton - Agatha Raisin- October 4, 2018
  27. The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths - Stephens & Mephisto - 11/2/2018 - received

Edited: Jan 30, 10:11pm Top

Planned Reading

I've never planned out what I read before. I've just had a vague idea of books that I might like to read, and I just picked my next books based on a whim. This year, I have decided to try to plan my reading a little. There are many books that I have wanted to read, but I never get around to, and I'd also like to plan to participate in various challenges. So...here is my attempt to plan my reading.

Planned Reading

  1. The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes
  2. God Stalk by PC Hodgell - group read
  3. Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens - group read
  4. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon - group read
  5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  6. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  7. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
  8. Alpine Alpha by Mary Daheim- ARC
  9. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu - Hugo
  10. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli - Newbery
  11. Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan - ARC
  12. Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths
  13. A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill - ARC - currently reading
  14. A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis - ARC
  15. Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate - ARC
  16. Paving the New Road by Sulari Gentill - ARC
  17. Death Makes a Prophet by John Bude - ARC
  18. The Long Arm of the Law by Martin Edwards - ARC
  19. Murder in Bloomsbury by D M Quincy - ARC
  20. Last Train to London by Neil Richards
  21. Murder in Mayfair by D M Quincy
  22. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen - preorder
  23. Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O'Connor - preorder
  24. The Roubaud Connection by Estelle Ryan - preorder
  25. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Poetzsch - currently reading
  26. On the Beach by Nevil Shute - currently reading
  27. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  28. The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George - preorder
  29. Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh - preorder
  30. To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear - preorder
  31. The Windup Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi
  32. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill- Newbery
  33. The Knowledge by Martha Grimes - preorder
  34. Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry - preorder
  35. Head On by John Scalzi - preorder
  36. Dark Tide Rising by Anne Perry - preorder
  37. So Pretty a Problem by Francis Duncan - preorder
  38. The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths - preorder
  39. Island of the Mad by Laurie R King - preorder
  40. Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom by Nancy Atherton - preorder
  41. Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen - preorder
  42. The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal - preorder
  43. Don't Eat Me by Colin Cotterill - preorder
  44. Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves - preorder
  45. The Dead Ringer by MC Beaton - preorder
  46. The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - series
  47. Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card - series
  48. Sleep No More by PD James
  49. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
  50. Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold - series
  51. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold - series
  52. Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold - series
  53. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold - series
  54. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton - SantaThing
  55. Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton - SantaThing
  56. Death in the Shadows by Paul McCusker - Xmas
  57. Lonesome Road by Patricia Wentworth - series
  58. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham - series
  59. The Wench is Dead by Colin Dexter - series
  60. Some Die Eloquent by Catherine Aird - series
  61. The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop by Gladys Mitchell - series
  62. Inferno by Dan Brown - series
  63. The Water Room by Christopher Fowler - series
  64. Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves - series
  65. The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs - series
  66. The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries by Emily Brightwell - series
  67. A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey - series
  68. Hyperion by Dan Simmons - Hugo
  69. Provenance by Ann Leckie
  70. The Curse of Mabb's Farm by Neil Richards - series
  71. The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
  72. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  73. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  74. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  75. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  76. The Tenant of Wildfeld Hall by Anne Bronte
  77. The Children of Men by PD James
  78. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
  79. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
  80. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  81. No Man Dies Twice by Michael Smith
  82. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  83. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
  84. The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
  85. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobbs

Edited: Jan 27, 12:46pm Top

My Series

My Series on FictFact.com

Next Book List on FictFact.com

Active Series with Which I’m Current

Peter Diamond by Peter Lovesey
Inspector Lynley by Elizabeth George
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James by Deborah Crombie
Flavia de Luce by Alan Bradley
Mary Russell by Laurie R King
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Hamish MacBeth by MC Beaton
Agatha Raisin by MC Beaton
Siri Paiboun by Colin Cotterill
Genevieve Lenard by Estelle Ryan
Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
Freddy Pilkington-Soames by Clara Benson
Rosalind Thorne by Darcie Wilde
Aunt Dimity by Nancy Atherton
Isabel Dalhousie by Alexander McCall Smith
Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie
Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Clare Fergusson by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Maggie Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal
Grantchester by James Runcie
Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths
A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn
Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde
Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde
Shetland by Ann Cleeves
Richard Jury by Martha Grimes

Series I’m Reading

Stephens & Mephisto by Elly Griffiths - The Vanishing Box
Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold - Diplomatic Immunity
Robert Langdon by Dan Brown - Inferno
Inspector Morse by Colin Dexter - The Wench is Dead
Touchstone by Laurie R King - Touchstone
Inspector Richardson by Basil Thomson - The Case of Naomi Clynes
Bryant & May by Christopher Fowler - The Water Room
Alan Grant by Josephine Tey - A Shilling for Candles
Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters - The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog
Albert Campion by Margery Allingham - Mystery Mile
Inspector Sloan by Catherine Aird - Some Die Eloquent
Fethering by Simon Brett - Death on the Downs
Mrs Jeffries by Emily Brightwell - The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries
Jimm Juree by Colin Cotterill - Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach
Alexandra Gladstone by Paula Paul - Symptoms of Death
Inspector Banks by Peter Robinson - Past Reason Hated
Detective Lavender by Karen Charlton - The Sans Pareil Mystery
Sergeant Cribb by Peter Lovesey - The Detective Wore Silk Drawers
Miss Silver by Patricia Wentworth - Lonesome Road
Mrs Bradley by Gladys Mitchell - The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop
Inspector William Meredith by John Bude - The Lake District Murder
Inspector Wexford by Ruth Rendell - Sins of the Fathers
Roger Sheringham by Anthony Berkeley - The Wychford Poisoning Case
Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny - A Fatal Grace
Discworld by Terry Pratchett - The Light Fantastic
Desmond Merrion by Miles Burton - Menace on the Downs
Father Gilbert by Paul McCusker - Death in the Shadows
Inspector Ramsey by Ann Cleeves - A Day In The Death Of Dorothea Cassidy
George and Molly Palmer-Jones by Ann Cleeves - Come Death and High Water
Vera Stanhope by Ann Cleeves - Hidden Depths
Inspector Littlejohn by George Bellairs - He'd Rather Be Dead
Inspector Pointer by A Fielding - The Charteris Mystery
Guido Brunetti by Donna Leon - Death in a Strange Country
Kencyrath by PC Hodgell - Dark of the Moon
Cherringham by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello - The Body in the Lake
Mordecai Tremaine by Francis Duncan - So Pretty a Problem

Series I've Finished - Too numerous to list all, but here are several

Adam Dalgleish by PD James
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Goldy Schultz by Diane Davidson Mott
Chief Inspector Barnaby by Caroline Graham
Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie
Miss Marple by Agatha Christie
Peter Wimsey by Dorothy Sayers
Constable Evan Evans by Rhys Bowen
Oliver Swithin by Alan Beechy
Roderick Alleyn by Ngaio Marsh
Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
Maze Runner by James Dashner
Burford Family by James Anderson
Angela Marchmont by Clara Benson
Foundationand Extended Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Robot by Isaac Asimov
Empire by Isaac Asimov
Integral Trees by Larry Niven
Oxford Time Travel by Connie Willis
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Dalziel and Pascoe by Reginald Hill
The Cat Who by Lilian Jackson Braun
Ender by Orson Scott Card
Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie
Lady Julia Grey by Deanna Raybourn
Very English Mystery by Elizabeth Edmondson

Edited: Jan 3, 11:22pm Top

Newbery Awards

ala.org Newbery Medal and Honors List 1922 to Present

Medal Winners

2017 -
2016 - Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
2015 -
2014 - Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
2013 - The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
2012 -
2011 -
2010 - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2008 -
2007 -
2006 -
2005 -
2004 - The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
2003 -
2002 - A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
2001 -
2000 -
1999 -
1998 -
1997 - The View from Saturday by E L Konigsburg
1996 -
1995 -
1994 - The Giver by Lois Lowry
1993 -
1992 -
1991 -
1990 - Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
1989 -
1988 -
1987 -
1986 -
1985 -
1984 -
1983 -
1982 -
1981 -
1980 -
1979 - The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978 - The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1977 -
1976 -
1975 -
1974 -
1973 -
1972 -
1971 -
1970 -
1969 - The High King by Lloyd Alexander
1968 - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E L Konigsburg
1967 -
1966 -
1965 -
1964 - It's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville
1963 - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
1962 -
1961 -
1960 -
1959 - The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
1958 -
1957 -
1956 -
1955 -
1954 -
1953 -
1952 - Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
1951 -
1950 -
1949 -
1948 -
1947 -
1946 -
1945 -
1944 -
1943 -
1942 -
1941 -
1940 -
1939 -
1938 -
1937 -
1936 - Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink - Medal
1935 -
1934 -
1933 -
1932 -
1931 -
1930 -
1929 -
1928 -
1927 -
1926 -
1925 -
1924 -
1923 -
1922 -

Honors Books

2016 Honors - Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
2016 Honors - The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
2015 Honors - El Deafo by Cece Bell
2014 Honors - The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
2007 Honors - Rules by Cynthia Lord
1983 Honors - Doctor DeSoto by William Steig
1966 Honors - The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
1964 Honors - Rascal by Sterling North
1957 Honors - Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
1953 Honors - Charlotte's Web by EB White
1949 Honors - My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannett
1948 Honors - Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
1944 Honors - These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
1942 Honors - Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
1941 Honors - The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
1940 Honors - By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
1939 Honors - Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
1938 Honors - On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
1929 Honors - Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag

Edited: Jan 4, 2:58pm Top

Hugo Awards

Hugo Award for Best Novel List

2017 -
2016 -
2015 -
2014 - Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
2013 - Redshirts by John Scalzi
2012 -
2011 - Blackout by Connie Willis
2011 - All Clear by Connie Willis
2010 -
2010 -
2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
2007 -
2006 -
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2004 -
2003 -
2002 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
2000 -
1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
1998 -
1997 -
1996 -
1995 - Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
1994 -
1993 - Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
1992 - Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
1991 - The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
1990 -
1989 -
1988 -
1987 - Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
1986 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
1985 - Neuromancer by William Gibson
1984 -
1983 - Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov
1982 -
1981 -
1980 -
1979 -
1978 -
1977 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
1976 - The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
1975 -
1974 - Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke
1973 - The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
1972 -
1971 - Ringworld by Larry Niven
1970 - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
1969 -
1968 -
1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
1966 - Dune by Frank Herbert
1966 -
1965 -
1964 -
1963 - Man in the High Castle by Phillip K Dick
1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
1961 - A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller
1960 -
1959 -
1958 - The Big Time by Fritz Leiber
1956 -
1955 -
1954 - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1953 -
1951 -
1946 - The Mule from Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
1941 -
1939 - The Sword in the Stone from The Once and Future King by TH White

Edited: Jan 4, 2:58pm Top

Nebula Awards

Nebula Award for Best Novel List

2017 - All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
2016 -
2015 -
2014 - Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
2013 -
2012 -
2011 - Blackout by Connie Willis
2011 - All Clear by Connie Willis
2010 -
2009 -
2008 - The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
2007 -
2006 -
2005 -
2004 -
2003 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
2002 -
2001 -
2000 -
1999 -
1998 -
1997 -
1996 -
1995 -
1994 -
1993 - The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
1992 -
1991 -
1990 -
1989 - Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
1988 -
1987 - Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
1986 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
1985 - Neuromancer by William Gibson
1984 -
1983 -
1982 -
1981 -
1980 -
1979 -
1978 -
1977 -
1976 - The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
1975 -
1974 - Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke
1973 - The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
1972 -
1971 - Ringworld by Larry Niven
1970 - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin
1969 -
1968 -
1967 - Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
1967 -
1966 - Dune by Frank Herbert

Edited: Jan 8, 8:45pm Top

A Book A Year

I loved this idea - so I am copying Paul, Roni, Karen and possibly others. This may take some time to put together - I started it a month or so ago and then lost my list, so I will be adding slowly. These books may not necessarily be my favorite book published that year, but are books that I have rated highly, enjoyed, and likely reread, and have some meaning to me. I've tried not to add too many books by one author and have tried to keep it representative of my overall library.

(Published dates according to Wikipedia)

1963 - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
1964 - The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
1965 - Dune by Frank Herbert
1966 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein and Tall and Proud by Vian Smith
1967 - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg
1968 - The Queen's Confession by Victoria Holt and That Barbara! by Wilma Thompson
1969 - Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
1970 - Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
1971 - The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
1972 - Watership Down by Richard Adams and All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott
1973 - The Princess Bride by William Goldman
1974 - Carrie by Stephen King and Centennial by James Michner
1975 - Curtain by Agatha Christie
1976 - Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter
1977 - The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough and The Shining by Stephen King
1978 - The Stand by Stephen King
1979 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
1980 - The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
1981 - The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes
1982 - Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov
1983 - The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov and Deadheads by Reginald Hill
1984 - The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
1985 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov
1986 - The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold and Maus by Art Spiegleman
1987 - The Sign of Chaos by Roger Zelazny and Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
1988 - Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov and A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
1989 - The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1990 - Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov and Devices and Desires by PD James
1991 - The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey
1992 - The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
1993 - The Giver by Lois Lowry
1994 - The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King
1995 - Wicked by Gregory Maguire
1996 - A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin and Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
1997 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
1998 - No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
1999 - Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
2000 - Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
2001 - The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
2002 - Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner by Linda Kreger Silverman
2003 - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
2004 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2005 - Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
2006 -
2007 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
2008 - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
2009 - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2010 - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
2011 - Headhunters by Jo Nesbo, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
2012 - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
2013 -
2014 - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
2015 - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
2016 - Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation by James Runcie
2017 - The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

Edited: Jan 3, 3:08pm Top

2017 Book Meme

Just because!

