DeltaQueen Goes to Sesame Street in 2018 - Part 4
This is a continuation of the topic DeltaQueen Goes to Sesame Street in 2018 - Part 3.
This topic was continued by DeltaQueen Goes to Sesame Street in 2018 - Part 5.
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Welcome to my fourth thread of the 2018 Category Challenge. My name is Judy and I live Delta, a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. I love books and reading and through LibraryThing I have expanded my reading to many different genres. This is my 10th year at the Category Challenge and I am enjoying this years challenge very much. The theme of Sesame Street is working well and the books are continuing to fly off the shelves - of course I seem to be refilling those shelves even quicker!
I have 18 categories and I am hoping to read at least 10 books for 15 of the categories, 5 books and 6 books for 2 more. My eighteenth category is for overflow books so these 161 books plus overflows and additions will comprise my 2018 challenge. I haven’t planned to have a specific category for the various Cat/Kit Challenges or for the BingoDog but if they don’t fit into my regular categories, I will place them in my overflow category.
As my thread is dedicated to the classic children’s program, Sesame Street, I thought I would continue on with the idea of children’s classics and post pictures from renowned illustrators of some of the best loved children’s books. The illustrator I have chosen for this thread is Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863 - 1935), an American female illustrator who was a well known contributor to many books and magazines.
I think that the fact that the first time I read "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and she was the illustrator is the reason she is one of my favorite illustrators.
A. Brought To You By the Number:
The shows aired on PBS and there was no advertising. The show itself though always was brought to you by a number, a letter and a color. The regularity of this brings series to mind, so this category will be for series.
B. The Mystery Box:
Kermit gives the Cookie Monster three guesses as to what is in the Mystery Box. For my guesswork I love to read mysteries and police procedurals so this will be a category for those genres.
C. Big Bird:
Big Bird is larger than any bird I’ve ever seen, so this category will be for the big books of over 500 pages. I will plan on reading five of these.
D Rechov Sumsum & Alam Simsim:
Sesame Street is an international hit, and these are the names of the show in Israel and Egypt. This will be the place to list my global reading – books set anywhere other than Canada, the U.S. or the U.K.
E. It’s Not Easy Being Green:
A song sung by Kermit that encourages children to accept and embrace their differences. This will be a category that features books with a connection to the color green, their cover displays a large amount of green, the author’s name is Green or the word Green is in the title.
Elmo is perpetually child-like, so this category will be for Children’s & YA Books
G. The Letters A to J:
Sesame Street is often a child’s first introduction to the alphabet. This category will be a place for books whose authors last names start with the first ten letters of the alphabet.
H. The Letters K to T:
For Books whose authors last names start with the next ten letters of the alphabet:
I. The Letters U to Z:
For Books whose authors last names start with the last few letters of the alphabet.
J. Abby Cadabby:
Magical, fairy-like Abby Cadabby is the perfect choice to head the category for tales of Fantasy and Magic
K. The Count:
Although he is a friendly one, The Count is a vampire so this will be a category for the dark side of fantasy. Ghosts, vampires, zombies and werewolves will all fit here.
L. In Recognition of Excellence:
In recognition of it’s excellence, Sesame Street has won many awards including well over 100 Emmys, so this will be a category for the books that have also been recognized for their excellence by being placed on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List.
M. Miss Piggy:
Miss Piggy gives a strong female presence to the program, so this will be a category for women authors:
N. Kermit the Frog:
Kermit is an all-round good guy and the object of Miss Piggy’s affection, this will be a category for male authors.
O. Bert & Ernie’s Science Experiments:
Ernie is a master at coming up with experiments where he needs Bert’s help. He is also very good at convincing Bert to do some very strange things, all in the aid of science, of course. This category will be for science fiction.
P. Bob McGrath:
Bob McGrath, a music teacher who lived above Mr. Hooper’s store, was played by a real person, actor Robert Johnson. This category will be for non-fiction.
Q. Oscar the Grouch:
Oscar lives in a garbage can and considers his belongings to be treasures not trash. This category will be for books that have been on my shelf or my Kindle for longer than two years. Will they be trash or treasures?
R. Mr. Hooper’s Store:
Mr. Hooper’s Store carried everything. So this is the perfect place to be the overflow category, a place for graphic novels, for books that don’t fit anywhere else, or whose categories are already filled.
How I Rate Books:
2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!
2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another.
3.0 ★: Average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember
3.5 ★: Above Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.
4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story
4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book I will remember and recommend
5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me
2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge
1. A book made into a movie you've already seen: Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
2. True crime: Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn
3. The next book in a series you started: Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham
4. A book involving a heist: High Sierra by W. R. Burnett
5. Nordic noir: Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
6. A novel based on a real person:
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you: The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman
8. A book with a time of day in the title:
9. A book about a villain or antihero: The North Water by Ian McGuire
10. A book about death or grief: Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym:
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist:
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical: Black Coffee by C. Osborne, play by A. Christie
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
15. A book about feminism: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
16. A book about mental health: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift: A Robot In the Garden by Deborah Install
18. A book by two authors: Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French
19. A book about or involving a sport: Wobble To Death by Peter Lovesey
20. A book by a local author: Pleased To Meet You by Caroline Adderson
21. A book with your favorite color in the title: Friends At Thrush Green by Miss Read
22. A book with alliteration in the title: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
23. A book about time travel: Time And Again by Jack Finney
24. A book with a weather element in the title
25. A book set at sea: Sea Witch by Helen Hollick
26. A book with an animal in the title: The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson
27. A book set on a different planet : I Dare by Sharon Lee
28. A book with song lyrics in the title: My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson
29. A book about or set on Halloween
30. A book with characters who are twins: Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne
31. A book mentioned in another book: The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
32. A book from a celebrity book club: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
33. A childhood classic you've never read: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
34. A book that's published in 2018: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
36. A book set in the decade you were born
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
38. A book with an ugly cover: Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges - 2017 - A Book Set in the Wilderness: The Revenant by Michael Punke
Advanced Reading Challenge
1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school: Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (1968)
2. A cyberpunk book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
4. A book tied to your ancestry: Morning At Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title: Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson
6. An allegory: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you
8. A microhistory: Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
9. A book about a problem facing society today: Dumplin'
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
1. Famous Person in Title: Doris Day: Reluctant Star by David Bret
2. Published More Than 100 Years Ago: The Scalp Hunters by Mayne Reid
3. Originally in a Different Language: The First Garden by Anne Hebert
4. New To You Author: The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad
5. Relative Name in Title: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
6. Money In Title: Blood Money by Dashiell Hammett
7. Published in 2018: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
8. X in the Title: X Isle by Steve Augarde
9. 500 Plus Pages: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
10. Set During a Holiday: Born Scared by Kevin Brooks
11. LGBT central character
12. On the 1001 List: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
13. Read A Cat: Black Coffee - January ColorCat
14. Number in Title: The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn
15. Humorous Book: The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
16. Unread 2017 Purchase: Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham
17. Title Contains Something You Would See in the Sky: Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
18. Related to the Pacific Ocean: Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood
19. Fits At Least 2 Kits/Cats: The North Water by Ian McGuire
20. Beautiful Cover: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman
21. Autobiography/Memoir: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
22. Poetry or Play: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
23. Longtime TBR: The Lost Daughter of Happiness by Geling Yan
24. Story Involves Travel: A Long Walk Home by Judith Tebbut
25. Rank in Title: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
A. Brought To You By The Number ... - Series Reading
1. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham - 4.5 ★
2. The City of the Sun by David Levien - 4.0 ★
3. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers - 4.1 ★
4. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear - 3.8 ★
5. Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina - 4.2 ★
6. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill - 4.0 ★
7. Last Rites by John Harvey - 4.0 ★
B. The Mystery Box - Mysteries & Police Procedurals
1. Black Coffee by Agatha Christie, Adapted by Charles Osborne - 3.3 ★
2. The Clocks by Agatha Christie - 3.5 ★
3. Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey - 3.8 ★
4. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor - 4.2 ★
5. Blood Money by Dashiell Hammett - 3.8 ★
6. Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French - 4.2 ★
7. The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson - 3.9 ★
8. Buried by Mark Billingham - 4.1 ★
C. Big Bird - Large Books
1. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy - 927 pages
: A Man of Property (1906) – Completed – 4.0 ★
: Interlude - Indian Summer (1918) - Completed - 4.0 ★
: In Chancery (1920) - Completed - 4.3 ★
: Interlude - Awakening (1920) - Completed - 4.0 ★
: To Let (1921) - 3.4 ★
2. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset - 4.5 ★
D. Rechov Sumsum & Alam Simsim - Global Settings
1. The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad - 4.0 ★
2. Gold Of Our Fathers by Kwei Quartey - 3.8 ★
3. The War Reporter by Martin Fletcher - 3.4 ★
4. Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson - 3.8 ★
5. The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman - 3.4 ★
6. The Samurai's Wife by Laura Joh Rowland - 3.2 ★
7. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - 4.0 ★
E. It's Not Easy Being Green - Book Has a Connection to the Color Green
1. The Scalp Hunters by Mayne Reid (green cover) - 2.7 ★
2. Friends At Thrush Green by Miss Read (title) - 4.0 ★
3. Flowers For the Judge by Margery Allingham (green cover) - 4.0 ★
4. My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson (green cover) - 3.8 ★
5. Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood (author's name) - 4.0 ★
6. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda - 4.0 ★
7. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson - 4.2 ★
F. Elmo - Children's & YA Reads
1. The Night Is For Hunting by John Marsden - 4.0 ★
2. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla - 3.0 ★
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 4.2 ★
4. Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood - 3.5 ★
5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt - 4.0 ★
6. In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson - 3.8 ★
7. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer - 5.0 ★
G. The Letters A to J
1. A: Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott - 4.5 ★
2. B: Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks - 2.5 ★
6. F: Time And Again by Jack Finney - 3.7 ★
7. G: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans - 4.1 ★
8. H: Eventide by Kent Haruf - 5.0 ★
9: I: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install - 4.5 ★
10: J: The Weight of This World by David Joy - 4.5 ★
H. The Letters K to T
3. M: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty - 4.1 ★
6. P: Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe - 3.4 ★
7. Q: An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn - 4.0 ★
8. R: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly - 3.4 ★
10. T: Cutter And Bone by Newton Thornburg - 4.2 ★
J. Abby Cadabby - Books of Fantasy and Magic
1. God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell - 4.0 ★
2. The Queen of the Tearling by Erica Johansen - 4.1 ★
3. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.2 ★
4. Half The World by Joe Abercrombie - 4.2 ★
5. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.1 ★
6. The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin - 3.8 ★
7. The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen - 4.0 ★
8. Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn - 4.3 ★
L. In Recognition of Excellence - The 1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - 4.0 ★
2. The First Garden by Anne Hebert - 2.0 ★
3. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith - 3.7 ★
4. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh - 3.8 ★
5. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - 4.0 ★
6. The Accidental by Ali Smith - 2.0 ★
7. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - 4.5 ★
8. A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines - 4.1 ★
9. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - 3.7 ★
10. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West - 4.2 ★
11. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger - 4.0 ★
12. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin - 4.2 ★
13. Hard Times by Charles Dickens - 3.5 ★
M. Miss Piggy - Female Authors
1. Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss - 3.8 ★
2. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu - 4.0 ★
3. Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama - 3.8 ★
4. Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - 3.8 ★
5. Morning At Jalna by Mazo de la Roche - 3.7 ★
6. Sea Witch by Helen Hollick - 4.0 ★
7. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer - 3.6 ★
N. Kermit the Frog - Male Authors
1. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy - 4.3 ★
2. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz - 4.3 ★
3. The Revenant by Michael Punke 4.0 ★
4. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy - 2.0 ★
5. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton - 3.9 ★
6. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger - 4.5 ★
7. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson - 4.0 ★
O. Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments - Science Fiction
1. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman - 3.2 ★
2. I Dare by Sharon Lee - 4.5 ★
3. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers - 5.0 ★
4. X-Isle by Steve Augarde - 3.3 ★
5. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.2 ★
6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick - 4.5 ★
7. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - 4.2 ★
P. Bob McGrath - Non-Fiction
1. A Long Walk Home by Judith Tebbutt - 4.0 ★
2. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah - 5.0 ★
3. A Few Acres of Snow by Robert Leckie - 3.6 ★
4. Doris Day: Reluctant Star by David Bret - 3.8 ★
5. Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn - 5.0 ★
6. Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson - 4.0 ★
Q. Oscar The Grouch - On My Shelf Longer Than 2 Years - Trash or Treasure?
1. A Cat Affair by Derek Tangye - 3.7 ★
2. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo - 4.2 ★
3. High Sierra by W. R. Burnett - 4.2 ★
4. Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave - 4.5 ★
5. A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron - 4.5 ★
6. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - 4.2 ★
7. Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy - 4.1 ★
8. The U. P. Trail by Zane Grey - 3.4 ★
R. Mr. Hooper's Store - Overflow
1. When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord - 4.0 ★
2. The North Water by Ian McGuire - 4.5 ★
3. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells - 3.3 ★
4. The World of Thrush Green by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
5. Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor - 4.5 ★
6. Born Scared by Kevin Brooks - 4.0 ★
7. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver - 4.2 ★
8. The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne - 3.3 ★
9. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - 3.6 ★
2018 Reading Plans - Group Reads etc.
Year Long Group Reads
* The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
* Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
January: Hosting the RandomCat
March: Hosting the ColorCat: Green
April: Hosting the ScaredyKit: Supernatural
June: Hosting SF/FFKit: Series Month
Group Read: Ursula Le Guin
July: Hosting the MysteryCat: Police Procedurals
Yes - and I decided to read a short book of poetry before I hit the ARC! It was written by a librarian friend whom I will see at a conference in a couple weeks. I want the book read before then!
