Laytonwoman3rd Turns over a New Leaf of her 2010 journal
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The links for books 1 through 18 will take you to posts in my First thread for 2010, which got over-long.
46. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
45. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
44. Flush by Virginia Woolf
43. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther
42. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
41. The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
40. Digging to America by Anne Tyler
39. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
38. Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell
37. Talk Softly by Cynthia O'Neal
36. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
35. Jesus Out to Sea by James Lee Burke
34. Gypsies: An Illustrated History by Jean-Pierre Liegeois
33. Paul and Me by A. E. Hotchner.
32. Brimstone by Robert B. Parker
31. Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell
30. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde.
29. Family Honor by Robert B. Parker
28. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
27. An American Type by Henry Roth
26. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
25. The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot by Trudi Alexy
24. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
23. Split Image by Robert B. Parker
22. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
21. I Got Somebody in Staunton by William Henry Lewis
20. Here is New York by E. B. White
19. Hanged for a Sheep by Frances and Richard Lockridge
18. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
17. The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan
16. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
15. To My Dearest Friends by Patricia Volk
14. On Hallowed Ground by Robert M. Poole
13. Finn by Jon Clinch
12. Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn
11. The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns
10. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
9. Murder Comes First by Frances and Richard Lockridge
8. A Morning For Flamingos by James Lee Burke
7. Into the Attic (unpublished) by Laura Koons
6. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym
5. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami
4. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
3. Light in August by William Faulkner
2. Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman
1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
#2 Don't you love it? Now everyone is wondering what the heck you're laughing at!
You're still crackin' me up :)
Oh how I wish I *could* visit my library! I did discover the Natl Library here in Bucharest on a stroll last weekend, but somehow I'm not thinking that would really profit me :)
Well, Rumanian is a Romance language *she said hopefully*, like French and Spanish. It could be worse -- you could be in Budapest struggling with Magyar!!
ETA -- Is there a British Council library there? They used to be found all over Europe, and were decent if limited collections.
19. Hanged for a Sheep by Frances and Richard Lockridge An afternoon's decompression with the whacky but ever resourceful Pam North and her cats, all of whom, in this one, are spending a few days with her whackier, wealthier and many-times-married Aunt Flora ("the one with the wig"), who has recently had a narrow escape from arsenic poisoning. Dandy middle-of-the night shenanigans; bodies cropping up, as they will; red herrings and martinis abounding. Set in New York in 1942, it's also an interesting look at life in the city shortly after the U.S.'s entry into WWII. Why were no weather reports allowed? Or were all the meteorologists simply pressed into government service? Must do some research.
#9: I have not read that one in the series, so I will look for it.
I suspect no weather reports were allowed due to fear of enemy agents reporting clear weather during which bombings could occur. Just my two cents, Linda.
My husband and I discussed that, Stasia. There was no way the enemy could have mounted aerial bombing attacks on the East Coast of the U.S. at that time.
OK, then I have no idea why. Let me know if you figure anything out. I know there were no aerial attacks on the east coast, but there was at least one sub attack.
The closest thing I've found to a 'library' with English books is the American school's book sale. Not bad, if rarely stuff I'd choose in a real library :) And, yes, I'm grateful I'm not struggling with Magyar, but there would be real advantages to living in Hungary over living here. But I'm not complaining. I have books, a solid roof over my head and food :)
Hi, Linda. I feel as though I'm networking here as I look at Viragos' threads! Actually, you're the first!
From your continuing list I've read a few Norths, James Lee Burke whom I enjoy, *Wind-Up Bird* - the book of that decade, Ms. Pym - a perrenial favorite, *Hotel* - decent enough, Shirley Jackson - yay!, some S. Dobyns, Faulkner - with a mental kowtow, and *Wolf Hall*. That seems like a pretty good commonality until we start to discuss them and find differences. I look forward to hearing what you think.
#12 I found this article, which talks about the BBC's suspension of weather reporting. Now that makes perfect sense. Still looking for something to explain why the US would have done the same.
Each day brings a new bit of knowledge here on LT 75 challenge group!
Thanks for the information.
Found your new thread and starred you. Glad you are feeling better!
20. Here is New York by E. B. White Here is a delightful, insightful, almost prophetic lengthy essay written in 1948 or '49 about the ever-changing, ever-fascinating city that never sleeps. Whole paragraphs could be lifted out, printed in 2010, and accepted as having been written last week. Only the statistics date it.
21. I Got Somebody in Staunton by William Henry Lewis Some of the very best short fiction I have read, ever. I wasn't even put off by the fact that my used copy turned out to be well marked-up. (I erased all the pencil marks---couldn't do anything about the one story where a red pen was what the previous owner had at hand.)
Have you ever been in a situation where you suddenly wondered whether you should be very very afraid, but tried to convince yourself there was no rational basis for the feeling? Maybe you made a wrong turn and found yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood? Walked into a bar and discovered everyone else in there is of the "We don't like your kind" kind? Swam out just a little beyond your comfort zone and felt something alive brush against your toes? Lewis manages to convey that feeling so well in the title story that I really wish I hadn't been reading it at bedtime. The other stories in this collection are strong, too, and each one is distinctive in some way, leading up to the final selection, "Rossonian Days", which is nothing less than a brilliant jazz composition. I Got Somebody in Staunton was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award in 2006, and I find the association with Mr. Bill well deserved. There are two "bonus stories" tacked on the end of this volume; they don't fit or come up to the standard of the main selections, it seems to me, and reading them was rather anti-climactic. Otherwise, every word in I Got Somebody in Staunton is worth the reader's time, including the interview with the author.
Please post this review so that I can give it a thumbs up! It is an incredible review and I sit here thinking WOW!
