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Markon Springs Forward (thread #2)

Club Read 2018

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1markon
Edited: Apr 11, 4:08pm Top


This reminds me that it might be a good time to head up to Gibbs Gardens for a look at the Japanese garden there. Spring has sprung, and I’m trying to get a few herbs planted and some shrubs pruned . . . and not reading as much.

Follow this link to thread #1.

3markon
Apr 11, 4:24pm Top

Favorite reads so far this year are:

1. The Muse by Jessie Burton
2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
3. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (even though I didn't get to finish it.)

4markon
Edited: May 1, 2:00pm Top

I hope I may achieve a Bingo this year, but am not choosing books to fit the categories.



#3 - Originally in a different language: The Open Door by Latifa Zayyat (Arabic)
#4 - New to you author: Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures
#5 - Relative name in title: A Pet for Pete by James Dean
#7 - Published in 2018: Emergence by C. J. Cherryh
#9 - > 500 pages: The punishment she deserves by Elizabeth George
#13 - Alpha Category - Z!: My friend Madam Zora
#17 - Something in the sky in the title: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
#20 - Beautiful Cover: The Muse by Jessie Burton
#21 - Memoir or autobiography: The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
#24 - Story involves travel: Binti & Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Planning thread with cards

Directions for using cards can be found here

Bingo Card wiki

5markon
Edited: Apr 11, 4:32pm Top

Cats & Kits I may want to play with

Link to 1001+ books to read before you die on LT

Cats & kits

Colour cat
April/Yellow
May/Blue
June/Purple
July/Pink
August/Grey
September/Metallic
October/Orange
November/Red
December/White

Mystery cat
April: Classic and Golden Age Mysteries
May: Mysteries involving Transit
June: True Crime
July: Police Procedurals
August: Historical Mysteries
September: Noir and Hard-Boiled Mysteries
October: Espionage
November: Cozy Mysteries
December: Futuristic/Fantastical Mysteries

SFF kit

April: "Time Travel"

May: "Rise Up" hosted by
Rise up as in revolution, movements/groups/individuals undermining authority

June: "Series"

July: "Cyberpunk or Techno SFF"

August: "Makes You Laugh"

September: Myths, Legends, & Fairy Tales

October: "Historical and Alt-historical"

November: "Creatures"

December: "This is how it ends"

Alpha kit

Jan: V, M Z: My friend Madam Zora
Feb : P, J
Mar: F, I
Apr: Y, U
May: Q, K
Jun: G, R
Jul: S, A
Aug: O, D
Sep: B, E
Oct: N, L
Nov: T, H
Dec: C, W

Yearlong: X, Z

6shadrach_anki
Apr 11, 5:05pm Top

Is that picture from Gibbs Gardens? It looks beautiful! I love beautiful gardens, and Japanese gardens in particular; one of my favorites is the Asticou Azalea Garden out on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

7markon
Edited: Apr 12, 9:25am Top

>6 shadrach_anki: That photo is actually from Wikipedia (a garden in Korea), but it reminded me of Gibbs Gardens and the Jimmy Carter Center here in Atlanta.

8markon
Edited: Apr 16, 7:35pm Top

Current reads:


The Miniaturist (audio) by Jessie Burton historical fiction set in Amsterdam in the 1600s
Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser non fiction about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life
The strange bird (audio) by Jeff VanderMeer science fiction - I've just started and so far it seems to be about a bird who has escaped and discovered it loves flying at night - but is freaked out by daylight.

Which one would you choose?

9markon
Edited: Apr 16, 5:07pm Top


The strange bird by Jeff VanderMeer

I listened to this on audio, and the narrator's voice added to the deliciousness of this book. I have not read Borne, and I enjoyed figuring out how the world the strange bird flew into worked. I identified with the bird and its need to travel, its joy in some experiences (like flying) and the suffering and transformation of other experiences, its puzzlement at its dreams.

For those of you who haven't read a synopsis, the strange bird escapes from a lab at the beginning of the book and is compelled to travel, learning and experiencing as it goes. The mercy & healing given to the strange bird by Wick & Rachel were a welcome relief towards the end of the novella.

I've also been thinking of the bird's journey in terms of Ursula LeGuin's comments on home embedded in her address/essay "The Operating Instructions," reprinted in Words are my matter. To paraphrase, that home is not a place but something we create with others.

Overall a five-star read for me, full of longing in beauty in addition to suffering.

10avaland
Apr 16, 7:56pm Top

Interesting review, especially tying in LeGuin's comments. This is connected to Borne, right?