Happy new thread, Judy! Are you getting the summer weather over there? It was hot enough for ice cream here today! Whew!
Nice shiny new thread. Great illustrations. You've gotten quite a bit of reading done already and so many from your TBR!
Happy New Thread, Judy. Love the toppers! And I am glad to see a lot of reading going on. Always makes me happy.
Happy new thread, Judy! Looks like things are rolling smoothly here on Sesame Street!
>27 thornton37814: Lori, your TIOLI Challenge gave me the push I needed to order a volume of poetry from the library. My great-grandmother's name was Katherine Oliver so I ordered Mary Oliver's Dog Songs This will fill in another Bingo square. :)
>28 rabbitprincess: RP, we've been having great weather out here. Sunny days, with some clouds andthen cooling down at night which makes sleeping comfortable. We haven't had any rain in a couple of weeks although some it forecast for this Friday. Today (Wednesday) we woke up to cloudy skies but it is starting to break up and the sun is now poking through. Oh, and I really enjoyed my chocolate dip cone that I got at DQ. :)
>29 dudes22: Betty, I've been really concentrating on moving those books along to make room for new ones, and even though I have loads of shelves now, I've come to realize that no matter how much shelving I have, I will always be filling them faster than I can empty them.
>30 msf59: Hi Mark, it seems the more I read, the more books there are that I want to read! However, having overflowing shelves is a great problem to deal with!
>31 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!
>32 VivienneR: Hi Vivienne, I was one of the lucky ones and was introduced to reading by my Mom at a very early age. I remember her reading to my sister and I while we snuggled in and listened and looked at the pictures in the books. I've come to appreciate the work that the illustrators do in interpreting the story.
>33 MissWatson: Jessie Wilcox Smith is definitely extremely talented, I know that she imprinted me for life with the way the "Little Women" should look!
>34 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, yes, everything is good here, especially the books! ;)
>35 Familyhistorian: I have been enjoying this weather, Meg. We are spending a good part of the day out on the terrace soaking up the sunshine. I really like how it cools right down at night for sleeping comfort.
79. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.1 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
TIOLI #11: A Book You've Acquired Since January 25, 2018
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner is the third novel in her Queen’s Thief fantasy series. The setting for these novels reminds me of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. The characters’ names are Greek and this world has many gods, ruled over by the Great Goddess Hephestia. It is impossible to discuss this book without giving spoilers from the first two books, so if you are planning on reading these books, perhaps you should skip this review. Although the story continues on from the last book and is mostly about the marriage between Eugenides and the Queen of Attolia and how the Thief of Eddis takes to being the king, it is largely told from the point of view of Costis, a young soldier in the Queen’s Guard. Costis is honourable, loyal and steadfast, and as he comes to understand the complicated relationship between the Queen and the King, so too, do the readers.
The story involves the political intrigues that the marriage between the Thief of Eddis and the Queen of Attolia generates in the Attolian court. Most of the court views him as weak, unfit to be their king, but after an assassination attempt, it becomes very clear that there is a lot more to this new young King and his relationship with the Queen then was previously thought. While the main storyline is of his struggle to accept his destiny, when the true character of the King is finally revealed, Attolia can now concentrate on the danger that threatens from outside. Can the small countries of Attolia and Eddis stand united against an invasion from the Mede Empire?
Even though the story unfolds from the viewpoint of Costis, the King of Attolia is front and center as he matures and maneuvers his way to power. Although the reader is not privy to any intimate details between them, the Queen and King have an undeniable chemistry. And while there is less action than in the previous books, the author has crafted a very intelligent, romantic and absorbing story. I am already looking forward to book number four.
I think we need some rain, Judy. I've had a few people lately remind me of our rainy Junes. I won't see it as I'm on my way to Ontario.
Blood Money by Dashiell Hammett for the BingoDOG square with money in the title. Excellent. I have been looking for something to put in that spot. I've never read anything by Hammett. Did you enjoy?
And Happy New Thread, Judy!
>36 DeltaQueen50: Your mum was one of the lucky ones too! I was the kind of kid who maintained "I can do it myself!"
>42 VivienneR: With a reader Mom and an older sister to help me, I was reading at a pretty early age but, and here I am aging myself, I remember the days before TV so there was lots of reading aloud done. :)
80. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger - 4.5 ★
Category: Kermit The Frog
May ColorCat: Blue
TIOLI #1: Book Contains a Picture of the Bespectacled Author
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is a rich and evocative novel about a family with a father who may be touched by God. In a small town, working as a janitor, Jeremiah Hand raises his family alone as a single parent. The children, 11 year old asthmatic Reuben; who tells the story, his fabulous sister Swede; 9 years old and an accomplished poet who writes about western outlaws, and Davy, who at 17 becomes a killer. Two town boys on whom Jeremiah delivered a beating when he caught them trying to rape Davy’s girlfriend, have sworn revenge on the Hand family. The situation escalates until one night they break into the Hand house with baseball bats in hand. Davy was prepared and quickly laid them out.
There is the beginning of a trial but it quickly becomes apparent that the jury will not deliver a favorable verdict for Davy. He escapes and all too soon the family takes to the road in an air-stream trailer which has been willed to them. How they know exactly which direction to head, and how the police are avoided may be due to Jeremiah’s religious convictions but the final confrontation gives us the biggest miracle of all, but as Reuben says, “Make of it what you will.”
Peace Like a River comes across as a simple, heartfelt story, beautifully delivered and served with the feel and flavor of the mid-western plains. A sad yet hopeful story that illustrates the strength of a united family through hardships.
>43 DeltaQueen50: I remember days before tv too, when there seemed to be more books around. The first book I "read" was Grimm's Fairy Tales. I picked it off the shelves and looked at every line. I came to the conclusion that there was more to reading than that and I'd find out when I went to school. Later when I actually read Grimm, I was glad I hadn't understood it the first time.
>45 VivienneR: Yes, fairy stories were my first exposure to books as well. Children weren't as shielded in those days, I still remember that Red Riding Hood's Grandma got eaten by the wolf!
>46 ronincats: Roni, I loved how the author put such a unique slant on the story. You felt you knew these characters from the other books, but this was a new way of looking at them. I did keep wondering about the relationship between the King and Queen, I thought they should have been on better terms but then perhaps the pressure of the marriage drove them apart - I loved being kept in the dark! :)
>48 thornton37814: As I read through the book, Lori, I am becoming a fan as well! :)
81. Born Scared by Kevin Brooks - 4.0 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
BingoDog: Set During a Holiday
TIOLI #7: Author's Last Name is a Noun
Born Scared by Kevin Brooks is a YA thriller that certainly kept me glued to the pages. The main character is Elliot and Elliot is afraid of everything. Not afraid in the usual sense of the word but bone deep terror over just about everything from the color red to any new situation or person. He lives in his room, never leaves the house and counts the time between his anti-anxiety pills. Until the day before Christmas when everything swings out of control. He’s out of pills, there is a blizzard outside and his Mom is missing. Elliot must get over his paralyzing fear, leave the house and search for her.
I received a copy of this book through LT’s Early Reviewers Program and although I loved following the various story lines, I would have liked a little more information put into the ending when the various plots come together. Overall though this was a stellar read that I totally enjoyed. The author was able to keep the tension level high through his excellent pacing and Elliot’s inner voice allowed us to appreciate how difficult just stepping outside was for him.
Born Scared was the first book by this author that I have read, but I am now going to be looking for more of his work.
Happy new thread, Judy! Here is hoping you have good weather this weekend. The clouds are starting to take over here on the island... not great weather for the Oak Bay Tea party if the rain predicted shows up.
>51 lkernagh: Hi Lori, I think our weather has taken a turn for the worse, and so I hope the Oak Bay Tea Party has some inside events planned. The rain didn't mount to much last night, just a few sprinkles, but the sky here still looks as if more rain is to come.
>52 msf59: Mark, I didn't know until I read it on someone's thread here that Leif Enger and Lin Enger are brothers. I read High Divide by Lin Enger a while ago and I would certainly recommend it as well. These brothers certainly have a way with words!
82. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver - 4.2 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
BingoDog: Poetry or A Play
TIOLI #14: Author's Surname Matches an Ancestral Surname
Dog Songs by Mary Oliver is a unique volume of poems in that each one is about a dog, both as in dogs that have enriched her life as well as in general terms. This is a celebration of the special bond that humans and dogs have forged over generations. These are poems of love, laughter, heartbreak and grief. As I read through the book my eyes both twinkled and teared.
The author, writing effortlessly, connects the reader to their inner feelings and brings back memories through her vision. It is obvious that she knows dogs and her words paint vivid pictures:
Be prepared. A dog is
adorable and noble.
A dog is a true and
loving friend. A dog
is also a hedonist.
I highly recommend Dog Songs to all dog lovers. These charming poems are a homage to our gentle, loving and, at times, funny companions in life. The accompanying line sketches by John Burgoyne enhance this slim volume and are a joy to examine.
83. Pleased To Meet You by Caroline Adderson - 3.0 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book by a Local Author
TIOLI #1: A Book of Short Stories By An Author Who Was Born in Canada
Pleased To Meet You by Caroline Adderson was a difficult read for me. First off I am not a fan of the short story and chose to read this book mostly because it fit a couple of reading challenges that I needed to complete. Although there were a couple of stories in this collection that I liked, for the most part I was put off by the author’s writing style and her decision to fill her stories with such unsympathetic, flawed people.
There were nine stories in this collection and I liked Petit Mal about a mother who fears her son has become involved in Satanism, I also found Knives to be creepy but interesting but the overall slyness, the feeling that the author and her characters are superior to everyday people made me quite uncomfortable.
I am certainly not judging the quality of this author’s writing but I doubt very much that I would pick something up by her again, we are obviously not on the same wavelength, and I felt very much out of my comfort zone with these stories.
>56 DeltaQueen50: - I'm going to take a BB on this because I need a book for the Bingo too and had no idea what I was going to read.
Happy Monday everyone! I am happy to report that I finished the massive Kristin Lavransdatter this morning and although I absolutely loved this book, it feels good to have finished. I have been reading this over the last three months with the group read. I am still reading The Forsyte Saga and probably won't get that one finished until next month but it will feel good to mark this huge volumes off the 1,001 List!
>61 Storeetllr: & >63 thornton37814: We joke about it, but finding someone who can put words on paper that express our feelings about our pets is certainly a wonderful thing.
>62 -Eva-: Eva, I think you will enjoy both the "Queen's Thief" series and Born Scared. I'm glad that my BB are finding a target! ;)
>64 dudes22: Betty I don't normally read poetry but challenges like the BingoDog have lead me to some very good books over the last couple of years. Mary Oliver is definitely an author that I will explore further.
>65 BLBera: Thanks Beth, you must be back from your trip, I will have to come by your thread and see how it went!
84. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset - 4.5 ★
Category: Big Bird
A Category Challenge Group Read
BingoDog: A Book of Over 500 Pages
Book 1 - The Wreath
Kristin’s childhood, her attachment to her father, her betrothal to Simon Darre, she meets and falls in love with Erlend and starts meeting him secretly. Her betrothal is broken, and eventually Erlend convinces her father to allow him to marry Kristin. Unknown to everyone and to her shame, she is pregnant when they finally wed. She feels like she has betrayed her parents, broken her vows and disgraced herself.
Book 2 – The Wife
This second book covers Kristin’s young adult life. Her shame at bearing her first child early. She goes on to have seven sons (1 set of twins) and makes peace with both her parents. Her younger sister marries Simon. Erlend get involved in treason, is arrested and sentenced to death, but with the help of Simon and others, they are able to get the sentence commuted. After many years of her harsh treatment of Erlend and his hurt feelings and philandering, they are stronger together than ever at the close of this book. Erlend insults Simon by implying that he would have rather seen Erlend hanged so that he could finally have Kristin for himself.
Book 3 – The Cross
The third volume covers the later part of Kristin’s life, she sees her children becoming adults and growing away from her, and spends a great deal of time contemplating the condition of her moral soul as she remembers her past behavior. She and her husband have a bitter falling out and he leaves to live elsewhere and although they do make-up at one point, neither one will bend to the will of the other. This stubborn refusal to adapt to their partner leads to a tragedy and more anguish for the family. As Kristin’s life draws to a close, I was happy to see that this stubborn, determined woman did find a measure of peace.
This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction and as great as it is, this is so much more than the story of one woman’s life. This literary trilogy that was written in Norwegian in the early 1920’s includes many descriptions of Northern life during the middle ages. The daily customs, religious rituals, pagan practices and political situations are detailed and fascinating, not to mention the depiction of clothing, food, and decor which combine to create a master picture of Scandinavian life in the past. This book well deserves an international following and I am glad that this version, translated by Tina Nunnally, is currently available. I would recommend this book to all lovers of historical fiction.
A couple of decades ago, I wrote a couple of haiku poems about my birds, one about my cat, and one about my dog. I won't bore you with them here, but I will put them up on my thread, if you're interested. That is about the extent of what I feel capable of doing, so I'll have to depend on Mary Oliver for pet poetry. :)
>67 DeltaQueen50: Good review! I always meant to read this but just never got around to it. This may be a good time.
85. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - 3.7 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Microhistory
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis is a satirical novel about American culture and society that explores the dullness of middle class American life as well as the social pressures there are toward conformity. Written and set in the early 1920’s, many of Lewis’ observations are still valid today. The novel is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Zenith where George F Babbitt, a 46 year old prosperous real estate broker is on the verge of a mid-life crisis.
Babbitt ‘s family consists of his devoted wife, Myra, and his three children, Verona, Ted and Tinka. The social status of the Babbitt family is important to George and they constantly are on the lookout to improve their status in the community. Yet, there is a bit of a rebel inside George and when his best friend ends up going to prison and his wife goes away to nurse her sister, George mounts his own small rebellion, but eventually realizes that it is too late for him to change and retreats back into the security of conformity. He does however, encourage his son, to explore his possibilities and not just settle into life.
I thought Babbitt was a very interesting read. Instead of the glamour and glitz of the 1920’s, this book gives us a glimpse of middle class American life in ways that are both insightful and humorous. The middle class became a recognizable force during this decade and this book helps us to understand it’s place and importance in society. My opinion of George Babbitt went through a number of changes during the course of the story for which I credit the author for developing such a well rounded character. And although the slang and much of the dialogue was dated to it’s time, in many ways this was a timeless story.
Good review, Judy. I may have to take Babbitt down off the self and give it a go. BTW, my grandparents were part of that midwestern middle class group that Lewis wrote about. For that reason alone, I think I should read it.
>72 Storeetllr: Mary, I am now looking forward to seeing the 1934 film version of Babbitt. I believe my brother has it so we will watch it next time I go over to visit the family. I'm sure there are plenty of changes from the book, but it should be interesting.
>73 EBT1002: Ellen, Dog Songs was simply a lovely little read. I need to read more by Mary Oliver!
>74 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay.
>75 rosalita: Peace Like a River was an excellent read, I love how that author expresses himself. And thinking of that book makes my disappointment in my next read all the greater (see below).
86. Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks - 2.5 ★
Category: The Letters A to J
Reading Thru Time Monthly Theme: Digging Up the Past
TIOLI #7: The Author's Last Name is a Noun
While Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks had plenty of the sage brush, horses and quaking aspens that I love to read about in my western novels, it was unfortunately peopled with undeveloped characters and expressed in awkward writing. I was expecting to love this novel, set in Montana during the 1950’s, about a female archaeologist, hired by the Smithsonian Institute to travel west and explore a remote canyon for any significant artifacts as this area would soon be flooded by the building of a damn. Part of the area is on the Crow Indian Reserve where many are against this project.
I think the author, in his enthusiasm, tackled too many subjects in this over long novel. In Montana we read about the wild mustangs and the people who hunt them, Indian issues, and Basque culture. He also jumps back into time to Post World War II Europe, in particular Paris and London, and how events from the past shaped the actions of the characters. However, my biggest problem with this book was my lack of connection with the main character, Catherine. I felt the author fell back on the “helpless female” cliche in order to move the story along and her actions were, at times, unbelievable. As a professional, she would have known better than to wander off by herself without adequate food or water and get lost. As much as I love descriptive writing the author’s use of incomplete sentences was irritating.
So my high hopes for Painted Horses was quickly dashed. I loved the setting but could not swallow the plot, weak characters and uneven writing. Great cover though.
I think I read Babbitt in high school; so I guess it's time to reread it. I would probably appreciate it much more today. Great comments, Judy.
Ireland is beautiful and has such an interesting history. I would like to return.
I listened to Babbitt on audio a few years ago, and liked it well enough. I think our reactions were very similar.
>78 hailelib: Good to hear that you liked Main Street as, being on the 1001 Books List, I will probably tackle that one in the future.
>79 BLBera: Beth, I am finding that many of the books that I either avoided or read when I was younger are much more palatable in my advanced years. I guess maturity has given me some ability to understand points that perhaps went right over my head when I was younger.
>80 katiekrug: I think Sinclair Lewis added enough humor and wry insights to keep the book from becoming too dull. George Babbitt was a character who at first I considered rather a buffoon but as the book progressed, he was shown to be thoughtful and self aware. Yes, he made mistakes but he knew and recognized them as such.
I agree, Judy. Several authors that I had written off now make sense to me. I'm starting to think we should rethink high school curriculum. According to what my students tell me, we're turning them off reading.
>82 BLBera: I totally agree that we shouldn't be force feeding high school students some of the books we do. It's far more important to instill a love of reading in them and allow then to explore books at their own pace. Today there are so many well written age appropriate books available for the schools to use.
87. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn - 5.0 ★
Category: Bob McGrath
2018 PopSugar Challenge: True Crime
June MysteryCat: True Crime
TIOLI #15: Rolling Challege Based on the Parts of Speech
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn is a fascinating read of this famous duo who caught the attention of the law and the imagination of the public in the early 1930’s. These two young people were each from a very poor background and in the impossible situation of trying to climb out from the West Dallas slums where they were raised. In these times the quickest way was to turn to crime for instant cash and the fame and excitement that came along with it were not unwelcome to these two kids. The Great Depression brought hard times to most Americans and thanks to over-exaggerated news stories Bonnie and Clyde became household names.
In fact these two were far from the cool and calculating criminals that they were painted to be. It was mostly luck that kept them from being caught during their two year crime spree. The jobs they pulled were most often on small businesses, gas stations, and grocery stores. Times were so hard that they often came up empty handed. They spent much of their time living hand-to-mouth, camping out in their stolen cars, bathing in cold creeks and living on cold cans of beans. They both seemed to be aware that their lives were going to be the price they would have to pay for their short stint in the spotlight. One thing the book does stress however, is that these two were devoted to one another. And although their life was nothing like the glamour that was portrayed in the excellent 1967 movie, this book paints a realistic picture of these two outlaw lovers.
The book is everything one want in a non-fiction read - engrossing, beautifully written, highly readable and informative. The author manages to cut through much of the mystery that surrounds these two, yet still delivers a haunting, eye-opening story that is a great read for historians and crime buffs alike.
>82 BLBera:, >83 DeltaQueen50: Yes, I can attest. Being forced in H.S. to read certain classics turned me off classics for years. I did, however, discover a love of Shakespeare because my English teacher actually taughtHamlet as opposed to simply assigning the play to us to read, so perhaps the way it's done that's the problem.
>85 Storeetllr: Mary, I think a good teacher can make all the difference. Whereas I was totally turned off of Shakespeare, I did have an excellent Grade 10 English teacher who got me to appreciate Charles Dickens.
I concur with the being forced to read certain books too young can put you off for life. I completely failed to "get" Jane Austen and had an almost overwhelming desire to slap Elizabeth Bennett for being stupid - until I re-read it through a guided read with Lyzard and it all made a lot more sense. Partly that was I was no longer 15! The world looks very different at 15 than it does the far side of 40. Thomas Hardy I avoided for 30 years, after having been tortured with Under the Greenwood Tree by a poor teacher. Not sure he'll ever make my favourites list, and he's still not a cheery read, but it was a lot better second time round.
Thing is, a good teacher can make anything come to life, a poor one will ruin everything. Sometimes I think it's not just what you read, but with who that makes the difference.
As an aside, I seem to remember hearing someone say that when a child is very small you could read Joyce to them as it simply doesn't matter what you are reading, its that you are there, and the rhythm of language that is important. Not sure if I entirely believe that, but I'm sure someone could try it...
>84 DeltaQueen50: Oh, that sounds like a good one, Judy. I'm adding it to my library wishlist.
>87 Helenliz: That would be a great experiment, Helen, especially if they followed up to see if children exposed to James Joyce when they are very young end up liking/understanding his work when they are teenagers or young adults more than teens encountering his language quirks for the first time.
>87 Helenliz: I am gearing up to tackle Thomas Hardy one of these days as he is all over the 1001 Books List. I read Babbitt by installment and now I am reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens so perhaps I will try a Thomas Hardy after that.
>88 rosalita: It was very good, Julia, and another great recommendation from Mark!
>87 Helenliz: & >88 rosalita: I think just the sound of your voice and the rhythms of speech can appeal to a two year old - but only for a short time! I think they first are soothed by your voice, then we get a little older they want pictures to look at and actual interest in the story probably doesn't come along until an even later age.
88. The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin - 3.8 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
June SFFFKit: Series
June Group Read of the Works of Ursula Le Guin
TIOLI #6: A Body of Water is on the Cover
The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin is a YA fantasy that is the final volume in the trilogy known as the Earthsea Cycle that was first published in 1972. This last volume concerns the darkness that is overtaking Earthsea as the world and it’s wizards are losing their magic. The Archmage Sparrowhawk and his young companion, Prince Arren embark upon a quest to journey to the dark lands to return the light and restore the world’s balance.
All three stories have featured Sparrowhawk in the various stages of his life. In this book he is the aging, wise, all-knowing wizard who has lived a lifetime of wonder and now is ready for his final mission. The young prince learns many philosophical lessons at the side of the archmage, and his journey is as much that of the spirit as a physical one.
Le Guin closes the cycle that was begun in the first book when the young goat-herder Ged first became the wizard Sparrowhawk with this volume about the completion of his duties and his leading the young prince to his destiny of becoming the High King of Earthsea. The Farthest Shore, like the other Earthsea books, is a thoughtful, spiritual and intelligent story.
One of my high school teachers, after we read Julius Caesar, took us to see a live performance of it, in a small theater. I've liked Shakespeare ever since and even took a class in his tragedies in college. I think I was really lucky in my English classes as a teen.
Well, I'm reading Ulysses now. I'll try some passages on Scout and report back.
>91 hailelib: Yes, I agree that the teacher could make all the difference in how certain author's were digested. The teacher I remember who tried to teach us Shakespeare probably shouldn't have been a teacher. She was terrified to turn her back on the class, cried a lot and never had control of the class. We weren't that tough a crowd, a bunch of suburban kids, but she just wasn't comfortable in the teacher's role. Of course we sensed her confusion and fear and did give her a much harder time that our other teachers got.
>92 BLBera: You never know, Beth, Scout may soon be quoting Ulysses!
89. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill - 4.0 ★
Category: Brought To You by The Number
June ColorCat: Purple
TIOLI #2: Dedicated to Dad
It’s been awhile since I last read one of the Dr. Siri mysteries by Colin Cotterill. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed these humorous detective novels that are set in the country of Laos during the 1970’s. Breaking the title of Anarchy and Old Dogs down, the anarchy here is a plot to overthrow the government, and Dr. Siri’s involvement comes after a coded message is found on the corpse of a dentist. The old dogs refer to Dr. Siri Paiboun, the seventy year old national coroner and his friend, Civilai, who is a senior member of the Politburo.
Aided by his assistant, Nurse Dtui and Policeman Phosy, Siri and Civilai embark on an investigation to expose and thwart the rebellion. Along the way the good doctor also solves the murder of a ten year old child and comes to some important insights about himself. Although highly skeptical about the current government which has been in power only for two years, it would be a disaster to change the system at this time so he chooses to remain hopeful that the Pathet Laos will eventually come to be the government that he fought for.
Anarchy and Old Dogs is another charming and witty addition to this series that I read as much for the exotic setting and historical information as I do for the mysteries.
>95 msf59: Hi Mark, I hope you had fun on your camping trip. I am making note of The Road to Jonestown for the future. I recently bought a western trilogy written by Guinn and my husband is going to start it shortly so we will soon see if he is a double threat - good at both fiction and non-fiction. :)
90. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.2 ★
Category: Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments
June SFFFKit: Series
TIOLI #3: A Cryptogram of "Dad" is included in the Title
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold is another entry in the excellent Vorkosigan science fiction series. This series is full of adventure and excitement, romance, mystery, humor, space battles, diplomatic struggles yet in this volume everything changes. Miles Vorkosigan has been living a double life, he is both Lord Vorkosigan of the Barrayaran Empire and he is also Admiral Naismith, leader of a galactic mercenary force. Unfortunately he is suffering some effects from a near death experience and has been having seizures. Instead of coming clean about his health problems, he tries to cover up his problems and falsifies a mission report. When the truth comes out, he loses his Barrayaran commission and also realizes that this is the end for Admiral Naismith as well.
Now confined to Barrayar, needing a surgical procedure to correct his seizures, Miles feels very alone and unsure of what his future is going to be. He gets involved in another crisis that involves his previous supervisor and solving this case leads him to discover the next direction his life is going to take.
In Memory, the author has brilliantly executed her story-line in an entertaining way and laid some groundwork toward Miles melding his two identities into one as well as giving this series a fresh start. Now I am very excited for the next book to find out what Miles will be doing next as leaving his mercenaries and his girlfriend, Elli, behind opens this series up to be completely re-invented.
91. A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron - 4.5 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
June RandomCat: Unusual Narrator
TIOLI #15: Rolling Challenge Based on Part of Speech
Although I loved A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, I hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers as it did bring me to tears a couple of times. This is the story of a dog who is trying to figure out what his purpose is in life. This process involves him being reborn a few times into different dog bodies.
This dog’s soul goes through various doggie lives. Some are much happier than others and some are much longer than others. This is an unabashedly sentimental tale that captures a dog’s unique ability to love and protect, there is plenty of humor as we read of the dog’s opinion on life and the creatures he meets as he travels his spiritual road. I thought the author was very perceptive in how he dealt with the animal’s thought processes. He didn’t have the animal understand many of the human's thoughts but instead interpreted these into thoughts he could understand. His world was of food, pats, and car rides. He knew the words “bad dog” and ‘good dog’ but didn’t always understand what he had done to deserve either of these labels.
