Smiler's Miscellany: More Mismatched Odds and Ends, Part Ten

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

This topic was continued by Smiler's Miscellany: More Mismatched Odds and Ends, #11.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Smiler's Miscellany: More Mismatched Odds and Ends, Part Ten

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Edited: Jul 16, 2012, 11:06pm

Another image by artist Olaf Hajek, this time to serve as a daily reminder that I want to start doing yoga again. Also, I love elephants.

Currently reading, listening to,
and occasionally browsing through:

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Carol Squiers
Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (tutored read thread)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (Group Read)
It's Lonely in the Modern World: The Essential Guide to Form, Function, and Ennui by Molly Jane Quinn
The Coroner’s Lunch by Collin Cotterill


Favourites of 2012 (4.5 stars 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
Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig
Fear by Stefan Zweig
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig
My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Stettin Station by David Downing
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

12/12 Challenge
1. The First Half 1901-1951 8/12
2. Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie - 18th & 19th Century Classics 6/12
3. Picked for me - chosen from my shelves at random by LTers 6/12
4. Guardian Knows Best - Guardian 1000 7/12
5. The Dark Side - Crime & Mystery 11/12
6. Going Places - International authors & places 8/12
7. Young at Heart - Children/YA/Fantasy 10/12
8. Hot Off the Press - Published since 2011 7/12
9. Visual Treats - books on art, photography, design, or just beautiful books 2/12
10. Beyond Fiction - non-fiction 6/12
11. Litérature Française - read in French 4/12
12. From My Treasure-Trove - off the shelf (acquired before 31/12/11) 5/12
Total read: 80/144

Edited: Jul 16, 2012, 11:07pm

Books completed in July
92. ♫ Any Human Heart by William Boyd ★★★★½ (review)
93. ♫ Being There by Jerzy Kosinski ★★★★★ (review)
94. A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman (Early Reviewers, rating & review coming soon)
95. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (rating & review coming soon)
96. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís (rating & review coming soon)

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

Edited: Jul 17, 2012, 2:47pm

Suggested reads for July

✔ Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (tutored read thread, TIOLI #7: *more than 300 pages* with *a multiple word title*)
A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman (Early Reviewers, TIOLI #9: Read a book with a Deckle Edge)
♫ The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver - 12/12 #3 - Picked by calm, TIOLI #14: In honor of 'Don't Step on A Bee Day' - Read a book whose title begins with a 'B')
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (GR - Virago Modern Classics, TIOLI #10: a book by an author whose surname could also be a first name, 12/12 #1: The First Half 1901-1951)
✔ East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon, TIOLI #7: *more than 300 pages* with *a multiple word title*)
♫ Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (GR, TIOLI #4: a title that suggests sharing)

Unplanned, but reading anyway

The Coroner's Lunch by Collin Cotteril (TIOLI #8: the author's initials form a commonly used abbreviation or initialism or acronym - c/c cubic centimetres, 12/12 #6: Going Places)
The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís (TIOLI #8: the author's initials form a commonly used abbreviation or initialism or acronym - p.s. post scriptum, 12/12 #9: Visual Treats)


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

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 3:22pm

2012 Planning


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: May Murder & Mayhem, 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: River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (75ers), 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), 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)
October: Blindness by José Saramago (12/12), Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (75ers)
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

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 4:19pm

Books Read in 2012:

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)

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

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)

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)

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 ★★★½ (review)
55. ♫ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ★★★★ (review)
56. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler ★★★★ (review)
57. ♫ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller ★★★★⅓ (review)
58. My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault ★★★★★ (review)
59. Selected Poems by Roger McGough ★★★¾ (review)
60. ♫ The Great Poets: W. B. Yeats ★★★½ (review)
61. ♫ Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig ★★★★½ (review)
62. Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis ★★★★ (review)
63. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
64. ♫ Running Blind / The Visitor by Lee Child ★★★★ (review)
65. ♫ The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré ★★★⅓ (review)
66. ♫ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark ★★½ (review)
67. ♫ Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper ★★★★ (review)
68. The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger ★★★½ (review)
69. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery ★★★⅓ (review)

70. ♫ The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark ★★★ (review)
71. ✔ Queenpin by Megan Abbott ★★★½ (review)
72. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye ★★★★ (review)
73. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes ★★★★ (review)
74. ♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri ★★★½ (review)
75. ✔ The Glass Room by Simon Mawer ★★★★⅓ (review)
76. Selected Poems by Carol Ann Duffy ★★½ (review)
77. ♫ The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux ★★★ (review)
78. ♫ Stettin Station by David Downing ★★★★½ (review)
79. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan ★★★⅓ (review)
80. ♫ The Maze Runner by James Dashner ★★⅞ (review)
81. ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen ★★★★ (review)
82. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor ★★½ (review)

83. ♫ Katherine by Anya Seton ★★★★¼ (review)
84. ♫ Restless by William Boyd ★★★★⅓ (review)
85. ♫ The Suspect by Michael Robotham ★★★★ (review)
86. ♫ Lost by Michael Robotham ★★★⅓ (review)
87. The Observations by Jane Harris ★★★★⅓ (review)
88. ♫ A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch ★★★★½ (review)
89. ♫ Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓ (review)
89. ♫ The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes ★★★½ (review)
90. ♫ Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card ★★★★⅓ (review)
91. River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh ★★★★½ (review)

Books with touchstones are rated 4.5 stars and up.

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 3:23pm

(Some of the) 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 by Charles Dickens
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
✔ ♫ Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

Strikes are for books read so far.

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

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 9:01pm

Books Acquired in 2012

1. ♫ Persuasion by Jane Austen (Au) - Read in May
2. ♫ Just Kids by Patti Smith (Au)
3. A Murder of Quality and Call for the Dead by John le Carré (CI) - Read in April
4. ♫ Soulless by Gail Carriger (Au) - Unfinished
5. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (BD) - Read in February
6. An Ermine of Czernopol by Gregor von Rezzori (BD)
7. A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Cornell Cappa (BD)
8. The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey (BD)

9. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (BD) - Read in March
10. ♫ Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Au) - Read in February
11. ♫ Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Au)
12. At Large and at Small — Confessions of a Literary Hedonist by Anne Fadiman (CI)
13. Emma by Jane Austen (White's Fine Edition) (BD)
14. Hella Jongerius: Misfit by Louise Schouwenberg (CI)
15. The Bay of Angels by Anita Brookner (BWB)
16. Leaving Home by Anita Brookner (BWB)
17. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 1 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Read in February
18. ♫ Dracula by Bram Stoker (Au) - Read in March
19. ♫ This Sceptred Isle Vol 2 by Christopher Lee (Au) - Read
20. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (White's Fine Edition) (BD)
21. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (White's Fine Edition) (CI)
22. Emma by Jane Austen (Penguin Threads) (BD)
23. The Secret Garden (Penguin Threads) (BD)
24. Black Beauty (Penguin Threads) (BD)
25. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (BD)
26. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (BD)
27. ♫ Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Au)
28. ♫ The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (Au)
29. ♫ 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Au)
30. ♫ Middlemarch by George Eliot (Au)
31. ♫ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Au) - Read in March

32. ♫ Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Au)
33. ♫ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (Au) - Read in April
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) - Read in March
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) - Read in April
42. ♫ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (Au) - Read in March
43. ♫ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Au)
44. ♫ The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Au) - Read in May
45. ♫ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Au) - Read in April
46. ♫ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Au)
47. ♫ The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (Au) - Read in March
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) - Read in April
53. ♫ The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes (Au) - Read in May
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)

59. ♫ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (Au) - Read in April
60. Paul Klee: Selected by Genius, 1917-1933 (CI)
61. The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (BD)
62. Amsterdam Stories by Nescio (BD)
63. ♫ Life by Keith Richards
64. ♫ The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
65. ♫ Birds of a Feather Jackeline Winspear
66. ♫ White Butterfly: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley
67. The Observations by Jane Harris (AZ vendor) - Read in June
68. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
69. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (pre-order)
70. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., Illustrated by Maira Kalman
71. Karl Blossfeldt by Hans Christian Adam
72. Selected Poems by T. S. Eliot
73. Selected Poems by W. H. Auden
74. Selected Poems by W. B. Yeats
75. Selected Poems by John Betjeman
76. Great Fashion Designs of the Fifties Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney

77. Great Fashion Designs of the Forties by Tom Tierney (BD)
78. Classic Fashions of Christian Dior by Tom Tierney (BD)
79. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (BD)
80. ♫ Sons by Pearl S. Buck
81. ♫ The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
82. ♫ The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Read in May
83. The Sun King by Nancy Mitford (BD)
84. ♫ Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
85. ♫ Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
86. ♫ A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd
87. ♫ Frederica by Georgette Heyer
88. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Folio Society Edition) (eBay)
89. ♫ Katherine by Anya Seton - Read in June

90. ♫ A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
91. ♫ The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
92. ♫ A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
93. ♫ The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes
94. ♫ Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
95. ♫ All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
96. ♫ Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
97. ♫ King Richard III by William Shakespeare
98. ♫ A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
99. ♫ Othello by William Shakespeare (full cast)
100. ♫ The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Wall
101. ♫ A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
102. Naked: The Nude In America by Bram Dijkstra (CI)
103. Alice Neel: Painted Truths by Barry Walker (CI)
104. Guy Bourdin: In Between by Shelly Verthime (CI)
105. The Tulip Anthology Ron van Dongen (CI)
106. A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull (Abe)
107. I Before E (Except After C) by Judy Parkinson

♫ = Audible
BD = BookDepository
CI = ChaptersIndigo
BWB = Better World Books
Abe = AbeBooks
AZ = Amazon

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 8:58pm

Books Read from My Shelves in 2012

1. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (entry date: 2011-09-09)
2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (entry date: 2008-12-16)
3. ♫ Fight Club by Chuck Palaniukh (entry date: 2011-03-09)
4. ♫ Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (entry date: 2011-09-18)
5. Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk (entry date: 2009-05-20)

6. L'Assommoir by Émile Zola (entry date: 2010-10-15)
7. ♫ The Difference Engine by William Gibson (entry date: 2011-06-11)
8. ♫ The Quiet American by Graham Greene (entry date: 2011-10-30)
9. ♫ Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (entry date: 2011-06-16)
10. The Secret River by Kate Grenville (entry date: 2009-05-26)
11. ♫ Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac (entry date: 2011-06-23)
12. ♫ The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark (entry date: 2011-03-30)

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)

17. ♫ The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré (entry date: 2011-03-12)
18. The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger (entry date: 2010-08-26)
19. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (entry date: 2010-10-12)

20. Queenpin by Megan Abbott (entry date: 2011-05-05)
21. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (entry date: 2011-05-30)
22. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (entry date: 2011-03-09)

22.5 Wolf Hall (still reading)

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 9:02pm

Some kind of list coming here soon. Maybe more than just one even?

Jun 27, 2012, 8:23pm

Then I'll take it my dear = on board for another episode

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 8:24pm

First!! Whee!!

And I love whatever it is in the bottom right-hand corner... :)

ETA: Oh, @#$&!!!!

Fine, second.

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 8:27pm

Yay! Guests already!

#9 Paul, you know I'm always happy to have you over. You can spill the beans whenever you like... or just say hi, it's all good.

#10 Liz! Considering it was a close call, I'll say you're also among first... among the first to arrive. :-)
I miss our daily exchanges you know... we'll have to find another book for you to tutor me on... though I'll probably want a little break after Wolf Hall!

Bottom right-hand corner??


Jun 27, 2012, 8:30pm

The slightly mutant cat? :)

Yes, I guess we haven't been crossing paths too much lately, though I am dropping in on Wolf Hall. I'm re-reading Our Mutual Friend with Peggy next month, and tutoring Heather in The Warden in August, so I'll hope to find you lurking there!

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 8:51pm

I might skip Our Mutual Friend for now as I have other Dickens books already on my tbr, but I remember discussing The Warden as a possibility for tutorial with you, so I'll probably follow along with that one.

The mutant cat... well, he's a yoga cat so he's blissed-out, see? ;-)

Jun 27, 2012, 8:34pm

Ahhh... Yes, those eyes did have me a little worried.

Jun 27, 2012, 8:49pm

I LOVE the picture at the top of your thread! And I really, really love the birdhouses at the bottom of your last thread - I think I need one for my new house that I don't have yet because I haven't sold the old one yet.

Nice new thread, my dear!

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 8:50pm

Liz: I don't at all see what you mean... 8-)

Jun 27, 2012, 8:50pm

Love the thread opening picture, Ilana. That's an absolutely beautiful elephant.

Jun 27, 2012, 8:52pm

That's not yoga - that's cat-nip!

Jun 27, 2012, 8:53pm

#16 Hi Mamie. Those birdhouses are all available for purchase you know! Heh. I'd get one, but there's no room to put it what with all the piles of books everywhere... and besides, I can't help but think of all the books I could buy for the price!

#17 Caro, I might have to change my screen name to "ephelant" or something (that's how I used to call elephants when I was little, as a kind of joke because I knew adults would keep correcting me... deviant child that I was!). Might be more suitable for those days when I post about how depresso I feel!

Jun 27, 2012, 8:55pm

#19 Cat-nip doesn't work on my cats Liz... I don't know what's wrong with them. It used to, but then I felt so guilty about making them go so crazy that I stopped giving it to them... and then when I tried again, it just didn't take anymore.

Jun 27, 2012, 10:04pm

I know I'm way behind the trend with this, but I really wanted to put together my list of favourite reads from the 80s, so here goes:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
The Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies (1981-88)
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (1984)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985)
Les Cerfs-Volants by Romain Gary (1980)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980)
Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark (1981)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1984)
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (1987)
Beloved by Tony Morrison (1987)

Jun 27, 2012, 10:16pm

I have not read any of those, but I own Love in the Time of Cholera and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Which one should I read first?

Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 11:52pm

My, what a tough question! How to answer that one? They're both excellent novels, and very different. Both books I read over 20 years ago... and meant to read again this year, or LitToC was on my list, in any case. Where do you want to travel most? South America or Czechoslovakia? Magic realism or philosophizing? Eenie meenie miney mo maybe? ;-)

Jun 28, 2012, 6:55am

Gorgeous picture as always, Ilana.
Catnip doesn't work on Willie either. He just stares at it - be it loose on the floor or in a toy. Now Myrtle was just nuts about it. She loved to just roll in the stuff.

Loved the birdhouses - especially the one with the tiny rake as a perch. Wish I had an enclosed porch (or a porch of any kind) - it would look so cute in a corner.

I see that East of Eden is coming up. I think you are going to really, really like it. I wasn't paying attention to the months and accidentally read it this month. It was gooooood.

Jun 28, 2012, 8:46am

Love the opening picture. And your lists - they are so well put together and I can read them so easily. Will miss you on the OMF read. Of course, I still haven't found my copy and June is a 'short' month, so I do need to get my act together about that.

Edited: Jun 28, 2012, 1:00pm

#25 Hi Charlotte, I wouldn't mind having one of those birdhouses either. Provided I had room for one, I'd be hard-pressed to choose which one I'd like most though... I quite like the look of several of them together while we're at it!

#26 Lucy, I've been scratching my head trying to remember what OMF stands for...

Jun 28, 2012, 7:09pm

Lucy, I've been scratching my head trying to remember what OMF stands for...

{gratuitous advertisement} Our Mutual Friend! Coming soon to a thread near you! {/gratuitous advertisement}

Jun 28, 2012, 7:24pm

Love your Headline Pic! My mom and I did Yoga together, when i was a kid (way back when)...and those memories are good

My dad and i built Bluebird Houses, when he was alive (obviously)....and that's a pretty decent memory, too


Jun 28, 2012, 8:02pm

#28 Liz, feel free to use my thread for all bookish-type promos you like! I said I wouldn't participate for Our Mutual Friend simply because I already have 3 other Dickens novels on my tbr. Since last year, I discovered that I really enjoy taking in his generous prose via audiobooks, which makes the enterprise seem less, well, ambitious. I've just looked up OMF to see what recordings are out there, and obviously found a couple of great ones. Perhaps... and this is a big maybe, if you twist my arm gently at just the right moment, I might cave in and join you. TBC...

#29 Aw Jude, you don't know how happy it makes me to know I've somehow brought up not one, but two good memories about your parents, something which I believe is quite rare and therefore special.

I did yoga with my dad as a kid, as he was a real fanatic and for 25 years, practiced two, if not three times a day. I've never built (or had) a birdhouse though... maybe something to rectify in future? Hugs right back to you too! xx

Jun 28, 2012, 8:28pm

Love your 80's list Ilana - some of my absolute favourites there - the Milan Kundera is an absolute gem - some that I have wanted to read for ages - Garcia Marquez - some that I hated with a passion - Atwood and Auster (that's the joy of such lists too isn't it? - I love Atwood when she is not getting all creepily dystopian) - and some that are intriguingly unfamiliar to me like the Roman Gary.

love Liz's plugs for OMF. Sure she doesn't need it her group and tutored reads are a must for lurkers and skimmers.