11markon
Apr 16, 8:02pm Top


I liked, but did not love The Miniaturist. The characters seemed less fully formed in this novel than in Burton's second, The Muse. There would have been less tension in the novel without the miniaturist, but she's also a peripheral character. I kept reading because I wanted to find out how/whether Marin and Petronella resolved their relationship, and who the miniaturist was.

Set in 17th century Amsterdam, this novel follows 18-year-old Petronella as she seeks to make sense of the relationships in her husband Johannes' household, as well as learning the ways of the city. When I asked myself, "what was the point of all that?" at the end of the book, the answer I came up with is that the novel was about the ways people seek to escape society's strictures, and how they can't.

12auntmarge64
Apr 16, 8:34pm Top

>9 markon: I replied to you over in my thread but wanted to come over here to read your excellent review. I hope you love Borne just as much.

13markon
Edited: Apr 17, 9:48am Top

>10 avaland: Yes, I believe the strange bird flies through Borne. "Home" is my word for 2018, and I'm leading my Artist Play group in a discussion/experience of the word next week. The LeGuin essay is the best "definition" of what home seems to me, so it's on my mind as I'm planning what the group will do.

>12 auntmarge64: I'm looking forward to reading it - the hold list is now short, so I can get it quickly at the library:)

14markon
Edited: Apr 30, 6:19pm Top


The book Borne is, "as terrible and beautiful and sad and sweet as life itself." (p. 7) This quote is actually Rachel speaking of the drug (memory beetles) that her companion Wick sells. But I think it's an accurate description of each of the three main characters - Rachel, Wick, and Borne itself - and the strange family they comprise.

In addition to being the convoluted story of these three and the ravaged city they live in, it is also a meditation on what a person is and how trust, distrust, secrets, love, and forgiveness mingle in our lives, and the strange places that give rise to (or bear) hope.

5 stars

15markon
Edited: Apr 30, 7:35pm Top


I got hit by a book bullet this weekend on Litsy, and bought a copy of Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Czajkowski). How could I resist when it was $0.99 and the 2016 Clarke award winner? I couldn't.

And it was quite good.

Holsten Mason is awakened from suspension to deal with a signal in space near a habitable planet. The ark ship Gilgamesh has left dying earth behind looking for a terraformed planet that they can inhabit. And this planet looks like it.

However, the signal and the person? AI? inhabiting the signal pod say it's not. First conflict.

The book alternates sections between the humans on the ship Gilgamesh and the evolving creatures on the planet. (If you're afraid of spiders, don't read this book.) It presents an alien culture whose thinking, technology, religion/philosophy and approach to conflict develop in a different pattern from humans.

Secondary conflicts occur between humans on the ship, and between various cities, social groups, and temples on the planet over a period of centuries. Eventually, there will be communication or conflict between the humans and the evolved spiders.

This one kept me reading, and I managed to finish it the same weekend I bought it.

16markon
Edited: May 1, 2:01pm Top


I must admit, I read A pet for Pete by James Dean to complete my first bingo of this year (see post >4 markon:.) Category: A book with a relative's name in the title, chosen for my brother. Thanks bro!

This was a quick fun read. i like how Pete is always doing something creative.

17markon
May 2, 10:43am Top


I ran across A Poem for Peter at work today, and had to take a look. I didn't know anything about Ezra Jack Keats' (Jacob Ezra Katz) life, so it was quite interesting. Lovely illustrations as well, in the style of Keats.

18shadrach_anki
May 2, 1:06pm Top

>15 markon: Children of Time sounds fascinating. I've added it to my TBR.

19markon
Edited: May 3, 10:26am Top

Anki, it definitely kept me engaged.

20auntmarge64
May 2, 7:24pm Top

>9 markon: >14 markon: Isn't Jeff VanderMeer creative?

21markon
Edited: May 3, 10:49am Top

>20 auntmarge64: Yes! I admire the Southern Reach trilogy from afar (I read only the first book), and didn't particularly enjoy This World is full of monsters, but he creates incredible and fascinating worlds. Borne and The strange bird were both terrible and beautiful.

22markon
May 3, 11:00am Top

Reposting an interesting reading list from auntmarge64. Required reading from 28 countries.

23auntmarge64
May 3, 12:47pm Top

>21 markon: The first of the Southern Reach trilogy was the best IMHO, although I was glad I read them all. At this point I'd try anything new he writes. What an imagination!

24chlorine
May 11, 4:43pm Top

I'm catching up on threads after having been here less time than usual in April. Thanks for the reviews, keep them coming!

