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Laura's (lauranav) 2010 reading

75 Books Challenge for 2010

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Edited: Jan 25, 2010, 9:47pm Top

My bio for the 75 in 2010 challenge

I almost met all my (revised) goals for 2009 so it's time to start thinking about 2010.
I will probably try for about 10 books a month. I have a few categories planned, but I'm focusing more on authors than specific works. That means I could get caught up in a few authors at the expense of others. That's what 2011 is for.

Categories I've come up with.
1. Books I missed in 2009 (these were revised out of my 2009 reading list, so I'm going to try again)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Histories by Herodotus as part of a group read
2. Books I found in 2009 (some top contenders from other people's lists)
3. Rereads
Pilgrim's Progress, The Great Divorce
4. Christian nonfiction
Oswald Chambers, Jeremiah Burroughs, Andrew Murray
5. Thomas Nelson book review blogger books
6. President's Challenge (much of it around Jefferson and Madison)
7. New authors
Anthony Trollope, Chaim Potok, Graham Greene, Dorothy Sayers, Wilkie Collins, Rafael Sabatini
8. Ongoing authors (if I haven't quite read everything they've written)
Louise Penny, Charles Todd, Elizabeth Goudge, Jasper Fforde, G.K. Chesterton, Jodi Piccoult
9. Interests - starting with poetry by George Herbert
10. Catch-all (all those other books that come up during the year)


Take It or Leave It Challenge This will be directly incorporated into my 75 Books Challenge. Each month I'll pick something different that I think would be fun to read.

TIOLI thread


My wiki listing all reading in 2010

Dec 14, 2009, 12:59pm Top

Another Laura! Nice to meet you; your reading categories look interesting and I'm starring your thread for future reference!

Dec 14, 2009, 1:29pm Top


Dec 14, 2009, 6:06pm Top

Glad to see you back, Laura!

Jan 1, 2010, 8:16pm Top

It's here! Finally! About Dec 1 I quit thinking about 2009 and started planning my 2010 reads. It was a long month :-)

Plans for January:
Herodotus The Histories book 1
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Mood
Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
Pilgrim's Progress y John Bunyan (book club 1/31)

Two for Orange January
The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver (1999)
Purple Hibiscus: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2004)

For TIOLI I am going with first successful work for an author and I'm reading Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Jan 1, 2010, 8:18pm Top

The Great Divorce is FANTASIC! Also, if you like C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is excellent as well.

Jan 1, 2010, 8:51pm Top

I agree, I love the Great Divorce which is why I recommended it to my book club. I don't know why, but I've never gotten beyond chapter one of The Screwtape Letters. I have enjoyed it, just that it gets crowded out. I'll have to put it on the stack for 2010.

Jan 1, 2010, 11:41pm Top

I loved The Speed of Dark. I'm interested to see how you think it compares with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Jan 2, 2010, 8:14am Top

Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark is one of my fav books. Glad to see it on your list and looking forward to your comments.

Jan 2, 2010, 10:06am Top

Ooh, starred. I'd love to hear more reviews of The Speed of Dark, and I'm also a C.S. Lewis fan!

Jan 5, 2010, 11:35am Top

Finished my first book, a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger book. Of course it wasn't on my goal list for January.

1. The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin Merkle
Counts as a book on my shelves since it came in December. This was a good book about the time and environment where Alfred became King of Wessex and what he accomplished with his live to earn the description "the Great". Recommended.

Jan 5, 2010, 4:55pm Top

#11: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura!

Jan 5, 2010, 6:14pm Top

2. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
I have a space military scifi book by Elizabeth Moon that I really enjoyed, Once a Hero about Esmay Suiza. The characters were good, the plot was good, and I like me some scifi.
So, when the SciFi group on Goodreads was reading The Speed of Dark I thought it would be the same sort of thing. Well, it is very different. It's earth just a few years from now with some medical advances, including a cure for autism. The protagonist of this book is a man who was born late enough to have a lot of developmental help as he was growing up, but too early for the cure. It is told from his perspective so we get a lot of insight into how he thinks and perceives the world and other people.

Apparently, Elizabeth Moon has an autistic son and has spoken with a lot of other parents of autists (that was a new word for me).

I found the story interesting, the issues thought provoking, and the characters believable. There were some jerks, some innocent mistakes, and some people who did a good job of relating to the autists. So, if there were a treatment that could cure a 30 year old autist, should he do it? Would he?

What is normal? Are all people as normal as autists are told, or as we would like to think? And more...
Highly recommended.

I have never read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime but I will get it from the library this week. It will be interesting to compare the two books.

Jan 9, 2010, 10:38am Top

3. Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
I enjoy this series - I like Inspector Rutledge and think he's good at what he does, even while he fights his demons. This was another good mystery where everyone has secrets and he has to figure out which ones matter.

4. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
I love this book and enjoyed rereading it for my book club later this month. This was just Christian's story, hopefully we'll read Christiana's story later this year.

Jan 9, 2010, 9:42pm Top

#14: I am going to have to check out the Inspector Rutledge series. It looks like one I would enjoy.

I have read Pilgrim's Progress multiple times, but I like Christian's story much better than Christiana's. I will be interested in seeing your take on it.

Jan 9, 2010, 10:50pm Top

I read a Inspector Rutledge too and enjoyed it very much. So glad you liked Speed of Dark -- good stuff! :)

Jan 10, 2010, 8:44am Top

#15 Stasia - it's been awhile since I read either (which is why I'd like to read Christiana's story later this year) and I think I agree with you. But even now the one scene I remember best is from Christiana's story when she and Mercy are in the house of the Interpreter and they bathe and dress in the white clothing
"When the women were thus adorned, they seemed to be a terror to one another, for they each could not see on themselves the glory which they could see on each other. They began, therefore, to esteem each other better than themselves."
Something about that scene struck me years ago when I first read it.

Jan 11, 2010, 12:34am Top

It's wonderful you still remember it after all these years!

Jan 11, 2010, 8:34pm Top

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
I posted my review. It was at times a difficult read, but a good reminder of how broken we all are and how our brokenness affects so many others.

Jan 12, 2010, 10:38am Top

#19: That was the first Kingsolver book I read and I agree with you, it is at times a difficult read.

Jan 13, 2010, 8:23am Top

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Someone mentioned this when I was reading The Speed of Dark and I'm glad I picked it up. This is another novel told from the point of a view of an autist. There is no future, or cure, or anything. It is just a boy, living with his father, trying to understand the world around him, and part of that includes playing detective like Sherlock Holmes.

The novel was interesting and the pov of autism seemed right, compared to what I read in The Speed of Dark. The heart of the story, though, turned into being the child of divorced parents. I was about that age when my parents divorced and the arguments and coordination required, while being the child stuck in the middle, rang true for me.

7. A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd
Next in the Inspector Ian Rutledge books. We learned a little bit more about his time when the war ended. And there is some discussion of when murder is meant as a mercy killing. I find the descriptions of what the men feel and think when they've survived the war to be the very interesting.

Jan 13, 2010, 8:53pm Top

8. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
Review here.
I thought about dropping this one, but I'm so glad I stuck with it.

At one point the actions of Langston and the girls reminded me of the actions of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Lou in The Speed of Dark. They weren't autistic, but watching how Langston acts and moves through life you have to ask how normal is "normal".

Jan 13, 2010, 9:15pm Top

I want to capture some themes and commonalities in my reading this month.

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the boy lived in Swindon. That is where Thursday Next of the series by Jasper Fforde lives. Plus, the boy makes a reference to the okapi, a rare antelope in the Congo. The mother in The Poisonwood Bible sees an okapi in the first chapter.

Obviously - The Speed of Dark and The Curious Incident... are both about autistic people. The behavior of Langston and the girls in The Solace of Leaving Early were similar - needing routine, and pattern, and not liking change.

Misguided and strong religion was a theme in the Poisonwood Bible. It appears it is also a strong theme in Purple Hibiscus which I will be reading later this month.

The White-Horse King was my introduction to English regions, including East Anglia. Then in Watchers of Time he goes to East Anglia.

In The Solace of Leaving, Langston seems incapable of listening to other people tell her facts or explain how they feel. Seemed very similar to the father in The Poisonwood Bible.

Jan 13, 2010, 10:19pm Top

Laura, I have starred your thread because I like the way you immerse yourself in the books you read and love how you related the common themes between books. I'm glad you stuck with The Solace of Leaving Early. The characters were remote and difficult to get to know and, yes, not entirely likable, but definitely interesting. I plan to read more of her books.

Jan 19, 2010, 2:25pm Top

9. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Swashbuckling coming of age story of a young cynic who turns idealist and then realist, while inspiring revolution, acting with a troup of improvisational actors, learning swordsmanship from a master, and then joining the political ranks. He is apparently good at anything he tries, and we have a grand time watching each new stage in his life. Ah, Revolutionary France, what an exciting time.

I finished my other Orange January and TIOLI debut work book!
10. Purple Hibiscus
Richard warned me, but others said the coming-of-age story was worth it. So I decided to go ahead and read it since it was sitting on my desk. I found my bugaboo (to quote Richard).

The novel is told from the point of view of a young woman during a specific 5 month period that proved a major turning point in her life. The first hundred pages introduce her family and the life they live. Her father is a very devout Christian, very generous, principled, perhaps a bit proud, and very strict. Everyone else is really defined by how obedient they are to the father. The next hundred pages show a period of strange freedom as they spend a few weeks with their aunt where there is laughter and love, instead of fear and judgment. The final section is the climax, where the members of the family find they don't fit back in their old lifestyle.