Jun 28, 2012, 8:59pm

I tell you Paul, I didn't have that many options when I decided to look into my 80s reads... I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'm not even going to attempt a 70s list because I fear I'll come up ridiculously short. Still, I'll go hang out on wikipedia for a bit, in case I find some surprises.

Liz is awesome. We should start a fan club for her, I say. :-)

Jun 28, 2012, 9:10pm

Hi Ilana!
I'm not sick anymore... yay! So here I am to bother you again.
I've missed you :}
Great new thread - have to start here and go back to read the end of your last thread later to see what the birdhouses are all about.

LOVE the picture in #1! LOVE your 80's list. I have read a few of them quite awhile ago and liked them a lot. Still have a couple I really want to get to... soon. The Handmaid's Tale and Love in the Time of Cholera I have waiting patiently.

Hope things have been good for you. Hugs!

Jun 28, 2012, 9:41pm

My dearest Claudia, I have some serious catching up to do with you too. Glad to know you're all better. You've been missed my dear. I'll probably be re-reading The Handmaid's Tale for the 3rd time sometime this year. Maybe we can read it together or start up a group sometime? No rush whatsoever.

I'll be finishing River of Smoke tonight. I've read a few chapters today and only have the last two to go. I had to literally tear myself away from all the exciting action to attend to other things. It was tough!

I'm still limping along. I called 811, which is our health line with nurses taking calls and dispensing advice. The lady I spoke to said I should try applying hot or cold, take Advil or Tylenol, rest and not walk around too much... basic stuff. Off to get another dose of Advil.

Here's another bookish item I posted on my blog today (more details here:

Jun 28, 2012, 9:54pm

Ilana, I love those literary birdhouses. A friend used to live in a town where they had mobile libraries. I remember how fun it was to see it whenever I visited. I was only sad that I couldn't borrow from it since I didn't live there.

I like your 80s list of books. I've read most of them with the exception of Les Cerfs-Volants and The New York Trilogy.

Jun 28, 2012, 10:50pm

#35 Caro, Les Cerfs-Volants is a beautiful book, but it may be that it wasn't translated into English. It's about the Nazi occupation in a small French town and how the inhabitants deal with it. Of course this could describe dozens of books, but Romain Gary is (was) a highly sensitive writer and I look forward to reading more by him. I can't say I absolutely LOVED The New York Trilogy, but it was certainly very different from anything I've read before. Paul Auster so far has been a hit and miss for me. But when he's good, I absolutely love him.

Jun 28, 2012, 10:55pm

Hi Ilana! Just checking in over here. I am seriously in love with this bird houses. I really like the To Kill a Mockingbird one as it is one of my all time favorite books.

Jun 28, 2012, 11:19pm

Mamie, I'd say that would be a great choice. Though of course there are plenty of other ones that are quite beautiful, like the Audubon birds for instance. I'd be hard-pressed to chose myself.

Well, I loves me a challenge. Just because I said I wouldn't try to put together a 70s list because I didn't think I'd come up with much, I went ahead and tried to see what I could put together as books I've read from that period. I look forward to reading other selections from that decade, such as The Siege of Krishnapur, and Sophie's Choice (both presently on my tbr), to name just those

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (1970)
Troubles by J. G. Farrell (1970)
The Manticore by Robertson Davies (1972)
Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)
Shōgun by James Clavell (1975)
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (1977)
The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979) - the original radio drama is way better than the book!

Jun 28, 2012, 11:36pm

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorites. I spent plenty late, late Sunday nights catching the BBC series on PBS when I was in high school. Loved the BBC mini-series!

Jun 28, 2012, 11:41pm

I had no idea there was a BBC television adaptation. I've just now spotted it at the library. Will have to have a look at that, thanks for mentioning it!

Jun 29, 2012, 10:10am

Just checking in for now, and want to add that I (almost) can't stop looking at the entry post picture. I find it so beautiful and calming. I looked up the weblink and am surprised that the guy is German. His portraits look a bit severe (or is it austere?), but I'd love to have any of his fantasy motives on my walls. Couldn't find any cheap poster versions yet.

OMG, Shogun! It was such a hit in the 70s!

Jun 29, 2012, 4:31pm

Nathalie, I'm glad you like the image and find it calming. I don't know if there are any posters of Hajek's work to be found, but I do know he has a book available and a new one which is being released very soon.

I read Shogun in the 80s when I was a teenager after seeing the miniseries on television. I don't remember any of it now, but I do know I really loved it back then... almost 30 years ago now!

Jun 29, 2012, 7:54pm

Ilana, I've been awol and I'll never catch up but I wanted to say that I absolutely adore those bird houses!

And I think your 70s list is quite good. I loved Troubles, Interview with the Vampire, and The World According to Garp, I still want to give Davies another try, and I have Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter on my TBR shelf.

I still think Interview with the Vampire was Anne Rice's best novel, though I have enjoyed some of the others, most notably The Witching Hour.

Jun 29, 2012, 8:00pm

Two books came in today in the mail from the Game of Thrones series. They are parts one and two of book 3, A storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow and A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin. Don't know when I'll get started on that, but I look forward to it.

I haven't had my fill of listmania yet, so decided to compile a list of books I've read from the 60s, based on wikipedia. I had quite a lot more to chose from there than I did from the 70s... Narrowed down to 10 entries, with only 1 book per author.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1960)
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch (1961)
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (1961)
A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré (1962)
The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark (1963)
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1966)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

For some reason, I decided to drop The Bell Jar among others... I wonder why? :-|

Jun 29, 2012, 8:23pm

Ellen, sorry for skipping over you, I was putting the finishing touches on my 60s list when you posted.

I absolutely loved Troubles when I read it last year, as you may remember.

I read a few novels by Anne Rice in the early 90s, and may have made it to the 3rd or 4th novel in the vampire series, after which I got bored with the theme, but agree IWtV was excellent. I wouldn't mind giving it another go sometime, in fact. Didn't try anything else by her, until a "friend" introduced me to her BDSM trilogy maybe a decade ago, which begins with The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which she wrote as A. N. Roquelaure. Now that BDSM is an acceptable topic of conversation thanks to that "Grey" series I refuse to name on my own thread, I supposed it's just a matter of time until Rice's books are rediscovered. Or not. They're not all that "user friendly" or "light" now I think of it!

The World According to Garp also goes back a long way. I believe I read it shortly after seeing the movie, which came out in 1982, so I couldn't have been much older than 13 or 14. I'll NEVER forget the oral sex scene in the car. I think it traumatized me for life! But that's about all I remember, other than I thought it was really good. Robertson Davies is another author I discovered in the 80s, around 87 or 88 maybe. I have a book of his correspondence on my tbr, along with a few other of his novels I look forward to getting to.

Jun 29, 2012, 8:34pm

Ilana- I FINALLY have Troubles coming my way from BM. I'm going to try book horning it in, because it's been high on my WL for a few years now.
Sorry you were traumatized by the "oral sex scene in the car," from Garp! It was a shocker! What a fantastic book and what an incredible film version. I've been hearing good things about Irving's latest, although no LT resonse so far.

Jun 29, 2012, 8:37pm

Dear Ilana - aargh now I just have to do my 60's list too!
I too remember fondly the TV series of Shogun - there was a japanese actress, Yoko Shimada if I'm not mistaken, who I fell head over heels with at the time at a very impressionable age. Had I stopped to think it was inevitable that I would be hooked by (or I should more properly say hook) an Asian lady eventually.
I understand that it it Canada Day there this weekend - hope it rounds out a lovely weekend for you. x

Jun 29, 2012, 10:01pm

#46 Mark, I'd say you'll probably be very happy to have made room for Troubles when you get to it. I'll have to do the same for The Siege of Krishnapur, which I fully intend to read in the coming months. What's the name of Irving's latest book, do you know? I've still to get to A Prayer for Owen Meany, which funnily enough, is one of the first audiobooks I purchased when I joined Audible last year.

#47 Paul, I have a really bad memory, because I felt sure I'd seen a 60s list on your thread. So I'm glad in a way that I'm not too much behind the times. I feel confident that I should have plenty of options for most other decades going back to the beginning of the century. Too bad I can't do a list of books by year as you did, as there are too many holes, but I'll think of something...

Canada day here in Quebec is known as Moving Day, which is when moving trucks block every street and people dump out loads of unwanted furniture and building materials onto the sidewalks. It'll just be another day of reading and LTing for me no doubt, but thanks for the sentiment. A lovely weekend to you too my friend! :-)

Jun 29, 2012, 10:08pm

The Irving book is In One Person. I think it's out now. I really enjoyed A Prayer for Owen Meany too!

Jun 30, 2012, 12:16pm

Gentle twisting......

Jun 30, 2012, 3:31pm

Ilana - I am loving your lists. Getting some great reading for my WL. I have never read anything by Anne Rice. Actually, Watership Down is the only book I have read from your 70's list, but I have read quite a few from your 60's list. I read and loved the first three on your list, but only made it half-way through One Hundred Years on Solitude - I loved the writing but just could not get into the story. I think it might just have been bad timing on my part, so I should try it again some time.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We have been busy cleaning, and I have been waiting for the painter to show up to paint the girls' bedroom ceiling - he said he would be here "this afternoon" so no idea what time he will actually make an appearance. I am hoping to get some reading in later today as well as organizing my July reads. Still working on River of Smoke - don't think I will get it finished up today, so looks like it will spill over into July. Oh well.

Jun 30, 2012, 5:23pm

#22 "I know I'm way behind the trend" I'd say fashionably late :-)

I really like your eighties list - I've only read 3 of them but they were all great reads for me. The others I think I've heard of so inclusion on your list is another push towards reading them.

#28 *giggles*

#32 "Liz is awesome. We should start a fan club for her, I say. :-)" I'd join!

#38 And repeat my comments on the eighties list for your seventies list :-) I think I liked the book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy almost as much as the original radio play but I agree that the radio production is brilliant! Toni Morrison seems like an author I really should read given she had a book on both lists.

The TV adaptation is pretty good too although the haircuts and sets date it quite a bit.

#44 I've read absolutely none of the books on your 60s list. Looking at my library, it appears that I've mainly read Asterix comics from that decade, and they're a lot of fun but I'm not sure I want to list ten of them as my best reads of the decade! Clearly there are some gaps in my reading.

Hope you're having a good weekend and aren't too disturbed by all the removal trucks. I read up on Moving Day on wikipedia - it sounds like a nightmare! Hope you can absorb yourself in some good books and ignore the madness outside.

Jun 30, 2012, 5:30pm

I did well on your 70s book list, Ilana. The only one I haven't read there was Interview with a Vampire .... I did watch the movie though, although that doesn't count. :-)

I did less well on your 60s list.. only read 4 on your list, Slaughterhouse Five, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Catch-22 and To Kill a Mockingbird.

*going to check out the other books on Amazon*

Jun 30, 2012, 11:22pm

Hi Hi! Thanks for visiting my thread, today. I've been busy, though I can't think with what. Oh yes. Cousin called me saying she was going to Ikea and would I like to go. Yes. It wasn't as insane as I'd thought it would be on moving weekend. I got a few things I really needed and managed not to spend a small fortune as I tend to do there. Very nice new duvet cover and some pillows. Then a stop at Orange Julep (a Montreal landmark) for a snack, and Home Depot, where I couldn't find what I originally went there for (it's hard to find nice blinds in just the right size!), but did get some terracotta pots for my indoor gardening needs. Then... repotting some plants, laundry (while listening to Any Human Heart) shopping the latest Audible sale... time flew as it always does, and now I'm dead tired.

Last night I started on an ER book, A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman. So far am just a couple of chapters in, but it's promising!

Loved your messages and will reply tomorrow. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 12:10am

Kind of AWOL of late, but chiming in to say that A Prayer for Owen Meany is probably my second-favorite John Irving novel, after Garp, and I am a pretty big fan of the author. I haven't read his latest works, though...... can't say why......

Jul 1, 2012, 2:37pm

#49 Mark, I'll have to make room for A Prayer sooner than later. Would be a shame to let it languish too long. Plus, it'll help me toward my 12/12 challenge for my Guardian 1000 category. I see they have quite a few copies of In One Person available at the library, but I think I should catch up with his other classics before I get to that one...

#50 Lucy, Ok Ok! I give in! I'll get the audiobook asap. As a matter of fact...


There! Done! Just spent one of my credit on Audible and have a fantastic audio version narrated by David Timson roaring to go. Now where do I find the thread?

#51 Mamie, to be fair, some of the books on those lists weren't necessarily my favourite books of all time. Mind you One Hundred Years on Solitude would have rated among those, because when I read it first around 1990, I had just discovered Guarcia Marquez and absolutely fell in love with his writing. I read that one and Love in the Time of Cholera one after the other too. But when I revisited OHYoS in 2008, it didn't resonate with me at all in the same way, and I thought I remembered preferring the other novel. I meant to re-read LitToC a couple of months ago, but couldn't fit it in, but I do look forward to reading it again and would probably suggest that one first.

I'm really glad I finished River of Smoke because I have some pretty ambitious reading goals for July (as I do every month) and reading THREE big tomes at once would have been too much like work, since we're starting on East of Eden this month and I've still got the second half of Wolf Hall to finish.

I'll have to drop by over at your place to see how the house is progressing.

#52 Heather, now that Paul has reminded me that I was actually ahead of him with my 60s list, I feel like I'm both fashionably late AND ahead of the trend all at once! How cool is that eh? Now I'm roaring to put together my 50s list!

Based on your comments about The Hitchhiker's Guide, I just might skip the tv adaptation. Listening to the radio version last year brought it fresh to my mind and I enjoyed it as much as I did when I heard it the first time around when it was serialized on a student-run radio station here in the 80s. I'd rather stay on that impression. In fact, I'm thinking of continuing with that radio serial and it's just a matter of time before I pick up the next instalment, The Secondary Phase.

I think I read most of the Asterix books in the 70s, when that was practically all I took out of the library, along with other French and Belgian comic series. Apparently the librarian called my mother once, worried that I was only looking at picture books and not getting enough proper reading done! Lol.

Speaking of gaps in reading, I've got gaps tens of kilometres wide. It's a sure bet that a few years from now I'll have to revisit those lists as they'll probably change completely once I've caught up with some of the best novels from those decades. I really had to scrape to get my 70s list together.

Figures that wikipedia should have a page devoted to moving day! I had no idea! It made me smile when I saw it too. Every July 1st for the past 11 years or so, I've just been incredibly smug and happy not to be among the hordes having to climb up and down three flights of stairs to move dozens upon dozens of boxes + appliances!

#53 Caro, the movie version of Interview with the Vampire... not only does it not count, but it's actually a -1 considering they had Tom Cruise playing Vampire Lestat. That won't do at all! I've added the audiobook to my wishlist and will eventually revisit it to see how it's stood the test of time. I do know that reading it in the 90s, it seemed quite fresh and exciting two decades on...

#55 Ellen, to answer your question for you, I'd venture to guess the reason is you've been swamped with other options, simple as that. I've just added The Cider House Rules to the wishlist. I figure I need to have read at least 3 novels by Irving to round off my reading life. ;-)

Jul 1, 2012, 2:59pm

Well, I've fallen victim to more Audible sales! I actually waited till today, July 1st, to finalize most of those purchases, just so I wouldn't have to list them among my June acquisitions, as there were already too many of those... Here's what my latest shopping spree garnered me:

♫ 2 for 1 sale:
The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

♫ 5$ "Take a Chance" sale:
The Kreutzer Sonata Leo Tolstoy
Darkness at Noon Arthur Koestler
The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
The Mill on the Floss George Eliot
Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire
The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor
Prayers for the Dead: A Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Novel Faye Kellerman

♫ Non-sale items:
Being There Jerzy Kosinski (narrated by Dustin Hoffman)
Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens (not on sale—purchased for GR this month)

Jul 1, 2012, 3:17pm

Happy Canada Day, Ilana! That's a great list of your most recent hauls from I am trying to be good this month, but whenever I actually try NOT to buy books, that's when I often end up going crazy.

Jul 1, 2012, 3:44pm

#56 I got really curious - why does everyone have to move on 1st July?

Jul 1, 2012, 4:11pm

#58 Happy Canada day Judy!

I am trying to be good this month, but whenever I actually try NOT to buy books, that's when I often end up going crazy.

That goes for me for just about everything, so I just allow myself to do everything. Less damages that way! ;-)

#59 Hi Rhian, up until yesterday, all I knew about that was that the leases in Quebec had always traditionally been made out for a year, beginning and ending on July 1st, though I couldn't venture to guess why, other than to make sure it wasn't in the winter months. But then Heather mentioned there was a wikipedia page about it, which really explains it much better than I could. It's short and sweet too!