I'm adding the book to the tbr pile. I'm convinced I'll never read all the books on that mountain, but I Got Somebody in Staunton will be read soon.
#20: Despite my dislike of short stories, I cannot resist adding that one to the BlackHole. Thumbs up from me on the review too. Nice job, Linda!
#20 - Even though I have never heard of the author, and don't usually read short stories, your great review has made me put this one on the list, right near the top. Thanks!
Now I'm feelin' the pressure... I will say, however, that it takes a lot for short fiction to impress me. I usually have a sort of "meh" feeling about it. But when it's done well, I love it.
By the way, you have eight thumbs up for your incredible review! Kudos for the wonderful writing!
Your great review talked me into wishlisting this book. Sounds like a great one as I just *love* well-written short stories.
I have a personal favorite book of short stories by a black author. It's Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer. If you haven't read it yet, give it a try.
Thanks for the recommendation, Madeline. I'll keep my eyes open for that one. (I've often wished I were drinking coffee elsewhere, myself!)
Hehe...right after I posted that, I ran downstairs to our friendly coffee vendor and grabbed a hot cup, and a chocolate chip cookie!
Oh, yeah. Chocolate chip cookies!! I have some I made the other night.
*runs to get one*
Did someone mention chocolate chip cookies?
I'm surprised at the number of people who don't like short stories. I've read some wonderful collections, like John Cheever, Truman Capote, James Lee Burke, and of course that Faulkner fella. (Not even going to try touchstones for short stories).
(Edited for speling a name incorectlie.)
Should have known Charlie Brain would pop in when cookies were mentioned!
I love well-done short stories. It's just that so many of them aren't. I still need to get to Burke's, though. I have a volume of them here...somewhere...
22. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy Excellent. Dark. Disturbing. Brilliant. The story is bare-bones, like the punctuation and the prose. Set in 1980, in the deserts and desolate towns of the Texas/Mexico borderlands, this novel explores the meaning of life, and the consequences of our choices, with a decidedly fatalistic tone. Except...except for the love. So many reviewers miss the love and the suggestion of hope underlying Sheriff Ed Tom Bell's introspective musings as he looks back on the violent events that led him to question his life, and ultimately to give up his office, not from fear, but apparently from a sense of futility. Except... except for this: "...he saw her and stopped and sat the horse and watched. She was riding along a red dirt ridge to the south sitting with her hands crossed on the pommel, looking toward the last of the sun...That's my heart yonder, he told the horse. It always was." Those are not the words of a man without hope. From what I saw of the Coen brothers' movie (the rental disc was defective and jumped over several chunks of the second half), it seems to me they concentrated on the wrong portions of this novel, as many of the reviewers do as well. The violence is all in there, but I think the Sheriff's contemplations are the heart of the book. I refrain from recommending it, because it is clearly a love-it-or-hate-it kind of novel, and there are only one or two people I'm sure are likely to love it. As for the rest of you...the best I can do is give you the option of deciding for yourself. Choose wisely.
I enjoyed the film, but I think I would enjoy the book more. I'm adding that one to my list - thank you.
#38 In spite of the fact that the movie follows the book very closely (at least as far as I can tell from what I saw) the book is subtly different in effect, and so much better. Although I am very grateful for having Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin in my head while reading it.
#37: The only book of McCarthy's that I have read thus far is The Road and I liked it a lot. I will give that one a try. Thanks for the recommendaiton, Linda.
I've got No Country For Old Men on Mt TBR. I will get to it one day! Good review!
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields Meh. I started it before I picked up No Country for Old Men, and when I went back to it I decided I just didn't care. If it had really been engaging me in the first place, I probably wouldn't have put it down to start something else. I'm not counting it, as I gave up about a third of the way in. It covers too much ground too quickly, trying to stuff too many lives into the narrative, not doing justice to any of them.
>37 laytonwoman3rd: I'll give it another try. I meant to anyway as it's still on my shelves. I was so bored. Am I an action junky? Didn't realize there was a film...
23. Split Image by Robert B. Parker The last Jesse Stone novel, although presumably Parker did not intend it to be. I've been saving it, knowing there wouldn't be anymore since Parker is no longer with us. But I've been dipping into things that don't grab me lately, and I knew this one wouldn't be a disappointment. Jesse needs to solve the murder of mobster who has "retired" to Paradise to live alongside his brother-in-law; their wives are identical twins with some odd recreational habits. Sunny Randall is in this one, too, hired to retrieve a rich couple's 18-year-old daughter from a spiritual colony they think is a cult, but which seems innocent enough to Sunny. The plot moves right along, as does Jesse's self-exploration. Without spoiling anything, I will say that Parker left our friends in a place I can live with.
#44: The Jesse Stone series is another series I need to get back to. I read the first couple and then got distracted (imagine that!) with other books. Thanks for the reminder, Linda.
24. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Satirical and insightful novella about what happens when The Queen discovers the world of literature, to the dismay of her family and staff, some of whom suspect she's slipping into Alzheimer's when her reading distracts her to such an extent that she wears the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Little do they know that worse is yet to come. Lovely stuff. One of my favorite moments: the Queen keeps a reading diary (who would do something like that??!), and at one point makes this entry: " 'Am I alone,' she wrote, 'in wanting to give Henry James a good talking-to?' " Not alone, Ma'am. Not at all.
I've had The Uncommon Reader on my TBR since the beginning of last year but still haven't managed to track it down. It just sounds so charming!
>11 laytonwoman3rd:: just asked my residential expert here and he said you never let the enemy know anything which might give them any kind of an advantage in time of war, weather being a particularly useful bit of information.
Here is New York is now on ye olde wishlist, for reasons ye well knowe and understande.
