Smiler's Miscellany: A Little Bit of Everything & Books, Too! #13

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Smiler's Miscellany: A Little Bit of Everything & Books, Too! #13

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Edited: Sep 25, 2012, 11:29pm

Currently reading, listening to,
and occasionally browsing through:

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Carol Squiers
Teach Yourself to Dream by David Fontana
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester


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
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford
Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley

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

Total read: 107/144
Only 37 to go!

Edited: Sep 25, 2012, 11:21pm

Books completed in September

120. ♫ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ★★★★ (review)
121. ♫ A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf ★★★★ (review)
122. ♫ Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ★★★★⅓ (review)
123. Potsdam Station by David Downing ★★★⅓ (review)
124. ♫ All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West ★★★★¾ (review)
125. ♫ Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner ★★★★½ (review)
126. ♫ Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel ★★★★½ (review coming soon)
127. ♫ Birds of a Feather: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear ★★★½ (review coming soon)
128. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury ★★★★⅓ (review coming soon)
129. ♫ Echo Burning by Lee Child ★★★ (review coming soon)
130. ♫ Asta's Book by Barbara Vine (rating & review coming soon)
131. A Love Affair by Émile Zola (rating & review coming soon)

Unfinished:Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

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: Sep 30, 2012, 12:58pm

Suggested reads for September

☛ ♫ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (TIOLI #2: author's first name includes an "a" and last name includes a "z", 12/12 #7. Young at Heart)
☛ ♫ Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (TIOLI #16: a book first published in 2012, September Series & Sequels, 12/12 #8. Hot Off the Press)
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer)
☛ ❉ In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon, TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer)
☛ ❉ Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (September Series & Sequels, TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer)
A Love Affair by Émile Zola (September Series & Sequels, 12/12 #11. Litérature Française) - reading
☛ ❉ Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (September Series & Sequels, TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer)
Potsdam Station by David Downing (September Series & Sequels)
Echo Burning by Lee Child (September Series & Sequels)
March Violets Philip Kerr (September Series & Sequels)
☛ ♫ A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (TIOLI #7: Read a book about a school(s), or in which a significant part of the action takes place in a school)
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (12/12 #4. Guardian Knows Best)

Unplanned but felt like it

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer, 12/12 #1. The First Half 1901-1951)
Birds of a Feather: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer)
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam (TIOLI #7: Read a book in which a significant part of the action takes place in a school, 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press)

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

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 1:07pm

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: Sep 25, 2012, 11:23pm

(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: Sep 20, 2012, 9:43pm

Ongoing Series
An idea Heather (souloftherose) borrowed from Liz (lyzard), which has been catching on in these parts. Ongoing series that I am actively reading; this doesn't include series I have in my TBR but haven't started reading yet.

American Gods - Next up: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2/2)
Anton Rider - Next up: A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull (2/3)
Binky Adventure - Next up: Binky Under Pressure by Ashley Spires (3/3)
Border Trilogy - Next up: The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (2/3)
Cannery Row - Next up: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (2/2)
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books - Next up: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2/3)
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache - Next up: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2/8)
La Comédie Humaine - Next up: The Country Doctor by Honoré de Balzac (65/88 - read out of order)
Commissario Brunetti - Next up: Acqua Alta by Donna Leon (5/21 - read out of order)
Commissario Montalbano - Next up: Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri (5/18)
De Luca Trilogy - Next up: The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli (2/3)
The Deptford Trilogy - Next up: World of Wonders by Robertson Davies (3/3)
Dr. Siri Paiboun - Next up: Anarchy for Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (4/8)
Easy Rawlins Mystery - Next up: A Red Death by Walter Mosley (2/10)
Empire Trilogy - Next up: The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (2/3)
Ender’s Game - Next up: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (2/4)
The Harlem Cycle - Next up: All Shot Up by Chester Himes (4/8)
Hercule Poirot - Next up: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1/39 - read out of order)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dramatization - Next up: Secondary Phase (BBC Radio Collection) by Douglas Adams (2/5)
The House of Earth Trilogy - Next up: Sons by Pearl S. Buck (2/3)
The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh - Next up: Awaiting publication (3/3)
Jack Reacher - Next up: Without Fail by Lee Child (6/17)
Jackson Brodie - Next up: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
John Russell - Next up: Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/5)
Joseph O'Loughlin - Next up: Shatter by Michael Robotham (3/5)
Kenzie and Gennaro - Next up: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/5 - read out of order)
Lord Peter Wimsey - Next up: Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers (2/15)
Maisie Dobbs - Next up: Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (3/10)
Miss Marple - Next up: A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (4/15 - read out of order)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Next up: The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith (4/13)
The Obelisk Trilogy - Next up: Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
Oxford Time Travel series - Next up: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (2/4)
Parker - Next up: The Mourner by Richard Stark (4/24)
Philip Marlowe - Next up: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1/9 - read out of order)
Phryne Fisher Mysteries - Next up: Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood (3/19)
Roderick Alleyn - Next up: Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh (8/32 - read out of order)
Les Rougon-Macquart - Next up: Nana (reread) by Émile Zola (9/20)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Next up: The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Storm of Swords Part 1: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin (3.1/7)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black (3/8)
Tales of the Otori - Next up: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn (3/4+prequel)
Three Men in a Boat - Next up: Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome (2/2)
Timothy Wilde (Book 1: The Gods of Gotham) by Lyndsay Faye - Next up: Awaiting publication (2/2)
Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary Mantel - Next up: The Mirror and the Light (awaiting publication) (3/3)

First in Series on my TBR

Alexandria Quartet: Justine by Lawrence Durrell
The American Trilogy: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Aristide Ravel Mysteries (suggested reading order): The Cavalier of the Apocalypse by Susanne Alleyn
Series: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
The Australian Trilogy: The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
Alexandria Quartet: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy: The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf
The Borrible Trilogy: The Borribles by Michael De Larrabeiti
Bruce Mason: The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas
Claudius: I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Complete Novels and Stories: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I by Arthur Conan Doyle
Corduroy Mansions: Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith
Corfu Trilogy: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
A Dance to the Music of Time: A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring by Anthony Powell
Danzig Trilogy: The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Delirium: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström: The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg
Flavia de Luce Mysteries: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
✔❉ The Giver Quartet: The Giver by Lois Lowry
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Henrietta's War: Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennys
The Hummingbird's Daughter: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
Joona Linna: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
Kurt Wallander: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory by William Manchester
Latin American Trilogy: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis de Bernières
Legend the Series: Legend by Marie Lu
Leonid McGill: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley
Leviathan: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Lonesome Dove: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Mapp and Lucia: Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson
Matthew Shardlake: Dissolution by C. J. Sansom
Micah Dalton: The Echelon Vendetta by David Stone
Michael Forsythe: Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty
Mistress of the Art of Death: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin Lawrence Durrell
Outlander: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Calder Art Mysteries: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
The Power Of One: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Quirke: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
Revelation Space: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Shanghai Girls: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Sprawl: Neuromancer by William Gibson
Tom Ripley: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Wolves Chronicles: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
Wyoming Stories: Close Range by Annie Proulx

✔ = in my TBR
❉ = library book
♫ = audiobook

Edited: Sep 8, 2012, 2:25pm

Books Read in 2012 (books with touchstones are rated 4.5 stars and up):

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)

92. ♫ Any Human Heart by William Boyd ★★★★½ (review)
93. ♫ Being There by Jerzy Kosinski ★★★★★ (review)
94. A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman ★★★★ (review)
95. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor ★★★★½ (review)
96. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís ★★★¾ (review)
97. The Coroner’s Lunch by Collin Cotterill ★★★★ (review)
98. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ★★★★⅓ (tutored read thread and review)
99. ♫ Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens ★★★¾ (Group Read and review)
100. Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill ★★★★ (review)
101. In Between: Guy Bourdin by Shelly Verthime ★★★★½ (review)
102. ♫ I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith ★★★★ (review)

Unfinished: ♫ Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

103. ♫ Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac ★★★★¾ (review)
104. ♫ The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce ★★¾ (review)
105. East of Eden by John Steinbeck ★★★¾ (review)
106. ♫ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ★★★⅞ (review)
107. It's Lonely in the Modern World: The Essential Guide to Form, Function, and Ennui by Molly Jane Quinn ★★★¾ (review)
108. Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford ★★★★½ (review)
109. ♫ The Warden by Anthony Trollope ★★★⅓ (tutored read thread, and my review)
110. ♫ Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories ★★★¾ (review)
111. Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill ★★★¾ (review)
112. ♫ Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley ★★★★½ (review)
113. ♫ The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley ★★★⅞ (review)
114. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck ★★★⅓ (review)
115. ♫ Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks ★★★⅓ (review)
116. A Wreath of Roses by Elizabeth Taylor ★★★★⅓ (review)
117. ♫ The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton ★★★★⅓ (review)
118. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud ★★★★ (review)
119. ♫ The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ★★★★¼ (review)

Unfinished: ♫ Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 1:24pm

Books Read from My Shelves in 2012
(Acquired before 01/01/12)

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)
23. ♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri (entry date: 2011-11-01)

23.5 Wolf Hall (reading)

24. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (entry date: 2010-09-30)

25. ♫ Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac (entry date: 2011-06-19)
26. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (entry date: 2011-01-09)
27. ♫ Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley (entry date: 2011-11-15)
28. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (entry date: 2010-09-21, but have had it much longer)
29. ♫ Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (entry date: 2011-11-15)
30. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (entry date: 2011-08-17)

Sep 1, 2012, 1:01pm

I'm first? LOVE the pictures of your sweet Coco! Happy new thread 13! Congrats!

Sep 1, 2012, 1:06pm

Hi Mamie, first indeed, welcome! I took those photos a couple of days ago. I just love my little bunny-bear!

Sep 1, 2012, 1:06pm

OMG - what an absolute cutie!!!!!
oh, you too, Ilana ;-)


Sep 1, 2012, 1:09pm

Thanks Claudia! No worries though, I'm used to Coco taking the limelight. :-)

#2 indeed. xx

Sep 1, 2012, 1:23pm

Dear Ilana for once I am hopelessly behind but jumping at the chance to join your new thread at an early juncture. Have a lovely weekend. x

Sep 1, 2012, 1:27pm

Hi Paul, that's just what new beginnings are for, right? And speaking of being hopelessly behind, I have no less than 11 reviews from August reading that I have to still crank out asap! Eek!

Sep 1, 2012, 1:29pm

"Bunny-bear" is the perfect description for your sweet Coco, Ilana. I'm glad to see Dandelion Wine on your September list. There's still enough summer left to prove the background ambience!

I just put in an ILL request for In Dubious Battle, another new-to-me Steinbeck. The Steinbeckathon is one of my favorite things on LT this year. Thanks for your part in it!

Sep 1, 2012, 2:07pm

Hi Donna, sometimes I wonder if my dog knows what his "official" name is, because he seems to respond more to "bunny-bear" these days than to "Coco". Might have something to do with my tone of voice when I use the one or the other...

Thanks for reminding me I'd meant to reserve In Dubious Battle through the ILL too (they're almost all ILL's since my branch is so tiny). I just took care of that now. I'm glad you've getting a lot out of the Steinbeckathon Donna, we're all here to share the wealth, right?

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 2:19pm

I'd love to stick around and plan my reads for this month, fit them into various TIOLI challenges (if at all possible), write reviews, visit a few more threads, all of which would certainly keep me busy for the rest of the day... but I'm off for a cup of coffee with a neighbour, at my favourite hangout, Lili & Oli, where we can bring our dogs. She has two rescued greyhounds, which is how I met her.

Last night I spent two exciting hours at the National Library checking out their audiobook selection. Came home with 10 books, which is their limit, otherwise there would have been lots more! Good stuff too. I'll list it later when I'm back at the computer.

eta: no water today. Some repairs going on in the neighbourhood. It came back briefly, very brown and sandy, and now it's out again. Amazing how much we take having flowing, clean water at our disposal at all times for granted, isn't it? None of this business of having to walk miles and miles for it thank heavens, so I don't dare complain too much, but it's still a major inconvenience!

Sep 1, 2012, 5:53pm

Ilana- Congrats on #13! Hooray! I'm also glad you are loving the Book Thief. It's such a literary treasure.

Sep 1, 2012, 6:00pm

Coco is too cute to be real, but the sweetness and mischief in those eyes convince me of the life within!
I'm sorry about your water. That's truly major.
Happy New Thread!!

Sep 1, 2012, 6:42pm

#18 Hi Mark, I really like The Book Thief and thought I'd complete it today, but haven't found listening time so far. I think this may not have been the right time for me to read it, or maybe the audio version was a bad choice after all. The narrator does an awesome job, but I'm constantly drifting away and getting lost in my own thoughts and having to rewind and listen to the same sections up to 4-5 times in some cases, which definitely isn't the best way to appreciate a story! I've got the paper version on my shelves and will definitely give it another chance so I can take it in at my own pace next time.

#19 Hi Peggy! Sometimes I think Coco is too cute to be real also, but he seems real enough when I nuzzle up to him, and especially when he leaves me little "gifts" now and then on the kitchen floor... or helps himself to a snack from the cat litter. Ahem.

Sep 1, 2012, 8:25pm

Here are the books I brought back from the National library yesterday (9 out of 10 are audiobooks):

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Blindness by José Saramago - have this one in paper format, but thought audio might make it more bearable...
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - also have it on paper format, but might get to it quicker? as it's also a "picked for me" read.
Close Range by Annie Proulx - listening to Brokeback Mountain narrated by Campbell Scott was such a transcending experience that I want to do it again.
The Professor and the Madman - another one I have on paper too. There seems to be a trend here...
Candide ou L'optimiste by Voltaire - yep, already had this one too!
Les Essentiels de Maigret by Georges Simenon - Physical book; an omnibus edition published last year featuring the "Inspector Maigret Essentials"
César Birotteau by Honoré de Balzac - absolutely love this classic author!
Le Curé de Tours by Honoré de Balzac - see above
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls - this one's been on my wishlist since it came out

Brought home from Municipal library today:

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A Love Affair by Émile Zola

Sep 1, 2012, 8:55pm

I still shudder when I think of Blindness!
eeeeeeewwwwwww - nasty
but don't let me influence you at all! :P~~~~

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 9:01pm

Claudia, Oh I know, I can't say I look forward to it. There's a whole backstory to this novel, and I just want to read it and get it over with. Not exactly the best attitude I know, but there you have it. I do have a lot of respect for Saramago, and I'm sure I'll get something out of it one way or another.

Sep 1, 2012, 9:04pm

Ilana - it must be wonderful to have such library resources close to hand - it would save me a fortune no doubt.

Edited: Sep 3, 2012, 2:46pm

109. ♫ The Warden by Anthony Trollope ★★★⅓
(Tutored read, also read for August TIOLI #4: Title either begins or end with the same letter as the one above, 12/12 #2: Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie - 18th & 19th Century Classics)

A clergyman, Mr. Harding, is accused of abusing of his privilege of receiving a high income for very little work, and that church funds are being misappropriated; both accusations made by a young reformer who also happens to be in love with the clergyman's daughter, and influences those who are directly under the clergyman's protection and benefiting from his generosity. Mr. Harding is well-loved by all, and the combination of savage media outcry and his unimpeachable honesty pushes him to take actions which are against his best interests. Can't say I absolutely loved this novel, but in the context of the tutoring thread in which Liz and Genny both provided lots of useful information about the clergy and moral attitudes of the time and so on, certainly helped this modern reader appreciate the story a lot more than I would have without my mentors.

Sep 1, 2012, 9:16pm

Paul: I only joined up with the library about a year ago, and though I still purchase a fair amount of books (as testified by my Visa bills!), it certainly has helped me minimize the urge to buy. Now the first thing I do when I put a book on the wishlist is to check whether it's available at any of the two library systems and indicate it in my tags to prevent me from buying the title in case I've forgotten I can borrow it for free.

Sep 1, 2012, 9:22pm

What an absolute cutie ...... yes am talking about that pic of coco

Sep 1, 2012, 9:23pm

I will admit, Saramago is a powerful writer and the story was a real grabber - which are the only reasons I gave it 3.5 stars. I just wish I had never read it.

but don't let me influence you at all! :P~~~~

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 10:04pm

110. ♫ Muriel Spark: The Complete Short Stories ★★★¾
(Read for August TIOLI #16: a cover that is boring, uninteresting, uninspiring, or mostly brown, 12/12 Category #6: Going Places)

I'm not sure how one goes about reviewing a collection of short stories, especially one as comprehensive as this one, with over 40 stories which have no common theme or motif. What this book demonstrated most clearly to this recently minted Muriel Spark fan was just how creative and imaginative this writer was. Her novels are certainly brimming with unusual characters and circumstances, but in the short story format she also allowed herself to play around with different genres, throwing in plenty of fantastical and paranormal elements. I can't say those were my favourite kind of stories, as I tended to favour those stories which had more in common with the Muriel Spark I adopted after reading Memento Mori and Loitering with Intent, to name just those two. Quite a few of the stories took place in the African continent, and I supposed the author must have lived there at some point. A quick Google search and an article entitled The First Half of Muriel Spark by Roger Kimball yielded the following information:

"Muriel Spark’s sojourn in Africa was the opposite of pleasant: a failed marriage, poverty, little prospect of leaving before the end of the war, few friends with literary interests. (Doris Lessing was living someplace in Rhodesia at the time, but the two writers did not meet until many years later.) Nevertheless, she continued to write, poems mostly, and collected material for some of her best-known stories. Africa, as much as Edinburgh, formed her as a writer. It also made her an adult. It was in Africa, she says, that she “learned to cope with life.” “It was there that I learned to keep in mind … the essentials of our human destiny, our responsibilities, and to put in a peripheral place the personal sorrows, frights and horrors that came my way.”

Horrors there were aplenty. The racial situation was barbaric. The Afrikaner women with whom Muriel mingled were full of smug stories about how uppity blacks had been “fixed.” There was, for example, the farmer who discovered a young black boy standing outside the window of his wife’s room, peeping in at her while she breast-fed her baby. For this violation, the farmer shot the boy dead. The woman who told Spark this story only lamented that the farmer had been sent to prison for three years for killing the boy. “I was unable to speak,” Spark reports. “I simply stared at the woman.”

Muriel Spark obviously used material from real life as creative fodder; the above true account was fictionalized by her in the first story in this collection, The Curtain Blown by the Breeze, one of my favourites because it demonstrates all the strengths which make me appreciate this writer so much: a sense of story with characters that are complex and interesting, an unflinching look at people at their worst, distinguished by a healthy dose of mordant humour.

In all, I'd say I probably fully enjoyed less than a third of the stories, but even those I didn't particularly take to overall had plenty of interesting elements that made them worthwhile. A must for Muriel Spark lovers and those interested in exploring a writer with plenty of range.

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 10:08pm

Oh oh... Professor and the Madman was a book I misplaced when I was reading it halfway. I was so upset by the loss. It was my own fault. I'd been reading it on the train and fell asleep. somehow it must have fallen off my lap and when the announcement was made that the train was pulling into my station, I woke up, groggily got my stuff and walked off the train. It wasn't until I got home that I realized my book wasn't among my belongings! arrggghhh....

btw, I LOVE the Coco pictures! She's adorable!

Sep 1, 2012, 10:10pm

#27 Alex, I figured you weren't referring to any of my lists!

#28 but don't let me influence you at all! :P~~~~

Funny that, you always use that sentence whenever Blindness is mentioned. To tell you the truth, I decided I didn't like this book when a former friend insisted I couldn't know anything about life unless I'd read this book. I thought that was the most obnoxious thing to say. As it turns out, he proved to be a complete ass, so obviously he didn't walk away with much of an understanding about life either. I've put that relationship behind me, but the book has always been a sore point, like a pimple I just want to pop so I can stop thinking about it. And then, when I had LTers pick books at random for me, that's the one Linda picked, so now I can't just not read it, see? I just hope it doesn't stick with me after I'm done with it. Or else, it might confirm all the conclusions I came to about that guy, who turned out to be the biggest user and manipulator ever.

Sep 1, 2012, 10:12pm

#30 Oh Caro, what a sad story about the misplaced book! I've had it on my tbr forever and always knew I'd love it, am still sure I will in fact, so I can't wait to finally get to it. I'd offer to send it to you, but if I do end up loving it that much, I probably won't want to part it with, so you should probably start wishing for me not to like it all that well. ;-)

Edited: Sep 1, 2012, 10:14pm

Two measly reviews and 9 more to go. I was going to write just two lines about the Muriel Spark book. TWO lines. Of course, I got carried away again and used up precious review-writing time. Time I could have used to have dinner and do some artwork, which is what I'm off to do after a quick run outside for Coco's benefit.

Sep 2, 2012, 12:22am

31 - I would not do such a thing!

Sep 2, 2012, 4:25am

>21 Smiler69: I just bought a copy of The Glass Castle this weekend as well. I read it earlier in the year and loved it, so grabbed it to give as a gift.

>32 Smiler69: I have a book due back at the library in two days that I have misplaced. Grr, I wasn't even enjoying it (Word Book a set of translated Japanese short stories). Now I'll probably have to pay for it, and then Ill find it and have to keep it!

Are you sure Coco is really a dog, and not the cutest fluffy teddy bear? Lenny would love to pat Coco, and give her a snuffly cuddle!

Sep 2, 2012, 7:19am

Love the pictures of Coco, especially the first one.

I listened to The Professor and the Madman and remember liking it. Let's see, what did I say...

"Fascinating look at how the Oxford Dictionary got started. I was wondering how they kept track of everything before computers. Also, you felt for Minor even though he was in an asylum for murdering someone. Read by the author who did a good job."

Sep 2, 2012, 10:24am

Ooooo the coco photos. Darling.

I listened to the OED book too -- unbelievable how it even ever got finished. It's my favorite of all the Simon Winchester tomes. I love the cabinet system they devise...... so simple yet effective.

Sep 2, 2012, 2:35pm

#35 Hi Megan! I'm incredibly messy, so it's a wonder I haven't managed to misplace one of my library books yet (*knocks on wood*). I did once return a book in the outdoor chute and it was never registered as being returned. I remembered returning it very clearly, because it was a copy of a book with pages so brown I couldn't bring myself to touch it. I held my ground and finally wasn't penalized for their mistake, but since then I always make sure to return all my books in person.

I've been telling people now that Coco is a cross between a toy poodle and a sheep. This woman the other day actually believed me! When she said "No, really?!", I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled and walked away with my little sheep prince.

#36 Morphy, good point about how they managed to keep track without computers. Mind you, humans have managed to keep track of everything without computers for millennia until barely thirty years ago when personal computers became widely available. A bit scary how we've all become so dependent on them, wouldn't you agree? I've seen quite a few people comment that Winchester is a good narrator on his audio recordings.

#37 Lucy, I haven't read anything by Winchester yet, but I also have Krakatoa and Atlantic on my wishlist. Oh, and looking at your SW collection, I see I forgot to transfer The Man Who Loved China onto my LT wishlist as it's been on my Audible WL almost since I first joined up with them last year.

Sep 2, 2012, 2:59pm

Finished The Book Thief last night. I almost shed a tear or two in the end, even though we know from long before we get to the end what will happen. Great story, but once again, I'll have to read it again at my own pace with the print version to really take it all in and appreciate all the wonderful subtleties. Not sure what audiobook I'll follow up with. Not that there's lack of choice or anything. At the moment I'm in the process of copying the 12 CDs of Bring Up the Bodies I got at the library onto my hard drive. I really wasn't sure it would work on audio, so before I started copying I listened to a good 20 minutes to get a feel for it, and it fact it seems to work quite well. Simon Vance can do no wrong it seems. Even the "He, Cromwell" came off sounding very natural.

I've invited my friend Kristyna over for a cup of coffee this evening, even though my place is far beyond anything like presentable. She's a woman I met when I took my very first painting class at the Visual Arts Centre, and we've often been in the same watercolour classes. After seeing the documentary last month about German artist Gerhard Richter together, we decided we'd like to make this a monthly kind of outing. Tonight we're going to see Never Sorry a documentary about the Chinese artist and provocateur Ai Weiwei. I'd never heard about him before, but after watching the trailer, I decided it was indeed a must see:

Right now I feel like I need to do a million things, but one of my priorities is getting caught up with my reviews, so I'll see how many I can punch out in the next 30 minutes. Every little bit counts!