This is an author who understands dogs and writes about them with emotion and heart. A Dog’s Purpose was an uplifting read about the undying love that exists between humans and their dogs. It also explores the notion of individual purpose in life, but remember, you will shed a few tears as this delightful story unfolds.
92. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe - 3.4 ★
Category: The Letters K to T
1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
June ScaredyKit: Adapted to Film
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe is a novella that was originally published in 1841. Today this story is mostly admired for its’ historic value as it is considered the first modern detective story. The main character, C. Auguste Dupin solves the brutal murder of two women in Paris. Poe has his detective display many of the traits that become literary conventions in many of the detectives that were to follow, including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. The idea that the detective has great analytical talents, is exceptionally brilliant and has a personal friend do the narration are all plot points that were introduced in this story.
Although the language is rather dated, this is a fascinating story and well worth a quick read.
I looked up A Dog's Purpose at the library just now and was surprised to see that they have a film based on the book as well.
>100 hailelib: I got so emotional reading the book, I doubt if I could sit through the film without breaking down into sobs!
Some good ones here, Judy! Dr. Siri and Ged and, most of all, Memory--glad you finally made it to this point!
93. Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood - 4.0 ★
Category: It Isn't Easy Being Green
June AlphaKit: G
TIOLI #10: Author's Name Has the Same Vowel in Both 1st and 2nd Names
Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood is the third book in her Honourable Phryne Fisher, lady detective. Set in 1920’s Australia, in this outing we find Phryne and her faithful maid, Dot, on the train travelling to visit some relatives when she wakens to the very strong smell of chloroform and discovers that the first class passengers have been drugged. After stopping the train, letting fresh air in to circulate and revive the passengers, it is discovered that one, an elderly lady is missing. She is later found dead back along the tracks.
Phryne brings the injured daughter of the dead woman home with her and promises to find out who killed her. To further complicate the situation, a young girl is found on the train who appears to have lost her memory. Phryne takes her in as well and eventually discovers that this young girl has the identity of the murderer tucked away in her memory.
Even though it was quite short I really enjoyed this particular book. Phryne is sophisticated, intelligent, independent and kind. Her taking in the orphan girl has added another character to the regular cast and shows a caring, nurturing side to the main character. As always fashion plays an important part in the story both in the descriptions of clothes worn and the surrounding decor. An entertaining addition to this series.
>104 DeltaQueen50: I plan to try that series sometime. I just want to get a little more caught up on a few others in process before beginning it.
>96 DeltaQueen50: I did not realize that Guinn had wrote fiction too. I always find that interesting. I will watch for your thoughts when you get to those westerns. Ihis NF book on the OK Corral also sounds good.
Happy Saturday, Judy. I have not read A Dog's Purpose, but my wife, daughter and my sister all loved it. I will have to try it at some point. I met the author at an earlier Booktopia. Interesting guy.
Hope you are having a good weekend.
Happy Father's Day, everyone. My youngest daughter dropped by this morning with an assortment of her homemade jams and preserves for her Dad. Eldest daughter is working until later on this afternoon so I expect we will see her and the grandkids later. Unfotunately my hubby is not feeling all that great today and isn't moving very far from the couch. I keep plying him with liquids and trying to get him to eat something, but so far he doesn't seem able to face food. Hope he is able to shake this off quickly.
It's a beautiful day here on the West Coast. Right now it's about 27C (81 F), but there is a slight breeze so it is quite pleasant outside. I plan to take a book outside later, as the apartment does get quite warm.
>105 thornton37814: I know about saving series for further down the road, Lori. So many sound interesting but I am following so many now that it gets difficut to get to all of them!
>106 msf59: Hope you are having a lovely Father's Day, Mark. I probably should have given A Dog's Purpose 5 stars, but books like that always make me feel slightly emotionally manipulated but I did love the story and how the author wrote it.
94. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West - 4.2 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
TIOLI #7: The Author's Last Name is a Noun
I found The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West an incredibly sad story. As related by his cousin, Jenny, this story tells of the return of the shell shocked Chris Baldry from the trenches of the First World War. Far from the happy reunion his wife and cousin expected, they find themselves welcoming back a complete stranger. His mental anguish has caused him to forget the last fifteen years of his life. Instead of his wife, the beautiful, vivacious Kitty, he yearns to see his old girlfriend, Margret.
My heart was touched by all these characters. The shallow Kitty who only wanted her superficial life with her husband back, the cousin Jenny who obviously loved Chris and was willing to spend her life as part of his background, Margaret, from a different class, who cares for Chris and recaptures her youth through him, and, of course, Christopher himself, so filled with the pain and horror of the war that he went back to a happier time in his life.
In this one quite short story, the author has captured a generation as class snobbery, the horrors of trench warfare in World War I and the budding science of psychoanalysis are all touched upon. While the conditions he faced in the war were obviously the trigger for Chris’ regression, there were other factors that affected his trauma that needed to be addressed. Although the book ends with a relieved Kitty declaring her husband “cured”, I suspect that this was just a beginning and that Chris would always be a changed man so in actuality the future is still undetermined. The Return of the Soldier was a haunting and emotional read.
I hope the weather holds, Judy. I will be back home tomorrow. Did your hubby get better so he was able to enjoy Father's Day?
>108 DeltaQueen50: Wow, that one sounds like it packs an emotional punch, Judy. I'm making a note on my library wishlist. Nice review!
>109 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, welcome home. We are having gorgeous weather right now. Yesterday was really warm but it cooled down in the evening and a lovely breeze sprang up which cooled the place down for sleeping. Today is another beautiful day and that light breeze is still here so it isn't too hot. As for hubby, he spent his Father's Day feeling pretty rough, but was better by the next day, so just a 24 hour bug.
>110 rosalita: Julia, I really liked The Return of the Soldier although none of the characters was particularly likeable, I could see the wheres and whys that shaped them so it made sense. I hope you like it as well.
95. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson - 4.0 ★
Category: Kermit the Frog
June AlphaKit: R
TIOLI #13: A Book That is Part of a 5 Plus Series but Not the First Book
Abattoir Blues is the 22nd book in the DCI Allan Banks series of police procedurals. This is a solid entry in the series and the author certainly makes good use of the North Yorkshire setting. DCI Banks and his team are investigating a series of rural robberies which involves expensive farm equipment and some animals disappearing. The working theory is that the stolen goods are being shipped to Eastern Europe to be sold on the black market. When two young men are reported as missing, and the dismembered remains of one of them shows up mixed in with animal carcasses, the case is elevated to a murder investigation.
Although this particular book doesn’t focus much attention on DCI Bank’s private life, it is fairly apparent that his current relationship is on the wane and he will soon be at loose ends in the romance department, but this looks to be a matter for another book. Both team member Annie Cabot and Winsome Jackson are featured in this book and one of them embarks on a new and interesting relationship.
With Abattoir Blues I found the plot both satisfying and believable. The story was clever with just enough twists to keep the reader engaged. The Eastvale team, with it’s mix of genders and ethnicity strike the right note and although I get a sense that this series is winding down, the author is still producing some very good work.
96. In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson - 3.8 ★
June ColorCat: Purple
TIOLI #15: Rolling Challenge Based on the Parts of Speech
In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson is a children’s story about Nigel, the son of the British ambassador to a backward Asian mountain country. He has heard stories about the brutality of the Khan of Dirzhan who is said to have had his own brother killed and also that he once shot two cabinet ministers to death at a meeting where they disagreed with him. He also hears that the Khan is very protective of his daughter so when Nigel is asked to go to the palace to help the her practice her English, he is very nervous but he and Taeela form a friendship. When the enemies of the Khan make their move to overtake the country, Taeela finds herself being hunted. Nigel helps her escape and together they flee across the countryside, picking up a small group of refugees as they go.
Politics form a strong backdrop for this story. The British are there to get a foothold in this emerging country that had been under Russian control for some years. A large dam is being planned by the Khan which could help his country step into the 21st century, but there are many against the dam and the changes to the landscape that it would bring also who would do the building is also a major issue as both Britain and Russia were vying for the job.
The story was exciting but being a children’s story, the issues brought up were simplified and resolved rather too quickly. Other important factors that are mentioned in passing but rather glossed over are the country’s strong tribal affiliations and it’s Muslim religion. Peter Dickinson is a well known children’s author who has won many awards and although The Palace of the Khans is not one of his absolute best stories, it is nonetheless a very fine story that blends contemporary themes with an old fashioned adventure story.
Hi Judy - I hope you didn't catch the bug your husband had.
I keep meaning to try the Robinson books -- some day.
Return of the Soldier is on my shelves. Maybe later this summer...
>114 BLBera: Hi Beth, hubby was down for a couple of days and now seems fully recovered. Luckily I escaped this bug, if that's what it was. The Allan Banks series by Peter Robinson is a good one, although if I remember correctly it took a few books for the author to really hit his stride. I know how hard it is, trying to fit in all the books that one wants to read - but hey, if you gotta have a problem, this is a good one to have! ;0
97. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger - 4.0 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
TIOLI #4: A Book From the PBS Great American Read List
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is a book that has been recommended to me by many people over the years. For some reason I always avoided actually picking up the book, but now that I have, I really wish I had read this years ago. I would have been much more receptive and understanding toward Holden Caulfield at a younger age. Today, all I could think was, please someone get this kid some help.
The story takes place over a few days. Holden has flunked out of his prep school, the Christmas holidays are about to start, and he doesn’t want to go home and face his parents. Instead he takes himself off to New York City and drifts both literally and mentally. The reader learns many things about Holden, things that he probably would rather you didn’t know. He is on the verge of a mental breakdown. He hates everything and everybody. Had I read this when I was under twenty, I think I would have identified with Holden and considered him rather awesome. As an adult, I wanted to take control of the boy and get him some help before things took an even darker turn.
One thing that is undeniable is that J. D. Salinger has written a classic book about teenage angst. Written in a seemingly disjointed and random style; Holden’s thought processes paint vivid pictures that can be interpreted in various ways. Small wonder that The Catcher in the Rye is often cited as a major influence for various people, from murderers to film directors. Although the book was first published in serial form in 1945-46 and the colloquial language has changed over the years, he has captured the uncertainly, alienation and distrust that young people feel toward the expectations that are put upon them.
>116 DeltaQueen50: I'm glad you enjoyed that one, Judy. I've read it twice and hated it both times. (I read it the second time because I thought maybe I was too young to understand it the first time. But no; I just don't like it.)
I read it when I was about 23 and didn't much like it and even wondered why my then boyfriend thought it so great. With all the other books out there I doubt I'll ever read it again.
>113 DeltaQueen50: That's a Dickinson I haven't read! I generally enjoy his books. My first were his Changes Trilogy, which impressed me greatly. And then Robin McKinley married him after his first wife died, when he was 64. I've never read his adult mysteries, though.
I've never read the Salinger book and I don't expect I ever will, as I am sure I would at this point have exactly the same reaction you did, Judy.
>117 rosalita: I don't know if enjoyed is exactly the right word, Julia, reading this story brought the mother in me to the forefront, I just wanted someone to see the destructive road this kid was on and try to help him. I do understand why so many young people found in Holden a literary character that they could identify with. Although Holden is an extreme case, he speaks for troubled teens of any generation with his thoughts about life and death.
>118 hailelib: I can see that this book could perhaps appeal more to males than females, Trisha. The Catcher in the Rye seems to be a polorizing book and I think if I had read this at a younger age I would have related to Holden and found the book amazing.
>119 ronincats: I am also a huge fan of Peter Dickinson, Roni. I first one of his I read was The Kin which was a stellar read. I then read A Bone From A Dry Sea and now this one. I will have to check out his Changes Trilogy.
Great comments on The Catcher in the Rye, Judy. I taught it years ago, and I think you're right about the appeal more to young men than to young women. And it seems to be the kind of book that people feel strongly about -- either love or hate with little in between. I think it's an amazing achievement.
98. Miss Chopsticks by Xinran - 3.8 ★
Category: U to Z
Year-Long AlphaKit: X
Miss Chopsticks by Xinran is a story about three sisters who come to the city of Nanjing from their rural farm and learn to adapt to a new lifestyle. Sisters Three, Five and Six don’t have much education and they have been raised to consider themselves rather worthless. Their father didn’t even bother giving them names, just numbers. While male children are considered “roof-beams” as they grow to support their family, females are called ‘chopsticks” meaning disposable and unable to offer any lasting support.
This book is like looking through a window into the culture and customs of modern China. There is so much detail that I found the book read more like non-fiction. Indeed, the author based her three sisters on the lives of three individual Chinese women that she had met and interviewed. The three sisters find work in a fast food restaurant, a health centre and a bookshop/cafe, but unfortunately these characters are never developed in any meaningful way causing the story to lack emotional depth. It was a very interesting read however, giving us a hopeful insight into how women in today’s China are empowering themselves.
Although I wasn’t able to become emotionally invested in Miss Chopsticks, I did find it a refreshing read as the story was upbeat and positive. The author describes how these country girls adapt to life in the big city and become valuable to their family. It was also highly interesting to see China portrayed in such an optimistic and engaging way.
My husband and I have decided to leave a day early on the trip that we were planning so we are heading out on Monday. We are going to Powell River to visit some relatives and then heading over to Vancouver Island. I am sending my husband home alone and will stay over at my Mom's for a week or two. I will try to check in every now and again but I have limited access to the internet while at my Mom's. I will be coming back home sometime in the midde of July.