The main character is the young woman Kambili. And we do see her come of age and grow into her own, even while still adoringher father and craving his approval and love. Another well developed character is her cousin Amaka who is initially critical of Kambili for being rich, but grows in her own right as she learns that having a lot of money does not always make one rich.

But the character that colors the actions of everyone is the father. He has some very good qualities. He is truly generous with the money his manufacturing plants bring him. He is seeking to be a good Christian in a country seeped in traditionalist and pagan rituals. He stands up for clear principles in the face of a corrupt government and military coup. We have no reason to doubt that these things truly represent him.

But like all of us, he is also broken, and his brokenness comes out as a strict physical punishment of his wife and children if they do anything he sees as sinful or disobedient. His faith is completely works based, with no room for grace. And his response of beating his family is a horrendous miscarriage of justice and his role as protector of his family. That the priest of his church feeds the man's pride but never steps in to confront him with this behavior.

So, my bugaboo has come out in too many books this month. Using religion to excuse deplorable behavior. Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd (I read it 12/29) had this, where nasty notes to members of the town lead them to start ostracizing a young woman so they won't be tainted.

Then, of course, The Poisonwood Bible had a lot of this. And The Solace of Leaving Early had a man who took a very twisted and abusive view of the role of a husband over a submissive wife.


Jan 19, 2010, 3:01pm Top

>25 lauranav:: Have you tried other Sabatini? I've enjoyed all of his that I've read. Bellarion is probably my favorite. Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk didn't rate quite as highly with me, which I found surprising given that I loved them as movies when I was a kid.

Jan 19, 2010, 3:23pm Top

I read Captain Blood, I'll look for Bellarion. Thanks for the recommendation.

Jan 19, 2010, 4:27pm Top

Good heavens, I apparently own a copy of Scaramouche! Must be a book omen. Hope I can find it...

Jan 20, 2010, 1:36am Top

Jan 25, 2010, 9:39pm Top

11. The Phoenix Endangered - volume 2 by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.
I found it on the shelf at the library while picking up something else and thought it sounded great. As a seasoned fantasy reader, I have no clue how I missed the fact that it was vol 2. O page 1 I realized we started right off in the middle of a story and this book wasn't the first volume.
I enjoyed volume 2 as we saw the two 17 year old boys, best of friends for 15 years, mature and face challenging situations, especially when others wouldn't or couldn't help them.
I appreciated how vol 2 worked fairly well as a stand alone (while obvious much had come before) without spending a ton of time retelling what had happened in vol 1. My biggest complaint would be that the frustration of the boys in trying to figure out what they were supposed to do was replayed a little too often. In some ways I'm sure this is realistic because we do tend to rehash the same arguments when we don't have a satisfactory answer. But it was still a little irritating to keep watching them revisit the same ground again.

12. The Phoenix Unchained - volume 1 came quickly from the library.
Colored a little bit perhaps, by my experience already with volume 1. I enjoyed this one as well, sort of like an interlude filling in the back story of the two boys and how they ended up on the road where I had met them in vol 2. I did learn a bit more about the magic system and history of the world. Still some of the repetition of some question or discussion.

13. The Phoenix Transformed - volume 3
Here I got frustrated with the series. The story was really fascinating and I enjoyed watching the people of the desert react to the changes forced upon them. But one of the boys was filled with anger (all the time) and the other was so indecisive. And both kept talking about how they didn't know what to do next and hopefully someone else would come along and solve all their problems. Again, most of it was realistic, it just got monotonous hearing it all over and over. So, some of that could have been cut. But between those bits, the story was really great and I re-read the final climax because it was so exciting and pulled so much together.

So, I'll go with the phrase guardedly recommended. The story and the concepts are interesting. The differences from volume to volume due to the growth of the boys and the stage of the journey are well done. There is much to enjoy.

Jan 26, 2010, 5:04am Top

#30: I may give those a try despite the reservations.

Jan 29, 2010, 11:13am Top

>31 alcottacre: I think they are worth it. The anger and complaining and repetition annoyed me, but the story was really good and the concepts were great. I'm still thinking about the concept of the wild magic and the mage price and the balance.

Jan 29, 2010, 11:20am Top

14. The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened to Elvis and Me by Dr. George Nicholpoulos. This was a free review copy from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program.
I grew up loving Elvis, because my father did and because he was good. But I was young enough when he died that I didn't get caught up in the drug stories that stuck around for years. I wasn't even aware of the trial of the doctor who treated him for the last 10 years of his life. The book was a pretty good record of what life was like for and with Elvis and the struggles of a doctor with a patient who has different priorities.
This wasn't a great read, but it did have some good information and I found myself comparing Elvis and Louis Armstrong as I read Pops. Both lived for the music and the life on the road was a rough one.

15. A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge
reread for me, I just found this book last year and really enjoyed it. I finally purchased the trilogy (our library was lacking and my friend didn't have them all) so I reread this as preparation for the next two volumes.
I love Goudge and her characters and how she writes.

16. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
A reread, but I was a young child the last time I read this. I accidentally ended up with the audiobook from the library so it took me a week of listening during the mornings but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is still a wonderful story.

17. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout
This was a great biography. He covered the people and actions so a real reflection of the man's life is captured, but he also did a great job of reviewing the music, what made it so wonderful, why it is still so captivating, and why Armstrong has the reputation that he does (the good and the bad). Highly recommended.
I spent a lot of time reading this by the computer so I could pull up the tunes on youtube and hear what was described in the book.

Jan 29, 2010, 5:38pm Top

#33: Nice reading there, Laura.

I am adding the Teachout and Konigsburg books to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendations! I read City of Bells last year and loved it, but my local library does not have the remainder of the trilogy unfortunately.

Jan 31, 2010, 4:34pm Top

I finished two more in January

18. The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting.
This is in preparation for reading The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle in Feb for the Newbery Medal winner for the TIOLI challenge.
This was fun to see how he got started talking to animals and how it affected his livelihood. Some of them went on a fun adventure to Africa and back, with a lot of fun teamwork involved.

19. The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
Interesting and well-written book that encourages churches to revisit how to reach the ultimate goal of spiritual growth in the community. To not just look at programs to grow the numbers in the church, but really look at relationships and purposeful discipling to encourage and foster spiritual growth. The biggest focus, which is shown with a biblical base, is that all disciples are disciple-makers. The move is away from the church-member as consumer. Some very good food for thought here, which members, pastors, elders, and lay-leaders will find challenging and probably encouraging.

I'm passing this one on the pastor.

Feb 1, 2010, 8:19pm Top

January recap:

Fiction: 15
3 Orange (shortlist and longlist)
3 TIOLI debut
1 TIOLI first successful work
5 reviewed in LT
3 Books on MY shelf, 2 free on Kindle, 10 library

Nonfiction: 4
all 4 reviewed in LT
3 Books on MY shelf, 1 library

That makes 6 books that I own were read in January!

My wiki page listing my progress

February plans
4 carry-over from January: 2 books on MY shelf, 1 library, 1 from friend
4 TIOLI: 2 books on MY shelf, 1 free on kindle, 1 library

That will be another 4 books that I own.

Feb 2, 2010, 1:13am Top

I have really got to learn how to do one of those wiki things to keep track of what I need to read when. Keeping track for me is practically a full-time job.

Feb 2, 2010, 7:35am Top

Yeah, I'm sure you have a lot of work with all the reading and TBR you have.
I picked up the basics of the wiki from the TIOLI stuff. Last year I started a blog (wordpress.org) to track my reading there.

Feb 2, 2010, 7:38am Top

I use Microsoft Word and Excel documents to help keep track of what I am reading at any given time and what needs to be read by when - especially library books, lol.

Feb 2, 2010, 12:48pm Top

I use GoogleDocs and have developed a useful spreadsheet (at least, it's useful for ME!). This also helps me compile stats at year end (# books & pages read by month, average rating, male vs. female authors, etc.). FYI, if you click on the link you can view it and also export to Excel or create your own GoogleDocs version.

Edited: Feb 2, 2010, 1:08pm Top

>40 lauralkeet: That is so neat, Laura. I think I WILL simply have to borrow and adapt it!

>38 lauranav: I have basically ignored the wikipage feature to this point, and as a result am completely ignorant, Laura N. But it looks useful. Can you point me to some discussions on how best to use it?

ETA looking at your February reads--I love Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds with a passion. The next two books suffer in comparison with it, but are good books on their own. The two Goudge books--Towers in the Mist is okay, especially I would think if you are familiar with Oxford, but The Dean's Watch is one of my favorites. I look forward to hearing your reactions to all.

Feb 2, 2010, 1:05pm Top

#40: I am totally intimidated by that! My computer would explode (or possibly my brain.)

Feb 2, 2010, 8:22pm Top

20. Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge
I reviewed this one, since there wasn't a review on LT.
I had not read one of her historical novels before (well, Green Dolphin Street maybe one of those, but it wasn't one I liked) so I was surprised by this book about 1560's Oxford. But it was well written and I did enjoy the story. It isn't a keeper to return to again like others, but I'm glad I read it. I have now heard two people talk about how wonderful The Dean's Watch is so I look forward to reading it later this month.

