Smiler's Miscellany: A Little Bit of Everything & Books, Too! #14

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2012

Join LibraryThing to post.

Smiler's Miscellany: A Little Bit of Everything & Books, Too! #14

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Oct 18, 2012, 9:20pm

This is love! Now if only I can get a group of people to buy it for me... Hint: I found this beauty on Etsy.

Currently reading, listening to,
and occasionally browsing through:

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Carol Squiers
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
ABZ by Julian Rothenstein
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell


Favourites of 2012 (4.5 stars and up)
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry (review)
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd (review)
L'Assommoir by Émile Zola (review)
Études de Femmes by Honoré de Balzac (review)
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (review)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (review)
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (review)
Troubles by J. G. Farrell (review)
Letter from an Unknown Woman by Stefan Zweig (review)
Fear by Stefan Zweig (review)
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Stefan Zweig (review)
My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (review)
Stettin Station by David Downing (review)
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch (review)
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (review)
Any Human Heart by William Boyd (review)
Being There by Jerzy Kosinski (review)
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (review)
Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac (review)
Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford (review)
Part of the Furniture by Mary Wesley (review)
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West (review)
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (reread - review)
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (review)
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (review)
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam(review)

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 12/12 - COMPLETED
8. Hot Off the Press - Published since 2011 12/12 - COMPLETED
9. Visual Treats - books on art, photography, design, or just beautiful books 6/12
10. Beyond Fiction - non-fiction 7/12
11. Litérature Française - read in French 6/12
12. From My Treasure-Trove - off the shelf (acquired before 31/12/11) 8/12

Total read: 112/144
Only 32 to go!

Picked for 13/13 so far:
1. The Last Child by John Hart - avatiakh
2. Le fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux - avidmom
3. A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot - calm
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - casvelyn (also: EBT1002)
5. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay - SouthernKiwi
6. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford - NielsenGW
7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - mamzel (GR)
8. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory by William Manchester - banjo123
9. I, Claudius by Robert Graves - PaulCranswick (also: lyzard)
10. Dragonwick by Anya Seton - lyzard
11. The BFG by Roald Dahl - Whisper1
12. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - jolerie
13. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - EBT1002
14. The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch - kidzdoc
15. A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd - souloftherose
16. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - msf59
17. Les liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos - bohemima
18. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - lunacat (also: msf59)
19. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - luvamystery65
20. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg - -Eva-
21. A Dance to the Music of Time Anthony Powell - sibyx

1. avatiakh: "engaging page turner"
2. avidmom: "romantic, creepy, and downright scary"
3. calm: "it was a very good story; you have it down as recommended by me; it is on audio; also I would be interested to find out what it is like in the original French"
4. casvelyn: "It's long, but it's brilliant." (also: EBT1002: "because I have it on my TBR pile and it seems like we should read it.")
5. SouthernKiwi: "great historical fiction, a powerful coming of age story where the relationships and the strength of the human spirit are features. It was one of my favourite books right through high school."
6. NielsenGW: "Plus, the Mongols break every historical rule about civilzations and culture."
7. mamzel: "you should join us for the group read next year!" (GR, also: luvamystery65: "a wonderful long and interesting literary journey")
8. banjo123: "because I want to know more about Churchill, and if you read it, I can read your review"
9. PaulCranswick: "history brilliantly written with a wonderfully gossipy narrator. It has a bit of everything: farce, murder, sex, politics and family in a heady, witty brew. One of my personal top tens." (also: lyzard: "you can consider this a second vote")
10. lyzard: "since that came up in our conversation about Gothic literature, and because I should have read it too, and this should inspire me to finally pick it up. Perhaps we can do a shared read?"
11. Whisper1: "the creativity, the genus of the story and the warm, wonderful feelings it generated long after the last page was read"
12. jolerie: "funny, irreverent, and most of all, truthfully funny! I gave it a five star when I read it earlier this year."
13. EBT1002: "because I read it a few years ago and loved loved loved it."
14. kidzdoc: "1978 Booker Prize winner"
15. souloftherose: "because it's in my TBR pile too and it might prompt me to read it!"
16. msf59: "one of my top reads of the year. Yes, it's YA and yes it's a tear-jerker, but I also think it's wonderful"
17. bohemima: "one of the most compelling books I've ever read. Not nice characters, but a fascinating look at one section of French society."
18. lunacat: "the only book I studied at school and actually enjoyed delving into" (also: msf59: "I thought it might be one that might not work for you.")
19. luvamystery65: "I don't immediately have a category to put it in"
20. -Eva-: "to make sure that at least one Swede is represented. I'd be interested to see what you think of the French version."
21. sibyx: "should be on my Top Ten Novels by Men list. Great story, great writing, great characters, and a thoughtful view of the middle-decades of the last century. (1930-1970ish)."

Edited: Oct 18, 2012, 9:48pm

Books completed in October

134. ♫ South Riding by Winifred Holtby ★★★½ (review)
135. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Collin Cotterill ★★★½ (review)
136. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym ★★★½ (review)
137. ♫ Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf ★★★½ (review coming soon)
138. In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck ★★★⅓ (review coming soon)
139. ♫ Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy ★★★★½ (review coming soon)
140. ♫ Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (rating & review coming soon)
141. ♫ The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (rating & review coming soon)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Country Doctor by Honoré de Balzac
Teach Yourself to Dream by David Fontana

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: Oct 17, 2012, 8:20pm

Suggested reads for October

☛ ❉ The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam (September TIOLI #9: a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer, 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press) - completed in September
☛ ♫ South Riding by Winifred Holtby (TIOLI #7: title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R, 12/12 #4: Guardian Knows Best)
☛ ❉Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (TIOLI #17: Read a contemporary book set in the 1970s)
☛ ❉ In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon, TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author)
☛ ✔ ABZ by Julian Rothenstein (TIOLI #7: title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R, 12/12 #9: Visual Treats) - reading
☛ ✔ Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon, TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author)
☛ ✔ The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Connan Doyle (TIOLI #1 - tag: literature (English), 12/12 #2: Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie)
☛ ✔ Atonement by Ian McEwan (TIOLI #7: title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R, 12/12 #12: From My Treasure-Trove)
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (TIOLI #1 - tag: zoology, 12/12 #10: Beyond Fiction) - reading
☛ ♫ Blindness by José Saramago (TIOLI #1: tag: deaf fiction, 12/12 GR, 12/12 #3: Picked for me)
☛ ♫ The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (TIOLI #7: a title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R)
☛ ♫ Passing by Nella Larsen (TIOLI #7: a title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R)
☛ ♫ The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (TIOLI #1: Random Tag Generator - tag: substance abuse, 12/12 #10: Beyond Fiction)
☛ ♫ Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (tag: literature (English), 12/12 #2: Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie)
☛ ♫ The Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman (tag: Renaissance, 12/12 #10: Beyond Fiction)

Unplanned, but felt like it

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author)
Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf (12/12 #11: Litérature Française)
♫ Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author, 12/12 #2: Tea with Georgie, Vickie & Eddie - 18th & 19th Century Classics)
♫ Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author)
♫ The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author, 12/12 #5: The Dark Side)

More Options for TIOLI #1: Random Tag Generator
(This list is completely out of hand; I fell in love with that tag generator - not that I plan to actually read all these this month!)

Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (tag: English essays)
The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru (tag: literature (English))
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (tag: literature (English))
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (tag: Raymond Chandler)
The Witches by Roald Dahl (tag: jeunesse)
Maus: A Survivor's Tale (tag: read three times)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman (tag: read in 2011)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith (tag: Scottish authors)
Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith (tag: Scottish authors)
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (tag: middle America)
Native Son (African American authors)
Mister Pip (islands)
Confusion: The Private Papers of Privy Councillor R. von D. (German novel)
Frederica (Heyer)
The Fault in our Stars (love)
Delirium (love)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (AU)
Chasing Vermeer (tweens)
*W. B. Yeats: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney (tag: Yeats)
*♫ The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats (tag: Poetry)
Close Range by Annie Proulx (tag: April 2009)

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

Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 10:53pm

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), Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (Tutored Read)
December: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (Steinbeckathon), A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (GR, Tutored Read)

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: Oct 12, 2012, 5:54pm

(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.

33 out of 76 read = 43% completed

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

Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 11:45pm

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: César Birotteau by Honoré de Balzac (38/88 - 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: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/8)
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 (1/4)
The American Trilogy: American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1/3)
Aristide Ravel Mysteries : The Cavalier of the Apocalypse by Susanne Alleyn (1/4)
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 (1/2)
The Australian Trilogy: The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay (1/3)
Avalon: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1/7)
The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy: The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf (1/3)
The Borrible Trilogy: The Borribles by Michael De Larrabeiti (1/3)
Bruce Mason: The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner (1/2)
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (1/3)
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (1/9)
Claudius: I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1/2)
The Complete Novels and Stories: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I by Arthur Conan Doyle (1/2)
Corduroy Mansions: Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith (1/3)
Corfu Trilogy: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (1/3)
A Dance to the Music of Time: A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring by Anthony Powell (1/4)
Danzig Trilogy: The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (1/3)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (1/2)
Delirium: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (1/3)
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (1/2)
Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström: The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (1/8)
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (1/4)
The Giver Quartet: The Giver by Lois Lowry (1/4)
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston (1/3)
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1/2)
Henrietta's War: Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennys (1/2)
The Hummingbird's Daughter: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (1/2)
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1/8)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (1/4)
Joona Linna: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (1/3)
Kurt Wallander: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (1/10)
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory by William Manchester (1/2)
Latin American Trilogy: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis de Bernières (1/3)
Legend the Series: Legend by Marie Lu (1/2)
Leonid McGill: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley (1/4)
Leviathan: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (1/3)
Lonesome Dove: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1/4)
Mapp and Lucia: Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson (1/8)
Matthew Shardlake: Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (1/5)
Micah Dalton: The Echelon Vendetta by David Stone (1/4)
Michael Forsythe: Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty (1/3)
Mistress of the Art of Death: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (1/4)
Outlander: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1/8)
Calder Art Mysteries: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (1/3)
The Power Of One: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (1/2)
Quirke: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (1/5)
Revelation Space: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (1/7)
Shanghai Girls: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (1/2)
Sprawl: Neuromancer by William Gibson (1/3)
Tom Ripley: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1/5)
Wolves Chronicles: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (1/11)
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (1/2)
Wyoming Stories: Close Range by Annie Proulx (1/3)

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

Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 11:36pm

Booker Prize Books Read this Year (includes Shortlist and Longlist)

(list coming soon)

Booker Prize Books on my TBR

(list coming soon)

Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 7:08pm

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


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 ★★★★★ (review)
125. ♫ Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner ★★★★½ (review)
126. ♫ Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel ★★★★½ (review)
127. ♫ Birds of a Feather: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear ★★★½ (review)
128. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury ★★★★½ (review)
129. ♫ Echo Burning by Lee Child ★★★ (review)
130. ♫ Asta's Book by Barbara Vine ★★★⅓ (review)
131. A Love Affair by Émile Zola ★★★⅓ (review)
132. ♫ The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester ★★★★½ (review)
133. The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam ★★★★★ (review)

Unfinished:Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 11:12pm

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

Not exactly doing brilliantly here...

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)

31. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (entry date: 2009-11-02)
32. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (entry date: 2010-11-15)
33. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (entry date: 2011-02-19)


Sep 27, 2012, 11:35pm

Woo! :)

Sep 27, 2012, 11:37pm

Hey, Roberta! You get top billing, congrats! :-)

Sep 27, 2012, 11:40pm

Nice new thread, Ilana! Glad I got here in time for a front row seat!

Edited: Sep 27, 2012, 11:42pm

Heh, and what a seat, eh Mamie? There's plenty of room on it still!

eta: what are you doing up so late anyway? I'm about to call it a night!

Sep 28, 2012, 5:09am

Very organised start to the thread again Ilana.

Lovely chaise in the opening picture:)

Hope you have a relaxed and pain free day.

Sep 28, 2012, 6:23am

Lovely to see a nice short new thread to hop onto. I need to go back and visit your old one, but at least I've checked in here!

I do love your lists, as ever - and this time especially I was admiring the neat symbols used to indicate off the shelf, library, audio etc - it looks much better than way than writing it in after each book as I do. Must remember that...

You're doing very well at that 'Books I'd like to read in 2012'. If I even got so far as to make such a list, I would probably find that I ended reading loads of other books entirely - I'm not very good at planning ahead.

Oh, and I see you mention suggested reads for October including a TIOLI section - which must mean that the Oct TIOLI is up already - I was about to go and check that.

Hope to keep up a bit more on this new thread. Have a good day, Ilana!

Sep 28, 2012, 7:01am

Hi Ilana- Congrats on the new thread! You go girl!

Sep 28, 2012, 8:05am

*waving* at Ilana

Sep 28, 2012, 10:38am

Morning Ilana - I was up watching the football game, which was much more enjoyable now they've got the real refs back.

I think I will make a list of books that I want to read for next year - I really like that feature you have up top, and think it would be so helpful to keep the books I would most like to get to fresh in my mind.

Of your books up there that are candidates for the October TIOLI #!, I have to highly recommend both The Glass Castle and The Big Sleep.

Sep 28, 2012, 11:53am

Jumping straight in for the new edition Ilana. Trust that you will have a lovely, restful and invigorating (does the 3rd cancel out the 2nd)? The easy chair does look a keeper doesn't it? x

Sep 28, 2012, 12:15pm

That's an amazing chair, Ilana! I can see Willie squatting right up against the back, refusing to give it up to all comers.

I see you resolved your When-To-Start-The-New-Thread dilemma. I don't know why I've been continuing on and on and on all year in my one thread the way I have been - I should have just started new ones. Think I will do that next year. It will give the illusion of popularity, don't you think?

Lovely essay/tribute you wrote about your friend...