Also, Monday is my 10th Thingaversary. I have been planning for this by the recent purchase of the following books (as you know, Thingaversaries are great excuses to buy some books to celebrate!) I am so happy and grateful that I stumbled onto LibraryThing 10 years ago as it is such a great site to hang out on. I've met such wonderful people and been introduced to a great number of excellent reads.
And now to the important stuff - THE BOOKS!
1. The Levant Trilogy by Olivia Manning
2. The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath
3. Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller
4. The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone
5. Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler
6. The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
7. Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
8. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
9. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
11. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne
Happy Thingaversary! And enjoy your time away. We'll still all be here when you get back.
Have a great trip, and happy Thingaversary! Enjoy your time with your mom :)
Happy 10th Thingaversary, Judy. It was my 10th year on LT this year too. Have a great trip!
>125 DeltaQueen50: Happy Thingaversary! Enjoy your new Tenner badge when it arrives on Monday.
Happy Thingaversary, Judy! I’ve been on LT for 10years too - it’s been great meeting and talking with fellow readers like you. And for taking BBs. I found some great book recommendations here. Hope you have a good time e at your Moms.
Hey Judy! Happy Sunday AND Happy Thingaversary! Will you be shopping today for your versary gifts to oneself? I'll be here 10 years in October. What a wonderful experience it's been!
Happy Thingaversary, Judy. Nice book haul. I keep forgetting when my thingaversary is...
Today is Canada's 151st Birthday, so Happy Birthday to us!
Thanks to everyone for the good wishes on my Thingaversary and on my trip which was a good one. I am now visiting my Mom in Victoria. I will catch up with everyone when I get home in a week or so.
99. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - 4.0 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
June SFFFKit: Series
TIOLI #2: Dedicated to Dad
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the second book in the Tearling fantasy trilogy. I was a little thrown off by the addition of a new storyline but the author meshed this story into the main plot and it eventually explains how the world of the Tearling was founded. With the threat of invasion looming over the land and tremendous changes occurring to Queen Kelsea, there was a lot going on in this book.
Kelsea is maturing into her role and accepting the responsibilities that come with being the leader of her people, and although she knows she is the reason the armies of the Red Queen are invading her land, she still believes strongly that she did the right thing in stopping the shipments of her people to Mort. We learn that the Red Queen has other motives for the invasion as well. The added storyline comes as a series of flashbacks to earth before the “crossing” and it was obvious that this author has been influenced by Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale as her view of earth was much like Atwood’s in that book.
Overall this second book was much darker than the first, it was also obvious that the author was setting things up for the final volume. Some of the side plots that will be developed further involve the new High Priest of God’s Church who has been revealed to be a crazy right wing zealot, and I believe, the legend of William Tear will be continued as well. Also there will be consequences to the release of the dark being that Kelsea bargained with. The Invasion of the Tearling was an absorbing read and I would have wanted to continue on to the third book even without the cliffhanger ending that this book closes with
100. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin - 4.2 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence - 1001 Books List
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Author of a Different Ethnicity From Me
TIOLI #16: Would Have Been A Shared Read If I Had Read It Earlier in the Year
A semi-autobiographical novel, Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin takes place over the course of young John Grimes fourteenth birthday. John spends the day reflecting on his life, the people in it and the conditions he lives with. His is a racist society and his violent preacher stepfather does nothing to make his life easier. Set in Harlem, the book seems to describe one harrowing incident after another.
James Baldwin has been recognized as one of the foremost black American writers, and this short and angry novel was the one that brought him to fame. The author’s rage simmers just under the surface while his beautiful writing captures the reader emotionally and draws them into the story. Touching on themes of religion, family and race there is a lot here for the reader to absorb but the author delivers his story with an evangelistic passion. Go Tell It On The Mountain is a powerful story that is abrasive, resolute and poetic.
101. The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson - 3.9 ★
Category: Mystery Box
2018 Pop Sugar Challenge: Animal in Title
TIOLI #10: Same Vowel in Author's First and Last Name
The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson is the third book in his Charlie Priest series. I find this a thoroughly enjoyable “procedural” series. DI Priest enjoys his work and his home life is relatively peaceful and happy. Although Charlie is still on sick leave after the events of the last book, he can’t help but be interested in his team’s current case which appears to be a murder, but the corpse has not been found. This corpse eventually does show up in a very macabre way. Meanwhile Charlie has been drawn into another case involving smuggling and drugs. When a connection is made with these two cases, Charlie finds himself investigating some very dangerous people.
While this book didn’t quite reach the heights of the first two books, it is nevertheless a fast-paced, interesting story involving policework in Yorkshire, England. The author uses a certain amount of humor to keep his story from turning too dark. Although the plot relied a little too much on coincidence, the characters and setting made The Judas Priest another good read in this series.
>142 DeltaQueen50: - James Baldwin is such a great writer. Love his stories
>144 lkernagh: Hi Lori, I now consider myself an admirer of James Baldwin, I will have to be on the look out for more books by him.
102. The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly - 3.4 ★
Category: The Letters K to T
July ScaredyKit: Techno Thriller
TIOLI #16: A Book With a Warm Colored Cover
Be sure to fasten your seat belt when you pick up The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly, as its fast pace and non-stop action requires the use of a safety harness. This book doesn’t bother much with developing characters or the plot as it races along, but it is a fun and exciting read and was a good choice to kick off my summer reading.
Yes, this story will definitely call Jurassic Park to mind, only in this book we are dealing with dragons rather than dinosaurs, but in both cases human curiosity and ego has pushed the limits of scientific discovery and manipulation to the limit. China has kept the discovery of a cache of dragon eggs a secret for over forty years, they plan to out-Disney Disney land with the opening of their new Zoo that is filled with these mystical beasts. In advance of the opening they are unveiling the Zoo to certain VIPs and journalists. Representing the National Geographic Magazine, C. J. Cameron and her brother, Hamish, are along for the ride little knowing that these dragons are super intelligent, highly organized and are planning to break free.
I had a few problems with the book such as the fact that I always knew what was going to happen next due to the high predictability factor, but if you can overlook the sloppy writing and can put aside any plausibility questions then The Great Zoo of China can be an entertaining and fun adventure read.
That does sound like a fun escapist sort of read, Judy! Onto the library wishlist it goes.
I got home today and will begin catching up with everyone tomorrow between chores that also need to be caught up with! I had a good visit with my family and am happy to report that my 97 year old mother is in fine form. I have a couple more books to review that I read while away and I did pick up a few books on a trip to the second hand store, most of them for my 1001 reads:
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
South Riding by Winnifred Holtby
103. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy - 4.0 ★
Category: Big Bird
1001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #7: Relates to a New Year's Resolution
This version of The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy is over 800 pages and consists of 3 books; A Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let as well as 2 short interludes; "Indian Summer" and "Awakening". This is a family saga about money, morals and class at the beginning of the 20th century. The Forsytes are an upper-middle class family that have good expectations of improving their status. While the main focus of the story is on the disintegration of the marriage between Soames Forsyte and his wife, Irene, and the interactions between these two and their families, there are other plots involving this multi-generational family that revolve around the expansion of their wealth and the price paid for this obtainment.
I have to admit that by the third book I was quite tired of reading about Soames and Irene as well as their overdone “soap opera” plot. While Soames’ journey through life was difficult, I didn’t feel much sympathy for him as I found him quite pompous and rigid. At the same time, I found his wife, Irene too cold and distant to ever feel that I knew her so I couldn’t generate much interest in her story either. In the later books, I did like both Fleur and Jon, but it was easy to see what was going to happen with this relationship so I was never emotionally invested in their story.
Galsworthy spreads his story over a large canvas that includes all the various members of this family and we learn a little about each member over the course of the three books and many different sub-plots are developed along the way. Personally I much preferred these sub-plots that featured the other Forsytes and while I grew tired of some of the characters I can certainly attest to the appeal of this story with it’s descriptions of wealthy English lifestyles and conventional society morals at the turn on the century.
Top Reads of the 2nd Quarter of 2018
I have been thinking that I have been rating my favorite reads a little too highly over the last year so I have been trying to judge my books a little harder this last little while. Now looking back over this last quarter, I see that I only gave one book a 5 star rating. There were a number of 4.5 star reads and going over them, there are a couple that I would like to elevate to 5 stars but will leave at 4.5. My Top Reads of the 2nd Quarter of 2018 are:
5 stars: Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn
4.5 stars: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
4.5 stars: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
4.5 stars: Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor
4.5 stars: Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
4.5 stars: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
>153 thornton37814: My one consolation, Lori, is that at least it is short!
104. The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda - 4.0 ★
Category: It's Not Easy Being Green
BingoDog: Relative in Title
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Saw Book Being Read By a Stranger
TIOLI #3: A Book Found On My Top Shelf
The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Samaya Gowda is a heartfelt story about mothers and daughters. While a poverty stricken Indian mother is forced to give away her newborn daughter, another woman living in America discovers that she will never give birth to the child that she has always wanted. The American woman, Somer, does adopt the Indian baby and along with her Indian born husband raises her in America.
The novel switches back and forth between these two women, Somer in America and Kavita in India. While Kavita does go on to have the baby boy that was desired by her husband, she never forgets the daughter that she had to give away. Somer is always uneasy about the Indian connection, and as the child grows up and demands more answers about her background, she fears that she will lose her daughter, Asha. Asha does go to India, seeking answers and what she finds there fills in many of the blanks in her life but also brings her to appreciate fully what the adoption has brought to her life.
The author breaths life into this story of two mothers and a daughter and it is an emotional read. I would have liked to have seem a little more depth added to the characters, and perhaps a little more definition given to the men in the story, but I enjoyed learning about modern day India so overall this was a very satisfactory read.
105. Buried by Mark Billingham - 4.1 ★
Category: Mystery Box
July MysteryCat: Police Procedurals
TIOLI #*: Book Appears on the Same List As Another Book You Have Read This Year Is On
Buried by Mark Billingham is the sixth police procedural in his DI Tom Thorne series set in London and in this outing Thorne has been added to a kidnap investigation team. A 16 year old boy, Luke Mullen, has been taken, and when Thorne discovers that the boy’s father is ex-policeman DC Superintendent Tony Mullen, he knows this case will be special.
Teaming up with a new partner, DI Louise Porter, they find many loose threads that lead to the past. A recent hate crime muddies the water, as they zero in on Grant Freeman, a wanted criminal who has threatened Mullen in the past. As the case escalates, Thorne and Porter discover many more twists and turns to this complicated case.
With excellent timing, Billingham allows the suspense to build as he shifts the point of view from character to character. This is a tale of long-hidden secrets, and present day lies. Tom Thorne is a well developed, layered character and this is his most complicated case so far. Buried is a powerful story that held my attention totally.
106. Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson - 4.0 ★
Category: Bob McGrath
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Fruit or Vegtable in the Title
TIOLI #7: Relates to a New Year's Resolution
Spilling the Beans on the Cat’s Pajamas by Judy Parkinson is a short volume of explanations and stories about some of the best loved, well used expressions that we use in daily life. Phrases such as “the apple of my eye”, “talking turkey”, and “put a sock in it” are colorful additions to our language and this small volume tells us where they came from and how they were introduced.
From advertising to Shakespeare, Homer to social networking our ever flexible language has absorbed these picturesque phrases and added them into our daily lexicon. Even here on Library Thing we use certain phrases to enhance our communications with each other, after all haven’t we all been “hit with a book bullet” or two on this site?
While this book barely scratches the surface of popular quips and phrases, it’s a diverting and clever read for anyone who enjoys learning about language.
Oh, we have Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas, Judy. It's a fun one all right. We keep it around for guests to look at.
Hi, Judy. I am finally making my way over here, after a long absence. Glad to see the steady diet of books. You are a machine and I like the fact you review everything. This is something I have been slacking off on. I hope I can get back on track.
I think you would really like Shadow Catcher.
>158 jnwelch: I bet that Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas is a popular one for your guests to pick up, Joe. :)
>159 msf59: Hi Mark, the older I get, the more books there seem to be that I want to read! I find that reviewing my reads ensures that I remember the books more fully. Shadow Catcher has been added to my wishlist and I have already checked and found it is available at my library!
107. Sea Witch by Helen Hollick - 4.0 ★
Category: Miss Piggy
July Reading Through Time: Nautical Theme
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book Set At Sea
TIOLI #18: Opening Sentence in the Book Has 18 Words or More
Sea Witch by Helen Hollick is a historical adventure and romance story that combines pirate lore with a fantasy element. Jesamiah Acorne was forced by his stepbrother to leave home and fend for himself at an early age. He took to the sea and became a pirate. Tiola Oldstagh is a fifteen year old white witch with a talent for midwifery and healing. She senses that she and Jesamiah are fated to love one another and their struggles to be together leads to many adventures both at sea and on land.
Jesamiah is an appealing and interesting character with his good looks and his tortured childhood. Tiola also suffered in her childhood but I found her character was less developed than than of Jesamiah. Of course this is the first book of three so I expect there are many more aspects about these two characters yet to be revealed. There were a couple of heinous villains that kept interfering with the couple and I am sure that at least one of them will make more appearances in the succeeding books.
I love reading about pirates so this book was right in my wheelhouse. The touches of magic that Tiola brought to the story added to the enticement of the story. I will definitely be reading more about these characters as I have the next two books on my shelf. Sea Witch was a great escape read with it’s swashbuckling adventure and it’s light touch of magic.