Jul 1, 2012, 4:33pm

Ilana, sounds like a fun day yesterday even though it was exhausting. I enjoyed very much reading through you list of audiobooks that you recently acquired and LOVE that you waited until today to purchase them so they wouldn't count in June. Too funny - sounds just like I would do! I had never heard of Moving Day either - interesting, all the things I am learning here on LT.

I am really hoping to read Love in the Time of Cholera sometime this year. Not July, July is completely, for me. I don't know where to start after I finish what I have because I want to read them all right now. I have the same problem as you with several doorstoppers going simultaneously - The Iliad, River of Smoke, and now East of Eden will be joining the cast. And I just checked out Bringing Up the Bodies from the library yesterday because it was RIGHT there, you know, I couldn't not check it out. But it's only a fourteen day loan, so I either have to read it quickly or admit defeat. I really need a literary manager - do they have those?

Hope your Sunday is going well and that you are getting time to relax and do something that you love.

Jul 1, 2012, 4:39pm

#60 Thanks - I'd never heard of a system like that before! What happens if you absolutely have to move at some other time though? Is it just really difficult?

Edited: Jul 1, 2012, 4:56pm

#61 Hi Mamie! I had a really nice day yesterday. I'd been out of touch with my cousin Andreanne for several years (she got upset with me when I wouldn't attend an Easter dinner because didn't want to leave the house during the worst of my depression, but she had her own reasons, valid enough). Now she's moved just blocks away from me, it gave her a reason to reach out to me again when she had a luncheon to celebrate her gorgeous new place and I'm hoping we'll see each other periodically. In fact, next week I'm getting a ride with her to go to Ottawa for my favourite aunt's 70s b-day celebrations which will be a big family reunion, the likes of which only happen maybe once every decade.

It does sound like you're seriously overbooked this month. Join the club! Good luck with getting to Bring Up the Bodies, considering. I very rarely borrow doorstoppers from the library, especially not if they're really popular and/or new arrivals because I don't want to put that kind of pressure on myself to finish them in time, since it's usually not possible to renew them. I'll probably want to read BUtB when I'm done with Wolf Hall, so we'll see where I end up sourcing it from.

So far having a very relaxing Sunday. I'm hoping to write up some quick reviews for the remainder of the books I finished in June so I can start the month with a fresh slate. We'll see. I also really want to put together a 50s list... if only I could go on 6 hours sleep a night like Caro does, I could do it all!

#62 Actually Rhian, the best time of year to move in this city is any day BUT the 1st of July. Actually, that's not quite true. July 1st is really the most difficult day, but the week before and after are also quite busy. Not ALL apartments have leases for July 1st, so it's possible to avoid that date in some cases. Other than that, movers aren't that booked up the rest of the year, which makes it much easier, logistically speaking, though of course it's always best to avoid winter, when snow and ice make for other kinds of difficulties.

Jul 1, 2012, 4:57pm

I feel sorry for the removal companies, no work all year and then too much to handle on one day and it's a holiday.

I hope you enjoy Our Mutual Friend, I loved it, it's the only Dickens I think I've read. I'm hoping to get to A tale of two cities before the year ends. I loved Love in the time of Cholera and forced myself through One Hundred Years on Solitude as it topped a list of best novels ever and I have liked other of his books.

That's a great list of audiobooks you just got. I have a paper copy of The Kreutzer Sonata, it sits near the top of my tbr pile since I read a book about Tolstoy's marriage last year.

Jul 1, 2012, 5:05pm

Luckily, Bringing Up the Bodies is not nearly as big as Wolf Hall - only 406 pages, so not a doorstopper. Still. Your mentioning writing reviews reminds me that I still haven't written one for The Worst Hard Time, which I think I enjoyed more than you did. But you listened to it on audio, right? I can totally see where it would seem very repetitive in that format, and, truth be told I think it would have been more powerful if it had been just a bit shorter. Very interesting information in there, though; I learned a lot.

So happy to hear that you are having a very relaxing Sunday - yeah for that!

Edited: Jul 1, 2012, 10:30pm

Mamie, I started responding to your message and then it all got too long, so I turned the part about how my day went (had a very nice day thank you very much!) into a blog post, for those interested:

While I was there I went to check my stats and interestingly enough, there have been lots of hit on a post I wrote for Canada Day in 2009. Read it again, as forgot what I'd said, and found it all still applies (talking about moving day and people using that excuse to leave their pets behind). Here it is:

I'm heartened to know that Bring Up the Bodies is only just over 400 pages. Suddenly makes borrowing it from the library seem more feasible.

I actually read The Worst Hard Time on paper Mamie, and in retrospect, I really appreciate having learned so much from it, though I agree that edited down a bit it might have been more powerful (to me anyway). But it was only just over 300 pages, so maybe they didn't want to make it too short?

Now... will try to pull off writing a bunch of reviews as fast as I can. Wish me luck!

Jul 1, 2012, 10:52pm

Here is a round-up of my June reads:

88. ♫ A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch ★★★★½
(Read for TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book with a goofy, whimsical title that makes you think to yourself "what on earth is THAT about?")

Martin is quite pleased with his situation: a beautiful wife, Antonia, whom he adores and a much younger mistress, Georgie, to keep things that much more interesting and make him feel like a "real" man. But when his wife announces that she's leaving him for her psychoanalyst who also happens to be Martin's friend, Palmer Anderson, his perfect world suddenly collapses; only things are about to get messier and messier. Because both Antonia and Palmer fully intend to keep Martin in their lives, whether he likes it or not, and it soon becomes quite clear that Martin is probably the least deviant individual in what turns out to be a very amusing comedy of the absurd. Will definitely be reading more of Murdoch's work, something I look forward to with relish. Oh yes, the cherry on the sundae was that this audiobook was narrated by the brilliant Derek Jacobi. What more could you ask for?

Jul 1, 2012, 11:19pm

89. ♫ Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ★★★★⅓
(Read for Steinbeckathon, TIOLI Challenge #1: third title word has exactly 3 letters, and 12/12 Challenge #4: Guardian Knows Best)

My third reading of this jewel of literature revealed to me an entirely new story. On previous readings, I had focused on the main characters of Lennie, the slow-witted gentle giant who's strength is his downfall, and George, his sharp, faithful friend and companion. Previously, my interest was completely taken up with the story and the progression of events; Lennie and George making their way to a new farm for employment after having experiencing trouble in their previous gig and the tragedy that unfolds blow by blow from the moment they arrive to the new place till the very sad, dramatic ending. But this time I was more interested in the various elements that made up this timeless tale; how each of the characters play a vital role in a tight construction that leaves no room for irrelevant anecdotes, yet allows each individual to be fleshed out with dreams, motivations, histories and personalities. How even the saddest and ugliest of events were told with such empathy as to give them poignant beauty. The themes of loneliness, the need for connection and belonging, for being useful and needed, the cycles of birth and death, violent impulses alongside loving mercy, all revealed themselves with such potency that I felt almost like a voyeur, seeing far too much of the human condition, which Steinbeck reveals to us in a compact tale that seems to take up a much greater space than the few pages it occupies. But all that pain made it almost an unbearable read this time. Beautiful and sad. True, and impossibly tragic.

Edited: Jul 6, 2012, 4:02pm

89. ♫ The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes ★★★½
(Read for 12/12 Challenge #5: The Dark Side)

A big white man is murdered in cold blood in the streets of Harlem in front of countless bystanders. But who is the killer? The drunken crazed man who's chased him from a bar, or a member the Real Cool Muslims, a gang of kids dressed up as arab sheikhs? Why was he killed? Out of anger, just for kicks, or did he have it coming? Detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed are on hand to apprehend the culprits, but one of the kids is killed when Grave Digger thinks one of the Real Cool Muslims is throwing acid into his already burned face, a prank gone very wrong: it was only perfume. Then his young daughter turns out to be embroiled in this mess, ensuring that the Harlem detective duo will do what needs to be done to save her and resolve what turns out to be a truly sordid case. This third instalment of the Harlem Cycle was entertaining, but I felt, not as strong as the two previous books I'd read from the series. However, I know that there are more great reads further ahead, so I'll carry on and go wherever Chester Himes takes me; the journey is sure to be filled with unique individuals and surprises.

Jul 2, 2012, 12:08am

90. ♫ Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card ★★★★⅓
(Read for 12/12 Category #7: Young at Heart)

Ender Wiggin is incredibly smart and resourceful. In fact, he might have what it takes to save humanity. The Buggers have attacked earth twice in an attempt to colonize our planet. Now the ultimate combat is at hand, and the only hope of winning is to have the right commander lead this war. Ender is six years old when he's recruited for training in battle school, and he and all the other children showing promise are trained by playing elaborate battle games that require more brains than brawn. Those in power have decided that Ender can become the ultimate commander if he's manipulated correctly. But Ender isn't just smart, he's also highly sensitive, and he's far from sure that he wants to take responsibility for maiming and killing his enemies; that would make him too much like his older brother Peter, his tormentor with sociopathic tendencies. This is a game with high stakes in more ways than one, and there's no knowing how Ender will play it next.

I'm no science fiction aficionado, but I'd say Ender's Game's got everything one might want from that genre. There's plenty of action, there's futuristic technology and space travel, and it's also a very smartly constructed story that even delves into existentialism, while delivering a great kicker in the end which makes you want to reach for the next in series immediately. I showed restraint, but just, and only because I have so many other books already sitting on my shelves—but this is one kid with a unique journey ahead of him, and I want to follow along.

Jul 2, 2012, 12:14am

You know, as we launch our July read of East of Eden, I realize that I really want to go back and complete The Grapes of Wrath. I set it aside in order to participate in GRs of River of Smoke and (sort of) Wolf Hall. I'm about 1/3 through Wolf Hall and I think I have a love-hate relationship with it..... But, in any case, I'm feeling anxious to reintroduce myself to the Joads.

I will be flying to Tennessee to visit family this Friday. As always, I relish the idea of travel because I fantasize that I will be able to temper my distractible nature and just read, read, read. :-|

Jul 2, 2012, 12:18am

Ellen, I want to say several things, but I'm absolutely brain-dead after that speed-review writing, so I'll get back to you tomorrow with a full reply. Deal?

Jul 2, 2012, 1:17am

Ha! Deal!


Jul 2, 2012, 1:16pm

Well, Ellen, I finally ended up replying to you on your own thread really. But a few other things: I hope your reading and appreciation of Grapes of Wrath doesn't suffer from having being broken up.

Usually when I'm reading anything at all, I like to make sure I'm reading every day, if only a few pages, to ensure I keep the flow going, but with Wolf Hall, I'm seeing the tendency so far has been for me to read only 20 pages or so every other day, sometimes even every two days, but because I ask questions and then have Suzanne's answers to chew on, I don't feel like there are such big breaks. Unless I increase my pace, I doubt I'll finish it before the end of the month, but you never know. As I move forward, there seems to be less and less questions, which makes reading more enjoyable and less like work. Having to take notes while reading requires quite a lot more concentration and I couldn't imagine doing it all the time!

Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 2:35pm

I've been tidying my inbox and just found this sketch a friend sent me I somehow missed before. Very very funny. Called "My Blackberry Is Not Working" from the BBC. Enjoy!

Jul 2, 2012, 4:18pm

Thanks for that! I love British humor. :)

Jul 2, 2012, 4:28pm

Me too! I think I'll look for more episodes from that show on youtube.

Jul 2, 2012, 4:44pm

Ilana ... ok, I didn't think the movie Interview with a Vampire would count, ... so I'll add it to my obese wish list and plan to get a copy of the book one day.

You've intrigued me with your review of Severed Head .. it sounds like a fun read so I'm tempted, very tempted to add this to my ever teetering obese wish list.

I loved Ender's Game ..come to think of it, I've yet to read an Orson Card book that I haven't liked. I think my favorite though is Magic Street.

I remember that Blackberry skit ... my brother showed it to me when I was visiting a couple of years ago. Still funny though.... and sadly, I think the days of my Blackberry are coming to an end, with the recent defection of their CEO and continued delayed release of new products. I love my Blackberry and fear I shall have to move onto an Android for my next phone.

Jul 2, 2012, 4:45pm

Jul 2, 2012, 5:21pm

Well, I've just got one last review to write to be done with my June reads, for River of Smoke, but right now what I really want to do is put together my 1950s reading list. I couldn't resist adding what was in my tbr and wishlist too... not surprisingly, the lists get progressively longer!

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951)
*East of Eden by John Steinbeck - re-reading this month(1952)
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)
Katherine by Anya Seton (1954)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz (1956)
Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck (1956)
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (1958)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)
Memento Mori by Muriel Spark (1959)
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes (1959)

A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie (1950)
Tempest-Tost (Salterton Trilogy 1) by Robertson Davies (1951)
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (1953)
Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan (1954)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954)
Leaven of Malice (Salterton Trilogy 2) by Robertson Davies (1954)
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)
The Fall by Albert Camus (1956)
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (1957)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (abridged!) (1957)
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (1957)
The Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell (1957-1960)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1958)
The Once and Future King by T. H. White (1958)
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (1959)
Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (1959)

On the wishlist:
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (1951)
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (1951)
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951)
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1952)
The Natural by Bernard Malamud (1952)
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (1953)
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954)
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (1954)
Under the Net by Iris Murdoch (1954)
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin (1956)
Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono (1956)
A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren (1956)
The Comforters by Muriel Spark (1957)
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (1957)
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier (1957)
Agaguk by Yves Thériault (1958)
The Bell by Iris Murdoch (1958)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe (1958)
The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton (1958)
Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow (1959)
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon (1959)

Jul 2, 2012, 5:23pm

#78 Caro, sorry I skipped over you, I was busily putting my list above together. Must run out to walk Coco, who's been most patient, but I'll come back to reply more fully later, promise!

#79 Hi Linda! Love that little guy, he's so sweet—thanks for posting him on my thread. xx

Jul 2, 2012, 7:45pm

Hi Ilana!
Love your blogs :-)

Jul 2, 2012, 8:12pm

Thanks my dear! xx

Jul 2, 2012, 8:20pm

Ilana - Loved the blogs! Glad you had such a great day. The British humor is very funny, so thanks for sharing.

You have been very busy over here! So reviews - as usual very nice reviews. I, too, loved A Severed Head and Ender's Game, both of which I read earlier this year. Of Mice and Men is one of my favorites that I get something new out of each time I read it. And I am really wanting to get to Chester Himes because you got me with your earlier review of A Rage in Harlem.

I LOVE the fifties lists - now I want to do that. How clever to list what you have already read, what you have in your TBR, and what you want to read!!! Did that take you forever to put together?

How is Coco doing?

Jul 2, 2012, 8:25pm

Hi Mamie! You know, one of the reasons I jumped on A Severed Head was because I saw you had really liked it. That and because Derek Jacobi narrated on the audio version... Then, Ender's Game has been so often recommended all over the place that it seems like I'd wanted to read if for ages! Have you read anything else by Orson Scott Card since? I know some people object to his views and politics, but I must say that didn't really get in the way, though of course was in the back of my mind.

Did that take you forever to put together?

In a word: Yes.

But I was really in the mood for list-making AND it prompted me to add more great reads to my wishlist. Now I wish I'd done that with all the other lists... but I still have a few decades left to do that with. :-)

Jul 2, 2012, 8:34pm

I have not read anything else by Orson Scott Card - so not a fan of his views, but I put that aside when I am reading. I do the same thing with music. I feel that I can admire the art even if I don't admire the artist. The reason I haven't read any more of the series is that I loved how Ender's Game ended. I did not want to risk losing that. I may change my mind some day - we'll see. I would be curious to see what you think if you decide to read the next one.

I thought it probably took quite a while - still think I want to try that. How fabulous to have that info right at your fingertips - would be fun to try concentrating on a particular decade for a month or even for a year if you were limiting the decade books to just one or two a month. I might think about that...hmm...

Jul 2, 2012, 9:29pm

I agree about putting some considerations aside when reading or appreciating art or music, though there are some rare exceptions (none of which come to mind right now).

Interestingly enough, I had quite a different reaction to the ending of Ender's Game. Throughout the better part of the book, I kept wondering who those Buggers were and thought it strange that they had no presence whatsoever, other than being mentioned as a deadly threat. No description at all, no sense of who or what they were. Until, of course... (not spoiling anything for potential readers). But the ending made me want to find out all about them, and I'm not 100% sure of course, but I think that might be addressed in Ender in Exile, though of course I may be wrong on that count. EiE is considered to be book 1.5 in the series because OSC wrote it much later, in 2008. The "official" next in series is Speaker for the Dead, but that picks up when Ender is 35 yrs old, whereas EiE picks up from where Ender's Game left off. Anyway, I don't know when I'll get to the next one, but I felt gratified when, in an interview on the audio I listened to, OSC said that he felt that the best format to take in his books was on audio, because his stories were written to be read aloud. Good thing too, because they're all available on Audible.