Sep 28, 2012, 12:17pm

Maybe if we all pool together, we can get the chair and put it in the LT dream house.

I reckon a decent sized castle should hold a fair number of us, with cottages built in the ground for the more reclusive. Not sure it would hold all our books, but there must be a large amount of repetition, so if we have one huge library, it must be doable.

Sep 28, 2012, 12:27pm

Love the chair, and will look forward to trying it in the LT dream house. Congrats on the snazzy new thread, Ilana!

Sep 28, 2012, 1:06pm

Hi there!

Love the chaise. Maybe I will buy two - one for each of us! LOL

Sep 28, 2012, 1:12pm

That really is a beautiful chair - or is it a chaise - I'm never quite sure?

Sep 28, 2012, 5:31pm

Woo Hoo! So many visitors! That's one of the big perks of starting a new thread of course, I'd almost forgotten about that. I held on as long as I could, but it was time to move into a new home, especially since I have that beautiful new piece of furniture that is needing extra room (I wish this was true!)

Not much to report today. Beautiful fall weather outside, nicely cool, perfect for a cashmere sweater and light jacket. Slept in very late, as I seem to have been doing all week, and then spend a ridiculous amount of time playing around with the random tag generator for Madeline's TIOLI challenge. I waste time on the silliest things! I'm just fascinated by that feature though.

I stopped putting out reviews on my last thread because I got to Bring Up the Bodies and felt too intimidated by it to write anything, so I'll just write a couple of lines of comments and move on with it. Would be nice to start the month with all my September reviews squared away, so I'll aim to get that done over the next couple of days.

With the few hours remaining today, I'm having a hard time deciding between:

- sitting on the couch with Coco and finishing The Headmaster's Wager, which has held me in fascination. Am now down to less than 100 pages to go.
- baking an apple crisp
- posting my artwork
- working on art projects
- writing reviews
- visiting much-neglected threads
- signing up to HBO again so I can catch up on the first two episodes of Boardwalk Empire before Sunday

Life is tough I tell ya!

Forgot to mention I finished The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester a couple of days ago. I plowed right through that one, finished it in two days. Brilliant. Loved it. On the other hand, I'm struggling a bit with South Riding. I should probably have read the first couple of excellent reviews on the book page before getting this one, because I'm afraid most of it will probably go right over my head, what with one of the main topics being local politics; not my cup of tea. Another difficulty is a huge list of characters, always hard for me to keep track of. That being said, there are interesting relationships and lovely writing of course to keep me hanging in there, so we'll see how I find the next two-thirds of the book.

Answering individual comments next.

Sep 28, 2012, 5:54pm

#14 calm I would get that chaise immediately if it wasn't so expensive, although I don't doubt for a moment that it's well worth the price. Also: if I actually had room to put it somewhere. For the same price mind you, I could probably find a much more fun covering for a now old Roche-Bobois chaise my mother passed on to me and which currently only serves as a sitting arrangement for Coco and the cats.

Thanks for reminding me to take notice of the fact that I am actually not feeling any pain today! I'm so used to it being there than an absence of it doesn't always register!

#15 Welcome Genny! I know what you mean about hopping onto short threads. I think it must be true for all of us that we find those much more encouraging to visit: less work!

The symbols are really useful, though of course I constantly have to be copy/pasting as they aren't accessible from the normal keyboard, but I like that I can identify everything at a glance. That'll forever be the graphic designer in me! You're welcome to borrow or steal this system to suit your needs. I didn't invent it after all!

I'm glad you think I'm doing well on my 2012 list. I guess you're right, as I just went and counted them, and calculated that so far I've read 32 out of 76 books listed, for a 42% rate of completion. Considering that I'm forever ignoring my own goals and picking up books based on recommendations or new arrivals, I knew from the start that I couldn't expect to complete much more than half that list. Still, I'll try to pay more attention to it in this last quarter. I'll do the same next year, if only because I like having some kind of guideline... and I love making lists of course!

#16 Thanks Mark! I guess this 14th thread could have been well underway already if I hadn't held back on starting a new one so long, but I get real satisfaction out of starting a new thread with the beginning of the month.

#17 Hi Stasia!

Edited: Sep 28, 2012, 6:21pm

#18 Ah, football. Now that will probably be the first and last time that topic is ever broached on this thread! I've never been much of a fan of organized or televised sports, and in fact, had to laugh when the random tag generator came up with "sports" because I don't think I have any books at all with that label in my collection!

For the books I wanted to read this year, I also made a huge pile on one of my side tables to keep as many of them within easy reach, but I get the feeling quite a few of those will remain in place well into 2013 as well, because as you probably know, following a set plan when it comes to reading choices isn't always practical, or desirable!

Very good chance I'll make time for The Glass Castle this month. As for The Big Sleep, all those wonderful crime classics have been on my radar since I was a teenager, so while I do look forward to getting to it, it's anyone's guess when I'll actually get to it!

I guess I'd better start looking around at the other TIOLI challenges as well, because this month's suggested reads list is already the longest I've ever made as it is!

#19 Paul, I think restful and invigorating can actually go very well hand in hand. Today has definitely been that so far. I could have done without some very bad news from my mum, namely that they won't be renewing her contract at the school she was teaching French in. With few job prospects in the little French town where she lives, and hardly any for anyone over 65, things are looking rather dire for her... but I've made a point not to start feeling guilty about my own circumstances and feel unworthy as I often do when I compare mine to her situation.

#20 Hi Charlotte! The only trouble if I got that chair is I wouldn't want the cats sitting on it and covering it with a coating of hair, so maybe it's just as well I just have that picture to look at and fantasize about and not the real thing? At least the image will always look perfect!

The when-to-start-the-new-thread dilemma was resolved the way I deal with most difficult decisions nowadays: defer, defer, defer. Eventually, either a solution comes to me, or time does it's own thing. As for your thread... I'll have to dedicate a massive session to get caught up with you as I've been so very bad at keeping up with people this year. 2011 was much easier in that sense, if only because I essentially spent most of my waking hours on LT! I'm still struggling to find a healthy balance between all the things I want to do and my innate tendency to just while the hours away not doing anything at all! Somehow, I'm not holding my breath...

#21 Ooooh! A castle! A huge pooled library! A place for all of us to get together! Sounds just wonderful! I guess if we can figure out how to get the castle and all the logistics that go with it (starting with funds and location), then getting the chaise will be the least of our difficulties! :-)

#22 Hi Joe! It's always nice to dream a little dream isn't it? I was just dreaming of a pretty sitting arrangement, but Jenny obviously thinks big with her castle. I wonder if we could arrange for full-time staff and if some of us could elect to be permanent residents maybe? After all, I assume it would be rather roomy, right? And of course we've got to have a Joe's café in there.

#23 Claudia, either that or we can keeping sending it back and forth to each other. That would be more feasible than getting one each as there is only one in existence! Wanna toss for it? ;-)

#24 Do you know Rhian, that's a good question. I have no idea what the correct term is, and you might have noticed that I conveniently sidestepped that issue by just avoiding either word in my caption. I know in French I would call it a chaise longue, but even so there might be other applicable terms for it. All I know is every time I look at it, my heart goes pitty-patter! :-)

Sep 28, 2012, 11:23pm

One of the very few paintings I've ever managed to complete. I posted it on my blog and you can see the final stages (and a much larger image) here:">

Sep 28, 2012, 11:32pm

Beautiful work Ilana, I love the dark blue drippy section, and how his right shoulder really looks squashed up against what he is leaning on.
If it was the man, sitting on a chair or some normal setting, I wouldnt like it half as much as I do with the abstract background. Awesome!

Sep 29, 2012, 11:14am

Wow, I like the completed painting, Ilana. You really have to search to find the profile in the background. Super cool!

I'm glad to find I'm not the only one who got hooked on the tag generator. That was a fun way to waste time. I finally made myself choose a book and quit playing around.

I can see many hours spent reading on that colorful chaise lounge. I would think that merely looking at it would be a mood brightener. I'm going to be on the lookout for one at garage sales and flea markets to put upstairs in my second favorite reading nook. Thanks for a great idea.

Sep 29, 2012, 11:37am

I'm another wow, Ilana. That's some painting. You must feel a real sense of accomplishment.

I like your dreaming re Jenny's castle, and I'm sure we can link the cafe somehow. That painting would be a good addition to the wall.

Sep 29, 2012, 12:37pm

From your last thread - I think you will love Molly Keane.

Sep 29, 2012, 1:58pm

Checking in on your new thread. Love the chaise, I have one here but it could do with a colourful restoration project.
I also think your latest painting is rather fine.

Sep 29, 2012, 2:11pm

Sleepy, cloudy grey day today. I've been reading reviews and comments on The Casual Vacancy with great interest since it came out on Thursday. At this point, all I can say is, boy, am I glad I didn't pre-order a copy of spend one of my precious Audible credits on it, and from the sounds of it, I won't be reading it even if I get a free copy.

Yesterday, from the list of things I wanted to do, I actually managed three items, i.e. working on a drawing, posting my artwork and visiting a few threads. Today's list of things I'd like to do is much the same as Friday's, augmented by a necessary trip to the library to return The Giver, which was reserved by someone and therefore non-renewable, and trip to Staples for (woo hoo) some printer toner... let's see what actually gets done today.

Sep 29, 2012, 2:25pm

#29 Thanks for the comments on the painting Megan. I didn't know at first whether I'd include the actual couch and some items in background, but came to the same conclusion as you did.

#30 Donna, you're right about that chaise being a mood brightener. The free version (i.e. the photo) works pretty well that way too! :-)

At least you managed to settle on one book after playing with the tag generator. I ended up making some crazy list and not settling on anything, how nutty is that? I'm hoping someone will take me up on a few titles on the TIOLI thread to help me narrow down my options.

I was pretty happy with the way the painting turned out. Can't say I love it to the point of wanting it hanging on my wall though and right now it's sitting in my hallway drying out. I'm getting tired of looking at it every day. Once a project is finished, I just want to move on! That's the way I used to feel about my boyfriends too mind you. I wonder if there's any connection?

#31 I'm glad you think so Lucy. Before I settle on any one author I've never read before, I tend to do some research here on LT and see who among my "interesting library" contacts and LT friends has them in their library, read any available reviews by them, and so on. I should at least try to read Good Behaviour before the year is out.

#32 Hi Kerry, I'm so in love with that antique Suzani from Uzbekistan they covered the chaise in... I may have to try to source something similar for the Roche Bobois chaise I currently have. Or at least get a pillow or two!

Sep 29, 2012, 10:26pm

Hi Ilana, I think every reader should have a chaise lounge! Unfortunately, I don't have one except when I get to spend time at my daughter's vacation home, she has a lovely bright red chaise lounge tucked into a corner.

Of course, the chaise at the top of your thread is covered in a fantastic print - just the thing for an artist!

BTW - I spent way too much time fooling around with the Random Thread Generator as well. And as usual I have probably overbooked myself on the various TIOLI challenges.

Sep 29, 2012, 10:59pm

Another fan of your finished painting my dear - the blue "echo" of his image is very effective IMO. X

Sep 29, 2012, 11:08pm

Oh dear, another day finished, and it truly feels like I didn't get anything done. I did spend the last couple of hours working on a new drawing. I think I might be starting a series. I'll post the various steps of the first one (which I spent about 20 hours working on all told) either tomorrow or sometime in the coming week at any rate.

Off to bed early tonight. I'm dying to finish The Headmaster's Wager and start on something else. Haven't decided what that'll be. Either Anarchy and Old Dogs or In Dubious Battle. Not an easy choice!

#36 Judy, I have a chaise but don't use it often enough. For one thing, there isn't adequate lighting in that corner of the room, and for the other it's become the animal's hangout somehow. But now I'm thinking I should move a lamp over there and spend some quality extra quality reading time there. It's been a while since I've taken the luxury to read in the daytime.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who got sucked into the tag generator machine! Way too much fun! :-)

#37 Thanks dear Paul. Hope all is well in your world. I'll have to drop by very soon to catch up with you. xx

Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 1:17pm

I finished The Headmaster's Wager last night. It's a 5 star read for me, and I'll be recommending it to absolutely everybody. I hope I can do it justice when comes the time to review it, which should hopefully be soon.

Speaking of reviews, that is my priority today. In some cases, it'll just be brief comments, but I must get them out of the way or else I'll never manage to catch up. Mind you, with 1Q84 coming up next, I won't be getting through quite as many books in October...

Sep 30, 2012, 1:56pm

126. ♫ Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel ★★★★½
(Read for September Series & Sequels, September TIOLI #16: first published in 2012, 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press)

The second instalment in the Wolf Hall trilogy takes place in the now familiar court of Henry VIII, with a king who has become disenchanted with wife #2, Anne Boleyn. There's the fact that she has failed to produce a male heir, and there's also the problem that HVIII isn't so keen on giving it another try with her, as he's fallen out of love and can't understand what he ever saw in her in the first place. Besides which his attention is now wholly taken up with upcoming wife #3, Jane Seymour. Thomas Cromwell's job is once again to extirpate his boss from a marriage the king insists shouldn't have taken place in the first place (an argument which is beginning to sound like a familiar tune). But this queen has signed her own death warrant, making Cromwell's job relatively easy. There are rumours that Anne has been bedding many lovers, and all he, Cromwell needs do is to get her men to implicate one another. When one young man begins to squeal following vague allusions to torture, it soon comes to light that Anne has been bedding anything and everything she has ever laid eyes on. There might be some exaggeration to this claim, but Cromwell's work is soon accomplished, and Anne, disbelieving the turn of events, is sent off to the tower to await what she fervently believes will end with Henry's pardon and loving embrace, though Cromwell knows, and history has shown that she was soon to part with her head. Hilary Mantel once again excels in bringing to life the actors in this real-life tragedy. But where Cromwell almost seemed like an essentially good man who had simply done what he had to do to survive and make a name for himself in the first book, here is seen as much more manipulative and lacking in sympathy for his opponent, though Mantel had also shown Anne Boleyn as a character few would have grown especially attached to.