>154 DeltaQueen50: It may be short, Judy, but I am a few chapters in and already it feels long. I don't think angry young men are for me either.
I know what you mean, there do seem to be more books that I want to read the older I get. Someone in my book club just sent out the reading list for the Vancouver Writer's Festival. It seems like book recommendations are coming from all sides!
>154 DeltaQueen50: Hi Meg, I am getting a little nervous now about Lucky Jim and I have another one of his on my shelf as well - The Green Man. It's always a little disappointing when an author I didn't care for has more than one book on the 1,001 List. There are so many books that I would add to the list that I wouldn't be disappointed if authors were limited to one (or perhaps two) books in total. I am still struggling to catch up here after being away and now I am battling a UTI as well so not feeling on top of my game, but I will be around to visit soon.
>162 Familyhistorian: I'm glad to see I'm not the only person with whom the Angry Young Men don't resonate.
108. The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne - 3.3 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book With Characters That Are Twins
TIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on Red White & Blue
The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne is a psychological thriller with a strong sense of place and that includes both a mystery and a touch of a ghost story. I wasn’t very enthralled by this story, finding nothing new here to hold my attention.
Moving to a small island off the coast of Scotland seemed to be a good way for the Moorcroft family to get a fresh start and continue to recover from the death of one of their twin daughters. But when their surviving daughter, Kristie, claims to actually be the other twin, Lydia, their world starts to disintegrate all over again. As her husband, Angus is forced to work away from the island, Sarah is left alone, feeling isolated and trying to cope with her increasingly disturbed daughter. As the surviving twin, Kristie, becomes more and more disturbed, it starts to appear as if she is possessed by her dead twin, Lydia. Or, could it possibly be that Lydia is alive and that it was Kristie that died.
My quibbles with The Ice Twins is one that I often have with stories of this nature. As with most thrillers the reader needs to accept a certain amount of implausibility in order for the story to work and I had some difficulty with that. Although this book wasn’t one that totally worked for me, many people have raved about this dark atmospheric story that revolves around a family broken by grief, loss and betrayal.
109. Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott - 4.5 ★
Category: A to J
July RandomCat: Getting to Know You
July AlphaKit: A
TIOLI #11: A Book on my Shelf For More Than 5 Years
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott is a dark noir story set in Phoenix during the 1930’s. Based on a real life murder case that became a scandalous tabloid sensation during the 1930’s, the story tells how vulnerable Marion Seeley is left in Phoenix by her husband while he takes a job in Mexico and works on kicking his drug habit. She meets and falls in with two well known party girls, and falls head over heels for a world class heel, Joe Lanigan. The crazy love affair, the wild parties, the drunken nights reach their pinnacle in a flurry of jealousy, rage and bullets.
This tough, edgy story reads like a script for a 1930’s melodrama. I am a huge fan of Megan Abbot and this book, with it’s powerful prose brings this era to life. At first the story seems to be about a waif-like, neglected wife who is innocent of the degradation that life can bring but as the story draws to it’s conclusion, we can see that Marion has an inner core of steel.
The details of the real case of Winnie Ruth Jones are included in the back of the book and it is interesting to see how the author used this case to shape her story. Bury Me Deep had been on my shelves for quite some time, but this book, for me, was well worth the wait. I found it to be an excellent read about one woman’s life sinking into a gruesome yet riveting nightmare.
>166 DeltaQueen50: That was a really good book. I spent my early adulthood in Phoenix and was fascinated by Winnie Ruth Judd and, boy, did Abbott do the story justice.
How wonderful that your mother continues to do well at her age. Good genes!
>148 DeltaQueen50: Nice haul, Judy.
I watched the PBS version of The Forsyth Saga and don't feel the need to read it. It did seem like a soap opera at times.
The Secret Daughter, Buried and Bury Me Deep all go on my list. I'm not familiar with the Billingham series, but it sounds like a good one. Darn it!
>167 RidgewayGirl: Kay, I think I have you to thank for first alerting me to Megan Abbott. I have loved every book that I have read by her so far. She certainly adds great twists and details on real life murders. I also thought The Song Is You was extremely well done.
>168 BLBera: Hi Beth, I put a little scare into my brother with all the 1,001 books that I have been reading and now he's decided to read only books from that list this year. He was about 23 books ahead of me, but now I doubt if I will be able to overtake him this year. Little does he know that this just encourages me to read more books from the list! My Mom is amazing!
110. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer - 5.0 ★
July AlphaKit: S
TIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on Red, White & Blue
I’ve just closed the cover on a book called Endangered by Eliot Schrefer which totally enthralled me. This book is a YA adventure story set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sophie is a half-American, half-Congolese 14 year old girl who lives in America during the school year and comes to the Congo during the summer months and helps her mother at the Bonobo Sanctuary. As she is both the daughter of the boss and half white, Sophie doesn’t easily fit in with the other workers at the Sanctuary, and she find herself bonding with an abused juvenile bonobo called Otto.
While her mother is away reintroducing some bonobo’s to the wild, civil war breaks out and Sophie finds herself trapped in a country filled with roving bands of killers, facing starvation and natural hazards. To keep herself and Otto, her bonobo, alive they must learn to live off the land, travel in secret, and at times coexist with other bonobos all the while trying to reunite with her mother.
This is a YA story for mature readers who don’t flinch from reading about horrific violence against animals and human beings. Sophie comes across as a very real girl, not always making the best of decisions, but she is courageous and has a huge heart. Otto is fun, smart and loving, he is as protective of Sophie as she is toward him. This is a great story set against a compelling background, with characters (both human and ape) that are very well drawn and realistic. Without becoming overly graphic, the author is well able to illustrate the peril that Sophie faces. Endangered was an excellent read with a riveting story-line that I didn’t want to see end.
111. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick - 4.5
Category: Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Cyberpunk
July SFFFKit: Cyperpunk & Techno Thrillers
1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #2: A Title Word in Common With a Recently Completed Book
Wow, another book that I did not want to end! Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick was a fantastic science fiction read with themes revolving around man’s humanity. First published in 1968, this iconic novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco as bounty hunter Richard Deckard tracks down and “retires” runaway androids. I have seen the 1982 film based on this book, but I have either forgotten it or it was very loosely based on the actual story.
The world has suffered through a nuclear war and is vastly changed. Most people have been killed or have moved to Mars. Those that remain are “specials”, people disfigured by fallout or whose brains have been affected leaving them with low intelligence, other people who are needed to work on earth and those who cannot afford to leave also remain. Most species have been eliminated or endangered by radiation poisoning so owning an animal is a status symbol. To show one’s empathy for animals is to show that you are human. Androids are devoid of empathy and testing them for this is one way to root out these hidden beings who are trying to pass as human.
I was absolutely fascinated by this tale. Set in the year 2019 (which seemed in the future when the book was written), this world is an unhealthy, dreary place with it’s fake religion, mood amplifiers and a non-stop 24 hour television show. The story totally held my attention while at the same time the author left many unanswered questions that give the reader a lot to ponder upon. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a complex, dark and disturbing read that in light of the world situation today seems all that more relevant.
>171 DeltaQueen50: As with most movies adapted from Dick's works they just use the basic idea and produce a film that's not very much like the book at all. For most of the movies I've seen so far that's not been a bd idea: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly to name a few.
>172 AHS-Wolfy: Thanks Dave, I was beginning to think that I had forgotten the movie entirely. I can see why changes were made as there wasn't a lot of action in the book and movies need action. :)
Hi, Judy. I hope you are feeling better. YOu've been churning out the books, but I'm still (all of) one book ahead, so there! ;-)
>175 Familyhistorian: I suppose "dated" is one way of looking at it. Just "bad" is my opinion. I don't think I would have enjoyed them back in the day either.
>175 Familyhistorian: Hi Roni, yes, I am feeling much better and the weather has changed drastically here. Today it's so chilly that my feet are cold wearing only my flip-flops. It's hard to remember that just two days ago we were sweltering. One of my favorite things here on LT is that there are many people who read more books that I do. In my real life, people tend to give me funny looks when they are told how many books I read in a year, like I am some kind of weird-o - and of course, we all know that simply isn't true! ;)
>175 Familyhistorian: & >176 thornton37814: I think there are more than a few books that I certainly wouldn't have put on the 1,001 list and there are many books that I would add. Authors such as Larry McMurtry, Connie Willis, Neil Gaiman, Hilary Mantel, George R.R. Martin immediately come to mind. Also there are a number of authors that have more than their fair share of books - I would limit each author to 2 books. Also I admire the global selection of authors that are included, but I wish it were possible that their books were more easily attainable. I keep hearing rumors of a new list coming out and I certainly hope one does, with some signigicant changes.
I'm slowly trying to add some of the 1001 books to mt reading. I've made a pact with myself that for anyone with more than one book on the list, I'll try one and allow myself the rest off if I don't enjoy it. I wonder of there is a case for limiting the number of entries any on author has, but equally I understand that it can be difficult to choose one from a writer with an excellent back catalogue.
>178 Helenliz: Hi Helen. My totals would certainly be lower without the many Austens and Dickens that I have read, but if they want to continue to only list 1,001 books, they need to eliminate some in order to make room for the newer ones.
112. Emperor of the Eight Islands:The Tale of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn - 4.3 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
BingoDog: Number in Title
TIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on Red, White and Blue
Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn, psedonym for author Gillian Rubinstein, is the first in her series entitled "Tales of Shikanoko" and it is based on the Japanese feudal system. This is a tale of war and magic. There has been trouble between the Kakizuki and Miboshi clans for years and now upon the death of the emperor, it is breaking out into open warfare. Each clan supports a different prince to be the next emperor.
The author develops her story while at the same time introduces many characters. This is an exciting story with strange rituals, assassinations, revenge killings and characters destinies becoming entwined with each other. The main character, Shikanoko, is a young man who has been dispossessed by his scheming uncle and transformed by a mountain sorcerer by having his spirit bonded with that of a stag. He has been under the control of various warlords but he decides to direct his own fate while all the while struggling to gain mastery over his forest power.
The setting for Emperor of Eight Islands is a medieval Japan built from the author’s imagination, beautiful and deadly. Although there are a lot of characters and story-lines to juggle, the book moves along at a quick pace. Most characters are morally ambiguous, seizing opportunities as they arise, yet they are well developed and multi-layered. I was happy to discover that there are many women characters that have major roles to play in the story, and I look forward to seeing how they are developed in the future books. I became a huge fan of this author when I read her Tales of the Otori so I am very excited to continue on with this story as I am already feeling very connected to it.
That is great to hear - I've been meaning to read it forever, but haven't gotten around to it. Might even do the comic book version...
>181 clue: I am trying not to have too high an expectation for this series as I can't believe that it could possibly be as good as Tales of the Otori, but this first book is very promising. :)
>182 -Eva-: Eva, I think you would love Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, it was so much better a read than I expected. I didn't know there was a comic book version - I will have to look for that as well!
113. The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans - 4.1 ★
Category: The Letters A to J
July ColorCat: Pink
TIOLI #3: A Book Found on the Top Shelf
The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans is a period novel set in Victorian England and tells the story of Ellen Gowan. Covering the years of her childhood and on into her twenties, Ellen’s story is one of tragedy and overcoming obstacles. Her beloved father dies when she is fifteen and she and her mother find temporary refuge with her aunt, but her aunt’s husband is a cold and controlling man and all too soon he ensures that Ellen and her mother are turned out.
At first they find lodging with Madame Angelique, a dressmaker in Richmond but eventually they decide to set up their own dressmaking business in London. At fifteen Ellen is lured into marriage by the scheming Raoul, Madame Angelique’s son, who sees Ellen as his meal ticket. When the business doesn’t do as well as he hoped and Ellen becomes pregnant, he abandons her. Determined to build a life for herself and her baby, Ellen works long hours in an east-end clothing factory but she also builds her own dressmaking business that eventually becomes a sensation. Success is finally hers but her fame and success brings Raoul back threatening her and wanting to claim monetary benefit.
The Dressmaker was a meaty story and is full of rich descriptions of fashion and period detail. Ellen is a little too perfect to be totally believable but she is a sympathetic character that grows into a strong, independent woman. I enjoyed this well researched rags-to-riches saga, it was a perfect escape read that required only that the reader relax and enjoy the story.
>185 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I am finding that almost every dystopia that I read these days is striking a chord within me that says "OMG are we heading this way?" In "Androids" mankind had tottered over the brink, but there was still a positivity about the story that really touched me.
From what I understand it's not really an adaptation either - someone called it "unabridged" - so I'm thinking could be fairly close to reading the novel.
114. Last Rites by John Harvey - 4.0 ★
Category: Brought To You By the Number
July MysteryCat: Police Procedural
TIOLI #11: a Book on my Shelves For More Than 5 Years
Last Rites by John Harvey is the 10th book in his Charlie Resnick series of police procedural novels. In this outing Charlie’s team is struggling with a number of cases, including a prison escape, gun violence and drug-related crimes. Charlie himself is feeling rather low as his relationship with Hannah Campbell appears to be drifting away and he isn’t sure what his future will entail. Meanwhile he is drawing closer to ex-team member, Lynn Kellogg who is dealing with a family crisis and needing Charlie’s strength.
The narrative meshes solidly and tension builds as the story moves along. I have always found that this series fully embraces the concept of police team work. Although Charlie is the boss and oversees the direction his team is headed, much of action and detail falls on the shoulders of his team. Charlie’s town of Nottingham is on the brink of gang warfare and corruption in the police department is of real concern. The escaped prisoner is a violent, hard man who is a real danger to the community. These various threads are woven together into a cohesive story line and Charlie’s rumpled, world-weary demeanor is a comfort to both his team and the reader.