For my list, I just used the wikipedia category: feature and used their lists, which aren't complete of course, but helpful enough. Sounds like you've got an interesting project with the decades thing. I might steal it for some of my categories for the 13/13 challenge next year.

Jul 2, 2012, 9:44pm

I think an exception would be if they are using their profits to fund their politics which are offensive to me - then I might still read or listen to or view their work, but would make sure to do so in a way that didn't put money into their pockets.

We have the audiobook of it and it is very good - we got it when it was on sale for $5.95 - gotta love that! That's interesting that the author said the best format for his books was on audio - I will keep that in mind if I do decide to read further.

Excellent thought about the decades - that would be a great way to do it!

Jul 2, 2012, 10:00pm

Mamie, I'm always jumping all over the Audible sales when they offer titles for $5. There's often really great stuff among the offerings too! This is how my audiobook collection has exploded over the past year.

I'm sitting on my back balcony right now, in the dark of the night. Normally I'd be sitting indoors at this time, but the weather is in that perfect mixture of warm/coolish, and the HIGHLIGHT is the full moon, straight ahead of me shining bright and outlining the giant tree next door. My landlords downstairs have a little fountain making it's gentle watery sounds too. It's quite divine.

Only trouble is I really mean to be reading from Wolf Hall right now, but out here, only the computer screen can make for decent reading at this time.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:17pm

I've read the Ender series apart from Ender in Exile and Ender's Shadow and really enjoyed it though I'm not at all taken with Mr Card and his views.
Love your lists.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:34pm

#90 Well it's a done deal then! If you enjoyed the other books in the series Kerry, then I feel confident about going forward with the others too. Agreed about Mr Card, but at least I don't think he's influencing kids with his views in this series (or I certainly hope not!)

Jul 2, 2012, 11:00pm

I think the rest of the series is more adult, I don't see them appealing to younger readers.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:47pm

Great fun with the comedy videos Ilana - I opened a few related ones and made myself homesick. The guy with the blackberry was one half of the Two Ronnies (he's Corbett, Barker sadly passed away) and their show was always funny.

Jul 3, 2012, 7:26am

When I don't agree with an author's views, unless they are totally abhorrent to me, I simply don't buy their books. I get them from the library instead.

Jul 3, 2012, 9:37am

That's a great one, the blackberry vid.

Jul 3, 2012, 9:52am

Hi Ilana - enjoyed your reviews and your 1950s list. Are you going to work your way back to the beginning of the century?

Strangely, I haven't read Ender's Game. I'd like to but it hasn't been a priority for some reason.

Jul 3, 2012, 6:46pm

75> Hilarious!!!

Love your lists, and appreciate the suggestion about reading at least a few pages each day. I think I will apply that to the rest of TGoW and see how it goes.

Jul 3, 2012, 11:52pm

Hi hi! Thanks for our lovely visits and messages. I'm just checking in and out right now as had a very long day. Went to my photo group which went really well today, then another appointment, then errands, then running off to Cirque du Soleil, with members of my extended family I never met before, which was amazing but also completely overwhelming. I lost count, but I think I took something like SIX cabs (or more?) today. Haven't ran around like that in a single day for many years now.

Anyway, tomorrow is my first painting class of the summer, so another busy day, but I'll try to drop in before I go in the morning at least to say hi. Too much going on right now, and I'm a bit freaked out. I don't think my nervous system can handle all that excitement. But yes. Off to walk Coco in the rain and then we're both tucking into bed, reading a few more pages of A Mind of Winter, which is most intriguing and kind of fascinating, then lights out.

Have a great day everyone!

Jul 4, 2012, 12:53am

checking in to see how coco is doing...and how you are doing!

Jul 4, 2012, 10:00am

>45 Smiler69:: Robertson Davies is an author I want/need to read more of. This might just be the month that I follow up Fifth Business, which I adored, with The Manticore. Manticore fits nicely into TIOLI Challenge #6!

I also love your lists from the 80s working your way down to the 50s. I think I'll just say "ditto" and save myself the work of compiling my own lists. You've saved me lots of time, Ilana. Thank you!

Jul 4, 2012, 10:45am

Just popping in here to keep current. Sounds like a busy but fun day yesterday - and six cabs - YIKES! Hope your painting class goes well today and that you have time to catch your breath from yesterday. Take it easy!

Jul 4, 2012, 2:51pm

Stopping by to say Hello..

Robertson Davies was one of my Favorite Authors...i have many books in my Library

All these Lists are making me dizzy...i can't remember what I read in the 1980s...1990s...i'll have to drag out the old Notebooks for those years...Jeesh!

***Hugs, to you and the "kids"***

Jul 4, 2012, 3:56pm

Happy 4th Ilana. Which Cirque du Soleil performance did you watch? I love their performances. They have a new one, Totem, that they're performing in Boston over the summer, and I hope to get to it later this month. The athletes are just so graceful and powerful, they're just so mesmerizing. And I always love the music.

Jul 4, 2012, 11:17pm

Hello. My name is Smiler, and I'm a zombie.

But seriously, had a great painting class today, will show what I did on my blog tomorrow, but right now, I'm the walking dead. tired.

will be back tomorrow with individual replies to your lovely comments, you lovely people.

Jul 5, 2012, 12:53am

Glad your painting class was great, Ilana.

I hope you are well today.

Jul 5, 2012, 1:01am

104 - hahaha ...get a good night's sleep dear lady. Love your 1950's reading list. I couldn't see Night by Elie Wiesel or Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee which I would strenuously recommend to you. x

Jul 5, 2012, 8:59am

So glad you had a great painting class! Sometimes zombie is good!

Jul 5, 2012, 9:14am

Morning Ilana, hopefully you are still sleeping peacefully. So glad that your painting class went well and can't wait to see what you did. Hope today is a lovely one.

Jul 5, 2012, 9:57am

Morning Ilana! Glad to see you enjoyed Cirque de Soleil! I loved the two that I've been to see and hope to see more sometime
Hope you are feeling less zombie-like today!

Jul 5, 2012, 5:05pm

Having a bit of a rough day today. I suspected I'd probably have very low energy, which is usually also followed by low spirits, so can't say I'm shocked to find myself in that state. It's already been quite a hectic week for me, and then Sunday I'm driving to Ottawa with my cousin and her mother (and Coco) to attend my favourite aunt's 70s birthday celebrations. He son who organized the event told me there should be around 50 people there. Considering we only ever get together once every decade in my family, it's already nervewracking, especially as I've always felt like the freak in the family, and with my present life circumstances in a crowd that each outdo each other with successes and achievements and general awesomeness, it'll be daunting coming in as the "other" invalid in the family (the original invalid being my other aunt, who's an envious complainer). I mostly look forward to it being over.

My mother's been writing me intensively these past couple of days because she's in a quite desperate situation. While they promised to finally give her a permanent position as a French teacher for immigrants and illiterates as opposed to contractual work, they've finally decided she's too old after all (she's 65, as they've known all along) and are forcing her into retirement. Given she's already barely managing financially, she's understandably concerned about her future and understandably upset, hurt and inslulted. But as she says, she'll figure out something. I'm concerned. How could I not be?

#92 Kerry, Scott Card said in an interview on the audio of Ender's Game that the bulk of his readership is made up of the YA segment, but I agree that doesn't automatically mean that his books lack in maturity or that he wrote them with this audience in mind either.

#93 Paul, I'll have to seek out some comic relief today I think, starting with another viewing of that video, which is really excellent.

#94 Morphy, I would normally do the same, but I really wanted to get the Ender book on audio, so gave in and purchased it in the end since they didn't have it available at the library in that format.

#95 Glad you like it Lucy. Had you seen it before? I assume you probably had.

#96 Heather, yes, I do want to work my way back through the decades. List-making is a very relaxing activity for me and in fact might just be the ticket today, so look out for my 40s list coming your way soon!

#97 Did I make that suggestion? Sounds so reasonable! Maybe I should try to do that myself! :-)

#99 Linda, Coco is doing just great. I started him back on his half-half diet of canned food and kibble yesterday and he emptied his dish, twice. Then he also ate try treats, which he used to only eat if I broke them into tiny bits, but willingly took bigger pieces into his mouth and broke them down with his back teeth, something he didn't like doing before, probably because his mouth was sore from all those bad teeth in there. It's very encouraging.

#100 Donna, I read The Manticore last year and thought it was pretty good, though Fifth Business was really excellent. When you say "ditto", do you mean you agree about the titles I put down? I'm sure you'd have several I haven't gotten to reading yet on your own list...

#101 Mamie, today is breath-catching time. Not doing so hot now, but I have a couple more days of rest before the pressure cooker of the family reunion, thank heavens.

#102 Jude, the point of those lists isn't to name the books I actually read in the period they were published (obviously not, since I wasn't even a figment of anyone's imagination in the 50s!), but just to note down the best ones among those I have read from those periods so far. Probably if I kept track and did them over every year they'd change quite a lot as I do my best to catch up on all the great titles I've yet to read.

#103 Caro, the Cirque, being from Montreal, always inaugurate and work out all their newest shows yet. So you won't be familiar with this one yet, called Amaluna, though they'll eventually take it on the road like all the others. I thought some parts of it were truly amazing.

#105 Ellen, I just edited and downloaded the photos from my iPhone today and saw the work I'd done again in class yesterday and have to say I'm quite happy with it. Must post it today. I'll provide the link here of course.

#106 Paul, Night is on my wishlist already, but I guess I forgot to mention it and/or it wasn't among those novels listed by wikipedia. Cider with Rosie is a new-to-me title, so I'll add it to the WL based on your rec!

#107 Zombie is okay I guess as long as you can feed on human brains, or whatever it is that zombies do, but I'm not that keen, which makes me quite ineffectual and weakened zombie!

#108 Mamie, I slept in quite late today, so yes, was fast asleep when you wrote that message. I'm tempted to take a nap, but will try instead to get to bed a bit earlier, if I can manage it.

#109 Hi Chelle, I think I also saw two Cirque du Soleil performances before this one, including Allegria, though I can't remember what the other was, other than I thought it was impressive of course!

I have some book news, but will post that later this evening as I'm off for a walk shortly.

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 5:55pm

>110 Smiler69: Smiler, I empathize with your feelings about your family. When I finally came to the realization that my extended family didn't really know what crazy circumstances I was left to deal with and that they probably would not have done any better with dealing with it than I did (and also looking back I would not have done anything differently), I quit comparing myself to them & finally learned to appreciate them without making the comparisons. Comparing yourself to anyone is generally never a good thing.

ETA: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Jul 5, 2012, 8:51pm

#111 thanks for your empathy and point of view avidmom. I really look forward to the day when I can stop comparing myself to others and to my own lofty ideals of the person I think I should be.

Jul 5, 2012, 9:36pm

(Pascale, detail)

Just posted my latest efforts on, the first step in a 4-week project. The detail above is taken from the painting I started work on during yesterday's class.

Jul 5, 2012, 9:40pm

In reading, I completed Being There by Jerzy Kosinski today, which is a small masterpiece. It was made all the more special as this audio version is performed by none other than Dustin Hoffman, a very recent release on I saw the movie with Peter Sellers in the early 80s and was profoundly affected by it. I recommend to everyone to just pick up that book, in any format and give it a go. It's just 140 pages and still incredibly relevant today.

Edited: Jul 6, 2012, 1:39pm

Here's my 1940s list of novels read, on the tbr and wishlisted:

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (1941)
Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain (1941)
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck (1942)
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (1943)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (1945)
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (1948)
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)

eta: several of my all-time favourites in this list!

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940)
The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon (1940)
Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (1940)
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain (1943)
Dragonwyck by Anya Seton (1944)
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (1945)
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945)
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (1948)

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (1940)
The Man Who Loved Children: A Novel by Christina Stead (1940)
The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene (1943)
At Mrs. Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor (1945)
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (1948)
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (1948)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)
Peony by Pearl S. Buck (1948)

Jul 6, 2012, 12:16am

Ilana - will hunt down Being There based on your recce. Love the latest of your efforts with oils - reminds me of a Belgian artist who regularly showed her works in Malaysia - Sandra Knuyt. Her work adorns my favourite italian restaurant in the city.

Jul 6, 2012, 12:57am

Hi Ilana! I'm trying to catch up with everyone here... *pant pant*. As always, you are ever so organized! You may have commented on this, but I'm so behind there is no way, I'll be able to read everything so just curious why you couldn't finish Souless?

Jul 6, 2012, 6:21am

Hi Ilana, I am family-emphathizing as well. I was never a person who boasted about her achievements, on the contrary - I preferred not to mention them. But my parents, especially my father did, and now in my situation I am actively avoiding all my relatives. I know they would be nice to me, but they'd still feel a little schadenfreude towards my dad, that his once great daughter is now so badly off.

I hope a solution for your mother will come up soon. What a mess, and how unfair!

Sending you {{{hugs}}}

Jul 6, 2012, 6:43am

Ilana- That's a great recommendation of Being there. Like you I'm big fan of the film but have never read it. And it's a shorty! Love them shorties!

Jul 6, 2012, 2:14pm

#116 Thanks my dear Paul. I'll be borrowing the movie version of Being There from the library very soon, but while listening to Dustin Hoffman's narration, I very much felt like the story and his tone were exactly in keeping with what I remember of the movie from over 30 years ago!

#117 Hi Valerie! Long time no see! Soulless... where to begin? Perhaps it was the wrong timing. Perhaps I'm not into stories featuring werewolves and vampires and romance. Perhaps it was the voice and tone of the narrator on the audio version. I remember I just felt like it was all too silly and it got on my nerves. I really wanted to like it, because it's been popular with so many of my pals here on LT, so maybe I'll give it a try again sometime. Or not, which would leave room for other books I do take an instant liking to. Welcome back!

#118 Nathalie, I had to look up "schadenfreude" again, though I remember you commenting once on your own thread that only the Germans would come up with a word for what you consider to be a very Germanic attitude, that of taking pleasure in other people's misfortunes. Though I don't think this sentiment is at all restricted to the German culture. In my family, I don't think anyone would so much take pleasure in my misfortunes as much as think I'm not living up to my potential, and that perhaps it isn't surprising I've ended up where I am, given my parent's backgrounds and my own dreadful adolescence, which they were all no doubt very much aware of, since I made such a spectacular mess of it. But then, perhaps it's all in my own head—I'm willing to admit that there's a good chance their judgment their judgment isn't nearly as harsh as I imagine it to be, as is perhaps the case in your family too? After all, how they do or don't think about your dad need not reflect on you since you are very much your own person, right?

#119 Mark, it's short enough that I'll probably be revisiting it once in a while. It's such a simple story and yet very profound too. I really can't express just how great it is on audio read by Dustin Hoffman. Second best to Peter Sellers himself reading it, I guess!

Edited: Jul 6, 2012, 3:27pm

91. River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh ★★★★½
(75ers GR, TIOLI Challenge #8: a title that has equal or more letters from the second half of the alphabet than from the first half, 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press - Published since 2011)

***** Contains many SPOILERS for those who have not yet read Sea of Poppies *****

The second book in the Ibis trilogy yet again transports us into an exotic and unfamiliar world, with rich details and characters who seem to live and breathe, so that the overall effect is as though we have traveled in time to the 19th century and landed squarely within the pages of the book. In the first chapter, Ghosh brings us up to date with some of the main characters who were aboard the Ibis as a cargo of slave labourers bound for Mauritius in Sea of Poppies and sums up where the story had taken us in the first book, so that there is no sense of interruption in the narrative. Then we are plunged squarely into Fanqui Town, the only port open to foreign trace in China, where foreigners of all stripes, from rich merchants to seamen, are allowed to reside and conduct business. It is situated just outside the city walls of Canton, where none but the native Chinese may enter. Our main protagonists are Bahram Modi, a Parsi Merchant from Bombay—mentioned in the first book as being the father of Ah Fat, the opium addict, now an escaped convict; Neel, Ah Fat's friend, formerly a wealthy rajah fallen on hard times and now another escaped convict, who becomes the Munshi (secretary) of Bahram Modi; Paulette Lambert - the orphaned daughter of a French botanist who has been taken on board the Redruth by a wealthy botanist and merchant, Fitcher Penrose, on an expedition to collect rare plants in China. Since foreign women are barred from Fanqui town, her eyes and ears in the foreign enclave belong to a newly introduced character, Robert Chinnery, an painter, and Paulette’s childhood friend, who helps her track down a rare, almost mythical flower, and keeps up a regular correspondence with her. The action here takes place mostly on land, though Fanqui town is surrounded by a vast multitude of river-dwellers who live and conduct business on their boats, and there is no lack of adventure. The foreign merchants, including Bahram Modi, have sailed to China with bigger than ever cargoes of opium, which they intend to sell at triple the rates of their previous shipment; the Chinese emperor has cracked down on the flow of opium into his country due to the alarming and ever-growing number victims who's lives are ruined by addiction, with the result that the demand for the drug are keener than ever. But the emperor has sent one of his staunchest officials to Canton, Lin Zexu, a highly moral scholar known for his incorruptibility, who is assigned to suppress the opium trade at any cost, and things in Fanqui Town are about to become very uncomfortable for everyone, as they lead up to the first Opium War. To sum up in few words: River of Smoke makes for some engrossing and exciting reading and leaves us with an impatient longing to continue with the third and final installation of the trilogy. Hopefully the wait will not be too prolonged.

