Smiler's Miscellany: Part Six

This is a continuation of the topic Smiler's Miscellany: Part Five.

This topic was continued by Smiler's Miscellany: Part Seven.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Smiler's Miscellany: Part Six

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1Smiler69
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 8:40pm


Illustration by Isabelle Arsenault, an artist from Montreal.
Click on the link to view more of her wonderful work.



Currently reading, listening to,
and slowly browsing through:

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Carol Squiers
The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson by David P. Silcox
Selected Poems by Roger McGough
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis

        




Favourites of 2012 (4.5 and up)
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
L'Assommoir by Émile Zola
Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes
Troubles by J. G. Farrell




12/12 Challenge
1. The First Half 1901-1951 4/12
2. Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie - 18th & 19th Century Classics 3/12
3. Picked for me - chosen from my shelves at random by LTers 3/12
4. Guardian Knows Best - Guardian 1000 4/12
5. The Dark Side - Crime & Mystery 5/12
6. Going Places - International authors & places 4/12
7. Young at Heart - Children/YA/Fantasy 6/12
8. Hot Off the Press - Published since 2011 3/12
9. Visual Treats - books on art, photography, design, or just beautiful books 1/12
10. Beyond Fiction - non-fiction 5/12
11. Litérature Française - read in French 2/12
12. From My Treasure-Trove - off the shelf (acquired before 31/12/11) 4/12
Total read: 44/144

2Smiler69
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 8:28pm

Books completed in April
48. ♫ Death and Judgment by Donna Leon ★★★½ (review)
49. The Last Song by Eva Wiseman ★★★★ (review)
50. ♫ Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
51. ♫ Fear by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
52. A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré ★★★★ (review)
53. Call for the Dead by John le Carré ★★★½ (review)
54. The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sís



My rating system:
★ - hated it (may or may not have finished it but listing it for the trouble)
★★ - it was just ok
★★★ - enjoyed it (good)
★★★★ - loved it! (very good)
★★★★★ - all-time favourite (blew me away—will read again)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
☀ = TIOLI



3Smiler69
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 3:04pm

Suggested reads for April

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (12/12 GR)
David Copperfield (75ers GR)
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
Call for the Dead by John le Carré
The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
Fear by Stefan Zweig
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sís
The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sís
Tibet Through the Red Box by Peter Sís
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library
℮ = eBook
☛ = TIOLI

4Smiler69
Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 1:51pm

2012 Planning

Steinbeckathon:

January: Cannery Row (208*) - Ilana/Smiler69**
February: The Wayward Bus (288) - Mark/msf59
March: The Winter of Our Discontent (304) - Lynda/Carmenere
April: The Moon is Down (112) - Linda/lindapanzo
May: The Grapes of Wrath (496) - Ellen/EBT1002
June: Of Mice and Men (112) - Brit/weejane
July: East of Eden (640) - Ellen
August: The Red Pony (112) - Ilana
September: In Dubious Battle (384) - Mark
October: Tortilla Flat (224) - Tania/wookiebender
November: Travels With Charley and The Pearl (256 + 96) - Ilana
December: Sweet Thursday (288) - Mark

* approximate # of pages
** names indicate who will be heading up the threads.

Anyone is welcome to join in at any point, for as many or as few books as is desired.


Group Reads
January: Orange January, The Secret River by Kate Grenville (75ers), Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
February: Fantasy February, The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
March: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (12/12), The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
April: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (12/12), David Copperfield (75ers), The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
May: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (12/12), A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (Virago Modern Classics), Persuasion by Jane Austen (Tutored)
June: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (12/12, tutored read), Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
July: East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (12/12), Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (Virago Modern Classics)
August: The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Middlemarch by George Eliot (12/12)
September: In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (12/12)
October: Blindness by José Saramago (12/12), Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
November: Travels With Charley and The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)
December: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon)


Books my fellow LT pals picked from my shelves for 12/12:
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood - Picked by MickyFine
Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac - Picked by bucket yell
The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger - Picked by msf59
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Branddon - Picked by avatiakh
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré - Picked by casvelyn
Arabian Nights: Four Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Marc Chagall - Picked by Donna828
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Picked by DragonFreak
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver - Picked by calm
No Great Mischief by Alasdair MacLeod - Picked by KiwiNyx
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer - Picked by DeltaQueen50
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - Picked by Deern
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - Picked by LauraBrook
Blindness by José Saramago - Picked by Whisper1
Caravan of Dreams of Idries Shah - Picked by PiyushChourasia
The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud - Picked by -Eva-
Candide by Voltaire - Picked by Fourpawz2
Native Son by Richard Wright - Picked by EBT1002
Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman - Picked by bohemima


5Smiler69
Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 1:41pm

Books Read in 2012:

January
1. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin ★★★★⅓ (review)
2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett ★★★★ (review)
3. ♫ Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ★★★ (review)
4. The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★¾ (review)
5. ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palaniukh ★★★½ (review)
6. The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF's 40th Anniversary by Reading Is Fundamental ★★★★ (review)
7. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
8. ♫ To Fear a Painted Devil by Ruth Rendell ★★★⅓ (review)
9. No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey ★★★¾ (review)
10. ♫ Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick ★★★★ (review)
11. From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón ★★★ (review)
12. ♫ On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry ★★★★½ (review)
13. ♫ The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo ★★★ (review)
14. ♫ Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson ★★★★⅓ (review)
15. ♫ Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd ★★★★½ (review)
16. Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk ★★★★ (review)
Madlenka's Dog by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
Madlenka Soccer Star by Peter Sís ★★★ (comments)
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney ★★★★ (comments)
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say ★★★½ (comments)
17. ♫ The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West ★★★⅞ (review)

Unfinished
♫ Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
♫ Soulless by Gail Carriger

February
18. L'Assommoir by Émile Zola ★★★★½ (review)
19. ♫ The Quiet American by Graham Greene ★★★ (review)
20. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole ★★★★ (review)
21. ♫ The Difference Engine by William Gibson ★★½ (review)
22. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
23. ♫ Rebeccaby Daphne du Maurier ★★★★⅓ (review)
24. Drawing from Memory by Allen Say ★★★ (review)
25. The Secret River by Kate Grenville ★★★★ (review)
26. Le vieux chagrin by Jacques Poulin ★½ (review)
27. The Seeing Stone by Holly Black, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★⅞ (review)
28. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
29. ♫ Doomsday Book by Connie Willis ★★★ (review)
30. ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac ★★★★½ (review)
31. ♫ The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark ★★★¾ (review)
32. ♫ The City & The City by China Miéville ★★★★ (review)

March
33. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh ★★★★½ (review)
34. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman ★★★★ (review)
35. On Cats by Doris Lessing ★★★★ (review)
36. ♫ Dracula by Bram Stoker ★★★★ (review)
37. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck ★★★ (review)
38. ♫ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ★★★★½ (review)
39. ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ★★★★⅛ (review)
40. The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman, Illustrated by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
13 Words by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman ★★★★ (review)
41. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 3: The Black Prince to Henry VIII 1327-1547 by Christopher Lee ★★★★ (review)
42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes ★★★★½ (review)
43. Troubles by J. G. Farrell ★★★★½ (review)
44. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon ★★★★⅓ (review)
45. ♫ Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley ★★★★⅓ (review)
46. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura ★★★ (review)
47. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi ★★★⅞ (review)




Books with touchstones are rated 4.5 and up.

6Smiler69
Edited: Apr 7, 2012, 2:28pm

Books I'd like to read in 2012 (ambitious list, as always)

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
David Copperfield
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
Blindness by José Saramago
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
✔ ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac
The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
✔ ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Branddon
Arabian Nights: Four Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Marc Chagall
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
No Great Mischief by Alasdair MacLeod
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
✔ ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Le Grand livre de la tendresse by Jacques Salomé -unfinished
Caravan of Dreams of Idries Shah
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Candide by Voltaire
Native Son by Richard Wright
Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
Une page d'amour by Émile Zola
Nana by Émile Zola
Pot-Bouille by Émile Zola
Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola
La joie de vivre by Émile Zola
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Troubles by J. G. Farrell
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Queenpin by Megan Abbott
✔ ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
✔ ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
Moon Palace by Paul Auster
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Jamrach's Menagerie Carol Birch
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Call for the Dead by John le Carré
A Murder of Quality by John le Carré
✔ ♫ The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
✔ ♫ Running Blind by Lee Child
✔ ♫ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Music & Silence by Rose Tremain
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library
℮ = eBook

7Smiler69
Edited: Apr 7, 2012, 12:14am

Books Acquired in 2012




March
32. ♫ Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Au)
33. ♫ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Au)
34. ♫ Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories (Au)
35. ♫ Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
36. ♫ This Sceptred Isle, Volume 3: 1327-1547 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Completed March 2012
37. ♫ Elizabeth I by Margaret George (Au)
38. ♫ I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Au)
39. ♫ Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Au)
40. ♫ The Once and Future King by T. H. White (Au)
41. ♫ The Great Poets: W. B. Yeats by W. B. Yeats (Au)
42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (Au) - Completed March 2012
43. ♫ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Au)
44. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Au)
45. ♫ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Au)
46. ♫ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Au)
47. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (Au) - Completed March 2012
48. ♫ The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll (Au)
49. ♫ Pavane by Keith Roberts (Au)
50. ♫ Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson (Au)
51. ♫ A Burnt-Out Case by Gramam Greene (Au)
52. ♫ Death and Judgment by Donna Leon (Au)
53. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes (Au)
54. ♫ An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (Au)
55. ♫ The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats compiled by John Kavanagh (Au)
56. ♫ Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (Au)
57. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 4: Elizabeth I to Cromwell 1547-1660 by Christopher Lee (Au)
58. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 5: Restoration and Glorious Revolution 1660-1702 by Christopher Lee (Au)

April
59. ♫ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (Au)

Au = Audible
BD = BookDepository
CI = ChaptersIndigo
BWB = Better World Books




Books Read from My Shelves in 2012




March
13. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (entry date: 2008-11-12)
14. Troubles by J. G. Farrell (entry date: 2011-09-14)
15. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (entry date: 2011-02-18)
16. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (entry date: 2011-01-13)

April

8DeltaQueen50
Mar 25, 2012, 5:28pm

Wow, do I get first honors? Ilana, I don't know if it's just me but I can't see your opening visual - just a large blank.

9Dejah_Thoris
Mar 25, 2012, 5:58pm

Wow, I'm second! I can't see the opening image either - I'm looking forward to seeing what you've got for us!

10-Cee-
Mar 25, 2012, 6:02pm

Bronze Medal for me!
Hi Ilana!

11gennyt
Mar 25, 2012, 6:11pm

Fourth in line, so no medal for me! I too see no opening picture, which is a shame as I'm sure it will be interesting. I've just downloaded Lady Audley to my Kindle app on my phone, as someone in my RL book group has suggested it for a future read. Not sure when I'll start it - my current eBook read is still Pickwick Papers, and I've plenty to go on that still...

12EBT1002
Mar 25, 2012, 6:57pm

Hmmm, it seems that the link for your visual is not working. I look forward to seeing what you chose. Thanks for the pat on the back about the numbers (at your prior thread). I do know that and I work hard *not* to allow my competitive side to come out in reading books. I want to savor them, remember (most of) them, and enjoy them. 75? Fine, if that's the way the year works out.

Off to see a musical on stage --- cheers!

13Whisper1
Mar 25, 2012, 7:45pm

love your lists! love you too!

Hugs

14Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 7:53pm

Oops! Off to fix the opening picture. Be right back!

15PaulCranswick
Mar 25, 2012, 8:06pm

Ilana congrats on thread number six and your presently huge and impressive opening picture.
Nobody gives quite as much detail as you at the beginning of your thread which is fascinating for a stataholic like moi.

16Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 8:09pm

There we are. Image problem fixed. Not sure what happened, as I was able to see it just fine when I started the thread, but coming back just a few minutes ago, I too couldn't see it. Anyway, it's fixed now. Isabelle Arsenault is a hugely talented local artist who is well known in publishing here in Quebec. There was a bounty of great images to choose from and I selected this one because it made me think of spring. Last week was a direct jump into summer in these parts, and now it's cooled off again, but spring is more or less around the corner, isn't it?

#8 Hi Judy! Glad to see you in my new place!

#9 Hi Dejah! It must have taken me at least an hour to settle on this image. I had a couple of artists in mind originally, but couldn't find a good reproduction which fit my self-imposed criteria of being in a horizontal format and large enough to display at full width. But I'm quite happy with this one finally, and hope you are too!

#10 Hi Claudia. You are all of you golden in my heart! :-)

#11 Genny, see what I just said to Claudia above. I've been listening to a free audio version of Lady Audley's Secret which I got from LibriVox.org. It's narrated by Elizabeth Klett who does a good job of it. I've just got a couple of hours to go and am dying of curiosity to find out what the secret is finally!

#12 Ellen, you know, here I am making all these great observations to others, but it would be nice if I took my own advice. I'm competitive too, and all the more so now that my playing field is no longer centred on career! But I have an unfair advantage as far as capacity for reading books obviously, with no work hours to distract me from my goals! ;-)

#13 Ah Linda, you're a sweetie as ever. I'm guessing you'll like the illustration I put up...

17Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 8:12pm

#15 Thanks Paul. I've just reduced the image a little after seeing your comment. I like to display them as large as possible to show all possible details, but have to keep in mind not everyone has a 15" screen like I do.

Can't wait to see what you'll be doing with those stats! :-)

18Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 8:15pm

Ok friends. Those books awaiting reviews have been glaring at me from the corner of my desk and making me feel bad. I have no idea what I'll have to say about at least a couple of these books, but I'll put on my speed-review hat and see what happens!

19Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 9:31pm



37. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck ★★★
(Read for Steinbeckathon, TIOLI Challenge #6: title word that is a heterograph/homonym - our/hour)

When we meet our protagonist Ethan Allen Hawley, he's content with his job as a grocery clerk, even though he is the descendant of a powerful family that once owned most of the town thanks to a fortune earned in the shipping industry. But the fortune is long gone, lost by Ethan's father, and Ethan himself has lost the ownership of his grocery store and now works there for an Italian immigrant. Though he often reflects on this state of affairs, he's not embittered by them, though his wife and children aren't quite as willing to accept their fate. They'd all like to have more things, and feel ashamed of lacking the distinction once bestowed on their ancestors, so Ethan starts thinking up plans to help him regain his standing and wealth. These plans conflict with Ethan's morals, but he wants to please his family and is willing to do whatever it takes, as long as he doesn't have to commit murder to reach his goals; but the rest is fair game.

I didn't know what to make of the first part which served to establish Ethan's personality and position in life and the society of his ancestral hometown. Ethan seemed difficult to understand and his motives were not at all clear, probably reflecting his own state of mind. In the second part, we move into action and one event quickly succeeds another, offering plenty of surprises and drama, but never letting the reader rest from questioning the deeper implications of each event. Steinbeck may have won the Nobel Prize on the strength of this novel, which he wrote to as a commentary on the moral decline of postwar America, but it left me bemused and quite convinced that my appreciation for him as a great writer is based on other novels than this one.

20Smiler69
Edited: Mar 25, 2012, 10:00pm



38. ♫ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ★★★★½
(Read for Mystery March, TIOLI Challenge #19: Read a mystery of more than 300 pages and 12/12 category #2: Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie)

Walter Hartright, a young art teacher walking on the road from Hampstead to London, is startled when he is overtaken by a young woman dressed entirely in white. Visibly distressed, she begs him to show her the way to London, and he offers to take her there. The young woman accepts his offer on the condition that he allow her freedom of movement. Once he's dropped her off in London, two men in hot pursuit claim that the young woman has escaped a mental asylum and must be returned there at once, but Walter does nothing to help them in their search. The next day he arrives at Limmeridge House, where he has gained a position as a drawing master. There he meets his young pupils, half sisters Marian and Laura. In no time at all, her befriends Marian—no great beauty is she, but quick, smart and amusing—and falls desperately in love with the heavenly loveliness that is Laura. But the encounter with the woman in white will carry many consequences. I took absolute delight in discovering all the plot twists of this great classic mystery, so will disclose no more of the story nor of how it is told, but will say that it offers a wonderfully evil conspiracy and several highly memorable characters, not least of which the strange and compelling villain Count Fosco, who stole every scene in which he appeared, in my view. The sublimely selfish Frederick Fairlie is one of the most memorable invalids I have ever encountered. I must say that the audio version I listened to, narrated by Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey, greatly increased my enjoyment with wonderfully rendered characters. Now that I've read it and that there are no more secrets for me to discover, I still look forward to reading it again for a fun romp with highly colourful characters and some Gothic frissons.

21PaulCranswick
Mar 25, 2012, 10:20pm

Ilana - I think your review of The Winter of Our Discontent is fair but the marks a little harsh. I think you would have scored it higher had you not read some of his more representative works earlier.
Looking forward to The Woman in White which I am about to start. I inherited the entire canon of Wilkie Collins work from my Uncle Bill who passed away 30 years ago and I have only read a few of them as I had almost too much reverence for the books to use them. Have "replaced" some of them with recent re-issues and have them with me in KL and The Woman in White will be the next up - I did read The Moonstone two years ago and enjoyed it. Love strange and compelling villains so it should be great.

22phebj
Mar 25, 2012, 10:39pm

Hi Ilana. Thumbs up from me on your reviews of The Winter of Our Discontent and The Woman in White. Sadly, I don't think I'm going to get to TWoOD this month but I'm planning to get back on track with the Steinbeckathon for April. I've had TWiW on my WL for a long time now and really need to give it a try.

I've just caught up with your threads for the last couple of days and had a good time looking at your link to the GelaSkins. Now all I need to do is get myself an iPhone 4S. ;-)

23Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 10:50pm

#21 I think your review of The Winter of Our Discontent is fair but the marks a little harsh. I think you would have scored it higher had you not read some of his more representative works earlier.

I strongly disagree with you there my friend. If you look at my scoring system: ★★★ = enjoyed it (good)

which as far as I'm concerned is quite a fair mark. Also your theory about me having probably enjoyed it more had I not read his more "representative" works made me smile. After all, I doubt most anyone has ever heard of or discovered Steinbeck via TWoOD. ;-)

I had almost too much reverence for the books to use them.

I'm glad you surmounted your reticence and finally plunged into the goodies!

#22 Thanks for the thumbs Pat! Don't feel guilty about not having time to fit in TWoOD. The Steinbeckathon is meant to be fun and not an obligation. We'll be happy to have you join in for our April reading of The Moon is Down, which I look forward to.

