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Markon Springs Forward (thread #2)

Club Read 2018

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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.

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.)

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

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

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

Apr 16, 7:56pm Top

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

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.

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.

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:)

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

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.

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.

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.

May 2, 1:06pm Top

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

Edited: May 3, 10:26am Top

Anki, it definitely kept me engaged.

May 2, 7:24pm Top

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

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.

May 3, 11:00am Top

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

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!

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!

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.


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.

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

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)

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!).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 . . .

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.)

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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!

Oct 31, 7:51pm Top

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

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)

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.

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)

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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