Jul 6, 2012, 4:58pm

Whew! You have been a busy and seems like happy (overall) lady ;-)

I have been in high spirits lately (feeling so much better) and Ron is wondering what is wrong with me ??? I'm afraid to crash - but enjoying the good feelings while they last.

Your Pascale is awesome. You DID that? Srsly?
Review of River of Smoke also awesome :)
Keep on keeping on!

Jul 6, 2012, 5:06pm

Great review of River of Smoke, Ilana!

Jul 6, 2012, 6:35pm

Ilana, trying to catch up here - you have been busy! It makes me sad to read about your Mom's job situation - it seems unfair to use age as a bias. They should give or not give her the job based on her ability to do it. I am crossing my fingers and sending good thoughts your way for your family gathering - YIKES!

I LOVE your project from art class - GORGEOUS! You are so very talented.

I am adding Being There to my TBR, but I think I need the audio so that I can hear Dustin Hoffman read it to me! And wow - look at all those great books from the forties. I loved Farewell My Lovely, I Capture the Castle, and the Steinbecks. There are some in there that I really need to get to also. I can't wait to see your thirties list because that is my favorite decade. There is a group read of A Tree Grows in Brookyln coming up in August that Lynda is organizing if you are interested - I'm going to be doing that. I marked your list as a favorite so that I can come back and drool over it again.

Skipping over your review of River of Smoke as I am still reading that one, but I will come back and read it as soon as I finish.

Okay, so now I'm all caught up - what next?

Hope today was kind to you and that you are feeling better.

Jul 6, 2012, 7:38pm

I believe i misunderstood..your Lists, are by the decade in which the books were Published, right?

i still couldn't keep up...i only started tracking my reading in the 1990s.....and that was by Title/Author


Jul 6, 2012, 8:32pm

#122 Claudia, it's true that I've been mostly doing well these days. This sudden dip yesterday didn't come out of the blue—I more or less knew to expect it; there's only so much activity I can pack into any given day or week because my energy is so quickly depleted. And when the batteries are drained, the only thing for it is to get well rested, spend some quiet time by myself and wait till I've recharged my system. Today I'm doing much better than yesterday, though still quite exhausted. I'm glad that I still have the whole day tomorrow to myself, though I'll have quite a bit to do to prepare for the trip. For one thing, Coco gets a bath so he'll smell extra yummy.

I'm glad you're in high spirits lately. Enjoy, enjoy! It's quite normal for you to feel excited, after all, a huge weight has been lifted, no that you've found a workable solution for your mother's care that also frees up your mind, schedule and physical space. I know from experience that moods always shift, so high spirits don't last forever and often alternate with quieter times, but unless you're bipolar like me, you needn't worry about the kind of crash and burn that inevitably follows when I've had a bit of good times.

Pascale: yes, that's mine. I suffered through the 6 hours it took to produce that first step, and I must say I think it was worth the all the torment. But I don't get too excited about it, because I often quite like the first steps of my work only to be disappointed down the line as it evolves. That's why it's nice recording the various steps with pictures. I really love drawing and am often immensely grateful and amazed about the relative ease with which I can draw what I see. I guess it was handed down to me in the gene pool along with the rest of the artistic baggage... I just don't do much of it because making any kind of art always involves battling it out with my inner critic, who happens to be incredibly abusive. Heh. But that's the case for must of us, isn't it?

#123 Thanks Ellen, glad you liked!

#124 Thanks for you sympathy regarding my mum's present situation Mamie. The really sad part is she loves her job and is immensely appreciated by her colleagues and students, and I know she must be really great at being a teacher, which always came to her naturally. I'm hopeful that one way or another, things will work out for the best as she's an immensely talented and resourceful woman.

Agreed that you should definitely opt for the recording by Dustin Hoffman of Being There. It's only just under 3 hours and under $5 for Audible members.

Jul 6, 2012, 8:35pm

#125 Jude, I used wikipedia to put together my lists by decade and not my LT listings, which would have taken absolutely forever. All you have to do is type in "Category:1950s novels" (or whatever other decade or specific year you're looking for) and all the novels that have a wikipedia page are listed.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:05am

I get what you are saying. There are some books when, I'm in the right mood, I will enjoy it, but for some reason, if I'm not in the mood, then I'll just hate it. And then there are the ones where it doesn't matter what kind of mood I'm in...I'll just not like it. But I have a very serious OCD issue, where once I pick up and start a book, I can't just put it down, no matter how much I dislike it....seems like such a waste of time to read something I don't care for, but oh wells...

I saw you read and reviewed Ender's Game earlier. I'm so glad you enjoyed it since it is one of my all time favourite SF books. The second book in the series is really good too, but very different. Hope you get a chance to read it at some point. :)

Jul 7, 2012, 2:29am

Nothing much to add Ilana - except that your River of Smoke review whets my appetite nicely. Have a migraine myself this afternoon which is unlike me and means probably the cause is eye-strain. Have a lovely weekend. x

Jul 7, 2012, 1:32pm

#128 Valerie, I used to force myself to finish books even when I hated them, but I'm glad I got over that, because life's too short and there are too many good books waiting in the wings. Mind you, I still stick to books I don't much enjoy sometimes, just in hopes something develops down the line, or I learn something in the process.

I'm rather new to SF, and have several books in that genre in my tbr, but I'd say Ender's Game was a very enjoyable journey. We'll see how I like the next book when I get to it, but I've gotten some advice over on my 12/12 thread about which book I should follow up with (Speaker for the Dead. I was hesitating between that and Ender in Exile, but will go with the former)

#129 Oh Paul, so sorry to hear about your migraine. Hope you're feeling all better by this time.

Today I have quite a few things to do, though you wouldn't know it to see me sitting on my couch and taking my sweet time with my laptop. I have a family reunion in Ottawa for my aunt H's 70 birthday party tomorrow, to which about 50 people are invited. I'll be driving over with my cousin A and her mother (aunt H's sister), leaving tomorrow around noon and bringing Coco. I'm mostly nervous about seeing another cousin of mine, H's daughter F, who was like a sister to me when we were children. I was her very first patient, as she used to ask me lots of questions and later became a therapist. She's presumably very successful at it, as she tours the country giving lectures and seminars, but she long ago cut me out of her life, which I think is a little bit ironic. Can a ruthless person be that good a psychologist, I have to wonder? Anyway, ultimately, none of that matters, because I'll have Coco with me, and Coco loves me no matter what. He'll be getting a bath today, and I'd better sit down and put together a to-do list, or I won't be sleeping tonight, wondering what I've forgotten.

Jul 7, 2012, 3:32pm

Love the review of River of Smoke, Ilana. I'm not surprised that it's a good book though because Sea of Poppies was fantastic too. I can't wait until I get to read it too. It's still sitting in my TBR Tower, but I can't as yet bring myself to reach for it because I know I'm not in the right frame of mind for it yet.

Have a good trip tomorrow...and fingers crossed that Cousin F behaves and treats you respectfully and courteously ...and gets over whatever snit she had and realizes her life would be richer with you in it.
And besides, Coco, we love you too!

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 3:40pm

#131 I completely understand about RoS Caro. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read any given book, or I don't enjoy it.

The funny thing about cousin F is that when I do see her (last time being 9 years ago), she seems absolutely delighted to see me, and I know she's not a hypocrite, so it's very confusing. I guess I must be like an acquaintance that you're really happy to come across when you do, but wouldn't want to get together with too often. Meh. Maybe I'll just snub her altogether. Apparently that's what she does to my other cousin A, who'll be driving me over. Would serve her right, but I won't stoop to being so childish, even though I'm wickedly tempted to! ;-)

Jul 7, 2012, 3:45pm

Maybe cousin F is sincerely delighted to see you when she does, but like some people I know, perhaps she prefers for others to initiate getting together.

Jul 7, 2012, 4:29pm

#133 Who wouldn't be delighted to see me? I'm such a wonderful person! :-)

In reading news:
• I started on the audio of Our Mutual Friend to join the current Group Read.
• I'm still only 379 pages into Wolf Hall (may be 414 by the end of the day) and will hopefully finish it this month.
• Only 40 pages to go on Mind of Winter, an ER book which I've quite enjoyed so far and hoping it wraps up well so I can recommend it heartily to everyone.
• Singed up for month-long subscriptions to the New Yorker audio digest and to Charlie Rose, also on audio, which are both very interesting of course, but cut severely into my listening time, so not sure if I'll keep that up, especially as politics (specifically American politics) are a frequent topic which unfortunately is of very little interest to me.
• May have to wait till I'm done with OMF before starting on East of Eden, because I'm not sure I can handle reading THREE doorstoppers all at once—hadn't thought that through very much.

Jul 7, 2012, 8:04pm

I'm supposed to be doing various tasks to get ready for my trip tomorrow, so of course, it goes without saying that those are the last things I feel like doing right now.

Just to prove my point, here's my 30s list, after which... I'll read from Wolf Hall, and THEN think of bathing Coco, doing laundry and ironing and packing and whatever else takes me away from what I really want to be doing.

My favourite reads from the 30s:
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (1930)
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (1930)
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (1938)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)
Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig (1939)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

Le Bal by Irène Nemirovsky (1930)
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (1931)
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (1932)
Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1932)
Light in August by William Faulkner (1932)
Sons by Pearl S. Buck (1932)
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (1934)
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (1935)
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (1936)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (1936)
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (1937)
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (1937)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (1937)
The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton (1938)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)
Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh (1939)

Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh (1932)
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)
Burmese Days by George Orwell (1934)
I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)
Independent People by Halldor Laxness (1934)
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (1934)
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (1934)
The African Queen by C. S. Forester (1935)
South Riding by Winifred Holtby (1936)
Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov (1938)
Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (1938)
At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien (1939)
The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene (1939)

Jul 7, 2012, 8:07pm

Nice to see you over in my thread. No hope of catching up properly, got maybe a little distracted by the nineteen teeth in your previous thread but your update here in post 110 is encouraging.

134: Singed up for month-long subscriptions to the New Yorker audio digest and to Charlie Rose... I'm not sure I can handle reading THREE doorstoppers all at once
And you're questioning my summer reading?

Jul 7, 2012, 8:13pm

Hi, Ilana. Brilliant lists! You've made my impending task all the more difficult by putting me in mind of even more things to consider. :)

Sorry about your OMF mishap - or that we didn't think to warn anyone about that aspect of the novel. Victorian England was no place for the sensitive, that's for sure: freak shows and museums full of "oddities" were common entertainments, hence businesses like the one described. But now that I do know, I will warn you that there are ongoing references throughout the novel to the contents of the shop.

Jul 7, 2012, 8:32pm

#136 Katherine, Coco is doing just fine now. You wouldn't know he's had any intervention at all as he's eating his dry kibble along with the wet food without a second thought.

The New Yorker and Charlie Rose really make for some pretty light listening overall (I skip the politics mostly), but yes, all those doorstoppers in July is a bit much, I must admit. Makes me long for some "light" reading like crime fiction, be it "cozy" or not, but I won't go as far as chick lit!

#137 You've made my impending task all the more difficult by putting me in mind of even more things to consider

Good, then my job is done. What sort of things do you mean?

That shop is really something. And yes, freak shows and the like do sort of freak me out... and they definitely don't mix well with food! No big deal as I can stand to lose a few pounds! ;-)

Jul 7, 2012, 8:34pm

What sort of things do you mean?

Well, I had an outline of a list in my head - but then I saw yours and thought, "Oh, crap! I forgot that, and that, and that!" :)

Jul 7, 2012, 8:36pm

Heh! I just based myself on wikipedia again, so I'm sure I missed quite a few that are on my LT library already. But that would take half the day... an a whole hour already seems a bit much to spend on a thing like that...

Jul 7, 2012, 8:47pm

HI Ilana
Hope you have a good trip with your family tomorrow!

Jul 7, 2012, 8:56pm

Thanks Chelle! It'll be nice to just get out of Montreal.

Jul 7, 2012, 9:44pm

#135 Love your list(s). The Good Earth is the book I should be reading now as it is my book club's pick for the month. I read it a few years ago and I remember really liking it, but don't remember it that well. I read The Big Sleep a few months ago and thought it was a really fun read.

May have to wait till I'm done with OMF before starting on East of Eden, because I'm not sure I can handle reading THREE doorstoppers all at once—
I checked out a library copy of East of Eden today. It is a rather large book, isn't it? Ah, yes, more Steinbeck to love but I am grateful The Good Earth is not that long. I'm just afraid I won't be able to control my Steinbeck addiction and The Good Earth will just end up gathering dust.

Hope all goes well at your family gathering :)

Jul 7, 2012, 10:07pm

Fabulous 1930's list. I must get there too - I'm still stuck on the 40s!
Headache better and sorry to see I somehow managed to make it downloadable. Trust you get together will be fine - what will you do if you have 27 cousins and run out of alphabet?!

Jul 8, 2012, 12:20am

Shouldn't be here now, but thought I'd come in for a last check-in before Coco's walk and bed. He's all washed and clean and good-smelling now. I don't use a dryer on him so he's curly all over the way I like him best. I'll be brining my laptop with me tomorrow, so I can stay in touch and rant and rave if I need to. Though it'll all probably be just fine.

#143 avidmom: I read The Good Earth last year after having let it collect dust for a long time and was surprised by just how good I thought it was. I've since acquired Sons, the second book in the trilogy, which I may or may not get to this year. I don't expect it to be as good of course, though I am curious to see how the story continues. Those boys seemed like they were up to no good in TGE and I don't expect them to get any better... Can you manage more than one book at once? I usually read several books side by side, if only to make sure I get to them sooner than later!

#144 I'm quite happy with my 30s list Paul, especially as all the books I listed among those I read were all great reads, whereas I had to resort to listing books I only liked a little in a few cases in previous decade lists. As always, there are always so many more excellent reads on my tbr lists... which is always nice—great things to look forward to!

Looking forward to seeing what your 40s look like...

Jul 8, 2012, 10:53am

Well, I've decided not to bring the laptop after all. I'll only be gone 24 hours and won't have much computer time anyway. Will bring a couple of books, probably Angel by Elizabeth Taylor and Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals. And then I've got Our Mutual Friend on my iPhone. Probably won't have much reading/listening time, but that's ok.

In the meanwhile, finished A Mind of Winter last night. A review will be forthcoming.

Have a few odds and ends to take care of before my ride gets here, like letting Mimi know how much I love her and that mommy will be back really REALLY soon! :-)

Jul 8, 2012, 1:05pm

Have a great visit with your family today, Ilana.... and i hope Coco enjoys her day out too.

Jul 8, 2012, 4:39pm

Safe travels, Ilana! :D

Jul 8, 2012, 5:26pm

Hope you are having a good time, Ilana.
I love your use of initials for all the relatives - makes me think of 18th century novels.

I bought Being There at audible on your rec. I don't remember ever seeing the movie, though I do remember it made a huge impact at the time it came out. Probably will have to add it to the Netflix queue after I listen to the book. Last week I added all of Maggie Smith's movies to the queue - all of them except for the Agatha Christies - because I haven't read the books - and the Harry Potters - because I've seen those movies not so very long ago.

Hope you are taking pictures of Coco wowing the masses... (or would that be bow-wowing the masses???)

Jul 8, 2012, 10:34pm

Have a great time with the family Ilana! Can't wait to hear your stories when you get back. :)

Jul 9, 2012, 8:58am

Hope you survived the weekend. I'm just back from a big family do myself. It was good but I'm totally fried.

Jul 9, 2012, 9:00am

Ilana, I am needing to get caught up on your thread, but I wanted to poplin down here to let you know that I am thinking about you. Hope that your Sunday went well - were they kind?

Jul 9, 2012, 9:25am

Add another, "Hope you had a good time; glad to see you back!" when it happens. I don't have any excuse, and I haven't been reading *OMF*. A little break is a good thing.

Jul 9, 2012, 11:12am

Just passing through, Ilana. Not much time for LT on this vacation, but I'm glad I'm getting time with cousins, aunt & uncle, sister..... I did finish The Grapes of Wrath (finally!) and I'm about 2/3 through Wolf Hall -- what a great read! I, too, expect to finish it this month.