Last Rites was originally meant to be the last in the series although Harvey went on to write two more Charlie Resnick books later. There is a feeling of finality to this story as many past characters return to be updated and dealt with. This series has been a favorite of mine and I am happy that I still have two more Charlie Resnick books to look forward to.
115. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - 4.2 ★
Category: Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book I Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn't Get To
July ScaredyKit: Techno Thrillers
July SFFFKit: Techno Thrillers & Cyberpunk
TIOLI #16: A Book With A Warm Colored Cover
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch should come with it’s own seat belt. It’s a fun, fast and slightly bumpy story about an atomic physicist named Jason Dessen. Jason has settled for his job as a professor at a small college and a quiet life with his beautiful wife, Daniela and teenage son, Charlie. But what might have he become if he had dedicated his life to his science?
One night as he goes out for ice cream, he is kidnapped, drugged and wakes up in another world. He is mistaken for another Jason, one that stayed with science and developed his theory of quantum superposition that allows him to jump through space into an infinite number of universes. All Jason wants to do is get back home to his family but instead he finds himself embarked on a nightmare journey to different versions of Chicago many peopled with variations of himself, Daniela and Charlie. When he does manage to land in his world his ordeal is far from over, not only does he have to deal with the scientist Jason who has taken over his life, he also finds a variety of other Jasons who have the same goal.
Dark Matter is a thriller that relishes it’s silliness. The author is obviously having a lot of fun with the science, from his Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment to the mysterious psychoactive compound that is used to bounce people around. What did strike me was the love Jason had for his wife and son, this centered the story and gave it a ring of truth. It is also obvious that this story is meant for the big screen as much of the book reads like stage settings and directions. Clever, twisty, and gleeful, Dark Matter grabs the reader and send them on a speedy thrill ride.
>190 DeltaQueen50: I had to laugh, Judy. Reading a book with a warm cover where the main character gets kidnapped while going out for ice cream - that's not the way to cool down. LOL. Maybe you should read something set in winter.
>191 Familyhistorian: LOl Meg! What's even funnier is that Warm Colored Cover is my challenge! I was hoping for some warm summer days when I made it up, I guess one really should be careful of what they wish for! Today seems a little better than yesterday, there's a slight breeze, but it looks like we are in for a very warm weekend!
116. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - 4.2 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
1,001 Books to Read Before You Are Dead List
July RandomCat: Getting to Know You
TIOLI #7: Relates to a New Year's Resolution
The Bluest Eye is the first novel by Novel-prize winning author Toni Morrison. This book is a complex exploration into how both racial attitudes and life experiences shape our definition of physical beauty for both blacks and whites. I found this a difficult read emotionally as there are a number of incidents that were difficult to read about. A young twelve year old girl is raped by her father, and there are various accounts of domestic violence and racial prejudice.
The story describes a very troubled family, the father is often drunk and he and the mother fight both physically and verbally. The young girl, Pecola, considers herself ugly and unworthy of love, and believes that if only she could have blue eyes, she would be pretty and happy. The view shifts from character to character over the course of the story and the reader comes to understand what drives each character and become engaged by their experiences.
Although this is a raw and hard hitting story, The Bluest Eye flows like poetry and despite all the tragedy there are moments of humor and hints of hope. Originally published in 1970, the author was fearless in exposing her themes and visions and has produced a powerful and unforgettable American novel.
"A speedy thrill ride" - I like that for Dark Matter (wonky touchstone). It sure was.
>194 msf59: Hi Mark, it's a bit cooler here this morning and I am loving it! I also want to read more Morrison and PKD as well. Here I am in my sixties and still discovering author's that I want to read more of! Have a good weekend.
>195 jnwelch: Joe, I remember all the positive comments about Dark Matter when it first came out, so I knew it was going to be a fun thriller, cause, hey, the LT members bat 100% with their book referrals to me!
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Toni Morrison through reading The Bluest Eye in a college American lit class. It made a huge impression on me and I’ve read many of her books since. Her books are always hard to read in that the topics and writing style are challenging, but I really love her books.
>190 DeltaQueen50: I also loved Dark Matter when I read it last year. Glad you found it a fun read too! Also glad your weather's cooled down a bit, and we've even had some rain! Ours has too, and the forecast shows it should stay cooler (upper-70s/mid-80s) through the beginning of August! Such a relief!
>197 japaul22: I am really looking forward to reading more of Toni Morrison, she has a way of expressing both her anger and her sadness that really connected with me.
>198 Storeetllr: Mary, isn't it amazing what a difference a few degrees can make. There only a 3 degree difference between today and yesterday, but I feel so much better. We are bracing ourselves for the weekend as, at this point, they are predicting the hottest days yet. At least it appears to be cooling down next week, and I usually find once August comes along, the evenings cool down nicely.
Hope the weather cools down for you soon! It's more seasonal here than it was earlier in July, but the precipitation is still very uneven. Long spells without rain and then a couple of days of torrential rain.
I was reading an interesting article on CBC today about how Environment Canada is changing its heat warning system to better reflect the risks to local populations: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/heat-warning-change-environment-c...
One of those things that makes perfect sense when you read it, and makes you wonder why they didn't do this sooner!
>200 rabbitprincess: Thanks for posting that article, RP. I always feel like such a wimp when I complain about our B.C. heat when I know full well that there are many places in Canada that have much warmer summers than we do. It does make it easier to live with if the nights cool down and we have been lucky the last couple of nights as it did just that and we were able to get a good's night sleep.
117. Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy - 4.1 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
TIOLI #16: A Book With a Warm Colored Cover
Monkeewrench is the first book in a crime series written by a mother-daughter team that calls themselves P. J. Tracy. While I quite enjoyed this book while I was reading it, I was a little let down by the ending. I think the authors were trying to insert a big twist with their ending but I felt that it disrupted the narrative and left too many questions unanswered. That said, I will probably continue on with the next book as I did really enjoy the interplay among the character and the story itself.
The story follows two investigations, a double murder in a small town in Wisconsin and the tracking of a serial killer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When a connection is made between the these two cases, the small town sheriff, Mike Halloran and his deputies come to the larger city and work with the lead detective, Leo Magozzi and his partner Gino Rolseth. The intensity of the story is lightened by both plenty of humor and some romantic entanglements.
Monkeewrench moved quickly even though it was the first in a series and there were many characters to be introduced. I am not sure which of the many characters from this first book will be carried on, so I am looking forward to the second book to finding that out. The idea of a serial killer replicating the deaths from a computer game and the use of an interesting medical phenomena brought a lot of originality to the story and the authors developed their clever plot into a very good thriller.
>203 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle, Androids is one of those books that I always thought I should read but didn't expect to like it much so I was very surprised at how I connected with the book. Dark Matter was a bit of a surprise for me as well. I thought it was about space travel. I knew it was very well liked by other LTers but I guess I avoided reading most of the reviews, knowing that I would be reading it myself. I found it an exciting thriller with humor added to the mix.
How are you doing today, Judy? It was 34C here today and right now there is no breeze so it is 30C inside my home. I'm glad I got my chores done earlier!
>205 Familyhistorian: Meg, yesterday was a killer! I was so happy when a cool breeze sprang up about 10:00 pm, and even now I can feel a refreshing breeze coming in through the sliding doors. Temperatures are supposed to be lowering as the week goes on and I think there's even some rain in the forecast.
I haven't de-lurked in a while, but need to add my love for The Bluest Eye. It was the first Morrison I read as an adult (I'd read Beloved in high school and loved it) and I was blown away by it. Sula is also excellent. I think I have nearly all of her novels on my shelf - I really must get to them (famous last words!).
>207 japaul22: I am looking forward to reading more Toni Morrison, it's always great to find an author tht I really like with multiple books on the 1,001 List.
>208 katiekrug: Hi Katie, I've been in lurk mode for the last little while as well. So far my 1,001 reading has been more positive that I hoped for. I've discovered a great many new-to-me authors that I really like. It's a good feeling to know that I have more Toni Morrison's in my future. :)
118. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer - 3.6 ★
Category: Miss Piggy
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book From the Year I Graduated High School (1968)
TIOLI #13: A Book That Pairs Well With A Drink (tea in a fine china cup)
I thought I knew what to expect with Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer, but the author really surprised me with this one. I wasn’t expecting her to deliver a Regency Romance with a touch of creepy Gothic suspense. Although I wasn’t totally able to embrace this combination, I applaud Ms. Heyer for trying.
Kate Malvern is an impoverished young woman who is between posts. Her old nurse goes behind her back and writes to her aunt of her circumstances and when her Aunt Minerva invites her to spend some time at Staplewood, Kate thinks this is the answer to her prayers. Unfortunately, before too long, Kate starts to question what is actually going on at this estate, her Aunt is a domineering, possessive woman who seems to be encouraging a relationship to develop between Kate and her son, Torquil. Torquil, in turn, is an excitable, uncontrollable young man given to extreme mood swings. After a number of odd and slightly dangerous incidents Kate realizes that she must leave. To complicate matters further Kate has fallen in love with Torquil’s other cousin, Philip. Can these two young people find happiness in such dark surroundings?
Cousin Kate was published in 1968 when Gothic romances were quite the thing. I believe the author wanted to show that she could hold her own against the likes of Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart. While I thought the romance between Kate and Philip was developed too quickly, and the ending was rather depressing, it is still always a treat to read a Georgette Heyer book.
>210That was a weird one, wasn't it, Judy? Not one of my cherished favorites of Heyer's work, but it was interesting to see how she incorporated those Go His elements into her usual formula.
>211 rosalita: Hi Julia, I have just read that Ms. Heyer was quite ill when she wrote this book, so perhaps that is why it wasn't quite up to her usual standards. I would have liked the romance angle to have been developed a little more, it all seemed too quick, and perhaps a little more of the suspense as well. I never really thought that Kate was any danger.
119. Hard Times by Charles Dickens - 3.5 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence - 1,001 Books List
TIOLI #12: A Book With Multiple Title Words With Words of Increasing Length
Hard Times by Charles Dickens explores and exposes the working conditions in the factories of Northern England in the 1850’s. Dickens was obviously a forward thinker and many of his novels point out conditions that needed improving, in Hard Times he turns his attention on the ambitious businessmen, the educators, the gentry and the would-be gentry who take advantage and exploit the workers. First and foremost, Hard Times appears to be a critique of the politics and economics of the day. Contrary to the Temperance Leagues and Sabbatarians, he believed that hard-working people deserved recreational pursuits to relieve the tedium and stress of their workaday lives. It is also apparent that he felt that children need to be encouraged to use their imagination, that fairy tales and make believe are important to their development.
This is the shortest of his novels and is set in the fictitious industrial town of Coketown where the factories belch smoke all day and soot covers the landscape. The subject matter is as dark as the setting, as we read of abuse, suppression and betrayal. This is not a book to read for it’s happy ending, being much darker than David Copperfield or Oliver Twist. The characters on these pages do not get a chance to turn their lives around.
I read Hard Times in installment form just as it was originally published in 1854 and although it is a socially conscious, agenda-drive book, there is also a good story here about the citizens of Coketown, many with the wonderfully descriptive names that Dickens bestows upon his characters. Being a shorter book kept the focus on moving the story along and, rather than pages of description or long winded asides, the prose was stylish and clever. As a fan of Dickens, I enjoyed both the fine writing and the sharp social criticism that one comes to expect of this author.
120. The U. P. Trail by Zane Grey - 3.4 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
August RandomCat: Visiting the Mountains
August ColorCat: Grey
TIOLI #2: Title Suggests A Journey
The U. P. Trail by Zane Grey is a story set in the American West as a military party of soldiers and engineers who are tasked to do the original survey work for the Union Pacific railroad. The story opens as the surveying team comes up against the Laramie Mountains, a place of high peaks and deep gorges. This terrain slows the party down as they seek to find the best way to get through. Of course this is just a prelude to what lies ahead, the Rocky Mountains.
The Sioux Indians have taken to the warpath, and have attacked a near-by wagon train, but the soldiers were too late to save the party but one young woman survived and is rescued. Allie is taken in by an old mountain man and with his care and teaching she changes from the somber, pale victim into an independent, strong young woman. A romance develops between this traumatized young woman, Allie, and one of the young engineers, Warren Neal. The story winds through many adventures, some dealing with the railroad and others with Allie being kidnapped by desperadoes and eventually falling into the hands of the Indians. As Warren, his gunslinger friend, Red, and the mountain man, Slingerland search for answers as to what happened to Allie, the story becomes a series of close encounters and rather contrived coincidences.
Zane Grey writes with a lot of emotion which can make his stories seem very melodramatic but where his writing shines is in his descriptions of the American West. I was pleased with how Grey developed his female character from a helpless victim into a person who dealt with her own situation and didn’t need to be rescued by the men. Overall, I did enjoy The U. P. Trail as he delivered a lively adventure story along with a little history about the building of the railway that was to eventually span the continent.