Sep 2, 2012, 3:17pm

111. Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill ★★★★
(Read for August TIOLI #16: a cover that is boring, uninteresting, uninspiring, or mostly brown)

In the third instalment of what has become an LT favourite series, national Laos coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun and his sidekick nurse Dtui spend time in Northern Laos trying to solve their latest mystery which comes to light when the a human arm is found sticking out of a slab of concrete. Meanwhile, back in Ventiane, Geung, who's meant to hold the fort at the morgue while his boss is away, finds himself in serious difficulties and must rely on his own befuddled wits to find his way again, though a few well meaning souls are there to help him too. The disco in the title may or may not be imaginary, but to Dr. Siri it's real enough and makes for some pretty wild partying for our septuagenarian hero. This mix of mystery and supernatural story elements in an exotic locale with, best of all, an always fascinating set of characters has become one of my personal favourites too.

Sep 2, 2012, 3:40pm

112. ♫ Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley ★★★★½
(Read for TIOLI #1 new-to-you author chosen from a list of author names generated at “Literature-Map" - Muriel Spark, 12/12 Category #1 The First Half 1901-1951)

Seventeen year-old Juno Marlowe is heartbroken after having seen off her two best friends, bound for their army service during WWII at a London train station. Adding to her sorrow and confusion is the recent memory of a threesome which she hadn't planned for and didn't necessarily consent to, but before she has a chance to sort out her thoughts and feelings, she's grabbed by a kindly stranger who pulls her into his house for protection as an air raid is underway. The man is obviously in poor health, and even as he has innocently asked Juno to lie by his side, soon passes away, but not before having first written a letter to his father about the young girl. All these events are covered very quickly at the start of the story however, and the rest unfolds when Juno has made her way to the father's farm out in the English countryside. It's a wartime tale about the sorrow of loss and the hope new beginnings bring with wonderfully colourful characters, and best of all, Wesley's gorgeous prose. I wish I could do this book justice, because it is one that definitely deserves to be read an enjoyed by many. Wesley herself is an interesting character, as it seems she only took up writing in her 70th year after the passing of her husband, and went on to become a bestseling British author in the last 20 years of her life. Definitely an author I'll be reading a lot more from. This audio version was narrated by Samuel West, who could possibly be the love of my life, or at the very least, my very favourite narrator.

Sep 2, 2012, 3:41pm

Love the Coco photos, Ilana! Looks like your having lots of good reading lately - I have to get back and read another Dr. Siri soon!

Sep 2, 2012, 3:59pm

113. ♫ The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley ★★★⅞
(Read for August TIOLI #6: a summer scene on the cover)

As Helena Cuthbertson, known as Aunt Helena, and her niece by marriage Polly make their way separately to the funerals of Max Erstweiler, a German Jewish musician who had made England his home since WWII, they both reminisce about their family stories. These involve the pre-war games of a gaggle of cousins, including gorgeous Calypso Cuthbertson, who wanted only to be rich and didn't know how to love, Oliver Anstey who wanted only to have Calypso to himself but alas, was not rich, Sophy, who as the youngest, and living with aunt Helena and uncle Richard, only knew good times when her cousins were about, Walter Cuthbertson, Polly's brother who also loved Calypso, but knew better than to declare himself, and a pair of twins, the local vicar's sons. And of course, uncle Richard, who defines himself by his lost leg, sacrificed during the Great War and Aunt Helena, who only discovered love when she began her extra-marital affair with the ever unfaithful Max Erstweiler, while Richard naturally took up with Max's wife, Monika. The Camomile Lawn of the story is one of the most charming features of Aunt Helena's house in Cornwall where all the cousins share their favourite fond memories. I truly loved this story and once again enjoyed Wesley's wonderful prose, but perhaps having such a large cast of characters made it more difficult for me to keep track of the goings on and form an attachment to any one of the characters. All the same, a terrific family saga mostly set in the England of the Second World War.

Sep 2, 2012, 4:03pm

#42 Hi Joe! Not sure when I'll pick up Anarchy for Old Dogs since I have a lot of reading I want to get done first, but it'll be calling my name from the corner of the coffee table for sure this month!

Sep 2, 2012, 10:32pm

>38 Smiler69: Murphy's Law prevails, and I found my copy of Word Book. Just when I admitted publicly to losing it. Phew, I wont be forced to own it now.
A dog crossed with a sheep! How funny that someone thought it was true...although...these days...a lot is possible!

Sep 3, 2012, 3:12am

Hi Ilana, I have been absent for a couple of days again over the weekend and I see I missed a lot. Happy new thread, and thanks for posting these cute Coco pics!

Great reviews again! I fully agree with you on The Warden and I am glad you like The Book Thief. It hit some bad nerve with me, but I know it is a great favorite with most readers and although I wasn't happy with it I recommended it to some RL friends who all loved it.

Sep 3, 2012, 9:49am

I'm sure I've said -- there's a fine biography of Mary Wesley who had an interesting life in her own right, not unsurprisingly.

Sep 3, 2012, 2:29pm

Glad to see you enjoyed the Mary Wesleys ... I'm bummed that I've read all the books she wrote. But they're all on my re-read shelf and a favorite re-read of mine. You should definitely pick up her other books.

Sep 3, 2012, 3:12pm

#45 I'm glad Murphy's law worked in your favour this time Megan, especially since it was a book you didn't like much! Of course, you're right that all kinds of inter-species mixes never considered possible before are now not so unlikely anymore. Hadn't thought of that. I still wouldn't know how to react if ever someone believed me again! :-)

#46 Hi Nathalie, good to see you! When you mentioned The Warden, I thought I'd go see what I'd written to see if I agree with myself too (!) and was horrified to see the following typo: "accusations made by a young reformer who also happens to be in love with the clergyman, and influences those who..." I doubt such a story would have ever seen print in the 19th century! I've fixed it now to specify it was the clergyman's daughter her was in love with, of course! I tried to find your review of The Book Thief to see what you thought of it, but see you didn't post your review on the main page. Any chance I can read it somewhere? I'm very curious about your opinion and wonder if you've maybe already voiced some of the reservations I had about it that I can't quite put my finger on.

#47 Lucy, I don't think you've mentioned Mary Wesley's biography, but I saw Wild Mary on Amazon when I looked up her books. I was sure I'd seen it on the library catalogue as well, but just searched for it now and it doesn't seem to be there after all. Boo!

#48 Caro, I definitely intend to read everything by Mary Wesley I can get my hands on. They have a number of her books at the library, but when it comes to it I'll also purchase those that aren't eventually I'm sure. I can very well see how her books would stand up very well to rereading, and definitely intend to re-read Part of the Furniture, though will probably get round to The Camomile Lawn again eventually too.

Sep 3, 2012, 3:57pm

Well, a new Audible sale necessarily means more audiobook acquisitions for me! This time they're having a 2 for 1 sale on selected classics, i.e. 2 books for 1 credit. So far I've gotten:

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty - a new to me author
I, Claudius by Robert Graves - had been on my WL for a long time
Villette by Charlotte Brontë - ditto
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - ditto

I also have my eye on The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, so might end up getting it along with another selection, though I'm as yet undecided.

Several titles also obtained for free from the national library's OverDrive collection:

Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis
Fahrenheit 451 - hadn't liked it much the 1st time, so will try again
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - the only Kafka I've read and want to read it again
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling - had it in print and never got around to it

Major pet peeve with that collection is they have three times as many books in WMA format as MP3s. Trouble is I can't play the WMA's because I'm on a Mac platform. It's really maddening because they have so many interesting titles! Unless someone knows a way around this? I googled it several time and didn't find a workable solution.

Sep 3, 2012, 4:08pm

Not sure if I know a way round that WMA problem. I ended up using an audible credit for Keith Richard's Life so my son could have it on his iPhone even though I was able to listen to a free copy from my library.
I recently downloaded Format Factory to convert MP4s to MP3s, maybe check that out as they convert WMAs and it's free and easy to use.

Sep 3, 2012, 6:57pm

Oh man, I lost my entire post - what happened?

Hello, Ilana, some very nice reviews, and I am completely distraught that my post just evaporated - where do they go, anyway?

Sounds like you have some great finds at both the library and Audible. Loved your review of the Dr. Siri, and sounds like I need to put Mary Wesley on my reading radar. I haven't read anything by her, but Part of the Furniture is calling to me.

I would like to get to Farenheit 451 this year - I have really loved all the Bradbury's I have read so far and would like to read more by him.

Sep 3, 2012, 9:55pm

I'm really upset at myself today. Somehow I managed to sleep in till 2 p.m. TWO P.M.!!! Of course, that hasn't left me time for anything. What I most want to do right now is spend time on LT. But I also managed to NOT do any artwork yesterday, and I can't slack off two days in a row. So I'm allowing myself 10 minutes here, and then it's work time. That doesn't leave much time for visiting anyone, and never mind writing more reviews for now!

#51 Kerry, I went to download Format Factory, but it seems it only works on a PC platform, so no good for me. I came across iSkysoft iMedia Converter, which does have a Mac version, downloaded that, but it can't work either, because the files are downloaded as .ODM (OverDrive Media) and can only be opened with the OD Media Console, which refuses to recognize the WMA files on a Mac platform. Very frustrating, but I guess I'll just have to accept it and fervently hope that Apple do something to enable the downloading of WMA... Just a question—why did you purchase Life? Couldn't your son have borrowed it from the library too? Though from I hear, it's well worth it.

#52 It kills me when I lose a post, so I know just how you feel Mamie! Nice to see you all the same. :-)

I think you'd be doing yourself a favour by reading Part of the Furniture. Better yet, get the audio version narrated by Samuel West (sooooo Sexy!) and then run out and buy the book so you can peruse it at your leisure eventually too, which is what I'll more than likely do, though I can also borrow it from the library any time I feel like it.

I'll definitely read Dandelion Wine before getting to Fahrenheit 451, since i haven't read the former yet and everyone here seems to have fallen in love with that book. Bradbury himself refers to it as one of his most successful books in the audio intro to The Martian Chronicles, so it's definitely a "can't miss"!

Edited: Sep 4, 2012, 12:31pm

Finished A Room of One's Own, which I'd first read in college for a women's studies class. Didn't like it much then, but got a lot more out of it this time. Read by Juliet Lewis Stevenson, how could I not like it? It was followed up by several short stories, the last being The New Dress, which takes place at a party thrown by Mrs Dalloway, so I'm tempted to follow this up with the novel by that name, which I've tried to read a couple of time but gave up on within the first few pages. Haven't found the time to match my reading to any TIOLI challenges, which is quite frustrating, because I do like to choose my reading accordingly! May that be my biggest problem this month, amen! :-)

Sep 4, 2012, 12:14am

Ilana, I must go to bed but I had to stop by your thread before I head that direction. You've been doing some great reading! I have The Snack Thief sitting on my bedside table and I'm expecting Disco for the Departed from the library this week. I read Mrs. Dalloway last year and it was a bit of a push for me, but I was glad I read it. It's been years since I read A Room of One's Own, but I remember it resonating with my longing for privacy and autonomy at that point in my life.

The two pictures of sweet little Coco at the top of your thread are wonderful -- they make me want to just take him and hug him and coo at him...... he looks so darn cuddly!

I don't know Mary Wesley's work. Hmmmm....... and I know you're a big fan of Muriel Spark -- is there one you would recommend as a good starting place?

I'll be interested to hear how you like Eudora Welty.

Edited: Sep 4, 2012, 1:22am

#46: My review for The Book Thief is post #64 in my 2nd 2010 thread: I still rated it with 3.5 stars then.
The book felt like YA for me, not necessarily in a good way, because too much (imo) was simplified. As a novel/ story it is fine, as a Holocaust and WWII reference it is not that great, and even kids should first read some real facts (and there are some good childrens and YA books) before they start believing the generalizations Zusak is using.
(Then I learned that it had in fact been intended as YA and the publishers had decided to publish it as 'adult book'.)

Re. The Warden - now I am embarrassed as well, I just overread the typo. :-)
While I didn't have mentors for my own read I agree on the 'not abolutely loved but appreciated it' part. And I found it very interesting that the power of the media was already such a strong element in British life at Trollpe's time.

Edit: forgot to add that after Mrs Dalloway (my first Woolf and not exactly a favorite) I read A Room of One's Own and absolutely loved it. As Ellen says, it is a book that has to resonate with you at the time you read it. I am considering a reread of Mrs Dalloway this year as well to see if I like it better now.

Sep 4, 2012, 10:51am

Morning Ilana! Just stopping in to make sure I stay caught up. I have The Snack Thief on my radar for this month. I am hoping to read more than four books, which was my grand total for August...sigh...I have not read Mrs. Dalloway or A Room of One's Own, so I have nothing to contribute on that front. I hope today is a good one for you and that it is kind to you.

Nathalie - In the US, The Book Thief was marketed as a YA book, so that's interesting that in other countries it was not.

Sep 4, 2012, 10:59am

oh those pictures of Coco are just adorable!!

Sep 4, 2012, 11:26am

Hope you had good luck with the painting yesterday, Ilana. Glad you could stop in to LT for a bit to catch us up.

Sep 4, 2012, 11:48am

Shame on you, Ilana for those super cute Coco pictures! Though I tried to hold them in, I made a whole bunch of cooing sounds, here in my work cubicle, that I was afraid I was going to have to explain to the co-workers. Luckily no one was listening.

He's just the cutest thing ever!

Really, you could write stories starring Coco and call them The Sheep Prince. All of Coco's adventures, illustrated by his best friend in the world - you!

I would buy them.

Sep 4, 2012, 1:04pm

#55 Ellen, glad you dropped by! Believe me, Mrs Dalloway is a stretch for me too. But after listening to ARoOO and the short stories that followed it, and appreciating the lot (though can't say I actually connected with any of it), I figured I was probably in the best mindset I'd ever be to tackle that book, especially set as I was to do some painting. Until now it felt like it would just drag me down too much, but I think I can appreciate a little bit more what she was trying to do with it this time around. I think being the operative words. No matter what, she is not an easy author to tackle!

For Muriel Spark, I would definitely recommend you start with one of the two I mentioned, either Loitering with Intent or Memento Mori. Out of the half dozen books I've read by her so far (not counting the short stories), those remain my two favourites, which I'd reread in a pinch.

#56 Nathalie, thanks for sharing your review with me. I thought your comments were interesting, but I can't help but wonder if your reaction would have been somewhat different if you'd known it was in fact marketed as a YA book, at least on this end of the pond? The audiobook read by Allan Corduner made it quite clear it was a YA book, and though I thought he did a great job, his reading did grate on me sometimes too. I read a fair amount of YA, but it always gets on my nerves when I feel the author taking a tone which is meant for "the young ones". It used to get on my nerves when I was a kid, and it certainly doesn't do much for me now! I took wondered why Death would have especially taken notice of Liesl and her story, what with millions of other individuals to pick from, but then, approaching it as a YA book, I was much less critical in that sense.

I agree that the whole aspect of the influence of the media in The Warden was one of the most interesting aspects of the novel to me too. There's talk of doing a group read (or is it a tutored read? not sure now) of Barchester Towers in December I believe. Have to check the tutored thread of The Warden to be sure. Have you read BT yet? And if not, do you think you might join us if you can?

#57 Hi Mamie! Thanks for dropping by! I guess you had a very busy August, so don't be too hard on yourself for having read only 4 books! It's all about the enjoyment factor, not quantity, right? I must say that whenever I've read anything by Virginia Woolf (which hasn't been much at this point), I've done so more in a spirit of wanting to stimulate my intellectual faculties than for enjoyment because I find she is a very challenging author. I read the wikipedia article about Mrs Dalloway last night to give me a bit of background and am considering also looking up SparkNotes to get all I can out of it, because otherwise I'll likely miss the point entirely.

#58 Chelle, I can't tell you how lovely it is to wake up every morning and find that little munchkin by my side... I really do find him that much more irresistible for a few weeks after he's been at the groomer's!

#59 Joe, I ended up spending more time than I should have at the computer yesterday, so ended up rushing a little bit when I got to my painting and didn't mix the exact colour I was aiming for. All the same, I made a bit of progress and enjoyed the hour I spent on it, so it's all good.

#60 LOL Charlotte! :-)

Sorry for being so inconsiderate, but you should know better than visit us dog owners with super-cute pooches during work hours, because that is the risk you run! I like "The Sheep Prince". Lovely title. But since you've given me the title and the idea, I'd of course have to send you free copies—wouldn't be right to make you buy them! ;-)

Sep 4, 2012, 1:13pm

So today am seeing my OT (occupational therapist) and am a bit reticent because I had promised her to bring her my completed photo project, which I didn't get around to finishing after all, and also because she helps me set goals every time we get together, with one of the recurring ones being to get to sleep before 1:30 a.m. (the idea being to get me to go to sleep earlier over time), and I really struggle with that one. Also, I'd said I'd do yoga twice/week and I've only done it twice in the last fortnight (as the Brits would say). Finally, I skipped two days of artwork this week and last week too, but considering I went from none to 4-5 times/week in the last month, I'd say that's more than acceptable. Not like she ever gives me a hard time, but the whole point for me is to be answerable to someone, even if only hypothetically since I'm having such a hard time self-motivating.

Sep 4, 2012, 1:56pm

#61 - Oh, I would gladly buy them. But I would have to have them signed by you - and Mr. Coco, of course. I'll bet even his little pawprints are cute.

Sep 4, 2012, 4:07pm

Ilana - my son suggested VLC media player, but you've probably tried that. And yes, he could have downloaded it from the library on his account but there was always a queue for it and he wasn't that motivated to put in the effort. He doesn't read that much but as he's a musician I thought some of the earlier chapters might interest him.

Sep 4, 2012, 5:54pm

I just typed a bunch of stuff and lost it. I guess I wasn't meant to share it after all. I was explaining that my OT meeting was deferred for health reasons today, but it seems I'm meant to keep the details to myself. So be it.

Started listening to The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty and having listened to 2.5 stories so far, I can tell I'll love it. It'll take me a good while to get through because it's quite an extensive collection, but little by little here and there will be my approach, as I did with the Muriel Spark collection.

There's a version of Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion that just came out today. It's read by Diane Keaton and I was quite excited about it, but after trying out the sample, I don't think it's for me. I just don't like her reading style, but it'll work for others I'm sure. That and We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live have been on my radar for a very long time. I've just added them to my LT wishlist for now.

#63 This is SO making me smile. Firstly, I would need to find time to think about stories to tell. Might be a necessary first step, no? If you want, I can draw a little sketch of Coco for you while you wait for the books. Might take *quite* a while. ;-)

#64 Kerry, thanks for the mention of VLC, as I had in fact not heard of it or tried it yet. Just downloaded it now and will give it a try. I'm far from being a tech head, so always a bit (or a lot) lost when it comes to those things and mostly rely on suggestions like yours. Hadn't thought about library queues, but good point, I guess Life would be in high demand. I'll get to it myself eventually...

Sep 4, 2012, 7:07pm

114. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck ★★★⅓
(Read for Steinbeckathon, August TIOLI #14: title includes one or more of the colors from your country's flag, 12/12 #12: From My Treasure-Trove)

As I'm sure many have said before me, this little book is not an easy read, and in this coming of age story, our little boy Jody is in for some very tough life lessons. It's probably helpful to know from the outset that the four stories that make up this book are meant to explore different themes and are not to be read as four continuous chapters, which is how I approached the book and consequently was confused by the lack of continuity. Jody is a young boy living on a ranch around Salinas, California sometime at the beginning of the 20th century. He lives with his mother and father who are both strict with him—and in the case of his father also a stern disciplinarian—as well as Billy Buck, a ranch hand whom Joey looks up to. The red pony in question is the focus of the first story, The Gift, in which the young boy learns difficult lessons about life and death, and discovers his own capacity for killing. The themes of the Western settlers and the natives to the area are also explored. What I came away with was that Steinbeck felt he needed to establish himself as a realistic author in what was his third published work, and as such set out to break down any romantic notions a boy could have about living on a ranch, having horses, having a strong father figure, and the great adventure that was conquering the West. Rather a difficult read, especially for animal lovers like myself, but I think, an important one as it helps to see Steinbeck's ability to create a very real world with characters that breathe and have their own motivations, all the while exploring existential themes, all in a small packaging where very little, if anything at all, is wasted.

Sep 4, 2012, 7:15pm

I read The Red Pony a couple of years ago and it is definitely not Steinbeck's best IMHO, although I still have not read his entire ouvre.

I hope your next read is a better one for you, Ilana!

Sep 4, 2012, 7:24pm

Is fortnight a British term? I wouldn't have automatically assumed so, but then a lot of things about American/Canadian language surprise me in their differences!

Love the Coco. And I am with you on the struggling to bed before 1.30am. My natural sleep pattern has me sleeping from about 2-2.30am till 12-1pm - it's not the amount of sleep that's the problem, it's where it falls in the 24hr cycle! I spend half my life just going with it, and half trying to reset myself to a more 'normal' pattern.

Sep 4, 2012, 7:34pm

115. ♫ Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks ★★★⅓
(Read for August TIOLI #1: new-to-you author chosen from a list of author names generated at “Literature-Map" - William Boyd, 12/12 #4: Guardian 1000)

I was very much looking forward to reading this book set in a period which fascinates me, the early 20th century and WWI, and had big expectation considering it was the recipient of many awards and mentions and seemed to be highly appreciated by LT readers. Though there were many elements there to hold my attention, I never quite connected with the story or the characters. Stephen Wraysford finds himself on a business visit in Amiens, France in 1910, where he quickly falls in love with his host's wife, Isabelle Azaire. She is the much younger wife of a local textile baron with whom she has little in common, and in no time at all she and Stephen are exploring their passion and sexuality in very explicit erotic interludes which had me blushing and simultaneously worried I'd picked an erotica book by mistake. But the reality of war and trench warfare comes in stark contrast to this love affair. This part of the novel, which makes up a good part of the story is just as explicit in describing the battles and countless deaths and maimed bodies, and while the anti-war message is made amply clear, the disillusionment Stephen goes through failed to touch me, because the spectacle of blood and gore and flying body parts made me feel like an indecent voyeur and as such cut off from complex emotions. The added layer of story, with Stephen's granddaughter attempting to decipher some of the encrypted diaries he left behind felt awkward and unnecessary. If it was meant to provide a different perspective from which to view the events, it didn't quite work for me. Having said all that, it's a good story and I did appreciate much of the narrative, but it failed to impress and is not one that I'll be likely to revisit.

Sep 4, 2012, 7:44pm

#67 Hi Stasia, if anything, I'm glad I finally read The Red Pony because I'd had that little tome sitting on my shelves seemingly forever! Now I truly feel like a weight has been lifted, even though I've accumulated hundreds of more books in the few years I decided in earnest to read it. I've had plenty of satisfying reads so far this year, so really can't complain when something doesn't quite rub me the right way, as long as I find something interesting in it, which was definitely the case here.

#68 Lunacat, would you believe I only figured out what "fortnight" means in the last couple of years? For the longest time, like a dummy I never thought to look it up, and every time I read a British author (which is rather often), I was never sure what period of time they were referring to! Just looked it up again, and here is what wikipedia says:

"Fortnight is a unit of time equal to 14 days, or two weeks. The word derives from the Old English: fēowertyne niht, meaning "14 nights". Fortnight and fortnightly are commonly used words in Britain, Ireland and many Commonwealth countries such as Australia, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan, where many wages and salaries and most social security benefits are paid on a fortnightly basis. The word is rarely used in North America, except regionally in Canada and in insular traditional communities (e.g. Amish) in the United States. American and Canadian payroll systems may use the term biweekly in reference to pay periods every two weeks. Neither term should be confused with semimonthly (in one year there are 26 fortnightly or biweekly versus 24 semimonthly pay periods)."

I'm so glad that you've told me about your sleeping patterns. Like you, I sometimes decide to just go with the flow and not question my inner clock very much, but most of the time I'm struggling, and miserably failing to adjust myself to a more socially acceptable schedule. I've always been this way from childhood on, and worked in bars as a student to support myself, so these are habits which sometimes seem impossible to change. It certainly makes planning anything in the mornings near to impossible, though I've been good at having lights out around 1 a.m. on Tuesdays, as I need to be up by 8 a.m. the next day to get to my painting class on time!