Almost impossible to put down, I initially reluctantly picked up the audiobook version feeling almost certain this particular book would not work on that format, but was once again pleasantly surprised. Simon Vance does an excellent job as always, with a reading which makes Mantel's brilliant prose flow and sparkle. Even the "He, Cromwell" Mantel used throughout to help the reader along, and which many readers found jarring, seemed completely appropriate as delivered by this narrator. Much recommended, whichever format you opt for.

Sep 30, 2012, 2:12pm

127. ♫ Birds of a Feather: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear ★★★½
(Read for 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)

In book two of this popular series, Maisie is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his 30-year-old daughter who has been living under his roof and has disappeared without a trace. This in itself isn't so unusual as it seems the young woman has run away in the past, but this time things look worrisome as several of Charlotte's old school chums are found murdered one after another, with one having committed suicide. Nobody in the household other than Charlotte's father seems much saddened by her disappearance, as it seems Charlotte was not liked, something which is fully explained when Maisie works out the mystery and finds the story is yet another tragedy linked with the Great War. It took me a while to warm to this one, and I very nearly gave up in the first third of the story; while I found that Maisie's training and holistic approach to her work, combining various psychological techniques, was intriguing in the first book, here it all seemed slightly absurd. But soon the story grew in complexity and what first seemed like quite a silly story became engrossing enough for me to want to continue on with the next book.

Sep 30, 2012, 2:15pm

Off to walk Coco in the rain. More coming soon.

Sep 30, 2012, 2:17pm

Hi Ilana, I just love that chaise .....I'd love to have one too ..even if it doesn't go with anything else in this house. But then come to think of it ....we have such a hodge podge mixture of furniture maybe it will indeed fit in nicely.

Loved your review of Bring Up the Bodies. I'm reading A Place of Greater Safety now. I picked it up this morning. Only 60 pages in and I'm already drawn into the story behind some characters in the French Revolution.

Sep 30, 2012, 3:39pm

Some fabulous reviews here. Hope you have a lovely (and not too wet) walk with Coco, and that he isn't a wimp and appreciates it. I know how some dogs can be - my mum's is one of them. HATES going for walks in the rain.

Sep 30, 2012, 5:43pm

Agree with Jenny - very nice reviews here, as usual! And a 5 star rating on The Headmaster's Wager - Wow! I'll be waiting to see what you have to say about it, but already I'm impressed if you gave it the winner, winner, chicken dinner rating.

Hope you are having a lovely walk with the incredibly cute Coco. Please give him my love.

Sep 30, 2012, 6:12pm

#43 Hi Caroline, I see that chaise is quite a winner. I never seem to tire looking at it, so I'm glad it pleases my visitors too! I know what you mean about having a hodge podge of furniture. It's the same here, and that's the kind of style I tend to favour because I find it shows individuality. Let me know if you end up getting that chaise though, as I may just have to come down and visit you just so I can see it in person (not at all for you of course! lol)

I've just added a bunch of Hilary Mantel novels to my wishlist after seeing your comment. A Place of Greater Safety was already on the list, and isn't among the offerings at the library unfortunately, but I added the few books of here that were, i.e. Beyond Black and The Giant, O'Brien, which both sound rather intriguing. She's definitely a fascinating writer and I hope to read some of her other stuff before the final book in the Wolf Hall Trilogy comes out.

#44 It was quite persistent rain we stepped out into, and usually I'm the one who wants to cut the walk short and get home as quickly as possible. But this time I had my wellies on with my favourite umbrella and I was in the mood to step into some puddles. Normally Coco is very hardy and thinks nothing of the rain, which usually drives me mad as he casually sniffs at every single square inch of ground her covers, but today after the short walk down the black he seemed ready to call it quits. I dragged him along further to the grounds of the bus terminal, where there is a large lawn surrounded by trees where I like to let him loose. Once we got there, he seemed quite happy to get drenched for the sake of taking in all the no doubt fascinating scents! So no, not a wimp, is he, my little precious one. He can actually be quite fierce sometimes, which is of course the funniest thing. :-)

#45 Gee thanks Mamie. I got involved with doing other things around the house and got behind on my self-appointed task up catching up on reviews. But I'm about to continue in a moment. I've been supplementing Coco's diet of store-bought holistic food (both kibbles and cans) with steamed veggies which he seems to just adore. I've even tested it today, as one of the tins I get is just a big chunk of stewed beef which he usually goes wild over, but nope, he was going for the carrots and broccoli first thing again today! So I prepared a whole bunch cut up in tiny pieces and put some in the freezer so I can have it on hand for a while.

The Headmaster's Wager lingered well after I'd finished it. I tried to go to sleep but was too filled with images from the book and the ending, so started on Anarchy and Old Dogs to get into something more humorous, but today still that haunting story is on my mind. This book definitely deserves to be discovered and enjoyed by a much wider readership. I just hope my review does it justice when I get to it. Never heard that "winner, winner, chicken dinner rating", is that one of yours or your kids?

I've been giving Coco lots of cuddles today. He used to sleep well away from me, as since I got him, he's always been very concerned about getting stepped on or squashed. Probably the people before me weren't as careful as they should have been. But now after 2.5 years, he's become much more trusting and for the past month or so, he's taken to huddling right up to me at night, even as I toss and turn, and it really makes my heart melt, as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm so lucky to have such an adorable love bug! :-)

Sep 30, 2012, 6:29pm

It's just an expression that means top dog or the best spot. I meant that you gave it the highest possible rating - 5 out of 5 stars.

Love that Coco doesn't mind the rain - our dogs will not go out in it. Wish you could have been here earlier when after posting I clicked the arrow to take me back to the top of you thread. Birdy was walking by and saw the pictures of Coco. She just could not stop going on about how cute he was, and she had to call the other kids to come and see your dear sweet Coco!!

Sep 30, 2012, 6:56pm

128. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury ★★★★½
(Read for 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, 12/12 #7: Young at Heart)

What can I possibly add about this wonderful little book which manages to capture all the best parts of summer along with timeless life lessons about the impermanence of all things, in wonderfully evocative, poetic prose? At first I was a bit doubtful as to whether I could give this little gem the attention it deserved, because it asks the reader to slow right down and drink in the words while paying attention to every nuance and simile. But then with the chapter about the joy of buying new sneakers that so many other reviewers mentioned, I was pulled right in; the irresistible attraction of new sneakers that seem to have the power of making you run faster, jump higher, be almost like a godlike thing for at least a brief period of time before the power of marketing and the smell of newness are replaced with the fact that they're just another pair of shoes... Wonderful. I didn't expect the novel to be broken up into a series of sketches, each exploring different themes, presenting us with different characters and slices of life around Green Town, a quiet midwestern town where tradition sidles along with eccentrics and fantasy and even a touch of depravity and horror.

My initial reaction was one of slight disappointment. This book seems to have resonated so deeply with many readers who described it in loving terms in recent months, but I can't say I fell in love with it the way many of you did. Perhaps because I couldn't at all relate to the kind of life and surroundings the Spaulding boys, who are at the heart of it all, enjoyed, having never had a family unit, or stayed in any one place long enough for it to get all that familiar, or get to really know my neighbours, having mostly lived in the city since I was born, so that it all seemed to me like an idealized fantasy and reminded me of all the things I had missed out on. That part wasn't too great. But one of the advantages of taking a week or two after finishing a book before writing about it is that one can let it linger and let various impressions settle and others come to the surface. And what emerges now is that this book isn't so very different from The Martian Chronicles. Whether in Green Town or in Mars, we are shown how very strange life is, the whole cycle of life is explored, along with so many of the oddities it can encompass. And no matter where one comes from, or what kind of childhood one has had, we are all daily witnesses of how strange and wonderful and fun and scary life can be.

I liked a lot, and will definitely revisit Green Town in future.

Sep 30, 2012, 7:09pm

#47 Oh Mamie, your comment about Birdie being taken with Coco and calling the others to see is making me smile wide! :-)

Sep 30, 2012, 7:17pm

Hi Ilana- I like your painting! Very impressive. I'm glad you loved DW. It was such a joy to read. I'm still dragging my feet on Wolf Hall. No excuses either.
Hope you had a great weekend.

Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 6:52pm

129. ♫ Echo Burning by Lee Child ★★★
(Read for September Series & Sequels)

Reacher, hitchhiking and eager to get out of a town where he's just broken the nose of an officer of the law, eagerly jumps into the car of Carmen Greer, barely believing his luck that a beautiful lady in a fancy vehicle would dare pick up a huge, scary looking bum like him. But Carmen has an agenda of her own. She tells Reacher her sad story: cut off from her wealthy Mexican family after falling pregnant and marrying Texas-born Sloop Greer, she's been living in Sloop's family compound in a tiny out of the way town called Echo, where everyone despises her because of her brown skin and Mexican heritage, and Sloop's mother can't stand her own granddaughter because of her mixed blood. But worst of all is Sloop's violent temper and the harsh abuse he inflicts on Carmen on a daily basis, breaking bones and setting teeth loose. Sloop has been in jail for the past 18 months, but he's about to get out, and Carmen is desperate for protection. But is it protection she seeks, or is she actually looking for someone to kill her husband? And is she even telling the truth?

Something about this story didn't quite work for me. I didn't buy the fact that Reacher decides to go along with Carmen and involve himself in her scary family business with a bunch or rednecks. There were a lot of lectures about a lot of various topics along the way, lots and lots of statistics given, which all made it feel like Lee Child had fallen in love with his research and couldn't resist using it as filler for a story that didn't have all that much going for it. Still, I couldn't stop listening and had to hang in there till the end, so obviously Lee Child knows a thing or two about writing a gripping story. Something tells me the next one will be a lot better.

Sep 30, 2012, 7:28pm

#50 Hey Mark! Thanks for the comment on my painting. There's nothing to feel bad about, you'll get to Wolf Hall when you get to it, if it's in the stars for you. Somehow, I don't see you being terribly interested in Tudor history, but then, you always surprise me with your range. Hope you had a great weekend too. I'll be starting on 1Q84 very soon. Have you? I'll have to visit the thread soon I guess!

Just a few more reviews to go...

Sep 30, 2012, 7:36pm

>40 Smiler69: I also listened to the audiobook format and was surprised at how accessable it was. It wasn't quite as accessible for Wolf Hall (although it was excellently narrated). Bring up the Bodies had fewer confusing jumps in time and was generally more clear, I felt.

Edited: Sep 30, 2012, 8:03pm

130. ♫ Asta's Book by Barbara Vine ★★★⅓

It is 1905 and Asta Westerby and her husband Rasmus have just moved to England from Denmark with their two boys, with a third child on the way, which Asta dearly hopes will be a girl. Asta tells her story through a series of journals, in which she writes sporadically about various events, describing her family life; her marriage, her children, her maid, which make up her whole universe. Asta has an independent spirit and was not necessarily cut out to be a wife and mother, but she accepts her lot because other alternatives don't seem appealing or feasible. But this is only part of the story, because the other part takes place in a contemporary setting, sometime in the 90s, which is when this book was published. Asta's granddaughter Ann has come into her inheritance now that her aunt Swanny has passed away. Swanny was Asta's favourite child and having discovered her mother's journals after her passing, decided to have them translated and published with tremendous success. Now Ann is responsible for the manuscripts and intends to continue publishing additional volumes. But there are various mysteries to be found in what have become historical artifacts. Swanny was never able to learn the truth about her true identity after receiving an anonymous letter telling her she was not in fact Asta's child, something which Asta herself refused to confirm on way or another. Is the answer to be found in one of the volumes? But there are also mentions about a horrible crime which was a sensation in it's time, with Alfred Roper accused of murdering his wife and the disappearance of their young toddler Lizzie. Was Swanny that Roper child? And if not, what happened to Lizzie? These are mysteries which Ann and a friend producing a movie about the murder mystery are out to solve.

The premise of this novel seemed very interesting, but I found the story very confusing, with two seemingly completely separate stories and families that had nothing in common somehow connected in a way which is only revealed at the very end. Perhaps this is a story which benefits from a second reading. Then again, perhaps my own mind is too muddled to understand a plot which doesn't follow a familiar narrative style. I also kept wondering why Asta's journals had become such hugely successful books, as they didn't seem to make for such gripping reading on their own. Don't let my confused ramblings about this book influence you though, because it seems to have met with a lot of appreciation with other readers.

Sep 30, 2012, 7:58pm

#53 Rachel, I can imagine that Wolf Hall might have been somewhat confusing and hard to follow on the audio format. Even if you didn't have the same difficulties as I did in needing to learn who all the characters were and about the historical events the story is based on, it took me a while to figure out Mantel's writing style and I really wonder how it might have sounded when narrated out loud.

Sep 30, 2012, 9:12pm

Two superb reviws - Bring up the Bodies and Dandelion Wine. I am part way through the latter -- I found an audio book that is really an audio play, doesn't work in the car, so I'm thinking I must find the book and start all over. Fascinated by the parallel you draw between it and The Martian Chronicles.

Is it raining up your way. It's rained and rained and rained here today. Got dark so early that now at 9:30 it feels like 11:00, like wayyy past bedtime.

Sep 30, 2012, 10:16pm

Glad you liked the reviews Lucy. It too me a long time to get my nerve up to write anything at all about Bring Up the Bodies. Mantel seriously intimidates me! In the best way possible I should add.

It's rained absolute buckets today here too. I'm worried I may have caught a cold an hour ago when I went to walk Coco. He was taking his sweet time, and though I was wearing wellies and a cardigan and jacket and had an umbrella, as soon as I stepped outside I wished I had put on a hat too. That evil cold kind of humidity that just penetrates to the bone. So I'm off to make myself some Sleepytime with a healthy dollop of honey and packing myself off to bed. I feel like I didn't do anything today, but I guess knocking down 5 book reviews is better than nothing.