As for GelaSkins, if you poke around a little, you'll quickly discover that they make them for just about any tech toy there is out there, including most popular mobile phones and e-readers. But don't say I didn't warn you that they're highly addictive! :-)

24Smiler69
Edited: Mar 25, 2012, 10:55pm



39. ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ★★★★⅛
(Read for TIOLI #4: Read a book from JanetinLondon's library memorial challenge and 12/12 Category #4: Guardian Knows Best )

Our young would-be heroine, seventeen year-old Catherine Morland has read one too many Gothic novel in her short life, the latest of which being The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe, one of her favourite authors. When she is taken to Bath with a well to do older couple who are friends of the family, it is her first ever excursion outside her hometown and she is starved for new adventures and acquaintances. Young Isabella Thorpe is no sooner met than declared to be her best bosom friend ever. When it is discovered upon his unexpected arrival that Isabella's brother John Thorpe is best friends with Catherine's brother James Morland, and that James is in love with Isabella, the trio claim young Catherine for their own pursuits. John Thorpe is under the false impression that Catherine is heiress to a great fortune, and the blustering young man decides he will marry our young maiden. Though Catherine may be inexperienced in love, she has eyes only for Henry Tilney, a young clergyman who shares Catherine's passion for Gothic novels. And soon after Catherine has befriended her sweetheart's sister, Eleanor Tilney, she is overjoyed when an invitation is extended to spend time with the Tilney's in their home, Northanger Abbey. At the mention of the word "Abbey" Catherine's imagination takes over and she fully expects to discover a decrepit old dwelling filled with loathsome secrets of the kind she has avidly read about in her favourite novels to great comic effect.

This novel is filled with humour to a much greater extent than her other widely read stories. Austen, who was apparently herself a fan of novels, Gothic and otherwise, obviously had great fun poking fun at her naive heroine and also took the opportunity to make a case for the worthiness of novels, of which reading was considered to be an unsuitable pursuit in her day.

This story was made that much more fun to discover thanks to the tutorship of Liz (lyzard), who shared a wealth of knowledge about the novel and many background details, all of which can be found on this thread.

I listened to the audio version narrated by the always excellent Julia Stevenson.

25phebj
Mar 25, 2012, 11:07pm

#23 Just when I thought I was safe . . . . Off to do more research on Gelaskins!

26Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 11:08pm

#24 Just when I thought I was safe . . . .

He he *evil grin*

27Smiler69
Mar 25, 2012, 11:11pm

Well, must call it a night. Forgot to feed myself—thank goodness for this week's homemade leek and potato soup, quite delish—and Coco is turning yellow too so must walk him pronto.

So much for *speed-reviews*. I failed miserably at throwing out a few quick lines for each book and still have three to go, but I'll live with it. Am less happy about not having done any artwork today and no blog posts either to keep my mum happy. Oh well. There's always tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on...

Good night friends!

28PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 2012, 1:45am

Ilana - your spirited defence of your score noted and you are right your three stars would be a better mark for you than some others based on the marking system you give at the top of your thread. It is just that I rarely see you give only 3 stars this year. In fact only the Jacques Poulin out of the 39 so far rated has received a lower mark. It is probably a fairer reflection of your good initial vetting than anything else. x

29LovingLit
Mar 26, 2012, 2:03am

>20 Smiler69: wow, I really want to reread The Woman in White now, your review reminded me how great it is.

Btw, you and the Steinbeck-a-thon have prompted me to look into his books, and I just read The Pearl which I just loved. Im really looking forward to more of his soon.

30Deern
Mar 26, 2012, 2:44am

Wow - when I went to bed last night you had just announced a new thread - and now there are already 29 new messages for me to read. And what a great picture in the first post! I had a look at the site and while I like most of the portfolio illustrations, I'd say you chose the nicest one. That chocolate cake picture would be great as a warning on my fridge.

I like your reviews, and although I perceived TWooD differently, I agree that you should rate it as you feel is right for you. Just this morning I thought about my reading experience of Of Mice and Men last year, wondering if I'll see it differently should I reread it with the Steinbeckathon in August. I am quite sure I won't, and I won't upgrade my 3star rating. I appreciated the value of the book but didn't enjoy it, in fact was freaked out by one of the characters. As much as you like an author, there might be works not agreeing with you (also thinking of your Pride and Prejudice aversion).

Have a great day!

31calm
Mar 26, 2012, 5:50am

Just stopping in to say hi - pleased you fixed the opening image it looks great. Some good books read as well:)

32PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 2012, 6:04am

Nathalie - very sensible opinion on individual ratings of books. Always better to go with your first impression of a book - as you say you can always re-read it. I don't recall ever giving a book a better score second time around - I usually agree with myself.

33Deern
Mar 26, 2012, 6:36am

I changed my mind about books in the past and so created a 'to be reread' collection for those works I thought I hadn't been able to appreciate on my first read because I wasn't in the right mood or the translation felt bad, etc. I once upgraded Jane Eyre from 3 to 4,5 stars. The first time I hadn't even been able to finish it, on my second read I just loved it. Kim is also waiting in that collection for a 2nd chance.

But I fear Of Mice and Men falls into the category of books where I know they'll never be favorites, no matter how many rereads I'll give them (Mansfield Park would be another one).

34Crazymamie
Mar 26, 2012, 7:14am

Ilana - three very nice reviews. You have been busy! I have both The Woman in White and Northanger Abbey in my TBR already or you would have hit me with both of those. Hope today is the beginning of a great week for you. By the way, LOVE the picture up top!

35Morphidae
Mar 26, 2012, 7:21am

Love the joyful picture at the top and that you are having some awesome reading (listening.) I really liked The Woman in White and have a reading of The Moonstone coming up later in the year.

36-Cee-
Mar 26, 2012, 10:32am

Your opening picture is totally Spring! Love it!
It's so happy even the cat is smiling!

I thought I had added a message to you last night, but now I remember the cat was sitting on my right arm/hand and I was quite indisposed.

Great reviews! I do want to get to The Woman in White sometime soon.

Sadly, my reading has been slowed down so much this month that I will not get to TWoOD but hope to jump in for April's book which I have never read.

37Smiler69
Mar 26, 2012, 10:52am

#28 It is just that I rarely see you give only 3 stars this year.

Paul, don't forget the year is only three months old! Also, you had me go back and look over the ratings I've given so far and I think I agree with myself overall. A "good" read for me usually means I thought it was ok and might have liked it better if I hadn't gotten annoyed or frustrated with portions of the book. This was certainly the case with TWoOD, which I wanted to give up during the first part. As I said before, now that I've read it once, it's very possible I might read it again in future to gain a better appreciation for it. Unlike you (based on your subsequent exchange with Nathalie), I do and have changed my mind about ratings when revisiting books. I'm a moody gal (no... really?!?), so it inevitably affects my appreciation of any one book!

#29 wow, I really want to reread The Woman in White now, your review reminded me how great it is.

Megan, that's really the best compliment anyone can give me about a review, though thumbs are already quite nice ;-)

I'm glad you felt encouraged to pick up some Steinbeck. I read The Pearl a few years ago and was absolutely blown over by how powerful this tiny little book was. I really look forward to reading it again this year and seeing other people's comments so DO feel free to join in the discussion in November when we'll be reading it as a group.

#30 I'm glad you took the opportunity to look over Isabelle Arsenault's work Nathalie. We have some pretty amazing illustrators in Montreal and I was lucky enough to be able to choose to work with a few of them. She's won many awards here and had done at least a couple of amazing illustrations when I asked her to create images for hard-hitting articles. Not only does she have a great, original style, but she's conceptually very strong too. And she also happens to be a lovely young woman too. I'm expecting a few books she's illustrated to come in from the library soon. I'll be sure to report on them.

#31 Hi calm! That image up top makes me smile every time I see it. The details in it really give me pause—so intricate and beautiful. I always like to think that if I find an image pleasing, there are bound to be others who might think the same too. Always nice to have you visit and hear from you once in a while too! :-)

#32 I usually agree with myself.

I wish I could say the same... we often disagree with each other, Smiler and I. ;-)

#33 Nathalie, I remember (vaguely) reading Jane Eyre in high school and finding it a real bore. Which was absolutely not the case last year, when it became on of my favourites. It's been a long time since I've read Of Mice and Men, but I remember that both time I read it, I was quite blown away with how powerful and affecting it was. And Mansfield Park was the first Jane Austen novel that proved to me that I might yet enjoy something she'd written. That was before Emma and Liz (lyzard) came a long of course!

#34 Hi Mamie! I guess there's not much chance of me hitting people with book bullets with my recent selections, since most people have probably read or at least have the last two books on their tbr. Glad you enjoyed the reviews and the image! So far it's a gorgeous day out there, and we seem to be back to more normal temps for this season, i.e. nice and chilly!

#35 Hi Morphi! I almost picked up The Moonstone a few times, as it's come up in Audible sales at least 2-3 times already, but somehow was under the impression that it wasn't quite as strong as TWiW. Now that I've read the latter though, must say I am more tempted to pick up other books by him though!

38Smiler69
Mar 26, 2012, 11:02am

#36 Hello my dear Claudia. I keep forgetting to check on new messages before posting my long responses, but I've caught up with you now. I'm glad to know it was only the cat that had you indisposed and nothing actually unpleasant. Cat's name?

You have a lot on your plate this month, so I'm not surprised it's slowed down your reading progress. You can always pick up TWoOD if you feel so inclined, but it might help you to know that The Moon is Down is a very quick read at just over 100 pages.




Gorgeous and cold day out there today. I'll be donning my cashmere sweaters for at least another week before the warm weather is with us to stay, which is fine by me as I hate having to shed all the layers come hotter weather—am not keen on showing off any part of my body and sometimes wish we were still living in Victorian times so I could stay well covered up year-round (minus the corsets though!)

I should get off the computer and get going so I don't have to scramble at the last minute to get to class on time as I seem to do every week!

Have a lovely day everybody!

p.s. I picked up a baker's dozen from the Audible sale finally—will be back to list my purchases later today.

39EBT1002
Mar 26, 2012, 11:29am

Good morning, Ilana. Almost afternoon in your neck of the woods, I suppose. Now that the illustration at top is working, I really love it. Of course, that it's a woman and a cat makes it even more appealing to me! During my break (later today), I'll check out her other work via your link.

Good reviews of the things you've been reading. I did end up giving The Woman in White more (4, I think) stars, as it sat well in the days after I completed it. Like you, I can be moody about these things.

Thanks for the recommendation, a while back, to read Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. I started it yesterday, mixing it in with Troubles (which I'm almost done with), and I'm enjoying it immensely.

40msf59
Mar 26, 2012, 7:32pm

Hi Ilana- Just swinging by to say hi! Enjoying your reviews. I've been planning on reading another Austen. I NEED to get to that!

41PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 2012, 7:56pm

Ilana - omg you're right we are still in March....this year feels 10 months long already. My book deliverer Antoine is in town today by the way if you have any special requests! x

42Smiler69
Mar 27, 2012, 12:41am

This is the first opportunity I've had of sitting at home in front the the computer. After my art class, a friend invited me to go see The Hunger Games movie, and rather than follow my instinct to go home and get the rest I really wanted, I joined her at the cinema. I didn't have great expectations for the movie, since I'd just read the New York Times review which was not very positive, but I thought the movie was good and quite true to the book. I really wondered how they'd handle all the violence, but I think they did a good job of it. It's there, but not in all it's gory details, which was a relief.

I woke up today with an urge to get all dressed up in a way I haven't done since I was at my job. Hadn't worn a skirt at least since last summer, and it was cold today, so took out this pretty black wool Zara skirt I've had sitting in my closet for ages, paired that with a t-shirt, a beautiful necklace, a cashmere cardigan, topped it all off with a GORGEOUS coat I've had for at least a decade from BCBG which is quite a stunner—hard to describe, but a dark background with strips of red ribbon making a diamond pattern and a kind of curlicue at the bottom. Then very bright red lipstick. Oh, and black suede platform shoes I just got last week, which I thought had been a bad idea to buy, even though they were much reduced on sale, because thought I'd probably never wear them. They're the newish silhouette with the whole shoe and heel covered up, which can look sort of bulky, but interesting. As I was only wearing that getup to go to class, for which I usually show up looking like something the cat dragged in, I got lots of compliments, which was nice. I have to feel very confident to get dressed in a way that'll get me noticed, so I guess it was a good sign.

Not much time for anything tonight other than take Coco for a walk and get ready for bed. I had the landlord's kids babysit Coco for a while this evening so he wouldn't end up spending all day locked up in his crate, so at least I don't feel TOO guilty about abandoning him to his fate all day.

#39 Hi Ellen, a cat, birds, trees, flowers, a girl in a red dress, simplicity with touches of intricately beautiful details... this image has everything going for it as far as I'm concerned! I'm glad you felt inspired to increase your rating for TWiW. I've had plenty of time to think over TWoOD, and very doubtful I'll do the same there. Ex Libris is lots of fun, and I'm glad you're finding so too. Also much looking forward to your comments on Troubles. Still have to get a review out about that one, but I'll definitely be recommending it.

#40 Hi Mark, nice of you to drop by! I'll be reading Persuasion some time in the next few months, for which Liz (lyzard) has offered her tutoring skills, so I quite look forward to that. She has so much knowledge about 19th century (and earlier) literature that she's bound to point out things most people wouldn't know about or notice, which makes it that much more rewarding an experience. I'll definitely post a link to the tutoring thread when we get there so that anyone can follow along and jump in too if they want. Of course I'll encourage you to join us!

#41 Paul, I know... it seems like it's been 2012 forever already. Isn't that strange? Funny that you the stats man who keeps track of everything kind of lost touch with that! Heh. No special requests as far as books go, but you're sweet to extend the offer! I DO look forward to getting to Travels with My Aunt which a very kind friend sent me all the way from the Far East!




Am in the final 5 chapters of Lady Audley's Secret (out of 40), so should be done within a day or so.

It's been very slow going with The Windup Girl as haven't had time to read much more than a chapter a day before sleep, and so tired by then I can barely manage that even. Last chapter I read had me quite discouraged, but I'll soldier on as I'm sure it'll be worth it.

This morning I picked up My Letter to the World and other Poems by Emily Dickinson. It's part of a series featuring different poets, illustrated by some of our best Canadian talent. I'd never read her poems before and must say that the combination of the gorgeous verse along with Isabelle Asenault's stunning illustrations was quite a powerful experience. I may have to buy that one to keep—it's really that special. Will read it again before sleep actually—it's really that special. But I'm repeating myself, so must be time for me to sign off.

G'night/G'day friends!

43Smiler69
Mar 27, 2012, 12:44am

44DeltaQueen50
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 12:51am

Hi Ilana, I just popped in to see your opening picture - it was well worth the wait. A sweet, feel good picture that has me smiling.

I think you have accomplished a lot yesterday re: reviews. Three very different and difficult books to ponder and discuss.

45LovingLit
Mar 27, 2012, 2:29am

>38 Smiler69: Bakers Dozen? Of books?
Can we see a list please? Sounds great.

46ChelleBearss
Mar 27, 2012, 9:24am

Hi Ilana! That's a great picture in your first post! I'll have to check out that artists website

Glad you are healing up from your surgery well and your outfit from yesterday sounds lovely! After spending my last week in jeans and tees while unloading boxes I envy your fanciness! ;)

47-Cee-
Mar 27, 2012, 11:22am

Hi Ilana! You painted a nice mental picture of a stylish you enjoying your day :) I don't have much in my wardrobe to pull together (other than jeans and a jersey or tee) if I ever get the urge. I NEED to go clothes shopping! But I look like crap and hate trying anything on. You actually have to look in a mirror! ACCCKKKK!

My cat's name - Woolly. And that she is! ... soft and warm. I originally named her Willow, but formal names don't really cut it around here. Woolly is a nickname that stuck. Occasionally I call her "Honey Bunches of Oats"... an awkward twist on Honeybunch.

48jnwelch
Mar 27, 2012, 12:24pm

I like the picture at top, too, Ilana. Can't wait for your tutored read with Liz of Persuasion! That's my fave of JA's after Pride and Prejudice.

49Smiler69
Mar 27, 2012, 8:16pm

#45 Hi Megan! Yes, a baker's dozen, though I ended up adding two more, so that makes fifteen. But I'll be a tease right now as just dropping by quickly for now... I've been putting off posting on my blogs and really must hop to it. Will be back with the list very soon!

#46 Hi Chelle, her site is really well put together and the images are nice and big too.

My outfit yesterday was really an exception. When I was working as an art director, it was common enough for me to create different "looks", but then, I've always been a jeans & tees gal myself. Since my major outings these days consist of taking out Coco for walks, that's what you'll usually find me wearing!

#47 Hi Claudia! I've grown to hate shopping too. Those mirrors with that horrid overhead lighting are just disastrous. And when they make one look anywhere near good, you know they're trick mirrors that make you look 10 lbs lighter at least! That's why I took to shopping J Crew online a few years ago when the meds made me blow up and nothing fit me anymore. Much easier looking in the mirror in the comfort of home. I think. You might want to give them a try...

I sometimes call my kids all kinds of other names. Ezra is Ziggy or Fritz, Mimi is Moomoo, Coco is Puppy, Monkey, Little Boy, Sweeties... nothing original, but they all seem to recognize who I'm talking to usually no matter what I call them.

#48 Hi Joe! I believe Liz and I mentioned May as a possible time for Persuasion, but my faulty memory should by no means be relied upon. I wish I could say I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice when I read it for the first time last year, but I'll give it a try again, perhaps with Liz's help next time.

50Morphidae
Mar 28, 2012, 7:29am

My Maia is also Maia-Moo, Little Girl, and Sweetheart. As you said, nothing original, but she knows she is being talked to!

51jnwelch
Mar 28, 2012, 10:26am

>49 Smiler69: Ah, P & P is near and dear to my heart, Ilana, so I'm hopelessly biased when I talk about it. Whenever Persuasion comes up for you, I'll gratefully lurk.

52Smiler69
Mar 28, 2012, 1:12pm

#50 Morphy, I love the name Maia, which also makes me think Mia and Mina, who was one of the characters in Dracula. I'll have to keep those in mind for future use, though Mimi could probably be called any of those too.

#51 Joe, I had all kinds of reasons for not enjoying P&P the first time around. Also, I knew very little about JA or about the times she was writing in at that point, and mostly felt cynical and annoyed with her. But now I've enjoyed three of the five novels I've read by her, I'm more willing to just sit back and go along for the journey. Also, I see now that I'm familiar with the stories and characters how they would make for perfect comfort reading.

53Smiler69
Edited: Mar 28, 2012, 1:45pm

Sorry I didn't come back last night to post my latest (audio)book purchases. I got all caught up in preparing a blog post, and before I knew it, it was already late and I could barely keep my eyes open, and I still hadn't posted anything, though at least I did get most of the pictures sorted out.

Today is a lazy day and I intend to do as much or as little as possible (still undecided which of the two!). Definitely finishing and posting a blog post. Definitely reading something, if only one of the short poetry collections I brought back from the library (forgot to post about those too—they're from the same collection as the Emily Dickinson book). I may manage to write a few more reviews (or not). Will try to catch up on a few threads, as have fallen terribly behind again. I hope to do some kind of artwork, if only for 10 mins to an hour. One thing I AM doing for sure is journaling all my activities hour by hour today and taking note of how I feel, all as homework for my next Occupational Therapy appointment next week. Most of it will probably end up reading "On computer, feeling tired", but whatever, we'll see.

Here is the list of books purchased from the latest Audible sale:

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson
A Burnt-Out Case by Gramam Greene
Death and Judgment by Donna Leon
The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats compiled by John Kavanagh
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
This Sceptred Isle Vol 4: Elizabeth I to Cromwell 1547-1660 by Christopher Lee
This Sceptred Isle Vol 5: Restoration and Glorious Revolution 1660-1702 by Christopher Lee

eta: Forgot to mention I started on the audio of Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley last night. It's quite short and I listened while preparing food yesterday, so am more than halfway through already. Really good. Yet another series I'll just have to follow up on. *sigh* :-)

54jnwelch
Mar 28, 2012, 1:44pm

Looks like a great group of audio purchases, Ilana.