Edited: Sep 4, 2012, 7:54pm

Ilana- Wow, lots to catch up on. We are at the same place in the Dr. Siri books, although I plan on getting to Anarchy for Old Dogs for S & S.
I picked up a copy of The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty earlier this summer. I read the 1st 2 stories and really liked it. I'll be watching for your thoughts. I read Slouching Towards Bethlehem and enjoyed her essays.

Sep 4, 2012, 7:54pm

#69: Nice review of Birdsong, Ilana. I have that one hanging around my house somewhere waiting for me to get to it. Now I just have to find where it is!

Sep 4, 2012, 8:02pm

Two very lovely reviews, Ilana! And I read Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings years ago, but I remember loving her writing style.

Like you and Jenny, my sleep patterns want to vary from the norm, too. I worked the night shift for more than five years, and I think that messes up your internal clock. I never have figured out how to reset it!

Sign me up for the signed copy featuring the delightful antics of Coco the Sheep Prince - I would gladly pay money for that!

Edited: Sep 4, 2012, 8:29pm

116. A Wreath of Roses by Elizabeth Taylor ★★★★⅓
(Read for August TIOLI #8 book published as a Virago Modern Classic, 12/12 #1: The First Half 1901-1951)

"An old woman, who had seemed to be a mound of rusty clothes, stirred and lifted her head. Her hands lay on her lap as if they were separate from her body, two little sleeping animals."


"The sun seemed to touch their bones, poured into them as if they were hollow like cups. Even the trees below in the valley looked dazed. Nothing moved, but the heat shimmering until the view was like a bad photograph."

Camilla, Frances and Liz have always spent summers together in a contented trio of perfect female friendship at the cottage owned by Frances, but things are different this summer, and Camilla feels more lonely and detached from the two other women than ever. Frances has always had her painting to sustain her, though she's also always gone out of her way to dispel any notion that she might be an eccentric artist and would rather be praised for her crab apple jelly than her painting. This year however, she is suffering more than ever from the effects of old age and her painting style has gone through a dramatic change, and not necessarily for the better. Liz, for her part, has found some kind of contentment in a marriage to a man she is not sure she loves, but in any case, her newborn baby occupies her completely and creates a distance between the two women, who've been used to sharing late night secrets and laughter together, to the annoyance of their old friend. Small wonder then, that Camilla should find herself irresistibly drawn to a shady but very handsome man she's met on the train to this fictional town of Abingford. We know from the beginning of the novel that something is bound to go terribly wrong, if the gruesome event Camilla and Richard have witnessed at the train station and which has acted as an icebreaker between them is to be taken as any kind of omen. Not very much happens, other than the normal activities one does on vacation; sitting in pubs, taking walks on the grassy hill-side, a picnic, a drive, picking wild flowers, another walk, in the driving rain this time. Yet so much happens in the interactions of Taylor's fascinating characters and the complexity of their own thoughts and feelings. There is that, and there is the gorgeous prose. The gorgeous prose which seems effortless, yet is so very evocative and for me, a wealth of imagery worthy of several paintigs. My third book by Elizabeth Taylor, and I look forward to many more.

Sep 4, 2012, 8:28pm

OOps! Messages while I was busily coming up with my last review for today! Lovely surprise! I MUST run out in the rain for Coco's sake right now. He's been very patient with me. And then, MUST spend time either painting or drawing, or both. Will be back to comment later.

Sep 4, 2012, 8:42pm

What a great review of Birdsong, Ilana. This is, unfortunately, a book I couldn't quite get into and I didn't finish it about three quarter ways through. It's still languishing somewhere in my TBR Tower and if I ever run out of anything to read (which is highly unlikely), I'll give it another shot. What I found a little off-putting were the gory war scenes .. yes, I know war is gory, bloody, muddy and horrible, but I felt like I was in a boiling cauldron of it. I also found the granddaughter reading Stephen's diaries rather jarring, to say the least. I liked the premise of the story, I just wish it could have drawn me in.

Sep 4, 2012, 8:42pm

#74: I have absolutely got to read more of Elizabeth Taylor's books. I have only read one to this point. Thanks for the reminder, Ilana!

Sep 4, 2012, 9:37pm

A Wreath of Roses added to my WL!

I think the sleep center in your brain was possibly programmed in another time zone. Don't worry - somewhere in the world, your sleeping makes sense ;-)
Hugs and more hugs!

Sep 5, 2012, 3:23am

Just realised I hadn't actually said anything on this thread:(

So some quick comments -

Wonderful reviews Ilana.

Coco is adorable as usual.

Hope everything goes well with your OT.

Take care of yourself.

Sep 5, 2012, 3:30am

Can you sleep if you put lights out at 1am for an 8am start? I find that unless I'm absolutely exhausted, even if I set myself up perfectly for sleep, I can't force the issue.

The best night's sleep I had recently was from 8pm-6.30am, but it came after being awake from 10am Friday till 8pm Saturday, and having an extremely busy and exhausting day Saturday, which involved walking miles up hills. However, I slept like a rock!! At the moment I'm trying to reset myself again, but it's resulting in more nights without a single minute of sleep than I'd like, or is practical.

Also I have the problem that I rarely wake up naturally. I can sleep up to 16 hrs in a stretch perfectly happily!

I'd say we could sit up and be night owls together, but the time difference would prevent that :P

Sep 5, 2012, 3:42am

I MUST try and get to Elizabeth Taylor's books in 2013! I've seen so many great reviews for her books.

Re. The Book Thief: Hm... when I buy a book I never check if it is YA or adult literature. I found this one in the normal novel section when it had just been published and then it stood on my shelf until the many great reviews convinced me I should finally read it. And then it felt like YA, the simple writing style which sounds a bit (if I remember correctly) like someone is reading the story for a kid. What I didn't like and where I thought that maybe the author had just been lazy with his research were those generalizations, like 'brown eyes were suspicious' or 'all Germans had to join the NSDAP', because they just give a wrong picture if the reader wants to get facts out of this novel.
As a kid I read some interesting Holocaust literature which gave a good and realistic idea about the atmosphere and life in the third Reich as a Jewish child, even without the explicit mentioning of concentration camps and 'smoke coming from chimneys'.
But as I said in my review - I am sensitive when it comes to Holocaust literature and also couldn't enjoy The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or "The Reader". It's not the book, it's me. :-)

I already read BT this year and also Doctor Thorne, but I will follow the GR and hopefully this will ecourage me to finally pick up book #4.

Sep 5, 2012, 7:32am

Just stopping in to say good morning and to wish you a wonderful day.

Sep 5, 2012, 12:13pm

This user has been removed as spam.

Sep 5, 2012, 10:03pm

Thanks for keeping my thread hopping ladies! I'm dead beat. Had a very good day in class, have a painting I'm pretty happy with, got so much praise my head wouldn't fit through the front door, and now it's only 10 p.m. and I'm ready to call it a day. Will be back tomorrow to answer all these lovely messages and try to catch up around here a little too. And reviews. Always those darn reviews!

Sep 5, 2012, 10:06pm

Oh too bad that they haven't got Wild Mary on audio.

That is a Taylor I haven't got..... but I'm about to start The Soul of Kindness.

Sep 6, 2012, 1:08am

Wow, Ilana! I come back to a new thread with numerous wonderful review! It must feel great to get some of those out of the way eh? And of course, I am utterly in love with Coco. One day, when I retire, I am adamant that I will get a puppy that is just as loveable as yours. :)
You are the Queen of Audio-books! I just I knew how to enjoy them, but then again, I'm not even big with e-books yet so I don't think there is much of a chance of me picking up anything other than the good old fashion, flip through me kind of book.

Sep 6, 2012, 8:30am

Sounds like an excellent day - I'm so happy for you. I'll be waiting to hear all about it.

Sep 6, 2012, 9:37am

Good morning from me, too, Ilana. Nice to have a day like that! Looking forward to hearing more about it.

Sep 6, 2012, 10:27am

Just a Thursday greeting --- hello, Ilana!

Sep 6, 2012, 2:44pm

Happy to hear about your good day in art class! May you have many, many more ;-)
Hugs to you and furkids!

Edited: Sep 6, 2012, 9:22pm

I've been a dishrag all day after a night of continually interrupted sleep. Then my cleaning lady came over and my place is now wonderfully clean, but there wasn't much rest to be gotten while she was here either. I'll be spending Sunday night at the sleep clinic for some tests, just to eliminate the possibility that I have some kind of sleep disorder as a possible explanation for the constant fatigue. My dad will come over to look after my little munchkins, as I'll only be back home in the late afternoon on Monday.

Almost done with Potsdam Station and the end cannot come too soon. As much as I've liked the first three books in the series, this one has felt like a long, very long slog. That won't keep me from reading the latest book in the series, Lehrter Station because I'm willing to give David Downing the benefit of the doubt after three great books. Finished Mrs Dalloway just a short while ago this evening. Can't say I loved it, but I'm glad I've got it under my belt, because I felt it was an "important" novel, whatever that means, and I'll be able to eventually read The Hours now, which I've been told is brilliant.

Meantime, there's my favourite kind of deal right now on Audible, with a members only $4.95 sale. There's an incredible amount of junk, but I also found a few gems and should be grateful to them that there aren't that many appealing books for me to chooses from as it kept me (somewhat) reasonable. Here's what I got:

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson - this one came highly recommended by Mark.
The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

eta: now working on replying to all the lovely messages I got in the past couple of days!

Sep 6, 2012, 9:25pm

Ilana, as someone who also has problems sleeping, I know how draining that can be. I hope that the experts are able to narrow down the problem for you and find a remedy!

Sep 6, 2012, 9:29pm

#71 Mark, I completed 8 stories from the Eudora Welty collection, and so far loved them all save one. I'm really glad I got this collection, it was well worth it.

#72 Glad you enjoyed the review Stasia!

#73 Mamie, I'm really curious to know what it is you were doing working a night shift. Doesn't jive with the image I have of you as the perfect mom who homeschools her four kids!

Sep 6, 2012, 9:46pm

#76 Caro, it seems like we felt the same way about Birdsong on the whole. I was SO expecting to fall in love with this book, so it was very disappointing in that sense. I wasn't so much bothered by all the gore of combat, maybe because I was more or less expecting it—most stories dealing with WWI and describing the trench warfare highlight just how violent and gory it was, apparently more so than any war previously or since in terms of non-civilian casualties.

#77 Which Elizabeth Taylor book have you read so far Stasia? I've got quite a few more on my tbr and can't wait to get to them!

#78 I think the sleep center in your brain was possibly programmed in another time zone. Don't worry - somewhere in the world, your sleeping makes sense

I agree with you there Claudia. When spent 3 weeks in Australia some years back, I felt like I was as close as I'd ever get to being in tune with the time of day. Hugs right back!

#79 Hi calm, I haven't actually seen my OT yet, our appointment was put off till tomorrow afternoon. I'm sure it'll go just fine, she's a very pleasant young woman and is there to help in the best way she can. I just feel badly I've still not completed my photo assignment for her!

#80 Jenny, going to sleep is rarely a problem for me because I'm basically always tired enough to fall asleep. It's waking up that's a challenge! If I'd spent two busy days and a night without sleep at all, it would probably take me a week to recuperate! I really don't do well with too little sleep. And yes, a 16-hour nap is heavenly isn't it? :-)

#81 Nathalie, why wait till 2013 to discover Elizabeth Taylor? She's being widely read this year to honour her 100th birthday, which is why you've been seeing reviews for her books cropping up everywhere. The Virago Modern Classics group have been doing group reads of her books in publication order I believe. I haven't really followed that, but it's nice to know it's an option!

#82 Hi Mamie! Thanks for the good wishes. They must have worked because I did indeed have a good day as you saw later!

Sep 6, 2012, 9:51pm

Ilana - I don't think you could ever be a dishrag in any sense of the word. Your comments regarding the latest Downing are interesting - isn't it sometimes the way that a series becomes like a boxer that has taken one punch too many. I do think that because he set the series in the era immediately prior to and during the Nazi era; it chances of longevity were always going to be suspect. I understand there is still another one planned.

Sep 6, 2012, 10:11pm

#85 Oh I'm so tempted to join in on The Soul of Kindness Lucy!

#86 Hi Valerie, it does indeed feel good whenever I manage to get some reviews out of the way, but no matter what, I always manage to be behind by at least a half dozen of them! So ironic that you should consider me as the "Queen" of audiobooks, especially considering how little respect I used to have for them! There's a world of difference between audiobooks and e-books though, one of the main differences being audiobooks are the only option that allow you to get some reading in when you're attending to other tasks, which is a major appeal for me. What I did NOT expect was that I'd enjoy them as much as I do thanks to wonderfully talented narrators.

#87 Right, I was forgetting all about yesterday already Mamie! Since others might be curious about it too, I'll highlight my answer like so:

This is how my class went yesterday:

Basically, it was our last day of class and on a project that I found really challenging. But when we arrived in the morning, the teacher handed each of us a personal evaluation, something I'd never gotten from an art teacher before. He said some extremely encouraging things to me with some glowing compliments on my work and abilities. I'm always a bit suspicious when I get praise like that, and assumed he must have made the same kind of comments to the others as well, but then many of us read each other's papers and while he was kind and encouraging to everybody, no matter what their level of talent or aptitude, I saw he really went out of his way to taylor his comments to each student and didn't give undue praise either. I was quite uplifted by his words, and also the fact that part of his evaluation included some advice on what we should each focus on to finish our last project, which until then had been pretty much a free-form experimental approach, with him providing just a minimum of feedback so as not to influence us in our personal expression too much. I followed his advice and was quite happy with the result, and then when we had our group critique, everyone went on and on about how much they loved my piece, and how I'd made huge strides with this course. I really MUST post the various steps on my blog. Hopefully I'll get cracking on that tomorrow as I can feel I won't be around for much longer tonight.

#88 Joe, hope the above satisfies your curiosity!

#89 Hi Ellen! :-)

#90 Thanks Claudia! I have a whole new fall session to look forward to, starting two weeks from now. "Drawing As Artistic Practice" on Wednesdays with my beloved watercolours teacher Elisabeth, and then starting on the first Thursday in October, a full day studio class working on personal projects with another teacher I like a lot whom I also respect a lot as an artist.

#92 Stasia, I have a sneaking suspicion they won't find anything wrong with me at all and that my constant fatigue is probably more due to a) far from optimal schedule and b) possibly too much sleep. c) not enough exercise d) side-effect from meds e) diet in need of improvement with way too much sugar. All boring stuff I really would rather not have to deal with. Give me a sleep disorder, please God, so I don't have to make any real changes! ;-)

Edited: Sep 6, 2012, 10:19pm

#95 Paul, the problem I'm having with Potsdam Station is the action is all set during April 1945, while the Russians are nearing the takeover of Berlin day by day. John Russell spends the best part of the book (I've only got 40-something pages to go), looking for his girlfriend Effy and his son Paul, both of whom he'd left behind in... 1942 (?) and most of the action alternates between Russel walking around a Berlin continually under assault by the Russians (shells, bombs, more shells, more bombs, one bunker, another bunker, and so on) and Paul, now part of the German army, going through various battles, which really isn't my bag. Maybe it's me? But somehow, it's really nothing to do with the spy novels and intrigue the other first three books delivered aplenty!

eta: I can't help but wonder why Downing chose to skip ahead to 1945 like that. He definitely isn't leaving himself much room to work his stories around the war. Unless he intends to continue into the Cold War which I could see happening, since Russell has been involved with the commies since 1924...

Sep 7, 2012, 12:12am

I really do hope to get into audio books at some point especially since my local library has a fairly good selection available as well. My only problem - I have to stop buying books at some point to justify it. Too many unread books on the TBR mountain that I don't think I can enjoy anything else without the immense load of guilt. Maybe in a couple of years when I've whittled down the number of unread books, OR, I stop buying them at the rate I'm currently at, which seems unlikely...

Sep 7, 2012, 4:25am

91 > enjoy The hours it is indeed a brilliant read ....

Sep 7, 2012, 5:38am

Ilana - To answer your earlier question about working the night shift - it was before I had kids. I have a degree in Medical Technology, and I used to work on the night shift for Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in the chemistry lab. This was before I married Craig up until after we were married and I had Rae - so about five years. The night shift paid better, and Craig was in medical school and then residency, so his schedule was completely crazy anyway. After I had Rae, I worked evening shift and then transitioned to a day job for Corning in a facility that processes the testing and paperwork for drug companies working through their trials to get their drugs approved by the FDA.

I am so excited about your lovely day and all the praise that you received on your artwork - way to go, although I am not surprised, as I already have seen first hand how very talented you are! That must have been so affirming! Hope you wallowed in it and soaked it all up.

Forgot to mention above how much I enjoyed your review of Wreath of Roses - I have yet to read anything by Taylor, but I will make time for her very soon.

Sep 7, 2012, 6:13am

Good luck with the sleep study stuff. I'd be fascinated to go along to one for myself. I was diagnosed with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) about 3 years ago, and it is certainly a struggle. It means that I can't work full time as it takes too much out of me, and if I'm going to have a really busy day, I know I'll feel awful for the next couple, so I have to schedule in 'down days'. Basically, if I push myself too hard, I feel like I have the flu, achy and exhausted.

Do you also dream a lot? I'm asking because I have a LOT of extremely complex dreams that often leave me feeling tired when I wake up. Night sweats/cold sweats and continuing dreams also happen a lot - I'll wake up from a dream, go to sleep again and the dream picks up where it left off.

The dreams are incredibly long and intricate though. And I sleep talk during them.

Hope you don't mind all the questions, it's just good to talk to someone who seems to have a lot of the same issues as I do! Sadly, I've yet to find solutions to any of them. And it certainly gets frustrating, knowing that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat during the hours of daylight, but not between about 9pm-2am!

Anyway, I hope that they come up with something that is easily remedied and can result in you not feeling so tired all the time. It's so tiring, the constant fatigue ;)

Sep 7, 2012, 8:48am

Making my mark here so that this afternoon when I have time--or perhaps early evening, I can come back and concentrate on this. There's so much information and fun here.

Didn't you just love the Audible sale? How nice to get some great audiobooks at such an outstanding bargain price.

Sep 7, 2012, 12:37pm

I had no idea about it being Elizabeth Taylor's 100th this year - a fact I find odd, because just yesterday I picked up her only book that I own (In A Summer Season) to read.

Good luck with your potential sleep disorder foray. From my own experience whether or not altering my sleeping habits has/had any effect, I've no idea. I used to go to bed at around 2-2:30 AM and get up at 7 and now I try to get to bed by 10:30 PM with a target hour of 6 - 6:30 AM for wake up (Willie has other ideas and often screams me awake by 5:30), but no matter which I've done I seem to just sleep like a stone with not many dreams. Wish I could carve off a slice of whatever it is that causes it and send it to you.

Got to go peek at the Audible sale now...

Sep 7, 2012, 1:56pm

Going back to your review of Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry...I didn't like the book as much as most people seem to, either.

Sep 7, 2012, 8:37pm

Ah! Now I feel like I can relax a little and spend some time on LT. The day was taken up with a visit to my OT this afternoon, then coming home and working on a drawing, doing stuff around the kitchen like preparing an ear of fresh organic corn which is so delicious and sweet one could eat it raw. I only boil it for about 2 minutes and might try cooking it even less. So yummy. Prepped a simple rosemary marinade for some lamb chops which have probably been in the fridge too long. I figure marinating them should extend their lifetime. Lamb is my favourite meat, which is kind of strange considering how I feel about animals, and that my own Coco is half lamb himself... this is the organic stuff too, so costs a small fortune and no way am I throwing it away. It smelled fine, if a touch gamey, but I'd still rather make myself sick than not eat it. It's crazy how little I manage to do on any given day. Time... probably the most precious commodity as we get older.

After listening to a few more short stories by Eudora Welty I decided to listen to Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. It's in fact a reread, since I first read the book in 2010 when I rated it with 5 stars. I got it on audio because the narrator is Anna Massey, and she apparently had the leading role in what I believe was a television production of the story, AND she happens to be one of my favourite narrators. Really enjoying it, but probably won't give it 5 stars this time around.

Am a bit frustrated that I haven't found time to choose my reading according to the TIOLI challenges this month (or at least fit my selections into the challenges!). I like to have my options somewhat narrowed down, what with such a vast selection available to me!

Was thrilled to find a bunch of messages here tonight! Will answer them now.

Sep 7, 2012, 8:39pm

Congratulations on the praise from your teacher, Ilana. It sounds like it was well-deserved. Kudos to you!

Sep 7, 2012, 8:49pm

#98 Valerie, I completely understand where your thinking comes from—doesn't seem to make much sense borrowing books from the library when the tbr has taken over the house, I know, but while signing up at the library certainly hasn't helped me get through my tbr any faster, it has dramatically curtailed my book-buying since now if I see a book is available at the library, I'll rarely go out and buy it, though it's true I do buy some of those titles from Audible when they show up on sale or whatever. Don't want to discourage you or anything, but I'd say it's highly unlikely that any of us here on LT are likely to have much success at whittling down the tbr considering we're adding to it faster than we can read!

#99 Glad to have another glowing recommendation for The Hours. I've added you in my tags as such. I don't know if I'll fit it in this year, but it's a possibility!

#100 Mamie, thanks for sharing some of your past with us here. I was maybe secretly hoping for something completely off the wall... "Mamie's secret life revealed" kind of thing... but then, that was probably just projection on my part! ;-)

I've discovered quite a few female British authors thanks to this group in the last couple of years, and Elizabeth Taylor definitely deserves to be more widely read and known than she is.

Sep 7, 2012, 9:01pm

#101 Jenny, I haven't officially been diagnosed with CFS, maybe because they figured diagnosing one major condition was probably enough? but I certainly have a very good idea of what you're dealing with. I also always plan "down days", for example, after my art classes or anything that is likely to tired me out (and that list is pretty long!). I'm not sure what the dream situation is exactly because for the past couple of years, I haven't been able to remember any of my dreams. but I know I often wake up in the night from some pretty vivid and convoluted stuff. Certainly for a number of years I had ongoing dreams and some over my lifetime that were so vivid they stayed with me ever since. At some junctions in my life, I knew that if I had "crazy animal" dreams, I needed to make some radical change because something was seriously out of balance in my waking life. "crazy animal" dreams being just that, very surreal and strange and LSD-like dreams about animals, dead or alive doing things no animal could do in real life, and those were usually pretty traumatic too. I remember one very clearly, which was me stepping on an area rug that turned out to be a squished crow which then popped up alive but visibly hurt and very angry. Freaks me out thinking about it still, and that dream dates from over 20 years ago!!

Several people have told me I talk in my sleep, and I get a sense I might have woken myself up from talking or "screaming" quite often too, and still do. I also know one of the reasons I have a hard time waking in the morning is I've always got some fascinating dreams going on and I always want to fall back to sleep just so I can "see what happens next", even though the second I do wake up in earnest every trace of the dreams go away.

I dont' mind the questions at all, especially when they're interesting ones like that!

Sep 7, 2012, 9:08pm

#102 Gail, I do that all the time, i.e. mark a spot on people's threads and then go back later to catch up. Yesterday, when I dropped by your place, I had meant to ask you what you got at the sale and was so tired I forgot to when came the time to write my message!

#103 Charlotte, what I find most surprising about the change in your sleep pattern is you've somehow managed to get yourself to bed MUCH earlier, but are still getting up around the same time. I've often heard that many people need less sleep as they age, but you seem to have gone the other way. Did you pick up anything at the sale?

#104 Rachel, just read your review, and I see you gave Harold Fry a higher rating than I did. I guess I must be pretty sentimental because I think of the past a lot, but it still didn't do all that much for me. Glad to know I'm not alone there! :-)

#106 Thanks, and thanks again Stasia!

Sep 7, 2012, 10:21pm

Hi Ilana
I also jumped on the audible sale and funny enough got two of the books that you did! Warmth of other suns and Family Fang! I also got The Satanic Verses and American Gods
I'm not sure when I will get around to listening to all these books!

Sep 7, 2012, 10:45pm

Chelle, I nearly got The Satanic Verses because I really like Sam Dastor as a narrator, but I have it in print so couldn't really justify buying it. Though at $4.95...