Oct 1, 2012, 12:21pm

Strange - I had a less than excited reaction to my most recent read which was also a Barbara Vine book. It was my first one of hers. It just seemed to take so long to get to the point.

Don't know why I referred to your (yes, I think of it as yours - hands off, Caro!) chaise as a chair. Possibly because I am seriously contemplating a furniture purchase and had just focused on the idea of two chairs to replace the couch. But, am thinking now that a chaise and a chair would be ever so much better.

Oct 1, 2012, 5:23pm

Another day largely lost to sleep. It's another incredibly humid day which makes for extra chilliness factor. I feel depressed, but I have no idea why, which must mean my hormones are kicking in and playing with my head. Mind you, I think I'm still grieving the passing of my friend. Tomorrow I'm meeting with my OT and feeling a bit apprehensive about that, since I've been very bad at keeping to my goals. Going to sleep extra late, getting extra late too, barely doing any yoga... but at least I've been doing some artwork fairly regularly, so it's not all bad.

#58 Which Barbara Vine book did you read Charlotte? The first Ruth Rendell book I read was The Crocodile Bird, which I found quite brilliant, so I definitely intend to keep reading her because I'm sure there'll be other books of hers I'll appreciate. It's just a matter of landing the right ones I guess. I have another Barbara Vine book on the tbr which is A Dark-Adapted Eye. Oh, and A Sight for Sore Eyes too, thought that was published as a Ruth Rendell I think.

Oct 1, 2012, 7:23pm

Wonderful reviews (as usual)!
They are always unique and full of you ;-) (btw, that's a good thing)

Someday I WILL learn to listen and scoff up the audio books. I'm thinking once you find readers you love, it's a bit easier to take. But I'm so visual. It's a handicap at times. Maybe because one ear does not work well and I'm always afraid I'm gonna miss something? :(

Oh, that Coco! So glad with winter coming on he is getting more trusting and cuddly. You can turn your heat down and snuggle - LOL!
That dog knows how to appreciate the finer things in life and please his woman!

Oct 1, 2012, 7:44pm

Wow, Ilana .. you have a nice set of reviews there.

I've found myself enjoying the Reacher series, but I do think some are better than others. It sounds like Echo Burning is one I may put on the back burner for a spell. I've just read a Reacher and for me, I find that I enjoy this series better if I put some space between the reads.

Oct 1, 2012, 7:47pm

Maybe it's the shock of this weather, I'm a bit off today too. Hope you wake up tomorrow feeling better.

Oct 1, 2012, 8:25pm

#60 Thanks Claudia, I was going to write the last three reviews for September today, but inspiration was lacking. It's funny you know, because I most definitely am more visual than anything else, so one would think audiobooks wouldn't work for me at all. But just don't worry about it, no point in feeling bad about not enjoying them more. One of my favourite things about them is they take me out of my own (usually negative) thoughts, and than in itself is a huge blessing.

#61 Caro, I do enjoy Reacher, but like you, I need to space them out. I could see myself quickly getting an indigestion otherwise!

#62 I was wondering about the weather today Lucy, and how it is that after several decades of this business of living in constantly changing seasons, we never get used to the transitions... I'm sure the fact that the days always get increasingly shorter at this time of year doesn't help with mood fluctuations either.

Oct 1, 2012, 8:47pm

Ilana - Sorry that you are feeling down today. Wishing for you a better day tomorrow. I LOVE your review of Dandelion Wine. " can let it linger and let various impressions settle and others come to the surface."It is definitely a book to be savored; one that begs the reader to slow down and luxuriate in the beauty of the language.

Thank you for all of the lovely reviews that you write. They are always full of introspection and thought-provoking comments.

Oct 1, 2012, 8:49pm

Mamie, I was just now over on your thread! Always make me smile when that happens. I wonder what the real-life equivalent would be?

Oct 2, 2012, 10:10am

Hi Ilana,
Finally finding little bits of time here and there to get back on LT and catch up with folks. I'm so glad you read and enjoyed Dandelion Wine. I don't know that I'd ever have bothered with it were it not for this group and I, too, found it to be wonderful.
Really, you've been writing some great reviews in the past week or so. Nicely done!

So sorry about the passing of your friend; that seems like a good "explanation" for your feeling depressed (although, in my experience, explanations are simply not always needed, nor always available). Oh, and the hormones, too. :-|

I hope that you and Coco are well and that OT goes well today. Are you planning to read Tortilla Flat this month? I think I have it on hold at the library, set to "activate" this week.

Oct 2, 2012, 10:12am

Oh, by the way, I adore the chaise longue in the photo at the top. Surround it with a bookshelf or two (which any of us would do) and it will qualify for Richard's book porn series!

Oct 2, 2012, 12:14pm

The Barbara Vine I read was The House of Stairs that I bought at a local library sale about 15 years ago. Never cared to read it until now - the aversion to mysteries being responsible, I would think. That seeming to have abated, it seemed like the time to tackle this book as Rendell, I understand, is very well thought of. Mean to read some more of hers.

Oct 2, 2012, 1:01pm

Hi Ilana. Sorry to hear that you've been feeling more depressed - sending hugs and strict instructions to be gentle with yourself. I am eagerly awaiting your review of The Headmaster's Wager (5 stars!) but, no pressure...

Oct 2, 2012, 2:34pm

Why, hello, Ilana! I've not had much time for LT lately but am very glad I checked your thread today! Most marvelous picture of the man. I may like that best of your work that I've seen.

In case I didn't get the correct, or enough, information to you, the podcast (just one of hundreds, my Dear) is indeed titled "Books You Should Read". It emanates from Canada (maybe more interesting for you?) rather than the U.K. It's available on iTunes; go to the store, click podcasts, type name in searchbar. The major provider of funds for the show is Audible, oddly enough. I find it quite engaging, and it's just long enough to get me through my walks.

I feel better about myself now that I know that I'm not alone in not meeting my goals (walking, yoga, meditating, etc.) I'm still early into therapy, though, so I'm hoping that I'll get better as I go along. Facing the dr. every 2 weeks does help motivate me a bit, but just a bit.

On the Hilary Mantel front, I got her autobio. and dipped into it briefly: looks wonderful.

Hope you have a good day today, Ilana.

Oct 2, 2012, 6:18pm

I went to bed extra extra early last night, right after taking Coco out for a walk around 9 p.m. Started listening to 1Q84 and... I'm not sure I'm in the right mood for Murakami at the moment. I consider myself a fan, but I really have to be in the right frame of mind. I'd say he's definitely a destabilizing writer and at the moment I'm needing... I don't know, reassuring things. 19th Century classics maybe? More or less the opposite of Murakami. Something familiar where nothing too shocking happens. No sex, nothing bizarre. The narrators talk very very very slowly on this one, and since it's over 45 hours long, I decided to try listening to it a 2x speed. Never did that before. Very strange. I can see the appeal of getting through such a huge work in half the time mind you. But today I got to the chapter where Aomame is describing her onetime lesbian sexual experience with a friend, and other than the fact that I can't stand any kind of sexual content these days, I'm especially turned off by having a man describe sex between women. Just seems... gross and very wrong. Which I'm sure is not how men experience it, which is just my point. So. Maybe I'll put 1Q84 on hold for now. I'm in such a strange mood lately, and the last thing I want is a book playing with my head and making me feel even more uncomfortable.

Didn't go see my OT after all today. As I was saying, I went to bed very early, and then read half of Anarchy for Old Dogs, which was a lot of fun, but then struggled with insomnia till the small hours of the morning. So then of course couldn't get up today. And got stuck in one of those dreams that persisted, even when it was interrupted every 10 minutes (or is it 9?) when the snooze went off on my alarm clock. One of those dreams that seems more real than waking. Our appointment was a 2:30, and at 3 I was still struggling to wake up. I called her just after 3 and explained the situation to her. She's very understanding. I told her I was grieving, and how badly I'd been doing with my goals, with a very very very sleepy voice, but then I started telling her about my latest art projects, the drawings I'm doing of people on the metro based on candid photos I take, and all of the sudden I felt very wakeful and excited. So obviously things are going ok on the art front. As long as I don't try to figure out what it all means or what the whole point of it is.

Tomorrow, my aunt Helene is picking me up in the morning for a brunch before my art class. She's the one who's 70th birthday party/family reunion I attended this summer. I like her a lot, but I'm nervous about having to be up early in the morning, considering how difficult getting out of bed has been lately. But she lives in Ottawa and spend 6 months of the year in Mexico with her husband, and is leaving soon, so I definitely want to see her while she's passing through town. I suspect we'll be talking about my mum's situation, which I don't so much look forward to, but then again, she always has an interesting way of looking at things which is usually very reassuring to me.

Almost 6:20 already. I have to do some research for my drawing class tomorrow - find good photos of trees to work from. And I want to work on my current drawing. And I want to post some artwork. And I want to visit threads. And I want to write reviews. And read. And lay on the couch and do nothing. I guess if I do ONE of those things today, I should consider it a productive day, seeing the kind of day I'm having and how little of it is left.

Am I boring/depressing you yet?

Oct 2, 2012, 6:37pm

#66 Ellen, it seems Dandelion Wine went through quite a revival here on LT. Actually, I suspect most of Ray Bradbury's books have been getting read quite a lot since his passing this summer. I never knew what a great writer he was, and I'm glad there were group reads here on LT because even if I didn't participate in them, it did mean we all got exposed to lots of reviews about his work. I'll be reading more of his work for sure.

I do want to read Tortilla Flat this month. And In Dubious Battle, which I didn't manage to get to in September. I'll pick that one up right after Anarchy and Old Dogs actually. I have Tortilla Flat in the Penguin edition of Steinbeck short stories I got for the Steinbeckathon, so it's close at hand. I guess I should see what's going on with that in terms of getting the thread started and checking if Tania is still up to heading it this month.

#68 Charlotte, and aversion to mysteries would be a very good reason for you not enjoying that Barbara Vine book much. I'm not familiar with that particular title mind you, but then she wrote so many books! I wonder, why did you decided to read it at all? Are you wanting to take up mysteries after all? Do you find that's missing from your life? Not enough books out there for you to read without them? That's a joke of course. I'd be happy to be able to eliminate entire reading categories, and mysteries would certainly rule out quite a few books.

#69 Now I wish I hand't said I'd be rating The Headmaster's Wager so high. Not because I've change my mind, but because I've created expectations, and I'll be stressing about whether I can do the book justice and then probably put off writing that review for ages as a consequence! Or not. Maybe I'll just write two words: READ IT! Short, sweet and to the point. Though I doubt that would be all that effective...

#70 I must have found the right podcast when I initially looked for it then, Gail. Quite honestly though, I rarely if ever listen to podcasts. I usually want to devote my listening time actually going through books, but I'll get a podcast or two to at least give it a try. All I know is every time I get other things than books to listen to, they end up languishing there. I subscribed to the New Yorker digest for a bit, and only listened to about half. Same with the Charlie Rose show (which I don't see on tv since Ihaven't been watching tv for quite a while).

Sticking to goals is hard! Changing habits is hard. Doing things because you "should"... well, can you find a better reason not to precisely because of that "should"?

An autobiography by Hilary Mantel sounds appealing. First though, I have to read more of her work. I've added a whole bunch of titles to my wishlist. Now it's just a matter of getting to them, eventually.

Oct 2, 2012, 7:09pm

Am I boring/depressing you yet?
Not at all! Sorry about your sleeping dilemma. I've dealt with that myself and it certainly messes with your life! I started Tortilla Flats this morning and its full, once again, with Steinbeck's humor. I liked In Dubious Battle but it was in no way a "fun" read so I'm glad our October Steinbeck pick is (from what I can see so far) more lighthearted. Enjoyed your recent reviews and your review of Dandelion Wine especially - I'll have to get around to that one one day. Looking forward to your next art project too!

Oct 2, 2012, 8:47pm

at the moment I'm needing... I don't know, reassuring things. 19th Century classics maybe? More or less the opposite of Murakami. Something familiar where nothing too shocking happens. No sex, nothing bizarre.

Just reminding you that the Barchester Towers tutored read is coming up in December, Ilana. :)

Take care of yourself!

Oct 2, 2012, 8:54pm

Dear Ilana, I trust that the meet-up with your aunt goes well.

Oct 2, 2012, 9:55pm

Ilana, I'm also hoping you managed to get to the meetup with your aunt ok. I'm also down for the GR of IQ84, will be reading not listening, but have promised myself to not push it if I'm not in the mood when I start.
I've been enjoying my Diana Wynne Jones reading of late and have marked down two more books for the month, fun with magic.

Oct 2, 2012, 10:09pm

I was just organizing some of my photos to look for suitable tree images for my class tomorrow and imported some 3000 images to iPhoto just now. I sat there and looked at them all stream by like a movie on fast forward, all of them taken in 2007 on my trip to Australia. I was some 30 lbs lighter then, and absolutely manic, doing ashtanga yoga for 90 minutes every day, jogging several times a week, had so much energy I was constantly buzzing. And snapping pictures like my life depended on it. Lots of great photos. Lots of beautiful trees. It'll be hard to choose. A lifetime ago. It was my step brother's wedding. He married into this fantastic family and I do believe I had the time of my life with them. No wonder I hit such a huge wall when I came back to Montreal.

Sorry. I'm blabbing. In a feeling sorry for myself mood today I guess. I still feel like I'm on some weird drug... been like that since I woke up. Will head to bed early again tonight and hope sleep comes easily and without too many wonky special effects.

Oct 2, 2012, 10:16pm

#73 About the next art project: something funny's been going on and I haven't been able to import the photos taken on my iPhone to the computer for the past week or so. I was going to start organizing the pics I took of my last drawing project today, but tech stuff and life got in the way. I do want to take care of that very soon. Of course I'll post a link here when I finally manage to post something. Glad you didn't find me depressing/boring. :-) (a weak one)

#74 Oh yes, thanks for the reminder Liz. I'll have to add it to the list and think of getting my hands on the book. I may do an audio again, though that won't make a difference since I'm not the one being tutored (who is, by the way?)