Describe yourself: The Time Traveler's Wife

Describe how you feel: Queen of the Flowers

Describe where you currently live: Full Dark House

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Borders of Infinity

Your favorite form of transportation: Darkship Revenge

Your best friend is: A Gentleman in Moscow

You and your friends are: On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service

What’s the weather like: Blue Lightning

You fear: Death at the Seaside

What is the best advice you have to give: Number the Stars

Thought for the day: A Bird in the Hand

How you would like to die: Murder by Moonlight

Your soul’s present condition: Jane, Unlimited

Edited: Jan 3, 2:35pm Top

Retzler Family Reading Update

Robin reading - just finished The Abbey Court Murder by Annie Haynes so that I can start on God Stalk and Nicholas Nickleby

Robin listening - Last Train to London a Cherringham short mystery by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello

Ed - Camino Island by John Grisham

Beckham - A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

Keegan - Magyk by Angie Sage

Keegan and Robin listening - we have a little under 2 hours left of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Beckham, Keegan and Robin - reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J K Rowling

Edited: Jan 29, 7:59pm Top

Jan 3, 2:00am Top

Next one's yours - please come back and visit when the "construction" is finished.

Jan 3, 6:14am Top

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

Jan 3, 8:22am Top

Happy New Year! Wow, that's a lot of planning!

Jan 3, 9:21am Top

Happy New Year, Robin!

Jan 3, 9:46am Top

Happy new year! I think you've earned the Planning Award for the year... 😁

Jan 3, 11:21am Top

Dropping a star, Robin!

Jan 3, 11:24am Top

>6 rretzler: On the Beach is one of my all-time favorite books, so I selfishly hope that you enjoy it, Robin!

Jan 3, 11:39am Top

Happy reading in 2018, Robin, you have a lot of reading planned :-)

Jan 3, 11:43am Top

Hi Robin! Happy New Year! Dropping a star and hoping you have a great day!

Edited: Jan 3, 12:44pm Top

Happy New Year, Robin!

Jan 3, 3:08pm Top

>2 rretzler: My fur boys send greetings to your children. I wish you a 2018 full of great reads!

Jan 3, 3:50pm Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 3, 4:02pm Top

Love the organization of your thread! (And the Cape is a favorite destination for our family, too!)

Jan 3, 4:59pm Top

Happy New Year and happy new thread!

Jan 3, 11:52pm Top

Wow! While I was busy up top, a lot was going on down here! Happy New Year and Welcome everyone!

>21 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul. Is that an original poem? I really like it.

>22 archerygirl: Hi, Katherine. Once I got started with planning the reading, I couldn't stop. We'll see if it works out...

>23 norabelle414: Hi, Nora. Happy new year and welcome!

>24 drneutron: Hi, Jim. Award accepted - I'd like to thank the publishers...😜

>25 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie. I'll be by tomorrow with my star.

>26 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. I loved A Town Like Alice and thought On the Beach would appeal to me too. I bought the book on Amazon early last year and unfortunately, I found I had purchased a very bad abridged version. I kept reading, but thinking that it couldn't possibly be written by the same author that wrote Alice. The "fake" book left a bad taste in my mouth, but I know I will like the actual version once I finally get going.

>27 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita. Indeed, I do have a lot of reading planned. I hope I'll be able to add books that I discover during the year, but since I read 180+ books in 2017, I'm guessing I'll be okay.

>28 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie. Thanks!

>29 humouress: Hi, Nina. What a lovely sentiment!

>30 thornton37814: Hi, Lori. My clowder of cats says hello to yours! And I just learned that a group of cats can be called a clowder, a glaring, a clutter or a pounce. Personally, I think pounce is the "purrfect" term. 😜

>31 ronincats: Hi, Roni. Thanks once again for organizing the group read. Have you given a thought to another after we finish God Stalk?

>32 countrylife: Hi, Cindy. Thanks! I took some time to think things out this year. I figured since I had planned my reading, I might as well plan my thread too (with a lot of borrowed ideas!)

>33 foggidawn: Hi, foggi! Thanks!

Jan 3, 11:54pm Top

Except for filling in A Book A Year, I think my construction is done. Now I need to start making some visits.

Jan 4, 12:42am Top

Interesting...at least to me. As I work on the computer, I typically have some show or other playing on my iPad for background noise. I don't always pay attention, but it helps to keep my brain occupied. Tonight, I am watching The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries based on Gladys Mitchell's Mrs Bradley books. Those who know me, know that I am a huge Doctor Who fan. Imagine my surprise when I hear David Tennant speaking and then a few minutes later Peter Davison appears onscreen! What fun!!

Jan 4, 9:22am Top

>34 rretzler: It's definitely a "pounce" around here!

Jan 4, 9:41am Top

Happy New Year, Robin! Nice photos up top of you and Ed and the boys.

Jan 4, 11:31am Top

Happy new year! I look forward to your mystery reviews, especially the Golden Age reviews.

Jan 4, 3:19pm Top

>37 thornton37814: It's a pounce with us too, Lori. Bandit is our "pounciest" - he will attack anything and everything. J'Zargo is very laid back - he likes to fetch, so you can literally spend an hour throwing his puffball and having him bring it back. Mycroft will only pounce when the time is right, and only on the other cats. He's pretty skittish of anyone but me, which is an improvement over him running from everyone earlier this year. Picasso is our elder statesman and holds himself above the fray, although occasionally when he thinks no one is looking, he will try out one of the toys, or get on the counter.

>38 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Figured it was about time I put some pictures of us up.

>39 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer. My reviews kind of fell off at the end of the year, so I'm going to try to keep up with them this year.

Jan 5, 9:22am Top

Happy New Year, Robin! Wishing you a year filled with awesome reads.

Jan 5, 9:52am Top

Happy new year, Robin!

Jan 5, 10:12am Top

>40 rretzler: Love reading about the different personalities of your kitties, Robin. Our Mischief loves to play fetch, too - she prefers a bottle cap.

Jan 5, 11:50am Top

Also dropping a star here, Robin.

Glad to see A Man Called Ove on your favourites list. I enjoyed it so much - also the movie version was good.

Another of your favorites reminded me that I have to start on the Flavia de Luce books. They have been in my TBR for a long time and I have a feeling I would enjoy them a lot.

Great to see your Newbery medal list - I didn't make progress with that last year, but hopefully there will be some to check off this year. I think all the Newbery books I've read have been good - and many great. It's a strong list!

Jan 5, 12:17pm Top

Quick visit, Robin!
We also have a pounce of cats, and Elle, the oldest is the pounciest. None of them does badly though. And just so you'll know, Elle's kittens are Tully and Hilfy Bit, who are a good bit older than the other family's mama Willow, whose kits are Sparks and Lulu. All are strong purrsonalities, as I guess is true of cats in general.
Hope 2018 is a wonderful year of reading and pouncing for you and your whole family! Love the pictures!!!

Jan 5, 9:23pm Top

Found your thread at last, so I can finally wish you a happy new year, with lots of good reading!

How organised you are! It must have taken some time to set your thread up.

Jan 5, 10:49pm Top

Oh my stars, Robin! I discovered via your thread that a new Jaqueline Winspear is coming out this year and I immediately added to my " priority " wish list, as opposed to my " someday " wish list. Good news indeed. I am also looking forward to the new Flavia de Luce book that comes Jan 30 , 2018. I'll be dropping my star here!

Jan 5, 11:09pm Top

>47 vancouverdeb: Isn't it exciting, Deborah! I was fortunate enough to get an ARC copy of the new Flavia and read it all too quickly. IMO, it was a great book! I can't wait to hear what you think - I'd love to discuss it with you. It's been so hard to hold my thoughts!

Jan 5, 11:21pm Top

>41 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda! The same to you.

>42 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. Ditto!

>43 Crazymamie: Too funny, Mamie (and what a great name for a cat!) You certainly don't hear of many cats playing fetch! We had another cat years ago, Dude, who used to fetch the plastic ring that holds the cap on a gallon milk jug. He loved to bring those back - and he would always know when my husband was going to the freezer to get ice cream (which he did about every night.) Ed could be getting broccoli out of the freezer, and no Dude. But open the freezer for ice cream and he was right there. Of course, Ed let him lick the bowl every time!

>44 ctpress: Carsten, yes, Ove was a great book. I'm looking forward to reading more by Backman. I hope you do read Flavia soon, it is one of my favorite series.

>45 LizzieD: Peggy, another cat lover! Wonderful! What great names!

>46 EllaTim: Hi, Ella. Yes, it did take a few days to organize. I had been thinking about what I had seen others do and taking notes, but I feel like I've been on LT for about 5 complete straight days now! Not that I'm complaining!

Jan 5, 11:28pm Top

So I think I've finally made it around to visit all of my 75er friends at least once. Whew! Although its still early in the year, a few of my friends are noticably absent and I hope that I will see them still this year: bohemima, lit_chick, tututhefirst, kgriffith, bonniejune54, and countrylife. I'll be on the lookout for all of you! If you happen to visit, please make sure to give me the link to your threads.

Jan 5, 11:30pm Top

I'm debating with myself as to whether I should join the Category Challenge and/or do the TIOLI challenge. I am so tempted...but I don't know if I'll be able to keep up. Hmmm...perhaps I'll watch and then join in when I can. They both look so fun!

Jan 5, 11:34pm Top

Join everything! There's always the LI part of the challenge ;0)

Jan 6, 12:33am Top

I see by your lists that you do a lot of what I call meta-booking. Of course LT opens up whole new vistas of meta-booking.

Jan 6, 12:37am Top

Happy New Year, Robin. You are very organized. Maybe I'll hire you to do my thread. :) I hope 2018 is filled with great reading.

Jan 6, 1:01am Top

Happy New Year, Robin! Stopping by to star your thread so I can continue to follow your reading and other adventures. Love the family pics! Picasso looks a little disgruntled but one doesn't always expect a cat to "toe the line". ;-)

Love the planning! I am nowhere near as organized, but I do appreciate a well planned reading list!

Jan 6, 2:26am Top

>52 humouress: Nina, that's my problem - I'm a joiner. I've somehow managed to hold off over the years, but the need to be involved is getting to me!

>53 quondame: Susan, tell me more about this meta-booking of which you speak. Meta is becoming a buzz-work around our house.

>54 BLBera: Thanks, Beth...I'm available for parties too! 😜 This is the first year I've planned my reading, so I have some trepidation about it. I guess if it's not working, I'll abandon it quickly!

>55 lkernagh: Actually, Lori, that's a very un-disgruntled (I always think gruntled should be a word) picture of Picasso! He has been disgruntled ever since the kittens invaded his territory! And I don't blame him, after all, he has to fight the kittens for his bed because I haven't gotten around to making beds for the kittens yet - and he has to share his treats with others!

Jan 6, 3:02am Top

>56 rretzler: Anything to do with books that's not reading or writing them. Reviewing, making up lists of books or authors, spending time talking about books on LT, though general socializing with bookish friends is iffy, repairing books, shopping for books. I'm sure you can add to the list. Working in a library is way up there of course.

Jan 6, 9:53am Top

>51 rretzler: TIOLI means Take It Or Leave It, so there is nothing to keep up ;-)

Jan 6, 11:06am Top

>57 quondame: Susan, yes, I would say I would qualify as a meta-booker, although I'm sure I spend more time reading than keeping track (except for 2018 so far.) 😜

>58 FAMeulstee: Anita, I meant that I would probably forget that I was actually doing the challenge and not try to figure out whether what I was reading qualified. I tried once before and I think I managed about 1 month before I decided I would rather read than figure out to which category my book belonged! 😜 I'm guessing with everything that I've taken on this year, I may soon come to the same conclusion, but we'll see. Maybe I can set aside a non-reading day (horrors!) to do it. I would like to, as it would force the introvert in me to be more social!

Jan 6, 11:10am Top

And I still have yet to review the book that I finished 3 days ago...Today, it will definitely be today. But first, I need to go to the BMV to get license plates for Beckham's new car. Then Keegan has soccer practice and an indoor soccer game. Then to the grocery store because we're out of milk, sigh. And laundry...that needs to get done today. And I need to read a little of each of the 3 books for group reads. Yikes, I better get started...

Jan 6, 2:18pm Top

Robin--Egads woman! How do you keep all those challenges straight! I think you win for trying to participate in the most. For sure. And you know what that means? You have a great year of reading ahead! Happy New Year and have fun.

Jan 6, 2:40pm Top

>60 rretzler: Woow-woow! New car! How scary.

Jan 6, 4:40pm Top

>61 Berly: Databases, Kim, databases. I predict the challenges will fall by the wayside by March though, as I will get tired of trying to think about them. But, yes, I do have a great year of reading ahead, as always! And as we all do!

>62 humouress: Definitely scary, Nina. Plus we have a lot of snow, and he's still learning. I guess it's better for him to learn in the snow now than to have to learn when he's driving by himself later, but I'm not ready for a new driver!