Feb 2, 2010, 8:34pm Top

>40 lauralkeet: Laura - that is a great spreadsheet. I'm definitely making a copy of that.

>41 ronincats: Roni - Books first - my sister-in-law loaned me Eight Skilled Gentlemen as one she loved. My library had the first in the series so I figured I'd start with that. I'm glad to hear that you love it, I'm looking forward to it. I haven't decided what I'll do about the 2nd book, skip it or hunt it down, before I move on to the 3rd.

The wiki - the TIOLI wiki got me started. Posting on there helped me figure out a few of the editing things and then I decided a wiki page would make a good place to track my to-read and have-read lists instead of editing the first entry in my thread over and over.

Suggestions - go to the TIOLI wiki and edit a little bit to get comfortable with it. I found it helpful because it's already created, there are some lines to copy and play with...
Then, create your own wiki (when on the TIOLI you'll see the left menu has an entry called "Your wikithing page") and start messing with it. When in doubt, I do a google search for wiki code.
putting ==the title== will format a title
a * at the beginning of a line is a bullet. You can nest by putting ** beside the sub-bullet.
Same with # for a numbered list.
Back to the TIOLI wiki to see how to link to a LibraryThing page and an external page.

I've had fun with it and one of the reasons I started it was to have an easy place to remember why I added a book to my TBR pile. I haven't figured out where the private comments for books are yet.

Feb 2, 2010, 8:56pm Top

>44 lauranav:: Thanks! Glad you can make use of it!

Feb 3, 2010, 9:11am Top

#40 I also love the spreadsheet!

#43 I like your review Laura. I'm interested in reading more historical fiction so I will look out for this series. Have you read the first one A City of Bells?

Feb 3, 2010, 9:49am Top

Yes, I need to writen a review for that. I love City of Bells. It isn't historical fiction like Towers in the Mist. It's set after the Boer war and is just a great portrait of a town where everyone knows everyone's business and children are free to have fun, young people fall in love, and older people watch and have their opinions of what they think they understand. Very good Elizabeth Goudge.

Feb 3, 2010, 10:00am Top

Posted my review for City of Bells.

Feb 3, 2010, 12:54pm Top

Oh, Laura, you picked out two of my most favorite quotes from City of Bells for your review!!

Feb 3, 2010, 3:03pm Top

Oh my, and my Word spreadsheet with six columns is intimidating enough for me! It is great, however, to see how others track their reading, so thanks for the link.

Feb 4, 2010, 9:16am Top

>49 ronincats: So glad to hear that. I always get some great quotes from her books, and this one was no exception.

Feb 4, 2010, 6:05pm Top

21. The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright
Good concept, and I thought it was a good story of how even the perfect marriage isn't perfect in the making and maintaining.

Feb 5, 2010, 1:15am Top

#52: That one looks pretty good. I will see if I can locate a copy. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura.

Feb 6, 2010, 11:15am Top

22. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle free on the Kindle
Still not the one I read as a child, but fun.

23. Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir
Depressing and unsettling to see what evil man is capable of. But well written and a story that needs to be known.

Feb 6, 2010, 11:26am Top

#54: Adding Tears of the Desert to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura.

Feb 6, 2010, 4:37pm Top

24. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Found this through some LT thread and it was a great read. So funny. I never read this as a child but I'm glad I've read it now. This may become a regular gift to people.

Edited: Feb 6, 2010, 10:12pm Top

25. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
I had seen this title several times over the past year here on LT but since I was pretty sure I had seem the movie year's ago, I wasn't interested. Then I saw something that convinced me this was a YA book and not the same as the movie so I put a reserve on it at the library. I got it home today and realized, of course, that it is indeed the same as the movie. Oh well.

It was an interesting read and I am glad I revisited it. I was in a very different cultural / political / religious place 20 years ago. The book was published the year before I graduated from high school and I found myself trying to remember what things were like in those years. Definitely thought-provoking.

It was very interesting reading this the same day as I read The Phantom Tollbooth. I kept thinking things would be a lot better if Rhyme and Reason would return.

edited to add note about The Phantom Tollbooth

Feb 7, 2010, 2:53am Top

#56: I never read it as a child either. I guess it is still not too late!

#57: I am planning on reading a couple of Atwood's books this year, but that is not one of them. Maybe next year . . .

Feb 7, 2010, 4:35pm Top

I used to love the Dr Doolittle books when I was a child, but I seem to have cleared them out at some point (my mum sold our house when I was in my 20s and I had to pack up all my books and choose which I was going to keep out of a very large quantity).

Feb 8, 2010, 2:45pm Top

26. Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
I checked this one out of the library and I really wish they had volume 2. My sister-in-law loaded me volume 3 so I'll be reading it later this month.

This was such a fun and funny book. I love Number Ten Ox - he's strong and steady and faithful and pure at heart. I also love Li Kao even if he does have a slight flaw in his character. Recommended!

Feb 8, 2010, 4:35pm Top

#60: I am glad you enjoyed that one. I have read book 2, which is not as good as book 1, but I have not read book 3 yet. I may have to read the other two again :)

Feb 8, 2010, 5:25pm Top

Ah, the Phantom Tollbooth! Loved that as a child... apparently there was an animated film version made as well, which I haven't seen, but I heard was good. I have such fond memories of the book... Maybe I'll do a re-read this year.

Feb 8, 2010, 6:17pm Top

#56 - I read this book for the first time last year (as a read aloud to my daughter). I could not believe that, not only had I never read this book before, I had never even heard of it until I picked up a copy at the book store. At first I presumed this was because it had never made it to the UK, where I grew up, but as it has been translated into a number of languages this suggests that it did indeed make it out of the US (I would actually really like to get hold of copies in the few other languages that I can read in just to see how the translators tackled it!) As Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books of all time, it was the most wonderful discovery I've made in many years. I know what you mean about giving it as a gift. Having found out just what I missed out on as a child I want to gift a copy to every child I meet who hasn't read it yet :)

Feb 10, 2010, 4:49am Top

#56 I loved The Phantom Tolbooth when I was a kid, my library had a copy although this is the first time I've found anyone else who's read it. I managed to find a second hand copy a while back that had exactly the same cover as the one I used to borrow from the library :-)

The Handmaid's Tale is already on my wishlist, The Bridge of Birds sounds really interesting so I have added that one too!

Feb 10, 2010, 11:30am Top

#64 I loved the humor in The Bridge of Birds.

#63 I am so glad I finally discoverd The Phantom Tollbooth and I do look forward to introducing to many others (children and their parents).

Feb 10, 2010, 2:08pm Top

This week I'm reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss and it is a great resource for punctuation rules and wonderful humor.

Tie-ins to other things I've been reading lately.
I have a Graham Greene on my list for this month and apparently he made a last minute change to a document controlling access to his personal papers by adding a comma and now know one agrees how to interpret it.

Apparently Umberto Eco wrote The Name of the Rose with no semicolons and someone congratulated him on accomplishing that. His reply was that the machine he used to type it on didn't have a semicolon.

When describing the great use of the expressive exclamation point she mentions that Victor Hugo wanted to know how Les Miserable was selling to he sent his publisher a telegram with just "?" and received a reply with just "!"

She writes about the need to use italics sparingly and I thought of Emily by Lucy Maud Montgomery. She was also told to reduce her addiction to italics :-)

Feb 13, 2010, 2:59pm Top

27. The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
Third in the Cathedral trilogy. Very nice. More like A City of Bells, with characters we learn to love and enjoy seeing grow.

28. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Very funny book about punctuation rules and how bad it is these days.

29. A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd
Number 7 in the Inspector Rutledge series. Just as good as the others. It was very interesting to see how the characters developed and a rather satisfactory ending.

Feb 13, 2010, 8:41pm Top

30. Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood
Interesting read. I just picked it up at the library since she was one of my new authors this year and I wondered how it would read after The Handmaid's Tale. These are her Massey Lectures from 2008. I don't agree with all of it, but her sense of humor is fun and she touches on a lot of different stuff.

Feb 14, 2010, 12:45am Top

Glad you enjoyed The Dean's Watch. I rank it up there with City of Bells in the top tier as well. I didn't care that much for Green Dolphin Street or Towers in the Mist either.

Feb 14, 2010, 3:53am Top

I am trying to get the complete Cathedral trilogy on ILL so that I can read the three books together. My local library only has City of Bells.

Feb 14, 2010, 2:31pm Top

Stasia, now that I've read all 3 I understand why they are grouped as a trilogy - they are about or based on 3 different cathedral cities. But none of them have any characters or story lines in common. City of Bells and The Dean's Watch are very much alike and both have some great characters and stories. Towers in the Mist is good, too, with some interesting characters and scenery (what she does so well) but is very different in that it's historical fiction about Oxford during a period of time. So, if you don't get them all together I don't think it will make a huge difference since you won't need to worry about forgetting anything.

Hi Roni - I agree, I'm still thinking about things I read and loved in The Dean's Watch.

Feb 16, 2010, 12:21am Top

Thanks for the info, Laura.

Feb 18, 2010, 3:24pm Top

I've gotten a little distracted this week.
First I picked up Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth while visiting the library. Then I decided to read the next two based on LT conversations.

31. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
SouloftheRose did a great review of this and convinced me I wanted to read it. I put a hold on it at the library and it came in just in time to escape from a committee meeting at my house. I sat at the library and disappeared into Bod's world. A great read!

32. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Lerous
wisewoman and ncgraham had a great discussion (on wisewoman's thread) about the book versus the play and movie versions and even about different translations. I decided to give it a go and got it from the library. The whole thing seemed very familiar. I guess I read it a few years ago, but I was interested in finishing it again. I much prefer the subplot about the 2 managers of the Opera House - funny and interesting to see their reactions. My review includes thoughts about the love triangle.

One more library book, then back to the ones sitting on my shelf. Oh wait, another book came in to the library today. Oh well, I'll get all of them read eventually.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:04am Top

#73: I agree with you about The Graveyard Book. I thought it just grand when the book won the Newbery award.

Feb 20, 2010, 11:26am Top

33. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Wow - what a great book. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite for February. The first thing I noticed was that the chapters are pretty short. But I think they need to be so the reader stops and absorbs what just happened.

34. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
I loved the review wisewoman did of this book. Her review was very well done, now that I've read the book myself. I felt like a number of the revelations sneak up on the reader, but it that is just what makes it such a great read. We see life from the point of view of the narrator and that means it's filtered through his prejudices and expectations.

Feb 20, 2010, 4:41pm Top

>75 lauranav:: re: #33, isn't it amazing? I agree with your observation about the short chapters. This book was one of my "top reads" in the year I read it ... and has remained with me for some time.

Feb 20, 2010, 8:55pm Top

>76 lauralkeet: yes - I imagine it will stay with me for a long time, and will be a re-read over the years.

I've read more about Africa in the last 12 months than ever before I believe. Last year was a re-read of Heart of Darkness and then I discovered Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe when someone mentioned in here on LT. This year I've already read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Tears of the Desert a memoir by Halima Bashir.

I have Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen on the stack for later this year. Cry, the Beloved Country is the best of them all.

Feb 20, 2010, 9:02pm Top

35. The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Tututhefirst reviewed this and it sounded like a fun cozy to read. I enjoyed it a lot. The characters, the dialogue, the picture of India. A fairly quick read, but some fun people to meet and a very good detective.

Random thought: there is a song on the radio called Breakeven by The Script. I admit the song hasn't grabbed me, but today while running errands I listened to it and found that it fits in pretty well with The End of the Affair.

Feb 20, 2010, 10:08pm Top

>77 lauranav:: That's some excellent reading, indeed! You might want to add Adichie's second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, to your list ... it's even better than Purple Hibiscus.

Feb 22, 2010, 5:39pm Top

I read Cry, The Beloved Country in January, and like you loved it. I was amazed at how well it stands up 60 years after it was written. (And disheartened at how many problems regarding race relations described in the book still exist).

Feb 23, 2010, 5:57am Top

#77 Reading Cry, the Beloved has sparked off an Africa read for me. I have most of the you mention in my TBR pile so hopefully I will get to them soon!

#78 I saw Tutu's review of this one and it sounded good. Glad you enjoyed it!

Feb 23, 2010, 7:51am Top

>79 lauralkeet: I forgot that one, it's on the list for this year. Lots of folks recommended it when I was reading The Purple Hibiscus.

>80 arubabookwoman: I agree, it is sad how many issues still exist. Having read Tears of the Desert earlier this month which is a memoir about life in the Sudan, I can see where it gets the name the Dark Continent.

>81 souloftherose: There is a lot of very good and interesting stuff out there about Africa, but it can get heavy given the issues there.

Feb 25, 2010, 10:46pm Top

36. Eight Skilled Gentlemen by Barry Hughart
this is the one my sister-in-law loaned to me. I really enjoyed Bridge of Birds and this one was also funny. Some twisted humor.

37. Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh
Another great book with good biblical truths.

38. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Loaned by a friend, I wouldn't have finished it otherwise. In fact, I set this book aside for a month before I finally felt guilty about holding on to it. Not my cup of tea I guess. I admit, part of it may be that I prefer my biblical characters a little cleaner and nice than her novelization of Jacob and his family.

39. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
Always a great book!

40. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Mark's review (msf59) intrigued me so I plunged on into this one. He was very good about being vague in his review, but it was hard not to get a feel for what the book would be about. I found the story very interesting and sad, and actually fit in well with some of the reading I've been doing on Africa lately. Here is my review, hopefully also suitably vague.

Feb 25, 2010, 10:53pm Top

Summary of the February reading. I'm pretty sure that after finishing up 3 books today, I won't get any more done in the next 3 days due to other plans.

Fiction: 17
TIOLI red spine: 2
TIOLI Newbery winner: 2
TIOLI love in title: 1
TIOLI Canada Reads: 1
6 Books on MY shelf, 1 Kindle, 9 library (1 was a reread)
10 Reviewed on LT

Nonfiction: 4
TIOLI red spine: 2
all 4 reviewed on LT
2 Books on MY shelf, 2 library

That makes 8 books from my shelves in Feb, plus 6 in January for a total of 14!!

And I finished all of my planned reading for January and February
Plans for March include 2 books from MY shelf plus a plan for a TIOLI challenge that I won't mention until the March TIOLI wiki page is up. :-)

Mar 3, 2010, 9:47am Top

I finished Never Let Me Go last night and I'm still thinking about it. Your review is excellent.

Mar 3, 2010, 11:26am Top

Thank you. I found it a very interesting book and it touched on so many topics. I agree, it is one that keeps coming back into the thoughts.

Mar 3, 2010, 4:34pm Top

Finished my first TIOLI book.
41. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Great humor, serious experiences. I love the role played by the small village priest and the 12 year old boy.

Mar 3, 2010, 4:36pm Top

41 books!!! WOW! That is quite an accomplishment! The Connie Willis book sounds good.

Mar 3, 2010, 4:54pm Top

I'm supposed to be reading fewer books in 2010. The weather we've been having encourages reading. I keep setting goals and reading right through them. Other things have gotten done, so it isn't too bad, yet.

Mar 4, 2010, 3:41am Top

#87: I am glad you liked that one. It was one of my favorites from last year.

Mar 5, 2010, 9:30pm Top

42. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Very interesting story about the gods of the old worlds and what happens to them when their people come to America. And what gods are being created in America. Seems most of them smoke a lot and drink a fair amount of beer.

I really enjoyed this book - each twist and addition was just right.

Mar 6, 2010, 1:41am Top

#91: I have to check and see if I have that one in the BlackHole already or not . . .

Yep, I do!

Mar 6, 2010, 5:25am Top

you've had some great reading lately! American Gods and the Doomsday Book are both on my wishlist.

Mar 6, 2010, 11:10am Top

And Anansi Boys by Gaiman is even better than American Gods.

Mar 6, 2010, 12:36pm Top

>94 ronincats: I'll have to look for that one next. I liked Mr. Nancy.

43. Sugar by Bernice McFadden
A huge change of pace today while I read this quick but powerful work. I read Nowhere is a Place last year and am pleased to see that her debut work, Sugar, is just as well written with strong characters and the hard truth of every day life put out there.
I highly recommend this book.

Mar 6, 2010, 3:43pm Top

Mr. Nancy is a big player in Anansi Boys--you won't be disappointed!

Mar 7, 2010, 12:25am Top

#95: I already had that one in the BlackHole since someone (browngirl perhaps?) recommended it last year. It looks very good and I hope to get to it soon. I am glad you enjoyed it, Laura.

Mar 7, 2010, 5:57am Top

#95 I don't know if you've already seen this but Bernice McFadden is giving away copies of her book Glorious as a Member Giveaway this month although there are various conditions around blogging.

Mar 7, 2010, 8:22am Top

>98 souloftherose: I saw that and it's a little confusing using the Member Giveaway with the blogging conditions. But now I know she's got another one coming out.

Mar 10, 2010, 9:47am Top

44. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Read this the same day as Sugar - way too much human brokenness for one day. I don't know what I was expecting, but the short story format was really cool. I liked the different viewpoints of Olive while learning about others as well.
Very interesting stories about aging and perseverance and handling the hurts and wounds we get in life.

45. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
I knew enough from the website and he book flap and Richard's review to have a good idea what the plot was. The story is well written and Gamache is still great. Ruth is such a character - caring and unable to communicate it so resorting to her insults and bluntness. I so understand Peter's struggle to give advice based completely on his love for Clara but knowing that his jealousy is intertwined so that he can't trust it. Poor Gabri and poor Olivier with that struggle between greed and his naturally loving nature.

Mar 17, 2010, 11:13am Top

46. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson - LT author
This was fun and interesting. A different style from the adult novels I've read by Sanderson.

47. Magic Carpet by Wes Boyd
This was online here, sent to me by a relative. Interesting story but I admit I skimmed quite a bit.

48. Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
Audiobook from the library - lots of fun. I had never heard of it before seeing mention of it here on LT

49. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin - Hugo award winner
Lots to think about with this book. Interesting commentary about different forms of government and society. Not entirely sure what she was trying to say.

50. Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville for March is Novella Month
I had heard of this for years and finally sat down to read it. Very quick read and sad story about a man who would prefer not to do more and more things until he was doing nothing. Interesting to see the affect he has on others around him.

51. The Chronological Guide to the Bible from Thomas Nelson
This was a BookSneeze review book. Pretty useful with some good information.

Mar 17, 2010, 1:50pm Top

#101: I am going to try and sneak Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians into my reading some time this week. I have never read anything by Sanderson (yet!), so I have no preconceptions about what to expect. I am not sure if that is good or bad.

Castle in the Attic sounds like one I will have to look for. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura.

