July AlphaKIT: C and P
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Welcome to AlphaKIT for July
The rules are... none! Use the letters however you like to choose your reads for the month. Well, okay, there is one rule: Have Fun!
July AlphaKIT letters are : C and P.
Please remember to update the wiki and enter books alphabetically:
>5 Robertgreaves: - I really enjoyed Pompeii when I read it - hope you enjoy. I learned a lot as I only knew the basics.
I'm planning to read Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny for my P book and the next Jack Reacher book by Lee Child for my C book. Which one depends on if I read one this month or not.
So far I am planning on reading for P A Place For Us which is coming up on my Libby holds list soon.
I appear to have quite a few options from what I'll be reading for other challenges, anyway. Best option catches both P and C:
Change of Heart / Jodi Picoult
I've fallen way behind on my reading lately (traveling) so I have lots that I want to read in July.
Here are my possibles:
✔The Angel's Share by Ellen Crosby
✔Chocolate Cream Pie Murder
Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake
Death in Focus by Anne Perry
✔Dog who lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer
Murder Most Fermented by Christine Blum
✔Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches
Name of the Rose by Christine Blum
✔One Potato, Two Potato Dead
Pinot Red or Dead?
Proposal to Die For
✔Rotten Lies by Charlotte Elkins
✔Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon
✔Sifting Through Clues
Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry
I've got the Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald on the boards to read for this.
Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training / Tom Jokinen
What happens behind the scenes when someone dies until they “appear” at the funeral? The author looks at this, in addition to the business of being an undertaker, in all the historical changes – from burial to cremation… and still to come, green burials. He works with a family funeral home in Winnipeg where he learns all the different aspects of the business. He also heads to California, where he learns more about green burials (at the time of writing – this was published in 2010 – in Canada, the only place you could have a green burial was in Guelph, Ontario, and somewhere in BC was building someplace for it), then to Las Vegas for an undertaker trade show – see all the new and best in funerial apparel!!
I found this really interesting. Of course, there was a bit of humour thrown in here and there. In such a business, I think there needs to be!
I'm starting a book that works for both letters, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
I finished Celine by Peter Heller for C and Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl for P.
I read The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri.
Every time I read one of Camilleri's books I wonder why on earth Montalbano has anything to do with Livia. One of these days her bad cooking or bad attitude will have her sent packing. Apart from the annoying Livia I really enjoy these Italian mystery novels. The translation by Stephen Sartarelli is excellent.
The Obituary Club by Hugh Pentecost is a 50s mystery with nifty cover art. It's got too many characters and too much plot, but it is fast-paced and congenial. Fuller review at the touchstone.
Insisted The Cider House Rules by John Irving yesterday. So counts for C.
>31 NinieB: I love the covers of 1950s type pulp fiction!
I just completed my "C" read with His Monkey Wife by John Collier. This was a bad choice for me as I found this 1930's satire both dated and very racist.
I forgot to mention earlier that I also completed my "P" read with Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. This was also a satire, but in this case it worked.
Page / Tamora Pierce
This is the 2nd book in the series. Kel has completed her first year to learn to become a knight. She is the only girl, and was bullied and picked on in her first year. Now in her second year, she hires a shy, scared girl (by request of the girl’s uncle) to be a servant to her while she continues to train, along with her friends, and some of her tormentors are still around.
I really enjoyed this. I liked Kel and I liked her friends. I also liked her new servant Lalasa. This one went pretty fast, as it sped through all the remaining years of Kel’s training, so it might have been nice to get more detail as we went along, but I guess being a YA book, it was sped up a bit. It’s certainly a great series for young girls, with Kel being such a strong role model, herself. But, of course, I’m enjoying it, too!
I finished off The Mystery of the Blue Train (by Agatha Christie) this morning and I'm a little conflicted on how to rate it. This was the first time I've read it (or had even heard of it prior to looking up which was the next Hercule Poirot mystery in the lineup that I've yet to read) and I think it merits a re-read-- at which point, it's like'y I will bump it up from 3-1/2 stars to 4. The mystery itself involves cursed rubies, an unhappily married couple on the verge of divorce and, a rather enigmatic grey-eyed woman in receipt of an inheritance that enables her to live comfortably and travel to the Riviera. Hercule Poirot is here, retired and fussy, but amusing and surprisingly sensitive to the aforementioned grey-eyed lady. My issues with the story stem from a bit of cloak-and-dagger melodramatics and, what at first I thought of as the author not giving the reader enough information but now I'm thinking may be about plot rhythm itself. And what I mean by that, is that there are uneven drips of information and then, all of the sudden Poirot swoops in and solves the case in one paragraph.
I've started reading The Perfect Nanny (by Leila Slimani; translated by Sam Taylor) - This is a Prix Goncourt winner that I've wanted to read for a while but because of less-than-stellar reviews, haven't wanted to pony up the cash for. Libraries to the rescue! And it fits the "P" part of this month's challenge :-)
Based on a true event that originally happened in Manhattan, the story is set in Paris and opens with the apparent murder and suicide of the children and nanny respectively. The chapters are short and goes quickly so I suspect that I'l be able to finish this before the month is over :-)
I've finished The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, the next one in the Inspector Gamache series for me.
>50 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Those are all 20s stories. It's the perfect time to read them if you just read Blue Train!