#75 Paul, my time with Helene is always pleasant. I just hope getting up doesn't prove too much of a challenge, and that I don't feel as out of it as I do today. I'm not even talking mood-wise (though I could definitely do without feeling so depressed), but energy-wise too. I really do feel like I've been partying with the wrong drug mix!

#76 The good news is my aunt is picking me up tomorrow morning. So the absolute worst that can happen is I don't wake up on time, she rings the doorbell and I tumble out of bed and have to rush to get ready. Though I'd rather do without that scenario taking place. I've visited your thread a few times recently, but have been lurking. I do seem to recall you mentioning Diana Wynne Jones.

Oct 2, 2012, 10:44pm

Ilana lovely - hello! Back from Cambodia and desperately trying to catch up on my favourite threads - but that is an almost impossible task. You habve been doing some great reading - and extraordinary painting - well done on both. Such a talented girl. Would love to see some of your photos of Australia - maybe it is time you came back here for a visit? Happy to put you up in the spare room! Sorry to hear you have been 'taking a walk with the black dog'. I finally feel that I am coming out of my low. Exercise is always the key for me, and I have been training three times a week for an hour each session, and have now added cardio into the mix (though not with any regularity - not a fan of the treadmill, but trying to persevere.) Hope you made your outing with your aunt and that it was delightful! And thanks for visiting my thread!

Oct 3, 2012, 2:59am

Sorry to hear sleeping is leaving you feeling all fugged up (don't know if that's a real word). I've experienced that at times and you'er right, it does feel exactly like you're on some kind of weird drug. I hope you managed to sleep better and are feeling more refreshed this morning.

I think I'm the 'official' tutee on the Barchester Towers read although others are very welcome to chip in with questions and comments,

And please don't feel under pressure about The Headmaster's Wager - I'm interested in what you have to say about it but there really is no pressure. A two word 'READ IT!' review is often quite effective for me :-)

Edited: Oct 3, 2012, 4:52am

Once again catching up by skimming through 160 missed posts on 2 threads... I hope to be back as a regular now at least for a while.

Some belated comments :

- Thanks for posting the update on the bus experiment, and I am glad to read it was at least a sympathetic person who called you back.

- Wow - full 5 stars for All Passion Spent? Goes to the top of my tbr right now, I will get to it as soon as I am feeling a little less moody. I have to be a bit careful with the more sentimental books lately and need to balance them out with somthing uplifting.

- Hotel du Lac also sounds like a good book for me and I could spend an audible credit on it.

- Now I want carrot cake for breakfast! But American style, with that creamcheese topping/filling.

- oh no, just read your wonderful tribute to Philippe.... I am so very sorry for your loss. As lunacat so perfectly said of him as a person and "of the promise of new and different tomorrows that he brought". Sending you {{{hugs}}}

- LOVE the chair in the entry post

- Beautiful painting! Thanks for sharing the stages with us!

Work phone rings... back later!


- Thumbs up for your review of ButB. I also listened to the Simon Vance audiobook and was surprised how well it worked in that format. I agree that Mantel's writing is intimidating, in the best possible way :-)

- I really must get to Dandelion Wine eventually...

- When I read about the 1Q84 GR on your old thread I thought 'I should join..', but 'should' is not the same as 'want to' and maybe it is better to read this book without any pressure. I bought it some weeks ago, but as you said, you need to be in the right frame of mind for Murakami. His Kafka stood unnoticed on my shelf for 2 years until that day when it 'jumped at me' and I just had to read it in one go.

Oct 3, 2012, 11:25am

Hi Ilana!
Glad to see you are reading Anarchy and Old Dogs. I found it amusing and wondered if you got to the quote that made me think of you (and myself)... re sleep.

Hope you made it to brunch with your aunt. She may be the medicine you need right now to cheer you.
Brunch and art class - good mood lifters!

Oct 3, 2012, 10:17pm

My aunt and I had breakfast at my place this morning. She's having an angiogram tomorrow and is understandably quite nervous about that, so we ended up having this great conversation about the process one goes through to accept the eventuality of death. This was for breakfast, mind you. Then I went to drawing class, which was really interesting. Then I came home and got tacked onto the couch. And now I'm seriously considering not going to my first painting class tomorrow after all. I don't know what I was thinking signing up for two classes in a row like that, knowing full well how exhausted I am after a normal class, never mind following it up with a full-day class.

Yesterday, I've been through no less than 5 audiobooks since yesterday. There was 1Q84, which wan't working for me, so I followed it up with The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. I couldn't concentrate on the introductions to the characters, so figured I'd best try that some other time. So I started on Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf, but after maybe 30 minutes, I realized I wasn't in the mood for impressionistic language either, so I switched to Cesar Birotteau by Balzac, which I was definitely in the mood for, only about 25 minutes into it, and wondering whether something was wrong with my brain's wiring, I realized the order of the chapters must have gotten screwed up when I copied it, because the story was making no sense at all, and if one can count on Balzac for one thing at the very least, it's that he knows how to tell a story. So. I need to borrow that one from the library to copy it again. So today I started on The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I don't know if that'll stick either, because I'm not so sure I'm in the mood for YA right now. I don't remember having this much trouble settling on a book in quite some time.

I did finish Anarchy and Old Dogs this evening. I was amused, but can't say I loved it. Maybe I should just drop everything and read The Headmaster's Wager again.

#79 Prue! I saw you'd commented on Paul's thread yesterday and am glad you've made your way over here. I'll have to drop by your place to get news of your trip! Yes, seems the black dog's been enjoying sticking by my side lately. Coco doesn't like the competition, but then, I rather do without myself. I will keep in mind that you have a spare room. Did I ever mention that when I visited Australia I told myself I should just go back and stay for good? In which case, you might want to consider what you'd charge for rend. ;-)

#80 Heather, I'm glad you know what I mean about that drugged feeling. Makes me feel less freakish.

I did figure you were probably the tutee for Barchester Towers, but I wasn't certain. Are we still going to read A Tale of Two Cities together this year? I haven't visited the tutored reads thread in a long time, and I know this book was presenting difficulties, what with quite a few people interested in being tutored. I'd be just as happy to follow along with someone else's thread if that helps.

#81 Hi Nathalie, I'm much much overdue for catching up with you too, as I imagine a lot has been going on in your life. While I wouldn't say All Passion Spent is exactly hilariously funny, it does have quite a positive message, with the heroine having decided to spend the rest of her old age exactly how she wishes to do so, so in that sense it's certainly uplifting, though you do have to be in the right mood to take in the perspective of someone who is embracing the fact that she's reached the end of her life. I think I waited till they had one of their sales to get Hotel du Lac because the way it's priced here it didn't really make sense to spend a credit on it, but it's a great book so if that's what you opt for, I certainly won't discourage you! As for Murakami, I didn't decide anything, but I've been dealing with things I can't decide about (which is most things these days) by deferring indefinitely...

#82 Claudia, I completely forgot to look out for that quote, and consequently missed it altogether, so you'll have to give me an idea where I can find it. I wouldn't say Brunch today was exactly cheery, but it was an interesting conversation, which is usually the case with her as she's an interesting lady. Towards the end, I showed her the text I'd written about Philippe (as I'd mentioned I'd been in mourning lately), and then the email my mum had sent me in reaction to it, and her comments were: "well, it's all about her isn't it?" and "well your mother's never been an empathetic person." At least I know it's not all in my head.

Oct 4, 2012, 1:38am

A death conversation for breakfast... that's a demanding start into the day.
I'd say don't feel guilty if you skip the second class if you don't feel well enough to attend. The classes should make you feel good and not exhaust you completely.

I had a look at Hotel du Lac on audible yesterday and put it on my WL for now, just for the price reason. You're right, it doesn't make much sense spending a credit on it.

Re. audiobooks: some of the ones you mention in your post above are certainly very difficult audio material. Okay, you're a native speaker, but I could imagine that Virginia Woolf or Murakami are not easy to follow on audio. I guess my mind would constantly slip away to other things. For me personally audio is best with linear stories (Miss Pettigrew for example). I finished The Satanic Verses yesterday and while I enjoyed it very much and rated it with 4.5 stars, I found it extremely complex and hard to follow on audio with the dream sequences and time jumps. But I'd recommend it just for the great narration - if you haven't read it yet and like magical realism.

Oct 4, 2012, 2:14pm

Murakami . . . is definitely a destabilizing writer. Well said. He is. I get totally caught up in the worlds he creates. I couldn't read anything else for a while after 1Q84 because . . . they wouldn't be Murakami. A rare experience, but definitely immersive and destabilizing.

I hope the right time comes around for you to enjoy it.

I've been recommending A Tale of Two Cities to my daughter as an exciting, non-doorstop Charles Dickens book. (Don't tell Richard).

Oct 4, 2012, 8:33pm

Up at 3 p.m. today, in keeping with my latest sleep overdoses, and that, only when the doorbell wrang with the postman delivering a large book to me - the Virago Omnibus edition with All Passion Spent, The Return of the Soldier (both for eventual and repeated rereads) and Two Days in Aragon. It's beautiful book, but I hope I won't find it too unwieldy when comes time to read from it. After Coco's walk, I got tacked onto the couch again, this time with Barbara Pym's Excellent Women, which I started on last night and of course wan't a planned read, because it does figure that having planned for too many books this month, none of the appealed to me last night. It's a strange sort of book for me, what with the heroine being an old maid (ok, not so strange), and a vicar's daughter who spends most of her time either attending church or doing parish-related activities. But it felt like a comforting sort of book to be whiling time away with today.

Tonight I was working on my drawing when the phone rang—my aunt from Ottawa. I was surprised, as she'd said she would send a group email to let people know how her angiogram had gone. It seems it did not go well at all and found her arteries so blocked that they'll be scheduling open-heart surgery for her next. Poor dear. I know these things are fairly routine these days, but this was not at all the kind of news she had expected, since she's always taken excellent care of herself. But it seems our heredity is very bad as far as heart conditions go on that side of the family. The good news is they caught it on time. of course.

Will be back soon. Coco is is telling me he's desperate for a walk right now.

Oct 4, 2012, 8:37pm

I've been having trouble finding the right audio book lately, but I did finally find something that is tolerable. For some obscure reason I am finding travel and history books (provided the history isn't too violent) work the best for me these days. Sometimes a good mystery will work too.

Oct 4, 2012, 8:56pm

*lurking with nothing constructive to say, except that I hope you lose your black dog soon.

Edited: Oct 4, 2012, 10:56pm

#84 A death conversation for breakfast... that's a demanding start into the day.

Must say I tend to agree with you there Nathalie! I did briefly consider picking up The Satanic Verses recently. I have both the audio and the book format, so I suppose I could switch back and forth between the two.

#85 I'll get back into Murakami eventually. I've got several of his books on my tbr to look forward to when I'm in the right mood again.

#87 I have a sense that changes in season are hard transition times for many of us Lucy, and I guess it's normal that we notice discomfort with our favourite activities too, such as reading, since it's something that occupies so much of our time. There are such prolonged periods of time when I'm generally satisfied with almost everything I read, so I'm just looking forward for the temporary discomfort to pass. I'm listening to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie at the moment, and while it's not a brilliant fit at the moment, it's still managing to be a decent diversion, which is saying quite a lot for it I guess.

#88 Thanks Gail dear. When I think of your situation sometimes, I really think I have no right to complain at all. Wishing you well my dear.

Oct 4, 2012, 11:37pm

Popping in to say hello. Been so busy with RL (work & taking Mom to doctors). Hang in there Ilana dear. I'm sending you positive thoughts from my home to yours.

Oct 4, 2012, 11:53pm

Oh dear, Ilana, I SO sypathise about not quite finding exactly the right book to suit one's mood at a particular time and space. One of the pleasures of having so many many books on the Shelves of Shame is that there is a wide chioce when such fussiness takes over. As you know, I won't re-read a book, so can't turn to a tried-and-trusted. Which is why I have a few Anne Tyler's still in the TBR pile. Slipping between her covers is like cosying up with an old friend that you don't have to keep conversing with. I absolutely LOVED The Pursuit of Love but perhaps it required more concentration in audio format? If you check out my library, you might see that I have several books on the Mitford family and its various siblings. Such a fascinating lot!

Oct 5, 2012, 11:03am

Ilana, your experience with trying to find the right book reminds me of speed dating. Five minutes...and move on. It sounds like Ms. Pym might be the best date for you right now. I just started the Harold Fry book, and it strikes me as a comfort read. I know what you mean about having to be in the mood for Murakami. He can either challenge and delight or put one over the edge!

I hope your aunt does well with her surgery, and that life gets brighter for you soon.

Oct 5, 2012, 11:30am

#85 & #89 Like I wrote to Rachel (The_Hibernator) on another thread, the anticipation of reading a Murakami is almost as good as reading a Murakami. 1Q84 remains an unread one for me (and un-bought too), but I am in no hurry (for either).

Oct 5, 2012, 11:33am

#85 A Tale of Two Cities is an excellent book, and forget about Richard, he doesn't like Murakami either! Sometimes I wonder if he is secretly an Ayn Rand fan :D

Oct 5, 2012, 12:20pm

I actually got up before 11 this morning, which, relatively speaking is early for me lately. My friend Kimmy is coming this evening for a much belated get-together. I'll be making lamb chops on the BBQ and preparing some kind of dessert, either a plum clafoutis or an apple crisp, or both, if I have time for it. Feeling a bit better than I have been for the past couple of weeks, so I'll hope I'm on the upswing again.