And I have had The Uncommon Reader in my sights for several years now. Must simply read it. Had the great satisfaction of saying to someone else, while visiting Lamb House in Rye because of E.F. Benson, "Henry who?".
I have read The Uncommon Reader a couple of times now and enjoyed it both times. I am glad you liked it, Linda.
I loved The Uncommon Reader -- charming is the word! Plus, it's quite short and easy reading. Great to slip in as a light read between "heavier" books.
Yes, in case I didn't mention---it's a really fast read. I picked it up late yesterday afternoon, and without sacrificing supper (preparation or eating thereof), I finished it before lights out. And it won't topple most towers, being quite light in that respect as well.
Brenzi -- The Uncommon Reader isn't going to take you long -- and it's just pure joy :)
ETA yeah what they said in 52 & 53 :) (duh)
That would be 15 thumbs for the short stories!
I generally don't read them either. It's not that I can't appreciate them, but if I invest 20 or 30 pages in characters, I sort of want to keep going.......
Just catching up on threads, and was intrigued by your question 9&11.
I tracked down a paper by Byron Price, director of the U.S. Office of Censorship in WWII ("Governmental censorship in wartime." The American Political Science Review, vol.36, no.5, Oct.1942, pp. 837-849. If you have access you can read it on JSTOR. ) Here's what he says:
Weather news may be of great importance to the enemy. Word of a storm in the Midwest may enable him to chart weather conditions over the Atlantic three or four days in advance. He can gauge his plans for submarine attacks and for possible air raids. We have asked papers to omit weather forecasts other than those officially issued by the Weather Bureau; and the Weather Bureau, of course, does not go into too many details.
Apparently they didn't regard air raids as categorically impossible, though with 20/20 hindsight we might do so. And apparently they were dead serious about it, to the extent that sports announcers couldn't say so much as, "It's a beautiful day in the ballpark." Even the First Lady received a stern letter from the Office when she wrote too freely about the weather.
Okay, I'm removing my librarian's hat now.
I come back just in time to read your review of The Uncommon Reader. On the list it goes!
25. The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot by Trudi Alexy Fascinating history of the "Secret Jews"--those who converted to avoid expulsion from Spain in the 15th century, and whose descendants even today are often reluctant to acknowledge or embrace their past for fear of persecution and prejudice.
#60: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda!
Have just found your thread (I kept finding the earlier ones then never getting through all the messages!) and have added the book about the Marrano Jews to my wishlist - it looks fascinating!
Add me to the list of people who loved The Uncommon Reader. Yes Laura, charming is exactly the right word for it.
I've been surprised at the amount of false professions of Christian faith and hiding Jewish identity I've come across here in Romania. Apparently Iasi in NE Romania was a center of Jewish thought at one time, but no longer.
You should read this book, Susan. Apparently the dual life---outwardly Christian, secretly following Jewish traditions---is still fairly common, even in societies where one would think there would be no need for the subterfuge. I was amazed to learn this.
What I found interesting too was something I read (not in this book, I think, but maybe in a newspaper article) is that there are people, particularly in the US southwest, who follow some Jewish customs but don't realize that's what they are -- they were taught that they were old family traditions.
26. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West Why do I waste my time slogging through dreary things like An American Type when there are little masterpieces like this one right here in my house? Last night I decided to open a couple boxes of books my daughter recently sent home for temporary (right, kid---temporary??) storage. I found The Return of the Soldier in one of them, and recalling vaguely that I had heard good things about it (and being mortally tired of old Ira Whatsisname's navel-gazing), I decided to take a peek at it. I finished it before turning out the light (which was WAY past my bedtime, but totally worth it). This is the story of what happens when Captain Chris Baldry comes home from the battlefields of WWI in 1916, shell-shocked, with no memory of his life after a certain day in 1901. That long-ago day was spent with his first love, a socially inappropriate one, which he now expects to return to, despite the fact that he has been told he is married to someone else, the lovely, cold and Totally Appropriate Kitty, who awaits him in his family home. The changes that have taken place in his home, the sight of his wife, the shabby, married state of his former lover, his own aging and that of his childhood playmate/cousin Jenny, who narrates the story--none of these deter Chris from pursuing happiness as he had as a much younger, carefree man. Meanwhile, the three women in various ways seek to return him to "himself" and to the life he should be living in 1916, all the time realizing that a "cure" will mean his return to the war as well. Highly recommended.
And now, back to Henry Roth, which I will finish like a good girl, since it's an ER offering, and I never turned in an incomplete assignment in my life. *sigh*
This sounds like a great book, Linda, and for some odd reason I trust your recommendations.
What am I reading? Thanks for asking. With not a lot of time to waste, I'm reading Wuthering Heights for the first time. And I'm totally entralled with it.
Oh, I envy you that experience, Charlie. I read it first as an impressionable teenager...and then again in my twenties...and again maybe 15 years ago...it remains a favorite of mine, despite Sniveling Edgar, as we like to call him.
>70 laytonwoman3rd:: ah, yes, that's a lovely book. Time well spent!
#73 I should sympathize with the unpacking of 45 boxes o' books? Where did you THINK they were going to go?
ETA: I confess to buying 3 new books myself today. ALL FOR $1.00 EACH, in the bins at Borders. I've never found anything in those bins before, and today there were three prizes.
Ladies, Ladies—that means you two, Linda and Laura. Can't you argue without fighting?
And Linda, I've had a question for eons. What does "permanently removed from library" mean?
I sure hope I don't start verbal fisticuffs because of my perfectly logical question. Maybe it's a good thing you two don't live together any longer.
We ain't fightin', are we young'un? Just a little affectionate banter.
"Permanently removed from library" --that's like "terminated with extreme prejudice". Actually, my collection "Removed from library" is for books I did own, but got rid of. As opposed to the category of "Read But Unowned", which includes those (if I read them before removing them) as well as books I've borrowed from other people or the library. See?