121. The Samurai's Wife by Laura Joh Rowland - 3.2 ★
Category: Rechov Sumsum
August MysteryCat: Historical Mystery
TIOLI #19: Set in a Country Where You Dog of Choice Originated
The Samurai’s Wife by Laura Joh Rowland is the fifth book in her series about Sano Ichiro, Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations and People for the Tokugawa Shogun that is set in seventeenth century feudal Japan. This story is a combination detective and political thriller using the rich history of this period to set the stage. Sano, with the assistance of his wife, Reiko, embarks on a death defying mission to hunt down a murderer that uses the secret of “kiai”, a powerful scream that kills instantly. Together they travel to the royal city of Kyoto and maneuver their way through the Imperial Court with the knowledge that someone close to the Emperor is a deadly killer. Unbeknownst to them, Sano’s rival and enemy, Chamberlain Yanagisawa, has also travelled to Kyoto with a plan to ensure Sano’s failure and eventual disgrace.
Although the period detail is intriguing, there were a number of things that I felt took away from the book’s authenticity. First and foremost, the relationship between Sano and his wife was too modern and would never had existed in feudal Japan. Although I have enjoyed this series in the past, I struggled with this particular book. The story didn’t seem to flow easily, the writing felt rather choppy and the plot itself was a little far-fetched.
At this point I really have no desire to continue on with this series.
You've been doing lots of good reading since I last dropped by.
>189 DeltaQueen50: This is a reminder that I have yet to try John Harvey and must push his name to the top of the list.
>206 DeltaQueen50: Send some of that rain (some, not all) to the eastern side of the province. Right now, all day long we hear fire-fighting planes and helicopters going over. Some rain would be appreciated.
>216 VivienneR: Unfortunately, Vivienne, the rain never developed and now we are entering another few days of high temperatures, but this time it looks like just three or four days before it cools down again. The whole province could really use some rain, it's so dry!
>217 BLBera: Beth, I really enjoyed the first Monkeewrench and I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here. It's going to be a warm day so I expect I will get a lot of quiet reading time in.
122. Under The Skin by Michael Faber - 5.0 ★
Category: The Count
1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List
August ColorCat: Grey
TIOLI #4: Book Title Contains the Words "Over" or "Under"
Under The Skin by Michael Faber is a strange story that grows progressively weirder as it develops. Set in the Scottish Highlands the story slowly reveals that the main character, Isserley, spends her time driving around the roads of Northern Scotland and picks up hitchhikers. She doesn’t pickup women, and only stops for well developed, muscular men. After getting them into her car she guides the conversation to have her passenger reveal what ties they have and who would miss them if they don’t show up at their destination.
As the story moves along, the reader eventually discovers the purpose behind Isserley’s quest. The story grows ever darker and more terrifying. As more of Isserley’s character is revealed, the harder it is not to feel some empathy for her, although she certainly shows none for her victims.
With Under The Skin the author has delivered a beautifully written horror story with touches of macabre humor and, like many classic science fiction novels, this is a satirical novel with themes that revolve around the exploration of issues of humanity and other social concerns. I was totally spellbound by this brilliant, surreal exploration of morality but would caution that this story can be brutally graphic at times. This book deserves it's place on the 1,001 Books List and was a five star read for me.
>220 msf59: Hi Mark, I definitely love books that that a creepy, dark turn. I hope I will be able to get my hands on the film that was made as it sounds very interesting as well. I doubt if I will get to a Louis L'Amour this month, as I have already totally overbooked myself and probably won't get to all the books that I am planning to read this month.
>221 VivienneR: It's a fantastic read, Vivienne.
123. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson - 4.2 ★
Category: It's Not Easy Being Green
TIOLI #6: Rolling Challenge - Location, Location, Location!
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson is my first book by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed this story about three generations of determined, spunky Southern women who lived life by their rules. They are suddenly faced with a dark family secret and each in their own way tries to solve the mystery while also trying to protect the others from the hurt that this devastating secret will cause.
Bad things appear to happen to the Slocan women every fifteen years. The matriarch, Ginny got pregnant at fifteen and her family threw her out in the streets. Her daughter, Liza also became an unwed mother at fifteen. After running away and living on the streets for two years, she and her daughter Mosey showed up at Ginny’s door. Now granddaughter, Mosey is about to enter her fifteenth year and this one appears to be the worse year yet.
With it’s snappy dialogue, very likeable characters and acerbic humor the author delivers a very interesting and engaging story about the troubled lives of this family of women and the strength of their love for each other.
Great comments for Under the Skin, Judy. It might be too creepy for me.
The Jackson book sounds like fun.
We are under another heat warning here in B.C. and the temperatures were in the 30's today and expected to be hotter tomorrow. Luckily it looks like it is going to cool down for the weekend and once again, rain is in the forecast.
Everytime I picked up my book today, I would read about half a page and then fall asleep! I expect I will be up late tonight after all that napping today!
Ugh, Looks like you are getting the heat wave that Ontario has had! Do you get the gross humidity with it too?
Greetings, Judy! Just catching up here after a lapse of visiting. I've really got to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Your review sealed the deal.
I agree, Dark Matter was a truly enjoyable and fun read.
Hope the weather today will allow you to read a little more and nap a little less.
<230 Our heat is more of a dry heat, Chelle, thank heavens. I used to live in Ottawa and I remember how humid it would get and how hard it was to get any relief. At least here, if you can find some shade, you can knock the temp. down a couple of degrees.
>231 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was one of those books that I always thought I should read, but never quite got to it. So I was surprised at how much I connected with, and loved the story. I hope it resonates with you as well.
124. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - 3.6 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Problem Facing Society Today - Body Image/Obesity
TIOLI #7: Title Letters are All Black or All White
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a YA about a plus-size teen, Willowdean, who realizes that she is more insecure about her body image that she thought she was. She has always felt fairly comfortable in her own skin and often publicly announces herself as the “fat girl” but when the boy that she has a crush on, kisses her she has a hard time believing that he really wants to be with her. Her self-doubt almost causes her to turn her back on romance but over the course of the book she confronts these challenges to her self esteem and emerges with a new self awareness.
Body image is something that most females struggle with and this book, aimed at the vulnerable teen market, passes on the message that it’s okay to not be a size two. Willowdean has accepted her weight, but now she needs to see herself as a worthwhile person who deserves happiness. All too often the “fat girl” is regulated to the back burner, she is the best friend, never the heroine of the story, but in Dumplin’ all this changes.
Although the plot was a little too youth orientated for my own taste, this is a thought-provoking story with an excellent role model for self-empowerment. I did love that the main character didn’t have to lose weight in order to find her happy ending. The message is clear and positive about not letting your appearance define who you are and what you do.
Joshilyn Jackson is one of my go to authors when I just want something fun and light and well-written. I'm glad you enjoyed your first experience with her writing.
>229 DeltaQueen50: Judy, your heatwave sounds lovely! In my part of B.C. it's been hovering around the mid-30s: today 38C, tomorrow expected to hit 40C. Fortunately the humidity is low, although wildfire smoke provides another concern.
>234 RidgewayGirl: Kay, I think she could well become one of my go-to authors as well!
>235 VivienneR: I feel like such a wimp, Vivienne! I would have a very difficult time with temps in the high 30's! Our previous house was well shaded and even in the hottest of times the ground level stayed quite comfortable. Our apartment on the other hand seems to absorb the heat and hold it in. We have decided that we need to put some type of air conditioning in, we are too old to simply suffer through it! How about you? Do you have air conditioning?
So will the rain show up this time? It was 29C in my bedroom at 8:00 am and this is a cooler house so even if you were in your old place, you probably would be feeling the heat, Judy.
You have been doing some very impressive reading but I am trying to become bullet proof as I attempt to whittle down my books. I'm not sure how far I will get, moving books around can be pretty distracting.
>237 Familyhistorian: Meg, the forecast is for it to be a little cooler tomorrow, somewhere around 28C and then (fingers crossed) some rain for the weekend and even cooler temps. It was so hot today that my glasses kept slipping off my sweaty face (gross)!! I need to build a little of that book bullet immunity that you're working on - I have enough books in my possession right now to comfortably read 200 books or so per year for the next seven years.
>236 DeltaQueen50: Yes, apartments seem to hold the heat more, which seems strange to me. We don't have central A/C but got a portable a couple of years ago. We don't use it a lot but it's been on a bit more this year. Today turned out to be hotter than we expected, closer to 41C. Somehow being outside in the higher temperatures feels more comfortable - a trick of the brain I expect.
>237 Familyhistorian: Ouch! 29C at 8am! And please tell me how to become bullet-proof, especially to Judy's thread!
>239 VivienneR: We are thinking of investing in a portable air conditioner, do they work well? We are on the top floor of our building and I think the heat from the whole building rises to our floor. So far I don't see where today is any cooler than yesterday except the sky is a lot hazier, I think from the various forest fires. I like to be outside as well, but I have to wait until after 3:00 when the sun is off the deck.
125. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - 4.0 ★
Category: Rechov Sumsum
1,001 Books to Read Before You Die List
1,001 Books Group Read
TIOLI #3: Author's Last Name Starts With a Vowel
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro is a deceptively simple story, that presents a knowledge of Japanese sensitivities by an essentially British author. The story takes place in the years just after the defeat of Japan. Americans have occupied the country and popular attitudes have changed. The opinion of the citizens of Japan is that those who influenced or led Japan to it’s disastrous defeat are traitors. Many approve the decision of former leaders to commit suicide to appease their guilt.
The book is told in the form of four conversations, but it becomes clear that Masuji Ono is an unreliable narrator, he excuses himself for having hazy memories and overlooks many of his implied faults but it becomes clear that he turned from his art to become influential in presenting propaganda for Japanese imperialism and the war effort. He seems unable to accept responsibility for his past actions and seemingly fails to recognize that his previous actions are having an effect on his family today.
Although the book is an easy read, the writing was quite reserved and contained. I felt that the author considered every word and phrase carefully before adding it. Personally I would have preferred a little more passion and emotion in his interpretation of issues of guilt and responsibility. This was my first book by this author and I find his writing quite intriguing so I am looking forward to reading more of his creative work.
I'm sorry to hear that you've still got that yucky heat kicking around! We had a reasonably comfortable day today: forecast high of 25, humidex of 28. Last night we were able to open a window to get some air in! Hoping you will get the same soon.
>240 DeltaQueen50: The smoke that affected us was from a barge hauling old auto stuff so it was upholstery and things like that burning - smoke even more toxic than forest fires. It will be odd to see rain tomorrow, if it materializes this time but it is about time, the creek behind me is down to a trickle. I hope it brings you a break from the heat, Judy.
>239 VivienneR: I am trying to become bullet proof but I am not entirely successful. One of the things I do is to have the library website open at the same time I am reading threads. If I can find the BBs there then they won't add to my personal book stacks. From the sounds of it I have a lot more books than Judy.
>240 DeltaQueen50: Judy, the portable A/C works well. Even though our house is small, it doesn't cool every room evenly. I only run it when we are going to be at home, or for an hour or so before bedtime. Then I open windows when it cools off outside. A leaflet that came with my electricity bill quoted a really huge cost to run them (portable A/C), but my bills for each July and August don't show any big increase. I've heard some are noisy.
>244 Familyhistorian: I do that too! Keeping the library website open when I read threads makes it really easy to place holds. I think I have enough reading material to last the rest of my life, but the shiny new ones are always so enticing.
The Ishiguro sounds good, Judy.
I hope you are getting some relief from the heat. I agree, humidity is a killer. It gets so humid in the summer here -- I always feel like I need a shower.
Happy Saturday, everyone and I do mean happy as the temps. have dropped considerably and it is quite cool and cloudy outside. No rain as yet and I actually doubt we will get any here but I hope some rain falls on the forest fires.
>242 rabbitprincess: I can't believe what a difference just a few degrees makes! We are wonderfully cool today and expect tomorrow to be cool as well. Then the temps. rise again next week but it doesn't look as if they are going to be as high as they were.
>243 jnwelch: I was very impressed with the grace and style of his writing, Joe. I have Remains of the Day on my shelves so I will be getting to it at some point. I know my brother absolutely loved it. I also want to get my hands on a copy of Never Let Me Go as it sounds like something I would enjoy.
>244 Familyhistorian: Ugh, that smoke sounds horrible, Meg - and dangerous, I hope it has dispersed. I too am constantly adding to my library list but it's difficult to fit all the books you want to read in! I also have trouble deciding on my next book which is why I love the challenges so much they help me decide. :)
>245 VivienneR: Thanks for the info on the air conditioner, Vivienne. I think we will be investing in one as the heat really affects both of us. This will probably be hubby's next project - researching air conditioners to find the one that will be the best fit for us.
>246 BLBera: Thanks Beth, I am feeling so much better today. I think I have found a new author to explore, Ishiguro writes beautifully and all his books sound quite different.
Yes, the higher you go in a building, the warmer it is. Bonus is that in winter the heat will run less than it does for your neighbors lower down.
And a portable AC is an excellent investment. The summers won't be getting cooler and there's no point being uncomfortable for no good reason. You wouldn't hesitate to add a heating unit to your home if it didn't have one, would you? Run it responsibly and your utility bill will not show too much strain. And you'll sleep well at night.
>247 DeltaQueen50: I'll be very interested in what you think of Never Let Me Go. I read very little dystopian fiction but let me tell you, this book grabbed me and has never let me go. It isn't in my LT library so I read it before 2009 but even now I think of it from time to time.
I also read Remains of the Day long ago, I'm sure it's been more than 20 years! I loved it then and now that I think about it, I must reread it again soon. The movie was great too. I haven't read any of Ishiguro's recent books and must do that too.
Something has just come to me. I read an interview with Ishiguro in which he said he wrote Never Let Me Go to prove to himself and others that he could write more than one genre. As far as I'm concerned he proved it in spades!
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