Yesterday I typed something in response to several mentions about Richard on my thread, and then feeling like it perhaps wasn't appropriate, edited it out, but I think I'll risk putting it out there again, because he's been mentioned here several times this week and I'd like to clarify something. I've always been amazed and delighted about how welcoming and warm everyone in this group has been from the beginning, but he is the one exception to the rule. Shortly after I joined the 75ers in 2010, this much beloved person decided to block me for no good reason at all, which I think understandably made me feel absolutely wretched and miserable. I'm not saying this to gain sympathy or to sully his image, but simply because repeated mention of him here has made me feel deeply uncomfortable, and I'd like to put a stop to it. So far, my threads have been a Richard-free zone, and I'd like to keep it that way, unless the man himself deigns to apologize some day, but I expect a snowstorm in hell before that happens. I don't know if I'll have the courage to leave this message here. I don't want to seem to be causing dissent within this lovely group, but I simply don't want constant reminders of an incident which early on made me question whether I should stay here or not, and because I'm feeling rather fragile these days, I thought I'd put this out there. Thanks for understanding.

Edited: Oct 5, 2012, 12:36pm

#90 Hi Roberta, thanks for dropping by, all the more so since you're so busy lately. I hope your mum is doing ok. Spending time with a good friend today should bring some kind of relief. I don't usually feel lonely or isolated, but must I have been in the past couple of weeks. That being said, I much appreciate your support from afar.

#91 Prue, I have one Anne Tyler book in the tbr, which is Breathing Lessons, but I must say I haven't read anything by her yet. As for The Pursuit of Love, something tells me I will enjoy it. I just have a lot of trouble keeping track on names and when several characters are introduced at the beginning, I often get confused and can't remember who's who. The other day I felt particularly troubled, so nothing was registering with me, which really has nothing to do with the quality of Nancy Mitford's writing. I've heard so much about the Mitford clan that I definitely want to read works by and about them. I also have The Sun King on the tbr which I hope to get to in the not too distant future.

#92 Hi Donna, the concept of a comfort read is something I'm familiar with, but unfortunately I haven't figured out what types of books work best when I'm needing a safe and soft landing place. Instinctively, I wanted to listen to some Balzac, because 19th century French literature was probably where I started when I decided to move beyond children's books in my tweens (actually, my first "adult" book was Anna Karenina I believe, but in the French translation, which amounts more or less to the same). Right now The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is ok enough. As Prue said just above you, having well-stocked shelves, both physical and virtual is the best guarantee to find something suitable when these strange moods strike, so I know I'll find something that'll hit just the right note with me soon enough.

#93 Piyush, after writing the above about comfort reads, I can't help but wonder if anyone would consider Murakami to be comfort reading. Mind you, I wouldn't be shocked if someone said yes, because of course being challenged and jolted out of complacency is comforting for some people (thinking of my own mother here, for example). I've read and loved several of his books, so I know it's just a question of time before I tackle him again.

eta: oh, and speaking of Ayn Rand, so far I've only read The Fountainhead, and that was well before I joined LT, but I must say I thought it was an excellent book and would definitely read it again!

Oct 5, 2012, 1:47pm

I hope everyone would agree that you are entitled to express your wishes about anything here on LT on your own thread, whether or not others agree with them, and that it is common courtesy to not talk about something you don't wish brought up in your own 'abode' as it were.

I'm pleased to see that you have had a slight upswing in things, and long may it continue. I've had an awful week myself, which is finally (possibly) looking up, so I know what a relief it can be.

Oct 5, 2012, 1:57pm

Hi Ilana! Wow, how did I end up almost a hundred messages behind on your new thread?? :)
Anyways, now I'm here, I'll just make myself comfortable on that beautiful new chair of yours and wait patiently for your wonderful reviews.

Have a great weekend! :)

Oct 5, 2012, 3:04pm

#97 Thanks Jenny. As you can imagine, I was very careful about my wording, and I only hesitated to post my comments because we all of us here on LT (or at least here in the 75ers) abide by an unwritten rule to focus on the positive when it comes to interrelations and avoid conflicts and negative feedback. It's part of what makes this group such a wonderful, safe place where we all feel we can be ourselves without fear of reprisals. So I certainly didn't want to seem to be stoking the flame of dissent. But as you say, on my own thread I'd rather avoid topics that make me feel uncomfortable, and as I saw the conversations were often pointing toward such a source of discomfort, I thought maybe it was a good idea to nip it in the bud. I just hope I wasn't hurtful to anyone indirectly or directly related and that I won't have antagonized anyone by brining up an unpleasant incident. As you say, I feel that my threads are indeed an extension of my home (as most of us probably do) and I certainly treasure the fact that my home is a safe and loving cocoon where the only unpleasantness that can come about it due to my own sometimes troubled mind.

That being said, thank you ever so much for your support and understanding.

Oct 5, 2012, 3:07pm

#98 Valerie! Thanks so much for dropping by! You are absolutely welcome to a seat on that gorgeous piece of furniture and yes, you do remind me that I'm once again needing to get cracking on some reviews before the situation gets completely out of control again. I've just today decided that I won't review every single book anymore. Those I feel I don't have much to say about, I'll simply write one or two lines about and concentrate my energies on those books I can't shut up about! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend too... it's a long one, with our Canadian Thanksgiving too I believe?

Oct 5, 2012, 3:15pm

I devoured a 4 book omnibus by Nancy Mitford in a couple of days a few years ago, so I'm sure that you'll like it when you're in the mood. Comfort reading for me is sometimes a travel memoir like Long Ago In France: The Years In Dijon by MFK Fisher which I started yesterday.

Oct 5, 2012, 3:32pm

That's a great idea, Ilana! Freedom to review what we want or to make it as long or as short, as detailed or as vague as we want is absolutely great. :)
Oh, I'm glad it's okay to sit on the chair and I totally forgot to ask before I settled down and made myself comfortable because there are some things that meant to be looked at, admired at a distant, but not to be touched (at least that was my mom's philosophy).
Yes, a long weekend, I CAN'T WAIT!

Oct 5, 2012, 3:48pm

Hi Ilana- Of course I recall the incident you are referring to and I completely understand your discomfort. I do not think many LTers remember it or even knew it happened but you have a right to say or suggest whatever you want on your thread.
Have a nice time with your friend tonight. Sorry you won't be joining us for 1Q84 but I agree, he is an author you need to be in the right mood for.

Oct 6, 2012, 12:03pm

Sorry to see that your Aunt's angiogram revealed problems serious enough to warrant an operation. I trust that she will come through it and go from strength to strength.
Smiled when I saw that you were struggling to settle on an audio book - wonder whether that would happen with a trad book? Hope you find one that suits very soon. I agree wholeheartedly of course with your views about the storytelling prowess of Honore de Balzac.
Know of course from you of the issues you bravely vented earlier. Not sure that personal space can quite be inviolate on this type of forum but of course there is a certain decorum and sensitivity to each other required. I do have to say that I can be leaden footed at times and my attempts at humour sometimes gives offence to others. I have on a few occasions felt the need to apologise to others when I have upset someone. Some people just don't click with each other and there is nothing wrong with that and there are others in the group I find to be heavy weather (lips sealed of course!! but your particular "nemesis" is not one of them to be honest).
You have always been amongst my dearest of friends in the group and I am a little concerned that you are troubled by this at present. Don't think it is too much of an issue those of us that like both of you would definitely agree that you have a perfect right to choose your friends and that you have a perfect right to express yourself as you deem appropriate without fear of condemnation. x
Have a lovely weekend my dear.

Oct 6, 2012, 12:55pm

Hi Ilana
Hope you had a great day with your friend! I have no idea what a plum clafoutis is but I would happily help you eat the apple crisp! :)

Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 7:26pm

Had a lovely evening with my friend Kim last night. The lamb was a tad overcooked (still pink, but not quite bloody enough), the potatoes could have been better and the green beans weren't as crip as I'd hoped, but it was still very yummy and the best part was the company. We also had a very nice Spanish red wine, something I very rarely indulge in nowadays. Whenever I have a friend over for dinner (very very rarely), I wonder why I don't invite people over more often, but then, it is a lot of work no matter how simple one keeps it.

I gave up on The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie yesterday when I realized I'd been listening to it for over an hour and hadn't been paying attention, and didn't really care. I still had half the book to go, so I figured I'd had enough. I can see it must be a very pleasant story when one is in the mood for it, but I was not, obviously. I've since started on The Country Doctor by Balzac, and that one is proving to be more of a social and political statement than an actual story in some ways (about 1/3 of the way through at least), and I'm just not thrilled with it, but will try to stick it through and see if anything else transpires. But I miss his usually fascinating characters and storylines that keep you hanging on for the next twist of events.

Today I've been trying to pare down my 15,000 strong photo collection because it's taking up too much space on my harddrive and needs editing besides, and have been sorting through images taken since 2007, with over 3000 of them from Australia. It was like being there all over again, and the images reminded me of exactly how I felt when I took every one of them. Quite a trip, and now I'm feeling like I'm needing a rest! I think I'll try to pop out a few reviews this evening though before moving on to other things.

#101 Kerry, I have a feeling I'll really enjoy Nancy Mitford too when I'm in the right frame of mind. Hope you're enjoying your latest comfort reading.

#102 Valerie, I don't believe in having furniture that can't actually be put to use, and I certainly wouldn't tempt my visitors with such a cozy sight, only to then pull the chair away, so to speak! ;-)

I'll see how I do with my new resolution about reviews. It occurred to me I might go that route after I finished the latest Dr. Siri book, which I enjoyed enough but wasn't bowled over with already. The idea for the reviews is first and foremost to keep a record of the impressions a book made on me that I can look back on, since I have such a bad memory, but somewhere along the line it became about doing some kind of homework, which takes away from the fun of it. So I'm ready to try a new approach.

#103 Thanks for your support Mark. I haven't completely discounted 1Q84 for this month, but just while this fragile mood persists. I need to feel like I can kick ass to take on Murakami, and that just isn't quite the case lately, which is not to say things won't change in near future. But even if they don't, I'm sure you guys will have fun with your group read with or without me.

#104 Paul, of course my aunt has been on my mind a lot since I saw her on Wednesday. At present we're all just waiting for news of when the operation will actually take place. Her and her husband were meant to leave for Mexico on the 20th, where they spend the winter every year, but obviously their plans have changed this year, with everything just put on hold for now basically.

As for switching between audiobooks, I'm convinced it isn't so much to do with the format as with my lack of willingness to stick to something that doesn't suit me. Usually I'm rather tolerant, and even if I don't love every aspect of a book, I'm happy enough just to be entertained and have my mind taken off it's own ruminations. I think it's more apparent with audiobooks because I have more time I can devote to those than to regular books, which I usually only read in bed at night, otherwise I would probably have been switching those around quite a bit too. Also, in a sense the audiobooks seem like less effort is invested into them, so I'm more willing to give up on them when I'm not 100% satisfied maybe?

#105 Hi Chelle! I'm afraid I have no apple crisp on offer right now, since I didn't have enough time yesterday to prepare one. But the plum clafoutis is quite delicious. Clafoutis is a very simple tart traditionally made with cherries. You just pour a very simple sweet batter over the fruit before baking, and the result is always delicious, even if I say so myself! :-) That being said, I'll keep a piece of apple crisp for you when I finally get around to making one.

Oct 6, 2012, 8:37pm

I'm not caught up yet, Ilana, but I'm stopping in down here just so you know that I am attempting to catch up. Hope your day was a good one and that tonight brings sweet dreams.

I'll be back!

Oct 6, 2012, 9:25pm

A quick *wave* as I am heading through the threads, Ilana :)

Oct 6, 2012, 9:27pm

Your dinner sounds delish! And knowing what a perfectionist your are, I'll wager you are the only one to find even the slightest fault with it. I always enjoy food prepared by others much more than when I have to cook it. I'll bet Kim was impressed :-)

Rest easy tonight. Sweet dreams. xo

Oct 6, 2012, 9:41pm

#107 Hi Mamie! This day has gone by just as quickly as all the others. I gave up on another book, the Balzac I had picked up yesterday and have now moved on to Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf. I've read a couple of books by this author, so hopefully this one will work for me too. Thanks for dropping by!

Oct 6, 2012, 9:44pm

#108 Hi Stasia, I missed you message as hadn't refreshed my thread, hope all's well with you!

#109 Hi Claudia, I too always find food tastes much better when it's prepared by someone else. Kim is an amazing cook and I often ask her for tips and advice, but she was kind enough to say that she's enjoyed her meal. I'll still try to write a couple of reviews/comments to finish up September, but I'll also try to make it an early night.

Oct 6, 2012, 9:48pm

#111: Everything is just fine, Ilana. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by school, but other than that, I am OK.

I hope all is well with you too!

Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 10:12pm

131. A Love Affair ★★★⅓ by Émile Zola
(Read for 12/12 #11: Litérature Française - read in French)

In the eighth novel of the Rougon-Macquart cycle, the central character is Hélène Grandjean, née Mouret. Recently widowed shortly after having moved to Paris from Marseilles with her now deceased husband and their child, she now lives in a cozy apartment with her daughter Jeanne and a servant. Jeanne has inherited the nervous illnesses of her great-grandmother and when the novel begins, has just been suffering from seizures. The bulk of the novel describes Hélène's struggle between her need to be a good mother to Jeanne, a very difficult and temperamental child who happens to be maniacally jealous of anyone whom she suspects might take away an ounce of her mother's affections from her, and her growing passion for Dr. Deberle, who is her landlord and neighbour and comes to Jeanne's rescue in the first pages of the book. This was my least favourite book in the series so far. Jeanne is a detestable child, and spends the better part of the novel being very sick and manipulative, and Hélènes affections for her daughter and the good doctor are equally filled with pathos. Much of the novel takes place in the close confines of the one-bedroom apartment, making for a very claustrophobic feeling, only leavened by Zola's description of the Paris scenery at each and every last chapter in the five-part novel. That being said, bad Zola is still Zola. Not particularly recommended unless you, like me, have set for yourself the task of reading the whole series.