Jan 7, 7:31am Top

Happy Reading, in 2018, Robin! I have been seeing you posting around the threads, so I thought I would stop by and say hello. I always admire a chatty book lover. I like the family photos up there.

I am also really enjoying Nickelby.

Jan 7, 9:08am Top

>64 msf59: Hi, Mark. Welcome. Glad you could visit. Love to talk about books, absolutely hate to write reviews - how weird is that?

Jan 7, 9:30am Top

Hi Robin!

Yikes. Sorry for such a late first visit - happy new thread!

I love the pics of you and your family, including the kitties.

>61 Berly: and >63 rretzler: I 'only' use Excel, but absolutely get keeping track of things electronically.

Jan 7, 9:40am Top

>66 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. Glad you stopped by.

I highly recommend airtable.com, for anyone, if you are keeping track electronically, of anything. I started with Excel, many years ago and wanted something a little more, so I used Microsoft Access for a few years. Now I'm pretty handy with computers and programs, if I do say so myself, but Access is not in the least bit intuitive. Airtable, on the other hand, has a lot of what is commonly used in a database built in - its a database for dummies (actually I think more for smarties, because who would ever want to bang their head against the wall with Access when they could use Airtable.) I've gone so crazy with airtable, that I have 30+ databases to track many, many things - books, gifts, charitable contributions, vet visits, etc.)

Jan 7, 10:21am Top

>67 rretzler: Oh, interesting! I've just started tinkering with Airtable to organizing my craft projects! I'm still learning how it works, though.

Jan 7, 10:30am Top

I've never heard of it..... in my former working life I was a programmer/analyst, so could probably figure it out reasonably well. Thanks for the suggestion!

Edited: Jan 7, 11:41am Top

>68 scaifea: Amber, what a coincidence! I think you'll find it easy to use and very handy.

>69 karenmarie: Karen, if you have programming experience it should be very easy for you.

I basically just started to use it, although I had to tinker a little just to see what it could do. There are still a few things, that wish it would handle differently. For instance, it has a pre-defined field type that is star rating. I discovered very quickly that the field type didn't lend itself to mathematical functions - I couldn't average the ratings - so I just added a table with ratings. I've done a couple of other things so that I could get it to perform mathematical functions on my ratings as well, so while it has a huge amount of functionality, there are things that could be better. It's still miles ahead of Access, though.

If anyone is interested, here are links to some of my databases - I will warn you that I go way overboard in the data that I collect, but it may give you some idea of how you can use it:

Books Read
Books Purchased
Monthly Book Stats

ETA - bummer, I see from the shared links that it doesn't show what type of field each table column is - which somewhat negates the reason for sharing it. So here is a copy of a base that that I think you can play around with - not sure but you might have to have an account to use it though.

Copy of Books Read

Jan 7, 11:56am Top

Hi, Robin! Dropping a star. You are very organized!

I'll be interested in your review of the Annie Haynes book. I wasn't particularly impressed with the one I read a few years ago, but I have left the door open to trying more.

Airtable sounds interesting. I have a few hobby-related things I was considering using Excel to track, but I'd be interested in an alternative more easily accessible on the go.

Jan 7, 1:32pm Top

>71 harrygbutler: Welcome, Harry, and thank you.

I'm in the process of writing my review now, and I have to say that I agree with your assessment of Annie Haynes work. I may read another as well, but if its like the first, consider me very disappointed.

Airtable is the way to go!

Jan 7, 1:39pm Top

Ha, ha. I'm writing my review in Word before posting it here, and I use Grammarly to help as I am terrible at proof-reading my own work. I know what I want it to say, but I tend to skip words at times, and I do not always catch the error. Anyway, I noticed that I had typed "neighboring" and Grammarly had corrected it to "neighbouring." Odd I thought to have it use the British spelling, but okay. Then a little later, I use the expression "eyewitness." Grammarly tells me that I have used a "possible Americanism." I think I must be reading too many British books that my grammar checker somehow has set itself to British English!

Edited: Jan 7, 11:49pm Top

1. The Abbey Court Murder By Annie Haynes

Original publication date: 1923
Genre: Mystery
Source: Amazon
Format: Ebook
Type: TBR
Series: Inspector Furnival #1
Page count: 271
Challenge(s): TIOLI, Just the Facts Ma'am, British Book Challenge

Lady Carew and Sir Anthony Carew have been happily married for two years. Prior to her marriage, Judith (Lady Carew) was the governess for Sir Anthony’s half-sister, Peggy While attending a society wedding, a passer-by spots Judith and seeks her out, while her husband is busy elsewhere. Judith is stunned to find that this man is not dead, and he coerces her to meet him at his residence in Abbey Court later that evening. A worried Judith feigns illness and escapes her house that evening, taking her husband’s revolver and making her way to the apartments of the mystery man. During their confrontation, the man reveals certain things that Judith would not want her husband to know, and as she tries to flee, she accidentally turns out the lights. She is frantic and in the confusion that follows a bottle of ink is knocked over, a shot rings out, and she runs into the man, who is bleeding. Judith manages to escape from the man’s apartments, but unbeknownst to her, someone is watching her from the shadows of the house across the street. The next day, she feels that Sir Anthony’s affections for her have cooled. She becomes frantic at the thought that the police will believe she killed the man, and she contrives to be taken to their country home, Heron’s Carew. There she meets another old acquaintance, who has recently inherited a neighboring estate and become Lord Chesterham. He knows more about Judith’s past than she would like, and he blackmails Judith into agreeing to his wedding to Peggy by threatening to reveal her secret if she opposes the marriage. Finally, Inspector Furnival of Scotland Yard gets involved in straightening out the mess and uncovering the murderer.

The Abbey Court Murder, written in 1923, is the first book in the three-book Inspector Furnival series written by Annie Haynes. It is marketed as a Golden Age mystery, and in the introduction to the book, we learn that Haynes was only one of two female authors published by The Bodley Head at the time – the other being Agatha Christie.

As much as I enjoy Golden Age mysteries, this one didn’t really appeal to me. It doesn’t really read like a true GA mystery – we spend quite a bit of time inside Judith’s head, worrying about whether her secret will be discovered, or whether someone will think her guilty of the murder. None of the other characters are very fleshed out, which is somewhat typical of a GA mystery, but I think we get to know Judith a little too well. Also, Inspector Furnival doesn’t come into the book until around the 40% mark, and even though this is his series, he doesn’t really play a large part in the book. The only real detecting is done “off screen”, so to speak, and in the book, he merely detects by confirming what he already seems to know. In fact, it is still a mystery to me how Scotland Yard even remotely connected the Carews to Abbey Court (I’m not giving anything away here, of course, we know that both Judith and Sir Anthony have to be suspects.) Although Judith’s fan and the revolver were left at the scene, there was nothing to have connected those items to the Carew household. It is only after Scotland Yard realized that the Carews were involved that those items were identified as belonging to the Carews. How they figured out that the Carews were involved in the first place is never explained. There was an eyewitness who saw Judith at the scene, but his description was a tall, slender woman with fair hair and a low, pleasant voice, who was a lady. As this was London, I would imagine that description would apply to at least hundreds (thousands?) of women .It was, at least to me, fairly obvious as to who the murderer was.

I thought both Judith and Sir Anthony acted very stupidly towards each other. Honestly, I felt at times I was reading more of a romance novel than a mystery novel, you know the kind, where there is a misunderstanding on both sides and neither wants to confide in the person that they love. The writing itself was easy to read, but her style just did not appeal to me. It wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just was not what I was expecting, and from that aspect, I was disappointed.

Jan 7, 2:28pm Top

Happy Sunday, Robin!

I love your thread - it's so organized. And I always love when people share pictures. It helps put a face with a name :)

Where did you go on Cape Cod on your vacation? I've spent a lot of time there and love it. We'll be there for a week in May - combining a bit of vacation with a family wedding.

Jan 7, 2:55pm Top

Hey there, dropping by to say hello and thank you for visiting my humble thread. God, you're another one of those organized readers! There are certainly plenty of them in the 75rs.

You asked what my secret is when it comes to losing weight: AUDIO BOOKS! Put your headphones in and your sneakers on (or trainers if you want it in "Whovian speak") and head out the door. The northern suburbs of Dallas are full of walking and biking paths available from dawn to dusk and I take full advantage of them. The other secret is having a hubby who's willing to walk with me. We keep each "mostly" honest. :)

Jan 7, 8:45pm Top

Ohh a new car for one of your sons! I remember those days! My two are 33 and 27. Crosses fingers - both have had a small accident - a rear ender in one case and a tangle with pole while parking. I think maybe it's not too bad to have small bump up , and then you know to be more cautious .

Jan 7, 10:07pm Top

>74 rretzler: I always wonder if I would have enjoyed those older mysteries more if I'd read them when they first came out. Some age better than others.

Jan 7, 10:46pm Top

We do have a lot of overlapping interests. I'll be sure to check in here again and again this year. :)

Jan 7, 11:18pm Top

>75 katiekrug: Katie, this trip we only spent a day on the cape. We stayed in the Yarmouth/Dennis area overnight. It is a great place to visit. We always enjoy going to the Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich. They have added a glassblowing demonstration since we were there the last time.

>76 hairballsrus: Paula, I'm not nearly as organized as it may seem. This is the first year I have ever tried to organize my reading, and we'll see how that works out. I have so many books TBR, and I never seem to get around to them. I usually prefer to pick books on a whim. This year, I thought if I tried to plan things out, perhaps I would finally get around to some of those books finally. And I've never done the challenges before - I predict by mid-March those may go by the wayside!

Sounds like a great way to stay active! I used to listen to a lot more audio books when I had a 30 minute plus each way commute, but now I work from home and don't listen as much as I used to. I'll probably have to wait out the snow and extremely low temps, but I hear the weather may get into the 30s this week - which will be a real heat wave for us!

Edited: Jan 7, 11:23pm Top

>76 hairballsrus: The other secret is having a hubby who's willing to walk with me Hah; mine always has an excuse, even if he has promised to walk with me, so we both end up sitting at home getting fatter. Sometimes he doesn’t even bother with an excuse and just flat refuses :0/

>73 rretzler: Go Grammerly!

>74 rretzler: Ooh, purple stars. Where did you get those? I was actually quite intrigued by your description until you gave your opinion of the book :0)

... Must check out Airtable ...

Jan 7, 11:26pm Top

>77 vancouverdeb: Deb, I agree. Just a little bump maybe while backing up wouldn't be bad - something that we wouldn't even have to turn into the insurance. Then it would be out of his system. Fortunately, he is a very careful person and not at all a risk taker so I think Beckham will be a very good driver. Keegan, on the other hand...

>78 thornton37814: Good point, Lori. Sometimes just the time and place make a lot of difference. I'm not sure that this one would have made a difference to me though - I just expected a different experience and did not get it.

>79 Kassilem: Please visit any time, Melissa.

Jan 7, 11:47pm Top

>81 humouress: Nina, mine likes watching TV and videos too much, and we can never get synchronized. Sometimes I don't want to go, and other times he doesn't. One of these days...

Regarding the purple stars, I finally experimented enough with Adobe Photoshop to take the LT green stars and change them to purple. I have tried several times, but finally got the hang of it! I uploaded them to my junk folder, but I don't know if you can see that, so I'll put the links here. Now that I know what I'm doing, I can make other colors, and would be happy to make colored stars for anyone who wants them.

5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/e3/e7/e3e73a3d93c6575636752797067434b41716b42.jpg
4.5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/51/5a/515adc16d30b46363674a797067434b41716b42.jpg
4 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/f4/c5/f4c51691b90f461636742797067434b41716b42.jpg
3.5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/7e/5a/7e5ae06279add76637639787067434b41716b42.jpg
3 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/c6/47/c64778d44363623637635787067434b41716b42.jpg
2.5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/3c/9d/3c9d0372b3d3545637678787067434b41716b42.jpg
2 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/1c/62/1c62d8c3a713ed1637674787067434b41716b42.jpg
1.5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/b4/a5/b4a579da61beeef637670787067434b41716b42.jpg
1 star: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/c0/7a/c07acc9c20e956c63766c787067434b41716b42.jpg
0.5 stars: https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/fa/b8/fab8c4e9e65ff29637668787067434b41716b42.jpg

Others may like the book, but it certainly wasn't what I expected from detective fiction.

Edited: Jan 8, 2:05am Top

>83 rretzler: Oh wow
This is really cool!
Not to be the fisherman's wife, but are your superpowers up to making a literal half-star? A right half, a left half? OK that's full on FW.

Edited: Jan 8, 10:24am Top

>74 rretzler: Hi, Robin! That's a useful review of the book. I'll definitely not go out of my way to get it. :-)

Jan 8, 11:20am Top

>84 quondame: Well, I can certainly try, but I won't promise anything. Cropping might work...

>85 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry. It's funny, I always feel badly when I don't like a book. I liked it enough to read all the way to the end, but it certainly wasn't my idea of a good golden age mystery. I'm glad to know that you felt similarly about another of her books. It's no wonder that she was forgotten AND that Poisoned Pen Press, Felony & Mayhem, or another similar publisher had not reprinted her works prior to this.

Jan 8, 12:36pm Top

Last night we had a small heat wave all the way into the 30s accompanied by freezing rain, so school was canceled. Of course, the roads may have been worse at 6 AM, but we were out a little while ago, and they were fine. I think they could have had school today, no problem, instead of having school on some of the days last week when the wind chill was below zero while the kids were waiting for the buses. Sometimes I don't understand what our Superintendent is thinking. Last year, we were the only school system in the city to have school on a day with wind chills below zero.