Mar 18, 2010, 12:08am Top

So glad you enjoyed The Castle in the Attic! It is very fun, and I swear Winthrop must have based William off of me....

Sorry if my popping in here seems random, but I was going back through that old Phantom conversation scrounging up material for a review, and saw your name there. I see you've reread it and reviewed it yourself! Well done, and thumbs up!

Mar 18, 2010, 7:38am Top

Thanks for dropping by. I really enjoyed the discussion on the Phantom and of course, picked up Castle in the Attic after your review. I have the second one queued up to listen to soon.

Mar 18, 2010, 9:43am Top

gee, I was only 75 posts behind :)

So glad you enjoyed Doomsday Book. I love it.

I enjoyed your reviews very much! Thx for sharing.

Mar 18, 2010, 11:20am Top

Yay! It's wonderful to know that one's review has caused someone else to read and enjoy a book. Sort of makes it all worth it, if you don't mind me getting all teary-eyed over it....

I'll definitely keep an eye on this thread; you've been reading a lot of interesting books this quarter.

Mar 18, 2010, 11:25am Top


regarding post#95, the Bernice McFadden book is now added to the list.

Congratulations on reading 51 books thus far. That is quite a feat!

Mar 18, 2010, 12:13pm Top

Whisper, that's great. I've now read two of her books and they can be tough emotionally, but very rewarding.

With the weather turning so nice the reading speed/quantity will be down, good thing I'm so far along already. I have room to coast some.

Mar 18, 2010, 12:14pm Top

>106 ncgraham: - I agree, it is great to know that the time and effort to talk about a book, especially one you enjoyed, has made a difference for someone else. Especially when they liked it too!

Mar 18, 2010, 12:47pm Top

Hi Laura,

Just found your thread.

I loved Captain Blood and Scaramouche by Sabatini when I was a kid. I'm sure I'd enjoy rereading them now.

Cry the Beloved Country is indeed a great book. Another of his, Too Late the Phalarope, is also very moving.

In terms of Africa reading, I highly recommend GraceLand by Chris Abani. I read it last year and it was one of my top reads of 2009. I also remember enjoying Mister Johnson by Joyce Cary several years back. Heart of Darkness, which you mentioned, is simply one of my favorite works of art in the world, of any genre and any art form.

Mar 18, 2010, 1:00pm Top

110> Thanks for dropping by. And many thanks for the recommendations. They are going on the list right now.

I'm currently listening to Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. He's mentioned Heart of Darkness and Naghib Mahfouz, author of the Cairo Trilogy that I read a few years ago, and a few others. I can see another reading list coming out just this book.

Mar 23, 2010, 7:49pm Top

52. A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel by Mel Starr
It's been a year, but I finally won another ER book from LT. This one was a nice historical mystery set in 1365. Kind of fun reading this after Doomsday Book earlier this month which put us in the middle of the plague earlier in the century.

It feels like I've been moving slowly. My wish to not read quite as many books as last year is finally coming true as other things take up time. But I'm well on my way with a very interesting nonfiction book, Refuse to Choose, I made good headway in Atlas Shrugged though it won't be finished in March.

But I really need to focus now on finishing His Majesty's Dragon for the TIOLI challenge. I've loved watching all the positive reviews and watching people progress through the series. I have really enjoyed what I've read so far. (I think the kindle doesn't grab my dedication like a physical book does.)

Mar 24, 2010, 2:51am Top

#112: The Starr series looks like one I would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura.

Mar 25, 2010, 11:35am Top

I think the kindle doesn't grab my dedication like a physical book does.

That's been my fear, but as I've been able to read a few books on my computer (600+ pages on one), I think I might just find relief at actually being able to get my hands on new content and disregard that tactile. At least that's my hope. It doesn't feel like a small investment, so I need to make it work (if I ever get my reader!).

Mar 25, 2010, 11:39am Top

I enjoy my Kindle and have found it works well. I've read a number of books on it now. It's really great if the book is good. I forget about the Kindle and just get into the book.

The issue seems to be that if it isn't sitting in a stack begging my attention, other books distract me.

I also go through spurts where I read a lot of books out of the library, then a period where I focus more on books I have in house or can get for free on the Kindle. Your situation is a tad different :-)

Mar 25, 2010, 2:54pm Top

115 point.

Edited: Mar 25, 2010, 4:30pm Top

A few more books finished this week.
53. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
This was a freebie on the Kindle awhile back that I downloaded and never read. Of course, it was all the rage this month as part of the TIOLI challenge so I picked it up (figuratively). What a great book. Imagine a world with dragons, and using them to fight against the French under Napoleon. This is exactly how it would have happened.

slight spoilers if you haven't read this yet.
I cried when Levitas died and Rankin was still a jerk.
And I didn't understand all the heavy hinting that things would be bad at the training camp in Scotland when in the end it wasn't bad at all, except that one or two folks held it against Laurence that their friend hadn't become Temeraire's rider.

54. Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher
This is an interesting book for a particular group of people - who can't settle on one career but want to try their hands at dozens of things because it's all so fascinating. This feels like me and my husband so it was aimed at us. Of course, it sometimes feels like everyone else (except our aimless sisters :-) is different.

55. Utopia by Sir Thomas More
I have finally read this book - on my Kindle, no less. Probably very good timing, because it wouldn't have been interesting to me much earlier in my life. I see where LeGuin's The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia is related to it. And it is interesting in light of reading Atlas Shrugged. Mainly I was struck by how modern so much of it sounded. There really is nothing new under the sun.

ETA the proper strike html code

Mar 26, 2010, 12:08am Top

#117: Refuse to Choose! sounds so much like me it is not even funny. I am definitely going to have to find that one.

Mar 27, 2010, 4:50pm Top

#117 Hooray - another Temeraire fan! I thought the heavy hinting was because (spoilers!)the dragons were trainers and they were worried that a human wouldn't like being told what to do by a dragon? I also cried when Levitas died and also when the French traitor was killed (can't remember his name) and the dragons were so upset.

Do you think you'll carry on with the series?

Mar 27, 2010, 7:31pm Top

#119 - ah, that could be it.

I've already read vols 2 and have 3-5 in transit to my local library branch. I read the comments about vol 3. I have enjoyed the battle scenes pretty much so far so I'm expecting to like vol 3 and will definitely keep going to 4 and 5. Of course, then I'll have to wait for 6 and now I hear it may go to 9 before she's finished.

Mar 28, 2010, 2:42pm Top

> 119: I think Heather is right.
I just finished book 4 and have to wait for book 5, because the library has no copy... and I am not ready to buy book 5 (yet).

Mar 29, 2010, 6:11pm Top

56. With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray. Great book and I loved it when I started it back in November. Got busy with other things but finally sat down and finished it. I highly recommend the book, but the edition I had (2008 Wilder Publications) was poorly edited, with an uncomfortable font and page structure. So, if you get this book find another edition.

57. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
volume 2 of the Temeraire series, of course. Different from volume 1, and I enjoyed most of the travel by ship. Volumes 3 - 5 are coming from the library! I gave this volume to the library because they needed more copies.

Mar 29, 2010, 6:23pm Top

I'm going to go ahead with my March summary. There is a slight chance I could get and finish vol 3 of Temeraire, but that's the only possibility. Anything else I start will definitely not get finished this month.

Fiction: 13
TIOLI LT author: 4
TIOLI Hugo award winner: 3
TIOLI saint in title: 1
LT ER: 1
audiobook: 1
March is Novella Month: 1
3 Books on MY shelf, 2 Kindle, 8 library
5 Reviewed on LT

Nonfiction: 2
both reviewed on LT
1 Book on MY shelf, 1 library

That makes 4 books from my shelves in Mar, plus 14 in Jan/Feb for a total of 18!!

I finished all reading goals for March.

April goals include Atwood in April, TIOLI short stories (Atwood), TIOLI ER (Wolf Hall), TIOLI animal in title (Temeraire #5), plus more books around the President's Challenge (I have 2 Jefferson, plus 1776, a bio of Ben Franklin, and a short bio of Paul Revere), and finishing Atlas Shrugged.

Mar 30, 2010, 2:06am Top

#123: Nice summary, Laura!

Mar 30, 2010, 8:17am Top

I've read Murray's book a couple of times -- you're right it's excellent. They were old books when I read them, so the format must have been better :)

Mar 30, 2010, 1:05pm Top

1776 is terrific. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Apr 2, 2010, 9:54pm Top

58. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Another great book in this series! Finished this in March so counted for TIOLI by an LT author.

59. The Fractured World by Scott Owens
Poems by a living author for TIOLI. These were good, and challenging.

60. The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel Miller
Good biography from Thomas Nelson (freebie through BookSneeze). Fits in well with my reading this month on that era (an offshoot of my President's Challenge reading).

61. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
More great reading!

Apr 3, 2010, 1:10am Top

#127: The Revere biography looks good. I will add that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura.

Apr 4, 2010, 10:01am Top

Love freebies :)

Apr 10, 2010, 7:07pm Top

62. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Her version of a true story about a girl arrested and in prison for murder. Interesting, but felt pointless.

63. Bluebeard's Egg and other stories by Margaret Atwood
Another one for Atwood in April and short stories for TIOLI. The first two stories were really funny about her growing up. The other stories were about broken people and broken lives and just not that interesting. I think I'm done with Atwood.

64. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Another great book in this series. This book was a bit sad too.