Edited: Oct 6, 2012, 11:00pm

132. ♫ The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ★★★★½
(Read for September TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer, 12/12 #10: Beyond Fiction)

To tell the tale of how the first truly comprehensive dictionary of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (or OED) came into being, Simon Winchester chose to focus on one of it's most dedicated contributors, Dr. W. C. Minor, who contributed close to ten thousand definitions. What the man in charge of the committee which oversaw the compilation of the vast amount of information that went into this book, Professor James Murray, did not learn until came the time to honour the volunteers who'd helped put together this monumental work, was that Dr. Minor had been doing all his research and submitting his findings from rooms he occupied at an insane asylum. He was expected to remain there till the end of his natural life, after having been found guilty of murder and also been proved to be completely out of his mind. A fascinating story backed with great research, I'd been looking forward to reading this book for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Because I take a personal interest in matters pertaining to mental illness and it's cures, I was particularly impressed with the last chapter of the book, where Winchester talks about Dr. Minor's diagnosis, which at the time was thought to be simple paranoia but is now recognized as schizophrenia:

"One in a hundred people today suffer from schizophrenia: Nearly all of them, if treated with compassion and good chemistry, can have some kind of dignified life, of a kind that was denied, for much of his time, to Doctor Minor. Except, of course, that Minor had his dictionary work. And there is a cruel irony in this—that if he had been so treated, he might never have felt impelled to work on it as he did. By offering him mood-altering sedatives, as they would have done in Edwardian times, or treating him as today with such antipsychotic drugs as quetiapine or risperidone, many of his symptoms of madness might have gone away—but he might well have felt disinclined or unable to perform his work for Doctor Murray. In a sense doing all those dictionary slips was his medication; in a way they became his therapy. The routine of his quiet and cellbound intellectual stimulus, month upon month, year upon year, appears to have provided him with at least a measure of release from his paranoia. [...] One must feel a sense of strange gratitude, then, that his treatment was never good enough to divert him from his work. The agonies that he must have suffered in those terrible asylum nights have granted us all a benefit, for all time. He was mad, and for that, we have reason to be glad."

That quote alone earned the book an extra half star.

Oct 7, 2012, 12:00am

Hi Ilana. I read The Professor and the Madman a few years ago and really liked it. And I still haven't tackled anything by Murakami, although I do have Kafka on the Shore waiting for me.... I think IQ84 looks daunting.....

I'm glad you had a nice evening with your friend, Kim. Oh, and a Spanish red wine. Nice. :-)

Oct 7, 2012, 8:52am

I really liked The Professor and the Madman as well. Good review! :)

Oct 7, 2012, 9:16am

Zola is another author I want to try, even that list is growing to be a big one.

Oct 7, 2012, 10:20am

Wow! That quote is sad and profound. Worth a half star! I have to read that book. Winchester has some great books and this is one I have not yet read.

Oct 7, 2012, 12:47pm

#115 Ellen, I have both the audio and the print book of The Professor and the Madman. When I can get the audio version at the library for free, I figure I can then pass the book on once I've listened to the audio, but in some cases, as with this one, I'll be holding on to the book for an eventual reread I think.

As for Murakami, I would definitely advise you start with a shorter work than 1Q84 and Kafka on the Shore is a quite popular option.

#116 Thanks Rachel!

#117 Piyush, with Zola you could definitely start with one of his most popular ones before deciding if you want to tackle the whole Rougon-Macquart series as I'm doing. A couple of popular options are L'Assommoir and The Beast Within, though I haven't read the latter since high school and don't really remember what it's like.

#118 Claudia, the quote resumes how I used to feel about my bipolar disorder, that is that if I left it untreated and concentrated on being creative, it might push me to do extraordinary things. Psychiatrists and insurance companies strongly disagree with that view, but I know that I had some of my most wildly creative moments when I was on my manic highs and really do miss those times, so reading that quote was sort of like a double-edged sword; it's a notion that really appeals to me and which I've wanted to embrace since day 1, but doing so could land me in a lot of trouble (not being covered by insurance for "refusal to follow treatment" being one of them).

Oct 7, 2012, 12:57pm

I posted this on my blog on Friday and nearly forgot to post a link here; The image above shows one of the steps of the work in progress. I encourage you to visit my blog for details about the project and to view the gallery to see the various steps and the final drawing right here:

Oct 7, 2012, 1:48pm

Cool drawing, Ilana, and fun to see the steps and final.

I liked the review of The Professor and the Madman, too, and what a good quote you selected. Fascinating.

Oct 7, 2012, 2:18pm

Ilana, I love your drawing!

Oct 7, 2012, 7:20pm

I finished Excellent Women by Barbara Pym last night, and while I admittedly spent the first half wondering why I was reading a book about a topic which is normally outside my scope of interest and about which I understand very little (i.e. religion, by way of a spinster who is involved with her parish), I very much enjoyed the second half, in a comforting sort of way. Though I'll have to yet again look up the distinction between High church and Low church to understand much or the references made. I've got 3 more Pym books on the TBR and I'll be looking forward to those, but while I saw her described as a writer of "high comedy", and for her amusing at times, I can't say I laughed out loud or anything either.

Next, I feel I "should" be reading In Dubious Battle but there's a chance the mere fact I feel obligated in any way might turn me off, so we'll see.

I've been spending the better part of the day on computer stuff. I've had to get a better program to help me manage my huge photo collection and the managing part is going to take many many many dedicated hours of work. Of course I'm always tempted to take on huge tasks in one go, so I guess I'll have to pace myself somehow.

#121 Thanks Joe, glad you found the quote interesting.

#122 Thanks Rhian!

Oct 7, 2012, 9:58pm

Love the sketch above and on your blog with it's evolution!
I am amazed at your talent :-)

I certainly understand the fascination between mental disorders and creativity. Disturbing. Not the creative part so much as the limits of a "normal" state of mind. We like to think we are so smart and have control over our brains LOL! If only.

Sweet dreams.

Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 9:36am

Hi Ilana- Good review of The Professor and the Madman. I've never read Winchester. I'll have to correct that. I also like your sketch. Good job.
Thanks for supplying a nice chuckle on my thread. Always appreciated!

Oct 8, 2012, 2:19pm

So glad you liked The Professor and the Madman so much - that is my favorite Winchester so far.

Oct 8, 2012, 2:46pm

#124 Claudia, there certainly seems to be a strong connection between mental disorders and creativity, probably due to the fact that creativity by definition makes use of original ways of looking at things, and mental disorders certainly seem to take a person outside of the beaten track, or in any case, of the accepted conventions on what is and isn't a proper way of looking at things.

#125 Mark, I'm surprised you haven't read any Winchester yet, but I trust when you do you'll be getting everyone excited to get to him with your unbound enthusiasm! I couldn't resist the chuckle with the nympho librarian book. Don't know if it's worth the price, but it's nice to know someone has the topic covered. Maybe we're due for a revival? I wouldn't mind having the original for the cover alone. Priceless!

#126 Lucy, I think we were posting on each other's threads at the exact same moment! The Professor and the Madman is my first Winchester, but I do have several others on the wishlist, including The Man who Loved China, which I just read your review for and am glad to find you quiet enjoyed. I've also got Krakatoa singled out (which I'll get on audio from the library eventually) as well as Atlantic, though that one doesn't seem to have met with quite as much enthusiasm by LT readers.

Oct 8, 2012, 2:48pm

Finally started on In Dubious Battle last night. I'm about 5 chapters in and it looks like I might stick to it as it's held my interest so far. Very strange though leaving the very womanly world of Barbara Pym to go into Steinbeck's man's world.

Oct 8, 2012, 3:16pm

Just wanted to stop by and say, weirdly I dreamt about The Professor and the Madman last night. Not the book as such, as I haven't read it, but the title seemed to pop up and I was looking at two men (no idea who they were) and wondering who was supposed to be the professor.

Very odd, but then all of my dreams are!

Edited: Oct 8, 2012, 6:07pm

Though I'll have to yet again look up the distinction between High church and Low church to understand much or the references made.

You could re-visit the tutored read thread for The Warden! Or join us for the tutored read of Barchester Towers!!

Sorry, I promise I'll stop doing that. :)

Oct 8, 2012, 6:09pm

Great review of The Professor and the Madman, Ilana. That's been on my obese wish list for quite a while. I really should check and see if my library has that available.

I also loved that sketch. You're so talented. What do you do with all the art you produce?

Oct 8, 2012, 7:44pm

Funny kind of day today. Weather was fine, beautiful sunshine in the afternoon and crisp but not too cold. Took Coco for a nice walk after waking around 1 p.m. Felt frustrated about not getting up earlier and been kind of off kilter all day, feeling like I need to get things done, but not enough time or energy. Finally, I did manage to put away summer clothes and take out the winter stuff, change the bed (am halfway there), do a bit of laundry, which is more than I do on most days or weeks even. Yes, am messy messy. I've always said I need a wife, and many women out there understand, I'm sure. It did help that I've got a really good book going on audio, Leo Africanus by an author I like very much, Amin Maalouf. I'm trying to gear my reading toward my 12/12 challenge as much as possible, because while I've finished a few categories, I'm lagging badly behind on half of them, so French literature, visual arts, classics, non-fiction and books from my tbr will somehow have to be featured prominently before year's end. Wish me luck with that!

Will I get the courage together to put out a review for The Headmaster's Wager? Remains to be seen if that'll happen tonight. I still need to do some artwork and eat (blast it, such a waste of time!) and get to bed reasonably early as I have a couple of therapist appointments tomorrow, OT and psychologist. Might do some homework tonight for Wednesday's drawing class, though I really want to continue on the "metro" drawing I've currently got going. I've spent some 3-4 hours on the hands which usually don't give me too too much trouble, but this one hand keeps turning out looking like a claw and I've resolved to get it right!

Wondering also whether I might join NaNoWriMo this year. I keep saying I want to start working on a book, but of course it would be helpful if I had an actual story idea. Also, time. I have all my time to myself, but somehow even that's not enough for everything I want to do. If only I could get by on just a few hours sleep every night... but no use hoping for things which aren't in the cards. I sorted through hundreds more photos today, mostly from 2007 when I was raving mad, but also very very happy, very thin, full of hope for the future, traveling lots, seeing loads of people. I don't know why I keep revisiting the past like that, except for the fact that I want to get my photos sorted because so many of them were shot specifically as references for future artwork. And this is the future I guess, when you look at it a certain way.

Wonderful messages while I've been busily doing all that. Will go fold stuff out of the drier and come back to answer shortly I hope.

Oct 8, 2012, 9:53pm

#129 Jenny, dreams are certainly strange creatures. I know mine are always strange too, from the rare little fragments that remain when I awake, but I guess that is in their nature. The story told in The Professor and the Madman is certainly a strange and intriguing one, and obviously captivated some part of your imagination.

#130 Yes yes, I'll be joining you for Barchester Towers in December Liz! I've already got the audio version I want on my audible wishlist and only waiting to spend a credit on it in case it happens to go on sale. I did seriously consider revisiting the thread for The Warden to look up your explanation again, and will do so very soon, if not tonight. You can mentioned tutored reads here as often as you like, truly, I don't mind! :-)

#131 Caro, I'd be surprised if The Professor and the Madman was not available at your library, since it seems to be a very popular and widely read book. But of course, the problem isn't so much whether it's available there or not, but rather pushing aside everything on your tbr to make room for it, if you're anything like me! You're on your own with that decision; I have a hard enough time deciding for myself!

What do you do with all the art you produce?

Basically, it's all been accumulating and taking up more and more room in my limited space with all too little storage capability. It's been suggested to me quite a few times that I should try to sell some of my work, but just the thought of that gives me a headache, so it's just one more decision I keep deferring! If I get around to it eventually, I'll probably do so via Etsy.

Oct 9, 2012, 7:06am

Ilana - Very happy that you gave 5 stars to Vincent Lam. I buy few hardbacks but this was reduced for members and looked my ticket.

My first Zola was La Bete Humaine and, possibly as a result, it remains my favourite.

Smiled at the juxtaposition of Steinbeck after Barbara Pym - I think In Dubious Battle is his most 'masculine' work and for me one of his best.

Oct 9, 2012, 2:31pm

Thanks for all your lovely reviews, Ilana!

You remind me that I have yet to try a Zola book. I will have to keep that in mind next time I'm around the used bookstore since they have quite a large selection of classical books.

And again, your artwork blows me away!

Oct 9, 2012, 3:19pm

Love your Pensive Lady drawing, Ilana.

Way back at #59 you inquired as to what Barbara Vine book it was that I had been reading - it was The House of Stairs. Did not love it, but did not hate it.

You must make an apple crisp, soon. Don't know if it's my new oven or this year's apples, but I've made three in the past three and half weeks and they have been the absolute best!

I have an Audible question I've been meaning to ask you for a while, since you have so many selections from there. I've been wondering about my Audible books - what to do with them when I am done 'reading' them. I listen to them on my iPod and I would think I can't just keep them there forever. Do you remove them from your iPhone and just keep them in your Audible library after awhile? (There is a an Audible library for each of the subscribers, isn't there or am I mis-understanding the way the whole thing works?) Tell me, oh Audible guru, how this works, if you would be so kind.

My best to Coco and his feline cohorts!

Oct 9, 2012, 8:32pm

#134 Smiled at the juxtaposition of Steinbeck after Barbara Pym

Yes, I'm enjoying the Steinbeck, but it certainly is a brutal switch after Pym. I felt a sense of obligation toward In Dubious Battle because I knew both you and Mark absolutely loved it, and it's not a title I would likely pick up on my own. But it's been rewarding so far, though I'm not yet prepared to say it tops The Grapes of Wrath for me (my personal favourite so far).