Take care.....

Jul 9, 2012, 2:21pm

#145: Can you manage more than one book at once?

I've tried to read more than one book at once and just can't pull it off. One usually grabs my attention more than the other and I end up sticking to it until the end. Maybe it's my goal-oriented personality (I don't like leaving things "half-done" ... it's all or nothing here, which is sometimes not a good thing) or maybe it's because I tend to escape so thoroughly into whatever I"m reading. I would certainly get more reading done if I could read more than one at a time, that's for sure! But it's something I gave up on a long time ago.

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 4:49pm

Uh oh ... no news yet from Ilana..... hope all is well at the family party*worries*

Jul 9, 2012, 5:48pm

Hi Hi!

Everything went just fine yesterday. I came back just over an hour ago and have been sitting here on my couch just mostly zonked out because didn't sleep very well and then had to get up early this morning (like most normal people, admittedly). Coco was a BIG smash hit. There were 50 of us, and all the adults were impressed by how quiet and well-behaved he was, but all the kids, most of them in their teens, fell completely in love with him, and I don't think Coco set foot on the ground more than 15 minutes all told from 4 to 10 p.m.! My only regret now is I wish I'd thought to take a picture every time he was held by a different person, because there were some seriously gorgeous kids I would have been proud do show off as being part of my family (even though admittedly a few were only related by marriage). Even my cousin F (I'll call her Frank, which was the nickname I gave her when we were kids), surprised everyone by greeting me with delight and an extra warm hug, which left me rather dumbfounded. He daughter Naomi was Coco's biggest fan, which somehow scored me an invitation to go spend a bit of time at their cottage by the lake up next to Arundel, which is one of those bucolic places in the Laurentians where I spent a few idyllic summers in my childhood. Well!

My cats received me with no signs of resentment about me leaving them alone for 24 hours when I got back, so all is well.

I wanted to post a few pics just now, but tech difficulties are driving me nuts right now, so I'll do that later.

Jul 9, 2012, 5:51pm

Glad to have you back and to hear that your trip went well! Coco being a smash hit is not a surprise since he is a super duper cute guy, and that is just based on pictures. Rest up and hopefully we will get to see some eye candy from your trip when you have some time. :)

Jul 9, 2012, 6:20pm

#157 Smiler, Glad to hear all went well :)

Jul 9, 2012, 7:34pm

Sorry, I meant to come back and answer individually, but just had a bunch of trouble with my laptop. So here I go:

#147 Thanks for the good wishes Caro, I'm sure they helped!

#148 Thanks Cee!

#149 Charlotte, I can't say I've read much 18th century literature, if any, but I got into the habit of using initials with my first blog, which was anonymous and which I used to vent about my job. I don't know why I reverted back to that with my family members here. Just silliness.

I hope you love the recording of Being There, otherwise I'll feel like I'm responsible for misleading you! I'll be getting my hands on the movie sometime soon probably. What made you decide to add Maggie Smith's movies?

I have a couple of pictures of Coco, but they're not representational of just HOW much and by how many kids he was being held!

#150 & 58 Hi Val! I hope my debriefing on the event was satisfactory. It's true that Coco is photogenic enough, but meeting him in person is a whole other experience. He's got the kind of quiet presence and even more irresistible cuteness factor when seen in person!

#151 Yep, totally fried is exactly how I feel too. Don't think I could handle one of those every week, but then who can? Oh wait... sorry I asked, probably Caroline can. She just has boundless energy that one!

#152 Mamie, everyone was on their best and kindest behaviour, yes. I even got to speak to an author of a book I read this year and then showed her some of my artwork on my blog after she expressed an interest to see it!

#153 Peggy, I skipped my regular audio sessions yesterday, so also didn't get my daily dose of Our Mutual Friend, being constantly surrounded with people as I was. I realize how much the fact that I have all that listening time is tied to me being single and living alone... I did listen to a couple of chapters this evening though. It's so very good—I'm really glad I decided to join in.

#154 Hey Ellen! Glad you took the time to drop by. And FINALLY! you've gotten through with Grapes of Wrath. It's very likely you'll finish Wolf Hall before I do.

#155 & 59 Thanks, it did go great, though I wouldn't mind having the day to myself tomorrow to rest up from all the excitement.

About reading more than one book at a time: it changes for me once in a while. There are times when I can barely concentrate enough to keep one book going, and honestly, I find finishing anything happens much faster with just one at a time. But most of the time I really enjoy skipping from one story to the next and taking them in morsel by morsel. Like everything else, there's no right or wrong way of going about it, and really, the "getting more reading done" is more of an illusion than anything!

#156 There's nothing to worry about Caro. I just came back late-ish in the afternoon and could barely muster up the energy to open up the laptop. I need to start taking transfusions of whatever it is you put in your cereal in the morning. I can't imagine all the stuff I could get done!

Jul 9, 2012, 7:37pm

In reading news: I started reading Angel by Elizabeth Taylor on the drive to and from Ottawa. I got hooked in from the first sentence and now about a third of the way through, am really into it. Am very happy about that, because now I can more fully appreciate what the big deal is about this author, as I didn't much like the first book of hers I read. This one belies the notion that the characters have to be likeable for the reader to enjoy a book.

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 7:51pm

Ilana's back, Ilana's back ...*bouncing up and down with glee* .... looking for pictures .... *stops bouncing* ....aww phooey to tech difficulties.

So glad you had a grand time with the rellies and that cousin F not only was delighted to see you. Of course Coco was a hit.. how could anyone not love that adorable little furry bundle?

Ahh...the secret to my seemingly high energy level is ..... I don't eat cereal ! I hate the stuff. I eat yoghurt and fruit, toast and scrambled eggs, eggs and bacon or farm sausages, or pancakes for breakfast, cold pizza, cold friend chicken, bread and curry, corned beef & onions, baked beans on toast or bagels and cream cheese for breakfast... almost anything's fine with me ... just no cereal.

Hope you get a You day tomorrow to rest.

Jul 9, 2012, 8:07pm

Awwww maaaan! I'm almost sorry I asked about the cereal Caro, because that list you just gave me just made my stomach go a whole revolution. For a sec, I thought you were saying you could eat all those things AT THE SAME TIME! Yech! Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me you could. As far as I'm concerned, you're an alien species with all that bouncing-off-the-walls energy you have. And I mean that in the best possible way. :-b

Jul 9, 2012, 10:22pm

Hi Ilana!
Hope you and Coco are snuggled up and sleeping. So glad you had a wonderful time :)

Rest... rest.... rest. See ya later!

Jul 9, 2012, 11:30pm

Ilana - So happy that all went well for you. I am not surprised that Coco was such a big hit! LOVE your thirties list! So very many of my favorites were written in that decade - and most of them are somewhere on your list. I am a huge Raymond Chandler fan and I also adore The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - I reread both that and The Big Sleep every few years. But then you also have Steinbeck, Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, Isak Dinesen...I could on and on (but I won't, so you can rest easy)! I did not know that The Good Earth was part of a trilogy, so learned something there.

Just starting on East of Eden, so have a feeling that I will not get that one finished before the end of the month as I seem to be reading all large books currently - really it's completely out of control, someone should rein me in before I get hurt.

Hope you are sleeping well tonight and having sweet dreams. Take care of yourself, dear one.

Jul 10, 2012, 12:39am

Hi Ilana, sounds like your family reunion went well and that Coco stole the show. No wonder you are tired, I find it very tiring being around real people for any length of time. I spend a lot of time on my own or just with hubby that suddenly having a lot of people around can be a tad over-whelming.

We are going to my husband's family reunion in Alberta in August and to tell the truth, other than a few well known relatives, I am not really looking forward to it. We are however going to tie it in with a road trip through Montana, North and South Dakota which I am looking forward to.

Jul 10, 2012, 1:59am

Ilana - glad to see that your get together went well and that a few leopards changed spots. Look forward to a few photos when your glitches are sorted. x

Jul 10, 2012, 7:00am

Nice to see you are back. Not surprised that Mr. Coco was such a hit. After all he is just the cutest thing on the planet. As for the Maggie Smith choice - I'd been thinking that I wanted to see everything she' s done for a while. I'm sure there must be a stinker or two amongst them, but she is just so good I thought I'd chance it just the same. Am particularly looking forward to "Tea with Mussolini" which I've seen before. I remember it as being very good.

Don't worry about steering me wrong with Being There - I'm sure it will be good. And besides it didn't cost very much at all.

Jul 10, 2012, 10:31pm

Hi hi. Sorry I haven't gotten back to anyone. It's been a rough day. All the excitement of the family get-together and it's aftermath turned into complete exhaustion and a big breakdown this afternoon. Thankfully I was with my OT who talked me though it and very kindly spent a very long time with me as I was trying to work things out. I'll be getting ready for bed now as I really need to get to sleep early, especially as tomorrow is my painting class and I want to be at my best and do good work. Tomorrow is also my b-day, and my dad's asked me if I'd like to go to eat out, but I don't think I'll have the energy to do anything after a long day in the studio. I'm... yeah. I need rest. I'll get back to you lovely people next time.

Jul 10, 2012, 10:37pm

Sweet dreams, Ilana. I am wishing for you the happiest of birthdays tomorrow. I hope the day is full of everything that you like best.

Jul 10, 2012, 10:53pm

Hugs and more hugs for a

Jul 10, 2012, 11:13pm

Happy Birthday Ilana!
Sorry to hear about your rough day. Hopefully getting to talk about it helped you work through the stress. May your birthday be filled with love from family and friends and may you be reminded of what a beautiful and wonderful person you are! :)

Jul 10, 2012, 11:56pm

#157 - and just why wouldn't anyone in their right minds greet you with a big hug and squeeze of delight??? I would definitely go in for the full hug - and I have never met you!

Happy birthday my Montreal friend - thank you for the many riches you bestow on us here at LT, with your myriad talents and sometimes searing self-examination. The world - and this group - is all the better for having you in it!

Jul 11, 2012, 12:22am

Happy Birthday, Illana.

Jul 11, 2012, 2:58am

Selamat Hari Jadi as they say here in Malaysia dear lady. Treat yourself nicely for your birthday and enjoy.

Jul 11, 2012, 4:33am

Jul 11, 2012, 6:26am

Bountiful birthday blessings!

Jul 11, 2012, 8:07am

Happy Birthday, Ilana! Hugs! Sounds like you had a nice time at the reunion. Hope you are getting some rest.

Jul 11, 2012, 8:25am

Happy Birthday!!
So glad the day was a success - not in the least bit surprised that Coco stole the show - and I can speak with authority as I have met him and held him!

Jul 11, 2012, 8:36am

Happy Birthday Ilana!!

Jul 11, 2012, 9:36am

Stopping back over here on the actual day to say: Happy Birthday, dear friend. Hope the day is full of beauty and magic, just like you!

Jul 11, 2012, 11:19am

Happy Birthday! I second what PrueGallagher said in #173 above :)

Jul 11, 2012, 8:38pm

Thank you so much for all the lovely birthday wishes Mamie, Claudia, Valerie, Prue, Judy, Paul, Kerry, Morphy, Mark, Lucy, Chelle, Mamie (again!) and avidmom!

So far I've had a lovely day doing what I love best; quick peek here on LT before class, where I found a bunch of nice greetings, then off to my painting class to work on an exciting project, and best of all, doing work that I'm really happy with and proud of (will post on my blog this evening—link to come). I received a call at midday from a flower delivery man who left something for me at my landlord's. Throughout the day I received more greetings on Facebook from friends, some of whom I hadn't heard from in a long time. Gotta love FB with their b-day reminders! :-)

I picked up my flowers as soon as I got home: a huge bunch of pink peonies, which are my favourite spring flower, and most unexpected because a) they're not usually available by my b-day and b) from a friend I hadn't spoken to in a little while. Didn't make any plans whatsoever, as I was really looking forward to some downtime after all the excitement of the weekend, the traveling, and the flurry of activity with the photo group yesterday and today's class, so that's what I'm treating myself to: a quiet evening at home, with my three beloved furkids, just hanging out. I did indulge in a major splurge by just now by ordering from one of my favourite restaurants called Molivos, who make authentic, fresh and delicious Greek food. They're somewhat upscale and priced accordingly, and I basically ordered enough for a small army; all of it keeps nicely in the fridge so I'll be able to eat the leftovers over the next couple of days. Haven't treated myself to a nice meal like that in a long time. Tomorrow (i've just now decided) I'm calling a spa and booking a 90 minute massage for asap.

Food's here!

Jul 11, 2012, 9:16pm

183: Love the peonies against the lime green wall. Happy birthday!

Jul 11, 2012, 9:58pm

The peonies look beautiful, and almost nothing can beat good Greek food.

Jul 11, 2012, 10:18pm

Happy Birthday, Ilana!

Jul 11, 2012, 10:36pm

Nice to see you so upbeat on your birthday - I am normally a bit down on my as another one gets crossed off and I have less reading time left! Hope you are replete with your Greek feast - note to self Greek cuisine is one of the few that is not that well represented here in KL.

Jul 11, 2012, 10:54pm

Ilana, those flowers are gorgeous! So very happy that your special day turned out so great! Indulging in a favorite take out is a lot of fun - good for you. Here's hoping that tomorrow is just as kind. Sweet dreams.

Jul 11, 2012, 11:04pm

Your place looks beautiful. Hope that Greek meal included some baklava. OOPA! :)

Jul 11, 2012, 11:15pm

#184 Thanks Katherine! I painted that limey colour a few years back now and thought I might tire of it, but it's so cheerful that I don't think I'll change it anytime soon.

#185 Kerry, I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I stayed in Crete for 5 months and the food was one of the many things keeping me there. The best Greek food can only be had in Greece, but Molivos does a pretty good approximation.

#186 Thanks Darryl!

#187 Paul, I think what helped the general good mood today was that 1) I blew a fuse yesterday, so today could only be better by comparison 2) Every year I promise myself "no expectations" for my b-day, but this year truly didn't have any 3) I spent the day doing exactly what I'd like to do, even if I was worth many millions of dollars. :-)

Too bad about the lack of decent Greek food in KL, but you know, considering all the great food you're surrounded with, I don't really feel sorry for you! ;-)

#188 Thanks Mamie. I used to order from Molivos almost every week when I was working, and certainly ordered from them when the office was paying when we worked till the small hours of the night. But it's been at least a couple of years since my last order, and they're still as delicious!

#189 You know, I really love my place. It took many years to get it to the point it's at, but it was worth it. Now I just hope I never have to move!

Would you believe it if I told you I ordered TWO desserts (to enjoy over the next few days of course)? A piece of baklava and a piece of galaktoburiko (a kind of custard). Haven't had ANY dessert tonight though because I was so full from my dinner. The day starts tomorrow with a piece from one of the two because I have a tradition of eating b-day cake the morning after, so this will have to do!

Jul 11, 2012, 11:19pm

I just published the latest step of our glazing project on my blog. The above is just showing the piece in progress, but to see the "finished" Step 2, visit here:

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 11:20pm

What a great way to spoil yourself on your bday Ilana! Flowers look gorgeous. Meal, I'm sure was delicious. I hope the rest of your evening will be enjoyable filled with doing the things you love. :)

ETA: Just saw the picture you posted! I don't know art, so I won't even pretend to know what I'm talking about but you sure are talented!

Jul 12, 2012, 3:26am

Hello Ilana - the peonies really are fabulous (and I notice our own Donna Hay cookbook on the bench - I have many of her books and use them a lot. Nice to think of us cooking from the same book spo far away from each other!). I am blown away by your glazing project! Extraordinarily gifted you are! Your birthday sounds just perfect to me!

Jul 12, 2012, 6:15am

Wow, what amazing work. Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?

Jul 12, 2012, 9:30am

Followed your link above and was wowed by your talent. SO incredible to see the work as it transitions from step to step. Thank you so much for sharing!!! It is beautiful!

Edited: Jul 12, 2012, 4:17pm

#192 Hi Valerie, the meal was indeed delicious. The best part of it is I get to enjoy it over the next few days now. As I'm not overly fond of cooking, that totally works for me!

#193 Prue, I own several Donna Hay cookbooks, but these two on the counter are recent acquisitions that I got for very cheaply on Amazon; one's a compendium of vegetable recipes and the other, chicken recipes culled from her various cookbooks. I have yet to actually make anything from either of them, but I keep thinking that if I have them staring at me long enough, I'll finally break down and use them!

#194 Thanks Morphy. I did a bit of both, i.e. self-taught and art school. I picked up a pencil sometime in my teens and decided to do sketches from a photo magazine featuring artistic images of nude women (since I knew that's how one learned to draw in art schools), and found it was relatively easy for me to reproduce what I saw. Later on I did a bit of studies in fine arts, and then have been taking art classes regularly for the past 3 years. I guess you could say I have a gift. It's a wonderful gift, but I don't welcome the sense of responsibility it comes with. Does that make me ungrateful?