65. The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault
Pretty interesting concept and some funny parts as the lexicographers interact with people who call or write. But when it's all done, it mainly felt like the author was saying people who work as lexicographers are pretty sad folks.

66. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
A bunch of short stories of all sizes and styles and topics. I enjoyed this book a lot. A good recovery after the Atwood and Teaglass reads this month.

Apr 10, 2010, 9:59pm Top

A fun quote from one of the short stories in Smoke and Mirrors (Shoggoth's Old Peculiar)

“The beer had the kind of flavor which, he suspected, advertisers would describe as full-bodied, although if pressed they would have to admit that the body in question had been that of a goat.”

Apr 10, 2010, 11:59pm Top

You have done some nice recent reading, Laura!

Apr 11, 2010, 6:01am Top

#130 I struggled a bit with Bluebeard's Egg too. I thought it was well written but I just don't get that type of short story and it left me feeling rather confused. I also found the autobiographical stories to be the ones I enjoyed best.

Smoke and Mirrors sounds good - love the quote! I hopefully have this one coming to me via Bookmooch.

Apr 12, 2010, 8:31am Top

Interesting, but felt pointless. That's the way I feel after most of her works... I don't get why she's so popular...

Apr 12, 2010, 9:21am Top

#133 and 134 - I had to learn for myself, but I have now read 2 novels and a book of shortstories by Atwood and I think I'm satisfied with my exposure. I'll stop here, there are too many authors to explore and books to read.

I am glad to learn I'm not the only one not overwhelmed by Atwood. She does write well, I just am not attracted to the stories she writes.

I am enjoying Neil Gaiman as I read more of his work.

Apr 12, 2010, 9:24am Top

Some connections in books I've been reading lately.

In The Broken Teaglass there was a reference to The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux. Im currently listening to Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, and he buys a copy of his book The Mosquito Coast for an African author he meets.

Also in The Broken Teaglass the female character mentions From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler which I listened to earlier this year.

And, right now I'm reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, who attended Orson Scott Card's Literary Bootcamp. I read The Broken Teaglass because OSC recommended it.

Apr 12, 2010, 11:40am Top

Isn't that fun :)

Apr 12, 2010, 1:42pm Top

All this Atwood criticism is bumming me out a bit, as I'm getting ready to read The Blind Assassin right after McMurtry's Texasville, which is up next for me. It will be my first Atwood. Hope I like her better than you guys!

Apr 12, 2010, 1:52pm Top

She does write well and I haven't read The Blind Assassin, so go in expecting it to be a good book and then report back, maybe I'll be encouraged to try another one.

I admit that of the two novels I've read, The Handmaid's Tale was colored by my memories of the movie years ago, and Alias Grace was based on a true story so she had some constraints. I read Payback a nonfiction book by Atwood and thought it was pretty interesting.

Apr 12, 2010, 7:35pm Top

I read The Blind Assassin and didn't hate it ... (LOL, that may not be very encouraging :)

Apr 12, 2010, 9:06pm Top

Hahaha, I'm not sure Susan and I are helping much. Start out as if all the other people who love Margaret Atwood and her stories are right. Then come back and tell us how it worked out.

Apr 13, 2010, 9:18am Top

LOL I think Laura has the right idea. lol

Apr 13, 2010, 11:20am Top

# 141> Yes, that has always been my plan.

Apr 13, 2010, 11:21am Top

I have liked the Atwood's I have read: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and The Penelopiad.

Apr 13, 2010, 3:23pm Top

#138 Although I didn't enjoy Bluebeard's Egg I have loved the Atwood novels I've read which so far have been The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid's Tale and The Year of the Flood. I think it might be the short story aspect of Bluebeard's Egg which I didn't enjoy so much.

My first Atwood was The Blind Assassin - I hope you like it!

Apr 13, 2010, 9:46pm Top

67. Plainsong by Kent Haruf
I have decided this was really 3 short stories interspersed into a novel. I didn't care for one of the stories, wasn't thrilled with the second one, but absolutely loved the story of the young unwed mother-to-be and the two bachelor brother farmers who take her in.

68. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
I really liked this book. He did a good job with so many different generations and cultures and wrote characters that I understood and cared about. Great book!

Apr 13, 2010, 10:56pm Top

How nice to have 1 and a third good ones :)

Apr 14, 2010, 12:19am Top

#146: I loved Plainsong when I read it last year and will eventually get to its follow up book, Eventide.

I have Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet somewhere around my house waiting for me to read it! I really must find it - and then I will add it to the TIOLI wiki - more points!! lol

Apr 15, 2010, 4:45pm Top

I read Bluebeard's Egg more than 20 years ago as I was doing a short story course and wrote a dissertation on short stories by women writers. I think I used at least one story in this collection for that dissertation, it might well have been the title story (I know I spent some time on fairy tale retellings).

I enjoy literary short stories, and though I don't know if I'm actually going to read/read any for that TIOLI challenge this month, all the talk about it has made me want to read several.

Apr 16, 2010, 7:44am Top

#147 - yes, it is a good reading week when 1 and 1/3rd are good.

#148 - yeah, love some points, and reading a good book too! I'm enjoying Tea With the Black Dragon

#149 - this month has made me realize how seldom I actually read short stories. I'll look to do more of it in the future.

Apr 16, 2010, 7:49am Top

#150: I am glad to hear that you are enjoying Tea with the Black Dragon. I have the second book coming to me, Twisting the Rope, coming to me from PBS, but Roni says it is not as good as the first one.

Apr 22, 2010, 9:09pm Top

69. Tea with the Black Dragon by RA MacAvoy
This was a fun read. TIOLI read with tea in the title.

70. Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian
This was a freebie sent to me to review for my blog. I thought it was well done.

71. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
This was a TIOLI read with an animal in the title.
Good writing, fairly interesting story. I thought I wasn't wowed by it until I got to the end and realized I liked the characters and the way they were introduced in the novel quite a bit.

Apr 22, 2010, 10:03pm Top

You are very close to completing the goal. Congratulations!

Apr 23, 2010, 1:19am Top

#152: I am glad you liked Tea with the Black Dragon and The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Laura.

Apr 23, 2010, 9:51am Top

Glad you're having some nice reads! Have you read MacAvoy's Damiano books? I enjoyed them.

Apr 23, 2010, 11:57am Top

Hm... I'll have to look into those other MacAvoy books.

Apr 25, 2010, 12:50pm Top

I was pleased to find The Elegance of the Hedgehog in a charity shop today, for just 50p (less than $1 US at the moment) after all the mentions o fit here.

Apr 26, 2010, 8:16am Top

#157 - Congratulations! I hope you enjoy it.

Apr 28, 2010, 9:53am Top

I'm feeling a little meh about April so I figured it was time to do a summary and see what all I've gotten read. With plans tonight and needing to get ready to go out of town for the weekend, I won't finish anything else this month. But maybe I'll make good progress on one of the library books I have sitting here.

Fiction: 11
1 TIOLI living poet
2 TIOLI Short stories
1 TIOLI with tea in title
2 TIOLI with animal in title
1 TIOLI ER book
1 for book club
1 for Atwood in April
2 book on MY shelf, 9 from Library
7 reviewed

Nonfiction: 3
1 Booksneeze ARC
1 free ARC
2 reviewed
2 books on my shelf, 1 from library

I didn't meet any of my reading goals for April. The list of planned reads was totally ignored and replaced by other books that I discovered in the TIOLI challenge (including the Temeraire series). It was still a good month! I enjoyed most of the books I read. And a number of them were on my TBR pile, it's just that I got to them in April due to the TIOLI challenges.

Apr 29, 2010, 3:56pm Top

"The list of planned reads was totally ignored"

I know that feeling!

Apr 29, 2010, 4:02pm Top

The good news is the books are still there waiting patiently for me to get to them. In creating my list of planned reads for May they didn't all make it onto the list, I'm not feeling as bold as I was for April I guess. Or maybe I'm being more realistic. :-)

Apr 29, 2010, 8:41pm Top

WooHoo!!! Just got this message on my profile:

"Congratulations. You've snagged an Early Reviewers copy of Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik from the April 2010 batch."

Can't wait to get that one in the mail!

Apr 29, 2010, 9:08pm Top

>162 lauranav: Glad for you :)

Apr 30, 2010, 2:12am Top

#162 WooHoo indeed!! That one wasn't available to the UK but I got a copy of the new Scarlett Thomas book, Our Tragic Universe which I'm really excited about :-)

Apr 30, 2010, 7:53am Top

Yay for both of us!

May 3, 2010, 5:55pm Top

72. Good night, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
The review by Whisper and recommendation by Stasia pushed this to the top of the list. I picked it up from the library Thursday and read it on the road trip to NYC on Saturday. Well told and a feel good story of what good people can do when they shower love on a boy. Highly recommended.

73. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Well, now I've read it. It was a good read, but it probably means more to me at this point in my life with a 15 year old nephew at this stage of his life than it would at any other point. I wasn't like this as a teenager myself. As Mister Tom says, everything in it's own time.

74. Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
This was an interesting travelogue of Paul's journey overland through Africa from Cairo to Capetown. His perspectives comparing the Africa he knew 40 years ago in the Peace Corps to today were great. His thoughts on the futility of all the aid groups where whites do all the work were great! At times a bit too much Paul Theroux in his musings, but even that helped to point out the few places where his worldview colored his comments. (A Christian he is NOT. A man he definitely IS.) I recommend it, it brings Africa to life, the good and the bad.