I'm most definitely NOT a fan of American Gods, so won't say anything about that one. Oops, already did! ;-)

Edited: Sep 7, 2012, 11:16pm

117. ♫ The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton ★★★★⅓
(Read for August TIOLI #8: published as a Virago Modern Classic, 12/12 categroy #4: Guardian Knows Best)

Newland Archer, one of Old New York society's crowned princes (so to speak) is overjoyed about his recent engagement to the perfect May Welland. She too has a perfect pedigree, is a pretty young rose just starting to come into bloom, is innocent and beyond reproach in every way, well trained to be the ideal dutiful wife. But when he gets better acquainted with May's spirited and independant-minded cousin Ellen Olenska, just recently returned from Europe and scandalizing all of New York with her revealing dresses and foreign way of speaking and behaving, Newland is at first shocked and then completely taken over by passionate love. So much so that he is in fact determined to drop May and marry the countess Olenska instead. What he forgets to take into account is that his desire to embrace a life of freedom and equality will not be tolerated by his peers. A wonderful look at New York's upper crust in the 1870s, whose lives revolve around being seen at the opera and inviting the right people to dinner parties. Wharton exposes a world she knew firsthand from the distance of the 1920s, and what she shows us is just how regulated life was among the elite in a New York which was cosmopolitan, but prided itself on it's rigid and old fashioned conventions. Because this is Wharton, we know this love story is not likely to end with a Happily Ever After, but along the way she touches on interesting themes and presents us with a fascinating cast of characters who may not be likeable, but don't lack for entertainment value. A story I will definitely revisit in future. This audiobook version was narrated to perfection by David Horovitch and is definitely recommended.

Sep 7, 2012, 11:35pm

118. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud ★★★★
(Read for August TIOLI #3: Read a book about an alternate Earth, 12/12 category #3: picked for me - picked by -Eva-)

In this first book of the YA Bartimaeus trilogy, we're introduced to an England where the ruling classes are all magicians. Nathaniel's parents have sold him off to be trained in the arts of sorcery and he is put in the care of the despicable and unworthy Arthur Underwood, a magician of mediocre abilities who fails to recognize the genius and zeal of his young charge. But Nathaniel makes the best of Underwood's vast collection of volumes on wizardry and quickly reaches a level of ability far beyond his years. After suffering a searing humiliation by a visitor, a powerful magician by the name of Simon Lovelace, eleven-year-old Nathaniel decides to take his revenge and teach Lovelace a painful lesson. When the story begins, he has just summoned the 5,000-year-old djinn Bartimaeus for the first time to order him to do his bidding. Bartimaeus is a powerful entity who is understandably annoyed about being bossed around by a mere boy and he is hell bent on finding a flaw in Nathaniel's methods which will enable him to return to the world of spirits. In alternating chapters, we get the first person accounts of Bartimaeus, a prideful being with an acerbic sense of humour, and the details of Nathaniel's doings in an adventure filled with action and plenty of unlikely events. I didn't know whether I'd warm to this story before picking it up, always being a bit wary of the fantasy genre, but I loved this fun little romp and will definitely look out for the other books in the series. One fun bonus was the numerous annotations found in the sections narrated by Bartimaeus.

Sep 7, 2012, 11:53pm

119. ♫ The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ★★★★¼
(Read for August TIOLI #17: embedded first name in either the title or author's name - Brad)

This collection of short stories about man's attempts to colonize Mars was compelling both for the wide range of styles and approaches to story as well as for the themes explored. All the stories are set on a timeline in the 21st century, and while some have elements in common, such as a character or event being referred to in two stories or more, each story is quite unique. Many of Bradbury's concerns are very typical of the era in which these tales were written, namely the 1950s, when the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear holocaust were pressing concerns. With this collection, he explored subjects such as identity, violence, racism and xenophobia, bureaucracy, psychiatry, environmental issues, ancient civilizations, social studies, and religion, among others. While this is widely considered a work of science fiction, there are plenty of elements of fantasy, but even those not particularly interested in either of those genres will find much to entertain and ponder upon in this unique collection. Stephen Hoye did a wonderful job of narrating this particular audio version.

Sep 7, 2012, 11:54pm

... and that concludes my August reads! YAYYYYYYYYY!!! :-D

Sep 8, 2012, 1:32am

Ilana - stopping by to wish you a lovely and relaxing weekend. I noticed that your art-classes seem to be going really well and it is very heartening to receive the encouragement you have and frankly appear to deserve.

Sep 8, 2012, 1:53am

I have had The Guns of August on my TBR pile forever!
And I'm glad you enjoyed The Martian Chronicles. I read it when I was about 13, and my memory is that I loved it. I'd like to re-read it before 2012 closes out on us......

Sep 8, 2012, 6:31am

I loved the Bartimaeus trilogy (and its prequel). :) I'm working on The Martian Chronicles right now. Bradbury seems like a popular pick these days.

Sep 8, 2012, 9:20am

Morning Ilana- As usual, some great reads going on over here. I think we were toying with the idea of doing a G.R. of The Martian Chronicles later this year. I'm hoping it works out. I LOVED The Age of Innocence and might try it on audio next time around.
BTW- I really enjoyed the Family Fang. I hope it works for you.

Sep 8, 2012, 11:44am

Ilana, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Age of Innocence. I've read it twice now and loved it both times.

*Sigh* I used to be such a good sleeper, but I find myself waking up frequently at night and once 7:00 a.m. comes, my eyes are wide open with no possibility of "catch up" sleep. Our internal clocks are hard to change. It will be interesting to hear more about your upcoming sleep study. I hope you get some answers to your sleep problems. I know mine are due to the aches and pains of old age.

Sep 8, 2012, 12:30pm

Lovely, lovely reviews, Ilana! I've added The Age of Innocence to my WL. The other two books are already in my TBR, but I very much enjoyed reading your reviews of them. I'm planning on joining that GR read of The Martian Chronicles later this year, but I have forgotten which month had been chosen for it.

Hoping that you are enjoying a wonderful Saturday, and the the rest of your weekend is filled with good things.

Edited: Sep 8, 2012, 4:34pm

I was hoping Coco and I could go to our weekly visit at the library today, as I have several books due, but I found out a bit earlier that someone has reserved the CDs of Swann's Way: Part 2, which means I need to return them today, so I must copy them before going. But fittingly enough, it's taking FOREVER to copy these 10 CDs. Figures Proust would do that. I was waiting to get Part 1 first to decide whether I liked it, but it looks like it won't happen that way. I know for sure I love the narrators, French actors André Dussolier and Lambert Wilson, and I've always wanted to read In Search of Lost Time, at least in part, to know why such a vast collection of tomes where supposedly very little happens has endured, even though so many people seem to think this work is boring.

My friend Liselotte (age 93) called me to ask if I was willing to get together for an impromptu visit and (shudder) dinner at her place (her cooking is just... I can't bring myself to eat anymore of it. What do I do??), but I was really wanting to do some catching up here as well as post some of my artwork onto my blog, now I've finished another project, so we've agreed we'll get together this coming week to see pop artist Tom Wesselmann exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I'm not sure I'm so keen on his work, but apparently it's the largest ever Wesselmann retrospective and as such quite interesting, and since I pay for a yearly membership, I may as well put it to good use. Also, my OT said I MUST keep getting up early in the morning at least once a week now that my day-long class is finished to keep up a good habit. It'll also help when I start my new day-long class in October, for which I'll have to get up a half-hour earlier still. Liselotte couldn't believe it when I offered to get together in the morning!

Wow. Major thunderstorm finally started up. It's like a tropical storm out there. Very dramatic. I wonder if I should shut down the computer?

For Fans of Coco: I've just posted a new to die for image of my munchkin along with a quiz of sorts:

eta: answering messages next, after which I'll post work on my art blog.

Sep 8, 2012, 4:41pm

Hi Ilana. I love the photos of Coco - he's such a cutie!

I also had no idea that fortnight was such an exclusively British word - there you go!

Really enjoyed your reviews, especially the Mary Wesley books, Red Pony (although that's one I'm probably not going to read) and A Wreath of Roses. I really think you summed up everything I like about ET's books with this phrase:

"Not very much happens, other than the normal activities one does on vacation; sitting in pubs, taking walks on the grassy hill-side, a picnic, a drive, picking wild flowers, another walk, in the driving rain this time. Yet so much happens in the interactions of Taylor's fascinating characters and the complexity of their own thoughts and feelings."

Sorry to hear about your continued sleeping problems and I hope the sleep clinic can help. My husband has struggled with similar problems over the last 5/6 years. At one point he was sleeping from 3am to 3pm most days with really vivid dreams that left him groggy, tired and achey all day. It's better now but we don't know why which is really unhelpful for you - I think as he became less depressed the sleeping got better but I would struggle to say which was the cause and which the effect. I think it may have helped when he started having to get up to drive me to the station for work most days but it's really tough to have to force yourself to do that and feel so tired afterward if you don't have to.

Congratulations on finishing your art class and getting such good feedback :-)

Sep 8, 2012, 5:03pm

#116 Hi Paul, I don't know how well received my latest piece will be since it quite conceptual, so you might not think the praise is so well deserved after all! :-)

#117 Ellen, I'm not exactly sure how I came across The Guns of August as didn't know about Barbara Tuchman until just a few months ago, but I believe I discovered her as I was looking up work by a particular narrator on Audible.

I've just found out there is a GR scheduled for The Martian Chronicles this year, so maybe that'll be the occasion for you to read it? I'm sure you'll love it, there's a lot there for one to sink one's teeth into.

#118 Rachel, have I ever commented on what gorgeous kitties you have? How many of them DO you have, 2 or 3?

Ray Bradbury is a popular pick these days because he passed away this past June at the age of 91, and it seems a lot of people decided to honour him this year with memorial group reads, so there's been a wave of reviews of his work. I'm glad to be discovering a wider range of his writing, because I read Fahrenheit 451 a couple of years ago since it's one of those "must reads" and can't say I liked it much. Someone, an elderly lifelong avid reader I use to bump into at a café and share long book conversations with, strongly suggested The Martian Chronicles some years back, and I understand why he did. I just started on Dandelion Wine last night, and though I'm just a few pages in, I can see why it was such a beloved book in these parts this summer.

#119 Mark, I wish I'd paid attention and found out about the Martian Chronicles GR, as I would have gladly joined in. It's definitely a work I'll want to revisit. There was almost too much to take in all at once the first time round and I have the feeling many of the stories only get better with repeated reading.

Funny about The Age of Innocence, because I actually have two versions of it in print, but when I came across this particular recording, I just had to have it. Horovitch is presumably British, so he narrated with what me his usual accent, but does all the dialogues in very natural-sounding American accents, which suits this work very well indeed, imho.

I got The Family Fang largely based on your recommendation. Also because I'm always curious to read about children growing up with crazy artsy parents (familiar ground for me, you might say) and also because let's face it, it was a great bargain at $4.95!

#120 Donna, so far I've only read 4 novels by Edith Wharton, most of them this year save for The House of Mirth (last year) including Ethan Fromme and Summer. She's quickly becoming a favourite author. I'd be hard-pressed to choose whether I prefer The Age of Innocence or THoM though. I'll just have to re-read them to make up my mind! I do have several more of her works on my tbr to look forward to.

Sleep: I don't know if I have a sleep problem or an over-sleep problem or a dream problem. I do know that I've always, since childhood needed lots of sleep and taken a long long time to wake up, always an unpleasant experience. My dreams always seem to have a firm hold on me and it's always difficult to tear myself away. Would be really nice to remember them, considering what a large place they occupy in my life!

#121 Hi Mamie, must say I'm surprised that The Age of Innocence wasn't on your WL already, considering it seems to be almost universally well-liked.

I've been having a lovely Saturday so far, thank you. No library visit after all, but you can't have everything and there's always tomorrow! :-)

Sep 8, 2012, 5:12pm

#123 Heather, I consider you to be one of the biggest fans of Elizabeth Taylor I know, so I'm really flattered that you liked my latest review.

It seems sleep disorders and mood disorders go hand in hand. But as you say, it's hard to say which is cause and which effect. Probably depends on the individual, though I'm inclined to think it's a mixture of both, with sleep and proper opportunities for dreaming so essential to our wellbeing and then with mood disorders—like sleep—being both caused by physiological problems and equally by issues related to the unconscious (not to mention genetics and life experiences). My OT assures me that some longstanding patients she's had who have eventually been diagnosed with sleep apnea have made dramatic recoveries. That being said, I doubt that even the specialists in both fields have definitive answers regarding cause and effect.

Sep 8, 2012, 5:21pm

Hear hear with the not sure if it's a sleep problem or an oversleep problem. I do better mood wise when I stick rigidly to 9 or 10 hours but cannot live like that because I start getting exhausted and needing naps during the day. Then I crash and have a 18 out of 24hr sleep day.

I also don't appear to wake up naturally. At all. I will just sleep and sleep and sleep if allowed to. I often get sleepy about 2 hrs after I wake up as well.

I'd love to have answers, and I really hope you start to get some Ilana, as I know how frustrating it is! Sadly, we still seem to know so little about the human body and the mind at times.

Sep 8, 2012, 7:53pm

Ilana, couldn't you offer to cook for the old gal instead in order to avoid a potential dose of something even Coco would turn his handsome nose up at?

Sep 8, 2012, 8:12pm

Nice recent reviews, Ilana, but I get to dodge all the BBs since I have read them alread. Whew!

Sep 8, 2012, 8:18pm

>124 Smiler69: Thanks for the compliments. :) I only have two cats. You're probably asking because I have a picture of a "reading kitten" on my profile. Not mine. :( I think two is good enough in a one-bedroom apartment, though!

I knew Ray Bradbury had died, but I didn't expect such a rush. I tried to borrow The Martian Chronicles from my library and all 20 copies were out! That's a bit unusual unless a book is a new release.

Sep 8, 2012, 8:26pm

I knew you were having some problems with your sleeping, but didn't realize that it was so severe. I do hope you get some answers soon, as it must be both frustrating and inconvenient. I'm finding out how maddening a non-diagnosis can be, although meds and therapy do help quite a bit.

I put the list of my Audible buys on my thread. They're really a mixed bag. I'm trying to add some sci-fi and a bit more fantasy to my reading, and thought that this might be an easy way to do it. I may go back later this week to check the lists again. It's amazing to me ow much money one can save on the members-only sales. It was your description of them last year that put me over on the side of Audible; one of the main reasons that I hesitated to get audio books was their incredibly high prices for unabridged work.

I saw you got I, Claudius, too. I bought it and its sequel, Claudius the God. Even though I have both books in paper, I love Derek Jacobi, loved his performance in the ancient BBC series, and wanted it soooo badly...and now I have it.

Have a marveloous Sunday, and give Coco a pat and a kiss for me.


Sep 9, 2012, 9:39am

Hope the study is helpful tonight. Amazing reading going on, as ever.

Edited: Sep 9, 2012, 1:50pm

I spent quite a lot of time last night preparing the photos and putting up a post about our last summer painting project. Part 1 showing the progression during the first week is now up:

Not much time to do things today, as my dad will be showing up sometime between 5 and 6 to take over pet-sitting duties while I'm away at the hospital. We'll more than likely watch a movie, either from my own vast collection or something more recent rented from iTunes. Then I'll make my way to the sleep lab for my 9 o'clock appointment. It's always a bit tricky when he stays over because there's no way of getting in touch when I leave the house; I only have a mobile phone and no landline and he doesn't have a mobile phone, which make coordinating things more stressful than it need be. Somehow, this has always been the case with my parents, so I don't know why I even bother mentioning it, since it's just my norm with them. Only it isn't for me—is it any wonder I made a career out of coordinating things down to the last millimetre? I must say that was one of the most gratifying aspects of my job, among other things, this (perhaps false) sense of being in control.

I hope all will go well with my dad this evening. He called me yesterday in near hysterics, just being his neurotic self, and I'm not entirely relaxed today either, which doesn't make for ideal conditions for us.

Had a delicious dinner last night. Very simple really: grilled lamb chops and a tomato salad. I'd marinated the chops in a fresh rosemary, lemon, garlic, onion and olive mixture, and the tomatoes were freshly picked local field ones, which are only topped by sun-ripened Cretan tomatoes imho. A few chopped kirby cucumbers in there, some basil, and high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar... yum. I was going to eat only two of the four (small) chops and keep the other two for another meal, but they were so good I stuffed my face and finished them all.

Today had my world-famous French toast topped with strawberries & bananas, organic yogourt and maple syrup. Yu-um. Of course, none of this is doing my figure any good, but my taste-buds are happy!

Reading: Started listening to Crocodile on the Sandbank yesterday, the first book of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I wonder if Gail Carriger was inspired by Amelia for her heroine; Amelia seems very handy with a parasol. The comparison to Soulless is not a happy one, because that book seriously got on my nerves. Too cutesy or something. Too chick-lit. I don't know if I'll finish it, we'll see.

Maybe it's my frame of mind, because I read a few more pages of Dandelion Wine last night, and while I was admittedly extremely tired, I had a hard time focusing on the words and making sense of the sentences. Very poetic prose with lots of metaphors, which I should enjoy, but somehow just made my brain hurt yesterday. I'll have to pick a book or two to read at the hospital tonight, and I'm not entirely sure this will be the right choice for me. I may need to put it aside for now and get back to it when I'm feeling more rested, or something. I feel really badly about this, because I know it was such a great favourite for so many readers this summer, and I could see myself loving it too...

Sep 9, 2012, 2:21pm

#126 Jenny, it's usually been my experience that visits to specialist and various tests yield no conclusive results, so I'm not expecting much from these sleep tests either. It was recommended to me to do them a few years back when I was being treated at a day program for people who are (as I was then) unable to cope on a day-to-day basis. They had patients do a huge battery of tests to rule out any physiological problems as explanations for the various mood disorders, but somehow I never got around to the sleep tests because of difficulties with booking. At one point my mom really insisted I have the tests because she's always been worried about the amount of sleep I get. Then, last time I saw my neurologist, I told him I think my migraine medication is making me particularly drowsy (a common side-effect) and he said that was possible, but suggested the sleep tests to rule out anything else, which is why I finally made a point of getting an appointment. I can't help but think it'll just prove a waste of time though.

#127 Paul, that's a good idea. Hadn't thought of it, maybe because I'm not much or a cook myself. I manage just fine and usually make perfectly edible food, it's just not something that comes all that naturally to me is all.

#128 Stasia, I'm not surprised you've read those three since they're very popular books and you've seemingly read everything already! :-)

#129 Couldn't agree with you more that two cats are plenty for a one-bedroom apartment. That's what I have, and four of us in the bed (including Coco) is quite plenty enough for me, especially since the cats seem to think it's their bed of course, and only grudgingly allow me to move around freely under the blankets at night.

I too am surprised that there was such a rush towards The Martian Chronicles at your library. I wonder if that's common to most libraries across the US?

#130 Gail, I don't think my sleep problems are really severe, no. I don't usually have problems falling asleep or staying asleep either, other than the fact I sleep too much and am always tired. If you look at my answer to Jenny above, you'll see why I'm having these tests done.

I know what you mean about the relief a diagnosis can provide in and of itself. I spent the better part of my life convinced there was something seriously wrong with me, with nobody seemingly able to come up with a diagnosis, until I finally self-diagnosed as bipolar, which was confirmed by a specialist. That does offer some kind of relief, but then, I think psychiatry and treatments for mental illness are still in their infancy, and bipolar disorder itself is thought to be a far from accurate diagnosis for what may be many illnesses all grouped under that one label, so there's only so far that will go. I'd say that's probably true for many of the conditions we know today, especially with depression, which can in fact be manifested because of so many different issues. Meds and therapy are helpful, you're right. I wish I had more helpful insights right now, but I don't.

I considered getting some of the titles you bought from the Audible sale too, but some of the titles you mentioned aren't available to us in Canada. I'm a bit confused by your mention of Derek Jacobi for the Robert Graves titles. Jacobi is one of my great favourites too, but is seems that at least here in Canada, I, Claudius and Claudius the God are only available in the abridged versions as read by Jacobi. Maybe that's not the case in the US?

#131 Hi Lucy, I was hoping to get around to reviewing some of the books I've read in September yesterday, but it wasn't to be. No time for that today either, so it might be a while yet.

Sep 9, 2012, 2:26pm

Will have to try to catch up with some of you tomorrow, if I have the energy after my night spent at the hospital. For today I want to get to the library and have time to do some artwork before my dad gets here. I'm quite tense at the prospect of the latter, so a bit of exercise for mind and body are probably a good idea beforehand.

Sep 9, 2012, 2:54pm

Hope all goes well with the sleep testing, and you come relaxed and comfortable.

Couldn't agree with you more about the testing and getting negative results. Maddening. And embarassing as well; one hopes that people don't think one is imagining things.

Re the Graves books: Yes, they're only available abridged here as well. I broke my normal rule of trying to get only unabridged versions since I have the books in print, and I just can't resist Jacobi. His performance is worth the abridgement, imo.

Sep 9, 2012, 5:22pm

Good luck with your testing and Dad coming over. Sending good vibes your way.

Sep 9, 2012, 6:20pm

I hated sleep testing so much, but I'll admit it was worth it, as I had an operation that got rid of sleep apnea. I hope it's helpful for you, Ilana.

Good to see you enjoying books I've liked a lot. I thought Age of Innocence and The Martian Chronicles were both great, and I'm another fan of The Hours.

Sep 9, 2012, 9:46pm

Thinking of you and hoping things are going smoothly.
Will be interested in your results - and whatever they come up with... I hope it is helpful to you.

The best part of any medical procedure (imho) is sleeping!

Sep 9, 2012, 11:48pm

...we'll get together this coming week to see pop artist Tom Wesselmann exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Despite your ambivalence about his work, this at least sounds interesting!

And I'm completely sending you good energy for your sleep testing. It sounds daunting and interesting ----- I know I'd be curious (and a bit intimidated) to learn about what's happening with my somewhat unreliable sleep patterns.

xoxo --- I hope you are feeling good after your night in the hospital.

Sep 10, 2012, 5:55am

I visited your links - cuuuute Coco pic! And I can't praise your work enough - I love what you are doing art-wise (I am sure there is a better expression, but I just can't find it right now, read too much Italian over the weekend and those languages still can't peacefully co-exist in my brain), and I thank you for sharing the progress with us. This is something the public/ we usually don't get to see.

French toast... Bianca (drachenbraut) just presented 'Arme Ritter'/ "poor knights" on her thread, which is the German variety. Now I am really in need of some sweet late breakfast (it's noon in Central Europe), but instead I have a dentist appointment in an hour. :-( Maybe I'll get some cake for later.

I hope your sleep tests go well.

Edited: Sep 10, 2012, 6:34am

Well, it's going on 6:20 in the morning here, and I was women up about an hour ago by the nice tech lady. That didn't make for a very long night, since I only fell asleep at 1:50 according to her (my usual hour I suppose). Now I have to stay awake for the next round of tests starting in about an hour, but no big surprise, sleep apnea doesn't seem to be the issue. Cafeteria opens around 7, but in the meantime a little snack was found for me; I'd forgotten how much I like Dad's oatmeal cookies!

Eta: I'm on my iPhone so will answer messages individually because I'm clumsy with this keyboard and risk losing messages too easily, as I just did a moment ago when I typed this selfsame message!

Sep 10, 2012, 6:29am

#135 Gail, I usually stick to unabridged versions too, but I'd also make an exception for Derek Jacobi. In fact, I did recently when I got the abridged recording of The Iliad from the library, only because it was narrated by him!

Sep 10, 2012, 6:38am

#136 Roberta, testing mostly involves lots of wiring everywhere. I'll be one tired chickadee by the end of the day, but that's okay, I have time to rest.

Things went fine with my dad, we watched The Great Escape with Steve McQueen, or at least the beginning of it, and things were as relaxed as they could be, all things considered.

Sep 10, 2012, 6:40am

Off to the cafeteria now it's open. Will come back to comment again later!

Sep 10, 2012, 6:57am

Good luck today, Ilana- Hope all the testing goes well.

Sep 10, 2012, 8:01am

I hope the second round of testing goes okay, and that you get to have a nice long nap at home this afternoon. It sounds like you'll need it!

Sep 10, 2012, 8:04am

What Jenny said!

Edited: Sep 10, 2012, 8:24am

#137 Joe, what's for sure is this won't have been anything like a normal night! The Martian Chronicles was like nothing I've ever read before, really neat! I'd love to read it again. The Age of Innocence is more familiar ground but again, it's a classic I'll eventually reread for sure.

eta: I'm really glad they were able to help you with your sleep apnea, that must be a huge relief!