#195 Thanks Mamie. I really like this project. We're working with a model I've had many times before and who really inspires me, and learning a technique right now I've been curious ever since I first visited a museum and admired Renaissance paintings. Goodness knows I don't always do good work—that part is always unpredictable, but it certainly makes my day when I'm happy with what I've done!

Jul 12, 2012, 5:10pm

Hi, Ilana! Love the painting at the top, and your piece in progress. Nice to see Cold Comfort Farm, The Thin Man and African Queen on your wishlist; I liked all of those.

Jul 12, 2012, 5:32pm

Ilana, well, I would use the fact that i spent most of your birthday on a plane as an excuse for being a day late in wishing you a HaPpY bIrThDaY, but..... well, I know I don't need an excuse. It is what it is. It sounds like it was a pretty good day, following your positive (if tiring) experience with the family gathering (and of course Coco was a big hit -- we all know he has raised the bar on charming).

After this post, I'll go look at your blog. I want to see the finished product. I enjoy seeing the works in progress since I'm not an artist at all. I like seeing how the work develops.

Glad to hear that you're enjoying Angel. I have a couple of Elizabeth Taylor novels to get to......

Jul 12, 2012, 11:02pm

#197 Hi Joe! I'm glad you approve of some of the items on my wishlist. With close to 800 books in there and more being added each day, I'm fairly sure you'll find quite a few more in there that you've read and loved. I'll add you as a recommender of the three you've mentioned in the meantime!

#198 Hi Ellen! No excuses whatsoever necessary. I don't know if you can put it down to maturity, but this year, I truly felt that the world did not have to come to a full stop because it was my bday. So your wishes are accepted and appreciated any day of the week.

Angel is really very fun. I wouldn't have expected that, following my experience with A Game of Hide and Seek, which was dreadfully tedious, if you ask me. I'm glad that experience didn't deter me from reading this other book I had ordered from NYRB, and am looking forward to more by her.

Calling it a day. It started very late today as I'd had a very bad night of it, consequently been exhausted all day and shut myself up indoors with the A/C to escape from the oppressive heat outside. I was hoping to do a few chores around the house, but I was hopelessly listless, so no. I managed to catch up with a few threads, and have gotten ahead on Wolf Hall—I've reached Part 5, chapter II now and have under 200 pages to go. I may yet finish it this month! Have purchased several more audio titles between one Audible sale and another, but too pooped now to even list them, which says a lot, because I absolutely LOVE making lists of books. I'm seriously considering putting an end to my tracking of purchased books this year. The list keeps getting ever longer, and I've already had to change my yearly goal a couple of times to adjust for my acquisition rate. *sigh*.

Jul 12, 2012, 11:10pm

Ilana - Sorry you were tired today. You had a fabulous day yesterday, so maybe just coming down from the energy depleted by that? I don't think you should worry about tracking your purchases of books this year if it is feeling like a drain on you - no rules, right? Don't put too much pressure on yourself and take the fun and spontaneity out of enjoying your purchases. I wish for you sweet dreams and a better tomorrow.

Jul 12, 2012, 11:36pm

Can't wait to read your review of Any Human Heart (assuming you will get to it!!!!)

Jul 13, 2012, 11:47am

#200 Mamie, you gave me just the feedback I wanted to hear about tracking my purchases: "Don't put too much pressure on yourself and take the fun and spontaneity out of enjoying your purchases." That's exactly what it's been doing, so that's the end of it. Who needs all that guilt?

Meanwhile, had another horrid night of feeling sick to my stomach and waking seemingly every five minutes. Consequently feeling horrid again today. All my fault too, as I finally realized in the middle of the night. Because I've been avoiding the stuff so long, I'd conveniently forgotten just how sick raw garlic makes me, and of course some of the Greek dishes I ordered are filled with the stuff. The first night, I thought I felt uncomfortable because I'd eaten very late and it was so hot out. So yesterday I had an early meal of it, but no can do. Between indigestion and lack of sleep, I'm completely useless today. And all because of the sin of gluttony! That'll teach me.

#201 Prue, I keep putting off writing reviews, but I do eventually get around to writing up all the books I read. I'll have you in mind as I review AHH and will try not to disappoint you. xx

Jul 13, 2012, 12:03pm

Recent acquisitions:

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hugues (from NYRB)
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (released this month at NYRB)

From Audible
Dead I Well May Be by Adran McKinty

3 for 2 non-fiction sale:
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 by William Manchester
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman

"Paperback" $5.95 sale:
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (yes yes!)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Deliverance by James Dickey

Jul 13, 2012, 12:18pm

Ilana - Looks like you got some mighty fine stuff there! Yay for you for ditching the tracking since it was spoiling things for you. And sorry to hear that your sleeplessness and stomach problems were due to the food that you love. Bummer! I guess on the one hand at least you figured out what the problem was...but..still...

Jul 13, 2012, 12:56pm

Peonies - beautiful!

Birthday - best wishes!

Artwork - impressive!

A Distant Mirror - my absolute favorite history and favorite Tuchman book - hope you enjoy it.

Jul 13, 2012, 5:17pm

Hi Ilana!
I'm with you and Mamie - take away any guilty pressure that you can. It is so destructive. Life is too short ;-)
Plenty of other tracking and lists to keep you occupied.

Your kitchen & peonies are bright and cheery - great colors! Sometimes it pays off to be bold. I'm pretty conservative and boring... but I do like comfy!

Glad to hear you had a good birthday. A sign of old age is suffering the consequences... ;-)

Jul 13, 2012, 5:34pm

I was ready to make semi-intelligent comments...until i realized that I MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY

now, i feel like crap.....and i miss you...


Edited: Jul 13, 2012, 6:46pm

#204 Mamie, I might not have gone for the two YA titles had they not been on sale, but when I saw how popular they'd been with LTers, I dove right in. Will make for perfect summer reading, I'm sure.

#205 Charlotte, I haven't read anything by Tuchman yet, but The Guns of August and The Proud Tower : A Portrait of the World Before the War : 1890-1914 are both on my wishlist too, and one reason they landed there was seeing that you'd rated all three of these titles (including DM) with 5 stars.

#206 A sign of old age is suffering the consequences

Yes, and at 43, I'm now firmly entrenched in middle age, so things can only get worse from here on end! Today I feel like death warmed over. And all because of a bit of raw garlic. Maybe I'm a vampire?

#207 Jude, look at what Claudia said just before you—guilt is destructive, and life is too short. So you missed my bday. So what?! Feel better. Do it for both of us, because I'm not holding up too well over here...

Jul 13, 2012, 7:18pm

Since it's clear that we cannot afford to sell our house and move to a location that would make for easier commute, we're looking at ways to make life less complicated where we live now. I will be driving to work more often. That means less bus-reading time, but it means more time at home. I bought an audiobook to experiment a bit more with that modality. We'll see how it goes in small chunks of time (average car commute one way is 25-30 minutes).

At 51-turning-52-next-month, I think 43 is the prime of life. Enjoy, Ilana. Yes, you'll start noticing changes, but at 45 I ran my first half-marathon and was the fittest I've ever been. You have many good years in front of you. :-)

I had The Guns of August on my shelves for years and never got around to reading it. I hear that Barbara Tuchman is pretty awesome.

Edited: Jul 13, 2012, 9:22pm

Silly, Ilana! I was totally pulling your leg about "old age".
You are truly in your prime. Youthful, creative, smart, beautiful, and years ahead of you... just not a teenager anymore LOL
You are 20 years younger than I. Wish I had those 20 years again.
I'd slow it all down and enjoy it ;-)

Edited: Jul 13, 2012, 9:30pm

#209 Ellen, I'm sorry the market doesn't allow you to do as you want with your house at the moment. I'll be curious to hear how you fare with audiobooks. Strange that I've become some kind of advocate for them. Was a time not so long ago when I thought they weren't like reading at all!

I don't think I'll be running a half-marathon this year, but it's not impossible that I might eventually. I doubt I'll surpass the shape I got myself into when I was 32 when, after 8 months of intensive training with weights and cardio, I joined a fitness competition and won. I had something like 8% body fat on me at that point, and I have the pictures to prove it (although you wouldn't know it was me!)

#210 Claudia, thank you. I love my quiet lifestyle now, and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but I do often feel like I'm an old maid and out of the "game" so to speak. My choice though, as I could just as well get into the game if I so chose (and I dont) so I can't complain.

All right, I'm off to do some reading. Still feeling queazy and incredibly exhausted. Hopefully be better by tomorrow...

Jul 14, 2012, 6:59am

Hi Ilana- Congrats on the recent book haul! That can sure cheer you up. Hope you are enjoying a nice weekend. Hugs.

Jul 14, 2012, 8:50am

Ilana - 43 middle aged - no way! I am two years older but have never felt younger. Ok I'm kidding but we are in the prime of our lives my dear for a short while longer at least. x

Jul 14, 2012, 12:58pm

8% body fat?! Oh my, Ilana, no wonder you won the fitness competition.

How are you feeling today?

I agree with Paul. 43 is no way middle-aged. I'm 3 years older and apart from no longer fitting in my college jeans, I don't really feel much different than I did in my 20s. I am, thankfully though, slightly wiser now than I was in my 20s. Only slightly, mind you.

Jul 14, 2012, 2:37pm

Very happy to report I'm back to feeling normal again, having gotten over my bout of indigestion and ensuing lack of sleep. I threw away the offending dish of mixed creamy appetizers (tzatziki, eggplant salad, roe salad, etc), with sadness in my heart I might add because it was delicious, but not worth all the pain it put me through what with all the raw garlic in there. Ate very little yesterday and slept like a baby last night. Hurray!

It's been ridiculously hot these past few days and we're into the 100s today with the humidex. I'd avoid going out altogether if it wasn't for Coco. I also need to get lemons to make industrial quantities of lemonade, and stop by the library, where The Coroner's Lunch is waiting for me, along with The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís. Looking forward to both and I'm overjoyed about the latter, as I put in a purchase request a few weeks ago and can't believe they obtained it in record time like this, as it can take many months usually, as I understand it.

Made quite a lot of progress on Wolf Hall in the past couple of days, as was feeling too wretched to do much else than read, so I'm beginning to believe I just might finish it this month after all... Also very nearly finished with Angel. I want to start East of Eden very soon, but I just might fit in the Colin Cotterill before I settle down with it.

#212 Hey Mark, like I said, I try to avoid the heat outside and am very grateful to have a/c. Did I mention I finally got the audio of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys from the library? It's just a matter of time before I start up on it now.

#213 Paul, I'm confused then... if the 40s aren't middle age, then what is? Or does it no longer exist?

#214 Yes, well, I was pretty ripped, as you can imagine Caro. I also put on 30 lbs within a couple of weeks once the competition was over, what with eating peanut butter out of the jar and whatnot... thank goodness my trainers had warned me something like that was going to happen!

Feeling much better, thanks. It'll be a good while before I eat tzatziki again. Too bad, because I really like the stuff, but it obviously doesn't like me back!

I'm glad my 20s are far behind. I may not be much wiser, but I have learned a few lessons, and thankfully feel much better about myself in many ways. Besides, LT didn't exist back then! :-)

Jul 14, 2012, 6:07pm

Glad to hear you are feeling better Ilana! It's a good thing you were able to figure out what it was that was bothering you instead of eating all that food (delicious though it may be), but then suffer the consequences for longer than need be.
100 is definitely way too hot to be outside so hopefully you have your lemonade and a comfy chair to relax the day a way in relatively cooler weather. A nice book wouldn't be bad either. :)

Jul 14, 2012, 8:04pm

Ilana - Glad to hear that you are feeling much better! WahHOO! And sounds like you nabbed two great books from the library. I think you should definitely hit Dr. Siri before heading into East of Eden - it's short and sweet and funny with lots of quirky characters to fall in love with.

I agree with Paul and Caro that 40s is NOT middle age - I am 45, so I should know. You cannot know what your middle age is until you get to the end of your journey, and by then it just won't matter. Just embrace each day and soak up all that it has to offer. I always love the age that I am because I worked hard to get here.

Hope the rest of your Saturday is relaxing, and that you sleep like a teenager (we always say slept like a baby, but babies are up at all hours of the night - teenagers can sleep for twelve hours straight)!

Jul 14, 2012, 8:30pm

#216 Valerie, you're absolutely right, the cause of my discomfort could just as well have evaded me and persisted. Now I know to be more vigilant, though it's a shame, because so many good foods are made with garlic. But then... so many good foods are made without it as well!

I didn't linger outside any longer than I needed to. Coco and I made our way to the library and back, though I did step outside on my balcony for maybe 20 minutes to put some plant cuttings into a pot. I'm very happily ensconced indoors with the a/c and plenty of cold drinks now. And yes, a few good books within reach! :-)

#217 Mamie, funny you should mention the end of my journey, because I just now finished poring over The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís, where the message is more or less similar to what you say (only in the book, at the end of the voyage, the birds realize they were special beings all along).

I had enough energy today to do a few little chores, something which was out of the question the last two days, but I'm taking it easy. I plan to spend the rest of the evening on my comfy couch and only get up to refill my drinks!

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 3:27pm

92. ♫ Any Human Heart by William Boyd ★★★★½
(Read for TIOLI #6: a book with the word “boy” or “man” in the title or author's name, 12/12 #4: Guardian Knows Best - Guardian 1000 (Family and self))

Logan Mountstuart's story, which spans every decade of the 20th century (born 1906, died 1991), is told through his personal journals, which he has kept off and on at various stages of his life. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, he moved to England with his English father and Uruguayan mother as a young boy. The earliest pages of the journals having been lost, the story picks up sometime in LMS's teens, when he made a pact with his two best friends which in one case, had lasting consequences. He decided to become a writer and published a successful novel after attending Oxford university, and his early success led him to meet some of the leading figures of the arts and letters, making for plenty of namedropping, from Hemingway (encountered in Spain during the civil war), to Picasso (whom he interviewed for an article), to Evelyn Waugh (who kissed him on the mouth), to name just a few. But his acquaintance with the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson may have had dramatic consequences, as he believed the duke, with whom he had fallen out of favour, later betrayed him during WWII, leading to two years of internment in Switzerland after a failed intelligence mission. Because of the nature of the documents through which we get to know LMS, we are presented with many facets of his life, from intimate details about his loves and lovers to little anecdotes and comments about a wide variety of topics and people.

LMS certainly lived an exciting life, but this book having been highly recommended to me by various people, and having read two of Boyd's books before, I had high expectations, and while I thought the story was very good for the most part, I wasn't so impressed with all the cameos and appearances of famous people in his life and kept wanting more, which is why the novel suddenly became absolutely fascinating to me when, as an old man, LMS hit hard times and had to go to extreme measures to eke out a living and fight to hang on to his dignity and sense of self, even as he found himself unable to write the novel that might have put him back on the map. By then end I was completely won over and quite fascinated by this monumental construction, which is one I'll have to find time to read again in future, as I'm sure I'll enjoy it very differently now that the whole picture has been revealed. Strongly recommended.

Edited: Jul 14, 2012, 10:39pm

93. ♫ Being There by Jerzy Kosinski ★★★★★
(TIOLI #14: In honor of 'Don't Step on A Bee Day' - Read a book whose title begins with a 'B', 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press)

Chance is a simple-minded man who has always lived in the same house, where he's always taken care of the garden. He's never learned to read and write and never set food outside the grounds of the house, not even to see a doctor. But his life is turned upside down when the "old man"—the owner of the house—very sick in his very old age, passes away without making any provisions for Chance. Indeed, as far as the insurance company is concerned, Chance doesn't exist at all and might never have lived in the house, since there's not a scrap of paper mentioning him or his role in the household. What Chance does have is a thorough understanding of the world based on the countless hours he has watched television, as well as a very good set of clothes which fit him to perfection and which had once belonged to the old man, so that when he steps out onto the street with his bespoke (to another man) suit and elegant valise and meets with an accident with a chauffeur-driven limousine, he is immediately taken in by the passenger of the car, a Mrs. Rand, and brought to her home to be attended by her ailing husband's doctor who is often there on house calls. The husband, Mr. Rand, when he asks Chance about himself, mistakes our hero's reply and understands that his name is Chauncey Gardiner, whom he assumes to be a successful and very astute businessman based not only on his clothes, but on the remarkably wise observations Chance makes, wherein speaking only of what he knows—which is limited to the realm of gardening—his remarks are taken as being incredibly clever and profound. Before he knows it, Chance is introduced to the President of the USA (a close friend of the Rands) and becomes the man of the hour.