>52 Smiler69: Yes, all of JA's books are comfort reads as far as I'm concerned. I get back to P&P and Persuasion on a pretty regular basis, and recently re-read Sense and Sensibility. Northanger Abbey makes me laugh.

55EBT1002
Edited: Mar 28, 2012, 1:55pm

Nice set of audio purchases, Ilana.

I received my order for 100 Penguin Covers postcards last night. I was a bit disappointed with the whole set -- I was hoping for more classics (one of the covers used to sell the set of cards as The Great Gatsby) but it's still a fun collection and I'll be buying some postcard stamps in order to fill friends' and loved ones' mailboxes with snail mail postcards!

56Smiler69
Mar 28, 2012, 3:51pm

#54 Joe, I guess I hadn't delved into that particular brains of "comfort reading" before. I'm always surprised when I discover that some men are so fond of Jane Austen because her books seem like they describe such a feminine universe that I wonder what men can relate to in them. When did you start reading JA and what drew you to her, if I may ask?

#55 Ellen, this is the first I hear of these Penguin postcards. Sounds like something I'd like to get too, especially as I collect stationery items and postcards, though I get so attached to them that I then don't want to actually mail them out to anyone! LOL. But yes, receiving something by snail mail is so much fun that I must get in the habit of something something out throughout the year. What a great idea you had!

57EBT1002
Mar 28, 2012, 4:11pm

I get so attached to them that I then don't want to actually mail them out to anyone!
I feel the exact same way! It tempts me to buy two sets!!.....

58jnwelch
Mar 28, 2012, 4:20pm

>56 Smiler69: I started reading JA late in life, long after I was out of school. I had a well-read, crusty old (male) co-worker who loved (and loves) her books, and of course that piqued my interest.

I started with P & P. The witty exchanges and the drive of the story really caught me. If my much better half hadn't come along, and Elizabeth hadn't met Darcy, I'd be trying to convince her to marry me. I'm also an Anglophile, and fascinated by 19th century England, so I was in my element. I liked each one after that for different reasons, although Emma Woodhouse certainly strained my patience.

59jdthloue
Mar 28, 2012, 4:41pm

I am so late..but love #42...the "dress up " post...which made me smile...the dressing up, that is

now, i want to drag my few "glad rags" out of the closet...and parade!

60Smiler69
Mar 28, 2012, 5:20pm

#57 Ellen, I have an do often (almost always?) purchase in pairs when it comes to individual postcards, unless I happen to be picking up over a dozen different ones at a time, in which case I'll chose a few I know I'll want to send out, or if they're very expensive ones. Then I wait for the right moment and person to send them to, i.e. those who are most likely to appreciate whatever the design, photo, painting, illustration happens to be... Now I'm thinking I should sit down and write one or two of them to throw in the mail today while I'm thinking about it!

#58 Joe, thanks for your little story about how you came to discover JA , that was really interesting. I've always loved 19th century literature too, bus as I'm both an Anglophile as well as a Francophile, until recently there was a lot of the historical aspects and details about politics, social conventions and so on that completely escaped me. Still are many of course. But I don't think I'd read anything from the early 19th century before reading Jane Austen and find there's quite a difference, though I'd have to read more, as well as some 18th century novels to really be able to pronounce myself on that.

#59 Jude, you're never late here. I'm just glad whenever you do pop up. Also glad you liked the dressing up story. I have to really feel up to it, which I don't often do, but I do try to make a point of pulling out some of my more fun and creative looks from my closet when I can. I've always been a clothes shopper and have accumulated quite a few interesting pieces. Only problem being that until a few years ago when I started taking meds in earnest, I only shopped when I was at my smallest size (twenty five lbs or so lighter), so that most of those clothes don't fit me now or just look wrong. I'm getting used to my womanly curves and hope to actually start embracing them eventually... on a typical day when my only outings are to walk Coco though, I don't particularly want to draw attention to myself, so I save it up for art classes or the very occasional social outing (i.e. once in a blue moon!)

Speaking of taking Coco outside... it's cold & wet out there. Yech! but go I must...

61lyzard
Mar 28, 2012, 5:29pm

Hi, Ilana. Yes, we did say May for Persuasion and that's still fine for me, so just give me a shout when you're ready to start.

The only thing I hate more than clothes shopping is shoe shopping. Because the only thing more oddly shaped than my body is my feet! :)

62EBT1002
Mar 28, 2012, 8:11pm

I heard Coco say "thanks" all the way out here on the west coast!

63Smiler69
Mar 28, 2012, 10:17pm

#61 Thanks Liz, I'll add it to one of my lists to make it more official, though I know you've taken care of it over on the Tutored reads thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/129218)

#62 Yes, he sure loves his walk. Though I suspect the primary motive isn't what we think it is: he actually want to sniff around more than anything else!

64Smiler69
Mar 28, 2012, 10:35pm

As usual, I meant to do a lot of things today, but other than spending lots of time on the computer writing emails and putting together a blog post, the day seems to have gone by with not much else getting done. And I've faithfully journal led all that nothingness for my OT appointment next week. Looking back, I see I spent at least TWO HOURS tagging books. I'm a bit obsessive about that and it seems to be my procrastination medium of choice. Not sure what that says about me, but there you have it.

I did manage to spend 30 minute or so reading two more books from Visions in Poetry collection. Like illustrated by Canadian artists for a 21st century readership.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Ryan Price (he's new to me) and Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, imaginatively invented by illustrator Stéphane Jorisch, an excellent illustrator and a really nice person I had the pleasure of working with when he illustrated a few articles at the magazine for me. I still have The Lady of Shalott to read, and will definitely re-read My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson a few times before returning it to the library—I'll probably eventually purchase that one, that's how much I love it.

The blog post I managed to publish after a couple of hours of re-writing and obsessing over details was a reworked version of my review for Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, which you can find here if you're curious: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/03/28/a-not-so-common-reader/

As I spent a couple of hours editing photos for my other blog, createthreesixty5.com, I'll try to put together a post for that one too. I'd like to do that tonight, but I've yet to eat some kind of dinner and spent way too much time on the computer already today, so we'll see. Never enough hours in the day... how does anyone ever managed to get bored???

65EBT1002
Mar 29, 2012, 3:26pm

LOL - yes, it's hard to imagine getting bored, isn't it? I know we've all felt bored at times, but with the list of things I want to do and things I want to read, I know I have an antidote if that feeling does come upon me.

I hope to check out your blog later today, Ilana. It sounds like you've been finding some energy to devote to your creative side. :-)

66Smiler69
Mar 29, 2012, 3:50pm

I'm about to go off to the library with Coco to pick up some more books. Where I'll find time to read all these piles of library books accumulating on my coffee table, I don't know, but it's all for a good cause.

Anyway, there are two books I want to return which I read last week and really enjoyed. One will count toward my 75 books and one won't, but I want to mention them both before I forget the details, because I think some of you may really enjoy these two.





40. The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman, Illustrated by Peter Sís ★★★★

This was a charming little story set in Mexico about a little girl called Susana, who, one night as she is having a pleasant dream about her best friend who has recently moved away, is very annoyed to find the dream has abruptly been interrupted. The culprit of course is the Dream Stealer, a strange creature with orange wings and feathers with red polka dots, green and purple spots, sharp teeth and protruding eyes like a frog's. He is meant to only steal away children's nightmares, but he's recently taken to stealing good dreams too. Susana is a clever girl, and she has every intention catching the creature and making him give her back her precious dream. It's a charming tale about facing one's fears using one's wits, and very cleverly told. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I'll be looking out for more books by Sid Fleischman, who has written more than 60 children's books, several of which he worked on with Peter Sís. He's also won a Newbery Medal among other awards.





13 Words by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman ★★★★

This book is a pure delight. Out of 13 seemingly random words, Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) has created a touchingly funny little tale, all married with charming illustrations by Maira Kalman. This is ostensibly a children's picture book, but will definitely appeal to grownups who enjoy plunging into whimsical fare. Loads of fun. Here's a funny promo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI1HZFrijeU. But the book is much better still, trust me.



67Smiler69
Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 3:56pm

#65 Hi Ellen, sorry I missed your message before posting the above. I fully intend to post some of my artwork on my 365 blog (and that of my classmates too) when I get back from taking Coco for his weekly library visit. He's quite a hit there, even though he's not technically allowed in. But of course, they make an exception for my bunny-bear. :-)

68LovingLit
Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 4:28pm

>55 EBT1002:/56 that penguin covers box set is amazing. I love stuff like that. They'd look cool with 5 or 6 in a row framed in a horizontal line.

Great illustrations in the book above, its really more about them than the words I guess. They kind of take over. In a beautiful way, I mean.

eta: had to come back and add my 2 cents about nicknames. They are so interesting, where they come from nobody knows (apart from the rhyming ones)...for Wilbur, we call him Wilby Wom Wom, Womple Stiltskin, and Wilbur von crimplene! Lenny has become Lenny Licious and Len-aaaah (wilbur created that), and I call him Bobba sometimes. Our fluffy cat called Terry is Terry Tom Tom, Thompson or his full name of Terry Teo. :)

69Smiler69
Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 8:35pm

Megan, I'm really tempted by the Penguin postcards set. It's now on my BookDepository wishlist as it's a few dollars cheaper there than on Amazon. Of course though, when I looked it up I got suggestions for other postcard sets and now am also tempted by the Postcards from Puffin and Postcards from Ladybird collections, which all look like lots of fun. But then... what could I do with THAT many postcards?? I guess write one-a-day for a while... but would be strange to go from writing exactly NONE to sending out that many!

About 13 Words: while it's true the illustrations make the book a real pleasure to look at, I have to insist that the combination of words and images together is really it's strength. As I understand it Handler and Kalman are friends in RL, so this was probably a collaborative effort.

70phebj
Mar 29, 2012, 9:01pm

Ilana, thanks so much for the recommendations for The Dream Stealer and 13 Words. I just put them both on hold at the library. And I bought the Penquin postcards last year after Suzanne mentioned them on her thread. For the most part, they stay in their box on my shelf but I like knowing I have them. My intent was to use them as bookmarks but I usually end up using some scrap of paper instead.

71msf59
Mar 29, 2012, 9:03pm

Hi Ilana- Congrats on another Audible book haul! Where do you store all your audios? On an ipod or on your computer? I only keep a few on my iPod at a time.
You sure love your illustrated novels! Both of those look good.

72-Cee-
Mar 29, 2012, 9:30pm

I love that you are having some fun lately!

I'll be busy from now to mid afternoon tomorrow with mailing a newsletter - be back tomorrow, or shortly thereafter. :)
Keep smiling! Hugs!

73Smiler69
Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 10:00pm



Above: I finally posted some paintings on my art blog: http://createthreesixty5.com/2012/03/29/after-karl-schmidt-rottluff/
I've also got another blog post lined up with more artwork which I may publish tomorrow.

It's been quiet on my thread today and I'm thinking this is probably largely due to the fact that I've been such a bad LTer lately. I do try to visit a few threads each day, but can't really handle more because I've fallen so far behind that every thread takes a LOT of time to get through. My own fault really, but it sure is hard getting caught up again once having so badly fallen behind. I get quickly discouraged as I do the rounds too, because it seems that for every thread I DO visit, there are at least a dozen others that I've sadly neglected. *sigh*. So much stress... GHA!

Brought back more books from the library, most of which are children's titles illustrated by local talent (a couple of which are by Isabelle Arsenault, who did the illustration up top). I'll be sure to share my findings once I've read them.

I also built up quite an impressive collection of Stefan Zweig audiobooks in the past couple of weeks. I have yet to read (or listen) to a single book of his, but I've heard so many good things about this author that I'm going with the assumption that I'll love everything he's written, and since I've gotten all those audiobooks free from the library (I should specify: in French translation), I can't really go wrong.

The titles I've got so far are:

Confusion: The Private Papers of Privy Councillor R. von D.
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
Journey into the Past
Fear
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman

eta: forget the part about it being quiet on my thread today. I started this message about an hour ago while doing other things and just found some lovely messages above, yay! :-)

74Smiler69
Mar 29, 2012, 9:40pm

#70 Pat, I looked up google images to get an idea of what all these postcards look like and landed on a couple of blogs. Seems the general consensus is that they're too good to actually mail out and everybody ends up keeping them to themselves! A couple of people mentioned framing them, which is also a great idea.

#71 Mark, I used to store my audios on my computer as I have a huge hard drive on this baby, but it got a bit ridiculous, so now I only keep the ones I've copied from the library. All the Audible books stay on the Audible site and can be downloaded any time I want them, as many times as I want, ostensibly "forever", even after I cancel my membership. There's also a handy iPhone Audible app that allows you to download them directly to your phone without having to plug into the computer, so I've been using that mostly.

#72 Hi Claudia. A visit from you always makes me smile, no matter what I've got going on. Hope you make time for some fun even if you're a busy woman in the next 24 hours!

75phebj
Mar 29, 2012, 9:48pm

I can't wait to hear what you think of Stefan Zweig, Ilana. I've read both Fear and Letter from an Unknown Woman plus several others. I've liked them all--they have an almost feverish quality to them.

I'm off to check out the art.

And don't feel bad about keeping up with all the threads. That seems to be a universal problem this year.

76bohemima
Mar 29, 2012, 10:32pm

>73 Smiler69:: Wow! Love the lady, especially the colors. Went to your blog to check out the metamorphosis from the woodcut to the watercolor(?). Really, really nice.

So many books...so little time...every time I look at your "hope to read this year" I smile because many of my favorites are on there--Old Filth and Possession spring immediately to mind; completely different works, but each compelling.

I'm dreadfully behind on threads as well, including my own. But we must keep trying, at least a little bit.

*two-cheek kiss*

77Smiler69
Mar 30, 2012, 12:22am

#75 Pat, my biggest problem with Zweig at this point will be deciding what book to start with. I think I'll proceed by publication order starting with the novels, unless someone offers a better suggestion.

The only reason I'm having that much harder a time keeping up this year than last here on LT is that I spent the better part of my days on LT for most of 2011 and promised myself I wouldn't keep doing that. Don't get me wrong, it was lots of fun, just not practical or sustainable. I wonder why everyone else is finding it more difficult this year?

#76 Thanks for the kind compliments Gail. Indeed, Old Filth and Possession wouldn't immediately come to my mind as being related in any way, though now I know better and will remember them as being related by virtue of your marked appreciation of them both! :-)

78LovingLit
Mar 30, 2012, 1:14am

Lovely work in #73, she looks a bit menacing, even with lovely lips :)

79Deern
Mar 30, 2012, 3:15am

What a lovely book! I learned a new word already, "despondent". Will I ever be able to use it?
And what did the cake look like? Awww - the bird and the dog didn't eat from the parcel, they actually used dishes and had tea with the cake!

Of your new haul I only know Twelfth Night which I remember as one of my favorite Shakespeare plays yet. Must reread. Btw. I didn't find it on audible, but if you ever see "When Love Speaks" in your library, you should get it. It's a selection of the sonnets read by RSC actors (Alan Rickman with "My Mistress' Eyes" among them!), and there are also two short bits from Twelfth Night read by Joseph Fiennes, "Be not afeard" and "Our revels now are ended". That's how I fell in love with the play.

I know some of the Zweigs, maybe all (titles might not be 1:1 translations). Pat is right with the feverish quality. People are usually not acting reasonable and sober in Zweig's works.

I know I am repeating myself - but I just LOVE the art! I actually prefer the man's head (which I thought was also a woman's head before reading the title) both in the original and your interpretation.

80PaulCranswick
Mar 30, 2012, 6:00am

Ilana - don't have much time so I'm only skimming a few of my favourite threads - just saying hi from a very refreshing New Zealand.

81phebj
Mar 30, 2012, 12:50pm

Hi Ilana. I love your artwork too and am so glad you're posting the links to it. It's interesting that watercolors can achieve a similar effect to the woodcuts--they seems like such different media (if that's the right term).

I just got back from the library with 13 Words and The Dream Stealer and can't wait to read them. It's a dreary rainy day here and I think these books will be the perfect antidote.

The issue I'm having with keeping up with the threads this year is that there are so many new people I'm following in addition to all my favorites from the last two years. I haven't counted but there must be 60 or 70 threads I've got starred and some of them are VERY active with sometimes 30-40 new posts in one day. Part of me knows this is insane but I can't bring myself to "ignore" anyone. Of course, because I'm mostly lurking no one would ever know but me but I'm finding everyone so interesting. Oh well, I don't work and I'm a homebody at heart so it's all been good.

82-Cee-
Mar 30, 2012, 7:50pm

Hi Ilana - so glad you posted your art. Still trying to decide what I think... looks like a woman who is distrustful but yearning for something. Conflicted emotions. Or maybe that is me in my own interpretation. I always seem to have to make up a story for every picture I see.
Anyway, you did a great job... keep on keeping on ;-)

That Em Dickinson book looks yummy. Maybe I will look into getting that one and adding it to the ugly book I presently have of her poetry. I think poetry needs art to go with it...

Have a lovely evening - sleep well :)
Hugs to my fav Canadian artist {{you}}

83roundballnz
Mar 30, 2012, 8:38pm

Love those postcards from Penguin very cool idea .......

84Smiler69
Mar 30, 2012, 9:37pm

#78 Thanks Megan. I don't know if she's menacing or feeling menaced, but there's definitely something going on there.

#79 Nathalie, "despondent" is indeed a very good word. I wonder if I've ever used it before? If not I should start doing so because it describes how I feel so much of the time... and today to be sure.

I looked up "When Love Speaks" and didn't see it available on Audible for this part of the world either, nor did I find it at the library, but it sounds wonderful.

Re: the man's head.... I didn't realize it was supposed to be a man's head until I put the blog post together and noticed the title of that piece, which I hadn't done before. I definitely painting "him" thinking it was a "she". Not that it really matters one way or the other. :-)

#80 So nice of you to drop by while you're away on your travels Paul!

#81 Pat, you've got the right word with "media". I don't think watercolour and woodcut could be more different from one another, with woodcutting being almost like a form of sculpture and watercolours being so flowing so it is strange that they could seem similar.

I'm surprised you were able to get those two books so quickly though happy they were readily available and hope you enjoy them when you get to them.

#82 Claudia, the beauty about art is that there is no such thing as a "right" or a "wrong" interpretation—it's all in the eye of the beholder. Maybe the conflicted emotion you see there is what drew me to that woodcut to begin with.

#83 I think it's just a question of time before I get those cards myself Alex.

85Smiler69
Mar 30, 2012, 9:44pm

Thought I'd do a bunch of things today, but no. Am... feeling very... despondent (being the word of the day) and have no energy for anything. Just seems like the world is about to collapse on me. Even reading doesn't seem to make me feel better as I can't seem to enjoy any of it. Oh well. Tomorrow's another day, thank heavens.

Sorry I'm such a bore.