Beckham wanted to go to a friend's house which is in our subdivision, so I told him he could drive me. He was a little hesitant to drive on the ice (it was more slush than ice), but I convinced him that was the only way he would learn. He did a fine job!

Beckham informed Ed and I a day or so ago that he no longer is having fun playing soccer. He plays on a U17 team that is playing in the National Premier League, so we will have to travel for all of his games. Travel is nothing new, but since it is now the NPL, we will be traveling a little farther than before. It is very competitive, and since he had a pneumothorax last year between HS and Club Soccer seasons, and couldn't train for 8-10 weeks, he has been struggling mentally. He seems to have lost his confidence. Although I am sad, I completely understand. I quit the band after 10th grade because our band director was the kind of person who felt that he had to humiliate people to motivate them. Even in HS, I didn't feel that anything good could come from that kind of treatment, and although I loved the band and was a pretty good saxophonist, I decided I had had enough. My mother, on the other hand, felt that made me a quitter, and no daughter of hers was going to quit. (This was between school years, so I wasn't necessarily quitting, I was choosing not to continue for another year.) She alternately yelled at me and refused to speak to me for a couple of weeks, but I stood my ground, and don't regret my decision. I do regret that I didn't keep up with the saxophone, though. My current debate is whether we should let Beckham quit now, which is sort of in the middle of the season, or whether we should force him to finish the season and let him quit afterward. My initial thought was that he should finish things out, but when I see him almost making himself sick when he has to go to practice, I'm not sure finishing this season out is the right decision. I remember that feeling of dread, trepidation, and stomach-churning before having to go to practice. Beckham is a lot like me, and I completely understand what he is going through. I'm not sure that the loss of his confidence is worth what he would gain from the life lesson of seeing things through, so I am very conflicted.

Jan 8, 12:41pm Top

Hi Robin, wishing Beckham good luck with his decision. But sometimes seeing things through is not the best life decision. It all depends. Does he have an alternative?

Jan 8, 12:54pm Top

>83 rretzler: Thank you! Would you mind if I post that on my thread? I'll try not to take credit for it ;0)

>88 rretzler: Best of luck with your decisions. It looks like Beckham understands about seeing things through if he's forcing himself to go even though it's making him sick.

My younger son has decided not to continue playing on the team next season, though he'll continue with training. That's fine with us; it's about having fun, at his age, and he's been playing on the teams for a while - though he's such a gung-ho child that he's excellently suited for it and it's a bit of a shame he's stopping for now. On the other hand, I don't intend letting my older son give up piano for a while; he tends to try and get out of things plus I'd like him to get a decent grounding in the basics of music before he stops.

Jan 8, 2:38pm Top

>89 EllaTim: Ella, that is a concern that we have. He does need an alternative, and he is considering fencing. He was in a fencing club in middle school for a year, and I think he enjoyed it. I think he gets his genes from my side of the family which means if he doesn't exercise he is going to gain weight quickly. He doesn't like to run (like me), which is funny since he has always loved soccer. I'm not sure he will get enough physical activity from fencing to keep his weight down. He is asking for a treadmill, but I've explained to him that most people use their exercise equipment to hang their clothes on! Plus, if he doesn't like to run, I'm wondering if he will use the treadmill. On the other hand, perhaps the rest of the family will get some use from the treadmill. I'm sure we will work it all out somehow.

>90 humouress: Nina, please be my guest and use freely!

It's hard to know what is right, isn't it? Your younger son may find that he misses the games - I know both of my would much rather play than train! Beckham had to quit band this year because he couldn't fit it into his schedule with the AP classes that he was taking. Since he played for a number of years, we were okay with him not continuing band since it was for school reasons. You've given me the idea that maybe Beckham would consider band again. I have an idea that he wouldn't as band in our HS is a big commitment, but that could be another idea for him too.

Funny, my younger son is the gung-ho child who seems to want to join everything, and my older joins very reluctantly.

Jan 8, 3:28pm Top

Robin, my personal opinion is that you should let him quit now. He has already demonstrated that he knows how to keep a commitment. I think personal health comes before the team. And I would give him a moment to catch his breath and regroup before making him choose another option. Give him, say, six weeks to think about and decide on an alternative. That way he’s not rushing in and choosing too hastily in his panic to be free of the soccer. Life is so fast-paced these days, and sometimes what we really need is to be able to slow things down so that we actually have time ago think about what we want and what it is that will make us happy.

Jan 8, 8:40pm Top

>92 Crazymamie: Very good advice, Mamie. Thanks! I'm really leaning that way, but my husband may take a little convincing. We have the added issue that I am the parent administrator of the team, but I don't mind keeping that commitment for the rest of the year or sharing it with someone. Frankly, the issue with Beckham is more important to me than the parent admin thing.

Jan 8, 10:26pm Top

Health should always come first, unless it is only passing. I also agree that a few weeks to finalize a decision is sometimes best as well.

Jan 8, 11:02pm Top

>88 rretzler: Good luck with the soccer decision, Robin. My daughter decided midway through senior year that softball wasn't fun for her anymore. She'd been playing for years, so I left it up to her, and she has always been happy with the decision.

Purple stars?! You do have super powers.

Nice comments on the Haynes. I do love GA mysteries, but I think I'll pass on this one.

Jan 9, 12:41am Top

>87 rretzler: Wow, many thanks!

Jan 9, 1:10am Top

>94 Kassilem: Melissa, health really isn't the issue, unless it is from the stress of not wanting to go to the practices which is making him sick to his stomach right before practice. It's really more of a mental health and confidence issue. The physical issue is totally passing - if we let him skip practice, the stomach issues disappear.

>95 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. They put so much stress and pressure on these kids with sports. It's really not about fun, and it should be, even if there is a chance that you are good enough to become a professional athlete. Thanks re the stars and the comments.

>96 quondame: No problem, Susan. As I said, if you want a different color, I'm happy to oblige now that I've got it all figured out.

Jan 9, 7:40am Top

Hi Robin!

airtable.com is picky and doesn't support IE - and I don't want to switch to Chrome, Edge, or anything else right now. Le sigh. Oh well, so far excel does what I need it to do for me. Interesting, though.

Weighing in on the soccer decision, I agree with Mamie that you should let him quit now. He's not doing the team any good and it must have taken strength and even bravery to tell you and Ed that he doesn't enjoy soccer any more. It sounds like his life is very, very busy.

Jan 9, 7:49am Top

>83 rretzler: This is cool, but how does it work? Do you copy and paste?

Jan 9, 7:57am Top

Ooof. Good advice here on how to handle the soccer situation. I know that stomach-churning feeling, too, so I sympathize with Beckham, poor guy.

And on the subject of school cancellations, here in the northern wilds they don't cancel or cold weather unless the wind chill hits -25. Crazy, eh?

Jan 9, 10:33pm Top

>97 rretzler: Yes, I always find that mental stress can cause physical distress. Good luck with the decision.

Jan 9, 11:13pm Top

Other considerations to our soccer decision: We've known for some time that he didn't enjoy soccer anymore. We were actually very surprised that he tried out last June - we left it completely up to him, and were again surprised when he accepted a position on the team. We even went so far as to ask him if he was sure that it was what he really wanted to do. So I think we all knew this was coming and gave him every opportunity back in June to quit (before the thousands of dollars of fees and new uniforms). Plus he does spend a considerable amount of time on his computer playing games with his friends. I just don't want this to be an excuse to spend more time playing video games. I am okay now with the amount of time he plays because I know that he has a balance of mental activities with his studying and physical activities with soccer. The video games are a release for him, as well as social time with his friends. With soccer gone, he needs to have some physicial activity to maintain that balance and to maintain his health. Beckham is the type of person that will put things off, so there will need to be some ground rules.

Also, Beckham is a very gifted individual and has never really had a challenge in his life. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of gifted individuals, and consequently, when they are faced with a challenge in later life, they have not learned how to deal with it. Gifted individuals frequently do not know how to work hard to accomplish something. It is easiest just to say this is something I don't want to do and then back away. Many times gifted individuals do not learn perseverance with tasks because they have never had to. This is an area in which I consider myself an expert. Not only have I read many, many books on gifted individuals, but I also happen to have first-hand experience with this. Academics, music and some things have always come very easily to me, but other things have not. I have a tendency to try something once (maybe twice), and if I am not good at it, I get frustrated and don't do it anymore. I was well into my 30s before I realized this about myself, and I still have a difficult time with it. Had I realized this about myself earlier, I think a lot of decisions I made in life would have been made differently. Beckham and I have very similar personalities. While I'm not saying he hasn't tried at soccer, I know (and I know he knows) he hasn't always given his all. I want him to understand that if he is not good at something and he wants to be, that he may have to work hard to get there. Soccer is not that thing, but someday something will be, and I'm not sure that he will have any more self-realization that I have. Frankly, I wish there had been something earlier in his life that challenged him in order for him to learn perseverance. He and I will have this discussion, but I don't think at 16 he is going to take much away from it.

So I do understand what he is going through - I went through pretty much the same thing at the same time of life. I don't regret my decision, but I have learned a lot about myself that applies to him as well. Ed and I talked tonight, and we decided that for all the reasons mentioned, we are going to let him quit right now. But he does have to choose some sort of physical activity sooner rather than later - it doesn't have to be an organized sport, but something that he can do for his health. And the hours that are freed up by soccer will need to be filled with things other than video games. He will need to start volunteering soon for National Honor Society and college recruiting so this might be a good time to do that (although he is not going to like it, it does need to be done.)

Wow, that's a big rant! Sorry, I guess I just had to get all that off my chest. Possibly its helping me collect my thoughts for my talk with Beckham.

Jan 9, 11:16pm Top

>98 karenmarie: That's too bad about airtable and IE, Karen. Maybe someday!

>99 msf59: Mark, pretty much the same as the LT stars when used in posts - or at least how I use them. For example, if you wanted to rate something 4 purple stars, this is what you would need to type:

<img src=" https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/f4/c5/f4c51691b90f461636742797067434b41716b42.jpg" >

That seems like a pretty long string - perhaps I can make it shorter using bit.ly I'll have to give that a try tomorrow.

>100 scaifea: Amber, you will the prize for being 100th guest. What shall I award? How about some of my favorite cookies with tea? Perfect for relaxing with a book!

Wow! 25 below! Maybe our Superintendent is from those "northern wilds"!

>101 Kassilem: Thanks, Melissa. Now that we've made our decision, that will hopefully be the end of the stomach upsets!

Jan 9, 11:19pm Top

Well, today was a day in which I got very little reading done and I also didn't make my way to visit anyone else. The bad thing is, although I was busy all day, I coudn't tell you one thing I accomplished. I hope I can accomplish more tomorrow.
After all, tomorrow is another day.

Jan 10, 8:13am Top

>103 rretzler: Oh! I *love* those cookies! I get their brand of cookie butter, too, which is amazing.

>102 rretzler: Excellent points - I met so many college students like that during my time at Kenyon - they were all smart enough to have cruised through school up to that time with minimal effort, and suddenly realized that they had no study or time management skills.
I worry a bit about Charlie and this, too. He gets frustrated so easily when he comes up against something he can't do right the first time. Right now we're in a struggle against his piano lessons - he gets frustrated that he isn't a virtuoso immediately with every song and I'm forcing him to continue with it, not because I want him to play Carnegie Hall one day, but because I know that learning how to play an instrument is *so* good for young brains, and also because it's good for him to struggle with something.

Jan 10, 8:13am Top

>104 rretzler: I have many days like that! A whirlwind of activity and when I look around at bedtime at my messy kitchen or living room and wonder "what the hell did I do today?"

Jan 10, 9:19am Top

Hi Robin and thanks for voting on my thread. Would mind voting in the surprise second round.

Jan 10, 9:27am Top

A lovely and thoughtful rant! Well said.

On a side note, I also love those Bischoff cookies.

Jan 10, 11:11am Top

>102 rretzler: I have that same problem as well. I didn't realize it until after I graduated from college, when everyone around me was going to grad school and I asked myself why I wasn't going to grad school and came up with the only answer - I have a complete anxious meltdown when I have to do anything that involves hard work.

Jan 10, 12:25pm Top

>102 rretzler: I well understand about the tendency to give up on things that don't come easily and worried about my daughter with similar tendencies - now 25 she is very aware of not wanting to work hard, but through college and after has step by step learned to apply herself. She wasn't considered gifted scholastically but had a strange facility to twist near disasters to her advantage in secondary school, which I think can be almost as dangerous.

Jan 10, 11:03pm Top

>105 scaifea: Amber, I wondered if Charlie were facing those issues too. Struggle is good (as is playing an instrument). I hope that he can learn perseverance now while he is still young. My boys have not done so yet, unfortunately.

I also get the cookie butter - very yummy!

I think if the boys face any challenges academically, Beckham at least has the drive to be competitive academically, but Keegan does not - which is worrisome to me. Beckham, like me, is also a perfectionist, which is not good, but at least Keegan has no perfectionist tendencies.

>106 ChelleBearss: With your little ones, Chelle, I can totally understand that! When mine were little, I just gave in to the fact that most days, I was not going to accomplish anything except spending time with my kids. As they got older and didn't need me as much, I was able to get more accomplished.