>43 Robertgreaves:. I liked it quite a bit. We have our f2f bookclub on thursday. i will let you know how the group responds.
Packing for Mars / Mary Roach
In Mary Roach’s usual style, she takes a humourous look at NASA and space travel in this one, looking at some of the things that most of us just don’t think about when it comes to travelling in zero-gravity. She looks at using the “toilet”, eating, sex, throwing up, hygiene, and more.
This did, of course, include some history of space travel, as well. I hadn’t even realized when I started reading it a few days ago that the 50th anniversary of the walk on the moon was yesterday, while I was in the middle reading this – good timing for me! In the first chapter, it was interesting to read about how they made the flag “fly” (with no gravity!) on the moon, and also how to even pack it to bring with them, with the limited space available. There was one real transcript of three astronauts having a discussion when one of them noticed a “turd” flying in the air – omg, I couldn’t stop laughing and crying reading that transcript! Kept me from continuing to read for at least 5 minutes, if not more!! This, and “Stiff” are my favourites of the ones I’ve read by her so far.
I finished my C selection:
Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
Dallas and Florida - the Trouble Twins, as the couple who run the orphanage call them - are taken in by an older couple, who want young companions on the canoe and bird-watching trips they're planning. The twins are slow to trust adults, since they've been placed in several homes with people who have mistreated and exploited them and then sent them back to the orphanage, where they don't fare much better. But Tiller and Sairy (the older couple with whom they are now staying) are kind and loving and patient, and they live in Ruby Holler, a utopia of woods and streams and wilderness, and between the people and the setting, the kiddos learn to trust and love.
I normally really enjoy Creech's books, but this one was a little too much: the kids were a little too exasperating, the mean adults a little too cardboardy-mean, the good adults a little too quirky in their niceness, and the ending a little too pat. Still, the story itself is interesting enough to have kept me engaged and helped me look past the saccharine parts.
Another "P" book for me, The Famous Heroine / The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh.
My P selection:
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Absolutely stunning, this one. The writing is excellent and the story is devastatingly good. Warning: you'll need tissues. Lots of tissues. A boy, whose mother is dying with cancer, is visited by a monster at night. The monster tells the boy three stories and in return demands that the boy tells his own truth in the form of the fourth story. The line between reality and what's happening in the boy's head - and the line between boy and monster - blurs throughout, and the boy's truth is where those tissues will come in handy.
Change of Heart / Jodi Picoult
Shay is hired as a handyman around June’s house. When she comes home one day to find her young daughter and her husband murdered, Shay is charged, found guilty, and is the first person to be put on death row in the state in decades. In prison, it is noticed that he seems to be able to “do” things, magical sorts of things. He would also like to make amends the only way he can think of and donate his heart to June’s other daughter, who is in need of a transplant. Lawyer Maggie comes in to try to help grant Shay his wish, while priest Michael (who has a secret of his own in regards to Shay), comes in to counsel Shay.
There is a lot going on in this book, primarily religion and the death penalty. The story is told from four different points of view: June, Michael, Maggie and another prisoner, Lucius. I’m not religious myself, but did find some of the religion “debates” interesting; these mostly focused on the Gnostic Gospels, which I’d heard of, but didn’t know anything about. The “magic” portions reminded me a bit of “The Green Mile”, and in fact, one of the prisoners at one point nicknamed Shay “Green Mile”, which I did think was kind of a fun way to address that (not that it needed to be addressed, but…). At the same time, these events made the book less realistic for me. I still quite enjoyed it, though.
I just realized that the last two audiobooks that I listened to this past week also qualify for this month's challenge:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (by Lewis Carroll; by Scarlett Johansson) - I love the this 19th-century Classic about a girl who falls asleep on a riverbank, and falls into a dream (?) of chasing a talking, clothed, white rabbit down a hole into a nonsensical world. But this audio edition is fair from my favorite, giving credence that "you get what you pay for" (I got it as a free Audible dnload three years ago.) My first issue is with the text that was used. It included references to illustrations that are not included as a PDF with the dnload! My second and larger issue was with the audiobook narrator herself: Her flat American voice, while expressive took away from the voice of the book. The disjunct between what was expected and what was delivered was jarring. There is a section in which she affects a British accent ("The Lobtser Quadrillle") which was actually well done, except that she mispronounces "quadrille" every single time! Ms Johansson has made headlines lately with the argument that as an actor, she "should be allowed to play any person." I get it but I also think that if you make a statement like that, you should have the acting chops (and that includes performance skills like audiobook narration) to back it up. Five stars for the story but 2 stars for the audio.
The Strangler Vine (Blake and Avery #1; by M. J. Carter; narrated by Alex Wyndham) - This is a historical fiction novel with elements of mystery and adventure. Set in 1837 when the British East India Company held sway over the Southeastern continent, a young Company officer is assigned to accompany (and spy on) another Company man as they set out on a mission of political intrigue, danger and, exotic landscapes. Alex Wyndham, the audiobook narrator has his moments and overall lends credibility to the narrative. While not spectacular, I'd be perfectly willing to listen to the next book in the trilogy.
I mostly read books for C, although one book was written by an author with a C and a P in their last name.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, by Caroline Criado-Perez
Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, by Sam Kean
Conviction, by Denise Mina
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.