May 3, 2010, 10:55pm Top


I'm glad you highly recommend Good Night, Mister Tom. It truly is a wonderful book! I thought the author did a great job in portraying abuse without succumbing to over dramatization.

Congratulations! You only have one more book and then you have completed the challenge!

May 4, 2010, 9:08am Top

I am glad that you liked Good Night, Mister Tom, Laura. The original recommendation for the book came from Jenny (lunacat) last year. I am just sorry it took me until this one to get to it!

May 4, 2010, 12:31pm Top

75. Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop
I finally got around to the sequel to The Castle in the Attic. I listened to both as audio books - a full cast with the author as the narrator. I enjoyed both stories and recommend them.

May 6, 2010, 1:27pm Top

I'm not much into the idea of audio books myself, but it might work for me with stories like that. THanks for the tip!

May 7, 2010, 4:16pm Top

Susan - I am the same way. The past year or two I've worked on my audio book listening skills, but I still find a fun YA the easiest to listen to. I did From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler as an audio book too and enjoyed it a lot.

Nonfiction books are rough because I like to take notes and I need to re-read and concentrate.

Dark Star Safari worked out pretty well because I had the hard copy book to look at the map and could skim a chapter if I remembered I wanted to take a note. Mostly it was stories and not science or history that I needed to outline to remember or understand.

Edited: May 7, 2010, 4:23pm Top

Three more under my belt. I was stressing over all the nonfiction reading I have sitting here from the library. I've gotten a few fun books out of the way so I can focus on the library books.

76. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Interesting read, and I'm enjoying the GR discussion. Others have said it's different from his other books so I'm not sure if that means I should read more of not.

77. A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson
Richard recommended this and it was a great book. The characters are interesting, the writing is lovely, and the story was fun. Recommended!

78. James Madison: The Founding Father by Robert Rutland
The Jefferson books are my own so of course I haven't gotten to them as planned (I believe I did mention I didn't get to any of my planned reading for April). This one came from the library so I skipped Jefferson to read about Madison and will now go back. All 4 of the first Presidents (even the 5th, Monroe) were involved in that same era so it overlaps quite well. I also want to read 1776 which is sitting here on my desk wondering what happened in April.
This book on Madison was ok. It tried to cover his entire career and the political dissension irritates me - and there was plenty, just like today. But it did give me a good idea of who he was and what he did. I always remembered Madison as being a really smart and good guy and this book agreed with that memory. This one wasn't as hard on his best-friend Jefferson, unlike the John Adams bio :-)

May 7, 2010, 11:40pm Top

I'm currently reading A Guide to the Birds of East Africa. I'm only 50 pages into it and it it is delightful.

May 8, 2010, 3:45pm Top

79. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Another great book. Can't believe I have waited this long to read Neil Gaiman, but I'm so glad I've finally discovered him.

May 8, 2010, 9:28pm Top

Congrats on hitting 75!

May 9, 2010, 2:20am Top

May 9, 2010, 8:46am Top

Congratulations on reaching 75 books! Norwegian Wood was my first Murakami too and I've been wondering which one would be best to read next.

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is already on the wishlist and I must get round to getting hold of a copy of Neverwhere.

May 9, 2010, 8:55am Top

Congratulations on reaching the goal way ahead of time.

May 9, 2010, 8:55am Top

Thanks for the congrats! And most of them have been good books.

May 9, 2010, 8:58am Top

Isn't it a good feeling? Isn't it great when you accomplish a goal and in addition have read so many good books along the way?

May 9, 2010, 9:10am Top

You have had a good year -- and it's not even 1/2 over. Hope it continues in the same vein.

May 9, 2010, 4:42pm Top

Congratulations on reaching 75!

May 11, 2010, 5:46pm Top

80. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
This book was recommended by a coworker going through a bad divorce. She has discovered after all these years that her ex is abusive and that she has been abused. She found this book and has been greatly helped in seeing that she isn't crazy and figuring out what she's been going through.

I found the book very helpful. Written by a man who has worked with abusers for 15 years, and had contact with their partners, he writes about what makes it abuse and why it can be hard to spot. He also talks about why wife abuse was accepted until the past 40 years when the women's movement finally started to change societal values. Even now there is still a lot in our culture that condones abuse or at least doesn't recognize it for the insidious evil that it is. He mentions a song by Eminem and another by Guns 'n Roses - not paragons of virtue. But then he talks about the play Frankie and Johnny Got Married, your typical music video where a guy stalks the girl until she realizes she's in love with him, and even The Little Mermaid where she's willing to give up her own voice.

It was interesting to see how much of the abuse is based on self-centeredness (it's all about his needs and doing things his way) and possession. I found myself analyzing the men I know through this book (no one jumped out as an abuser). I think this is a book everyone should read. Women would do good to know the warning signs. Family and friends would know how better to provide support to the victim and hold the abuser accountable. Counselors and clergy would learn a lot about how to identify abuse. Legal (police and court) would learn a lot. It was just full of good information and reminders that abusive behavior is never justified, no matter what the victim did.

OK, climbing down off my soap box.

May 11, 2010, 5:52pm Top

Awesome! 75 books already? I'm such a slacker!

May 14, 2010, 11:21pm Top

Book #80 sounds incredibly powerful!

May 15, 2010, 4:54pm Top

Hmm... book #80 sounds hard to read, but very interesting. And especially important for us women to read...

On the other hand, congrats on reading 80 books so far!

May 15, 2010, 8:59pm Top

Book 80 was a little bit difficult, but being written by a man who made a clear case why most men are not abusive and how to woman can recognize the signs and find help it was actually a pretty positive book.

I hadn't planned to read this many books, but all the great comments and reviews on LT keep spurring me on. I'm on a race now to finish two books due at the library next week, Wolf Hall which is really interesting, and Freedom at Midnight which Tutu recommended. While still reading Walden for book club (and TIOLI). Ah well, it's all fun and I'm still getting a lot of other things done.

May 16, 2010, 1:21am Top

Freedom at Midnight is one of my top ten all-time favorites! This book lead me to read many re. India and Pakistan. Congratulations on joining the Wolf Hall bandwagon.

I visited Walden Pond a few times.

May 17, 2010, 10:25am Top

Well, the library and I couldn't agree. They want Freedom at Midnight back tomorrow because someone else wants to read it. Due to Walden and Wolf Hall and Jesus Wars I hadn't even cracked open Freedom at Midnight yet. I read the first few pages and determined it does look good and found a copy on B&N for $1.99 so it's on the way to me and I can read it at my leisure. The library will get their copy back today since they are being so possessive about it :-)

Although, having the book on my shelf isn't a guarantee I'll get to it. I keep saying I'm going to slow down but I have 3 in progress, one ER that I really want to get into, 2 waiting at the library and 8 on hold or in transit at the library. No slowing down any time soon.

June rule - TIOLI only for Books already on my shelf! When I expand TIOLI to my TBR pile then it leads to a lot of activity at the library. Of course, rules were made to be broken so don't hold your breath and certainly don't try to hold me accountable.

May 17, 2010, 6:04pm Top

#189: The library and I frequently disagree, Laura. Why do they always want their books back?! Nice to know that someone else has the same difficulty.

May 18, 2010, 2:02pm Top

( LOL -- you guys crack me up :)

May 18, 2010, 2:05pm Top

i kno thanxs

May 18, 2010, 11:20pm Top

Re: 169, yay! You enjoyed The Battle for the Castle too! I just finished my reread the other day (took me long enough!), and while I still think the first book is better, they're both solid reads. I really appreciate Winthrop's subtlety, and am going to seek out more of her work ... though I understand these are her only fantasy novels, unfortunately. Ah well, it's for the characterization that I really love her work.

May 19, 2010, 11:32am Top


I certainly can relate to the fact that when checking the posts, it is only natural to grow the tbr pile and head off to the library to find the books.

I too am on a mission to tackle books on my shelf..BUT, I love going to the library.

May 19, 2010, 3:41pm Top

Agreed. I have a great library system, under budget crunches right now of course, with a wonderful online system. I wonder if it would be a good scientific study to try to figure out why sometimes I see a book and just wishlist it here in LT while other times I go straight to the library web site to see if they have it and get it right then.

For example, I immediately went to get The Castle in the Attic and Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop. They were fun, and really worked well as audio books.

I have finished 2 library books this week:
81. The Complete Book of Running by James Fixx
Written 25+ years ago, but except for the transcendental meditation stuff, it sounds like it was just written. Same health and nutrition concerns on a large scale, and the advice about running is all solid. It was encouraging and provided a little bit of motivation during my runs this week.

82. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
TIOLI for best of last quarter. It took awhile to get into this book due to the way she does dialogue. It's easy to get lost and wonder who is talking. But it is a good version of that period of history when Henry VIII was looking to get out of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and then his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Some interesting pictures of other people from that time. Recommended.

May 19, 2010, 3:45pm Top

83. Mind Your Own Mortgage by Robert Bernabe
I seem to have missed getting this one listed. Actually rather useful as a reminder of how we should approach our mortgage and how to go about shopping for one. This was a BookSneeze blogger review book, free from Thomas Nelson.

May 21, 2010, 8:28am Top

84. Walden by Thoreau
This was a read for bookclub and turned into a TIOLI one-word read as well. More humor than I expected and some very interesting concepts in almost every single chapter. I enjoyed it, even if I did have to slog through some of the descriptive parts in impatience.

85. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I saw enough praise for this book here on LT that I decided I needed to read it. It was a nice short read after finishing Walden. What a lovely story told in letters.

May 21, 2010, 11:40am Top

Glad you've had some good reads. How nice.:)

May 21, 2010, 2:35pm Top

197- Walden was difficult for me too, in places, but when I switched to an audiobook it went much, much better! I've only listened to two or three audiobooks in my life, and this was one of them. Thoreau has a lot of great 'one liners' in that book, doesn't he?

Angela (amwmsw04)

May 21, 2010, 2:37pm Top

Yes - I was surprised at how many things I had heard over the years came from this book. And beyond that even more of his sayings or thoughts were notable.

I am reading it for a local book club that I help run and while we all agreed we wanted to read it, some of them have struggling a bit. I may recommend the audio book option in case they haven't thought of it.

May 21, 2010, 6:31pm Top

86. Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser
Wonderful book. Highly recommended!!!

May 22, 2010, 12:39am Top

#201: I picked up that book based on Cheli's recommendation, so I hope to get to it soon. Glad you enjoyed it too, Laura!

May 23, 2010, 2:10am Top


I'm adding Lumby Lines to my list.

May 24, 2010, 2:05pm Top

I think both of you will enjoy Lumby Lines. The stories that appear in the paper are a hoot.

87. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
I won this as an April ER from LT. Not as much battle action as some of the other books in this series, but more character development - war changes people, and Laurence and Temeraire have been through a lot. I enjoyed this look at Australia and the two of them trying to figure out what they will do next.

88. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
I never read The Time Traveler's Wife so this was my first Niffenegger. Strange story with a weird ending. I enjoyed much of it, the varied characters and some of the analysis fo why people do what they do. Guardedly recommended.

May 24, 2010, 2:13pm Top


I've debated reading Her Fearful Symmetry. I liked The Time Traveler's Wife a lot.

May 25, 2010, 12:26am Top

#204: I need to get back to the Novik series. I have only read the first one, which I loved!

May 27, 2010, 5:05pm Top


Am I correct? Is your birthday May 29th?

Happy, Happy Birthday. I won't be posting a lot on LT this weekend, so I wanted to be sure to acknowledge your special day and thus I'm sending this message today.

May 27, 2010, 8:51pm Top

Yes it is - often a national holiday :-)

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!

May 27, 2010, 8:57pm Top

89. On Hallowed Ground by Robert Poole
This was a very interesting book. I learned a lot about how the cemetery came about and about the people who have the job of identifying and transporting remains of soldiers from overseas. Well written, with enough history and politics to explain how things happened. But a lot of great personal stories about the individuals who worked there and who were buried there.

And, I have a birthday party this weekend for myself and some others with birthdays in this general vicinity. One of them is a Civil War buff, so I'm giving this book as a gift. Great timing.

May 27, 2010, 9:42pm Top

Happy birthday! I always enjoy reading your thoughts on various books.

May 28, 2010, 1:43am Top

#29: I am glad you enjoyed that one.

Have a wonderful birthday, Laura!

May 28, 2010, 10:16am Top

Happy Birthday, Laura. Enjoy your party and the long week end. Perfect timing!

May 28, 2010, 5:01pm Top

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Laura!

May 29, 2010, 8:48am Top

Happy Birthday, Laura! Hope you have a lovely birthday with your fellow celebratos. This is a big birthday weekend for this group too. You, Ellie, Kath, and Cheli all celebrating!

May 29, 2010, 10:32am Top

Enjoying my birthday so far. Thanks for all the well wishes!

I finished one more book for May
90. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
I read this a few years ago and loved it. I've read all the rest so far, and managed to pick all of them up at great prices except the first one. Last week I finally found this on the Library's used book table and snatched it up! Still a great read. Following on the book on Arlington was interesting, talking about the ravages of WWI.

May 30, 2010, 8:29am Top

Belated happy birthday, hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

Jun 1, 2010, 12:16am Top

Glad you had a good bday!

Jun 1, 2010, 1:49pm Top

May summary

Fiction: 12
3 were TIOLI challenges
5 were books on my shelf 7 were library
1 was an ER book from LT
1 was a reread
7 I reviewed on LT
1 for book club
1 was an audiobook

Nonfiction: 7
1 was a TIOLI challenge
1 was a BookSneeze freebie
1 was a book off my shelf, the other 6 were library books
1 was an audiobook
4 I reviewed on LT

Abandoned: 1

Jun 1, 2010, 7:10pm Top

91. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
First TIOLI read for June. A lot like Olive Kitteridge in that I enjoyed it to start, in the middle wondered why I was reading it, and then couldn't put it down as it came to an end. Very interesting way of telling the story of a mother and her teenage daughter during a very difficult time.
Strout does a great job of showing how broken people are.

92. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Second TIOLI read for June. A fascinating book. I loved how it started and was very interested in the story. A little dismayed at some of the sordid details, but really, the story needed them and they were told discreetly. I loved Vida Winter by the end and was thrilled by the mysteries revealed.

Jun 2, 2010, 8:53am Top

I loved The Thirteenth Tale too, and was surprised by it in many ways! Glad you also enjoyed it.

Jun 4, 2010, 4:05pm Top

93. The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
I'm going to see the play Wicked tonight, so I watched the movie and read the book to be up on it for all the references that come up in Wicked. I had read the book years ago and of course have seen the movie many times but not for many years.

94. Rumpole and the Reign of Terror by John Mortimer
Not sure if this is representative of the other Rumpole books, but I wasn't impressed. Interesting, but I guess I didn't like the way his wife acted or the frustrating cynicism of so many of the lawyers and judges - probably a lot of that mess that I relate to in Jodi Picoult's books (see next book). I guess Mortimer doesn't do the mess of life well.

95. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
She writes some real emotionally raw books, man. A great book with a great story told well. Life is messy and she just puts all the mess out there. This was told from several different characters' pov, but it works just fine. Recommended.

Jun 5, 2010, 12:36am Top

Getting close to 100, Laura. Great work. Congratulations!

Jun 5, 2010, 5:10am Top

You've done some great June reading already! The Thirteenth Tale is a book I've been meaning to read for a while now, glad you enjoyed it.

And 7 non-fiction books for May is v. impressive!

Jun 9, 2010, 1:26pm Top

#223 - I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of nonfiction that I managed to read in May. A good recovery from March and April.

The play Wicked was fun, now I want to read the book (of course).

Jun 9, 2010, 1:30pm Top

96. So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore
Not sure what I was looking for, but I didn't get the usual lift and encouragement from this book. Perhaps her Bible Study is a better format for me, since it makes me dig and think for myself. I was hoping for something to give to a few friends/family who struggle as I do. Oh well

97. Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George
My introduction to Elizabeth George. It's #2 in the series, but #1 wasn't available at the time. I picked up #2, #4, and #6 from the library sale table. I'll have to use the library to fill in the gaps. I enjoyed the mystery and the characters.

98. Love Bade Me Welcome is a collection of poems by George Herbert, compiled and with added commentary by Gerrit Scott Dawson. The poems are surprising and the comments added by Dawson are very well done.

Jun 9, 2010, 3:19pm Top

Hello, spotted your mention of Love Bade me Welcome on the TIOLI page and read your review (and thumbed it). When I saw the book title I wondered what it was, as I know some of George Herbert's poems well, including the one which begins 'Love bade me welcome...' which is one of my favourites. Your review was very helpful in describing the nature of the book, which does sound like a great way to read and appreciate the poems. Thanks!

Jun 9, 2010, 3:43pm Top

#226 Thanks for your comments and letting me know you read my review. I think the book was well done and I really liked the poems.

Edited: Jun 9, 2010, 5:27pm Top

#225 Love Bade Me Welcome definitely sounds interesting. My husband is a big fan of George Herbert's poetry and I've read some and enjoyed it but I do struggle quite a bit when reading poetry so this book sounds like it would help me and be a nice book for Dan to look at too.

ETA: Nice review :-)

Edited: Jun 10, 2010, 9:35pm Top

Thanks for the comments on my review. I wanted to do the book justice since it's the only review.

99. Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass by Isak Dinesen
I find myself wanting to rave about the book. But I really don't think the writing was all that special and it isn't some great plot. But she does such a great job of showing her love for the country and the people. She also shows how much it changed and isn't the same country that she fell in love with.

Now, to figure out what will be book 100. Do I stay focused and finish Atlas Shrugged or pick up a good mystery, or read one of the nonfiction books? Decisions, decisions!

Jun 10, 2010, 9:40pm Top

Oh, go for something else than Atlas Shrugged! Something FUN!

Jun 10, 2010, 11:18pm Top

99 books! That is an incredible feat!

My partner kindly took me to New York City to the play Wicked for my birthday. I loved it so much that I took my daughter to see it. It was wonderful both times.


Jun 11, 2010, 3:29am Top

99 books - amazing! I hope you do read something fun for no. 100!

Jun 12, 2010, 8:11pm Top

100. What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw by Agatha Christie.
I decided to make it a Christie. I haven't read any of these in a few years, but they are still great. I enjoyed this one, with the interesting characters, twists and turns, and Miss Marple calmly sitting in the middle putting it all together.

Having hit 100, this seemed like a good place to start a new thread

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2010

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