Today was an even worse day, productivity-wise, but at least I know what I did - Keegan was home sick from school today, so I watched 2 movies with him and spent most of the rest of the day getting him food and drinks. Not productive, but at least I got to spend a day with my child doing things for him. Thank goodness he feels somewhat better now.

>107 BBGirl55: Bryony, unfortunately, I missed the second round, but please keep me in mind for further rounds. I'm dying to know what #17 is!

>108 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. I just needed to get that off my chest, I think, and the process of writing was very cathartic. Thanks to all of you for listening!

Aren't the Biscoff cookies delicious? Truly a guilty pleasure!

>109 norabelle414: Nora, it's very difficult and frustrating when that happens, isn't it? I wish there were an easy fix.

>110 quondame: Susan, that's great that she learned what she needed to do. It sounds as though she may be a very creative person if she is able to twist near disasters to her advantage. Dangerous, perhaps, but very advantageous as well!

Jan 11, 2:32pm Top

We actually discussed emotional meltdowns students often have in one of the sessions at our faculty workshop yesterday. Your students are not alone, and we as educators are seeing more and more students who struggle with emotional issues, particularly when it comes to academic achievement. We talked about relaxation techniques to use--deep breathing and calming things, lavender scents, and chocolate and peppermint. Things like coloring, stress balls that fit in the hand, and Chinese finger traps help too. The counselors also recommended most teens need 8-9 hours of sleep per night. If they have a big test coming up, it helps to review notes nightly before going to bed rather than cramming.

Ultimately it pays for students to learn the value of hard work and feel a well-earned achievement. Students earn awards and certificates for things they would not have when I was in school. I remember thinking I had the summer reading program award in hand one year, only to discover the elementary school librarian's daughter beat me. Today I would have received something for being second place. Back then, there was no prize for being second. I think everyone who participated got a little token gift and/or certificate, but that's it.

Jan 11, 4:58pm Top

>112 thornton37814: Lori, what an interesting discussion. I totally agree about the sleep and reviewing notes nightly rather than cramming. Ditto, for learning the value of hard work. I wish that the schools would teach some of this stuff to students.

Jan 11, 5:15pm Top

>112 thornton37814: I only wish my kids had academic challenges that would allow them to be a little stressed - that would actually be a good thing in my household.

Jan 11, 5:42pm Top

I read a very interesting article today: https://aeon.co/essays/microchimerism-how-pregnancy-changes-the-mothers-very-dna

Researchers are finding that women who have had children actually carry at least three unique cell populations in their bodies - their own, their mother's and their child's. The article says that researchers have known that during pregnancy the child's DNA and the mother's DNA travel back and forth and that up to 10% of the mother's bloodstream during pregnancy can come from her child. What they are now finding is that some of the child's DNA can stay in the mother's body indefinitely. Also, that some of an older child's DNA may be passed to a younger child while the mother is pregnant with the younger child.

Very fascinating!

Jan 11, 8:23pm Top

>115 rretzler: That is interesting, Robin.

>102 rretzler: Well put.

>104 rretzler: I've had days like that as well.

Jan 12, 12:21am Top

>116 BLBera: Thanks for visiting, Beth and thank you (>102 rretzler:). Haven't we all had days like that!?! Sometimes I feel like most of my days are that way!

Jan 12, 12:41am Top

>115 rretzler: At one point in my life, I wanted to be a geneticist, which is why I think this article fascinates me so much. I was thinking about it this evening, and I thought of something interesting that the authors do not discuss in the article. I think I might like to find the original research and see if they do talk about this. The article doesn't seem to follow along to the logical conclusion that if the mother has some of the child's DNA continuing to exist in her body, then it is extremely likely that she also has a bit of her husband's DNA as well, since half of the child's DNA comes from the father. It would not be directly the father's DNA, but it would be the father's DNA through the child.

Thinking through this - my mother's DNA has always been a part of my DNA, as has my father's - that's what makes up my original DNA. My child's DNA is half mine and half my husbands. So really, the only thing that has changed due to my pregnancy is that I now have part of my husband's DNA. Perhaps that's oversimplifying things.

Also, it would be interesting if a mother has children by two different men. Then some of the first father's DNA could possibly be part of the DNA of her second child by a different father. Lots of food for thought!

So, this makes me wonder what happens when a woman who has had children takes a DNA test? For Christmas, my family purchased an Ancestry DNA test kit for me. According to the above article, my DNA now is not the same as my DNA prior to having children, and presumably will have changed due to having some of my husband's DNA. What does this now mean for the results of my DNA test? My husband and I have very similar German and English roots, so I suspect that we will never actually know. It makes me want to have taken a DNA test before I had children.

Jan 12, 7:57am Top

Ooof, your DNA discussion is really fascinating!

Jan 12, 8:58am Top

Morning, Robin! Your soccer, colored half stars and DNA discussions are making my head spin, in a good way, it's waking up my brain cells. That and the fact my husband just dropped a canister of rice. *sigh*

Edited: Jan 12, 9:03am Top

>118 rretzler: Although I've heard of chimeras in genetic genealogy circles, my understanding is that they are pretty rare. This article was written by a journalist, and I'd love to see some reactions to it by scientists and other experts in genetic genealogy.

ETA: I just posted to my FB page hoping to generate a little discussion.

Edited: Jan 12, 10:32am Top

>119 scaifea: Isn't it though? I love genetics and also psychology, oh, and lots and lots of other things too! Never thought to discuss them on LT before.

>120 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. Ugh, on the spilled rice - at least its easily cleanable!

>121 thornton37814: Lori, it was indeed written by a journalist, but the term "microchimera" comes from biologists according to the article. I pulled up the article from the University of Cincinnati that she mentioned in Nature Reviews - well, the abstract, at least - and it also mentions microchimerism. So I think this is something that is legitimate scientifically. That article alone cites 130+ other sources with a significant number discussing microchimerism, and they are all scholarly articles.

Here's the abstract from Kinder, J, et al. Immunological implications of pregnancy-induced microchimerism. Nature Reviews Immunology 17, 483–494 (2017) doi:10.1038/nri.2017.38
Immunological identity is traditionally defined by genetically encoded antigens, with equal maternal and paternal contributions as a result of Mendelian inheritance. However, vertically transferred maternal cells also persist in individuals at very low levels throughout postnatal development. Reciprocally, mothers are seeded during pregnancy with genetically foreign fetal cells that persist long after parturition. Recent findings suggest that these microchimeric cells expressing non-inherited, familially relevant antigenic traits are not accidental 'souvenirs' of pregnancy, but are purposefully retained within mothers and their offspring to promote genetic fitness by improving the outcome of future pregnancies. In this Review, we discuss the immunological implications, benefits and potential consequences of individuals being constitutively chimeric with a biologically active 'microchiome' of genetically foreign cells.

Here is a link to another interesting study: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19381956.2016.1218583

I've got a small January 15 tax deadline, but after that, I think I may see if I can do a little more research. Perhaps I can use the library resources to get access to some of these articles online.

It would definitely be interesting to hear what others think from a genetic genealogy standpoint. Perhaps this is so new that it hasn't made its way to the thoughts of the genealogy community.

Edited: Jan 12, 11:22am Top

>118 rretzler: The amount of DNA from children or mother in a sample collected for a DNA test would be so small that it would not influence the results of your test. Samples collected for DNA tests also contain things like bacteria or recently-eaten food (especially from a donation via spit!) and they have ways of filtering all that stuff out.

As far as I can tell the DNA from children/mother is not actually integrated into the host's genome, it is just either free-floating DNA in the bloodstream, free-floating DNA within maternal cells, distinct stem cell lines, or distinct regular cell lines.

Jan 12, 4:06pm Top

>123 norabelle414: I think you're right, Nora. I wasn't actually thinking about the method of DNA collection being saliva.

Jan 12, 5:20pm Top

>111 rretzler: You and a few others are waiting to see what book#17 is.

Edited: Jan 12, 10:46pm Top

>115 rretzler: - An interesting article, Robin. I had 4 pregnancies, but just my two sons. I nearly lost my second son as well. When I lost my fourth pregnancy ( a little boy , at 16 week pregnancy - fetal demise) , they did an autopsy and DNA investigation. They found nothing wrong with the baby and told me that due to my history, two causes of my repeated miscarriages were most likely - a ) luteal defect ( not enough progesterone ) or b) after an easy first pregnancy, I had developed an autoimmune response to my husband's DNA. I was 41 years old when it happened and I was very grieved, so I opted not to go for further investigation, as I had back in my 20's in order to have my second live born son. So I'm not too surprised by the DNA information. As luck would have it, I was " finished " menopause at the age of 43, so time was not on my side either. The things we learn along the way.

An acquaintance of mine told me that she had 11 miscarriages and two live births and she was told a similar thing - that they suspected she had developed some sort of autoimmune response to her husband's DNA.

Jan 13, 12:17am Top

>126 vancouverdeb: I'm so sorry to hear that, Deborah, how heartbreaking. And how very strange our bodies can be. I had heard that sometimes women can be allergic to their husband's sperm and that can cause them to have problems conceiving, something I learned when we were having problems conceiving our second son. You must be a very strong person to have gone through that and to be able to talk about it so openly now.

Jan 13, 12:25am Top

I made a little progress on all three books that I'm reading for group reads, but not as much as I would have liked. I have a small deadline on Monday (actually Tuesday, but I'm trying to finish up on Monday) so I had to work until 1. Then they closed school early, and Ed came home early, so I was able to get some reading in. I'm on Chapter 8 of God Stalk, Chapter 21 of Nicholas Nickleby, and Chapter 7 of Death at La Fenice.

It's really snowy here - we have about an inch of accumulation from earlier today and its still snowing. Tomorrow will be a good day for reading and board games with the family.

Jan 13, 10:23am Top

Hi Robin!

I'm glad that a decision has been re Beckham and the soccer.

>104 rretzler: I have many days like that..... *smile*

>115 rretzler: I have bookmarked the article and will read it later.

>128 rretzler: Ah, snow. And NN. I hope your weekend is enjoyable.

Jan 14, 2:09pm Top

>129 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Thanks!

Jan 14, 2:25pm Top

Yesterday, I decided I would just finish God Stalk, so I did. I was planning to read more today, but the grocery store calls, and we finally decided to replace our broken Keurig, so it's off to the store for that too.

Jan 14, 3:28pm Top

>70 rretzler: I use an excel spreadsheet to track books at the moment - Airtable definitely looks like something I should explore further.

I'm glad you and Beckham have come to an agreed decision on the soccer. I've always had a tendancy to think 'I must' do things and stay committed to things so have had to learn that sometimes it's ok to quit! But I say that after years of coming to understand myself and I certainly wouldn't have been that self-aware in my teens - as parents it must be very difficult to decide what is the best thing to do.

Jan 14, 5:51pm Top

From curiosity.com: You Can Find Centaurs in Space

I subscribe to curiosity.com and also have facts pop up each time I open a new tab in my browser. I thought I would share occasionally as I've seen some interesting and fascinating things.

Jan 14, 5:55pm Top

>132 souloftherose: Thanks, Heather. I would definitely check out Airtable - its great for loads of things.

Some days I'm not even sure I'm mature enough at 54 to make the right decision about myself, let alone to try to guide my children, but somehow it all seems to work out. Luckily, I have good kids!

Edited: Jan 14, 10:23pm Top

Ugh, as we went out to take my van to the grocery store, it wouldn't start. I had a little bit of a problem with it on Friday but managed to get it running. The engine doesn't want to turn over, but it doesn't seem like its the battery, maybe the starter? Frustratingly, Ed took it to the dealership a week ago for routine maintenance, and everything checked out. I haven't driven it much since then, just one or two 5 mile trips. It's not cold enough here for that to be the problem, and the other cars are starting fine, so I guess we'll have to call AAA to see if its a battery or something else. Sigh...

Since Ed's trunk is too full of miscellaneous junk, we had to get permission from Beckham to take his new car to the store! *grins*

ETA - Ed's trunk, not truck

Edited: Jan 14, 6:41pm Top

Ugh! Have you tried the horn. I've been told that if your horn doesn't work, it's your battery. Hope it's a minor and inexpensive problem.

Jan 14, 7:02pm Top

Love the purple stars and that Beckham is learning to drive in the winter. I was a winter newbee driver and to this day really appreciate the driver's training I receiving under less than ideal road conditions.

Love the soccer and DNA discussion here! I don't have any kids but I find the idea of DNA changing after a woman has given birth to be rather fascinating.

Since Ed's truck is too full of miscellaneous junk, we had to get permission from Beckham to take his new car to the store!
Your son must like that! ;-)

Jan 14, 8:07pm Top

>131 rretzler: Are you replacing your Keurig with a new Keurig or trying something else? Ours is also on the fritz (under pressure warnings and coffee grounds in the mugs often) and this is our third one in 8 years. We are thinking of going back to a normal coffee maker.

Jan 14, 11:22pm Top

>136 Carmenere: Lynda, I hadn't heard that. Thanks for the suggestion. Just went out and tried it and while the horn is slightly sickly sounding, it does work. Everything seems to come on - lights, radio, etc. - and I've turned them all off, but the engine just doesn't want to turn over. Who knows? We'll try to jump it tomorrow when we have time and see if that does the trick or if its something else.

>137 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. Yes, I'm glad Beckham is learning to drive in the winter, too. Yes, I think he was tickled that Mom & Dad asked to borrow his car!