Sep 10, 2012, 8:28am

#138 Claudia, I guess things are going as smoothly as they can be. They're treating me very nicely so that's okay. I can tell I'm going to be a very sleepy gal tomorrow!

#139 Ellen, daunting an interesting and intimidating sounds about right! I'm still all wired up right now and will stick around for another few hours, then I'm seeing my family doctor… One of those days I guess!

Edited: Sep 10, 2012, 8:36am

#140 Nathalie, I raided the cafeteria a little while ago--got enough food for two people for sure! Wasn't anything great as you would expect but at least I'm not going hungry. However I AM thinking about the French toast I have waiting for me in the fridge back at home! :-)

eta: by the way "art-wise" sounds just fine to me--that's probably the expression I would use too. Glad you're enjoying seeing the process!

#145 thanks Mark! I'm keeping my expectations very low, it's been my experience that most tests I've done in my life have turned out negative. In some cases this can be absolutely desirable but in a lot of cases it's just frustrating. Mostly right now I just miss Coco and my cats! :-)

Sep 10, 2012, 8:39am

#146 thanks Jenny, a nice long nap sounds really good right now. That's the testing I'm supposed to be doing right now: napping… But I have to stay awake between naps which is a it tricky. The iPhone is helping me stay awake and soon I'll pick up one of the three books I brought with me.

#147 Thanks Stasia!

Sep 10, 2012, 12:39pm

To answer your question waaaaay back at #109 - I got Wild Cards I by George Martin at Audible and was glad to find it. Have wanted to read this series for quite a while - just couldn't find it at a cheap-o price.

Coco looks a-dorable in his latest pic. Was he trying to imitate a stuffed dog because, if so, I would say he did a great job.

Please don't think I have amazing powers with regard to the radical change in my sleeping. I've always been able to fall asleep just about anywhere and sleep for as long or as little as I wanted. Back when I was going to bed at 2-2:30 AM it was only because I did not want to miss anything. Am trying to sleep more now because They Say we are supposed to get (or want) more sleep. It's fine with me either way.

As for dreams - don't do that an awful lot and when I do I always seem to have an awareness that it IS a dream while I am dreaming. Maybe that has something to do with my ability to sleep like a stone. Probably means I have no imagination, too.

Will be interested to see how your day at the sleep clinic turns out and if it achieves anything.

Must have missed the bit about your friend's bad cooking. The "Let Me Cook for You for a Change" gambit sounds like a good one.

Sep 10, 2012, 1:04pm

Glad to see you hereabouts; means they haven't done you in with their testing.

Regarding The Iliad by Jacobi; have you listened and if so, did you find it worthwhile?

Hope that today ends easily for you.

Edited: Sep 10, 2012, 5:58pm

Oh I loved those Amelia Peabody's by Elizabeth Peters. With the right narrator, I bet they are good fun.

Good luck with your tests.

Sep 10, 2012, 7:45pm

I was introduced to audiobooks through the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series. The narrator, Barbara Rosenblat, remains one of my favorites to this day.

Sep 10, 2012, 10:10pm

Am at home and I can't say what a relief it is to be in my own little cocoon with my furry kids and my own schedule! Extremely tired though, so won't stay up long. Wanted to do a little bit of painting, but as it is am having trouble keeping my eyes open. The three physical books I brought with me to the hospital were Dandelion Wine, A Love Affair by Émile Zola and Anarchy and Old Dogs, my latest Dr Siri. Didn't get to the latter, but I did persevere with DW and after reading the part about the new sneakers, I was properly hooked in. I also started reading the Zola, and he hooked me in practically from the first sentence, but then again, I'm already a fan. Another book I started, on audio this time is All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West. Am really loving it. I don't know if I should be worried about the fact that I can completely relate to an 88-year-old woman's point of view and priorities in life though! :-)

Sep 10, 2012, 10:25pm

#152 Charlotte, I can't believe how much restraint you exercised. Just the ONE audiobook when they're so cheap?? How do you do it?! You must teach me. I've already added several more to my cart and about to add yet another! I'm a real sucker for their sales and their $4.95 sales are a great highlight any given month...

I'm not sure what happened with Coco and the teddy bears, because they've always been there, but it was the first time I saw him lying among them like that. I only had my reading lamp on and very quietly grabbed my iPhone to take the shot. The pics came out really dark, and I lightened them quite a bit, which is why the one I posted is grainy like that. It makes my heart melt every time I see it. I showed his latest pics to both the tech at the hospital and my family doctor today, and they were of course totally charmed! :-)

I wouldn't say that the fact you are aware you are dreaming when you are means you lack imagination. Actually some people try very hard to get to that state. I'm pretty sure if you wanted to, you could probably manipulate your dreams as you like, which would be pretty awesome. If I could do that, I'd chose a flying dream every time!

I'm seeing the doctor who heads the sleep clinic in November to get my results. He's a pulmonary specialist, so what they mostly look out for is sleep apnea, which doesn't seem to affect me at all. I don't know if the napping tests will reveal anything, so the whole thing might have just been a huge waste of time. Then again, they have these clinics in different hospitals around town apparently, and each one specializes in a specific area. Seems crazy to me. I mean, couldn't they just centralize the tests, do them once and have various specialist interpret the results? Sure we have free medicare, but our system is so out of whack it's scary sometimes. I'm told France and England (among others) who also have universal health care actually have systems that are run very efficiently. I may move to one of those countries yet.

Sep 10, 2012, 10:34pm

#153 Gail, you remind me that I have not in fact yet listened to The Iliad, no. Even in the abridged format, it's still almost 9 hours long, which is probably the average length for most unabridged audiobooks. I should make a point of listening to it this year, because what made me want to reread it to begin with was reading The Song of Achilles. I read it the first time almost 25 years ago when I was in a really fun Greek Studies programme in college. Seems so very long ago now... and I guess that's because it actually is long ago! I'm very confident that it must be very good. Not like I'll be asking for my money back anyway, since I got it free at the library!

#154 Lucy, I guess I'll have to give Crocodile on the Sandbank another chance. I got through about a third of it and asked myself: do I really care about what happens to any of these people? And the answer was no. Which doesn't mean I won't change my mind, but those cozy mysteries are always a bit tricky for me—I never know when I'll be in the right mood to appreciate them for what they are: easy brain candy. I do love sweets though, so there's hope yet! :-)

#155 Stasia, Barbara Rosenblat earned my respect and admiration with the work she does on the Eudora Welty collection. She does those Southern accents so convincingly (to my untrained ear) and really imbues the stories with the right tone and mood. I'm not so convinced with her British accents though, especially as I listen to a lot of British narrators. Also, I always bristle a little with any narrator who takes on this fake cheery/playful/broadway/-let's-go-to-the fairground-like approach. Dunno why, it just mostly gets on my nerve. I mean, why can't they just read it straight and let the text provide the humour? But yes, that being said, Rosenblat is indeed very talented.

Sep 10, 2012, 10:39pm

I just read the following on the work-page for All Passion Spent, which I hadn't taken time to peruse before: "First published in 1931, Vita Sackville-West's masterpiece is the fictional companion to her great friend Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own." What a happy coincidence that I just happened to read/listen to ARoOO just last week!

Sep 11, 2012, 6:44am

How annoying that in order to rule out different sleep problems, you would have to go to different sleep clinics. That seems like complete madness, personally!

Anyway, I'm glad that you're home and it's done with. Hopefully you can get some good rest now.

Sep 11, 2012, 10:16am

*going in search of the first Amelia Peabody audiobook narrated by Barbara Rosenblat*

Sep 11, 2012, 10:41am

Hope you get some positive, helpful news from the sleep clinic, Ilana.

Sep 12, 2012, 1:10am

Here's me trying to catch up on your thread instead of sleeping, Ilana! I sympathize with your sleeping struggles, but it probably doesn't affect me as much as it does for you! Hopefully the testing was able to help you out in that area.
I'm the type where it usually takes me at least half an hour of lying in bed before I usually nod off to sleep. And to top it off, I'm a pretty light sleeper so I'm jolted out of my sleep more often than I would like. When the monkey was first born and we were on a 4 hour sleep schedule, I felt like I was going to die. After feeding him and getting him to fall back asleep, and then cleaning up bottles and such, I would have about 2 hours to sleep before he woke up again, but then I would stress about how long it takes me to fall asleep so then I end up with only an 1 left to actually sleep....boy that was hard. My husband on the other hand, lucky man he is, will be asleep before his head actually hits the pillow. I hate him. :)

Sep 12, 2012, 3:07am

#163 and then cleaning up bottles and such That sounds very dedicated - to be cleaning bottles in the middle of the night! I don't think that that even occurred to me as a possibility!

Sep 12, 2012, 3:59pm

Spent very little time on the computer yesterday, and then a good 4 hours working on my Plant with Man painting. Not that I have that much to show for it as I'm mostly just obsessing over details. Finished All Passion Spent yesterday and really loved it. Wanted to start another audiobook, but couldn't decide what I was in the mood for after such a thought provoking novel, so listened to a few Eudora Welty stories. She's really excellent and I'm glad I'm finally discovering her.

It's a beautiful day today, and my plan is to set myself up on the balcony after I come back from my visit to the library with Coco and spend more time on my painting.

#160 I've been getting plenty of rest to be sure! Got up at 1 pm yesterday, then 2 pm today! They scrubbed the side of my face so hard to get the electrode to stick on that I have a scab there now, but other than that it's already all fading into a distant memory.

#161 Ellen, I hope you enjoy it more than I did. I tried listening to it again yesterday when I finished the Sackville-West, but after such a deeply ponderous novel, I just couldn't deal with something so very light. I doubt I'll be reading (or listening to) anything else by Elizabeth Peters unless I go through some very big changes. To each their own, obviously.

#162 Joe, I'm meeting with the pulmonary specialist at the beginning of November which is when he'll tell me what the results of these tests are. Not holding my breath till then, especially as the technician all but confirmed that I don't have sleep apnea!

#163 I don't know Valerie, sounds like what you went through with your monkey was much more radical than my oversleeping! No way could I got through that kind of anxiety and manage any sort of normal life. This is probably I chose to have furry kids as opposed to the other kind! Heh.

Right, Coco and I are off in a few minutes. Hope everyone has a nice day!

Sep 12, 2012, 5:30pm

Just stopping by to say Hi!
Glad your sleeping tests are over. Now you can get some sleep! lol

Just want to add - I love the progress you are making in your art studies. Your work is quite stunning... keep on keeping on :-)

Sep 12, 2012, 7:28pm

I don't know what I would make of the Peter's novels now - but oh I loved them back when I read them. They would probably still work for me in certain moods.

I think I was in my late twenties when I read All Passion Spent for the first time -- and identified with it then...... there is a timeless aspect to it.

Sep 12, 2012, 8:28pm

Hi Claudia, I'm also very happy the sleeping tests are behind me. They'd been in the back of my mind for so many years now that I couldn't NOT do them, so I'm glad it's all over with. I will be highly surprised if the tests actually yield anything. The one time I was ever confirmed in a diagnosis for anything of importance, I had actually identified the issue before any doctor had done any tests at all, and that was for my Bipolar Disorder! Some people need more sleep than others, and I'm obviously among those who don't do so well when they're awake is all! ;-)

You'll be proud of me as I spent nearly two hours painting today! The whole time was spent on my back balcony too, which not only was very pleasant, but also gave me a more accurate look at colours than I can ever get indoors, even with my daylight lamps.

#167 Lucy, I don't know why some books work for me and some don't. Maybe following up on Virginia Woolf with Elizabeth Peters was bound to make the latter seem trite, I don't know. That being said, I know full well you're a big fan of Woolf's as I've seen your collection and ratings of her work.

I tried another audiobook, which was Daemon by Daniel Suarez, which I picked up at the $4.95 sale. About some crimes of employees at an online gaming company. I gave it a half-hour, and gave up on it. Just didn't have patience for it. That being said, I bet you if I start listening to the next book up for me in the Jack Reacher series I'll be finishing it within a couple of days, as I always seem to do.

Meanwhile, I've started on Bring Up the Bodies and think that one should hit the spot quite satisfyingly. Finally!

Sep 13, 2012, 3:05pm

Part 2 of Incidentally, a Man is up:

I'm about to make my way to the painting studio to pick up that piece in just a few minutes in fact, now that it should be dry enough to carry. I'm taking Coco with me, as it'll be a nice half-hour walk or so to get there. More than likely coming home by taxi as it's rather too large to take on the metro. Next, I'll have to figure out where to store it. That's the only problem with all this artwork and living in an apartment with no storage area: where to put it all?

After that, I plan on working on a drawing for an hour or so (unless I take advantage of the pleasant day and set out on my balcony to paint again) and then: LT!!! Reviews!!! Catching up with friends!!!

Beautiful summer day outside. Enjoying them all I can since there won't be that many more before we have to bring out winter coats and boots... and sweaters for Coco of course! :-)

p.s. on the reading front, loving Bring Up the Bodies of course, and ever so glad I stuck to Dandelion Wine because I'm really loving it. The Zola too of course, but that's a given. So... all is as well as can be! :-)

Sep 13, 2012, 3:13pm

Stopping by to say hello and tell you what a special person you are!

Sep 13, 2012, 5:47pm

I love your latest artwork. It reminds me a lot of someone but I can't work out who. Hope you get it home in one piece!

Sep 13, 2012, 7:15pm

How nice to have a balcony and nice weather to enjoy your painting. I'm afraid, if it were me... the painted mess would soon get the ol' heave ho over the railing before too much time had elapsed! Luckily, your neighbors can expect better art and behavior from you ;-) I am indeed very proud of you.

Sep 13, 2012, 8:18pm

My my, what nice words I just found here! Must say I am certainly not averse to praise! :-)

#170 Linda, I'm so happy to see you're well enough to be visiting threads. I'm not sure what I did to deserve your kind words, but I'll take them! :-)

#171 Thanks Jenny, when I got to the studio, I found the piece was still tacky to the touch, so it'll probably need another few days and up to a week to be completely dry. That's more than likely due to one of the mediums I used which does take quite a long time to dry. But I took it home in the trunk of a taxi and it made it home just fine.

#172 Claudia, I really like my back balcony and the alleyway it looks out onto, even though it's quite tiny. Just big enough to fit in my canvas and myself with no room to move around, but then as long as my arm is free to manipulate the brush and reach for the paint palette, I guess that's all I need. I like that I can place my canvas in such a way that it faces my places, that way nobody can see what I'm working on, which would make me far too self-conscious. That the whole canvas and easel might topple over three floors is a real concern since the easel is just an inch away from the staircase, so I would NOT attempt to paint there on a really windy day!

Sep 14, 2012, 4:05am

Glad you liked all Passion Spent so much. I had it on my WL for ages and finally bought it some months ago, but somehow the time to read it hasn't come yet.

Well, knowing not to suffer from sleep apnea is a good thing already. My mother has it and has spent several nights in a sleep clinic. They have however quite given up on her now, because she absolutely refuses to wear an oxygen mask. I don't know... I know so many people who are able to handle it, but she can't, doesn't even try.

I also loved the audio of ButB. And I haven't heard a single negative thing about Dandelion Wine yet. Must get to it soon.

How nice that you are able to work on your balcony!

Sep 14, 2012, 9:00am

Glad to see you have made it home, Ilana!

Sep 14, 2012, 9:15am

Ilana, your latest work of art is stunning. I have plenty of room in my house to store your paintings. ;-)

I was surprised that your sleep study was only to find out about sleep apnea. I suppose that is the most dangerous sleep condition so it's probably a good idea to rule it out. I don't think I could even go to sleep knowing that I was being monitored like that.

Sep 14, 2012, 9:42am

I'm liking that artwork, too, Ilana. Maybe Donna will let me take a look if you store your paintings at her place?

I'm like you, and eat up the Jack Reachers. I'm near the end of the latest, A Wanted Man, and can't wait to get back to it.

Sep 14, 2012, 2:00pm

Got up extra extra EXTRA late again today, and now must get ready to take Coco to the vet. I hope it's nothing serious, but I found a soft, 1" lump on his torso last week and want it checked out. When I spoke to the vet on the phone about it, he didn't seem overly concerned because it doesn't seem to bother Coco at all, even when I squeeze it extra hard (and he, such a wimp too!) but all the same, I'd rather be safe than sorry so I'll have the vet take a sample. His eyes have been bothering him too, poor thing.

He's made quite a habit of sleeping with the stuffed toy bunny given to me by my mum before she left for France, which I can't help but be delighted at every time I see him nuzzled up to it.

Right. Must go. Will be back later to report on the visit and answer your lovely comments.

Sep 14, 2012, 2:02pm

Oh, I do hope Coco's appointment goes well and you get all good news, Ilana!

Okay, if I didn't know that Coco was your fur-child, and I just read that part about snuggling up to a stuffed bunny, I would have just thought she was like any other human child, which confirms to me just how much little kids/babies are so similar to our fur-kids. :)

Sep 14, 2012, 6:59pm

Oh dear. Coco's fine, but another MAJOR incident on the public transit as we made our way back home. I just posted about it on my blog, if anyone is interested in the details. Amazing that such a tiny, incredibly cute dog could make anyone go quite that insanely rabid, is all I'll say here. More here:

I'm just shattered now. Off to the national library to return a tonne of audiobooks and pick up a hold I put on yet another Balzac novel, Le cousin Pons.

May log on again later, and then again may not. If I listened to myself, I'd just go straight to bed right now...

Sep 14, 2012, 10:10pm

Snuggle up with Coco and bunny ;-)

Sep 14, 2012, 10:13pm

I just read your blog post. All I can is WOW...what a jerk. You made the right decision to call and report him. People like that don't realize that their super bad attitude can sour a person's day mighty quick. Hopefully you were able to brush him off and continue on with your day, unclouded by his negativity.

Yay for the good news on Coco!

Sep 14, 2012, 10:16pm

Clicked your blog link. Am vicariously ticked off for you. What a jerk that busdriver was! Glad to see you were proactive about the whole thing.

Sep 14, 2012, 10:34pm

"Enjoyed" catching up on the news about all the tests. It is funny that with the tests we all want validation and the all-clear at the same time when they are mutually exclusive. I hope that everything turns out well for you dear lady and that you have a wonderfully restful weekend.
The Great Escape - great theme music but the one's we most want to get away get caught or killed,

Sep 14, 2012, 10:39pm

Came back from the library just over an hour ago and took Coco for a walk out in the rain. I had to restrain myself at the library and remember that I don't necessarily need to have every single audiobook ever created right at my fingertips and it's ok to leave some behind to copy some other time, such as the 30+ hour-long Nicholas Nickleby.

Tomorrow morning must be up very early, as I'm getting together with my friend Liselotte to visit the museum for the Tom Wesselmann show.

Here's what I got from the library (all in audio format):

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Vol I - narrated by David Timson
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankel (finally!)
First Love by Ivan Turgenev
Cousin Pons by Honoré de Balzac
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

quite a mixed bag, as always.

Will make my way to bed very shortly, but first will answer messages (coming up).

Sep 14, 2012, 10:58pm

#174 Nathalie, All Passion Spent is a great favourite of mine now, and the timing must have been quite perfect because it fully resonated with me. You do well to wait till it seems like a good fit. Have read The Edwardians, but I'll be reading more by Sackville-West.

For some reason, I didn't expect Bring Up the Bodies to work all that well on audio, but I completely agree with you, it's actually a great experience. I don't find the "He, Cromwell" at all bothersome the way Simon Vance delivers it as it seemed to be a device many readers felt was awkward.

Working on my balcony has been really fun this week. Something I'll be doing more of in future, weather permitting.

#175 There's no place like home Stasia!

#176 Donna, I might take you up on the storage suggestion! The sleep tests: knowing you're under observation is strange enough (they have a videocamera on you too), but all the wiring all over the place was also very uncomfortable, as you can imagine. I had the tech put it on me early in the evening to give myself a chance to get used to it while I read, in hopes it wouldn't feel so strange by the time I got to sleep. Only worked partially. Makes me grateful for my quiet nights at home I can tell you!

#177 Joe, I've got a long way to go before I get to the latest books in the Reacher series, as the next one up is Echo Burning. I'll more than likely pick it up this month for Series & Sequels September.

#179 & 182 Valerie, sorry I skipped over your message like that earlier. I was still in quite a state of agitation when I posted earlier. It took a long time to reach a human being when I called to file my complaint, but I felt I couldn't let an incident like that pass by without reporting it. The trouble with me is when something like that happens, it affects me physically as well as morally somehow and just makes me even more exhausted and sensitive than I already am. But I'll be fine after a good night's sleep.

#181 Thanks Claudia. I've also got Mimi who usually sleeps on top of me, and lately, Ezra climbs into bed with all of us too, so I should be well looked after tonight. :-)

#183 I'm glad I did something about the situation too. Hopefully I can put it behind me and forget about it, though it's not helped me with my general reticence to take public transit!

#184 Thank you Paul. Should be a restful weekend I hope. Other than the museum visit, I made sure to keep an empty agenda for plenty of R&R! I have yet to pick up where I left off with The Great Escape...

Right. Off to bed I go then... I can barely keep my eyes open!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sep 15, 2012, 10:53pm

I'm so tired I don't think I can muster the energy to talk about what I did today, so will do it in point form:

- got together with my friend Liselotte to see Tom Wesselmann at the museum of fine arts. I won't be going for an encore.
- after got home after our very long lunch, walked Coco and talked to a lady who takes care of dogs
- worked on a drawing for a couple of hours
- just now finished listening to Bring Up the Bodies. Excellent. Looking forward to the next one.

Sep 16, 2012, 2:43pm

120. ♫ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ★★★★
(Read for September TIOLI #2: author's first name includes an "a" and last name includes a "z", 12/12 Category #7: Young at Heart)

This story, set in WWII Nazi Germany, is told from the unique perspective of Death, who has taken a special interest in a little girl called Liesel Meminger, who is taken in by poor but loving foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann. We don't know for sure why her mother has left her with this couple, but Hans quickly takes on the role of the loving father as a foil for Rosa, who mostly shows her affection by means of her acerbic tongue. When she comes into their home, Liesel, who doesn't yet know how to read, has already stolen her first book, The Grave Digger's Handbook in tragic circumstances, a book which she ends learning practically by heart when Max takes it upon himself to teach how how to read from it, since there are no other books around the house. There are plenty of tragic elements in this novel as can be expected, and Death forewarns us about some of them early on, which still doesn't take away from their impact once the narrative has taken us through all the happenings leading us to the expected sad events. What emerged most clearly from this story for me was the universal truism that friendship, love and compassion are what make the world go round even in the worst of circumstances, and that books, any books, no matter how hateful, such as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, with a little imagination can hold what amounts to a magical power to take us to a place of greater safety.

Edited: Sep 16, 2012, 9:11pm

121. ♫ A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf ★★★★
(Read for September TIOLI #7: Read a book about a school(s), or in which a significant part of the action takes place in a school)

Asked to talk about Women and Fiction, Virginia Woolf approached the topic in her unique conversational style, moving from one stream of thought to another. This essay, delivered as talks in women's colleges in the 1920s make the case for the importance of women having their own space and income to allow them to explore their own feminine voices. Taking the examples of established authors such as Jane Austen, who famously wrote in the family's sitting room and George Eliot, who not only took on a male nom de plume but also wrote weighty tomes adopting a male narrative style, Woolf also makes the case for the fictional Judith Shakespeare, the would-be sister of the famous playwright. She compares the siblings, who, having equal potential and talent are nonetheless given very different opportunities, the one having access to education and being allowed to work in the theatre as formative experiences and the other being denied these options by virtue of her sex. The author also discusses the importance of women finding their unique mode of self-expression, something which she not only advocated but also took pains to explore in her own work, taking as she did the risk of appealing to a narrower readership while making her mark as an influential writer. I first read this book in the late 80s as part of a Women's Studies course and can't say I got very much out of it the first time around, mostly focusing as I did on the fact that much of the arguments Woolf was making were seemed to me at the time to be no longer relevant to contemporary women. But with this reading, I was very much interested in the argument she made for the fact that women in the past had had to work against challenges far more daunting than those their male counterparts ever faced, with the whole of public opinion set against their efforts to distinguish themselves as anything other than wives and mothers, which makes their achievements that much more valuable. While it's true we've come a very long way, I couldn't help but be once again surprised how plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, since although the majority of women today—at least in the Western world—have all the options they might wish for, more often than not have to sacrifice their artistic ambitions, if not in the name of family then in the name of career, or at least feel they must do so, while those who choose to live for their art are still often regarded as eccentrics and outcasts.