I have the same type of category, previously a tag, now a collection: recycled.
#70: I have that one in my house somewhere for me to read. I just have to locate it. *sigh*
It's so small, Stasia, it's probably hiding under a tottering pile! But do try to find it. You can read it in about 5 minutes, I suppose.
Actually, I think it may be one of the books piled on my nightstand. I will have to check when I am home.
27. An American Type by Henry Roth This book is apparently the final chapter of a story Roth had been telling in his previous 4-volume work known collectively as Mercy of a Rude Stream. It was published after his death, from a sheaf of manuscript he had called "Batch 2", and was lovingly edited into novel form by a fan of Roth's previously published work--a man who clearly felt he knew Roth's fictional alter-ego, Ira, very well, and understood what form the final chapter should take. I have not read any of Roth's other work. But that alone does not explain how pointless and bewildering I found this novel. I would not have finished reading it had it not been an ER offering. I will marshal my thoughts as best I can for a full review at some point.
ETA: My full review is here
#83: OK, I think I can safely pass on that one. I hope your next read is better for you, Linda!
#85 I need to stop reading so much dreck and move on to something fun and and/or inspiring, is what you meant, I'm sure.
Why don't you read something Star Trekish—I'm sure you have a gazillion of them from you-know-who.
If SOMEONE would lay down more flooring up there, SOMEONE would hardly notice two or three wee boxes of innocent Star Trek books anymore.
I believe I detect some inconsistency here. (I need to borrow Stasia's Sherlock Spider to help me out.)
#89: "The attic is bulging with them."
#90: "... two or three wee boxes ..."
In my mind, there is a large difference between "bulging" and "wee," unless they are used in the context of "She was a wee woman with a bulging goiter on her neck."
That is not the context here, however, so I will make a proposal. #89, instead of reading dreck read Star Trek. #90, when and if you ever show your face in PA, you can install the remaining attic flooring so that the wee boxes do indeed look wee.
Thanks Stasia. I may have solved the conundrum with Sherlock in spirit if not in, uh, body.
I've visited that glitter graphics site and it's fantastic. Although I don't like animated .gifs, there is a tone of fun stuff there.
#93: No problem, CB.
I do not think Sherlock Spider is very animated. You could use him, since the ban is only on animated gifs, right?
Oh, no, Sherlock isn't animated. I was just commenting on Glitter Graphics. I don't thing there's a ban on them here at LT, but I find them distracting.
#95: I know several people in the group find them distracting. I am not one of them though :) I have a good time going through and finding gifs that fit people.
28. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Fascinating reporting on the life of the woman whose malignant cells became the first to be successfully cultured by medical researchers. More thoughts to follow.
I've been waiting for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I'm slowing moving up on the list at my local library. There are still ten people ahead of me.
#98: I hope you can get your hands on it soon, Linda. It is a very good book, IMO.
29. Family Honor by Robert B. Parker. A re-read of the first in Parker's Sunny Randall series. Sunny joins the ranks of Parker's good guys, rescuing a 15 year old runaway girl from ALL the perils, including her uncaring and kinky parents, a big bad pimp, her own ignorance and apathy, and mobsters who want her dead. Excellent stuff, really.
#100: I have not read any of the books in Parker's Sunny Randall series. The only books of Parker's I have read at all have been in his Jesse Stone series. I will have to give Family Honor a go at some point. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.
Sunny Randall shows up in the Jesse Stone books, Stasia. You'd better read her full story!
#102: I have only read the first couple of the Jesse Stone books, but I do not recall her being in those. It has been a while since I read them. I checked the local library and it has Family Honor so there is at least the possibility of me getting to it some time!
30. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde As innovative and quirky as his Thursday Next series. Fforde has created a futuristic world, Chromatacia, in which people are classed by the colors they can perceive, and there is neither progress nor history beyond a vague acknowledgment that once, centuries ago, "Something Happened" which no one now knows anything about. It's a rigid society he shows us, known as "The Collective", in which every class has its duties and obligations. Each individual has a unique postal code permanently scarred onto his or her chest, and reproduction is strictly controlled (only when someone dies or disappears, making their postal code available for reassignment, is a new life approved); and absolutely everything is bar-coded. The main industries are linoleum and string manufacture, and production of synthetic color. People are permanently classified at age 20 according to what portion of the natural spectrum they are able to see, and life from then on is governed by that classification. A system of merits and demerits determines residency, eligibility to marry, and many other essentials. Too many demerits gets you sent away to "Reboot". Coming down with the Mildew is a sentence of death, but entering the Green Room makes dying a pleasant experience against which no one resists. As dystopian as it all sounds, most of the citizens, our narrator (Eddie Russet) included, seem to find it quite comfortable to have almost no decisions to make, and to live always with the status quo. Until -- (of course there is an "until") --until Eddie and his father are sent to the Outer Fringes, where the rules are a little less stringently observed, and it appears two people have been murdered, an unheard of occurrence. Quite a lark, if somewhat too clever at times. The story line lags a bit mid-way through, but picks up nicely for the ending, which--no surprise here--leaves things only partially resolved so that there's something for the characters to do in the next installment. (Titles for part 2 and part 3 are listed in the back of the book, but neither seems to have been published yet.) 3 stars.
#104: I was kind of 'meh' on that one, which was disappointing to me as I like Fforde's Thursday Next series. That being said, I will probably pick up the second volume of the series when it is available to see if it improves over the first.
I give the concept 5 stars, Stasia. But I felt a little too much of "I see what you did there" as I was reading. I often feel that way about satire, though.