>138 ChelleBearss: Chelle, we are replacing our Keurig with a new one. Ours developed a leak when we took it on a trip. If we left the water container on it, it would eventually leak all over the counter. We tried to take it off when we were finished with it, but would invariably leave it on and have to wipe the water off of the counter, so we gave up. I think three in eight years is probably pretty good for a small appliance. I think that's about what we are on, but if we hadn't tried to travel with it, it would likely have been fine. I'm not sure we could survive with a normal coffee maker anymore - I make tea, and the boys make hot chocolate with it too.

Jan 14, 11:39pm Top

Eventful day today, shortly before we went to the store, Keegan came downstairs and said he didn't feel well. I felt his forehead, and he was burning up - temperature 102.6. Apparently, he had been in his room just laying on his bed, not even feeling well enough to come downstairs and tell us. So we fixed him up with some ibuprofen, hot mint tea, chocolate pudding, and lemonade and left him to relax while Ed and I went to the store. When we came home, he told us that he spent the entire time we were gone curled up on the bathroom floor feeling like he was going to throw up. Fortunately, Beckham put a towel down for him to lay on and brought him a pillow and blanket and kept an eye on him. What a great big brother! He's feeling better now, and his temperature is almost back to normal. He just asked me at 11:30 pm to make him buttered noodles, so his stomach is feeling a little better too.

Beckham loves wings and has never expressed an interest in cooking, but recently he asked me to teach him to make wings. I made them on New Year's Eve baking them using a copper rack and pan, but they didn't turn out very crispy. I am not really excited about having all of the mess involved in deep frying wings, and I think we threw out our FryDaddy years ago, so I decided to buy an air fryer. So we bought one when we got the new Keurig. I taught Beckham how to cut the wings, and we cooked them in the air fryer, and then he tossed them in wing sauce. They didn't turn very crispy in the air fryer either. We still have another pack of wings, so I think tomorrow, we are going to experiment with different times and temperatures to see if we can get them to turn out better. I certainly hope we can get some use out of the air fryer - I'll be very disappointed if we can't get the wings to work out. I may have to invest in another FryDaddy, but I was so hoping that the air fryer would work because it would be so much healthier (and much, much less messy!)

Funny story (well, it is to me) about how the Keurig got broken. When we had Ed's father's funeral last month, it was just for immediate family. We came from out of town, and three of the four of Ed's siblings traveled from New York and California (the other lived in town.) My mother thoughtfully decided to order breakfast pastries for the family on the morning of the funeral. She called a local grocery/bakery and ordered pastries (there was supposed to be enough for 30 people), but she said that we would have to pick them up the morning of the funeral. I asked her to order a box of coffee, and then after I explained to her what a box of coffee was, she told me that Ed's family drank tea and wouldn't drink an entire box of coffee. Now I have known Ed and his family for over 28 years and we have been married for over 26 and the only other tea drinker in his family except for me was his mother who passed away in 2014. But my mother in her infinite wisdom wouldn't believe me and wouldn't buy the coffee. I was already frustrated because she did not want to pay to have the breakfast delivered (she could certainly afford to), or have it picked up the night before, and Ed would have to rush around that morning to pick the breakfast up, taking him away from his family. I should have just had him get the coffee while he was picking up the pastries, but in frustration, I told my mom that I would just have to take my Keurig and go and buy K-cups before we left so everyone would have coffee to drink. When Ed brought the breakfast back that morning, there was not nearly enough for 30 people, so I ended up going back to the store to get more food. At that point, I should have purchased a box of coffee, but because we had already traveled with the Keurig, I didn't. When I got back to the house, I tried to get it set up, and it wouldn't work. We tinkered with it for some time and then ended up finding Ed's father's coffee maker and making several pots of coffee. We left the Keurig plugged in, and many hours later, it was finally ready to work, but it leaked all over the place. Serves me right for being so cranky about my mom not wanting to buy coffee! I don't have any clue why she thought that Ed's family were tea drinkers, she's only been around the entire family once, which was at our wedding; while after almost 30 years of holidays, and family reunions, etc., one would expect that I would know what they drank. So even though I was right, I feel like karma somehow caught up with me. 😜

Jan 15, 8:46am Top

Good morning, Robin! I hope the solution to the van's woes is a quick and easy one, and that Keegan gets well quickly!

My parents tried a Keurig and gave up and went back to a drip maker. I prefer perked coffee myself, and drink far too much coffee for the little individual servings to appeal to me, so I've never been tempted, though I have used them at work. My percolators tend to last several years but are not nearly so durable as older models.

Jan 15, 10:24am Top

My parents love their Keurig -- they don't even drink coffee, but Dad uses it to make tea, and they like that they can have coffee on hand for visitors without having to break out a coffee pot, filters, coffee grounds, etc. But I don't have one, and don't intend to: I also don't drink coffee, and I entertain company much less often than they do.

Jan 15, 10:46am Top

>140 rretzler: Oh goodness, your Keurig story sounds like something I would definitely do! Ha!

I do love my Keurig, though. I'm the only one here who drinks coffee and I only want one cup a day, usually (I drink tons more tea, though), so the little cups are perfect for me. I don't like the waste of the K-cups, so I bought some of those reusable ones and just buy regular coffee and it works a charm.

Jan 15, 12:43pm Top

At home I brew use a kettle and Fench press to make coffee but the office where I work has a Keurig machine so I do understand their attraction!

Jan 16, 12:46am Top

>141 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry. Ed tried to jump start the van this afternoon, and that appears to be the problem. I probably need to get a new battery for it since it still has the original, which I think is 4 years or so old at this point. We used to have a great coffee maker, with an espresso maker/cappuccino frother as well, but we found we weren't making as many pots of coffee as we used to and it would get stale/burnt. Since we all drink something different these days, the Keurig seems like an easy solution, plus it has a carafe so we can make a pot of coffee if we want to. It works for us!

>142 foggidawn: Foggi, it certainly is nice for visitors, everyone can have what they want. Plus we have a selection of different brands of coffee, so great if one person wants strong coffee and another does not.

>143 scaifea: Amber, good to know I'm in good company! We also use the reusable cups, although we have been lazy lately and have been buying the K-cups a little more than usual. We tried hot cocoa with the reusable cups, and for some strange reason, it doesn't dissolve so we have weak hot cocoa and a clump in the K-cup. I don't buy tea in K-cups, I just use my tea bag and the hot water dispenser feature - plus with the tea, not only are the K-cups a waste, but they seem so much more expensive. I can get good deals on the coffee and even the hot cocoa, but I've not seen any deals for the tea, and the tea bags work just fine anyway!

>144 lkernagh: Lori, we also have a french press around here somewhere. When I used to be a coffee drinker, many years ago, I also loved to grind my own beans, so I have a nice little grinder which is now collecting dust in a cabinet somewhere. These days, I'm all for convenience!

Keegan woke up this morning with a temp of 102.6, so he had another day of lots of fluids and ibuprofen every 4 hours. We managed to keep his temp down most of the day, so we'll see what happens when he wakes up tomorrow morning. I have a feeling he will be home from school tomorrow.

Jan 16, 9:12pm Top

Sorry about your Keurig , even if you did cope with it's demise with good humour. I've always kind of wanted one, though I only drink tea. But my husband is the coffee drinker and he prefers to grind his own coffee beans etc. I can't really justify a Keurig for my one cup of tea a day! :-) But I do like them. I hope Keegan feels better soon.

Jan 16, 9:15pm Top

>146 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah. Serves me right about the Keurig!

Jan 16, 9:35pm Top

Today the boys had another day off from school as we got a couple more inches of snow very early this morning. I would guess we have about 5-6 inches now. It looks like it will warm up enough this weekend to get rid of this batch of snow.

Keegan seems to be fever free today, so he will go back to school tomorrow.

I took the van out today to drop Beckham at a friend's house and it started just fine - I am loath to spend the money on a new battery, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that this one will hold up a little longer.

Jan 16, 11:38pm Top

My fingers are crossed for you and your battery!

Jan 17, 2:09am Top

Glad Keegan is feeling better, just in time for a snow day! Hope the car holds up. The Keurig at our office needs replacing...

Jan 17, 8:25am Top

Hi Robin!

Sorry about the car woes and Keegan being sick. I hope Keegan is over whatever virus had him in its grip.

I love my Bunn coffee maker and freshly ground beans every morning. From first grind to first cup it takes about 3 1/2 minutes. I make 1/2 pot of coffee, which is enough for 2 big mugs or several lesser mugs or cups. I am opposed to K-cups on principle because of the waste and am glad to hear that people use the reusable cups. The best cup of single-serving coffee I've ever had was at Duke Hospital in the summer of 2014 when I stayed with a friend while her husband had open-heart surgery. They had a Tassimo in the waiting room, which I'd never even heard of, and I took full advantage of it all day long. Every Keurig cup I've had has tasted weak to me.

Jan 17, 8:28am Top

Good morning, Robin! Glad to hear Keegan is on the mend, and fingers crossed that you can get more use out of the van before replacing the battery.

We have snow falling here today, too, but not so much, and I think warm weather in the offing for the weekend.

Jan 17, 8:40am Top

So many ways to make coffee! I just make mine without any machine, thermos can and filters. After I heard a horror story from a friend. They had gone on vacation and forgotten to turn off the coffee machine. When they came back the whole house was black and reeking. The machine had sort of melted and the plastic had vaporised. It's the kind of thing that could happen to me, I'm afraid, so no more machines for me.

But I would love a coffee grinder!

Jan 17, 12:43pm Top

All crossables crossed for a trouble free car! And hoping Keegan stays fever free!
We were gifted a Keurig which I like when we only want one cup but we have a cheap drip coffee maker too because we are huge coffee drinkers. Sadly, it's brewing slower and a new one will soon be on the to do list. I'm sort of leaning toward purchasing one over $9.99 this time around.

Jan 17, 1:28pm Top

I got a coffee grinder for Christmas to go with my very old stainless steel insulating french presses. Peets no longer offers a complimentary cup/voucher unless you buy 1/2 lb, and 1/2 lb ground just doesn't retain flavor until I have exhausted it on my 1 pot per day schedule. I really do appreciate the various pod coffee makers when I am stuck in waiting rooms. I do not miss coffee or decaf that's been seasoning on the hot plate 2+ hrs.

Jan 17, 1:43pm Top

Many coffeemakers automatically turn themselves off after an hour or two if you fail to do so. I love my Keurig at work. I have a refillable pod, but I confess to often purchasing the ones at Aldi (12 k-cups for $4 as opposed to $11 or more for most brands at the grocery store). With our kitchen situation at work, it's difficult to clean the reusable pod. I tend to just let water run through and drip into a cup filled with a teabag or two if I use it for tea because it works remarkably well and is difficult to find tea k-cups.

Jan 17, 6:01pm Top

>149 Kassilem: Thanks, Melissa.

>150 Berly: Thanks, Kim. Unfortunately, he woke up this morning with a temp of 100.6 so no school for him today.

>151 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. With the Keurig, there is a setting to make the coffee stronger, plus I think it depends on the size of your cup. Our Keurig goes anywhere from 4 oz to 12 oz for a K-cup and then up to 30 oz for other types of K-pods. So we've found we can adjust it to make it stronger or weaker depending upon the preference of the drinker. Plus we buy dark coffee, which is stronger.

>152 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry. I believe we too are going to have a small heat wave this weekend - all the way up to the high 30s, low 40s. So we'll at least get rid of the snow.

>153 EllaTim: Ella, how horrible for your friend. I always wonder when we leave for vacation if we've left anything on, so I try not to use the iron, etc right before we go. Two years ago, we came home from vacation and our basement had flooded because of all of the rain while we were gone. Coffee grinders are great - I used to use mine every day!

>154 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. Funny, I used to tease my mother for always buying the cheapest thing, but now I find that I am becoming the same way, and then I complain because it doesn't last very long! What a bargain at $9.99. We've had our Keurig for a number of years, so I was in a little bit of sticker shock when shopping for the new one - thank goodness for the 20% coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond!

>155 quondame: Susan, that was the problem we were having. When I weaned myself off coffee and started drinking more tea, we just couldn't use as much. We tried freezing it, which I had heard was supposed to work, but then I heard that it was bad for the coffee. It didn't really work, in any event. I'm with you - there is nothing worse than "burnt" coffee. That's why we love our Keurig, we can make what we want, when we want it, plus the boys get their hot chocolate, too.

>156 thornton37814: Lori, I hadn't thought to try Aldi for K-cups. I usually get mine from Costco or Sam's, or on sale from the grocery store if the price is good enough. I drink tea and never use the tea k-cups - that to me is a waste - I do the same, just use my tea bag and get the hot water from the Keurig. Ours actually even has a hot water dispensing mode, as well.

Jan 17, 6:15pm Top

>157 rretzler: I like both the Colombian and the Donut Shop varieties at Aldi.

Jan 17, 6:32pm Top

Last night, I reached to the top of the stove for the salt shaker we keep there, and I knocked the sugar bowl off. Unfortunately, it turned over and all of the sugar went down the crack between the stove and the counter. Ugh. I ended up pulling the stove out and when I saw how disgusting it was back there, I ended up vacuuming and then scrubbing down the walls, cabinets, floor and stove. This morning my asthma/allergies are going crazy. I've had to do 2 nebulizer breathing treatments already today.