86PaulCranswick
Mar 30, 2012, 9:57pm

Keep good cheer my dear - at least you have retained 7th place this month! How about a limerick to cheer you up (in a scots accent)

I saw an inscription on a chair in Akaroa and made up this totally inappropriate limerick for Kyran

There was a wee girl McKinnerty,
Who on this bench lost her virginity,
She wasnae so sure
Whether she was still pure
And said is it in or innertae?

Well told you it was inappropriate - Kyran whooped but I got a ewww from Yassie and a stone making glance from Hani.

87roundballnz
Mar 31, 2012, 2:01am

Totally inappropriate but shd put a smile on anyones face !!! - So how many shoes did that cost you?? :)

88sibylline
Mar 31, 2012, 8:34am

Twelfth Night is also my favorite! The Tempest not far behind......

89Deern
Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 8:49am

Great - I confused Twelfth Night with The Tempest again. Sorry! It always happens with those 2 plays. (It's the synesthete thing with the colors of the words, both greyish blue). I'm hopeless.

I like them both, but prefer The Tempest, and the Joseph Fiennes quotes from my post above are from the Tempest as well. But Twelfth Night is more funny, it actually made me laugh despite the old language!

Re. "When love Speaks": it's available both on amazon and i-tunes (at least in my region). It's expensive, but you can also buy/load each sonnet separately and listen to very short bits of them first. If you are interested better look at it on amazon, because it gives the names of all the readers. There's also Ralph Fiennes with a very steamy performance of "Th' expense of spirit". On i-tunes Germany many of the famous readers turn up nameless as 'various artists' only. In my region amazon is also cheaper.

90jnwelch
Mar 31, 2012, 10:28am

We got to see a nice production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Thursday in Chicago. This is a wonderful one for Spring:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

(Oberon)

Like your paintings, Ilana!

91Smiler69
Mar 31, 2012, 3:52pm

#86 Paul, dirty limericks man is what you'll end up being known for if you keep at it. That being said, it made me smile, even though it took me a while to catch on to the last line... (no explaining necessary, I assure you).

#87 Yes, I'm wondering what it cost him as well...

#88 One day, I too will be able to proclaim that such and such is my favourite Shakespeare play, followed by such and such, and so on. Won't happen for quite some time, but there's no rush.

#89 It's the synesthete thing with the colors of the words, both greyish blue

Nathalie, you have to explain about that. I think I understand what synaesthesia is about, but why both greyish blue?

#90 That's lovely Joe, thanks for sharing.

92Smiler69
Mar 31, 2012, 4:30pm

I ended up sleeping through our student show vernissage today, which started at noon. Now I regret not going of course, but I didn't think I could handle being in a crowd of people given my despondent (that word again) mood. A friend from class called me about an hour ago from the show and said my piece had been very well positioned, which is nice to know. It's our last class of the session on Monday and we're apparently scheduled to visit the gallery together, so all is not lost. Also, I'll be inviting my father to come have a look sometime in the next couple of weeks, when I'll also bring my camera along.

Last night I finished listening to the short recently released audio of The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura. I'm sure this story would appeal to many, but I took it as a bad sign when I decided to re-tag a bunch of titles on iTunes as I was listening to it to make it go faster. As soon as I was done with that I started listening to A Venetian Reckoning / Death and Judgement by Donna Leon which I predict I'll enjoy a lot more.

I also spent a good part of the evening and night finishing up The Windup Girl. It took me a long time to get into the book, but about halfway through I got hooked. There's a lot of it that went over my head, and this genre isn't where my comfort zone lies, but it was interesting all the same.

I have no idea what I'll pick up next. Usually by this time at the end of the month I've already got the whole next month planned out as far as reading choices go, but not this time. It's true that several choice are already made for me, what with several group reads planned; The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (12/12), David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (75ers), The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), and an ER book, The Last Song by Eva Wiseman to read and review asap, but I'll still probably want to make a list to help guide my choices as I'll no doubt be able to fit several more, at least when it comes to audiobooks.

It's beautiful outside. Not warm, but sunny blue skies. I'll go take Coco for a walk and then... we'll see.

93EBT1002
Mar 31, 2012, 9:19pm

Ilana, I can't really catch up but I will say that those two other postcard collections look like great fun! If I were a book publisher, I'd be jumping on this bandwagon! And I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog a couple of years ago and loved it. It was before I had found LT, but I'm sure I would have given it 4.5 stars, at least.

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Michigan watching a show on Animal Planet all about puppies. I mean, itty bitty puppies! Silly, but cute......

Viewing your art work continues to bring me pleasure.

94Smiler69
Mar 31, 2012, 9:25pm

I really look forward to getting to The Elegance of the Hedgehog Ellen. I've had that book seemingly forever and have listed it on TIOLI I don't know how many times already... definitely reading it this month!

95Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 3:40pm

April already! Oh my. I'd like to post stats, but first I feel like I really need to start getting some reviews out of the way. I need to take Coco out soon... so I'll aim for 2-3 per book only and see how many I can get done in the next 20 minutes. Not that those plans ever work out, but it's worth a try!

96Smiler69
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 3:54pm



41. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 3: The Black Prince to Henry VIII 1327-1547 by Christopher Lee ★★★★

Continuing on my English history education, this installation of Christopher Lee's award-winning radio programmes covers the period between the 14th to the 16th centuries and finally helps me straighten out Henry VIII's background. Doubt any of it will stick what with my horrible memory, but that won't have anything to do with the quality of these programmes, which are excellent. Next up: QEI.

97Smiler69
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 4:26pm



42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes ★★★★½
(Read for 12/12 Category #5: The Dark Side)

I'd heard of Chester Himes's Harlem Cycle before, but if it hadn't been for a new audio series called "The A-List" which has A-list actors narrating some of the most beloved books—in this case, none other than Samuel L. Jackson—it might have been a while yet before I'd gotten around to this series. Taking place in Harlem, the story revolves around a naive man called Jackson who gets taken in by a team of fraudsters who convince him they can "raise" denominations of 10 dollars into 100 dollar bills. There's plenty of humour there, which combines well with the otherwise hardboiled world of gangsterism, drugs and violence. Not for the faint of heart, but deeply satisfying if you like your mysteries served up on the tough side.

98msf59
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 4:21pm

Hi Ilana- So you would recommend The Thief or you haven't decided yet. It really sounds like something I would like. And short is good.
I think I felt the same way you did on The Windup Girl. It definitely draws you in, until you are hooked.
I'm also a fan of Hedgehog and the audio was terrific. Good review of A Rage in Harlem. I would love to hear this one.
Game of Thrones tonight! Yahoo!

99Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 4:25pm



43. Troubles by J. G. Farrell ★★★★½
(Read for Read for TIOLI #4: Read a book from JanetinLondon's library memorial challenge and 12/12 Category #1: The First Half 1901-1951)

Major Brendan Archer, just released from treatment for shell-shock after the first war, is headed to the Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough, Ireland, to meet a young woman who may or may not be his fiancée. He's not quite sure what the agreement he made with Angela Spencer was that one time they met in 1916 and shared a drunken kiss, but she's written to him throughout the war in great detail about her family and their life at the Majestic Hotel, which is owned by her father, Edward Spencer, each time signing the letters as his betrothed. When he arrives at the hotel, he's surprised to find it in a state of utter disrepair and with no service or proper amenities to speak of. He sees Angela once or twice very briefly and has no chance to straighten things out with her before she's taken to her bed with a grave illness. As he gets better acquainted with the hotel's permanent elderly guests, who haven't paid for their stay in many years, and grows accustomed to the growing army of cats overtaking the place, he also befriends Edward and finds some sort of routine amid the wreckage of the once splendid resort. He shares his time with the bereaved Spencer family, who are mourning Angela's passing, with Edward sinking quickly into more and more bizarre behaviour, Angela's infernal twin sisters, and a local Catholic Kilnalough girl called Sarah, who may or may not be an invalid. All this amid the chaos of an Ireland shaken by mounting violence and terrorism as the Irish republicans, seek to free themselves from British rule and brutality. Filled with humour and amusing anecdotes, and interspersed with news clippings, this is a novel that gives plenty for the reader to reflect upon. Strongly recommended.

100Smiler69
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 4:31pm

#98 Mark, something tells me you would indeed enjoy The Thief. So while I can't recommend it based on my own appreciation (which was very limited), I would say you should go right ahead and try it out. A Rage in Harlem is sure to satisfy—it's got a whole lot going for it, and Samuel L. Jackson just ends up being the cherry on the sundae.

GAME OF THRONES... HOORAY!!!




Off to walk Coco in the rain.

101souloftherose
Apr 1, 2012, 4:46pm

Just catching up to say I'm so glad to see you enjoying some of my 19th century favourites so much (The Woman in White and Northanger Abbey).

#53 Ooh - books! That looks like a great haul. The ones I've heard of look good and the ones I haven't heard of look interesting! I hope you enjoy Queen Lucia - I think that could be a brilliant one to listen to with the right narrator. Presumably the Christopher Lee is not the actor (although wouldn't Christopher Lee the actor be an amazing narrator? I love his voice).

#64 "Looking back, I see I spent at least TWO HOURS tagging books. I'm a bit obsessive about that and it seems to be my procrastination medium of choice. Not sure what that says about me, but there you have it. " It says that you're a girl after my own heart :-) It can be very therapeutic...

#66 13 Words looks fascinating. I loved the youtube promo. The library doesn't have a copy but hopefully I can slip it under the radar as a present for a friend's child? (And obviously I'd have to check all the pages were there first).

#99 Glad you enjoyed Troubles - I get intimidated by the Booker Prize so I was quite surprised to find how much I enjoyed it and how funny I found it. I definitely want to read The Siege of Krishnapur now.

Enjoy Game of Thrones! (jealous)

102Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 8:27pm

#101 Hi Heather. I always enjoy your visits so much because you make interesting comments on all sorts of things I've forgotten I even mentioned! I guess I must do the same when I visit threads too as I'm always playing catchup...

I'm not proud of the rate at which I've been buying books this year, though when I look at my buying pattern, at least they're all audiobooks—the upside being that I'm least I'm not adding even more clutter to my already overcrowded home. I don't know who Christopher Lee the actor is (off to check on wikipedia...) Oh my: "Lee has performed roles in 275 films since 1946 making him the Guinness World Record holder for most film acting roles ever". Now I'm ashamed to realize I didn't know who he was. I looked up Audible to see if they had anything narrated by him and they do... though most of the tracks are either abridgements or very short works (several very short Agatha Christie stories). I also landed on The Complete Sonnets by Shakespeare. Into the wishlist that goes.

All that being said, no the author of the Sceptered Isle series is another Christopher Lee. Or at least I think so, because Sir Christopher Lee also appears to have written a number of books. (checked, an yes, different author).

I may have mentioned this before, but when I signed up on LT in 2007, I spent the first couple of years just entering all the books I had and/or remembered ever reading and tagging them. I was in the throes of the worst of my depression and not at all sociable, and yes, I agree I think that sort of activity is very therapeutic. I must say I often spend time on tagging and fact-checking, both very relaxing and strangely rewarding, although not in the least bit productive in any real way.

I think you'll really enjoy 13 Words Heather. And I predict you may even have a hard time passing it on as a gift to someone else...

On Troubles: I know what you mean about being intimidated by Booker Prize winners. I felt that way too, but have read enough Booker Prize books at this point that it's not so bad. The Nobel Prize is a whole different story though... That being said, Troubles is the kind of book that is so satisfying on so many levels that it makes me wonder why I bother reading anything that is not of the same intellectual level. But then, one can't nourish oneself exclusively with intellectual fare (unless one happens to be Daryl!)

Game of Thrones... 33 minutes to go!

I'll try to punch out some more reviews in the meantime...

103jnwelch
Apr 1, 2012, 8:40pm

A Rage in Harlem looks good, Ilana. Thanks for the review. Ditto for Troubles, which is getting a lot of good LT buzz.

104Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 8:55pm



44. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon ★★★★⅓
(Read for TIOLI #19: Read a mystery of more than 300 pages , 12/12 Category #3: Picked for Me - avatiakh)

A large rambling mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens, a beautiful young woman brilliantly wedded who hides secrets which she must keep at all costs... this novel has all the ingredients of a Gothic extravaganza. When Sir Michael Audley takes Lucy Graham, a humble governess of great beauty as his wife, everyone in the town of Audley is enchanted by the match. Sir Michael has been a sad widower for so many years, and now has found true love with a woman who manages to delight everyone she meets with her great charm, good graces, and china doll perfect good looks. Sir Michael's nephew, the young Robert Audley is fascinated by Lucy much like everyone else, but when his best friend George Talboys recently arrived from a long stay in Australia goes missing after having visited Audley Court, he begins suspecting that something is afoul and decides to pry into Lucy's mysteriously blank past.

A very satisfying adventure, though I must admit the mystery aspect offered me no great surprises as I had put the pieces together from the first few chapters. All the same, the way in which the characters evolve and the story itself is put together offered plenty of satisfaction. Another touch of Gothic thrills worked into the tale is the presence of a portrait of Lady Audley painted by a Pre-Raphaëlite artist that shows a side of Lucy that only the artist seems to have noticed. The portrait plays a crucial role in the story, but the almost surreal appeal of the painting also brought to mind The Picture of Dorian Gray, which may or may not have been influenced by Lady Audley, but which certainly shares a complexity of themes with it's precursor. Heartily recommended.

105Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 8:57pm

#103 Joe, I liked A Rage in Harlem so much that I made sure to secure the followup, The Crazy Kill from Audible and had to restrain myself from getting the third book as well...

106Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 9:00pm

Oh my... HBO preview of a film... Hemingway & Gellhorn with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Now that's what I call "Must See TV".

Time for Game of Thrones!!!

I shall be back!

107roundballnz
Apr 1, 2012, 9:04pm

Game of Thrones ....... sigh oh dear another one lost .......

108phebj
Apr 1, 2012, 9:52pm

#106 I've been wondering whatever happened to HBO's production of Hemingway & Gellhorn. I thought it was going to air last year and then gave up wondering when I didn't hear anything. I don't get HBO so I'll be interested to hear what it's like if you get a chance to see it.

109Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 10:24pm

#107 Yes indeed. I made sure to read A Clash of Kings to ready myself for season 2. Sunday nights are sacred for the next few weeks!

#108 I just looked up the schedule Pat, and it looks like they're only airing it on May 28th. I've put it on my agenda, so I'd say the chances of me seeing it stand at a good 95%!

110ronincats
Apr 1, 2012, 10:48pm

Caught up--for the moment! Give my love to Coco, Ilana, and the cats, even that useless, gorgeous male one.

111Smiler69
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 11:00pm



45. ♫ Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley ★★★★⅓
(Read for 12/12 Category #4: Guardian Knows Best)

Easy Rawlins has just lost his factory job and needs to find a way to make money before the the mortgage payment comes due for his home within just a few days. This is the late 1940s and Ezekiel has returned from the war battle worn and with few illusions, and his house is the one stable thing in his life for which he's willing to fight in order to keep. When a suspicious white man enrols him to find a white girl called Daphne Monet, last seen in one of the illegal bars in the company of a well-known gangster, Easy knows he can't trust the man and questions his motives for wanting to find Daphne in the first place. But money is money and this job pays well... but is he prepared for the most dangerous character in the story in the shape of a very beautiful and sexy Daphne? This first novel in the Easy Rawlins series has a lot going for it, not least of which the descriptions of a bygone nitty gritty downtown Los Angeles where walking into a bar could be more dangerous than walking the streets at night. The hardboiled atmosphere is palpable and Ezekiel is easy to like, which means I'll more than likely be revisiting this series in near future. Having read this very shortly after the first book in the Harlem Cycle by Chester Himes, I feel confident in saying that Mosley was more than likely influenced by his predecessor, and that can only be a good thing.

112Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 10:56pm

#110 Hi Roni! Based on your comment, I would venture to guess that you've recently gotten all caught up with Ellen's thread too, where I came clean about Ezra's provenance and my complicated feelings towards him. I'm sure he'll appreciate the attention in his own grudging way. As for Coco and Mimi, they never say no to attention and snuggles!

113ronincats
Apr 1, 2012, 11:04pm

Quite right, Ilana! I'm sure Ezra feels much aggrieved that with all his natural beauty, you insist on posting pictures of Coco instead.

114Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 11:13pm



46. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura ★★★
(Read for 12/12 Category #5: The Dark Side)

The Thief in question is a talented pickpocket who takes pleasure in stealing from the rich and prides himself on the skill with which he can separate any man from his wallet. He's got the whole process down to a science, isn't wanting for anything and enjoys his freedom and independence. Things start changing for him when he encounters a young boy who is forced by his mother to steal groceries. The boy is needing some tips on how to become a more accomplished thief and our man is only too glad to share his knowledge on that score. Then an old thieving partner reappears in his life and gets him involved in an assignment he can't refuse; participating in an armed robbery for the Yakuza. The plan is meticulously worked out and the reap seems too good to be true. The Thief has misgivings about the robbery and his suspicions are about to prove to be well founded. This is a good story which is sure to appeal to many, but which for some reason failed to grab me. Could it have something to do with the audio version and a narrator I didn't like? That certainly couldn't have helped, but there were elements in the story itself which I'd be hard pressed to put my finger on which simply didn't appeal to me, so I was all the more happy that this was a short affair.

115Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 11:24pm

I'm sure Ezra feels much aggrieved that with all his natural beauty, you insist on posting pictures of Coco instead.

Yes, I have thought about that quite often. If Ezra was more available and played with the others more, then I'd have more photo opportunities to show off his great beauty. But as he likes to keep to himself and refuses to make pretty for the camera, it's much trickier to get good photos of him. That being said, here are a coupe I took a couple of weeks ago while he was in one of his cuddly moods. The angle seems weird because I had him lying on my legs turned over on his back and took the photo from above.

  

116dk_phoenix
Apr 1, 2012, 11:32pm

Heehee... silly kitty...

117Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 11:54pm



47. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi ★★★⅞
(Read for TIOLI #23: Read a book with the word "Girl" in the title and 12/12 Category #12: From My Treasure Trove)

Many of the bleakest predictions for the future have come true and life in the 23rd century is a constant fight for survival against pandemics, religious extremists, and the lack of adequate sources of nourishment. While many of the world's nations have fallen prey to these afflictions and ceased to exist as entities, the Thais have managed to survive and even prosper. They're braved bioterrorism by shutting themselves off from the rest of the world and cultivating crops from their own ancient seeds, while the rest of the world's nations were forced to buy their foodstuffs from multinationals who own the patents to all known calorie sources. Anderson Lake works for one such multinational, AgriGen, and he's in Bangkok working undercover in the guise of a factory owner, manufacturing springs (a source of energy in a post-fuel-based world) to crack the secrets of the re-emergence of what were thought to be long extinct food sources, such as nightshades (including tomatoes and tobacco) and what may be known to us as lychees. Emiko, the Windup Girl of the title used to be treated by her original Japanese owner as a queen, but she's been left behind and now is forced to work in a sex club where her utter public degradation is part of the nightly act. Windup girls originated in Japan where they were developed as an obedient workforce, and are recognizable due to their distinctive stutter motion, though they've evolved from test tubes and could otherwise pass for normal human beings, albeit much more beautiful ones. Bangkok is about to fall into the chaos of civil warfare in which Emiko and Anderson are deeply embroiled in ways neither of them could ever have predicted in this hotbed of corruption and violence .