I agree about the concept, Linda, although I ran into the same concept (hierarchy based on color) in William Nicholson's The Wind Singer trilogy, but those books are not satire as Fforde's is.
Three stars isn't a terrific recommendation. Sounds a little bit like the concept overwhelmed the plot and the characters. But I didn't read the book.
No, Bill...3 stars is sort of a"C". I'm still considering what it was that felt a little flat about this book. There was such a lot in it that seemed to suggest that the reader ought to get a connection with this world, and yet, I didn't. Maybe I was looking for something that never was intended to be there. Or maybe I just missed it. I think you put it quite well. It didn't quite come up to its potential, for me.
31. Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell Why I've let this gem sit unread on my shelf for over 3 years, despite a hearty recommendation from my mother and a setting in the pre-park Great Smoky Mountains is unfathomable. And it's the kind of historical, generational American fiction that I just love. Of course, if I had read it 3 years ago, I wouldn't just have spent a lovely summer weekend enjoying it now, would I? If you liked Cold Mountain, or In the Fall, check out Caldwell's excellent first novel. This book takes us through the ordinary lives of several families in the North Carolina mountains from just after the Civil War until 1928, when they learn of the government's plan to turn the land some of them have occupied for 4 generations into a new National Park.
Wonderful review! I added it to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation.
#110: Into the BlackHole it goes! Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.
Oh, Linda, your thread is so dangerous for me. I'm adding Cataloochee to the tbr pile.
And, I hope your daughter's wedding went well on the 12th!
I didn't think I did it justice, because I was tired when I posted that. Having spent some wonderful vacations in the Great Smoky Mountains and nearby, (the quiet side, not the Dollywood side), I could really appreciate what a gift it must have been to live in those hills in the 19th century.
#113 The wedding was lovely, if I do say so myself! And after all the planning, I was able to relax and enjoy it--good music, good food, happy people, lots of fun.
I'm glad that your hard work prior to the wedding allowed you to relax and have fun. After all, that's the point of all that preparation, right?
I might have to look for and read Cataloochee just so I can say that title when people ask me what I'm reading! Plus, I'm a big fan of "historical, generational" books. Thanks for calling it to our attention.
32. Brimstone by Robert B. Parker Although they don't mention their hats much, both Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch qualify to wear white ones. In this outing, they are mostly in the business of saving not-so-fair maidens from fates worse than death, keeping the peace in the saloon town of Brimstone, and trying to process the first situation either of them can recall in which neither of them quite knows what Virgil is going to do. Quintessential Parker. *sigh*
33. Paul and Me by A. E. Hotchner A delightful, anecdotal memoir of a friendship. Guaranteed to make you smile, chuckle, tear up and regret once more that you never got the chance to look into those famous blue eyes without a movie screen in between.
ETA: Just discovered that yesterday (June 28th) was Hotch's 90th birthday.
Catalooche sounds wonderful. I haven't read much about Appalachia but would like to - have In the Fall on my shelf, waiting.
Most of In the Fall takes place in New England, actually. But DO read it soon.
*ignoring Terri's silliness*
34. Gypsies: An Illustrated History by Jean-Pierre Liegeois Rather a slog; very academic-dissertation-ish, but not very well organized. A few interesting facts and some arresting photos, although most of the pictures are of relatively poor quality, and the author uses the phrase "for a complete treatment see Source #xx much too often. Outdated in its presentation of the "current situation", since it was written about 25 years ago. Another shortcoming of its age is that the whole discussion of where the people we call "gypsies" originated is probably moot now, since DNA testing could establish whether they have their roots in Egypt or India or any of a multitude of other possible "homelands". Excellent bibliography, I think, although most of the sources are in French or German. Not the best choice for the general interest reader.
#123 I knew I could count on you for that! Relax---I'm starting The Lacuna tonight; that will probably slow me down some.
>124 laytonwoman3rd:: Don't be so sure -- I'm finding it a much easier read than expected.
Hey, we're neck and neck! I'll be at 35 by tonight though (and really, Lonesome Dove ought to count as 3 books!)
35. Jesus Out to Sea by James Lee Burke Short fiction by one of my favorite contemporary novelists, the author of the Dave Robicheaux detective series set in south Louisiana. Burke is always on the raw and grim side, but with themes of redemption and the triumph of Right over Wrong-doing that make his novels rewarding to read. These short stories (some of which are extracts from his novels) are equally tough, and not quite as satisfying, although the series of related stories about boyhood friends Charlie and Nick set in pre-and post-WWII Texas are extremely moving in their exploration of what friendship is all about.
36. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver Another tour de force by one of my favorite authors. Such a broad scope of narrative, from ancient Mexican villages to life with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky, from the simple domesticity of a reclusive homosexual novelist and his devoted female secretary to the cauldron of suspicion, back-stabbing and character assassination of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Rich prose, vibrant characters, historical situations brought to immediacy for the reader. My only quibble was with the voice of the young Harrison Shepherd, as given to us through his early diaries...I had a little trouble with the maturity and sophistication of his 14-year-old self. As he aged, though, that rapidly became moot, and I was totally absorbed by his story. Highly recommended.
I may be among the only people who found Shades of Grey more appealing than the Thursday Next books! In the latter (or at least, the first in the series), I kept bogging down in the "how" of it all, and becoming frustrated.
I may have to try The Lacuna after making my way through The Poisonwood Bible. Not yet, though....
Have you seen Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca? It's a great book about the Gypsies.
#129 I see that you recently read Burning Angel, Bill. I think I've mentioned that I'm working my way through a re-read of the entire series. And you can bet I have The Glass Rainbow on pre-order. I'll probably have it in hand by the end of the week.