Keegan was sick again this morning with a temp of 100.6, so he had another day home. We have managed to get his temp down and keep it down all day, so I'm hopeful that he'll finally go back to school tomorrow. Last week when he was sick, we watched Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which was better than I thought it would be; Corpse Bride, I'm a fan of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter, but it left me underwhelmed); and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for the 3rd time. This weekend while he was sick, we watched Boss Baby, which was surprisingly not bad, and The Troll Movie, which unsurprisingly was. Today, I think Keegan had had it with his animated movie picks and decided that he wanted to watch Troy for the 3rd time. If you have not seen it, I recommend it - it is about the Trojan War, and while the director has taken some liberties, it generally follows parts of The Iliad, at least as I remember it.

Jan 17, 7:21pm Top

Happy Wednesday, Robin. Sorry about the kitchen mishap and the sick boy. I hope the rest of the week is better.

Thanks for chiming in on my Riviera Maya trip. As usual, my LT pals come through.

Jan 17, 7:28pm Top

Sorry to see that Keegan is sick again. Hope his temp goes down and stays down!

Nate loves the Troy movie. He also loves the tv show Spartacus (but it's totally not appropriate for kids of any age!)

Jan 17, 9:02pm Top

I hope your son is feeling better, Robin.

I try not to think about the area behind the stove. Take care.

Jan 17, 9:40pm Top

>159 rretzler: I wonder how many cat toys are under the stove and refrigerator, but I'm not brave enough to move them and find out.

Jan 17, 10:36pm Top

>160 msf59: Thanks for visiting, Mark. Hope you have a great time!

>161 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. I'm glad you said that about Spartacus - I almost suggested to Keegan that he watch it since he likes Troy so much. He's at that age where its really hard to know what he should watch. He's a little old for kid stuff, but sometimes adult shows are a little too adult.

>162 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I wish I hadn't had to think about it, but I feel much better now that it's all clean!

>163 thornton37814: Lori, we found a furry mouse, a plastic bell, two bouncy balls, one cat ball, a Buckeye, a Lego soccer ball and a tiny basketball. Not a bad haul!

Edited: Jan 18, 1:35am Top

Sorry for the kitchen mishap and sorry to hear that Keegan is still not well yet. Ah , the Keurig! The time Dave and I spend in hotel with a Keurig was so blissful! Just pop in a pod and my tea was ready. Dave enjoyed it too, but he is happy with his noisy coffee grinder and coffee drip brewer. Plus, they have a Keurig at his workplace, so he can have fun with that if he wants, but he almost always takes his coffee in a thermos to work. If I really wanted I'd go out and by one, but my favourite tea is Stash Christmas Morning, which does not come in Keurig pods! More is the pity.

Jan 18, 7:26am Top

>165 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah. That's the beauty of drinking tea with a Keurig. I never use the tea pods, I use my favorite tea bag and the Keurig dispenses the hot water! So I don't have to wait for the water to boil, and my tea is ready instantly!

Jan 18, 9:48am Top

Like >162 BLBera:, I also try not to think about the area behind/beneath the stove!

Jan 18, 9:55am Top

>167 foggidawn: That's a smart thing!

Already in the past week, I've cleaned behind the stove and underneath my bathroom sink, which was another mystery area. The funny thing about under the sink is that I threw away an entire large trash bag full of old medicines, cosmetics, lotions, etc. When I put everything back in, it almost didn't fit. I don't know where it all came from - it was like one of those clown cars. Ed recently cleaned behind the fridge because we seemed to have a mystery leak, which is gone now. The only awful thing for me to tackle next is the basement, and that's a very scary thought!

Jan 18, 10:03am Top

>168 rretzler: That sort of stuff multiplies like rabbits, I'm convinced.

Jan 18, 10:11am Top

>168 rretzler: Hi, Robin! Cat toys — and ersatz cat toys, such as twist ties and rubber bands — abound in hidden spaces here, too.

We've got to tackle our basement, but the sheer size of the project is daunting. :-)

I hope Keegan is back to health!

Edited: Jan 18, 10:33am Top

>169 foggidawn: Yes, it does seem to do that, doesn't it, foggi!

>170 harrygbutler: We seem to have quite a few ersatz cat toys - the other day, I saw one of the cats playing with a binder clip taken off of my desk. Then one of them picked up the correction tape pen and took it to the kitchen to spin it around on the tile!

Keegan did go back to school today, but he was complaining of a bad sore throat.

Jan 18, 1:05pm Top

>164 rretzler: I probably should have a collar under one of mine. I came home one day a couple years ago to discover two of the three had slipped their collars. I found one of them, but I never located the other so I assume it is under one of the big appliances. Since mine are all indoor kitties, there's no real advantage to torturing them by forcing them to wear their gifts from my niece. I took the 3rd cat's collar off. I could tell he'd been trying to slip his too. I thought they were on tight enough. I'm convinced they helped each other out.

Jan 19, 1:38am Top

>172 thornton37814: I'm sure they did help each other! We don't have ours wear collars either - they are all indoor cats. We have occasionally seen coyotes in our neighborhood, but we still have a lot of neighbors who have outdoor cats. I just don't want to take the chance, but I don't think they have had any problems. Many of the neighboring cats will come to our back door and stare in while Mycroft stares out at them. This can go on for some time. Bandit may look for a few minutes, and J'Zargo will look for a second or two and then immediately become interested in something else. Picasso will have nothing to do with looking out the window. I think he feels he's above looking at other cats!

Jan 19, 1:39am Top

Well as I said goodnight to Keegan tonight, I noticed that his forehead felt hot again, and he said his throat was really sore. So I took his temp, and it was back up to 101! I guess he will probably have another day at home tomorrow.

And speaking of ersatz cat toys, as I am writing this, Mycroft has knocked the lip balm off the counter and is rolling it around the floor.

Jan 19, 2:46pm Top

>173 rretzler: My boys enjoy their visits with the neighbor's cat through the window. I do, however, think they are glad I don't let the cat in.

Jan 19, 4:24pm Top

>164 rretzler: Yes, some adults shows are TOO adult! Spartacus has quite a bit of sex and violence in it. I found it very over the top but Nate enjoyed it. He loves all things like Troy, Gladiator, 300 etc.

Jan 20, 11:31pm Top

You are on a cleaning tear! My house is available. : ) Hope Keegan gets over this soon. What a drag.

Jan 21, 2:57pm Top

Stopping by the get caught up. Sorry to read that Keegan illness has been lingering and the unplanned kitchen cleanup. While I try to clear out the bathroom cupboards and vanity on a regular basis, it is amazing the stuff that can amass!

Good luck with the basement clean!

Jan 21, 9:59pm Top

>175 thornton37814: Lori, I sometimes wonder whether mine would like to meet the neighbor cats. We have one neighbor cat, Cheese, who was a stray until adopted by the neighbors, who already had a cat, Ham. Before Cheese was adopted, we also feed him so now he thinks he owns us, coming into our garage and trying to get into the house whenever he visits.

>176 ChelleBearss: Definitely not a show for Keegan then, Chelle. I typically find the sex over the top, but seem to be somewhat immune to the violence, although there are some shows that I prefer not to watch because of the violence.

>177 Berly: Kim, well, I wouldn't exactly call it a tear, but I for me it was. Although now I remember why I don't clean like that, my asthma is still bothering me from all of the dust and dirt. I'm retiring from cleaning!

>178 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. The basement is definitely on hold.

Jan 21, 10:04pm Top

2. God Stalk by PC Hodgell

Original publication date: 1982
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Amazon
Format: Ebook
Type: New
Series: Kencyrath #1
Page count: 271
Challenge(s): ReadHarder, Popsugar, Modern Mrs. Darcy, Pick and Mix, TIOLI

Jame, pursued by haunts, has come to the city of Tai-Tastigon from the Haunted Lands seeking to heal her wounds and looking for her twin brother, Tori. Two weeks previously, she had returned to her home to find everyone dead and her brother missing. She has no memory of where she has been from the time she was driven from her home as an outcast child until her return. Entering Tai-Tastigon at night, she finds the guard gate open, and no lights nor sign of life in the town. As she walks through the maze of streets, she realizes that the townspeople are hidden behind closed doors from the chaos that reigns in the streets – the dead gods. Jame rescues an old man, who recognizes her as a Kencyr and offers her a job. Chased by the unknown and the past, she stumbles and wakes up days later at the House of Luck-Bringers, the inn which she stumbled into. She must wait to continue her quest, as the mountain pass that will take her out of the city is closed most of the year. The Innkeeper and his household adopt her, and as she joins the Thieves’ Guild as an apprentice, she becomes enmeshed in the city’s politics.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It was easy to read, and I enjoyed the author’s style. Hodgell did a fantastic job of world-building, especially in the first chapter, which was very fast-paced and frenetic, slowing in the second chapter to introduce us to the characters that would be important throughout the book. There are several underlying plot points which come together during the story. I felt that the author gave just enough away with each new chapter to keep one reading and interested, leaving the story open for a sequel. There was a lot of background information given about Jame, the Kencyrath, and her past, but I sense there is still a lot to learn, and I intend to read the sequels to find out more.

I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy with a strong female lead and interesting world-building.

Jan 21, 10:06pm Top

Glad you enjoyed it, Robin!

Jan 21, 11:37pm Top

>181 ronincats: Thanks, Roni, for introducing it to me. I don't think I would have ever found it on my own and it was indeed very enjoyable.

Jan 22, 12:46am Top

>180 rretzler: Spot on review! I am up for the next in the series. A little later this year...

Jan 22, 9:08am Top

Good morning, Robin! A couple of the cats that live next door are indoor-outdoor former strays, and sometimes at least one of them will spend time on our porches. Our eldest cat, Elli, was a stray, but now she is indoor-only. From time to time other strays come around, but at the moment there don't seem to be any.

Jan 22, 9:57am Top

Morning, Robin! Excellent review of God Stalk - if you posted that, I will thumb. I have not quite finished it yet but probably will today.

Jan 23, 6:23am Top

Hi Robin!

My kitties are indoor/outdoor kitties. We have a cat door built into the house, and they come and go at will. We can set the door to in only, out only, or totally locked in addition to come and go. I don't keep collars on my kitties because the collars get lost, and one time Merlin came in after being missing a week, with deep gouges in her neck - I think her collar got caught in barbed wire somewhere. She was safe and sound, fortunately, and lived to the ripe old age of 18.

I hope Keegan is better.

Jan 23, 11:30pm Top

Great review, Robin. My question is whether someone who doesn't read a lot of fantasy would like it?

Jan 24, 6:00pm Top

>183 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I also think I am going to read the next book later this year. I have a bunch of ARCs that I need to get out of the way first, which may take me a couple of months.

>184 harrygbutler: Harry, we don't have any with all the snow right now. I think most of the neighbors' outdoor cats are also indoor-outdoor, as well. It's great that you were able to rescue a stray.

>185 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. I think I posted the review.

>186 karenmarie: A cat door is a great idea - we have debated for many years whether we wanted one between our upstairs and basement (where the litter box is) and haven't purchased one yet. As a "temporary" measure 20 years ago, we put a hook on the door with a plastic doorstop that fits around the door handle so the door won't go all the way closed, yet also won't go all the way open. It looks a little funky but has served its purpose.

>187 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I think God Stalk has a pretty good storyline, and it was easy to read, so I would think that someone who doesn't read a lot of fantasy would like it. It's not heavy into magic, but there are gods that can roam around the world, and the main character has some special abilities. If you give it a go, the first chapter is a little confusing, but it settles down after that.

Jan 24, 6:10pm Top

I haven't been on for a couple of days - the cleaning behind the stove in all of the dust really did me in. I have asthma that is triggered by allergies, so the majority of the time, its as if I don't have asthma. However, when my allergies are triggered, and I get a lot of drainage, it becomes difficult to breathe, and I have to use an inhaler or nebulizer. Unfortunately, because I had a flare-up right before Christmas, I don't think everything was completely out of my system, so it got much worse for a couple of days. Fortunately, after a visit to the urgent care and lots of medicine - antihistamines, steroids, antibiotics, cough medicine - I am on the mend again. The medicine I'm taking makes me terribly sleepy, so I've been doing a lot of that.

Keegan is finally better except for a lingering cough - which I'm afraid is also drainage. He's back at school this week. In science, his class is studying electricity, and he came home today and proudly told me that he was one of the only students in his class to solve a challenge involving a battery and three lightbulbs! Way to go Keegan.

And I didn't share this before, but Beckham took his PSAT this past fall a year early (he is in 10th and is required to take it in 11th.) He scored a perfect score on the Math portion and did well in Reading, but he knows he can do better. Next year, he will probably study for it, but he wanted to take it cold this year. He has started getting mail from colleges, which he is filing away, as I don't think he's ready to start thinking too seriously about it yet.

Jan 25, 10:19am Top

Hi Robin! I hope you start feeling a lot better soon! Not being able to breathe is miserable and exhausting. I've been having some trouble breathing after my bout with the flu - my lungs sort of hurt and I have a lingering cough. So I understand at some level. (Probably a much lesser degree though!)

I love that you made your own purple stars. I used to have a blog, where I posted snowflakes instead of stars, and so I use those as my stars on LibraryThing. Thanks for posting your purple star links. That's kind of you. :)

Jan 25, 10:53am Top

>189 rretzler: Way to go, Keegan and Beckham! We discovered you can whittle down those college choices once your child (sort of) knows the major he intends to study. So many were crossed off our list when Will chose to major in Russian.