As I'm fairly new to certain types of fantasy and science fiction, it took me quite a while to fully get immersed into the story—roughly half the novel in fact. But once all main elements of the story had been established, the novel really took off from me, and it was difficult to put down. Not an easy read by any means, and I must admit a lot of it went right over my head—including the ending—but I still recommend this unusual and highly imaginative novel which completely immerses the reader in this strange and scary future world.

118Smiler69
Apr 1, 2012, 11:59pm

#116 :-)




There we go! All caught up with my reviews. This is definitely the most productive day ever on that front for me! I was hoping to start the month with a new thread to keep things properly organized, but at least I can now put March behind me mentally if not thread-wise. I'll try to post some stats soon.

Going forward, for the first time since I've joined this group, I'm considering not joining the TIOLI challenges this month, for the simple reason that participating adds a whole other level of management which I'm not sure I want to be devoting time to right now. I love TIOLI so much that it feels strange to imagine not choosing my books according to challenges (or at least trying to fit my selections into them), but I'm sure it can be done... maybe?

119DeltaQueen50
Apr 2, 2012, 1:51am

Wow, Ilana, you have been reading a varied and very interesting assortment of books. Great reviews. I am definitely going to be following up on your recommendation regarding Chester Hines, and I have had Walter Mosley's series on my wishlist for some time.

Great review of The Windup Girl, certainly not an easy book to read, or to write a review of!

120Deern
Apr 2, 2012, 6:20am

Wow, you've been very busy with reviews over the weekend. I haven't yet read them all in detail, but I think Lady Audley's Secret will go to my WL.

Great Ezra pics, he stares right into the camera.

121msf59
Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 6:50am

Ilana- Keeping mum about GOT? No hints? I'll be back tonight...

122sibylline
Apr 2, 2012, 7:24am

I'm so envious - we only just got the DVD's for last season...... having no HBO. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

123Donna828
Apr 2, 2012, 10:10am

Hi Ilana, I enjoyed the flurry of reviews and the pictures of Ezra. Your review of Troubles makes me want to ditch my reading plans for April and jump right into The Empire Trilogy. They will just have to keep on being patient and await their turn!

I'll miss you on TIOLI. I don't guide my reading by the challenges but rather find a challenge that fits what I intend to read for the month. For some reason, I have more than my usual amount of library books coming in so I won't reduce my TBR stacks as much as I'd like to. It's all good...as long as we keep reading, right?

124Crazymamie
Apr 2, 2012, 11:10am

It's dangerous here - so many lovely reviews! I really liked the sounds of the Chester Himes, and Troubles, and Devil in a Blue Dress.....

125-Cee-
Apr 2, 2012, 11:20am

Well done, Ilana!
Great reviews and pictures of Ezra! He's a beauty :)
Wishing you a fun day in your art class. It's today, right?

126jnwelch
Apr 2, 2012, 11:31am

Good reviews of Devil in a Blue Dress and The Windup Girl, Ilana! Thumbs from me.

You've got a lot of fun Easy Rawlins reading waiting for you when time permits. That's always been one of my favorite experiences - when you find a series you like and many books in it have already been written. I had that happen with Lee Child and more recently, Colin Cotterill.

127Smiler69
Apr 2, 2012, 12:10pm

#119 Judy, knowing your reading tastes, I know you'll love both Walter Mosley and Chester Himes. They have a lot in common, but each definitely has his own flavour. I'm glad I finally discovered them both.

#120 Hi Nathalie, it's funny with reviews... I can let them go for weeks at a time and then suddenly feel under pressure to get them done and presto! A flurry ensues. I wish I could be more disciplined like others here who review their books as soon as they're done with them, but I guess we each have our own style as far as that goes. I know you and I share similarities there. But the way I choose to see it, I'm happy I take the time to write reviews at all! They also give me easy content to post on my blog, though it ends up being lots of work anyway because I usually end up spending so much time re-editing them and adding content and links and such.

#121 No hints about GoT. I figured your thread is TV series central! It was a great show and I felt like it was more about establishing who was where and doing in what following the last season and laying the groundwork for what is to come, as opposed to showing lots of action and thrills. It's a whole different experience for me too having now read the novel in preparation and having a good idea of what is to come...

#122 Oh Lucy, I know what you mean, but don't be envious dear. I waste spend way too much money to get HBO Canada, for which I have to sign up for a "Movie Networks" package, even though I really only want the one channel. I'll have to learn to cancel the channels when I'm not watching any specific series because it's crazy to spend on cable when I don't even watch it most of the time!

#123 Donna, I haven't firmed up my decision not to participate on TIOLI yet. It's just that I end up spending so much time trying to fit my books into the challenges, listing them on the wiki pages, keeping them up to date, etc, when I've reduced my time spent on LT... time management is definitely not my forte, so I'm trying to find solutions that work for me.

#124 Mamie, it always makes me smile knowing that I've managed to tempt any one person with my reviews. *Evil grin* ;-)

#125 Hi Claudia! Yes indeed, class today. I don't know how you keep track of that, but you're always on the money! It's our last class of the session, then I have a couple of week's break before starting over in the 3rd week of April with TWO classes. I'm not sure how I'll manage that, especially since the portrait painting class is a full day affair, but should be interesting. I'm also going to get a first glimpse of the student show today and that's always interesting to be sure.

#126 Hi Joe! Thanks for the thumb friend, it's always so much fun seeing my reviews sneaking into the home page... :-)
I don't think I'd ever gotten into series before, other than Agatha Christie as a teenager, but I have more going now than I can count and most of them all have plenty of books in the offering. I've got the 4th book in the Lee Child series standing by. And now I'll have to look into Colin Cotterill too, it looks like... dang!




Right, must walk Coco, then off to class. Beautiful day, and my cleaning lady is here today (it's a rare luxury I splurge on every once in a while) so I'll be coming to a nice and clean and tidy home this evening. Gotta love that!

Have a great day everyone!

128EBT1002
Apr 2, 2012, 5:37pm

Ilana, I'm 33 posts behind, and I'm at a two-day think tank conference that is completely consuming my time and my energy. Still, I scanned through and I love the pictures of Ezra's tummy! I know he's a pib, as we say at our house, but he sure is cute. His tummy reminds me of Edgar's tummy..... :-)

I'm also wanting to look into Colin Cotterill's work based on some good LT discussion. I don't think The Windup Girl is for me, but I'm interested in Devil in a Blue Dress.

I hope you have a good week, my friend.

129cameling
Apr 2, 2012, 7:51pm

I've been so behind in your thread, Ilana in the last 2 weeks ...arrgghhh... I just hate when RL gets in the way of my LT time. And darn but I didn't win the mega millions lottery that would have allowed me to ditch my job ....(ok, I actually really like my job, so maybe I'll ditch half of it and work part time?) and spend as much time as I'd like on LT so I can keep up with my friends.

But I wanted to chime in and urge you to give Colin Cotterill a shot .. he's new to me thanks to recommendations by Joe and Mark, and I've fallen in love with the charming and huggable Dr Siri.

130msf59
Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 8:49pm

Hi Ilana- We started GOT a little later last night, because we were waiting for my son and his friend, so I had no chance to comment on it or early this morning either, but I did finally jot down some of my thoughts. I did love the episode.
And yes, jump aboard the Dr. Siri Express!

131Smiler69
Apr 3, 2012, 12:14am

I am one tired girlie tonight. It's been a very long day, with barely any time to myself, having spent the better part of the evening listening to the sad troubles of one of my class friends who has been banned from taking any more classes with this particular teacher for a multitude of reasons. I'm completely drained, but the good news is I have the whole day to myself tomorrow.

Tonight I'll be finishing The Last Song, which has turned out to be a most gripping little book and made me glad I'd won it from Early Reviewers.

#128 Hi Ellen, I'm glad you took the time to drop by on what sounds like a very busy and intense day. I did think of Edgar when I posted the pics of Ezra. I was going to ask what "pib" meant, but I think I just figured it out! :-) I always feel bad when I complain about him (even if just to myself) because really, he can be such a sweetie and just needs to be loved like we all do.

I just looked up Colin Cotterill's novels at the library and on Audible. I don't think I'll be going the audio route on this one because the narrator has the most dull delivery imaginably (why???), but I see they have the whole series available at the library, so it's just a question of time now before I jump in.

#129 Oh please Caro, no apologies and do not spend a second more feeling badly about being behind here! You are so amazingly active and on the ball, and I have my days all to myself, yet I bet you're more up to date with our wonderful group than I am. And I need to visit your thread very soon to see what kind of wonderful new trouble you've been getting yourself into! :-) Thanks for dropping by and for the added vote for Cotterill.

#130 Hey Mark, I was going to drop by your thread to see what the chat about tonight, but am dropping with fatigue now... I'm sure it'll keep till tomorrow, right? Dr. Siri is landing on my wishlist, it's official.

132PaulCranswick
Apr 3, 2012, 12:43am

Ilana - my "dirty limerick" did as intended - it made Smiler smile. Do not intend or wish to be remembered solely for an ability to produce a five line rhyme of dubious taste!
Very impressive reading here if your recent reviews are anything to go by. I am about to post up my review of Troubles but I will wait until I am home I think. Agree with you on many levels - it is hugely entertaining and I think is trying to draw comparisons between the decay of the hotel and the breakdown of its inhabitants and the creaking Empire that it occupies a small part of. Enjoyed it immensely as, with my irish blood, I am obviously interested in the subject matter but I think I read it too slowly somehow to be blown away completely.

133ChelleBearss
Apr 3, 2012, 8:16pm

Hi Ilana! I will also be jumping on the Dr Siri train sometime soon. After seeing so many recommendations I purchased the first one.
Hope you have a great night!

134Smiler69
Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 9:36pm

#132 Paul, I look forward to reading your take on Troubles and will wait as patiently as I can for it. That being said, it's true that often when we read a novel over an extended period of time, it's hard to get the full impact. Interesting how many factors, internal as well as external, help contribute to our appreciation or lack thereof of any one book.

#133 Hi Chelle. I'm not sure why Colin Cotterill's books seem to be on everyone's minds right now. I'm assuming because of the recent publication in 2011 of the latest book in the Dr Siri series, Slash and Burn?

135msf59
Apr 3, 2012, 8:48pm

Ilana- I LOVED the audio of the 2nd Dr. Siri book. I don't recall the narrator but he did a very good job. slash and Burn is part of another series by Cotterill.
I hope you get some rest.

136Smiler69
Apr 3, 2012, 8:50pm

It's been one of my typical Tuesday "do nothing but sleep" days today. I got up sometime around noon, finished reading the last few pages of The Last Song with eyes barely keeping open, and then went an crashed on the sofa with Coco. There was construction noise outside, but I still managed to sleep through it. Coco recently took to slipping under the blanket and huddling up to me when I nap on the couch, which I find wonderfully soothing. He tried to do that in bed once, but I quickly let him know that wasn't acceptable and he hasn't tried it since. Just doesn't seem hygienic. Having them on the bed to begin with isn't either, but I can at least keep them off the sheets!

I had an unplanned visitor tonight. The young woman who owns the organic foods store where I've been doing my groceries since several months ago delivers at home. We chat quite a lot when I go to her store, and Clara invited me to see The Hunger Games at the cinema a couple of weeks ago, and now mentioned going to the restaurant together. I quite like her and she's easy to talk to and very spirited. She came to bring me my milk this evening and I ended up inviting her in to chat about this business about the girl from my class who just got booted out (she also shops at her store, as does the art teacher, so it's all rather like a bunch of villagers who know each other's business). I was quite upset by the whole thing, especially since E spent a couple of hours yesterday telling me all about what led our teacher to make that decision over the past year and I feel like I'd rather have been kept in the dark about it all. E is a nice girl, but seems to have boundary issues and a boyfriend who's been known to become psychotic and stalk her friends, which makes her a persona non grata to many people, and no wonder. I feel badly for her, but also want to protect myself. All unpleasantness that I don't need and would rather keep out of my life.

My friend Kim in the meanwhile, is trying to convince me to meet with a cousin of hers who is a businesswoman and a go-getter. She used to work in the pharmaceutical industry until she felt she had to leave her well-paying job to pursue a more meaningful life. Among other things, she took to painting as a form of therapy (sounds familiar enough so far), and no sooner had she gotten started with that that she convinced her hairdresser to have her work exhibited at the hair salon she goes to and she's been selling her art all over the place. Kim just sent me the link to her cousin's newly constructed site yesterday so I could see her work for myself, as she's been saying for months now that if her cousin can sell her work (the implication being that it's not very good and she has no particular talent), then I should be displaying and selling mine too. She's got this idea that her cousin might want to represent me or help me in some way. This sounds like a great idea, but for some reason I'm scared to death of taking that step, even though that's ultimately what I'd like to be doing. I wish I could figure out what it is that scares me so much about that idea. Definitely fodder for conversation when I meet my occupational therapist this week!

137Smiler69
Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 9:46pm

#135 Mark, I'm confused by your comment because Slash and Burn is identified here on LT as being part of the Dr Siri collection: http://www.librarything.com/work/11594365

Did you start reading them in order? Here's a link to hear a sample from the first audiobook (all of them are read by Clive Chafer on Audible): http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B005CJKEZK&qid=1333500763&sr=1... I know narrator-appreciation is a personal preference, but I just find his delivery incredibly flat and unfeeling, as if he was just reciting it by rote or was incredibly bored!

138msf59
Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 9:05pm

I clicked on the touchstone in msg #134 and a different series came up. Oh, that was the wrong author too! My bad.
I know Cotterill has one or 2 other series going as well.

139Smiler69
Apr 3, 2012, 9:37pm

Mark! I'm SO sorry. Not your bad at all—mine, all mine! I'm usually careful about making sure the touchstones lead to the right books because it can create this kind of mixup easily. Fixed it now. Off to your thread to catch up now.

140-Cee-
Apr 3, 2012, 9:41pm

Hi Ilana!
Remember me? I haven't been very active on LT threads lately - sorry - but I've been lurking all over the place.

Have been seeing many references re "Dr Siri" - being da Bomb and all. Had no idea what I had missed. So thanks for #137 above - think I'm back on track now. You saved me!

Sounds like a lot of crazy stuff going on in your life... good luck sorting thru it all. One thing is for sure, your life is NOT boring!

Hugs to you, Coco, Ezra and Mimi!

141Smiler69
Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 9:49pm

Hi Claudia! How could I forget you? In fact, I've been thinking about you every day when I realize I STILL haven't sent off the book to you. Procrastinator is my middle name, though I have an excuse because I have several packages to get ready as need to send things to various people including my mom and for some reason it all seems like too much. I'm such a drama queen—that's why my life always has crazy stuff going on... in case you haven't figure it out.

MUST go eat something now. I was on a roll catching up with threads, but can't do it all in one go unfortunately!

142Smiler69
Apr 4, 2012, 2:10pm

I finished listening to Death and Judgment by Donna Leon yesterday and must say I was rather blown away by just how awful the central element of the plot was. I've read plenty of crime fiction with grizzly plot elements, have read more than half a dozen books by Donna Leon, but this is by far the most terrible thing I've come across in a long time. Unfortunately I won't be able to bring it up in my review because it would be a huge spoiler. But I may have to talk about it in therapy, that's how bad it was. That being said, I think I enjoyed listening to David Collacci's narration better than actually reading the books. This happened with the Detective Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri as well. I wonder why that is?

I finally listened to my first Stefan Zweig last night. I've decided to read my newly acquired Zweig collection by publication order, so started with 1922's Letter from an Unknown Woman, which I finished listening to before going to sleep with eyes closed. It's a short novel, very short, but oh how powerful! The narrator was doing a wonderful job of it too, so it was quite a memorable experience. I get the feeling I'll become quite a fan. Definitely going on the list of favourite books of the year.

Why is is so quiet on my thread? Am I boring everyone, or has everyone given up on me? :-|

143phebj
Apr 4, 2012, 6:45pm

Ilana, I've been keeping up with your thread in the evenings but have been very busy myself lately and am usually too tired to make intelligible comments. Hopefully, that will be changing soon. You are NEVER boring!

I'm so glad you liked your first Stefan Zweig. Letter from an Unknown Woman is one of my favorites.

I wish I had some wise advice to pass on about your hesitation to pursue selling your work. Sometimes I think feelings like that are trying to tell us not to do something and other times I think we should be doing exactly what we're afraid of. I hope your therapist can help you figure out what you want to do.

I can understand your unease about being drawn into the details of your classmate's problems. I usually run for the nearest hill in those situations.

Wishing you peaceful days ahead.

144lyzard
Apr 4, 2012, 6:50pm

It seems to me it's been a quiet week across the board, with lots of people wrestling with outside commitments / issues.

145Smiler69
Apr 4, 2012, 9:38pm

#143 Hi Pat, I really shouldn't have complained, especially given the fact that I too have been much less active on the threads since March, but thanks for leaving your message—your comments are always appreciated.

It's safe to say I LOVED my first Stefan Zweig and am still affected by it. I went ahead and listened to the next novel in line, 1925's Fear, which I finished moments ago... I'm thankful I was in the quiet of my own home because the ending made such a strong impression on me that I shed a few tears. What a wonderful writer. I'm glad I've finally discovered him. Next up will be either Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman or Confusion: The Private Papers of Privy Councillor R. von D., which were originally published together along with a third story in 1927.

Peaceful days sounds heavenly to me. Wishing you the very same!

#144 Yes, I have noticed that everyone seems quite busy with all sorts of things.

146msf59
Apr 4, 2012, 9:57pm

Hi Ilana- I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on the Zweig books. I read 2 of them so far and enjoyed both.
The Fault in Our Stars has been wonderful.

147avatiakh
Apr 4, 2012, 10:00pm

Hi Ilana - I've been absent for a few days as well. Laptop problems plus RL etc etc. I've only read Zweig's Chess Story which is really good and have others of his on my tbr pile but not a priority at present.
I'm listening to Kafka on the Shore currently and really enjoying the narration of this slightly surreal story. There are multiple narrators and unfortunately the narrator I like, Oliver Le Sueur, has only done one other audiobook.

148-Cee-
Apr 4, 2012, 10:02pm

Just stopping by to say good-night!
Please refer back to my comment in #140
"One thing is for sure, your life is NOT boring!"

We all need to slow down on LT or by the end of the year we'll be mush...

Hugs and more hugs to you and furkids! yes, even Ezra! ;-)

149roundballnz
Apr 4, 2012, 10:55pm

Chess story looks very interesting, may have to be added to my wish list ..... hmmm

Kafka on the shore is a great one - I would say 'Its one of my favourite by Murakami' but I find that so hard.....

150avatiakh
Apr 4, 2012, 11:46pm

Chess Story is a novella so a quick read. I'd give you my copy but I sent it to Caroline (cameling) a couple of years ago and I'm fairly sure she passed it on to another reader soon after. Definitely recommended.

I'm loving Kafka on the Shore, I listen for about an hour or so each day. I know I should be reading the actual book, but once you master the art of listening to an audiobook there are some wonderful performances to experience. I've only read Norwegian Wood before, this is different and so interesting. Nakata's storyline reminds me a little of American Gods.