25markon
Edited: Nov 5, 6:51pm Top

Summer is flying by! And I haven't found time to post about the books I'm reading, but I am reading.

June

The only one I really remember reading is


Do not say we have nothing by Madeline Thien, a novel about three generations of a family (or two) in China. And it is wonderful. Music, family, history.

July
My friends the Mrs. Millers by Jane Duncan
My friend Cousin Emmie by Jane Duncan
Green Sun by Kent Anderson
The Dry by Jane Harper
Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen
The Overstory by Richard Powers (this one fascinated me, and I probably need to ruminate and return to it.)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Cloister by James carroll

August
Becoming Madeleine (bio of Madeleine L'Engle, written by her granddaughters)
The policeman's daughter by Trudy Nan Boyce (mystery)
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Fantasy)
The fairies of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe (fantasy)
Curse of the Mistwraith Jany Wurtz (fantasy)

Clarkesworld magazine, issues 140 & 141, I think. Wait, I've now finished 142 & 143 as well.

Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages
A thousand beginnings and endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman.
The secrets between us by Thrity Umrigar (audio, fiction)

26labfs39
Jul 9, 9:50pm Top

Do you think I would like the Jane Duncan series? I had never heard of it before, but it sounds like good reading for when I need a break from more serious reading (and life!).

27markon
Edited: Jul 12, 4:20pm Top

>26 labfs39: Lisa, they are, as you say, "good for a break from more serious reading (and life!)"

I first ran across this series in high school at my local library. They were published in the 60s & 70s, and are (somewhat) autobiographical novels, about a woman born in the highlands of Scotland in the early twentieth century. The books cover Janet Reachfar's life over that same time period, skipping mostly, however, over World War II when Janet (and the author) serve in Air Force Intelligence. I especially like the stories about Janet and her family when she was a child, and these stories are scattered throughout the novels. My favorites right now are the first and the last books in the series, My Friends the Miss Boyds, and My Friends George and Tom.

My Friends the Miss Boyds starts with Janet and her husband Twice having a discussion about her use of the phrase "old-maidish," and becomes a story of Janet's experience as a child with the Misses Boyd, and her family's and community's responses to these "old-maids."

Several of the later books take place in St. Jago, a fictional Carribbean Island where Twice works as an engineer in the sugar industry, and some days I'm not comfortable with her description of race, but at least she eventually addresses it and doesn't pretend it doesn't exist.

If you do try one, be prepared for lots of spelling/punctuation errors. Whoever published the digital copies did no copy editing, and it shows. But I still find them fun and relaxing.

If you try one, let me know what you think.

28markon
Jul 12, 4:21pm Top

Currently Reading


Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
An interesting twist on the Antigone story


The Cloister by James Carroll
historical fiction comparing/contrasting the relationship between a Catholic priest and a museum docent who survived the Holocaust, and the relationship of Abelard and Heloise. I'm always interested in an author who writes intelligently about issues of faith.


Circe by Madeline Miller
Just started this one, and can tell I'm going to enjoy the retelling of this tale.

29labfs39
Jul 14, 12:52pm Top

>27 markon: Thanks for telling me about the Jane Duncan books. I'm intrigued, and I ordered the first book off Amazon. Unfortunately it is being shipped from the UK, so it will be a few weeks before it arrives.

30markon
Jul 18, 5:06pm Top

>29 labfs39: Wow! I didn't think they were in print any longer- I've been buying the digital copies.

31markon
Jul 18, 5:09pm Top


Adding another item to my TBR, the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke award winner Dreams before the start of time by Anne Charnock. Maybe for my flight to Iowa next month . . .

32markon
Edited: Aug 21, 10:53am Top

This is sadly becoming more a list of things I read than anything else.


Most recently I finished Becoming Madeleine, a biography of author Madeline L'Engle written by her granddaughters for a juvenile audience. It did contain some information new to me, but I hope to see a bio someday that covers her entire life and works. (This one stopped with Wrinkle in Time, though it did cover the rest of her life with a broad brush.)

33markon
Edited: Aug 21, 10:55am Top

Other titles I read in August & enjoyed include

The policeman's daughter by Trudy Nan Boyce (mystery)

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Thumbs up!

The fairies of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe

Curse of the Mistwraith Jany Wurtz

Clarkesworld magazine, issues 140 & 141, I think. Wait, I've now finished 142 & 143 as well.

34markon
Edited: Aug 21, 11:33am Top

I'm enrolled in an 8-week overview of meditation from a variety of spiritual traditions, still singing with my threshold choir, and looking forward to a vacation with two friends at the end of the month.