122. ♫ Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ★★★★⅓
(Read for 12/12 Category #4: Guardian Knows Best - Guardian 1000 (Family and self))

All the action within this novel takes place during one day and evening as Mrs Clarissa Dalloway, an upper class woman, is first preparing for, then throws a party in the evening. While still at home before she sets out to run her errands, she is visited by Peter Walsh, a man she's known since she was a young girl and who once asked her to marry him. For the whole of the novel, we wander from one stream of thoughts to another, with Clarissa's mind wandering from the moment's happenings and backwards into the past, then without preamble we are following Peter's thoughts, then Clarissa's husband and so on, with the author's focus wandering between every person encountered in the novel. Clarissa thinks about the life choices she has made. Peter has just come back from India and is seeking a divorce from his wife now that he has fallen in love with a much younger married woman. Clarissa's husband has bought her flowers and intends to tell her he loves her, something he presumably hasn't said in a very long time. There is Doris Kilman, the teacher of Clarissa's daughter Elizabeth, who, while she venerates the young girl to a degree that borders on desire (or as much desire as a religious fanatic will make allowances for), despises her mother Clarissa for all she stands for as a society woman living a life of ease and luxury. We meet Septimus Warren Smith, sitting in the park with his wife; he is a war veteran suffering from a very bad case of shell-shock who is being treated for suicidal depression. His wife is concerned because he talks to himself and to his deceased army friend Evans, who may have been much more than just a buddy, and together they are waiting to meet a psychiatrist who will suggest a course of treatment for the young man.

I had a couple of false stars with this book over the years, never making it past the first couple of pages, and must say one needs to be in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate this short, yet very profound novel. Having just finished reading A Room of One's Own I found myself in the right mood for more of Woolf's deep reflections on life and how we are affected by circumstances and the people we are surrounded by, whether by choice or happenstance. Once one gets accustomed to the flow of words, which doesn't follow a traditional narrative style with chapters and commentary, but pours forth in an organic way meant to mimic a real-life experience, one is transported by the portraits Woolf paints of these people, whom we get to know from the inside out, as opposed to the other way round. Because of this, there is a timeless quality to this novel, even though the events it alludes to are very much fixed in the London of the 1920s.

Both these audiobooks were narrated by the much recommended Juliet Stevenson.

Sep 16, 2012, 3:53pm

Ilana- Nice library book haul. I like the variety. Good review of The Book Thief. It's a nice little treasure. I NEED to read more Woolf. I did love Mrs Dalloway.
I'm nearly done with Anarchy and Old dogs and I have a hefty start on In Dubious Battle. Vintage Steinbeck.

Sep 16, 2012, 5:06pm

Gorgeous reviews of two of my favourite books - both by the sublime Virginia.

I am sorry about your bad bus experience. Did you get any sort of return response?

Sep 16, 2012, 5:20pm

books, any books, no matter how hateful, such as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, with a little imagination can hold what amounts to a magical power to take us to a place of greater safety.
Like the way you put that. I'm glad you liked The Book Thief.

Mrs. Dalloway sounds good; I haven't read any Virginia Woolf yet.

Sep 16, 2012, 8:40pm

Today I was all set to go to the library to pick up a couple of books, including In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. I usually make sure to pick up my holds within the 3-day allotted time frame, but had been told that they often keep them longer than that. I hadn't been able to make it to the municipal library until today, but when I checked my account online, the books didn't appear to be available anymore. Called the library, and sure enough, they're gone already. I've put a hold on them again, but if the summer lending schedule is still in effect, it may be a good 6 weeks before I see those. On the other hand, I just downloaded The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf and The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty from the national library, so in a way I guess it all evens out.

I baked a fresh plum clafoutis with almonds 30 minutes ago and am just having a piece (as my dinner, admittedly) with a cup of tea. Sweet and tart, with the delicate taste of almonds... quite delicious. I'd gladly share with my guests if anyone would care to come over! :-)

Quite a bad headache today, which according to my dad is probably an after-effect of the bus incident. I'd already forgotten all about it, but seems my father has noticed that every time I have a big emotional upset I get a migraine in the ensuing days. It started yesterday when Liselotte and I were having lunch, and she started telling me, like any good grandmother that I "should" be doing this and "should" be doing that. She meant well, because she tells me she thinks I'm a pretty girl and young and charming and intelligent and what have you and "should" and could have so much more going for me if only I pushed myself a little... when she started saying she could be my psychiatrist instead of my caretakers who are *coddling me too much*, and that all I needed to do was think happy thoughts when I started feeling sad. I smiled and told her that's what everybody who doesn't understand depression says, and it doesn't work that way. That kind of talk inevitably makes me super-anxious and brings on migraines. Is it any wonder? Fingers off all my buttons please!

I should say though that today, even though I've been in pain I've quite enjoyed quietly puttering about. It was cool and sunny, had a nice walk with Coco next to a big Hungarian old folk's home where we inevitably come across charming old people also out and about on their walkers, who are always very taken with Coco.

I'm really keen on catching up with my reviews, so may try to get a couple more out this evening, though I have to sign off soon to do my daily dose of artwork... I do wish I hadn't slept in half the day, but one can't have everything!

Sep 16, 2012, 8:56pm

Sorry about your headache! Hopefully you feel better tomorrow. :)

Sep 16, 2012, 9:02pm

#190 Mark, as you probably know, it's pretty hard coming up with anything original to say when writing about a book that everyone has seemingly already read and greatly loved. I often ask myself if it's really worth it putting in all that time on writing reviews, but once I'm done with them, even when I don't find they're the absolute best I could have done, I feel like I've really digested the book fully and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

I was very curious to see what you'd thought of Mrs Dalloway, but seems you didn't post your review on the main page. What struck you most about this book?

#191 Lucy, I very much had you in mind as I was writing both those reviews, since I know what a great lover of Virginia Woolf you are (saw that you'd rated many of her books with 5 stars, though wish I could have read your comments too!) and I was quite anxious to try do write a well-rounded summary of the contents and how they affected me. I'm glad you appreciated my efforts. I've gone back and reedited them a little, something I can keep doing ad vitam aeternam with any piece I ever write mind you!

#192 Yes, I did write this review knowing that most people will have already read the book and know what I'm referring to!

#193 Thank you, that's very kind of you to say.

Edited: Sep 16, 2012, 9:20pm

"...all I needed to do was think happy thoughts when I started feeling sad... that's what everybody who doesn't understand depression says, and it doesn't work that way..."

So very true, Ilana! I've been so tired of hearing people say you just have to think happy and then you will become happy.
*heavy sigh*
I know they mean well. But. It takes personal experience to understand many things in life.
And what is so wrong with being "coddled"? We could all do with some extra love and affirmation (imho)... especially the sensitive types (I am thinking of myownself here).

Sorry about your migraine (another thing many do not understand). I would love a piece of "fresh plum clafoutis with almonds". Whatever it is - sounds delish :-) Be right there!

OH! It's a flan - YUM!

Sep 16, 2012, 9:15pm

Mmmm the clafoutis and tea sounds so delicious. I'll take some! I'm sorry about the migraine and the unfortunate advice from well intentioned but misinformed friends. It's harder to hear woulda, coulda, shoulda from those close to us than outright insults.

Three days for holds is not very long. I'm glad our library holds for eight days. I work twelve hour shifts and if I work two in a row then I would be out of luck if they didn't hold for so long.

I want to especially thank you. Since I have followed your threads I noticed how many audiobooks you listen to. I have been traveling in the car quite a bit since my Mom has been in the hospital and now rehab hospital. I started listening to audiobooks daily. I used to only listen when I took a long road trip. It has been really nice and has even made my commute to work pleasant. Instead of worrying about things I can't do anything about I listen to my books while I am stuck in traffic and that has made my moods much better! You are a gem.

Your Coco is so adorable. I have three dogs of my own. There is nothing like four legged family members.

Sep 16, 2012, 10:11pm

Hi Roberta! I'm guessing your three furkidz are Téa, Freddy and Bruce, is that right? Adorable munchkins all three.

A nice big serving of clafoutis and tea coming right up!

I'm so sorry to hear your mom has had health troubles. I can very well imagine how listening to audiobooks would help take your mind off worries. That's one of the main reasons I enjoy them as much as I do, I'm sure. I'm a big worrier and can drive myself crazy in no time at all with all kinds of doomsday scenarios. Audiobooks literally give me peace of mind, though I do sometimes manage to override them with overbearing thoughts. When that happens, I just keep hitting the 30 second automatic rewind button until the voice of the narrator takes over. Living alone makes for way too much time being lost in one's thoughts, so it's no exaggeration to say audiobooks have changed my life! I'm glad I somehow encouraged you to try them on a daily basis. Commuting is stressful, so it's a great idea to make your rides that much more pleasant. I too was inspired by other LTers to try audiobooks, which I had a lot of prejudices about. Pretty ironic that I'm such a big fan now eh? :-)

Edited: Sep 16, 2012, 10:41pm

123. Potsdam Station by David Downing ★★★⅓
(Read for September Series & Sequels)

I've been tremendously enjoying the John Russell series and was quite blown away with the last book I read, Stetting Station, which made this book seem even more disappointing than it was. While the first three books take place just before the onset of the war and then in the midst of it, blending spy thrills with adventures, many involving the rescue of Jewish refugees, this book, set during the month of April 1945 somehow had a very different feel to it. Berlin is under urgent threat, with the Soviets relentlessly advancing and surrounding the city, while German forces struggle to keep their footing, but we know how things will end, with the Russians utterly defeating Hitler's troops. John Russell, who has been living as a refugee outside of Germany for the past 3 years, sees the Russian victory as the most probable outcome, and is desperate to get back into Berlin so he can locate his girlfirend Effie and his son Paul, who is now a soldier fighting for the Germans. He wants to get to them before the Russians do and is concerned that they may both fall victims as spoils of the Soviet victory, with abundant stories about the conquerors telling persistent tales of the horrific treatment of German citizens, which the Russian soldiers feel is only fair retribution for the suffering they endured under Hitler's invasion. Russell makes a dangerous pact with the Soviet Army to ensure he can reenter the city before it's too late. Berlin is being constantly shelled and bombed, and everyone must somehow manage to survive in the overcrowded underground shelters, with their stench of human refuse and lack of any comforts in the ways of food, drink, or hope. This makes for very bleak reading, and also quite repetitive action: bombs, shells, mutilation, more bombs, more shells, more mutilation, and so on. The bomb shelters where Effie barely manages to survive with a young charge, an orphaned Jewish girl who has come under her protection, and where John also ambles through as he seeks his loved ones, makes for a very claustrophobic feeling throughout and unfortunately I didn't find the reading nor the action gripping enough to make it all more bearable. Consequently, this novel felt like it dragged on an on and on, and I couldn't wait to get through it. The only reason I'm not panning this book completely or giving it a crippling rating is because I've grown attached to the characters and found myself caring about their fates. There was little doubt as to the final outcome, but still, I was drawn in by their struggles and wanted to see how they came through theses difficult trials in the end. I'm hoping this was the only low point in the series and that I'll find the latest book, Lehrter Station more captivating. I'll be sure to report my findings when I get there.

Sep 16, 2012, 10:49pm

Very busy here Ilana posting up sparkling reviews (envious of such activity as I am struggling manfully to get my number of books ticking over but every time I sit down and get my nose into Hornblower SWMBO or the kids have something else for me to do.

btw what is a Hungarian Old Folks home doing transplanted into the Montreal suburbs?

Sep 16, 2012, 10:55pm

Suburbs?? SUBURBS?!?! Why, I'll have you know that I very much live inside the boundaries of a bustling city sir! And make no mistake about it! I have to put up with (yes, many useful aspects) all the inconveniences that come with living in an overcrowded, dirty metropolis, so I will NOT be mistaken for a suburbanite. I should get some sort of medal, as all city dwellers should, for surviving in such adverse conditions.

That being said, yes, a Hungarian Old Folks Home. No idea what it's doing here. Didn't even know we had such a huge declining Hungarian population, but this is a huge place too, occupying two apartment building towers. One old man today started speaking Hungarian to me and then wondered how come I didn't understand him. I'm thinking of arranging to become a volunteer along with Coco so we can get some of that delicious Hungarian food to eat once in a while.

Right. I'm off to go calm down and draw a little before bed.

Night folks, and have a great week!

Sep 16, 2012, 11:00pm

George Cross duly bestowed for being a city dweller! x

Sep 17, 2012, 1:43am

I couldn't post yesterday after having read about the bus incident - I was so angry and didn't want to use any swear words here. Good thing you called the company to complain!

Great reviews!
And the one for Mrs Dalloway inspired me to finally at least move the book from the shelf to the physical tbr pile on the living room table. I don't want to force myself to a reread though - with Woolf's books you need to get the right moment, when you are in mood for her writing. I think I had even rated it with 4 stars on my first try, but I didn't enjoy it as much as all of the other ones I read later. With the exception of Flush which I still think isn't great.

I don't know what Clafoutis is, but I'd happily take a piece, if there's some left. Thank you!! :-)

all I needed to do was think happy thoughts when I started feeling sad. I smiled and told her that's what everybody who doesn't understand depression says, and it doesn't work that way. That kind of talk inevitably makes me super-anxious and brings on migraines.

I know what you mean, although I am not suffering from depression, only from bouts of 'depressive feelings' or melancholy or whatever it is called.
It just adds guilt feelings because you can't follow their advice and because you know they are well-meaning and all and don't want to hurt their feelings. And 'coddling' is nice and sometimes it's just what you need.

Sep 17, 2012, 4:56am

201 > love that response ........

Sep 17, 2012, 8:14am

all I needed to do was think happy thoughts when I started feeling sad. I smiled and told her that's what everybody who doesn't understand depression says, and it doesn't work that way

I know people mean well, but grrrrrrrrrrr.......

I always want to rant and rave in response. To describe to them what a day would be like without medication, or if I tried to force myself to do something I wasn't able to. I won't rant here, because you know perfectly well, but when people say that it makes me want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head.

Sep 17, 2012, 8:22am

I am glad to hear the good news about Coco. I read your blog post and completely agree with you calling the bus company to complain. I can only hope that they do something about that driver!

I really need to get around to reading Mrs. Dalloway one of these days. I have read and very much enjoyed A Room of One's Own and To the Lighthouse.

Sep 17, 2012, 9:06am

Have a lovely day Ilana!

Sep 17, 2012, 9:16am

As far as thinking happy thoughts when you start feeling sad goes, it's a matter of degrees. It works for a generally happy person who's feeling a little depressed, but it doesn't work for a person who's suffering from depression. Depression is difficult for some people to imagine, I guess.

I remember being shocked when a coworker and I were discussing another coworker who has some serious anxiety problems. D (my unsympathetic coworker) said that R (my anxious coworker) ENJOYS being anxious. I told him that was a lot of codswallop, and he tried to defend his point. I was shocked that someone as intelligent as D could perceive the issue that way. It's like saying a depressed person ENJOYS being depressed. Some people simply don't understand, but I don't suppose it's their fault. I assume they've never felt these emotions themselves and haven't closely known people with these problems. Either that, or they completely lack empathy. But I like to give them the benefit of the doubt. :)

I hope you have a great day Ilana!

Sep 17, 2012, 6:49pm

Still in the process of catching up here, Ilana, but I wanted to drop down here and let you know that I AM catching up. Sorry I am so far behind on your thread - I lost you somehow, but now all is right as I have found you again. And I missed SO much...sigh...apologies.

I'll be back.

Sep 17, 2012, 11:12pm

The day is already over, and this is the first chance I get to sit in front of the computer. Got up EXTRA late again, migraine again (though much milder), and spent over 4 hours working on a drawing, which might actually be nearing completion. Finished Birds of a Feather and started on Echo Burning maybe an hour ago, and it was all I could do to unplug myself. I don't quite know how Lee Child does it, but his Jack Reacher series is very addictive stuff indeed. I spent one of my audible credits for that one and while I was at it, picked up a couple more $4.95 titles: The Satanic Verses and Corduroy Mansions.

#202 Thanks for the medal my friend. I may very well take myself to the suburbs someday, if only to have a bit more greenery and cleaner air, though I don't know if I could manage without the convenience of being a hop skip and a jump away from everything.

#203 Thanks for your empathy about the bus incident Nathalie. I just wonder why I keep attracting these weird and terribly unpleasant situations. The universe is obviously trying to tell me something, but I can't figure out what it is!

I completed agree about Virginia Woolf, and in fact, when I posted my review on Audible, I titled it "When the mood is right..." She's on of these authors who completely intimidate me, which is probably why I've read so little by her so far (the two above, plus To the Lighthouse), but I seem to be in the mood for more of her writing at the moment and will probably pick up Jacob's Room or The Voyage Out since I got both on audio from the library.

Clafoutis is typically made with cherries, but can be made with just about any fruit. You fill a baking dish with fruit and throw on a batter which is very similar to crêpe batter, and voilà! Easy and delicious. I actually at half the thing when I got up today, but there's still some left!

#204 Thank you. It was a cry from the heart. :-)

#205 I'll admit I did put it to her quite bluntly when she seemed to be saying that it was no big deal to feel badly once in a while, so I said "yes, you're right, clinical depression isn't so bad, except for the parts when I seriously start thinking about killing myself". She seemed quite horrified, and was outraged too of course, but I think it may have made her realize that perhaps she wasn't exactly qualified to suggest treatment options for me after all.

Sep 17, 2012, 11:35pm

#206 Stasia, the person I spoke to at the complaints department assured me that they usually respond to reports within a ten day period, so I imagine I should be hearing something from the transit company at the end of next week or the beginning of the following one.

Viriginia Woolf is certainly a challenging writer, but she can be so rewarding when one is in the right frame of mind for her writing. I hope you enjoy Mrs Dalloway when you get to it.

#207 Thanks Roberta! It was quite lovely actually! Hope you have a great day tomorrow too!

#208 Rachel, thanks for sharing that story about your coworker. Mental illness is difficult to understand even by those who suffer from it, so it's no surprise people who aren't familiar with it either personally or via family members can be really clueless about it. We've made huge strides already as a society in terms of accepting that mental illness is NOT just "in your head", though of course there's still a long way to go until it's understood by all. I too have all kinds of prejudices about it and I have to catch myself sometimes when I start judging others.

#209 Oh Mamie, please do NOT worry about trying to catch up with me! I'm one of the worst offenders here probably in terms of falling behind on everyone. Tonight is yet another one of these time that I'll have caught up with my own thread, but can't really fit in anything else... I look forward to visiting and catching up with you too!

Sep 18, 2012, 12:11am

Thanks for all the great reviews, Ilana! I haven't read a book by Virginia Woolf, but thanks to your wonderful review, that is something I will have to remedy soon. I'll have to see what selection is available at my local used bookstore. :)

I hope you are feeling relief from your migraine by now!

Sep 18, 2012, 1:42am

Hi Ilana. You've had some good reading times of late, I'm glad to see. I cracked up at your response to Paul about being a city-dweller. As a sister urban-liver, I resonated perfectly with all your sentiments --- I could sense some of the love-hate that I certainly feel about it.

Sep 18, 2012, 11:17am

Good reviews, Ilana. I need to read more of the David Downing's series; I liked the first one. You know I'm hooked on the books featuring our pal Jack Reacher.

I liked Mrs. Dalloway, too. I see there's an annotated one, and I probably would benefit from a re-read of that.

Sep 18, 2012, 11:35am

Oh, Ilana! I am just about finished with Anarchy and Old Dogs. You are gonna LOVE one of the humorous comments in there... can't wait til you read it. I think you will recognize what I am talking about immediately. It's at the top of p118 in my book. LOL

Hope the migraine has faded away and you have a lovely day!

Sep 18, 2012, 1:40pm

Very rainy day here, which makes me want to snuggle up with Coco on the couch (if only he'd snuggle for more than a couple of minutes at a time!) and finish a book or two. Am almost done with Dandelion Wine, so I might pick that one up first. Migraine is less bothersome, but lingering. I had a call at 7:30 this morning from a public transit official who wanted to ask me questions about the incident. But I was so sleepy (who calls that early in the morning?!) that I asked her to call back this afternoon. Just left her a message to encourage her to do so.

#212 Valerie, I should think Virginia Woolf is one of these authors who can always be found at any used bookstore. I don't know if I'll ever get over the apprehensions I always have about her books... she's such a writer's writer and deeply intellectual that I find one needs to be completely focused to follow her mental gymnastics. But it can be very rewarding.

#213 You're right, it's been a good reading month so far Ellen. Lots of shorter books too, which makes for fast reading too. You're right about the love-hate thing about city living. I've been a city-dweller for most of my life, save for one year in Israel as a child when I lived on a kibbutz, and one year when I was 19 when I was working as an au pair in Menlo Park, just outside San Francisco. I loved living in quiet areas away from the hustle and bustle, but the convenience of living in the city, especially for a single person like me can't be overstated.

#214 Joe, an annotated version of Mrs Dalloway sounds like a great idea. I have a print version, but don't think it's annotated. Something to keep my eyes peeled for!

#215 Claudia, I think I'll be picking up Anarchy and Old Dogs as soon as I'm done with Dandelion Wine, which should probably be sometime today. I'll definitely look out for that comment!

Sep 18, 2012, 2:44pm

Hi Ilana. Sorry to hear about the unpleasant bus driver incident and the comments from your friend about depression. Hope you and Coco had some good time on the couch today finishing some good books :-)

I really enjoyed your reviews of the two Virginia Woolf books. I haven't read either of them but did enjoy To The Lighthouse many years ago. She's an author I really want to read more of but I really need to be in the right mood for her books.

Sep 18, 2012, 2:56pm

Agreed. 7.30am is far too early for a call. I hope that she calls back and you get some satisfaction from the incident.

Good luck with getting rid of the migraine as well. I thought I was going to be hit with one today as my hand and half of my face went numb (which is the usual first symptom of my migraines) but weirdly, it has never hit. Fingers crossed yours eases off soon.

Sep 18, 2012, 3:21pm

#217 Heather, I've just been spending time over at your thread just now catching up, but got distracted with adding things to my WL and haven't commented yet. I love it when that happens though, it's the next best thing to actually meeting I guess!

She's an author I really want to read more of but I really need to be in the right mood for her books.

I know exactly what you mean. This is probably why I feel like she's often been on my mind, and then when I wonder how come I haven't read more of her books, I remember that I can't approach them willy-nilly!

#218 I really hope she calls me back too. But even if she doesn't, I have her number now and am willing to get up extra early in the morning to reach her if I can't do so at more normal hours.

As for migraines, I'm glad yours passed you by this time. I wish I too had warning symptoms, though, according to my father me getting very upset about something usually brings them on, so I'll try to keep that in mind from now on. I do know that usually when I don't want to see someone or do something they usually appear too, as if my body was providing me with an excuse not to do something. I don't remember that happening in the past, but it never fails nowadays. I think it's probably my body's defence against me getting into stressful situations I can no longer handle very well.

Sep 18, 2012, 3:35pm

Hi Ilana - I'm also hoping you get some resolution with the bus incident. It does sound like you've been very busy lately with your art work.
I'm about to spend an audible credit for the sequel to Pandora's Star, as it's a 45 hour epic I'll be getting my money's worth (which is what I like to do)!. Do you consider the number of hours when you spend your credits? I'm quite resistant to going under 10 hours when looking to spend a credit.

Sep 18, 2012, 10:41pm

Kerry, I think I was probably on the phone with the woman from the transit service when you left your message. We spoke for a good 20 minutes as she wanted to hear the details of the incident from me directly before speaking to the driver. She said she has a dog too and seemed sympathetic to my cause, so that was something. Until about a year ago or less, small dogs were allowed on the bus and metro, as long as you carried them in your arms. Then, apparently there were a few incidents, so they cracked down and are enforcing this new rule with no discernment whatsoever. She told me that the way the rules are stated, they've written that any animal must be in a cage, so it's possible some drivers take that directive to the letter. But I made it clear to her this man's attitude went far beyond that. Anyway, I'm glad I got the opportunity to speak to someone who can actually do something about it.