#130 I read just one of the Thursday Next books, and while I admired the cleverness of it, I doubt if I will read any more. I will probably read the next one in the "color" series when it comes out. Thanks for the recommendation on Bury Me Standing. I think I came across a reference to that in something else I was reading...can't remember where it was just now.
37. Talk Softly by Cynthia O'Neal Lovely and touching memoir of a woman who has spent the last 23 years working with people diagnosed with AIDS, and, to a lesser extent, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, as founder and president of Friends in Need, an organization that provides emotional and spiritual support to its clients. This is not a handbook or spiritual guidebook in any sense, but it is full of gentle wisdom, real emotion, and honest reflection on the subject of living and dying well. Somewhat anecdotal, this book nevertheless works as a whole, because Ms. O'Neal (widow of the actor Patrick O'Neal) melds the personal with the universal so well.
#128: I will be reading that one this month too, Linda. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did.
38. Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell Flawed, as so many of Cornwell's later books are, by the total unlikeability of her main characters, this one did keep me reading more or less compulsively, although I'm not sure why. It gives us a new baddy, naturally one determined to destroy Scarpetta and everyone she cares about, but this character is practically a caricature. Nothing subtle about any of it. Forensic detecting, which is what made this series so fascinating in the beginning, plays a very small role in this one. And there really isn't any suspense at all. Scarpetta seems totally unable to enjoy or appreciate anything, with the possible exception of her garden. She and Lucy continue to snarl at each other, she can't get her footing with Benton, and for a moment it looked as though she was going to kill Marino. Her one decent relationship is with her secretary, Rose. It's a shame so much of each book is devoted to the characters' hang-ups and angst; if this were leading to growth and development it would be fascinating. But nobody learns anything. Including me. Because I'm probably going to read the next one in the series, in spite of it all. 3 distant stars
ok, caught up! And for 30 posts, I haven't read one of the ones you've added...the Cornwell isn't dangerous, though. hehe
I think I only made it through 2 or 3 Cornwells. Sorry this one was a disappointment for you.
#134: That one was my clunker of the year back in 2008. I have not touched another of Cornwell's books since.
Cornwell's later books were bad, bad, bad. Her earlier ones were great, IMHO.
I might be convinced to try an early one, but my one and only experience with her was At Risk, an abysmally awful book I read only for my book group. It was blessedly short though, so there were only a couple of hours of my life that I'd like back.
I read Gilead just a year ago post surgery and now think I'll read Home, also post surgery. I sure know how to spend my summers, eh? Glad you liked Gilead Linda -- it took me two tries to get into it and I'm so glad I went for a second try.
Well, I wouldn't want it to bring on any more surgical adventures for Terri, but I'd love it if Robinson would write a novel now from Jack Boughton's point of view. I have a suspicion about what life might have in store for him.
Linda, I'm glad you loved Gilead !! I know what you mean about stepping out into the real world again.
40. Digging to America by Anne Tyler A fairly gentle exploration of what it means to belong to a culture, and to be American. Everything understated, as usual with Anne Tyler. The story features two American families-- one pure "white bread", the other one generation removed from pre-revolutionary Iran--who become close friends after meeting at the airport on the occasion of the arrival of their respective adoptive daughters from Korea in 1997. Interesting characters, although I couldn't take most of them to heart, including the children. The ending was quite satisfying, if a bit made-for-TV.
Nope, nope, nope, nope. It rained all day yesterday, and I made the most of it.
I just started Gilead last night, Linda. She really captures to perfection the thoughts of a man who has lived a rich internal life, yet who is deeply connected to others. I'm not too far in yet but I see what you mean about making the transition back to reality. John Ames' mind seems a very kind and warm place to be.
Giving up on Philip Kerr's March Violets. I remember hearing good things about his Bernie Gunther detective series quite a while ago, and had the Berlin Noir Trilogy on my wishlist. Then recently I read another LT rave about the first one, March Violets, so I got it from the library. Sorry, I just can't deal with the overdone metaphors and similes in every other sentence or the incomprehensible 1930's slang. *Scratch Philip Kerr and move on.*
>150 laytonwoman3rd:: so why are you giving me crap about reading too much? Hmmm ... ?!
John Ames' mind seems a very kind and warm place to be. Yes, that's it! And soooo different from being in the conflicted, angst-ridden minds of any of the three characters in Home. Hmmm...I wonder what my impression of Jack would have been, had I read Home before Gilead? Other than that, now that I've read them both, I can see that Gilead doesn't necessarily have to be read first, but I don't think I would have gone on to read it if I had read Home first. And then I would have been missing a lot.
41. The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke. Dave Robicheaux is 70 years old, and feeling his age. But it isn't Time's winged chariot he hears; it's a ghostly steamboat drifting through the mist on Bayou Teche...a vessel no one else sees, coming for to carry away the souls recently released from earth's bondage. And as if such visions weren't enough to put the notion of his own mortality uppermost in his mind, the forces of evil past and present are raging through the parishes of Southwestern Louisiana, with Dave and his family directly in their path. This story line rumbles and crackles like the electrical storms Burke describes so vividly, and the ending left me feeling I had experienced a very close lightning strike myself. If you've read earlier entries in the series, don't quit before you get to this one. It's one of Burke's best.
I just finished Home having read Gilead last year - I'm glad I read them in that order. Though now I'm thinking I want to read Gilead again! Such different perspective on the characters! There wasn't even a mention of Ames's illness in Home until the very end, when it was central to Gilead. Having Jack and Glory filled out as characters was very rewarding to me. Reminiscent of Small Island, where characters come across completely differently in different chapters when they are the principal as opposed to the one being talked about.
#160 A pair of remarkable books, indeed. I'm sure I'll re-read both of them eventually.
I can't wait to get to *Glass Rainbow*, but I'm not through the series yet!