151Smiler69
Apr 4, 2012, 11:48pm

#146 Hi Mark! I look forward to reading more books by Zweig (currently have 5 more in my possession), but I'll definitely need to take a bit of a break between each one. It's great stuff, but definitely rich fare. Glad you've been enjoying The Fault in Our Stars. I think I'll be starting on David Copperfield soon when I take Coco for his last walk of the day, but still undecided.

#147 Hi Kerry, sorry to hear you've been having troubles with the laptop. I guess I'll be getting to Chess Story after all the others I have, since it was published in 1942.

I just had a look to see what I had thought of Kafka on the Shore and see I had only given it 3 stars. I wasn't systematic about writing reviews in 2009, so don't remember why I wasn't more taken by it unfortunately. Oliver Le Sueur sounds like a familiar name... but I just looked him up online and can't figure out where I might have come across him before.

#148 Hi Claudia! NOT boring. Got it. I agree it's probably a good thing everyone's slowing down a bit. The year started with a mighty bang and it's just not realistic to keep up that pace all the time. I'm sure Ezra appreciates the hug. I do too of course!

#149 out of the 6 books I've read by Murakami, 4 were four-star reads for me, but Kafka on the Shore wasn't among them. I'm sure I'll revisit it eventually since it's one of his most popular books and I'll want to try to find out why. Not before I've read the other 6 books of his I have in my collection though, and whatever others I don't yet have at my disposition too.

152Smiler69
Apr 4, 2012, 11:51pm

#150 I missed your message Kerry as was finishing to write the above.

I know I should be reading the actual book, but once you master the art of listening to an audiobook there are some wonderful performances to experience.

I definitely agree with the second part of that statement, and while I'm very satisfied with listening to some books, there are some that I intend to getting in the classic format so I can enjoy perusing the text at my leisure and own rhythm. But why do you say you should be reading the actual book?

153avatiakh
Apr 5, 2012, 12:08am

I always feel like it's a bit of a copout to go the audio way on some of these more literary reads especially so when I own a copy of the book but then 'listen' to it instead. Silly really as I derive so much pleasure from listening. There are times when I'd like to see the printed word or miss nuances. Other times I have to look up names, in KotS the names were much simpler and straightforward than I had imagined them to be. I suppose I'm still more of a visual than an auditory person.

154Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 12:12am

I went on a bit of a shopping binge tonight and ordered Postcards from Penguin AND Postcards From Puffin which I just had to get after all the talk that Ellen started with her postcard shopping spree. The Puffin postcards were a must after I saw the pics below on a blog.

Also pre-ordered Postcards from The New Yorker for good measure. Book-wise, I got The Siege of Krishnapur, the follow-up to J. G. Farrell's Troubles, along with Amsterdam Stories by Nescio, several books about photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) who took amazing photographs of plants and flowers, the idea being I'll just keep the best one of the lot (a few examples of his work at bottom), as well as a book on artist Paul Klee—Paul Klee: Selected by Genius








155Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 12:16am

#153 Kerry, I think I understand. I felt that way too for a while, but now I've realized that I'm more likely to "read" a book sooner if I get it on audio, I've gotten over my qualms. And as you know, some narrators make the experience really amazing. As I said though, I'm keeping tabs on those books I'll want to revisit in print eventually. I've also found with audio that it makes some more difficult texts easier to approach for various reasons. There's so much we find to feel guilty about... enjoying listening to books shouldn't be one of them! It takes nothing away from print books after all.

156avatiakh
Apr 5, 2012, 12:24am

I agree about the more difficult texts. I find I'm enjoying Don Quixote quite a lot by listening to Simon Vance even though it's not the translation I would have chosen to read. I'm hoping, as it's a year long read, to visit parts in book form and then revert back to the audio.
Yes, I'm also using audio as a way to get to the neglected part of my tbr pile. I'm lucky that my library has digital audio which is so much faster than dealing with cds. I'm intending to listen to some poetry - I have just downloaded some Yeats and Eliot's The Wasteland etc for my next listening treat, but I'll want to read along for those.

157Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 12:31am

It sounds like your library has the audio thing down pat with the MP3s and the available selection. Here as a general rule there aren't many titles available and they're all on CD or MP3 disks, which is silly since the disks deteriorate with use and make for more transport and handling.

I do remember now you mentioned listening to Don Quixote read by Simon Vance. I've had my copy of the Edith Grossman translation sitting on my coffee table since the beginning of the year, but I have yet to crack it open. Just checked at the library and on Audible and there is no Simon Vance version available to us here. Oh well.

158Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 12:32am

Calling it a day for now. I just posted the following about Stefan Zweig on my blog: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/04/04/on-discovering-stefan-zweig

159avatiakh
Apr 5, 2012, 12:49am

#157 - Simon Vance narrates DQ under another name - Robert Whitfield. Not sure why but he's narrated quite a few under this pseudonym.

160Deern
Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 1:21pm

Re. Kafka on the Shore: it might have been the cat scene, that was very hard to get through

I am glad you like your Zweig books. He is, like Hermann Hesse, one of the authors many Germans discover during their teens when they are most receptive for the full emotional force of his stories (maybe comparable to reading "Wuthering Heights" at that age). I didn't read any Hesse, but all of the Zweig short stories and also the novella The Chess Story when I was about 14/15 and was simply blown away. I was a bit reluctant of re-reading them later, but found that for me they have lost nothing of their appeal. I can well imagine that his stories work perfectly as audio books, with the narrator's voice starting all quiet and then getting excited with all the feverish emotions and dying down again.

I'll get the Don Quixote audio some time later this year, it's a book I am sure I'll never fully read in its paper form. Having it read to me might be an enjoyable experience though.

Love the postcards!

161EBT1002
Apr 5, 2012, 10:19am

Ilana, I haven't seen those cards by Puffin yet, but they are now on my must-have list! I also pre-ordered the New Yorker cards, as well as the Paris vs. New York cards. Overboard, I know, but.....
Thanks for posting those pictures. Of course, I love the cat image!!!

162FAMeulstee
Apr 5, 2012, 2:18pm

> 154: So finally the works of Nescio have been translated!
I hope you enjoy Amsterdam Stories :-)

163Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 3:10pm

#159 Oh yes, I remember now you mentioning he was narrating DQ under the name Robert Whitfield, and I see that is available to me. Several of the more popular narrators use more than one name for some reason. For example, Nadia May has a few noms de plume, including Wanda McCaddon and Donada Peters (though I think her real name is actually McCaddon). I'm not at all sure why they do this.

#160 No you're reminded me of that part Nathalie... I'd somehow quite forgotten about it, but it was indeed quite horrible wasn't it? He writes such strange books. When I'm in the right mood, it can be quite wonderful but if not, they take on the quality of nightmares very quickly.

Don Quixote on audio does seem like a good idea. Even better still is a combination of audio and textbook, as Kerry is doing, and which I'd do too since I'd prefer to read the Edith Grossman translation, which is most often recommended.

I was going to mention on your thread that I'm quite impressed with how you've taken to audiobooks Nathalie. They certainly aren't for everybody, but I do find they're greatly enriched my reading life and experiences overall.

#161 Ellen, I may not have commented last time I visited, but I did see on your thread you had pre-ordered the New Yorker cards and gotten the Paris vs. New York ones too. You were my inspiration my dear! Not to say the one who led me down the path of reckless consumerism! Very much worth it I'm sure. I can't wait to get all these postcards! I'll probably be blogging about them too when I get them!

164Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 3:14pm

#162 Hi Anita! I decided I had to get this books when I read the following from New York Review Books:

"No one has written more feelingly and more beautifully than Nescio about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth: its big plans and vague longings, not to mention the binges, crashes, and marathon walks and talks. No one, for that matter, has written with such pristine clarity about the radiating canals of Amsterdam and the cloud-swept landscape of the Netherlands.

Who was Nescio? Nescio—Latin for “I don’t know”—was the pen name of J.H.F. Grönloh, the highly successful director of the Holland–Bombay Trading Company and a father of four—someone who knew more than enough about respectable maturity. Only in his spare time and under the cover of a pseudonym, as if commemorating a lost self, did he let himself go, producing over the course of his lifetime a handful of utterly original stories that contain some of the most luminous pages in modern literature.

This is the first English translation of Nescio’s stories."


I spent a few days in Amsterdam toward the end of the 20th century and absolutely fell in love with the place, so this should be quite a treat!




Speaking of The Netherlands...

I just posted the following on my blog about a bookstore housed in a Maastricht church: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/04/05/in-the-beginning-was-the-word/

165FAMeulstee
Apr 5, 2012, 3:19pm

In Rotterdam a church was made into appartments for students. I once visited someone there, it was a nice place, especially the stained glass in the window.
We have some creative minds in this country (and a lot of empty churches).

166PiyushC
Apr 5, 2012, 3:40pm

Ilana, was Kafka on the Shore one of your earliest Murakami reads? I can easily see how some of his works may put off the uninitiated readers. Another famous work of his, Norwegian Woods is something I would not recommend as the starting point to any potential Murakami reader.

167LizzieD
Apr 5, 2012, 4:15pm

OH my goodness, Ilana! What a great thread from the first image to the last - and I'd be hard put to say which makes me happier....
I look forward eventually to trying some S. Zweig, have *Windup Girl*, need to catch up with Easy Rawlings, liked *Kafka/Shore* more than you, appreciate but don't really enjoy Steinbeck, am curious about C. Cotterill, thought *Troubles* followed *Siege*, and - let's see - call our oldest cat Chibby, "Chiburtonellis" for short. There. Caught up, sort of, and looking forward to what comes next!

168roundballnz
Apr 5, 2012, 9:01pm

Hey

Have a feeling you will love this ....

http://prettybooks.tumblr.com/post/20541696027

169Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 10:00pm

#165 Definitely some very creative minds in the Netherlands. I've seen lots of designers from there over the years that really stood out from the crowd, though can't think of any names right now.

#166 Piyush, I started reading Murakami in the early 2000s and read Kafka on the Shore in 2009, the same year as I read Norwegian Wood. Interestingly enough, I much preferred NW to the first. I noticed while I was checking on this info that 2009 is the last time I read anything by him, so I'll definitely have to make room for him this year, especially as have several of his books on my tbr.

#167 Peggy, your message made me smile. My whole thread condensed in three sentences. I should direct readers who are struggling to keep up with dozens of threads to your message so they can save time. :-)

#168 Alex, I do love that "Reader's Rights" cartoon. My mom sent it to me once after I'd been saying that I felt badly about abandoning some book that I wasn't enjoying. Good stuff!

170Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 10:06pm

I started to listen to David Copperfield last night, am at around chapter 3 now, when David gets sent of to school and am really enjoying it.

Also picked up A Murder of Quality by John le Carré. The books also features the second George Smiley story, Call for the Dead, which I'll read soon, before tackling The Spy Who Came in from the Cold which was picked for me for one of my 12/12 categories. I just couldn't bear the idea of starting from book 3. Good fun so far.

Spent the day on blogging today, something I don't spend much time on these days usually. But I came across a few interesting items and thought I'd share with the world. The post about Selexyz Dominicanen, the church housing a bookstore really drew quite a lot of readers, which was kind of cool.

171-Cee-
Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 10:07pm

Hi Ilana! Caught you up... I'm on my way to bed and a little reading as long as my eyes hold out.
Hope you had a good day!
hugs.

ETA: I did check out your blog. Wish that bookstore was in driving distance... niiiice. Also saw your Easter eggs... cool.

172Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 10:23pm

Hi Claudia! Thanks for dropping by. Easter eggs: I emptied a couple of eggs tonight, broke three, and ended up with a headache. I'd like to do the "doodle eggs" tomorrow and maybe take some pics to post for my efforts.

Update on John Le Carré: I am very annoyed to discover that the first Smiley book is not A Murder of Quality, but actually Call for the Dead. This was not at all obvious to me as the order of publication is reversed in my omnibus edition. Now why would they do THAT?!?

173ChelleBearss
Apr 5, 2012, 10:30pm

Hi Ilana! I hope you continue to enjoy David Copperfield. I finally dug out all my books so I should be able to start it fairly soon.

174Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 11:01pm

#173 Chelle, I'm listening to an audio version of DC narrated by Martin Jarvis, who is a reader I'd been really looking forward to listening to. He reads the story with the perfect tone of humour without being in any way too obvious. It's great fun.

175Smiler69
Apr 5, 2012, 11:04pm

I picked up several Peter Sís books at the library last month, including Tibet: Through the Red Box, as well as the biographies on Galileo Starry Messenger and the one about Charles Darwin The Tree of Life. For some reason, I chose to start with the latter and almost regret it. While it's beautiful of course, it's so dense and packed shock-full of information that I can only read a couple of spreads at a time, with each spread taking me a good 20 minutes to pore over, if not more. I don't know if it's right to complain about it containing too much information, but I wish he'd broken it up a bit, maybe alternating dense information on one page with lighter fare on the next. On days like today when I have a slight headache and feeling very tired, it just doesn't seem like something I want to dig into. The first time I've complained about anything by Sís and I feel guilty about it.

176msf59
Apr 6, 2012, 6:46pm

Hi Ilana- I heard there were nude pictures of women over here? No, awwww shit! Yes, the threads have been quiet. Hey, it happens!
I jumped into David Copperfield and read/listened to a nice chunk. Good stuff.

177cameling
Apr 6, 2012, 6:57pm

I loved the picture of those postcards, Ilana. I collect weird and funny postcards from those free card bins I see in some diners. I'd love to get the box of postcards but my problem is that I would feel so torn if I had to actually to write on and send some of them away.

178Smiler69
Apr 6, 2012, 8:14pm

#176 Hi Mark, I might actually be able to make good on that promise of naked women. Nude women I mean, as I have pictures that I took of a recent art class when we worked from a nude model, which I've been meaning to post on my blog. I'll be sure to post a link with an image right here as soon as I put it together, so stay tuned! :-)

#177 Caro, problem? what problem?? All you need to do is get TWO sets of cards—one to send and one to keep! Easy, see? Either that or take a cheaper option and send out only the ones you don't like. Hey, the person at the other end doesn't know that, and they're just happy to receive something personal in the mailbox, right? ;-)

179Smiler69
Apr 6, 2012, 8:22pm

I've just spent the last couple of hours working on Easter eggs. I should say ONE Easter egg. I posted the following on my blog yesterday: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/04/05/easter-eggs-the-easy-way, and thought it would be fun to go ahead and do some of those doodle eggs as an art project. Usually I don't bother to empty the eggs and just boil them, but I decided to do it right this time. Broke nearly more eggs than I managed to rescue in the process, but I managed to get a half dozen empty and cleaned out since yesterday, and then spent nearly the full two hours working on that ONE egg just now. Actually, I'd started on a first egg and broke it when I had covered a good half of it—rats! A light touch is what's wanted here. I'll be sure to show results when I've got them all done to my satisfaction.

These aren't by me, but one of the images I posted on my blog and made me want to try it out:


I'm sure mine will come out very different, but aren't these pretty?

180roundballnz
Apr 7, 2012, 12:22am

Those are very cool ........

181Morphidae
Apr 7, 2012, 7:52am

I can't wait to see the pics of your eggs.

I read David Copperfield a couple years ago via DailyLit and liked it.

182sibylline
Apr 7, 2012, 9:01am

I've fallen behind too -- but I am catching up.

It can be strangely difficult to figure out which book is the 'first' in a series -- (re the Le Carre issue) - I suspect that they do it because they want you to BUY THE BOOK IN YOUR HAND..... so nasty. The worst is they succeed. And there you are with book two or four or whatever and so you have to go find all the rest!

I can't wait to see your eggs.

183-Cee-
Apr 7, 2012, 9:28am

Lots of amazing eggs on your blog - and I'm very curious to see how yours turns out! (no pressure - lol)
Are you using the black Sharpie too? Or a different color?
Two hours on one egg? I'd be ready to throw the dang thing against the wall. 'Course that would be because after 2 hours, mine would look like decorated shit. But I so admire the talent of real artists. ;-)

184Crazymamie
Apr 7, 2012, 9:45am

Ohhh - I can't wait to see your eggs! I wouldn't have thought of doodling on eggs but the results are very cool. Just showed them to my daughters who are off to the refrigerator to hijack the eggs!!

185jdthloue
Edited: Apr 7, 2012, 2:26pm

Okay...eggs...Easter

I haven't colored Easter eggs...in years. The young woman ,who lived out my lane with her family, and I used to decorate eggs for her kids and hide them in the woods..but, jeesh, that's been a long time ago..

Any way, I found this for you...enjoy



;-}

186Smiler69
Apr 7, 2012, 2:16pm

Ok. Now I almost wish I'd reversed the order of things and shown MY humble eggs before displaying all those amazing works of art aka Easter eggs done by others on my blog, because I've set myself up for some pretty high expectations now, haven't I? For one thing, I never doodle (and why not,? I keep asking myself? Oh right... all that time spent on the laptop...), so when came time to do it yesterday, I was completely stumped. So I brought out a book I had on prints (a decor book) and derived inspiration from there. I've got three or four done right now, but of course they're all so different in style that I don't know if they work together at all and now I wish I'd blown out more eggs to give me a chance to "goof" on a few and still end up with a decent batch.

Wait.

Take a deep breath, Ilana.

They're only Easter eggs.

Right.

I'll continue working on them today and will show whatever I come up with probably tomorrow, so I can take pics in daylight to show them to their best advantage.

On the book front, I finished reading A Murder of Quality last night and quite enjoyed it. I was going to say "quite enjoyed my first Le Carré" but do recall that I read The Russia House a couple of decades ago before or after (can't remember which) seeing the movie with Michelle Pfeifer and that hot, hot Sean Connery.

Making very good progress on David Copperfield and now almost done with chapter 13, in which he's been taken in by his great aunt in Dover. I'd forgotten just how wonderful this story is and the narrator Martin Jarvis is such a wonderful reader that I find myself smiling all the time as I listen. Great fun. I should probably stop over on the group thread to see what others are saying about it.

Today I want to 1) work on my eggs 2) do a bunch of reading 3) make an apple crumble. But as each activity requires several hours, and I haven't factored in LT time, I'll be happy to have done just one of those by the end of the day.

187Smiler69
Apr 7, 2012, 2:25pm

#180 Much agreed. Very cool. Made me want to try it immediately.

#181 Lucy, I was mostly annoyed with myself when I figured out I'd started with book 2 because I'm usually really careful about reading books in publication order when that's what I've set out to do, and check both here on LT and on the author's bibliography on wikipedia or other online sources. I'd even noticed one book was published in 1961 and the other in 1962 but somehow didn't check first as I usually do and didn't put things together and just trusted that Penguin Canada had done the right thing and published them in the right sequence. Grrr. I'm sure it isn't the end of the world, and it certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment of book 2. But still, grrrr.

#183 Right. No pressure at all. Pressure? What pressure? What, me worry? Heh.

Reminds me how I used to love Mad magazine when I was a kid with all those brilliant movie spoofs. The Body Snatchers was a particularly good one and much better than the actual movie, obviously. But I digress.

#184 All that talk about Easter eggs has me excited to get back to mine. I don't know what the final results will be, but the process itself is turning out to be quite fun and I guess that's the most important thing.

#185 Oh Jude, those are gorgeous! Thanks for posting them here. I almost want to copy those designs—really inspiring.