Regarding spending credits on Audible, your question got me thinking and I went and did a whole bunch of research based on my current Audible wishlist. There also happened to be this promotion where if I spent 4 credits in 4 days I'd get a $10 coupon, so I kept your comment in mind when I was choosing my 4 titles. I don't so much look at the length of audiobooks so much as at the price, but really, it amounts more or less to the same thing because according to my far from scientific findings, the longer audiobooks tend to be priced higher. I rarely if ever spend a credit on anything that is under, say, $17. With most titles that are under that price, I tend to wait till there is a sale and buy them at the lowest price I can get. Also, when they have their 3 for 2, or 2 for 1, or any sale at all, I always look at the initial price of the recordings and only get those that would normally have me spending a credit. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out I'm among their better customers regardless!

The titles I spent credits on today:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (50h53)
Asta's Book by Barbara Vine (14h18)
A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine (11h46)
The Bell by Iris Murdoch (12h42)

Sep 19, 2012, 1:16am

It's good to hear that you were able to explain your side of the story to a sympathetic ear at least.

Sounds like you do similar research to me when choosing a title to spend your credits on - we just use a different measurement. I always check if I can get it through my library first, though I don't check for the book on cd as they are sometimes quite scratched and I hate doing the copying. My iTunes never recognises the cd so I have to do a manual entry with each one. I looked through the classic special of 2 for 1 credit but there was nothing spectacular. I might get Bring up the Bodies and listen to it instead of reading it.
My current audio is Airman by Eoin Colfer, a children's book and quite exciting, the narrator has a lovely Irish accent. After I'll probably be ready to go for the 45 hr marathon scifi sequel.

Sep 19, 2012, 10:23am

I guess the thing is - regardless of the policies that must be enforced by the bus line - that obnoxious bus driver needs to learn how to deal with the public. Verbal assault and unecessary power-wielding is unacceptable and dangerous.

When you are in a public service occupation, you need to have a high degree of tact, patience and diplomacy. Sounds like he came up short and perhaps needs a different job... pounding sand!
Glad you got to talk to someone who can perhaps do something. At any rate, your complaint will show him he did not get away with it scot-free. Good for you!

Sep 19, 2012, 5:51pm

Did I read a ways back that Ezra will actually get on the same bed with Coco and Mimi, now? Sounds like the old boy might be getting a bit more sociable, no?

Speaking of Audible, I'm almost done with Therese Raquin narrated by Kate Winslet and I've been loving it. Wish Kate would read all my Audible books to me.

Sep 19, 2012, 7:50pm

Agree with Cee regarding the bus incident - so sorry that happened to you, Ilana.

All caught up here, and what a lovely time I had doing it! Wonderful artwork - your talent always amazes me! Lovely reviews - you have been very busy with those. Interesting conversations - I always love to see what's happening on your thread!

I enjoyed all of your reviews, but I especially liked the ones you did on the Virginia Woolf books. I really need to get to her - perhaps I'll make that one of my goals for next year. Your reviews have me wanting to get to her sooner rather than later. I also like the audiobook conversations - I am filing all of this great info away for future use, and keeping my eye out for good deals in that department.

Did you finish Dandelion WIne yet? I LOVED that book - it was my first Ray Bradbury, and it made a fan of me. I like how his writing pulls you in and makes you remember your own childhood summers and the magic of time going by so much more slowly when you are young. Have you read Something Wicked This Way Comes? I also loved that one, and it would make a great October read.

Your audiobook purchases are reminding me that I want to get back to Iris Murdoch. I am hoping that you had a fabulous day. Take care and please give Coco my love.

Sep 19, 2012, 7:53pm

I'm so glad you got to talk with someone about your bus experience.

Anyone who isn't at least a little intimidated by Virginia Woolf isn't taking her seriously, I expect.

Sep 19, 2012, 8:22pm

*Sympathetically lurking*

I do love Woolf. So intriguing.

Sep 19, 2012, 9:53pm

Nice little splurge on the books above dear lady. I really like the early Iris Murdoch books which, if I recall correctly, The Bell is a fine example of.

Sep 19, 2012, 9:56pm

*waving* at Ilana

Sep 19, 2012, 10:33pm

Hello hello! So nice to find all these lovely messages tonight! I had my first drawing class of the Fall term today, which was very interesting. It's a "Drawing as Artistic Practice" class, and as such quite experimental in approach and more or less the opposite from a technique class or a "how to", and is exactly what I signed up for. I'm always amazed at how incredibly fatigued I am after any art class, but then to be fair, I was also coping with that continued migraine AND did a bunch of errands after class, so it's only normal that I'm this tired I guess. I don't have anything to show from today unfortunately, because what we did was highly conceptual and didn't photograph well, but for those who'd like to see a dose of artwork, I'll probably post the final stage of my last painting project of the summer tomorrow. I've also nearly finished a drawing I spent about 20 hours on so far, which I'm quite pleased with. I took photos every time I worked on it and will post the lot when I've finalized it.

Doing groceries was extra awkward today, because Clara came over for a delivery last week and gave me a little invitation for a party she was having at the store to celebrate her 3rd year anniversary. I would have liked to go, but I didn't feel comfortable socializing with her after I essentially dropped her as a friend, and then Friday (the day of the party), I had that horrible incident on the bus and was much too upset and exhausted by the whole thing to consider going to a party. Anyway, I got great organic produce and meat today, and that's what's important. There'll be other parties to attend when I'm up to it I'm sure.

Finished Dandelion Wine last night. I just wrote a bunch of comments about it and realized I should save them up for my review, so that's what I'll do. For now I'll just say that I really enjoyed it and would like to reread it someday, but my own life experience and personal issues kept me from completely falling in love with it. Still, I'm glad I read it because it's a wonderful book of course.

Sep 19, 2012, 10:51pm

#222 Kerry, I do the same as you; always check with the library for any titles first. BOTH libraries that is, municipal and national and I do get them on CD because my options for dowloadable files are very limited. Most of those are WMA files as opposed to MP3, and the former only works if you're on a PC. I wish they could also be read by Macs because there are so many great books available, but not to me. :-( So... I copy lots of CDs every week. Usually they're in good enough condition to still allow me to copy them, though I've had a few duds I reported as being defective. Right now I'm copying the 13-CD set of A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer, which has been on my wishlist for a long time, though I have no idea how it got there. I got The Moonstone and I, Claudius at the 2 for 1 classics sale. Whatever else I would have liked to get, I've already read and the rest either doesn't excite me enough, of isn't something I would have spent a credit on anyway so I'll wait for 25% off sales and buy them then. Bring Up the Bodies was very good on audio. I was doubtful about it, but Simon Vance did a very good job with it.

#223 At any rate, your complaint will show him he did not get away with it scot-free.

Yes, that was at the forefront of my mind when I filed my complaint. Working with the public certainly isn't for everyone, and I can understand that, but I just refuse to be victimized and not do whatever I can about it. Hopefully he'll adjust his attitude after being talked to, though I certainly hope I never come across him again with Coco in tow!

#224 Charlotte, I may not have given Ezra his due. He's gone through quite a transformation of late and is now so VERY affectionate that it's too much of a good thing. He follows me around everywhere wanting to be pet and purring away loudly. And yes, he tolerates Coco much more, no longer leaping three feet vertically up in the air when Coco gets near, and actually remains quite calm and composed around him. I guess he figured out that Coco isn't just a visiting guest and he may as well relax a bit.

I would have loved to listen to Kate Winslet narrating Thérèse Raquin, especially as I love Zola so much, but I can't in good conscience read or listen to either French of English in translation. It would just be too awkward because I'd spend the entire time doing the mental gymnastic of translating the text back to what I would assume had been the original words in the original language. It's a fun exercise mind you, but doesn't do justice to the text and the story itself, which ends up becoming a secondary concern.

Sep 19, 2012, 11:08pm

#225 Hi Mamie! My my, so many compliments... you make me blush! I'm glad you were able to take the time to catch up here. I look forward to doing the same over at your place too. As for Ray Bradbury, so far I've only read Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine (in that order), but I certainly look forward to reading Something Wicked This Way Comes as well. To tell you the truth, I didn't like Fahrenheit 451 much and didn't intend to read more by him after that, but I'm glad so many people read him and recommended him this year, because he's an amazing author. So much so that I'll revisit F451 which I got on audio from the library and see if I've changed my mind about it.

#226 Anyone who isn't at least a little intimidated by Virginia Woolf isn't taking her seriously, I expect.

Lucy, you don't know how good it made me feel to read that comment, especially coming from you, who is probably the biggest Virginia Woolf fan I know, and certainly the one who's read and adored the most works by her.

#227 Hi Gail! You're right, intriguing is the right word for Woolf. I feel like I never quite know what to expect from her, since she truly charted her own course.

#228 Big Emphasis on "little", eh Paul? especially coming from you this week, after your recent monster haul! I must say that was truly inspiring. Not that I aim to do the same. Unless the right sale comes along... ;-)

#229 Hi Stasia!

All right. Tomorrow is another day. All I'm good for now is cuddling up in bed with a book. I really want to start on my latest Dr. Siri, but then I also have The Headmaster's Wager borrowed from the library which I don't think I'll be able to renew, since it's a recent publication, so I think I'll go with that one for now.

Sep 20, 2012, 6:01pm

I am so far behind, here......and, I apologize

.....but not for the Bastard Bus Driver. It took me a while to understand the entire episode (we don't have Buses, here)...but from what I recall, when I lived in Akron, growing up (?)...the only animals permitted on the bus were Service Dogs......which does not excuse the inexcusable...

I'm glad that you're still doing your Art classes....though they may be enervating, i bet they are worth it

Sorry i've been so "absent"...will try to do better

Hugs to you and dear Coco...

Sep 20, 2012, 7:55pm

#233 No need to apologize my dear Jude, especially considering I'm chronically behind on the threads myself. It's nice to see you've dropped by all the same. Art classes are fun and definitely very challenging. I can't decide tonight if I want to spend my energies on playing eternal catch-up with my reviews or trying to finish off a drawing I've been working on for weeks now it seems. Big decisions eh?

Sep 20, 2012, 8:12pm

Hadn't noticed the "little" bit but any splurge, mini or major, with The Bell inside it is worthy of a mention. Your steady accumulation is also impressive. I, Claudius would be in my top ten list of all time - wonderful stuff.

Sep 20, 2012, 9:57pm

#234 One of those Freudian slips eh Paul? ;-)

Speaking of steady accumulation, I noticed this month that all the physical books I've been reading come from the library, which is not a good thing. I really need to read more books from the shelves to justify all these purchases, and as a reminder, I just set about making a list of all the First in series I have sitting here patiently waiting. It took me the better part of an hour (partly because I provide links to the series pages), and I was a bit horrified to see that list is LONGER than my ongoing series list. In other words, I CANNOT start another series. Just the same, I CANNOT buy any more books either, but you see how well that's going... mind you, I have slowed down my acquisition of physical books, if only because I have no idea where to put them, and I'm starting to be afraid of consequences if I continue making my piles any taller...

Sep 20, 2012, 10:06pm

Hi Ilana- Like you, I had only read Fahrenheit 451 going into this year but thanks to the wonderful world of LT, I've now added Dandelion Wine and something Wicked to my library and LOVED both. We were talking about doing a Martian Chronicles read in November or December. We'll have to see.

Sep 20, 2012, 10:33pm

Ilana - I'm impressed with that list! There's a bunch on there that are in my stacks, too. Don't be afraid - you are not alone! My advice? Start with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - great fun and it is also short!

Edited: Sep 23, 2012, 10:13pm

124. ♫ All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West ★★★★★
(Read for TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer, 12/12 Category #1: The First Half 1901-1951)

“On the contrary, said Lady Slane, that is another thing about which I've made up my mind. I’m going to become completely self indulgent. I’m going to wallow in old age. No grand-children, they’re too young; not one of them has reached forty-five. No great grandchildren either, that would be worse. I want no strenuous young people who are not content with doing a thing, but must needs know why they do it. And I don’t want them bringing their children to see me, for it will only remind me of the terrible effort the poor creatures will have to make before they reach the end of their lives in safety. I prefer to forget about them. I want no one about me except those who are nearer to their death than to their birth.”

“She had had enough of bustle and of competition and of one set of ambitions writhing to circumvent another. She wanted to merge with the things that drifted into an empty house, though unlike the spider, she would weave no webs. She would be content to stir with the breeze and grow green in the light of the sun and to drift down the passage of years until death pushed her gently out, and shut the door behind her.” *

When Lady Slane’s husband passes away well into his 90s, her six children and their spouses set about determining how she will spend the rest of her life: she will divide her time between each couple, living in their homes and contributing to the expenses in a manner which will be amply profitable to them. But 88 year-old Deborah, who has always effaced herself behind her husband, the former Viceroy of India and a member of the House of Lords, decides otherwise; she will move into her own house in Hampstead, thank you very much, and furthermore, she will only invite elderly people like herself who have similar priorities and share her views on life. Now that she is closer than ever to dying, she wants nothing to do with the constant striving and ambitions of the young. Having installed herself in her new house, she makes a very good friend of the cottage’s owner, the elderly and very thoughtful Mr Bucktrout, who sets about renovating and redecorating the house at his own expense so she can live in greater comfort. Then a vague acquaintance, a man from her distant past in India, Mr FitzGeorge, who has become a millionaire and an eccentric renown for his collection of fine art, reintroduces himself into her life. He has always been in love with the once beautiful Lady Slane, and they form a special kind of friendship which will influence the rest of her ladyship’s few remaining years.

Vita Sackville-West, who among her many passionate love affairs, famously had Virginia Woolf as a lover, here explores how a woman who has both money and rather more than a simple room of her own might choose to live out her final years, having the ability to free herself of social constraints. The back story about the close friendship between these two authors was far from my mind when I chose to read this book, so it turned out to be a very timely read so shortly after revisiting Woolf’s A Room of One's Own. I loved and took comfort in these reflections on old age, and how one might eventually look back on life from the distance of a great many decades, having acquired completely different priorities from those of earlier years. I also found it strange and intriguing that these reflections resonated perfectly with my own at this stage in my life, albeit my 93-year old friend I’ll call “Lisel” considers me to be a mere young girl still, all things being relative, as always.


* These quotes were transcribed from the audiobook version and as such are not fully accurate. For instance, the punctuation was pure guesswork, and I hope Vita Sackville-West isn’t spinning in her grave for the liberties I took, as I certainly mean no disrespect.

The of the novel, comes from the last line of John Milton’s Samson Agonistes, a portion of which Sackville-West used as the book’s epigraph:

His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismissed,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.

eta: added quotes and generally reedited text.

Edited: Sep 21, 2012, 11:25pm

125. ♫ Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner ★★★★½
(Read for 12/12 #6: Going Places)

This was a reread, for which I treated myself and supplemented my print copy with the audio version narrated by Anna Massey, who won a BAFTA Award (British Academy Film Awards) for her interpretation of Edith Hope, the main character of this novel for a TV adaptation in 1986. The novel is set at the Hotel du Lac, located on lake Geneva in Switzerland, an exclusive family operated business which caters to a clientele which demands high quality and appreciates traditional values. A successful author of romance novels, Edith has been sent there by her friends after an unfortunate incident for which she is expected to atone and must gain in maturity. She meets the few other guests of the hotel close to the end of the tourist season, including the elderly Mrs Pusey and her much too young-looking daughter Jennifer. Mrs Pusey's, who has chosen Edith as a would-be admirer and companion, has an overbearing demeanour and a lifestyle which revolves around buying very expensive things, which make Edith reflect on her own life choices and personality. She also meets the attractive Mr Neville, who offers an easy solution which could change her life for the better (according to some). This is one of those lovely novels where not very much happens in terms of action, but where the characters and their conversations and inner workings are fascinating to read about. It was a five-star read for me the first time around, but now that I'm discovering many other wonderful British authoresses (awful word, sorry, but "female authors" sounds equally wrong somehow) such as Elizabeth Taylor, Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch, to name just those, I find myself comparing Brookner's Booker Prize winning novel with other works of equal value which makes giving this one the special and rare honour of being counted among the best of my all-time favourites a little bit harder to do. All the same, a deeply satisfying novel I am sure to revisit again and again.

Sep 20, 2012, 11:09pm

#237 Mark, I only found out about the possible GR of The Martian Chronicles after I finished it. Briefly considered reading it again with you guys if you do have the GR, but maybe not so very soon after all! Still, another fantastic Bradbury book that I'll be sure to revisit. Thanks LT indeed!

#238 Mamie, what worries me most is the fact that there are always newly published books, not to mention new-to-me books, which keep me away from my wonderful shelves filled with so many goodies and I don't know how to make sure to focus on those! Too many choices! It's like being a kid in a candy shop, but a kid who already has all it's favourite candies back at home! A good problem to have to be sure, but still a problem, right? ;-)

Right, I was aiming for super-short and sweet on the reviews and knocking out at least 4 or 5 or 6, but this is all I managed tonight. And now it's time to call it a day. See you all very soon!

Sep 21, 2012, 9:43am

>235 PaulCranswick: Ilana All Passion Spent sounds like a lovely read. I'll add it to my TBR pile.

Sep 21, 2012, 10:28am

I loved both A.P.S. and H.d.L. It's odd how I'm only discovering these marvelous authors so late in my life...well, no time to waste: must read more!

Have you tried the Lucia books by E.F. Benson? I just finished the second one, Lucia in London. They're not for everyone, but if one of them strikes your fancy, you'll be in for a real treat.

Oh, and thumbs for the reviews.

Sep 21, 2012, 10:49am

I LOVE that you gave All Passion Spent a five-star rating. After I 'discovered' it, (in my twenties no less) I kept foisting it on people, none of whom loved it as I do. I'm so happy to find a fellow traveler for APS.

I really mean it too about VW. Can't be read casually. On the other hand, wildly rewarding.

Sep 21, 2012, 11:07am

Bumping up All Passion Spent on my TBR pile. Two ladies I admire are recommending it!

Nice reviews on both books, Ilana.

Sep 21, 2012, 11:13am

Agree with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as it's a very good book, but it did traumatise me as a child - quite dark for a little girl! There was a TV adaptation done of it that didn't improve matters. I really like her as an author.

Sep 21, 2012, 11:42am

Wow, looks like your last 2 reads were good ones! :)

Happy Friday to you, Ilana. I hope you have a great weekend filled with lovely books, and lots of time to spend on your beautiful artwork.

Sep 21, 2012, 12:22pm

Aargh! I want All Passion Spent, but can't decide between a real book and Audible. Decisions, decisions.

Sep 21, 2012, 1:54pm

#239 Ooh, five stars! I still haven't read my copy but I want to, perhaps next month.

Sep 21, 2012, 7:56pm

Two very lovely reviews, Ilana! Those both sound very good, and I had not heard of either one so thanks for the nudge.

Sep 21, 2012, 10:10pm

Where did the day go? Got up late, as is my usual it seems. Had a headache while I was still asleep, so tried to sleep it off, which didn't work, so I cancelled my appointment with the OT today, was more than I could handle with the pain. Took out Coco for a walk which ended up with me taking a bunch of photos and posting them via Instagram. Most of the are on Facebook too. Then came home and worked on my drawing for a few more hours. Then decided to post my review of Wolf Hall on my blog, since I'm about to write one for Bring Up the Bodies (when I get my courage up), only turns out I started by editing here and there, and then rewriting the whole thing, and two hours later I had a huge mess! That's my days gone right there. And still, pain. But I'm still smiling.

Now what do I do with over 250 posts at this time in the month? If I start a new thread, I won't be able to start fresh for October, and if I don't, this one will really get out of hand. Any advice?

Sep 21, 2012, 10:29pm

#242 It's a wonderful novel, but as with all books, you have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it fully. Reflective and quiet is a good place to be for this one.

#243 Gail, thanks for the thumb, always appreciated! :-)

I discovered Hotel du Lac a few years back when I compiled the first of my wish lists before I'd joined this group and based myself on all the awards and "best of" lists I could find. This one sounded like one I might like, and I was amply rewarded. I've since gotten my hands on a couple more Anita Brookner novels, and have a whole bunch on my WL which are available at the library. Like many other British women authors, her books are all quite slim, so I should be able to fit them in eventually... Vita Sackville-West was just a vaguely familiar name until rather recently. I picked up APS and The Edwardians on Audible, and would love to read more of her work. I'm glad you too loved those two books.

I haven't read E. F. Benson yet, but I did pick up Queen Lucia, also on Audible some months back. I believe you may have influenced my choice, because I often look at my friend's libraries to see who loved what when I discover a new-to-me author, and must have seen you were one of his fans. Another book I look forward to.

#244 Oh yes, it's a wonderful book, but I can see how a bunch of 20-year-olds might not quite find it as satisfying. I probably would have, because I've always had a little old lady living in my brain somewhere. It's definitely one I'll return to more than once I'm sure. The audiobook was narrated by an elderly Dame Wendy Hiller, and though her reading was a bit awkward (it was indeed a reading and not a performance, and she sometimes tripped over words), she seemed to have the perfect kind of tone for it, which must be due to the fact that she was made an OBE and had Lady Slane's composure and equanimity in her old age.

#245 Hi Claudia, like many other women author's books, this one is a rather slim tome too, so not too hard to fit in between other longer works. xx

#246 I'm almost afraid of starting on The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, because every review I've read of it has convinced me it's a book I will most probably love. So then, there's the problem of high expectations. But equally, there's the problem that if it does live up to those impossible expectations, it's another quite long series. Sigh.

Sep 21, 2012, 10:38pm

#247 Thank a lot Valerie, I'm hoping the migraine will finally recede this weekend. I'm supposed to get together with a friend to visit an art gallery tomorrow, and am hoping I won't be in too much pain to do so. I have been spending a lot of time on my artwork lately, which is something that makes me very happy.

#248 Charlotte, see my comment to Lucy (in response to #244) in the previous message to get some idea about the audiobook. If I like the narrator, I tend to automatically choose the audio version, only because I get through those 10 times faster than I do print books and can fit in so much more. I love print books too, but I just don't seem to be able to sit down during the day to read somehow. Not sure why that is, whereas with audios, since I'm multitasking it seems like much less of a guilty pleasure!

#249 I hesitated to give it a full 5 stars, and still wonder if I should have gone with 4 and 7/8, but in the end, that 5 star rating is always one that comes from the heart, and for now that's how I felt about it because it resonated deeply with me. I do hope you love it too Heather.

#250 Oh wow! I can't believe I've made you discover new titles Mamie! I thought you owned every book under the sun. Between you and Paul, you must do! I'm enjoying these quiet, thoughtful reads this month, must very likely be due to the Fall weather we've been having.

Edited: Sep 21, 2012, 11:12pm

I'm only 3 chapter into The Headmaster's Wager, but so far Lam has got my full attention. I'll be off to bed shortly to get back to it and also Zola's A Love Affair, which I should finish soon. Not my favourite by him, but rather captivating all the same. Started on Asta's Book by Barbara Vine on audio yesterday. I'm really enjoying it so far, though I was expecting a much stronger mystery angle. So far it doesn't seem like one much, but the story is good, so I'm not complaining.

Sep 21, 2012, 11:49pm

Ilana, if you have any advice regarding translations of French works, particularly Balzac, I'd be most appreciative if you could pass any of them along. i loved Dangerous Liaisons in the trans. I read, and finally, after a lifetime's search, found a trans. of The Count of Monte Cristo which made me clearly see the appeal of that book across time. My daughter loved The Three Musketeers and read it several times from age 10 to 16 or so, but of course has no memory of the translator. I feel like I'm missing so much, especially with Balzac, and perhaps Zola and Collette, but just don't have the energy to take up yet another language at this late date.

I've dr.'s orders (and I do mean orders) to walk briskly 30 min. daily, and so am using the iPod like mad and loving the listening experience. I'm sure I look completely bonkers as I chuff along, frequently laughing aloud. That's okay; I'm perfetly satisfied with my latest persona: the somewhat odd but rather fun old lady.

Hope your headache is cleared now.