I had seen the movie version when I was just a young girl, where Chance was famously interpreted by Peter Sellers, and I remember the story and the acting making a strong impression on me. So when I saw this newly released (and inexpensive) audio version interpreted by none other than Dustin Hoffman, I pounced on it. Needless to say, Hoffman's reading is brilliant, and the story is still just as excellent and darkly funny as I remember it being, and still all too relevant today. I've only given a five-star rating once before so far this year, and this recording fully deserves a full score as well.

Jul 15, 2012, 1:12pm

I remember seeing that movie a long, long time ago. I think I will seek out this audio-version based on your review. It sounds like Dustin Hoffman is just the narrator for it!

I'm glad you were feeling better yesterday......

Jul 15, 2012, 2:30pm

Hi Ilana - way behind again but it sounds you like you had your big family event the same weekend I had mine so I will quickly say: Yay we survived! And very tired now.

#161 I'm so pleased you're enjoying Angel! "This one belies the notion that the characters have to be likeable for the reader to enjoy a book." With you 100%.

I also enjoyed your thirties list - I realised when I was making my list that some of my favourite books were written in that decade and I wouldn't have discovered a lot of them if it hadn't been for LT.

And a belated Happy Birthday from me too - glad you were able to enjoy some good company (Coco, Mimi, Ezra) and some great food.

#191 I am eagerly anticipating step 3 of Pascale now. I loved step 1 and was initially quite disappointed to see the gray underpainting added in step 2 until I realised that was just an intermediary step. I really love the painting - it's one of those I could sit and gaze at for a long time...

#202 Sorry to hear about the indigestion from the raw garlic. Glad you're feeling better now.

#219 You've reminded me again that I must read the William Boyd lurking on my shelf sooner rather than later (it's an old one - A Good Man in Africa).

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 3:25pm

#221 Ellen, I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to make a new film version of Being There with Dustin Hoffman in near future. There's no doubt in my mind he'd be perfect for the role. I just read an article from the LA Times about the A-List project by Audible, which says the Hoffman found the task of recording a book much harder than a regular acting job. I can see how that could happen, especially for a perfectionist like him. I'll be borrowing the movie from the library as soon as I'm done watching Of Mice and Men.

#222 Hi Heather! Yes, not only did I survive the family reunion, but I actually had a nice time, if only seeing how well-loved Coco was by everyone there. I forget I have family, since even when I was a child we never got together much, so it's nice having occasional reminders that I have a 'clan'—so to speak—of people who are pretty interesting and accomplished overall.

I just finished Angel last night and was almost sad to see the end of it. Angelica is one of those characters that you just love to see misbehave, isn't she?

I felt the same way about the Pascale exercise after week 1. The teacher has shown us a slide show before we even started painting, so I knew the second step with the grey underpainting was coming and dreaded it, but then I reminded myself that it's all just an exercise and the point is to learn a new technique. This is one of the reasons I like taking pictures of works in progress because all too often I like the various steps the projects go through better than the end results. Because I'm very detail-oriented, I work very slowly, so I very much doubt the painting will be completed by week 4, but it will definitely have gone through quite a transformation.

A Good Man in Africa was the first book by William Boyd I was made aware of some years ago, so the first to land on my WL. He definitely knows how to entertain his readers!

Jul 15, 2012, 3:16pm

Hi Ilana! Lovely reviews! I am really wanting to listen to Being There. The Boyd book looks fascinating - I have never read anything by him before. Is that a good place to start or would you recommend something else first?

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 3:52pm

Mamie, I'd say Any Human Heart is a good place to start, sure! I started with Brazzaville Beach, which I thought was also quite brilliant (my review here), and followed that up with Restless. So far, all three books couldn't be more different from one another, but all three do share the fact that they're really good and entertaining reads. There'll be more William Boyd in my future, I can guarantee you that much... though which to follow up with, I don't quite know yet. Too many great options!

Jul 15, 2012, 4:42pm

Hi Ilana- Well, I'm starting with Any Human Heart and it looks like a fantastic place to begin with Boyd. Wow! I'll read your review later.
Between Shades of Gray, (no, not that one people!) is terrific on audio. Enjoy!

Jul 15, 2012, 7:28pm

Ilana - 43 is not middle aged - I have plans to make it to 150 so I have 30 years to go to middle age!
Bought Being There at the weekend based on your enthusiasm for it.

Jul 15, 2012, 7:43pm

#226 Mark, I'll look forward to your comments on Any Human Heart for sure. As for audiobooks, I've got quite a long way to go with Our Mutual Friend still, and I'll probably want to follow up with something really short, but Between Shades of Gray is on the menu for sometime soon.

#227 Ok, ok, I relent Paul! I guess I use the term 'middle aged' in the same self-deprecating way as I say I'm an 'old maid'. Mind you, the latter is a truism, while the former is, well, I guess a question of perspective and projected life expectancy.

I'm glad you got Being There. It's short and... was going to say sweet. Not sure it's 'sweet' exactly, but it left me with a very good impression. I hope you get around to it soon so I can hear your comments about it.

Jul 15, 2012, 8:18pm

OH gawd! Don't look up "middle age" on Google or Wikipedia. The consensus of these "experts" (lol) seems to be
middle age = 40 to 60
but that can't be right! That makes me elderly! Accccckkkkk!

ok - here's another one for ya
when there is an emergency call over Ron's radio - they call men & women over 60 elderly, too.

What happened to the world? Are the kids taking over? Am I really that old? :P~

Jul 15, 2012, 8:24pm

Claudia, don't sweat it, apparently there was a time in history when a 35-year-old adult was considered to have lived a full life!

Jul 15, 2012, 8:37pm

That's true. I remember thinking 35 was pretty old - that's when I was 10... hahaha

I don't mind being older - but elderly? Sheesh!

Jul 15, 2012, 8:38pm

*waving* at Ilana

Jul 15, 2012, 8:42pm

The "experts" on Google and Wikipedia were probably in their twenties - just saying.

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 9:05pm

#231 Claudia, we beyond labels, aren't we? Because if we want to start sticking labels... then neither of us is out of the woods! I swore when I was a teenager that I wouldn't live past 30. So really, I've been ancient ever since I crossed that threshold!

#232 Hi Stasia! What a nice surprise!

So I'm really nervous right now. I had signed up for a class called "Sketching on Site" a few weeks back (eta: on Mondays), not realizing that I'd be missing the first of 4 classes with my family reunion. Then I thought I'd best cancel it as might not get my money's worth and/or miss too much. I left a message at the Visual Arts Centre and they had the teacher call me. She called me yesterday and told me they'd be meeting bright and early at the mountain (that would be Mount Royal, which is at the centre of the city and sort of our Central Park... only it's a small mountain.) We had some rain today, and may have more tomorrow, so there are a couple of contingencies planned, with two possible sites as meeting points depending on rain or no rain. Right away, that makes me nervous. What if there's just a bit or rain? Or lots of rain and then it stops? Where do we meet then? Won't the group end up being split up? I was pretty decided to just cancel the class and avoid all the hassle, but today I went and bought a camp stool at Canadian Tire, so seems I sort of decided I'm going. But it's a major hassle and I'm not up to it. Only now I've left a message with the teacher asking exactly what materials to bring, when really, I don't want to have to get up tomorrow morning! because I'm a nervous wreck and probably won't be able to get a decent night's sleep. Oy. Being me is no picnic I tell ya.

Haven't posted anything on my blog in a while, and this rant seems like it belongs there more than here. Now I don't know what to do. Delete it here and post it there? I'm a mess. HELP!!!

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 8:56pm

sorry Mamie, I was busy giving in to my neuroses when you posted, so I missed your message. But you're right. Those 20 year olds think there no life beyond their puny two-and-something decades.

Jul 15, 2012, 9:08pm

OK Ilana, I hear what you are saying. Take a deep breath and think about whether or not you really want to do the class - I agree the contingency plans for rain would have me in a bit of a panic because I would be the same way. How much rain is required to make the second plan the chosen one? Will the Visual Arts Center know which plan is opted for in the morning - can you call them and find out before leaving your place? If you really don't want to do the class, there is no shame in backing out, but maybe part of you really wants to do it?

Secondly, I think you should leave your rant here - this is an awesome support group and you will get such great love and encouragement from your fellow LTers. If you want to also blog about it, then that is good, too, as sometimes talking things through is freeing in and of itself. I know that I always feel better after I share what I an worrying about.

There is no wrong answer. You get to decide - what do you want? How can I help?

Jul 15, 2012, 9:39pm

Mamie, you're a darling. I'll send you a PM.

Jul 15, 2012, 9:42pm

Is this class being offered in the future? You are already doing quite a lot...

Jul 15, 2012, 9:56pm

Claudia, I don't think it is, no. But you're right, between my full day painting class and photo project, I've already got a lot going on. What doesn't help the minor crisis I'm going through right now is that I know this teacher, and while I like her and think she's a GREAT art teacher, she's also a bit of a flake, and I don't know what her organizational skills are, and not having a definite meeting point set already is bad news. Mind you, tomorrow morning could end up being beautiful and clear too, but it's already late and I'm all over the place when I should start organizing myself. Doesn't look too good. Nothing stops me from doing this sketching on site stuff on my own either.

Jul 15, 2012, 10:45pm

#234 Oy. Being me is no picnic I tell ya.

I can so totally relate to that statement! Makes me feel better to hear someone else say it :)

Jul 16, 2012, 2:02am

"43 is not middle aged - I have plans to make it to 150 so I have 30 years to go to middle age!"

I agree with that - anyone who disagrees must be still in their 20's .......

Jul 16, 2012, 2:33am

Oh Ilana, by now I hope you have figured out your next steps - and Mamie has given her ever-sage advice so I won't put in my two cents except to say it is OK NOT to do things - even things you like if they cause you a panic and stress.

Loved your review of Any Human Heart and I think you captured my own feelings perfectly. I too was a bit 'harrumph' during the name-dropping phase, but somewhere along the line became totally hooked. And I think it was an amazing bit of writing in scope and scale...He is just a damn good story-teller.

So ease up on yourself and you can rant as much here as you like - it's a 'Safe Place'. mwah

Jul 16, 2012, 2:33am

Dear Ilana - it looks like a question of seeing the timetable and seeing how it fits (if it does) with your other commitments (OK I'm a guy and we are supposed to be logical). At the end of the day it is your call and you need to be comfortable in order to embrace the experience so as to get the most from it. Sounds like a blast to be honest but not in the pouring rain. Have you paid in advance?

Jul 16, 2012, 10:34am

Two fabulous reviews -- I might buy the Hoffman reading Being There for our little library....... it's a serious candidate. I have the Boyd right in my tbr shelf...... sigh...... I LOVED A Good Man in Africa so what am I waiting for?

The humidity is something, eh? I am besieged, too, by horrible deer flies when I take my Diane-of-the-woods run in the morning - have to wave a branch w/leaves around to keep them off. Must be quite a sight!

Jul 16, 2012, 10:58am

Well, was it raining this morning? Did you go?

Jul 16, 2012, 2:35pm

So... the answer is NO. I decided NOT to go to the class. The main reason being that I was supremely annoyed that the whole business had caused me such distress, and I figured if I'd really wanted to go, then it wouldn't have become such a drama to begin with. Before making that decision, I got myself in bed and started reading the 1st chapter of The Coroner's Lunch, which was good, but would have been much better if I hadn't had obsessive thoughts about the course interrupting every other sentence. So, completely fed up and disgusted with said drama, I penned a quick email (can one pen an email?) to the teacher and c/c'd the school telling them after much consideration I wouldn't be attending after all. Then I proceeded to have a terrible night's sleep with many nightmares about the class in question. Woke up just as the sun was rising to a crystal-clear sky. It was hot and stuffy in the room, so I turned on the a/c and proceeded to sleep well into the afternoon. So that's that. More time to sleep, hang out on LT and generally do as I want with my schedule. I'll just have to go "sketching on site" by myself a few times this summer and I'll be really proud of myself for doing it on my own.

We're finally getting that big downpour now.

Jul 16, 2012, 4:03pm

#240 Makes me feel better to hear someone else say it

All too happy to share my negative self-talk if it makes others feel better about themselves. :-)

#241 Hi Alex! Gosh, I don't know that I want to live quite that long. Mind you, it would give me plenty of time still to figure out what I want to do with my life, and I could maybe finally clear off all the tbr I've accumulated till now, but I'm not so keen on the life of poverty the gov't pension (if any) would translate to... best stop buying books and start saving in earnest starting NOW!

#242 Hi Prue, I've been thinking about you lately, and meant to drop by your place to see what you're up to. My mum sometimes reminds me that even as a child I had the hardest time making any choices at all, because I'd get absolutely panicked at the idea that the option I didn't chose would be gone forever... and that's how I feel still, that somehow, when two paths are ahead (or more), I might fail to take the "right" one, even though of course now that I'm MUCH wiser (hem hem!), I know there is no such thing, just different paths, that's all.

I'm glad you felt similarly about Any Human Heart. I thought I was being curmudgeonly during the first half of the book, so I'm glad to know it wasn't just me. But seeing that sparkling youth in the context of what his old age is to bring suddenly made it seem genuinely interesting to me, whereas before, I just thought Boyd was appealing to the reader's vanity ("ah yes! I've read that author!"), which I thought was beneath his powers as a storyteller. I got similarly annoyed with The Rules of Civility, when a bunch of famous novels were constantly being mentioned, but apparently I was the only one that seemed to bother.

(writing the above almost an hour ago, I was inspired to dig out that review, re-write parts of it and post it on my blog, now that RoC has been released in paperback.)

Jul 16, 2012, 4:18pm

#243 Paul, I paid in advance for the class, but with the Centre, you can always cancel any course before the second class, with only a $20 non-refundable admin charge. But I also found out that you can avoid that fee by asking for a credit note toward the next course registration, which is what I opted to do since I intend to keep studying with them indefinitely, or at least as long as I can afford to.

#244 Lucy, I think you'll make a lot of people happy if you get the Being There recording for your public library. Only I wonder if it's possible to do that with uploadable MP3 tracks, which is what you get with Audible? I'm almost certain it's not available on CD because it's an Audible production, but I do hope it's possible to get it for a public lending-library all the same.

so what am I waiting for?

is a question we no doubt ALL ask ourselves about countless great books we have in our TBRs. So many books... and unfortunately they can't all be read at the same time!

The humidity... don't even mention the humidity. The rain here just seems to make it worse, if anything. You'd think we're in the tropics. I don't think I could handle the climate in Asia, because this is really unbearable.

#245 My dearest Mamie, I guess you've gotten the answer to your question by now, but I want to thank you again for being so supportive last night. Even though I fully well know that my little crisis moments will pass as I'm going through them, it does help to have a soothing voice remind me of what's important and also that I'm not just some impossibly neurotic silly woman. So thanks for the PMs and endlessly encouraging words. xoxo

Right. Shower to take, Coco to walk, groceries to do, paintbrush to purchase for Wednesday's painting class. Off I go then!

Here is my updated review for Rules of Civility for anyone interested:

Jul 16, 2012, 4:22pm

Hmm... in my experience, nice people who are flakes don't make the best organizers. I would have been concerned about contingency plans and if she had any too.

I hope now the stress of thinking about this class has been removed, nothing else will crop up to disrupt your enjoyment of The Coroner's Lunch.

Jul 16, 2012, 5:25pm

Sounds like you worked it out fabulously, although sorry you had the bad dreams. And Caro's right - now you can give The Coroner's Lunch a better go. Hoping that you love it! Now I'm off to check out your updated review of Rules of Civility.

Jul 16, 2012, 8:12pm

Caro: I just dropped by the art store which is next to my grocery shop and also got a new sketchbook with really amazing handmade paper. So now I have the optimal surface to take with me on my own "sketching on site" experience. Seriously, it's something I've always imagined all artists must do, but somehow never did myself in all my travels. I was too busy journaling in words I guess.

I look forward to the next chapter or two of Coroner's Lunch tonight. It's certainly an amazingly disorienting trip!

Mamie: Dreams... it's always near to impossible to work out what they're trying to say to us in their surreal imagery, isn't it? I was pretty happy with my updated review of RoC. I always mean to post more reviews on my blog, since at least one person told me she always looks forward to them, but it ends up taking me longer to re-edit them than the original writing did! Perfections, me? Naaaaaa!!!

Jul 16, 2012, 9:58pm

Ilana- Yes, I think I picked the perfect Boyd to start with. Any Human Heart is wonderful. Now, I have to scramble and find a few more of his titles.
Hope you are enjoying your 1st Dr. Siri! He is a lot of fun and very infectious.

Jul 16, 2012, 10:43pm

Mark, I'm really glad you're enjoying your first William Boyd so much. I'd been wanting to read him for a long time, and when I listened to Brazzaville Beach in January, I was instantly hooked! I definitely recommend that one. You'll also surely love Restless which is a spy intrigue. Those are the ones I've read so far, but I have quite a few others on my wishlist (8 more in fact!)