188Smiler69
Apr 7, 2012, 3:05pm



I just published a much overdue post of some portraits I did on createthreesixty5.com: http://createthreesixty5.com/2012/04/07/studies-from-gauguin-picasso-and-my-fath...
Unbeknownst to my father, the image above is the one I chose to display in the student show this year. He'll see it when we visit the gallery together.

189EBT1002
Apr 7, 2012, 8:39pm

Ilana, your thread is so wonderful to visit. I love the portrait of your father. And (while I realize that they are not yours) the Easter eggs are very different from anything I've seen before. Lovely.

I just got another Peter Sis from the library: The Conference of the Birds. It looks really good, but I haven't started actually reading it. I hope you continue to enjoy the collection you got this week.

Happy Easter, my dear!

Oh, and I'm so pleased to take a wee bit of credit for your consumerism (mostly, I'm pleased not to be the only one who is so taken by the postcards!). xo

190-Cee-
Apr 7, 2012, 11:18pm

Ilana, I have never met you or your father - but w/o reading your comment, I knew that was him! Excellent!
I also checked out your other sketches - well done.

I said no pressure on the eggs - and what I meant was, I'll love your E eggs no matter how they turn out. They'll be beautiful to me :)
It's the boldness, the joy, and the effort that make them beautiful as well as the skill.
Ya gotta start somewhere...

191phebj
Apr 8, 2012, 12:03pm

Good morning, Ilana! I'm looking forward to seeing your eggs as well. I loved hearing about the whole process of making them. You amaze me at what you do with your art. And if I interpreted your egg photos correctly on your blog, the ones you did before--the silk tied ones--are gorgeous.

When are taking your father to see the portrait you did of him? I can't wait to hear what he thinks.

And finally thank you for recommending 13 Words and The Dream Stealer. 13 Words I read immediately and loved. I started The Dream Stealer the other night when I was tired and decided I wanted to come back to it later when I could really savor it. I loved the writing and the drawings and am pretty sure it will end up being a favorite book of mine.

192ChelleBearss
Apr 8, 2012, 12:06pm

Hi Ilana! Hope you are having a good Easter weekend
Looking forward to seeing your eggs

193lkernagh
Apr 8, 2012, 12:06pm

Hi Ilana, stopping by to get caught up and I think I finally am! love the various egg pictures everyone has posted.... yours will be just as unique and artistic, I am sure! Love the puffin postcards! Going way, way back up to your post at #42, I find that I always feel strong, confident and happy when I make the effort to dress, and the compliments received do reinforce that behaviour and feeling. Sounds like a great outfit you described!

Happy Easter!

194souloftherose
Apr 8, 2012, 1:22pm

#115 Aah - cutie kitty!

#118 I can completely understand not joining in with the TIOLI challenges for a month. It's something I've considered before but I've always ended up getting caught up in the new challenges each month regardless of my resolutions to the contrary! Lately, I think I've reached some kind of balance where I end up with a large selection of books I could read for TIOLI and then pick next reads from that large selection. The large selection is about three times as large as the number of books I could read in a month so it still gives me quite a lot of freedom and it seems to take the pressure off a bit. And then I have 4-5 books I was planning to read anyway, and those get read regardless of whether or not I managed to fit them in a challenge. Might be a bit overcomplicated but it works for me!

#136 Oh dear, sounds like a rather emotional day for many reasons. I hate the phrase 'go-getter' probably at least partly because so many jobs I was applying for back in the day would include this phrase and to me it always sounded like they wanted someone with boundless energy and enthusiasm which for the last few years has definitely not been me!

#164 Thank you for reposting the blurb about Nescio; I'd never heard of him before but he sounds fascinating. Amsterdam Stories has duly gone on to the wishlist.

#188 I haven't been on here but I have been checking your blog posts (you have been busy!) and I really enjoyed the eggs and the portrait of your father.

Happy Passover weekend!

195-Cee-
Apr 8, 2012, 3:06pm

HAPPY EASTER, ILANA!

196Smiler69
Apr 8, 2012, 10:43pm

Oooh! So many visitors, what a treat!

I've been a busy gal. Last night, I must have spent a good 4 hours, if not more working on my Easter eggs. It was a fun project, and I enjoy doing painstaking detail work sometimes, so I let it rip, so to speak. I posted the results less than an hour ago.

I was invited to go eat brunch today with my new friend Clara, after which we came back to my place to take a bunch of pics of the eggs. It was almost time for Game of Thrones to start and I hadn't finished editing and fixing the photos, so I kept going as the show was running. Now it's done, thank heavens, and the results can be seen here: http://createthreesixty5.com/2012/04/08/easter-eggs/

I'm not exactly sure why I went through so much trouble. I think I mostly embraced it as an art project and was spurred on by the deadline. I guess that was my contribution to the holiday spirit.

I'm not sure what happened, but I've had at least three times more visitors on that blog today than I've ever had before, so I guess Easter eggs are a really popular theme! Even Coco participated in his own way by coming to pose for me during the photo shoot:

197Smiler69
Apr 8, 2012, 11:19pm

#189 Ellen, I'm so jealous that you got your hands on The Conference of the Birds. I really really want to get that book, but every time I look it up at the library, the only Conference of the Birds that comes up is a CD by that title by the Dave Holland Quartet. I'll just have to beg them to purchase it!

#190 Claudia, you're so easy to please and you're always so encouraging, I just love it!

#191 Hi Pat—yes, you interpreted correctly. I guess I should have identified the photo correctly to leave the guesswork out, but yes, those were the silk tied eggs, which were a lot of fun to do and much less laborious, especially as we didn't bother blowing out the eggs first. Less work, but also too bad because we then couldn't save our creations. It's really amazingly easy to do though. All you need are scraps of silk fabric with various patterns and you're set! I don't know if you saw the other photos I'd posted of that project? I think I included the link in the text somewhere.

I'll probably bring my dad to the student show some time this week or over the weekend. I'm curious to see what he'll say too. I'm guessing he'll be quite delighted. The teacher told me that it was quite the topic of conversation during the vernissage, which rather surprised me.

So glad you're enjoying the books I recommended. Goodies like that must be shared!

#192 Hi Chelle—it took me quite a while, but I've finally posted the results: http://createthreesixty5.com/2012/04/08/easter-eggs/

#193 Lori, that was definitely one of my best fashion moments in the last five years! I don't usually bother to dress for anything more than walking the dog around the block, and it's nothing fancy either, believe me. There was a time when I probably wouldn't have left the house without a minimum of makeup and some kind of cute attire, but I really can't be bothered these days. I guess that's why it was worthy of mention since cute outfits are the exception more than the rule these days, but yes, it can definitely be a huge confidence booster!

#194 Heather, about the not joining TIOLI for a whole month, I'm still not completely sure I'll actually stay away completely. It doesn't feel natural. I do the same as you—pick out at least three times too many books to give myself a big selection, and then usually end up reading those that I had planned in advance regardless of whether they fit into challenges or not. I guess I'll only know at the end of the month whether I'll have participated in the end or not. I just find I spent A LOT of time poring over the challenges and the wiki pages, then listing the books, etc... usually I'm very keen, but not so much right now for some reason, though I did look at the challenges at the beginning of the month and saw there were plenty of good ones, as usual.

As for being a go-getter, I guess there have been times in my life when I could be defined as such, but on the whole that was mostly driven by manic energy, which always ends up costing me dearly in the end. I think I'd rather stick to slow and steady from now on, though I always have been one to go to extremes...

You're right, I have been a lot more active on my blogs this week than I have been in quite a long time. Before joining this group I used to post quite a lot over there, but there are only so many hours in a day! Thanks for the visits and for leaving a comment too, that's always much appreciated. Though at least over on the blogs, I do have access to stats that let me know how many people have visited, so that even if there aren't any comments I know there is traffic there, unlike here on LT.

#195 How CUTE Claudia! Thanks my dear. Hope you've had a nice Easter too!

198avatiakh
Apr 9, 2012, 4:26am

Ilana, I love that watercolour of your father and also the work you did on the eggs looks great.
Can understand not getting into TIOLI for a month, don't worry it will be there when you feel like getting back into it. I've started limiting the number of books I list for TIOLI at the start of the month.

199kidzdoc
Apr 9, 2012, 5:52am

I love your eggs, Ilana!

200Morphidae
Apr 9, 2012, 6:56am

I love your eggs. Especially the red one with the intricate detail and the beige one with the H. Your watercolor of your father is beautiful and very evocative.

I have so many challenges in a month that I read what I want and try to match to a challenge rather than finding a book for a challenge. It's too stressful otherwise.

201PaulCranswick
Apr 9, 2012, 6:59am

Ilana - after too many days away I am now in the position of everyone else failing miserably to keep up with all my favourite threads but enjoying myself while trying.
Must say that your post #188 of the portrait mentioning as the createthreesixty site does of Picasso and Gauguin - immediately put me in mind of some of the self-portraits of Van Gogh I saw last summer in Amsterdam. Just a fleeting resemblance with your old man but a resemblance nonetheless other than the full complement of ears of course. The resemblance is less striking of course on your more developed portrait seen on the site. I think you chose the right one to show.
I came to your thread directly to Darryl's message @ #199 and was somewhat taken aback by the startling candour of it - I am so glad I was able to add some context to the comments by scrolling up before rushing to post!

202EBT1002
Apr 9, 2012, 10:07am

Ilana, I love your Easter eggs! I like that you can see different sides of them with the pictures you posted on your blog. Very nice. And of course, the picture of Coco next to the bowl of decorated eggs. Too cute. :-)

I seem to have missed that you're "staying away" from TIOLI. I won't be a strong presence there this month. I had a whole stack of books come available from the library and I want to read them. Almost none of them are listed on any of the challenges and I'm frankly disinclined to spend too much time seeing if I can make them fit, myself (if someone else had already done it for me, I'd be in! -- ha!). Lazy approach, but it works for me! :-)

I hope you're able to get your library to get a hard copy of The Conference of the Birds. It looks so appealing. I'll get to it in the next week or so (because it will be due back at the library) and I'll let you know how it compares to some of his others.

Have a good Monday, my friend. :-|

203-Cee-
Apr 9, 2012, 10:29am

Eggs in a bunny bowl - very sweet!
Coco posing w/eggs - even more sweet! O - Co-co!

I am easily pleased - but rarely happy... go figure! Must not be any connection there???

Anywho, your eggs came out fantastic - really! I like that you put some color in there. Thanks for the pictures :)

204Donna828
Apr 9, 2012, 10:35am

Post-Easter greetings, Ilana. Your Easter eggs are little masterpieces. I enjoyed the display of various art projects on your 365 page. No wonder you have to take an occasional day of sleep and rejuvenation. All of that creative energy is draining! Thanks for sharing with us.

205EBT1002
Edited: Apr 9, 2012, 12:15pm

203> I didn't even notice the bunny bowl!!!!
Perfect.

206jnwelch
Edited: Apr 9, 2012, 2:50pm

Wow, so far behind on your thread, Ilana!

Love the portraits.

I'm another Murakami and Kafka on the Shore fan. The latter is probably still my favorite, although I also like The Windup Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 and After the Quake a lot. Like another post-er, I don't recommend starting with Norwegian Wood. It's not bad, but not at the level of his others and a little misleading as to style. It was his first big hit in Japan, though, I believe.

Donna Leon lost me for some reason a few books in, but I still snap up any new Andrea Camilleri as soon as I see it.

David Copperfield is a fun read; I think you'll enjoy it. I'm about 2/3 through now, having had some plane time to read a chunk.

207souloftherose
Apr 9, 2012, 1:40pm

I love the eggs and the cute photo of Coco - I think the eggs came out really well (and of course Coco came out well - he's a natural).

208LovingLit
Apr 9, 2012, 6:08pm

I too love your eggs Ilana :)
Sorry its been a while between visits, sick kids, then a teething baby has meant sleep has been elusive for all around here. Have even had to resort do midnight drives to get some peace and quiet! (Thank goodness for 24 hour petrol stations that do hot drinks)
Glad you have been productive art -wise and that your blog posting has payed dividends in more visitors.

209Smiler69
Apr 9, 2012, 10:13pm

Thanks Kerry, Daryl, Morphi, Ellen, Claudia, Donna, Heather and Megan for all your lovely compliments on my latest crafts project. I had lots of fun with it, and was all too happy to share the results.

Quiet day today, nothing special to report. Read several children's books, all lovely though perhaps not transporting enough to mention. Almost finished with Call for the Dead. It's very good, but I've always felt that spy novels assume the reader is aware of certain conventions regarding the spy world, so that parts of it always go over my head. Is that just me? Also finished Tree of Life: Charles Darwin and started on Starry Messenger, both by Peter Sís. Am moving along at a good clip on David Copperfield, now just over the halfway mark. I make lots of listening opportunities by doing lots of odds and ends that need attending to around the house.

#198 You're right of course Kerry, TIOLI will be here for a while still. It just feels strange not trying to fit my reading into a bunch of challenges. As I've said before, I may yet change my mind this month!

#200 I've done the same thing as you mostly too Morphi—fitting my books into challenges rather than the other way 'round. In my case it's mostly because I usually like to plan my reading in advance so that by the time the challenges are up I've already got more on that month's tbr than I can handle!

#201 Paul, you've been missed by many here on LT I'm sure, though it's for a good cause.

other than the full complement of ears of course. Now you know that made me smile. ;-)

#202 I think I remember Kerry mentioning The Conference of the Birds on her thread before, and I've come close to purchasing it sight unseen once or twice, but I'll do the reasonable thing and put in a purchase request. Though I'm sure there'll be a Peter Sis book that I'll just have to have all to myself eventually. I'll look forward to your comments on it of course.

#203 I am easily pleased - but rarely happy... go figure!

That's a good observation Claudia, and I can say I understand it all too well as it is usually the case with me too. I've come to the conclusion in these past few years that happiness is overrated. Contentment is where it's at for me now. My younger self would never have been satisfied with that... proof that we all change, as do our expectations.

210Smiler69
Apr 9, 2012, 10:34pm

#204 Donna, I must say it's often the case that I take an all or nothing approach with my art projects, which indeed tends to be quite draining when I've gone through a mini-marathon as I did with my eggs these past few days. When I read your message a bit earlier today as I was lurking (yes, even on my own thread!), it helped explain why I was feeling so listless today and eased the guilt away, so thank you for that. :-)

#205 Ellen, I have a full little set of Bunnykins dishes—plate, cup and bowl that my mum gave me as a Christmas gift back in 1986. I use them almost every day and cherish them dearly. Childish of me I know, but then, I make no bones about being a big kid. I did break the plate a few years ago and searched online until I found a very nice one to replace the other. It seems they continue to be a popular item. And of course seemed all too fitting for Easter!

#206 I do recall you being a huge Murakami fan Joe. I've read most of the books you've mentioned above, save for After the Quake (which I know to be a collection of short stories) and 1Q84, which I got as an audiobook very recently during one of the sales on Audible. I agree that Norwegian Wood isn't the best place to start, but as I'd read several of his books by the time I got to that one, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I discovered him through The Windup Bird Chronicle and was hooked from the start. I definitely need to add some Murakami on my obese reading list for the year as it's been too long since I've read anything by him. Still to read on my tbr are A Wild Sheep Chase, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, After Dark, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (on audio in French translation—will be my first Murakami in French!), and aforementioned 1Q84. I'm tempted to start with his latest release, but then also think I should make room for the others that have been sitting there for too long already. Out of the 6 books of his I've read, my favourite so far have been The Windup Bird, Norwegian Wood, South of the Border, West of the Sun and Dance Dance Dance (in no particular order).

I can't seem to make up my mind about Donna Leon. I've read half a dozen of her books out of sequence and sometimes love them, sometimes find them repetitive. But my latest experience of listening to David Colacci narrating really made me appreciate her in a whole new way. I'm just getting started on the Andrea Camilleri series and look forward to the fourth Montalbano, The Voice of the Violin.

#207 Heather, I agree that Coco is a natural. The only thing I can't figure out is why he does this squinty thing every time there's a camera on him. His eyes go from perfectly round brown pebbles to mere slits every time I trail a lens on him. It's maddening, but I managed to catch him quite off his guard this last time!

#208 Megan, you need never apologize for fewer visits. We're all struggling to find a balance between RL time and LT time, though of course I'm always pleased to hear from you!

211PiyushC
Apr 10, 2012, 7:45am

#206 That other reader would be me, Joe, glad to meet another Murakami fan :)

#210 Ilana, I read A Wild Sheep Chase early this year and was pleasantly surprised to find the girl with the "ear" from Dance Dance Dance as one of the lead characters, not to mention the sheep-man.

After Dark was one of my earliest Murakami reads and may I say, I was swept away!

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of short stories with some brilliant and some not so brilliant stories, one of the short stories was later expanded into a full fledged novel. I personally like his novels a lot better than his short stories, he himself apparently believes otherwise :)

212Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 3:06pm

#211 Thanks for the insights on some of the Murakami books awaiting on my tbr Piyush! I think I remember reading somewhere about Murakami preferring his short stories. So far I've stuck to his novels since I've never been all that fond of short stories, but I'll make my way there and find out for myself I guess.

213Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 3:34pm



48. ♫ Death and Judgment / A Venetian Reckoning by Donna Leon ★★★½
(Read for 12/12 Category #5: The Dark Side - Crime & Mystery)

A truck meets with a terrible accident in the snowy Dolomites, and spilling out of it's bowels among the cargo of wood are also strange mannequins... but the mannequins are bleeding, which must mean they are real women. The horror of this accident is only a small presage of more to come.

Commissario Guido Brunetti is put on the case of the murder of a prominent lawyer, shot dead on an intercity train. Then an accountant and business associate of the lawyer also turns up dead, and Brunetti starts suspecting the connection might be an international prostitution ring. His 14-year-old daughter Chiara offers her help as an apprentice investigator; she's been to school with the murdered lawyer's daughter and may be able to unearth some clues. But no one is prepared for the extent of the horror she uncovers in the process, least of all Chiara herself, and Brunetti can't forgive himself for unwittingly exposing his beloved daughter to such monstrous crimes. I’ve read several novels in the series before and knew that Leon tends to combine an insider's view of Venice and the comforts of the inspector's home life with the vilest of crimes and conspiracies, but the nature of one of the crimes committed against women in this particular instance were so evil that I was quite shocked. But in the end, Brunetti is a man with a conscience and in comforting his daughter, he also comforts his reader; heinous crimes won't go away, but love and kindness are also here to stay. Recommended, but this ones necessitates a solid stomach.

214Smiler69
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 4:08pm



49. The Last Song by Eva Wiseman ★★★★
(Read for Early Reviewers and for 12/12 Category #8: Hot Off the Press)

Young Isabella leads a comfortable and sheltered life in 15th century Toledo, Spain. Her father is one King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella's favourite physicians, and as such benefits from riches and luxury, and though Isabella knows Jews are being persecuted by the inquisition let by Cardinal Torquemada, she feels her family’s Christian faith shields them from danger. Life starts taking an unpleasant turn for her when her father arranges her betrothal to the son of a prominent family. The young man is cruel and mean to her, but her father insists marrying into his devout Catholic family will shield Isabella from any risk, an explanation which Isabella is far from understanding until Torquemada's men come knocking at their door to take Isabella's father one day. Unbeknownst to Isabella, her family are recent converts and her parents have been practicing their Jewish customs in secret, which is exactly the sort of behaviour the Inquisition sets out to uncover and punish. But the family are in possession of a document which could prove embarrassing to Torquemada. If Isabella can play her cards right, she might manage to free her father, unless she ends up being locked up and tortured right along with him.