Don't let anybody tell you much about it before you get to it, LizzieD. Avoid spoilers at all costs.
Thanks, Linda! *avoiding spoilers like the plague* (I think *Electric Mist/Confederate Dead* was my last, so I have a long way to go.)
That was one of his best. Did you see the movie with Tommy Lee Jones as Robicheaux? It was quite good. *Reminds self to purchase a copy of same*
Hey, Linda, here's a book you might like if you like Scranton history: http://www.librarything.com/work/10261334/book/63145656
I just saw your review on Facebook a little while ago, Sharleen. It does sound interesting. Local author?
Yes, he was born in Scranton and this was his history honors thesis from Georgetown. I know you can get the book at the Catlin House if you are interested. There was a book signing at the Catlin House a couple of weeks ago - they sold out that night.
By the way - glad to see you back safely!!!
42. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton The latest installment in the Kinsey Millhone series, and an excellent one it is. I think these have just been getting better, since "Q", maybe. Kinsey solves an old child abduction, and advances her emotional acceptance of the family connections she recently discovered. Although Grafton has said "I don't tell Kinsey what to do; she tells me", I get the impression that she has worked out how this underlying personal story line is going to play. I'm still enjoying this series very much.
Good thing you are, with only 5 more to go. Unless she starts doing lower case...
Heh, you make me want to pick it up again. I think I left off with "E" earlier this year...
"Alpha is for Alphabet", I'm guessing.
I've read up to "R" of the Kinsey Milhone books, and enjoyed them all (some more than others). Must track down copies of "S", "T" & "U"! (And "G". For some reason, I skipped that one, not that I read them in sequential order or anything, I think I even started with "I".)
I've been pretty much reading the alphabet series since the beginning but I lost interest after a while -- it almost seems as though Grafton lost interest for a while and it showed in the books -- so I now wait for the paperbacks. Glad to hear they've been getting better recently.
I have read all the Graftons, waiting for each new one to appear. I agree, she went off a bit in the middle somewhere, but the last few have been a lot better. U was expecially good, I thought. I have read that she will stop with Z, and may or may not finish off the personal story. She says she "doesn't care" what happens to Kinsey after Z.
#174: Is it just me or does anyone else find it irritating that after 26 books the author does not care about her character? I think I am glad I stopped after the first book, which I did not like.
Janet I'd be curious to know where you read that. There are a couple interviews with Grafton on her website, and she doesn't say anything like that. She does say she doesn't want to skip ahead and speculate on what may happen to Kinsey in "Z" or thereafter, but she clearly still cares what's happening to her NOW, from my reading of the latest book. What irritates me is when an author keeps writing about a character she clearly doesn't care about anymore (Yes, Ms. Cornwell, I'm talking about YOU.)
#176...I agree - I think Grafton still cares a lot about her writing and her characters. The fact that somewhere someone read that she "doesn't care" about what happens to Kinsey after Z I think is healthy. Maybe she'll be able to concentrate and do some other writing. I remember reading an interview with her several years ago where she said she was almost sorry she'd signed a contract for A through Z --she was really having trouble coming up with fresh stories. It's one of the reasons she doesn't crank out pablum like James Patterson and others. She wants each story to be new, and refuses to rush them out. I hadn't read any in awhile, but did really enjoy this latest one "U".
My daughter got me started on them and then I kept buying them and giving them to her, but by then she had lost interest and had school/college to worry about. I think after "R" I started to borrow them from the library and now keep watch for the next one.
Oh, crap, Sharleen. That reminds me. I read a library copy, and it's due back, and I forgot to put it in the car this morning. Run by the house and ask the dog to pitch it out the window to you, would you??
And I am sure that he will oblige me as much as Luthien would! Well, you technically sort of have to go by your house to get to the library anyway - just a "little" detour!
But.....how much is the fine, and how much will you spend on gas....maybe it's better to be a day or two late?
See, the thing is, when I'm on my way home from work, one of my regular routes takes me right by the library. And if I had remembered to put the book in the car in the morning, I could have done it last night easily. I did not make a special trip; it's in the car now, and will be dropped off tonight. If I had remembered to put it in the car on MONDAY, I could have put it in the book-drop box on the way to work, before the library opened. But now I need to go when it's open, so I can go in and pay up. It's not the fine, so much, as knowing that someone else is waiting for the book--it has a hold on it, or I could just have renewed it online and avoided the fine.
@176 - no, no, I know she still cares about Kinsey now, I mean she said she doesn't care about her "afterlife" - when Z is done, it's done. I saw that in a review somewhere, or an interview with her, sorry I don't remember where.
43. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther An absolutely delightful appreciation of life written from the perspective of a "professional class" London wife and mother in 1939. This isn't a novel, in any sense, but a collection of essays on daily life, both in London and in the country, full of keen observations and quotable lines, and colored with an unsentimental optimism remarkable for the time and place. Don't be misled by the movie of the same name. The book is far superior stuff.
#184: I will look for that book. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.
44. Flush by Virginia Woolf Meh. Virginia Woolf's biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel. I already knew the outline of Flush's life, partly from Shaggy Muses, and it just didn't bear up to further attention, I guess. It's not much of a story, except for the kidnapping part. But maybe, if you weren't already familiar with it...
#187: Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy that one more, Linda. I hope your next read is a better one for you!
Aw, I really liked Flush! I came to it without any background, which probably made a difference. And I just liked being inside a dog's head for 200 pages.
I have a hard time with books told from a dog's perspective, Laura. I didn't care for Auster's serious take on it in Timbuktu, or the lighthearted cozies featuring Randolph Manhattan, the apartment-bound Labrador, by J. F. Englert, in which the dog is actually the narrator. With Englert I find it gimmicky; with Auster and Woolf just somewhat off the mark. When I try to see through my dog's eyes, things don't look the way those authors have presented them. The best books I've read recently with animals at the helm were The Underneath, which was disturbing yet magical, and Giraffe, which was difficult, disturbing and brilliant.