I have not finished Circe by Madeline Miller, though I plan to, or any of the following

Cover Me by Ray Padgett (stories about origins of cover songs)

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe (Joni Mitchell biography)

Imperial Twilight by Stephen R Platt (opiumwar)

The world will follow Joy by Alice Walker (poetery/memoir)


Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto This is well-written, but a difficult read for me because of the subject matter. Not sure if I'll come back to it or not. I may try an earlier novel about the main characters' mother Why she left us, or the author's memoir Hiroshima in the morning, about interviewing survivors of the atomic bomb in the fall of 2011, and how the interviews change after 9/11.

New voices of fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman
Does anyone know why Eugene Fisher is listed as the main author in LT, and Fisher and Brooke Bolander are listed as authors in Amazon, but I don't see anything about either of them on the cover or title page of the book?

My house is still a mess, but my dog Milo loves me.

35markon
Edited: Aug 21, 11:55am Top


Currently enjoying two fantasy collections, Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages & A thousand beginnings and endings, edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman.


Also listening to an audiobook, The secrets between us by Thrity Umrigar, which I'm enjoying

36shadrach_anki
Aug 17, 2:17pm Top

>33 markon: Spinning Silver and Curse of the Mistwraith are both on my shelves, waiting to be read. I foresee yet another rearranging of my TBR list (pile, mountain, amorphous mass....).

I've only read the first of Bledsoe's Tufa novels. I should see if my public library has more of them available, as I remember enjoying the first one.

37lisapeet
Aug 17, 8:47pm Top

>34 markon: I'm guessing it's not a book title, but My house is still a mess, but my dog Milo loves me would be a good one. My last dog was a Milo.

38markon
Aug 21, 12:01pm Top

>36 shadrach_anki: I liked Spinning Silver a lot - Novik juggled character and plot well, I thought.

Curse of the Mistwraith not so much - the characters seemed to get more set in their ways and conflicts. I know that's true to life a lot of times, but I can't see where the series will go that interests me.

39labfs39
Aug 22, 9:16am Top

I'm glad to get an update, even if it's a list of books and activities. I may follow suit with a list and brief descriptions, like you did, because I am falling behind in reviews, and several of the books aren't worth a lot of effort. I'm bogged down in a non-fiction tome (The Crimean War) and have been reading espionage novels as an escape.

40labfs39
Aug 27, 10:29pm Top

>27 markon: I am halfway through My Friends the Miss Boyds and am absolutely charmed by it. Thank you for recommending it. The narrator is precocious and funny, and the descriptions of Highland life in 1918 is fascinating. I will have to look for the next in the series. Have you read them all?

41markon
Edited: Oct 31, 7:50pm Top

>39 labfs39: >40 labfs39: Yeah, I can't keep up with real life, let alone an online book review right now.

I'm glad you're enjoying the My Friends books. I read several in high school/my early twenties, and have finally (within the last year) read the one I never found at a library. I'm slowly acquiring ecopies of all of them so I have access to them when I need a quick entertaining read.

Think I've missed several that have been read in the past month, but here are a couple:


No time to spare by Ursula LeGuin
Martians abroad by Carrie Vaughn (so-so)
Jupiter's bones by Faye Kellerman

42labfs39
Oct 22, 10:09am Top

>41 markon: I'm reading My Friend Muriel, but am not enjoying it as much as the first one. The first book in the series set a high bar!

43markon
Oct 31, 7:51pm Top

>42 labfs39: Yes, it does. I always enjoy the ones that have incidents from Janet's childhood.

44markon
Edited: Oct 31, 7:59pm Top

Island of the mad by Laurie King (mystery)
The Jazz by Melissa Scott (science fiction)
Behind the throne by K. B. Wagers (science fiction)

Fun stuff.


Also reading Jane Crow: The life of Pauli Murray by Rosalind Rosenberg (biography)


Best American science fiction and fantasy of 2018 edited by N. K. Jemisin (short stories, science fiction)

45markon
Edited: Nov 5, 6:58pm Top

I apparently missed the entire month of September.

The healthy mind toolkit by Alice Boyes

Here are some October reads.

October
No time to spare by Ursula LeGuin (essays)
Martians abroad by Carrie Vaughn (so-so scifi)
Jupiter's bones by Faye Kellerman (mystery)
Island of the mad by Laurie King (mystery)
The Jazz by Melissa Scott (science fiction)
Behind the throne by K. B. Wagers (science fiction)

November
After the crown by K. B. Wagers
The sisters of the winter wood by Rena Rossner (fantasy)

Group: Club Read 2018

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