This short novel, combining adventure and romance against a backdrop of persecution and violence and based on historical facts, turned out to be a real page turner. Recommended for readers young and old.

215jnwelch
Apr 11, 2012, 4:41pm

>210 Smiler69: Wow, Ilana. Reading Murakami in French! The mind boggles. He's pretty darn challenging in English. :-)

216Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 5:56pm

#215 Should be interesting. Japanese and English certainly don't have much, if anything in common, but somehow it seems even further away from French. But then again, millions of readers around the world do read him in French and many other languages I guess!

217Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 6:34pm



50. ♫ Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½
(Read for 12/12 Challenge #6: Going Places)

A famous Viennese author receives a long letter from a woman, in which she proceeds to describe the love and full extent of the passion she has felt for him ever since she was a young girl. The woman claims she has lost her only child moments before picking up her pen, and that these are her final words before dying. The deep pathos of the situation is impossible to resist, as is the narrative, in which the woman describes how her obsession for this man has shaped her life. Very moving.






51. ♫ Fear by Stefan Zweig ★★★★½
(Read for 12/12 Challenge #1: The First Half 1901-1951)

The wife of a prominent Viennese lawyer who has been having an affair with a young musician is accosted by a woman in the street one day. The young woman, visibly in dire straits, claims to have also been one the the musician's mistresses, and begins to allude to blackmail, to which the married woman responds by giving her all her money. Before long the blackmailer is demanding increasing sums every day and our heroine is terrified of being found out by her husband, even as he repeatedly encourages her to share the fears that have her screaming out at night. A psychological drama which is a product of it's time (1910s-1920s) with the roles of men and women narrowly defined, but in which human nature and the nature of fear itself are played out to great effect. My second short story by Zweig, it had me weeping (from sadness? from relief?) in the end.

218PaulCranswick
Apr 11, 2012, 6:59pm

Ilana - I can see how you spent your holidays....with some great reading. Intruiged by both the Zweig and the Eva Wiseman. All three of them look like winners and I enjoyed the reviews.

219Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 7:45pm



52. A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré ★★★★
(Read for 12/12 Challenge #5: The Dark Side)

George Smiley is retired from his intelligence work and recovering from a recent divorce, but agrees to help his old friend and wartime colleague Miss Brimley, the editor of a Christian magazine with a limited and devoted readership. Miss Brimley has received a letter from a long-standing reader stating: "I'm not mad. And I know my husbad is trying to kill me." But by the time the letter has reached it's destination, it's author, the wife of a teacher at the exclusive Carne College, has already been violently murdered. Carne is a community quite closed off from the rest of the world, and those who people the school aren't willing to speak to the police, but they might be willing to speak to Smiley, who once knew the brother of a certain Fielding, a Housemaster at the school who is about to retire. As Smiley probes into the crime and starts uncovering facts, it seems more and more people may have had motives for murdering the victim, though of course Smiley manages to get to the bottom of things despite the school's politics and narrow social conventions. In the process, he must also face unpleasant gossip concerning him and his estranged wife, Lady Ann Sercombe, who was raised in Carne town. My first Smiley novel, which I unfortunately read out of order. This didn't in any way take away from what was a very enjoyable read, though it had me wondering why a novel about a spy agent had no espionage in it.



53. Call for the Dead by John le Carré ★★★½

The first novel in the George Smiley series, which introduces the MI6 intelligence officer. Middle-aged, self-effacing, bespectacled, short and fat, a bad dresser and sometimes described as frog-like, Smiley presents a more realistic character and the opposite to the fantasy that is James Bond. The first chapter gives us Smiley's professional background and how he came to be involved with intelligence work, but also presents his current personal situation. Smiley is recovering from heartbreak following his separation from his wife Lady Ann Sercombe, a beautiful and promiscuous aristocrat who has left him for a Cuban racecar driver. The presentations over, Smiler is called in by his superior, Maston, who informs him that a Foreign Office civil servant named Samuel Fennan has just committed suicide following a routine security check performed by Smiley and that he, Smiley is accused of inducing the man to kill himself. It appears that Fennan claimed in his suicide note that he felt his reputation was marred and his career at an end. Smiley is distraught, especially since he remembers the interview, which followed an anonymous accusation, being a particularly pleasant one, and that he had all but guaranteed to Fennan that he was in the clear. When he goes to visit Fennan's widow Elsa (a Jewish concentration-camp survivor) the next morning, he intercepts a phone call which was meant for the dead man: an 8:30 a.m. wake-up call, which seems to surprise Elsa Fennan. This one incident doesn't sit well with our spy, who is convinced that Fennan was in fact murdered. In the course of his investigation, Smiler suffers a violent attack which leaves him half dead, though he eventually recovers after a long hospitalization and succeeds in putting all the pieces together. In the process, he exposes an old war-time colleague, a German spy who was working for him, but has since gone over to the other side and is now an operative for the East Germans. This was a good introduction to the popular spy series and to spy novels in general. Looking forward to the next installation.

220Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 7:46pm

#218 Oops, sorry mate, missed your message as I was deep into reviewing mode. Was thinking about you as I wrote the last two and wondering what you'd think of them, as I'm assuming you've already read the whole George Smiley series?

221msf59
Apr 11, 2012, 8:01pm

Hi Ilana- As usual, you have some interesting book choices going on here. As you know, I'm a big Murakami fan too and I'm starting to get an itch to try another one. I would love to get to his latest but that will have to wait til later in the year, since it's such a chunkster.
Wow, both of those Zweig books sound terrific. This author is the real deal. I NEED to read more of this guy.
I would also like to go back and read the Smiley books in order, like you are doing. See how inspirational you are?

222PaulCranswick
Apr 11, 2012, 8:12pm

Middle-aged, self-effacing, bespectacled, short and fat, a bad dresser and sometimes described as frog-like,

Ilana....great review, make no wonder you were thinking about me! I have read all the Smiley books and they are good if you like cerebral thrillers and don't bother too much the lack of action.

223Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 8:20pm

#221 See how inspirational you are?

Mark, I've been having a couple of bad days, and you have no idea how good those simple five words made me feel. Makes me feel like no matter how useless I feel, I still make a difference somehow, no matter how small. xx

#222 Paul, you silly bear! You're far too handsome to compare yourself to George Smiley for heaven's sake! I just thought I'd read somewhere that you'd read them before, and if I hadn't, it just seemed like something you would have done already. I'm more than ok with cerebral thrillers that "lack action". As a matter of fact, I don't know that I need all that much action since there's plenty going on "up there" to keep us all occupied, isn't there?

224Smiler69
Apr 11, 2012, 8:25pm



I forgot to mention here that I posted the following on my blog yesterday: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2012/04/10/more-than-skin-deep/
Because of the Alice in Wonderland theme, I linked that post to one I had originally put together a few years ago, and in the process re-edited it thoroughly, added a bunch of images and quotes from the story: http://fromsmilerwithlove.com/2008/01/15/more-alice-in-wonderland/

225-Cee-
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 8:47pm

Hi Ilana! Lots of good reading and reviewing here! You make almost everything sound like something I want to read.

Right now I'm stuck in the middle of trying to arrange all my books - it's been sweet cuddling my books into their proper places on my shelves and reminding myself of all the books I have to read... ;-)
There must have been a glow around me as I was sorting. Even Ron made comment several times about how much fun I seemed to be having.

ETA: wow - Alice in Wonderland art... Need to spend more time over there on your blog.

226Smiler69
Edited: Apr 11, 2012, 8:49pm

Awww... Claudia, that sounds amazing! I'm so happy you're having such a great time. I started sorting my books about a month ago, which wasn't a great idea as I was recuperating from my surgery, but you remind me that I'm probably healed enough to continue with my work. I've actually got a few spaces open on my shelves... almost unheard of! But have no worries, they will be quickly filled!

eta: yes, I spent hours and hours upon hours with that post originally, and again yesterday spent most of the evening doing that again, but it was worth it as I loved poring over the images again and choosing choice morsels from the story... never gets old!

227PaulCranswick
Apr 11, 2012, 9:13pm

Ilana - I was being a tad tongue-in-cheek as usual with the Smiley quip - was accurate enough until the frog-like!

Cee - one of my favourite pastimes is organising and trying to find space for my books but it drives SWMBO mad.

228msf59
Apr 11, 2012, 9:42pm

Ilana- I'm glad I could put a small smile on your face. Sorry to hear you've been feeling down.
Alice in Wonderland tats? Yikes!

229PiyushC
Apr 12, 2012, 2:30am

I should start on the Smiley series too, I started with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy a few years back and gave up on it for some reason, and I can't seem to find that copy once I started looking for it after watching the movie adaptation.

230EBT1002
Edited: Apr 12, 2012, 2:47am

Hi Ilana. I'm just finishing my second-ever audiobook, A Study in Scarlet, which I'm liking much more than my first experience. I know it has a lot to do with the material and the narrator. I'm enjoying this one so much that I'm sure I'll give another one a try -- it seems like a perfect way to get myself to spend more time in the garden. As it is, I tend to procrastinate on the gardening because I'd rather be reading, but this way I could be doing both! I know you've mentioned having favorite narrators. Are you liking the narrator you have for the Smiley novels?

Cool skin art. Incredible detail and capturing of emotion!

231PiyushC
Apr 12, 2012, 3:32am

#230 Ooh, Sherlock Holmes! I am on a Sherlock Homes streak myself, but in hard copy, no audio books for me.

232ChelleBearss
Apr 12, 2012, 2:43pm

Wow Ilana, those eggs are amazing! Great job!

233Smiler69
Apr 12, 2012, 3:45pm

#227 You funny guy!

Why does your book sorting make Hani mad?

#228 Not sure what's up with me this week. Spring-time blues?

I've had one rather horrible experience with tattoos and not willing to try it again on myself, though I do admire them when they're as well done as this one.

#229 So far I've liked the two I've read Piyush, we'll see how it goes as I progress with the series. What made you give up on it the first time?

#230 it seems like a perfect way to get myself to spend more time in the garden

Ellen, that's what got me hooked on audiobooks in the first place, that I could do one of my favourite activities (i.e. reading) and at the same time be productive with other things I just wouldn't do otherwise. Also makes dog-walking more exciting because let's face it, there's only so many variations that can happen during one of 3-4 optional every day circuits.

I looked up A Study in Scarlet on Audible and see it's been interpreted by over a dozen narrators at least. Two of my favourites are in there, Simon Prebble and Derek Jacobi. Who narrates yours? As for the Smiley novels, the two first ones I've read were actually in traditional book format, but I've got The Spy Who Came in from the Cold on audio narrated by Frank Muller, who's a popular American narrator who does a lot of Stephen King novels, among others. I'm not so fond of hearing British authors narrated with American accents as a general rule, but I'm willing to go with it, especially since there are only about 3 of the Smiley novels now available on Audible—even TSWCiftC has been removed from their catalogue since I snagged it.

#232 Thanks Chelle! :-)

234PaulCranswick
Apr 12, 2012, 6:00pm

Ilana - SWMBO get irritated because a) there is no space left really and b) I make such a mess piling up my books that she has made my room a no go zone (which suits me fine too).

235LovingLit
Apr 12, 2012, 6:56pm

>227 PaulCranswick: Cee - one of my favourite pastimes is organising and trying to find space for my books
Oh, me too Paul. I do it with such fervor my mouth hurts from smiling. Sounds ridiculous now that Ive written that....

>233 Smiler69: Ilana, it doesn't make my bed-buddy mad though, he just laughs and then I tell him off about his crates and crates of records clogging up the place :)

>234 PaulCranswick: lol, Paul, you so dont really mean that, admit it, you love her to bits :)

Ive not read anything by le Carre, I think Im prejudiced against him as I have him pegged as a boy/spy/thriller author.

236Smiler69
Apr 12, 2012, 10:09pm

Just called my father in response to a message he left me as he needed help for something computer-related. Seems when he wants to respond to an ad on Craigslist (he's moving, again—every single one of his apartments becomes completely unsuitable within a year, so this must be his 70th move), it opens up an email application he's not familiar with and can't find the "send" button. I spent I don't know how long trying to walk him through the thing (I'm on Mac, and so don't have PC applications, but ALL email apps have a SEND button, for heaven's sake). It wasn't clear what the email app was and by the time I was ready to tear my hair out, his line cut off, obviously by mistake. So I waited for him to call me back. Five minutes later, still no call, so I picked up the phone and called him, said "I just thought I should end the conversation by saying goodnight", which he seemed to think was strange. Basic civil gestures seem to be absolutely beyond his comprehension. I couldn't resist asking: "if I hadn't called you just now, would you not have called me back?" "What for???" he says. Oy. Oh me. Every time he asks for help, it turns out to be a majorly unpleasant undertaking, no matter how patient and kind I try to be. He's just rude, rude, rude, which makes me incredibly angry, though I was nothing but kind to him all the way. But in fact, he pisses me off so much, I'm in the mood to strangle a cat, so Ezra'd better walk the narrow line tonight...

237Smiler69
Apr 12, 2012, 10:14pm

#234 Being single does have it's advantages. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to be able to make whatever mess I feel like making whenever the mood strikes me!

#235 I do it with such fervor my mouth hurts from smiling. Sounds ridiculous now that Ive written that....

Doesn't sound ridiculous to me at all Megan. If it makes you happy and it's constructive to boot, then all the power to you! :-)

I know what you mean about Le Carré. I've felt like that about him for a long time, though I did read The Russia House when I found out they were making a film out of it and quite enjoyed it at the time. Some of the spy stuff goes right over my head, but there's plenty of other stuff going on that seems to make it worth it imho.

238LovingLit
Apr 12, 2012, 11:32pm

Point taken re: le Carre, I could/should broaden my horizons.

Sorry to hear about your latest conversation with your dad; strangling the cat doesn't sound like something you'd really do....but maybe you should warn Ezra just in case ;) Maybe your dad doesn't like asking for help/admitting he needs help, and this is manifested in aggressive ungrateful behaviour.

239PaulCranswick
Apr 12, 2012, 11:55pm

Ilana - your Dad seems (and looks he says remembering your portrait sketches) a real character. 70 moves! Even allowing for exaggeration that means he has lead something of a gypsy existence which must be difficult when we want our parents to provide an anchor. Some of us are born with that sort of wanderlust; I am a homebird and cannot be bothered to move house once roots are put down but it takes all sorts. I have issues from time to time with SWMBO's lack of computer savvy but not to the extent explained.
The tomcat in me loved being single. The grown-up version doesn't. I think if I was a lady of semi-independent means and happy with my own company we'd probably meet once in awhile and self-satisfiedly compare notes! x

240EBT1002
Apr 13, 2012, 12:16am

I just texted Ezra and told him to give you a wide berth..... :-)
So sorry your dad was his rude self. Again. Grrrr....
My A Study in Scarlet is narrated by Prebble, and I like him. I would like Derek Jacobi, as well. I wonder if I could get work narrating books. I have a deep voice.

241Smiler69
Edited: Apr 13, 2012, 4:25pm

strangling the cat doesn't sound like something you'd really do....but maybe you should warn Ezra just in case

No, of course you're right, but I thought saying so might illustrate just how crazy that man can make me sometimes. Ezra is still breathing and enjoying the use of all four of his paws. Your analysis is bang on though Megan—he did tell me once that it upsets him to have to ask for help, and I'd forgotten all about it. How clever you are! I don't think I'd ever be patient enough to be a teacher if this is how people react to being helped!

#239 Oh yes Paul, he's a real character all right. And prides himself in being one too. 70 moves might have been an exaggerated figure. Try 67. I do know that in all his adult life, he hasn't lived anywhere for more than a year, sometimes moving more than once. Both my parents are gypsies actually, and again, very happy with their chosen lifestyles. Which is just fine, except for the fact that it never suited me. Now that we're all adults (more or less), it shouldn't affect me anymore, especially as I've created more stability than I've ever had in my life before, but for some reason it continues to distress me every time my father starts listing all the reasons why he cannot stay a minute longer where he lives (often enough, they're valid reasons, interestingly enough, though he might think it through before moving in!). He likes to let his little dog run around freely (letting her out while he stays in), which I think is nuts, and he told me his current landlady has threatened to call the police next time she sees little Lulu on her grounds. That's a bit radical, but he's got no business letting her out like that to begin with. But I know better than to try telling him that as it's bound to end in an awful argument. He's just nuts. But I'm the one who's mentally unstable, right? If he weren't my own father, I'd find him really entertaining.

#240 You may have saved Ezra's life with that text message, Ellen. Actually, it was Coco ended up getting in trouble last night. I had, for the past couple of months, turned the cat litter entrance towards the wall to prevents Coco from going in there (the cats can squeeze in), but then when Ezra started pooing outside the box last week, I turned it around again. Last night, Coco disappeared from the bedroom, so I went searching for him and sure enough, found him stepping out of the litter box with cat poo in his mouth. I won't say what ensued, but I assure you he's still alive and well and in no need of emergency care.

Simon Prebble is one of my top 5 narrators probably, so I'm glad you got him. If you want to try your 'hand' (voice) at narrating, you can do so at LibriVox.org where all the recordings are done on a volunteering basis. They give you instructions on how to go about it on the site and as far as I understand it, anyone can participate. Let me know if you do and I'll download your recordings!

It's beautiful outside and almost warm today (15C/60F) so I'll take my little guy out for a long walk. I'll probably start a new thead tonight. I took some pictures of my Puffin postcards especially to illustrate my new thead and I can't wait to post one as they're quite fun.

A preview.

242-Cee-
Apr 13, 2012, 8:56pm

LOL - Ilana! I just read Coco's little episode in the litter box to Ron and we both got a chuckle. Why? Because we have to go to great pains to discourage our Loki from hanging out at the litter box. We finally put the litter box in the basement with a long hook on the door going into the room. The cat can squeeze in - too tight for Loki.

I don't ever feel like "strangling" my cat - but I do threaten to whirl her around in the microwave once in awhile :}

Aren't kids fun? And parents, too?

Hugs for you and the furkids!

243roundballnz
Apr 13, 2012, 10:45pm

>225 -Cee-: love the Tattoo !!!!! very cool

as for Le Carré have to admit to being partial to his books for many years now - one of the few authors to miss on being purged (downsizing books) over the many years ......

244Smiler69
Apr 13, 2012, 11:51pm

#242 Claudia, I'm glad Coco's bad boy antics gave you and Ron a chuckle. Most people think Coco's a freak when I mention this nasty habit of his, and I assure them (as I have been myself) that cat poo is considered a delicacy among many members of the canine family. So gross. But then, the idea of a cat in a microwave is even grosser, I think. ;-)

#243 I look forward to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold now, as I know it's one of his most popular, and I can't wait to see Smiler get back into the saddle, so to speak.

245Smiler69
Apr 13, 2012, 11:56pm

I'm moving over!
This topic was continued by Smiler's Miscellany: Part Seven.