Edited: Jan 25, 11:00am Top

Oops - I accidentally posted something here that was supposed to go on my thread. Too many things open.

Jan 25, 11:04am Top

So sorry that your asthma blew up--that is really miserable. And hoping for a swift recovery!

Jan 25, 11:18am Top

Hi, Robin! Well done, both Keegan and Beckham!

Sorry to hear about the asthma. Hope you feel better soon!

Jan 25, 2:13pm Top

Hi Robin!

Asthma is scary - my sister has flare ups occasionally.

I hope you're doing better.

I'm glad to hear that Keegan is doing better and that Beckham did so well on the PSAT.

Jan 25, 4:26pm Top

Just trying to catch up here, Robin! Sorry you are dealing with asthma - that must be miserable... Take care!

Jan 25, 4:54pm Top

>190 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel. Ugh, that lingering cough - that's kind of how we determined that I had this type of asthma. I can't remember what the doctor called it exactly; it's not full-blown asthma. Snowflakes sound fun - I don't think I'm creative enough to try those, I just managed to learn how to make the green stars purple!

>191 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. I think Beckham is leaning towards something to do with math or engineering. But that's because that's what people tell him he should do since he's so good at math. He also likes science, and I think he should think about something like Biomedical engineering which would be the best of both. Wow, Russian! That sounds difficult. I had a friend who worked in Ukraine for several years, and he had to learn Russian on the fly while he was there.

>192 thornton37814: Lori, I've probably done that and haven't even realized!

>193 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. I'm better today because of the meds. If I can just stay awake, things will be almost normal!

>194 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry.

>195 karenmarie: And thank you also, Karen.

>196 katiekrug: And thanks to you to, Katie.

The medicine seems to be doing its trick. I hate to take Benedryl because it makes me so sleepy, but it clears up the drainage like nothing else, which is what I really need right now. I managed to stay awake almost all day today, so things are looking up!

Jan 25, 7:00pm Top

Feel better soon, Robin.

Jan 25, 7:04pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Robin. Hope you are feeling better. Go Beckham! It looks like he has a rosy future ahead of him.

Three more days until Mexico. Just sayin'...

Jan 26, 1:18am Top

>198 BLBera: Thanks, Beth

>199 msf59: I'm so jealous, Mark. Hope you have a great time! Looking forward to hearing all about it.

Jan 27, 2:25pm Top

2. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Original publication date:1992
Genre: Mystery
Source: Overdrive
Format: Ebook
Type: Borrowed
Series: Guide Brunetti #1
Page count: 356
Challenge(s): TIOLI

Death at La Fenice is the first book in Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti series which takes place in Venice. When world-famous Maestro Wellauer is found dead between acts of the opera La Traviata in the Teatro La Fenice, Venetian police commissioner, Guido Brunetti, is called to the scene. In order to solve the case, Brunetti must delve into Wellauer’s past, including his rumored Nazi connections and his relationships with his three wives – one divorced, one committed suicide and one widowed. Also complicating the case is Wellauer’s homophobia against his stage manager and his soprano.

This is the first book by Donna Leon I have read, although I have had this book on my wishlist for some time. I was immediately pulled into the book as I could feel myself in the theater:
The lights dimmed, the hall grew dark, and the tension created by an ongoing performance mounted as the audience waited for the conductor to reappear on the podium. Slowly the hum of voices faded, the members of the orchestra stopped fidgeting in their seats, and the universal silence announced everyone’s readiness for the third and final act.
The silence lengthened, grew heavy.
I enjoyed Leon’s style of writing. I found it easy to read, and the storyline generally flowed without dragging. Leon sprinkles in a few Italian phrases here and there, but I don’t think it detracts from the story. We are also introduced to the Venice in the story, getting to know different aspects of the city.

Guido Brunetti is a very likable character. Leon lets us in on his thoughts so that we get to know him throughout the book, especially his dedication to the law, but also his empathy. We are introduced to his family – wife, Paola, daughter, Chiara, and son, Raffaele, all of whom he adores, and his in-laws, Count and Countess Falier, with whom he has a strained relationship. Adding some comic relief is Guido’s superior, Vice-Questore Guiseppe Patta, who regularly issues “crime alerts” in the press, singling out a particular crime of the week for wiping out. Patta seems more of a hindrance than a help, but Guido seems adept at managing Patta's ego.

I thought the resolution of the case was a little unexpected given that this was the first book of the series. For most readers, there is a reveal that will be surprising; however, I felt the solution was a little anti-climatic.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read, and I look forward to continuing the series.

Jan 27, 3:27pm Top

3. The Talisman’s Trinket by PC Hodgell

Original publication date: 2011
Genre: Fantasy
Source: baen.com
Format: ebook
Type: New
Series: Kencyrath #1.1
Page count: 19

The Talisman’s Trinket is a short story that takes place during the last part of PC Hodgell’s God Stalk. It follows a minor character, Patches, during the climax of the book and offers another insight into the book.

I found it to be an interesting story and it added to my understanding of the ending of God Stalk.

Edited: Jan 27, 3:39pm Top

Hi Robin, catching up after our holiday - I saved the long threads for last, which was obviously a mistake, because they all just got even longer.

I hope everyone is on the mend by now.

>202 rretzler: Ooh, I should read that one.

Jan 27, 5:03pm Top

>203 humouress: Hi, Nina. I hope you had a great holiday. I'm so terribly behind on the threads again, I despair of ever actually catching up. Definitely read The Talisman's Trinket - Roni put the link up on the group read thread.

Jan 28, 4:57am Top

Sorry to learn that you still struggling with asthma and a cold. A good friend of mine has difficulties with asthma on and off , so I have an idea how scary it can be. I hope you are on the mend.

Jan 29, 11:02pm Top

>205 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah. Getting there!

Edited: Jan 29, 11:09pm Top

4. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

Original publication date: 1839
Genre: Fiction
Source: Amazon/Audible
Format: Ebook/Audio
Type: New
Page count: 864
Challenge(s): TIOLI, PopSugar, Modern Mrs Darcy, Classics, British Book, Audiobook

Nicholas Nickleby is the tale of a young man whose father has died leaving his family penniless. Nicholas must find a job to support his mother and sister, Kate. The family turns for help to their uncle, Ralph Nickleby, a ruthless businessman, who has taken a dislike to his relatives. Nicholas, aided by many diverse characters, must protect his family from his uncle’s machinations.

Nicholas Nickleby was the third book written by Charles Dickens, and it was published in serial form monthly in 1838 and 1839 before being published as a book in 1839.

At first, I found the book very readable. As with many books written in the 1800s, the prose tends to be very wordy, and the style of the language is more stilted and formal than in books written more recently. However, I feel that Dickens’ style is perhaps a little more casual than some authors of that time which made reading the book more enjoyable. I felt there were a lot of descriptive passages in the book that could have been edited, making the book more streamlined. After a while, I felt that I got bogged down in the detail which made it somewhat less enjoyable to read. Also, Dickens introduces many characters throughout the book who really do not have a bearing on the overall tale. The characters seem to be part of amusing anecdotes used as filler to keep the serial going as long as possible. I felt that there was a lot of buildup to a climax, and then the story just petered out with minimal wrap-up compared to the amount of buildup. For instance, we learn much about two aristocratic gentlemen and also a family of performers, none of whom figure largely at the end of the story, but there is very little to be learned about the future spouses of both Nicholas and Kate, even though they would have more bearing on the longer story.

I felt that there were some inconsistencies in how certain characters reacted. Nicholas seemed to be a very kind and honorable young man; however, at the beginning of the story, he seems to have a terrible temper which gets him into trouble. Not long afterward, he seems to have matured, and there is little reason for this given by the author. He may have realized the error of his ways, but Dickens did not see fit to mention this. Also, Ralph Nickleby is portrayed as a mean and heartless man. He finds that he has a son who was ill-treated before he was befriended by the Nickleby family and has now died. Because of this Ralph commits suicide, which seems very out of character.

I did enjoy the classic good-triumphs over evil storyline. I also enjoyed meeting the many and varied characters introduced by Dickens, although there were a lot to keep track of. Dickens does a fabulous job of fleshing out some of the characters, but he does leave other characters feeling flat.

Jan 30, 12:09am Top

5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Original publication date: 1948
Genre: Fiction
Source: Amazon
Format: Ebook
Type: TBR
Page count: 351
Challenge(s): British Author Theme, British Book, PopSugar, TIOLI

Taking place in the 1930s, I Capture the Castle is the story of Cassandra Mortmain, the daughter of James Mortmain, an author who once wrote an important and celebrated novel. Unfortunately, James has not been able to write for many years, ever since he was sent to prison for three months for knocking down a neighbor after a misunderstanding involving a cake knife. The Mortmain family - James, second wife and artist’s model, Topaz, older daughter and beauty, Rose, Cassandra, son, Thomas, and Stephen, the orphaned son of the family’s deceased maid – live in the crumbled ruins of a castle on which they have stopped paying rent. They have sold all of their possessions and barely have enough money to survive. Then their neighbor dies, leaving the castle and the neighboring estate, Scoatney, to his estranged American grandson, Simon Cotton, who comes to live at Scoatney along with his brother, Neil and his mother. The Cotton family is smitten with the Mortmain family, and nothing will ever be the same for either family. Cassandra’s coming-of-age story is told through the entries in her diaries.

I thought this was a beautifully written book. Dodie Smith does a fantastic job of letting Cassandra’s thoughts and feelings flow onto the paper. We see Cassandra’s growth throughout the book as she progresses through the six-penny journal to the shilling journal and finally to the two-guinea journal as she records her thoughts. We share her hopes and dreams, and happy and sad memories as she tries to navigate growing up in a family struggling to survive, yet endeavoring to live a normal life. Cassandra seems to be the practical one of the family as she tries to help her father write again, schemes with Rose to find a husband, and struggles with Stephen’s feelings for her, as well as her growing feelings for another. It is both a humorous and poignant portrayal of a young girl finding her way in the world, as she also helps and cares for those around her. The novel also examines the English class system and compares English versus American traditions.

Jan 30, 7:34am Top

>208 rretzler: Oh, I loved that one, too, when I read it, um, last year? Year before that? Sometimeorother.

Jan 30, 7:53am Top

Hi Robin!

>207 rretzler: Skipping your review until I finish it - I've got a lot of reading to do today and tomorrow to meet my goal of finishing it this month. I'm on chapter 50, but it's only 160 pages. gulp

Feel better soon.

Jan 30, 8:23am Top

>201 rretzler: You got me interested, Robin! Venice, and opera, and mr. Brunetti himself, it all sounds like a good read.

>207 rretzler: >208 rretzler: I've read both as well. Appreciated the first a bit more, the second a bit less, but that's just interesting isn't it?

I agree with you about the ending of Nickolas Nickleby, I also felt that it was less than plausible what happened to Ralph. But I also felt the scene was so well done! And it reminded me of the Christmas Carol, that I had just read. It's like this is an earlier version of Scrooge, and in the Christmas Carol Dickens has found a kinder way to deal with him.

Jan 30, 8:39am Top

>207 rretzler: >208 rretzler: Even though we rated it the same, I think I liked Nicholas Nickleby more than you, but you liked I Capture the Castle better than I did--ratings and all.

Jan 30, 8:44am Top

>209 scaifea: It was quite good, wasn't it, Amber. I watched the movie years ago and thought it did a fairly decent job of keeping true to the book, as well.

>210 karenmarie: Karen, the beginning and end of N2 seemed to go much faster for me than the middle, so don't despair. I got bogged down in the middle and kept putting it down - and when I put a book down, that's usually a sign to me that it's just not the right book for me (at least at that time.)

>211 EllaTim: Ella, it was a good read, I enjoyed it. You make a great point about Ralph. He does seem like an earlier version of Scrooge. I hadn't thought of him in that way, but I entirely agree with you.

Jan 30, 8:47am Top

>212 thornton37814: Lori, I think the reason I liked it a little less was that I got bogged down in it. It was a good story, but when I keep putting it down to do something else... It's interesting how different books hit people in different ways, isn't it?

Jan 30, 8:48am Top

>208 rretzler: - I've been meaning to read that one FOREVER. Thanks for the nudge!

Jan 30, 9:23am Top

>207 rretzler: Hi, Robin! I'm wondering whether the aspects you felt bogged it down would have worked better if you had actually been reading it as a serial over a more extended period. I've suspected that with other books originally published serially, and it is certainly the case with old movie serials — the entertainment value really suffers if you watch chapters back to back, and to some extent even if you watch one a day rather than one a week as originally intended.

Jan 30, 12:10pm Top

Good points in the spoiler about Nicholas Nickleby, Robin. I found Ralph Nickleby's rapid descent into suicide hard to believe, too. I was also struck by the number of plot-necessary coincidences and the neat tie-ups of the romances. . Still, it was a fun read.

Jan 30, 12:39pm Top

>215 katiekrug: Hi, Katie. It had been on my TBR for a long time too. Glad I finally read it.

>216 harrygbutler: Harry, I think you might be right about that. If I had to wait a month between chapters, I'm sure I would have been looking forward to it more.

Jan 30, 12:40pm Top

>217 jnwelch: Joe, very glad someone concurs! I do agree it was a fun read as well.

Jan 30, 10:16pm Top

This is super-quick for me - but I'm going to take an opportunity to open up a new thread! I may beat my record of 4 this year! Woo-hoo!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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