ETA: I acknowledge that Woolf was up to something more than whimsy with Flush: allegory, social commentary, irony...the lot. All that works well enough, or maybe too well, taking precedence over story. The more I think about it, the more I think THAT'S what left me cold.
45. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill What a concept--an aging doctor is appointed coroner by the new Communist regime in Laos, c. 1976. He has no experience, no resources, and a devoted but fairly useless staff. Furthermore, his superiors would prefer his reports not to raise any uncomfortable questions. Dr. Siri, however, isn't too concerned with what his superiors would prefer, and sets about to do his job as well as possible under the circumstances. Well, you know he's going to get himself in trouble. But you can't imagine the KIND of trouble...administrators and bureaucrats are the least of his problems. Dogs hate him, spirits of the dead visit him, and an entire village takes him for a thousand year shaman come back to exorcise the evil spirt, the Phibob. This book was great sport; I love Siri's irreverence, his wit and his compassion. The supernatural element works just fine for me here. And Siri is no slouch as a detective. This is the first in a series, and I warn you, the author has made it impossible to stop with the first one.
Oh, I'm glad you enjoyed The Coroner's Lunch! I read it just recently too, and liked it (not as much as you did, but I still liked it). Dr Siri was a lovely creation. I'll be looking for the second book one day rsn.
#191: That one looks right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda!
I do think you'd enjoy it, Stasia. I'm disappointed that my entire county library system apparently doesn't have a copy of the second book in the series, other than a large print edition. And none on PBS either.
#194: My local library does not have it at all, but it is available for the Nook, so I am lucky there.
46. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner Stayed up much too late last night finishing this, but musings will have to wait 'til I have a few minutes to organize them.
ETA: Well, this was strange yet wonderful. Laura Willowes was set to be the quintessential "auntie" of English life; unmarried, unappealing to the opposite sex (and uninterested in it as well), living with her brother, adored by his children, useful to his wife. But niggling in the back of her mind was the notion that she wouldn't just carry on that way indefinitely, and one day she picked an odd little village with nothing to recommend it but its odd little name--Great Mop-- and announced that she was going to move there. Leaving her "Aunt Lolly" persona behind, Miss Willowes settles in to Great Mop and gradually begins to know the villagers. Although she doesn't seem to fit in here any more than she did in London society, she is at peace with her situation until one day she comes home to find an inexplicable kitten in her rooms. Here the wonder and the strangeness truly begin. The moment the kitten grabs and bites Miss Willowes hand, she realizes that she is a witch, and this kitten her familiar. Although she puts it that she has "made a compact with the devil" nothing about her story suggests a conscious decision to do that. (It isn't a spoiler to let you in on the fact that "the loving huntsman" of the subtitle is Satan, though not the horned satyr of so much popular culture. Rather he is a very ordinary looking gentleman who can disappear into his background, and who does not seem to move anyone to acts of sheer evil.) It just comes to her that now she is a witch. This passive acceptance of a fact so utterly outside the framework of this woman's prior existence struck a discord with me, and if I hadn't known it was coming (from reading blurbs on the cover and several reviews) I think I might have had one of those “WTH” moments and tossed the book aside. As it was, I kept reading, and I'm glad that I did, because Lolly's exploration of the world from her new perspective is really a joy. Her little conversation with Satan in the English countryside near the end of the book is just brilliant. Overall I was not as taken with this story as those who recommended it to me, but I did enjoy it
Just dropping by to read and speak, Linda. Maybe I'll add that my reading of hardboiled women novelists goes SARA PARETSKY with Grafton hardly on the list anymore and Cornwall gone, and a nod to Marcia Muller. I'm glad to hear that the later Graftons are better - I think I stopped with about G.
I haven't tried Paretsky, Peggy. I take it you like her? Give me a little push in her direction, and I might put her on the list to take up when Grafton runs out. Can I pick up Vic's story mid-stream? The early novels in the series don't get real good reviews, but No. 3 sounds like it might catch my interest. I don't know of Marcia Muller at all. *makes note to investigate when not on company time*
I've read both Paretsky and Muller, although neither very recently. I did start at the beginning with Paretsky, and while I'm sure you could pick up anywhere, it might be nice to be introduced to the varied other characters in her world from the beginning although, truth be told, I don't recall their developing very much. As for Muller, probably the same thing, although it's even longer since I read her. There is a certain sameness in both series, which I guess is par for the course, but what kept me going with both was my interest in the protagonists and their lives.
I pretty much agree with Rebecca. Muller is the mother of the hardboiled female detective novel, so I read one from time to time just to see how things have progressed.
V.I. Warshawski is a Chicago based P.I., daughter of a city cop. My personal taste prefers V.I. to Kinsey; I think there's more depth there. The sameness for me comes from the fact that Vic is a bulldog; her friends beg her to let go, give up, protect herself: she holds on. If you wanted to try just one, I'd recommend Total Recall in which she delves into the past of her older friend Lotty Herschel, an Austrian Jew who escaped to England as a child before the Holocaust --- OR --- Hard Time in which she goes to prison in an effort to learn what happened to a woman who died there. I remember that both of these were slow starters, but I trust Paretsky enough to keep going. I haven't read the latest but one, and am eagerly awaiting the new one which is coming as an ER ARC.
Thanks for your recommendations, ladies. I've added these messages to my "favorites" so I can find them easily. I think I'll see what my library system has and try both of these authors.
Hi back atcha, Linda.
#196: Looking forward to your review of that one, Linda. I enjoyed it and hope you did as well.
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