Sep 22, 2012, 12:25am

Ilana - without any Freudian slips whatsoever I must say that All Passion Spent seems to be just my ticket! Thanks for the very good review and for the subsequent one of Ms Brookner's which I remember you stating previously was a particular favourite.
The Edwardians was one I bought last year and will read probably early next with high expectations; I agree on A Love Affair being one of the weaker Emile Zola efforts, I included The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in my recent splurges and The Headmaster's Wager joined the fold last month. Look forward to comparing notes with all your engrossing reading. Have a lovely weekend. x

Sep 22, 2012, 1:16pm

#255 Hi Gail, I wish I could help you with finding good translations of French works, but of course since I read the originals, I've never had to bother about translations from that language. One person who could surely help you, especially with Balzac is our friend Paul here, since I know he's a huge fan and has read most of his works I believe (no mean feat in itself!), and I'm almost certain he did so in English. I remember you remarking on the joy you felt at finally finding a translation of The Count of Monte Cristo you could finally fully appreciate. I know how a good or bad translation can make or break a work, and then sometimes it's a matter of preference too, which I fount out when comparing different versions of the Iliad, with some reviewers swearing by one translators and others touting several other versions.

I like the image of you speed-walking and laughing to yourself out loud. I do occasionally let slip a chuckle here and then, and frequently walk around with a big smile on my face when I'm plugged into a book. But then, people probably thought I was eccentric already even before I started with audiobooks! :-)

#256 Paul, I do remember seeing The Wolves of Willoughby Chase among your lists of spoils recently, and have to tell you that the reason I'm even reading The Headmaster's Wager right now is because I'd seen you mention it on a previous thread of yours, and after seeing Suz comment about it got curious and looked it up. There was a glowing review by another LTer on the main page which convinced me I MUST read this book ASAP. After all, you come in third as the person responsible for the highest number of books landing on my wishlist with fully 44 recommendations so far tagged as coming from you. This is the same amount as Darryl, and you are only beat by Kerry (with a hefty 110 recommendations) and Mark, with 56. I thought you of all people might appreciate a bit of statistics, and I may as well put my obsessive tagging habit to good use! :-)

See my comment above to Gail. I'm hoping you might be able to steer her the right way.

Edited: Sep 22, 2012, 1:21pm

There's an art gallery just a little way up the road from me that is having an exhibition of photorealistic paintings, which I'll be going to with a friend shortly. I'm very grateful that my migraine is behaving and not being too obnoxious, so I'll actually be able to enjoy myself. I was going to try to knock out a few reviews in the meantime, before my friend shows up, but the next one up for review is Bring Up the Bodies, and at the moment, I'm having a hard enough time as it is rewriting my Wolf Hall review to post on my blog... so I'm off to put what I hope are the finishing touches on a drawing I might be able to show this week if I actually get it finished! I'll be back later for a bit of socializing.

Hope you're having a great Saturday everyone!

Sep 22, 2012, 10:21pm

Hi Ilana- I hope your weekend is going well. I posted the 1Q84 Group Read thread, so we are up and running. See if you can find shine Shine Shine on audio. I truly loved this book. Pushed all my buttons.

Sep 22, 2012, 10:23pm

#240: I really must read Hotel du Lac one of these days. It has been in the BlackHole far too long! I am glad to see that you enjoyed your re-read, Ilana.

Sep 22, 2012, 10:58pm

#259 Hi Mark, I was over at your thread getting caught up, and then when I saw your comment about the audio version of In Dubious Battle I went to check it out on Audible. It's not available on audio from the library, so I'll think about whether I want to spend a credit on it or not. I really like the narrator's delivery, so am strongly considering it. And then there's the fact that when the print version comes in from the library I have no idea how I'll fit it in with all the other books I've got going, even though technically the Steinbeckathon comes first...

#260 Oh yes, do yourself a favour and did out Hotel du Lac. I can see it as being one of those novels that I'll love visiting again and again. That is, if I can make room for it, what with all the other stuff on my tbr I've yet to read the once. But it's a tiny book and really doesn't take much time to get through.

Sep 22, 2012, 11:05pm

So nobody volunteered suggestions on what I should do with my thread situation. Eight more days on this thread and risk getting the thread police snapping at my heels? or do I start a new one and then... not get the opportunity to start up a new thread with the beginning of the new month, which is what I like to do? Big decisions I tell you!

I went to visit an exhibit of photorealistic paintings at a local art gallery with a friend this afternoon, after which we had a nice dinner at the café across the street. I didn't expect to like any of the paintings, because I have many reservations about photorealism, mostly to do with the fact that they show incredible mastery in terms of skills, but are low on individual artistic expression. But there was an Israeli artist who's work I really loved. One of the women working at the gallery said she'd send my image files of a couple of the paintings I liked best by him, so I might display them here or (more likely) on my blog when I get them. Dinner was steak-frites and an amazingly moist carrot cake with a cappuccino. Hadn't had carrot cake in at least a decade I think, but I believe I must have seen some over at Joe's café a few times, which really gave me a craving for them. I didn't finish the piece and asked them to bag the leftovers, so guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow? :-)

Sep 22, 2012, 11:48pm

Joe's cafe is overflowing with the carrot cake. I asked my cousin Sandra for her recipe this evening. Sounds like you will be enjoying your breakfast.

Do something outside the box and start a new thread before the beginning of the month. Just my take on it, but I will follow you here or there. :)

Sep 23, 2012, 12:23pm

By all means, start a thread early. Why not?

I adore carrot cake, which is odd as I despise carrots in any other form. It now occurs to me that it's actually after noon (how did that happen, please?) and I've not eaten. Hmm...perhaps a brunch of cereal and fruit? Or a crab roll. In a bit; I'm busy on LT.

Sep 23, 2012, 7:57pm

Hi Ilana...You are reading some incredible books. Rad Bradbury is one of my favorite authors.
All Passion Spent sounds like a great book..Your review is wonderful.

Sep 23, 2012, 8:23pm

Sounds like a good day, Ilana - and leftover carrot cake for breakfast...BONUS! I totally get the thread question because it is always nice to start a new thread with a new, you could start a new thread now, and then see where you're at at the end of the month because you might be able to have your cake and eat it, too. You might be right where you want at the end of the month - ready to start a new thread. OR, you could just wait it out here until the end of the month, throwing caution to the wind with the thread police - remember to roll down your window and politely ask, "What seems to be the problem, officer?" in a Marilyn Monroe voice. OR you could start a new thread now and then start another new thread regardless of where you're at posting wise - you just wouldn't be able to use the thread continuation feature which is really nice, but I think you have very loyal followers who would follow you anywhere, so you would be fine without it. Personally, I think you should (if you're in the mood to set up a new thread) start a new one now, and then see where you're at by the end of the month - you can decide then what your best option is.

Sep 23, 2012, 10:27pm

Nuts how the days whiz by! Last I knew, it was 5:30 and I still had a whole bunch of hours left to do stuff in. Then I started putting the finishing touches on my latest drawing project, and next think you know, it was going on 9, I had to take Coco out for a walk and also, incidentally make some kind of dinner for myself. Last night I went to bed super late, because I took it into my head to reedit my All Passion Spent review so I could post it on my blog. I was out with my friend Kristyna yesterday, and every time I speak to her she mentions how much she likes reading my reviews and I take it as a hint that I should post a new one to my blog. So I sat there for at least an hour just so I could transcribe some passages that I had especially appreciated, listening to the same 30-second segments at least 30 times each so I could get every word just right. The things I spend my time on, oy! I'm being nice to myself and saying "spend" and not "waste", mind you. I was hoping to do some reading and spend time here today and do the rounds, maybe even write my review for Bring Up the Bodies and a perhaps a few others for that eternal game of catch-up I'm playing, but it was not to be.

I may start a new thread very soon, or I may not. I just really like starting each month fresh and keeping my threads well-organized as I refer to my lists a lot during the month, and the thread continuation feature is really handy to go back and forth between threads too so... BIG decisions, right? :-)

Have almost finished Asta's Book. Not sure what to say about it at the moment, because I found it very confusing in some sections, but I see it's coming together nicely, so we'll see.

Sep 23, 2012, 11:10pm

#263 I saved one last bit of carrot cake so I could have at least a taste of it tonight. Something tells me I'll be baking one in the not too distant future. A friend reminded me of a recipe which calls for bits of pineapple too, and I'm thinking that's probably the way I'll go too.

Thanks for your advice on the thread. I may just defer the decision until September 28th or so... by which point it'll practically be October anyway. :-)

#264 Oh, crab roll, YUM! What did you end up having, Gail? It happens to me almost every day that I forget about eating. Usually it's dinner though. I'm so involved with whatever I'm doing in the evening, that I typically realize around 8 or 9 that I'm quite hungry... and no wonder since I rarely eat lunch! But then, most people don't have breakfast at noon either...

#265 Thanks Linda. I think I improved on my review by adding those quotes and fixing a few things with the phrasing that were glaring at me. Thanks for dropping by sweet lady!

#266 Mamie, you are such a darling. You post made me smile wide with all the options and counter-options you suggest. I know, I know... there's no "right" or "wrong" way of going about it. What I do know is it's too late tonight to do anything about it... so I'll decided tomorrow. Or then again, maybe not. ;-)

Sep 24, 2012, 12:20pm

Hi Ilana, I have about decided that next year I will have one thread a month whether or not I have 100 or 300 posts. I just like the idea of having all of my books for the month discussed in one location. I remember when I first started chatting on LT that it was quite common to wait for 300 posts before starting a new thread. I say do what you want!

I also wanted to chime in on "challenging" authors. I forget Lucy's exact words but they did earn an "amen" from me. If I have to struggle a bit trying to figure out what an author is trying to tell me, then I feel as if the book deserves a second reading. I don't think I've ever read a book twice without getting much more out of it the second time, and I always feel that Ms. Woolf deserves that consideration.

Sep 24, 2012, 12:33pm

Hi Ilana,
I had the same problem decision to make last month and decided to just start a new thread and see where it took me. Then I started another new thread with the new month. Frankly, my dear, I don't think it matters ;-) But I did obsess about it at the time. I'm not all that great at making decisions. When I get sick of thinking about it I usually just jump to the most forward moving option so I am not standing still. So. There you have it.

Glad you enjoyed your trip to the art gallery. Your dinner and leftover breakfast sound yummy. Many times when I am cooking I wish I lived alone so I could cook whatever I want. Ron and I have very little in common when it comes to food preferences. He has no taste :P Anyway... I think that is why I love to go out to eat - to get what I love and not have to make an extra meal. Although I have to say, we don't even agree much on which restaurants are best. Ah, the pros and cons of living with and without someone else.

Hope you slept well and have a nice day today.

PS... I think you were crazy to re-write your review! It was perfectly fine. But if it makes you more happy now, then I am more happy for you ;-)

Sep 24, 2012, 12:56pm

I'm glad the carrot cake love is spreading, Ilana, and that you got to have some in RL. I'm hopelessly devoted to it (like Olivia Newton John to John Travolta), and now I've found a place that sells carrot cake cupcakes. Ah, sweet indeed.

Sep 24, 2012, 2:21pm

Ugh, carrot cake. I'm the exact opposite to other people and love carrots but dislike carrot cake intensely.

I'll agree with you on the forgetting to eat. I tend to snack and forget to eat all day, and only eat from about 8-9pm until I go to bed. Much happier eating lots of little meals, but usually cos I can't be bothered to cook something proper.

For instance, today I have eaten about 10 biscuits, and had half a mug of tea and a glass of orange juice and it's 7.20pm. Admittedly I slept till 1.30pm and then dozed this afternoon, but it's slack, even for me!

Fingers crossed for you that when you do make the carrot cake, it turns out fabulous. Pineapple would make it even worse for me, but I'm sure it will be lovely.

Sep 24, 2012, 2:49pm

Just posting to say I love carrot cake - it's my favourite type of cake. I prefer it with a soft cheese icing to take away from the sweetness of the cake itself. The only thing I don't like about carrot cake is having to grate all the carrots...

And I've just added one post to your new thread dilemma - oops.

Sep 24, 2012, 6:51pm

oh. hurts. I was hoping I'd see him again, but it's too late. It's been too late for years already, and I only found out about it today.

Sep 24, 2012, 7:06pm

I'm very sorry for your loss, both losing him, and of the promise of new and different tomorrows that he brought.

Sep 24, 2012, 7:14pm

Thank you Jenny, I really appreciate your kind words. And very true... he offered a wide world of possibilities, but I just couldn't see past our age difference. I just hope he didn't suffer in the end.

Sep 24, 2012, 7:21pm

Ilana, I don't know what else to say except that I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope Coco's cuddles this evening will help ease your pain a little. Oh Ilana.... {{{{{hugs}}}}

Sep 24, 2012, 7:37pm

Caro, Coco is always extra cuddly and insists on being in my arms when I feel sad enough to cry. Thankfully doesn't happen all that often, but Philippe certainly deserves a shedding of tears. I was lucky to have him in my life, he certainly made it that much more interesting. Thanks for the hugs. xx

Sep 24, 2012, 7:41pm

Ilana- Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend! What a beautiful tribute you wrote for him. Perfect. Add another "hug" to the proceedings.

Sep 24, 2012, 7:55pm

Ilana - Agree with what Mark said above - what a touching tribute you were able to write. I am so sorry that you lost someone dear to you. Sending hugs and comfort your way - you are in my thoughts, sweetie.

Sep 24, 2012, 8:14pm

Many hugs for you Ilana. The hardest goodbyes are the ones that we never get a chance to say. Hopefully your fur-kids give you extra cuddles tonight to comfort you through the loss.

Sep 24, 2012, 9:03pm

#279 Thank you Mark, thank you.

#280 Mamie, I just wish I'd made more room for him in my life. He was willing to be there for me no matter what, and had once even signed me out of hospital when I'd checked myself in to the emergency during a dangerously nasty bout of depression. For many years, he let me know he was just a phone call away, and I failed to make use of the time he was here. I have no one to blame for having missed opportunities of being with him than myself.

#281 Valerie, It was a bittersweet friendship from the beginning, and I knew I'd have to say goodbye to him someday. Just too bad I didn't get to do it while he was still alive. Coco has been insisting to lay in my lap since this afternoon when I found out the (old) news.

Sep 25, 2012, 10:19am

A beautiful story with a sad ending. So sorry for your loss.
At least you had him in your life and have many good memories.

Sep 25, 2012, 10:57pm

Thanks sweetie. I appreciate the hugs and the kind message. You wouldn't believe the email I got from my mother today. I guess she doesn't subscribe to the notion that when you don't have anything nice to say it's best not to say anything at all.

Sep 25, 2012, 11:11pm

I got up extra late today, this time because I woke up with a much worse migraine in the early hours and I was hoping to sleep it, and the grief away. Of course it didn't work. I had an appointment with my psychologist which was great timing, as I had told her all about my friend Philippe over the years, and knew she's offer support and sympathy, and I also really needed her help to process the incredibly mean email my mother sent me this morning in response to my homage to him on my blog.

This evening I had a dinner date at Liselotte's (the food was ok) after which she had invited me to attend the Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) service at the nearby synagogue. She's not religious by any means, but there is a famous Canadian cellist who plays for this highest of Jewish holidays every year, so we were going to see him. I had never been to a religious service in a synagogue before, which is rather strange considering my Jewish heritage, but there you have it. There was beautiful singing and I was happy to see that I could still read in Hebrew, even make out the meaning of some of the words... But we left a bit before the end because my head felt like it might explode at any moment.

Yesterday I finished Zola's A Love Affair and also Barbara Vine's Asta's Book. Both decent books, but by no means among this year's best. I'm hoping to finish The Headmaster's Wager before the end of the month as I have a strong feeling I won't be able to renew it at the library, as it's a recent publication. It's very good so far, though it's been slow going, what with just one hour to read before sleep time divided between two books, but now I'll focus just on that one.

Drawing class tomorrow. Am off to bed now to rest my poor head. Have a good Wednesday everyone!

Sep 26, 2012, 12:24am

Ilana what a beautiful tribute to your friend. Life is full of seasons and mourning is one. I'm sorry for the opportunities lost. From your description of him, it sounds like he might have quite enjoyed your post and your sharing it with us. Take care with the migraine and a good Wednesday to you as well.

Edited: Sep 26, 2012, 10:47am

I love the 'one thread a month' program too - you're almost there....... I wish I had a few of your posts on my thread as I'm a bit below 200, and I like that automatic forwarding feature that kicks in then..... but I will lie low and lurk only until the 1st. Some months it all works perfectly - in fact usually - but some months I go over or fall short.

I'm sorry about your friend.

Sep 26, 2012, 10:50am

Sorry to hear about your thumping migraine yesterday, Ilana. Hope it's better today so you can enjoy your drawing class?

Sep 26, 2012, 10:54am

Migraines = lots of pain. Fiorocet is the magic bullet for me.

I hope you are better today.

Edited: Sep 26, 2012, 12:05pm

Members of my family who suffer from migraines (daughter, sisters, brother-in-law), all swear by that CO-Q10 supplement.

Hope you're feeling better, Ilana.

Sep 26, 2012, 1:55pm

Sorry to hear your mother is being a b*tch, but I hope the migraine has eased off and you had a good drawing class and a better day.

Sep 26, 2012, 6:34pm

Today I slept in till roughly 3:30 quite on purpose and so missed my drawing class. I wasn't in the mood to leave the house of be challenged in any way, and now I feel very much rested and much calmer and serene than I have been since the beginning of the week. Coco and I went to the library to pick up a couple of books, In Dubious Battle and the audio version of The Bean Trees. However, I'm still considering spending a credit on the audio version of In Dubious Battle, if only so I can fit it in with more ease while also making headway on the endless pile of print books I never seem to have enough time for.

Speaking of Audible credits, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but as part of their member benefits, there's the possibility of returning books one isn't completely satisfied with. I've returned half a dozen maybe so far since I discovered this option a few months back. I don't know if there's a limit to how many books one can return and imagine there must be some system in place to avoid abuses. I've returned titles that I either disliked or was expecting more out of. For instance, I returned American Gods, which I found really trying, as well as Soulless, which I couldn't continue past the first few chapters, and also Birdsong, which was good enough, but very far from fulfilling my high expectations. Which means that I've recuperated credits and can spend them on other books. Isn't that awesome?

#286 Roberta, I'm glad you enjoyed my tribute to Phillip. That's exactly the spirit in which I wrote it and it seemed like a very small gesture, but the least I could do for now. I think you're absolutely right; he would indeed have most probably enjoyed my post and my sharing it with friends and the world at large. He was always delighted when I introduced him to people I knew and liked to do the same.

#287 Lucy, I'll be sure to drop by and contribute to growing your thread so you can start a new one with the new month asap. I once posted an appeal on one of my former threads, don't know if you remember? But I think I recall you helping me out along with many others, so maybe you could do the same?

As for Phillip, I think I knew long ago that he was no longer with us. For one thing, I hadn't heard from him in so long, and for another I myself avoided contacting him and looking him up because I didn't want my worst fear confirmed. I guess I just felt it was time to face it finally.

#288 Hi Caro, thanks so much—I guess your wish for me worked, because at the moment anyway the pain is at a very tolerable level. Now drawing class, but on the other hand I'm much more rested than I've been in a while, so it's all good!

#289 My dear Linda, when I think of all the suffering you have been and continue to go through, I feel I have no right to complain. You are so very kind. I've never tried Fioricet, or if I did, it didn't do much for me. I don't bother taking anything for the migraines anymore (other than the Gabapentin I take every day), because nothing seems to offer relief. However, last night before bed I took two 500 mg tablets of Tylenol I had left over from my surgery and did get some relief, so I might try that again when the pain becomes too much. I try to avoid taking more pills what with all the medication I already take... especially if they don't do much for me!

#290 CO-Q10 eh? I remember hearing alot about it some years back, but I forget in relation to what. I'll look it up and possibly give it a try. You're lucky not to have been afflicted by migraines yourself Joe, count your blessings (though I'm sure you already do)! :-)

#291 Jenny... she can certainly be that, and sometimes seems to go out of her way to prove it. Interestingly, I haven't called her names in a long while, but when I got her email yesterday, I was reminded of what a monster I became in my teens, when I was NOT holding back on letting her know just what horrible things I thought about her, and for once, instead of feeling guilty about it, thought to myself "that was probably well-deserved actually". I'm always tiptoeing around her not to set off her more acerbic tendencies, but sometimes I'm dying to call her on it, so I'm glad you did it for me this time! Mind you, yesterday my psychologist and I both agreed that it was best I just ignore her most recent outburst. It's not even worth responding to.

No drawing class today after all, but so far the migraine is behaving! :-)

Sep 27, 2012, 9:22am

Wow. I've only returned ONE book to audible so far! I thought about returning another, but decided that I didn't want to push my limits. Maybe I SHOULD push my limits. :)

Sep 27, 2012, 11:40am

I think I'll definitely try to return The End of the World which I listened to a few weeks ago and was dreadful. I wonder if the return policy in the UK is the same - I must investigate.

Sep 27, 2012, 12:50pm

#293 Rachel, I think I exaggerated when I said I'd returned 6 audiobooks. It's probably more like 4 at this point. Their online literature says "(with the) Great Listen Guarantee, members can exchange any book that doesn’t make the grade for something else." The small print says "(this is) a beta program available to certain members in good standing" and further on "Audible reserves the right in its sole discretion to limit the number of refunds allowed by each member". All of which makes sense. I just figure that with nearly 470 titles purchased since 2011, they probably consider me a relatively good client. If you weren't happy with other titles you got, then I would definitely try to return them. What's the worst that can happen? That being said, I've only returned titles I spent a credit on. With titles purchased on sale at $4.95 I figure I take chances on books I might not have tried otherwise but certainly won't be asking for my money back.

#294 Rhian, of course I had to see what this book was about and read your review, and I can guarantee that I won't be spending a credit on that one anytime soon! You should definitely try to exchange it for another book if you can. Here in Canada, there's a tab labeled "Member Benefits" on their site, where the return program is explained. I hope you have the same policy in the UK because it definitely sounds like you landed on quite the dud!

Sep 27, 2012, 1:04pm

Well, I figure if I dislike a book so much then it's nice to be able to return it. But people are likely to take advantage of that, no? It might be nice for them to get books back rather than get bad reviews on the books.

Sep 27, 2012, 1:40pm

I guess they're counting on the fact that most people are honest, besides which it's probably quite easy to spot customers who abuse the privilege. It's also a new service which they're testing out, so there's no guarantee it'll always be available.

Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 2:01pm

I've been in a mood to shop for books, and yesterday I spent several hours on the AbeBooks site, where I was looking for British female authors on Virago editions and ended up putting through a rather large order.

The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (NYRB edition)
Full House by M. J. Farrell aka Molly Keane (Virago Modern Classics)
Loving without Tears by M. J. Farrell aka Molly Keane (Virago Modern Classics)
Time After Time by Molly Keane (Abacus)
Treasure Hunt by M. J. Farrell aka Molly Keane (Virago Modern Classics)
Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby (Virago Press)
Virago Omnibus II: All Passion Spent (Vita Sackville-West); Return of the Soldier (Rebecca West); Two Days in Aragon (Molly Keane)

I have no idea why so many Molly Keane books, considering I haven't yet read anything by her yet, though I do have Good Behaviour on the TBR. I'm also about to order The Crowded Street and Poor Caroline by Winifred Holtby from BookDepository. I do hope I end up loving The Crowded Street, because it is a Persephone Books edition and as such, quite costly. I'll be getting her best known novel, South Riding from Audible as one of my favourite narrators, Carole Boyd is the reader.

Sep 27, 2012, 4:16pm

Ilana, so sorry to hear the news about your friend Philippe - you wrote a beautiful tribute to him on your blog. Adding my hugs to everyone else's...

#298 Your recent haul of Virago books looks like it should be a good one. I'm slightly to ashamed to admit I bought several Winifred Holtby books last year after enjoying South Riding so much and I still haven't read any of them.

Sep 27, 2012, 8:09pm

Heather, I spent more than two hours today looking up Persephone Books; studying the various titles, looking at their website, comparing prices from various online merchants... no matter what, they certainly do not come at a bargain! But I've added quite a few to my wishlist and will certainly be adding more there without too much restraint—after all, at least listing them is free!

Do not feel badly about not reading other Winifred Holtby books yet. We all have more books than we can possibly get through as we would like. I've gotten started on South Riding this evening and am just settling into the story and characters. It was a real tossup between that and the latest J.K. Rowling book which came out with a lot of hoopla today and was impossible to ignore.