As for La bête humaine, I'm almost certain we read it in high school, but once again thanks to my infallible memory (ha!) I couldn't say for sure. It could have been Germinal too. I know it's a great favourite in general, but it'll be a while before I get to it, as I'm just at book 9 now (Nana, which will be a 3rd reread this time), and Lbh is #17... I think I'll have to make a Zola challenge again in 2013 to keep me going. We'll see.

#135 What a lovely thing to say, thanking as you did for my reviews! That felt good, which is especially appreciated today as am very low. Zola is an excellent writer, but as a newcomer to him, I'd suggest you start with one of his more popular novels, because as you saw from my review, they're not all created equal, so to speak.

#136 Hi Charlotte, I wasn't familiar with that particular Barbara Vine title, but then she's written so many!

I'm not sure why I haven't made apple crisp yet, other than the fact that they take me a long time to make, but I remember last year I was practically making them every week!

Happy to help with Audible questions, though I'm not sure I'm loving the "Audible Guru" label. Unless it means I get more books for free? Anyway, to answer your question, yes, you have your very own Audible library where the titles you've purchased basically remain for life (I believe even after you cancel your membership). I didn't realize this at first, so downloaded every single title I bought onto my computer's hard drive, but then they ended up taking so much space that I decided to trust in their system and just leave them all stored on the site, only downloading titles directly to my iPhone with their nifty little app that allows me to bypass my computer altogether when I want to listen to them and deleting them off my iPhone when I'm done listening, because yes, you can't very well leave them there taking up all that room, but they're always accessible to you if you decide to listen to them again at a future date. Let me know if there's anything else I can help with!

Oct 9, 2012, 8:37pm

Crummy day, low low low plus migraine. I had to rush to my appointment this afternoon after sleeping in again (what else is new?) and then once there cried a little bit (I rarely cry these days, so it's worth mentioning) when talking to my OT, it came to light that this slump have been in has been going for over a month now and that it's definitely that terrible big D, depression. Yuck. She even suggested I ask my shrink to try switching up my meds to help me get out of my funk and find motivation again, something I've been seriously lacking of late.

Coco and I still had a lovely time though, because I brought him to the meeting and they have lovely grounds surrounding the hospital, so I let him run around while I sat in the sun for a bit, as it was a perfect autumn day, calling for a light jacket but still perfectly comfortable.

I didn't do any artwork at all yesterday finally, and really need to kick myself in the rear end tonight to get some homework done for tomorrow's drawing class. But my whole body is aching and all I want to do is lie down and zone out. Maybe I can draw while lying down somehow? Worth a try. Off to visit a few threads first.

Oct 9, 2012, 9:44pm


Oct 9, 2012, 9:47pm

Thanks love. I think I might be starting a cold too, so good thing it can't catch on the internet!

Oct 9, 2012, 9:51pm

Ilana- Sorry, to hear you are not feeling well today! I would dance and sing for you, but that would probably make matters worse.
I'm glad you are enjoying In Dubious Battle. It has quickly become one of my Steinbeck favorites.

Oct 9, 2012, 10:00pm

Even if you had a raging cold, and it was a in-person event, I would still give you lots of hugs.
Be patient with yourself. Some things take time to work through....

Oct 9, 2012, 10:53pm

#141 I would dance and sing for you, but that would probably make matters worse.

That sentence alone made me smile Mark, so you're obviously doing something right!

#142 Claudia, you have a way to say things which always make me feel better. The part about still giving me lots of hugs sounds absolutely fantastic to me. We'll have to make it happen sometime, yes? I read your most recent PM again and it made me smile. Ignoring, I can do, but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me, and basically 99.999% of the time I get annoyed. But nope, won't go away for sure... nothing in life is perfect, right?

I've been sitting here lurking on a bunch of threads instead of doing my homework. Off to lay on the couch because my back and neck are killing me, and I'll attempt to do some kind of drawing from there for the next 30 minutes of so. I was hoping to do 3 of them, but whatever I manage will have to be good enough.

Oct 9, 2012, 11:44pm

Very strange though leaving the very womanly world of Barbara Pym to go into Steinbeck's man's world. Ha! I bet it was a strange experience.

I'm so sorry you had a migraine today. Ugh. I'm glad that even though you felt so low, you could enjoy watching sweet little Coco running around the grounds of the hospital!

I hope things turn upward for you soon, Ilana. Maybe the switching up of meds will help.... I hope so if that is the route you go. I miss you and appreciate that you understand how hectic and chaotic my RL has been lately.

I never did start In Dubious Battle but I will read Tortilla Flat this month!

Oct 10, 2012, 5:18am

{{{hugs}}} Ilana - hope that you find some comfort soon. Please take care of yourself. Hope the nice autumnal days last so that you can enjoy something at least.

Oct 10, 2012, 6:10am

Trust that you are feeling much better today. x

Oct 10, 2012, 10:01am

What Paul said.

Oct 10, 2012, 2:06pm

Well, you are my Audible Guru, nonetheless. Thanks so much for the info. Will have to see about de-cluttering the iPod soon.
I bet your applecrisps are a lot better than mine. I think I'm just throwing them together willy-nilly, but as I said they are extra special this fall. Or maybe I'm just on a kick or something.

Oct 10, 2012, 9:04pm

Wondering how the pictures you drew laying down came out???
How your art class was today???
And if you are feeling any better - or worse???


Edited: Oct 10, 2012, 9:51pm

Hi hi, thanks for your kind messages Ellen, calm, Paul, Ellen (again), Charlotte and Claudia. I woke up feeling quite terrible because of the cold that seems to have taken up residence in my body. Had that kind of woozy feeling you get, which sort of feels like fever, though I'm sure I don't have one. Questioned going to drawing class for no more than three seconds, because I was really looking forward to today's class, during which we were to draw trees using texture rather than outline. The class went really well, and I followed it up by getting myself a small bouquet of flowers to brighten up my place (it was dreary and grey and rainy today), and even managed to do some groceries. I'm knocking on wood that I'll remain functional like this, but I guess that partly depends on how many grogs I make myself on any given day. I just made myself a rather strong one, with juice from 1.5 lemons, about 5 teaspoons of honey with royal jelly, hot water and an ounce of Cuban rhum. I'm down to the last sip and feeling quite woozy, so it's a good thing I'm laying on the couch! Spirits* ok today, kind of neutral, which I can live with just fine.

Finished Leo Africanus last night and while I can objectively say it's a great book and very interesting, I can't say that I connected with it much. Might have to do with my general state lately, or also because while the narrator did just fine, I didn't particularly like him either, so there's a good chance I may revisit this book in print form someday. Today I started on Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I had gotten a version of it during a $4.95 sale, but when I started listening to it today I couldn't help but notice the sound quality was quite terrible. I decided to look up the other recordings, just to compare the sound, when I saw there was a version read by Simon Vance for 95 cents! I don't know if that was a mistake on their part or what, but I jumped on it and am really enjoying it now, about 60 pages in (after 2 hours of listening). I also got a recording of The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson-Burnett, which was priced at $5.95, so two audiobooks for under 7 dollars is a pretty great deal I'd say. They're currently having October sales with a different topic each week. Week 1 was vampire stories, and now week 2 is zombies. I doubt I'll be buying anything on sale this month... I would have purchased an Ann Rice book if they'd been on offer, but no such luck.

Answering individual messages next.

eta: * talking about the other kinds of spirits, obviously!

Oct 10, 2012, 10:11pm

#144 Ellen, migraines suck for sure, but they're also a fact of life for me. That being said, thanks for the sympathy. I think I got the migraine yesterday while I was talking to my OT, which was followed up with a brief phone conversation with my psychologist. I don't like dwelling on my emotional aches and pains too much, especially when things aren't too brilliant. That being said, mood is on neutral today and I can't really ask for more really. I'm able to enjoy certain things and that alone is a huge gift, since I've been in that place where nothing gives you a lift no matter what, and that truly is a form of hell. So yes, I'm thankful today.

I miss you too, things haven't been the same around here without your daily presence and our fascinating exchanges, but yes of course I completely understand that RL takes precedence over LT. I'm just glad you can make any time at all for us here considering how busy you are.

I'm glad I finally picked up In Dubious Battle. It's honestly not a book I would have chosen to read unless Mark and Paul had suggested it for the Steinbeckathon, largely because of the title and subject matter, which seemed much too dreary on the outset, but there's lots of action and fascinating characters as always, and great writing of course. I hope you find time for it eventually, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm only about halfway through so far, but so good too. :-)

#145 calm, you're so very sweet to have left me that message. Things like that are always uplifting to me, because just knowing others care and wish me well takes me out of my little bubble of isolation and reminds me I'm part of something much bigger. I think LT is probably my biggest source of emotional support on a day to day basis, and it's wonderful to know I can just be myself. The weather today wasn't quite as brilliant, as it was raining and quite windy, but yes, I did find lots of little things that gave me pleasure all the same today. Right now having Coco quietly snoozing beside me as I write this is quite a pleasure in itself!

#146 Guess your prediction turned out to be right Paul, though the cold seems to have gotten worse, but I'm very thankful that I can at least breathe without difficulty and though I have a very sore throat and my ears are hurting, I'm not coughing at all. Let's hope it stays like that and doesn't get worse. I've been taking loads and loads of vitamin C from various sources like mad today and have managed in the past to nip colds in the bud that way. Fingers crossed.

#147 Thanks Ellen!

#148 All right then, I can live with being your Audible Guru then, Charlotte! It's nice to know I can help. Isn't it nice that you don't have to load up your device from now on? I really like having all the books stored on their servers and available whenever I want them, but would like it even better if there were some books I could just delete from the collection when I'm done listening, because there are plenty of books I know I'll never read again and my library has grown quite huge. Then there are also sample chapters that are free for members and I really don't want to keep those. I think I'll make a suggestion to them along those lines and with some luck, something will come of it.

Apple crisp is meant to be one of those desserts you can just throw together. Mine is thrown together too, but all the peeling and slicing takes time, because I make mine quite huge so they should technically last me a whole week or so, but they rarely survive much longer than 3 days! Maybe I'll make one tomorrow. I've finally found an audiobook that works for me, which makes baking that much more fun.

Edited: Oct 10, 2012, 10:15pm

Ha! Recipes that you "just throw together" are the bane of my life. I must be the world's slowest peeler / dicer, because I'm yet to meet a thirty-minute meal that actually is. :)

Sorry you've been under the weather, Ilana. Do tuck yourself up and take care!

Edited: Oct 10, 2012, 10:23pm

#149 Oops, how could I forget you Claudia?! I thought the drawings I did last night were quite ugly, but I ended up getting quite a few compliments about them today. I was especially pleased with how my tree drawing was going. I'm working from a photo I took with Instagram of these gorgeous trees with twisted trunks I discovered nearby, bordering what I've always found to be an unspeakably ugly housing estate (the houses all look like government subsidized buildings, as so much construction does these days). But suddenly I discovered these gorgeous trees and it was really inspiring to work from that image.

I guess I should post some of those drawings I've been doing for my drawing class. I just hesitate to a little bit, since they're very much of an experimental nature and as such likely to be completely incomprehensible. But still. Yes, I'll post them in the coming days.

I think I've pretty much answered your other questions above. I'm eternally grateful that moods are constantly shifting. As does life in general I guess.

Oct 10, 2012, 10:23pm

#152 Liz, sorry I skipped over your message just now! I know what you mean about those recipes being the bane of your life... so totally! I eat lots of salads, and those typically end up taking me a good hour to "throw" together. In fact, cooking any meal, however basic, I end up staying in the kitchen for a stretch of 2 to 3 hours daily, between prepping and eating. I'm slow about everything, including the eating part, though that's apparently a good thing, health-wise. Sometimes I do wish one could just swallow a little pill and be done with it on days I really want to be doing other things!

I'll visit a few threads now, then shortly take Coco out for his last call, then once I've gotten over all the necessary ablutions, make myself another grog, which I'll sip in bed while reading In Dubious Battle, all tucked up and warm and tipsy! :-)

Oct 10, 2012, 10:39pm

I'm sorry that you aren't feeling well my dear! I love visiting here and enjoy the conversations and learning about your life. I am in awe of your artistic talents. I cannot draw a straight line...even with the help of a ruler.

I hope tomorrow is a sunnier day for you.

Oct 10, 2012, 11:04pm

#155 Hi Linda dear, no worries, I can't draw a straight line either, and often manage to mess up with a ruler too, so there's hope for you yet! Having artistic abilities sure is fun, but being stuck with the artistic temperament and sensitivity when NOT making art (i.e. 99% of the time), not so great. Mind you, I'm calculating I just need to spend 50% of my time making art and then the percentages get much better! :-)

Oct 12, 2012, 11:47am

Smiling and waving hello Ilana. :) *waves*

Oct 12, 2012, 12:32pm

Hi Roberta! It sure has been quiet around here these past couple of days... thanks for dropping by!

All right, I've prevaricated enough and need to get going on reviews/comments. Coming up: The Headmaster's Wager.

Edited: Oct 12, 2012, 1:29pm

Well, 30 minutes into it, I can see this isn't going to be a quick review to write, so I won't be posting it for another little while. Off to walk Coco, and then must make my way to the hospital this afternoon to visit my cousin who has been there since Tuesday night. They found she had a kidney stone which had poisoned her blood, so it was quite serious. But she's gotten somewhat better and is being released on Saturday, but I told her I'd drop by today, hopefully to cheer her up a little, thought by the sounds of it she's had quite a few visitors already.

My cold has remained stable, not getting better nor worse, so I guess some of the remedies I'm taking must have some kind of effect, but it now occurs to me that perhaps going to the hospital in my condition might not be such a great idea... I'll have to work that one out.

eta: spoke to my cousin. I don't know what I was thinking. Of course I can't visit a hospital with a cold. Silly me. Oh well, more time to write reviews then!

Oct 12, 2012, 1:51pm

Hi Ilana. I really enjoyed your review of The Professor and the Madman (published in the UK as The Surgeon of Crowthorne) which I've added to my wishlist.

#120 I really like your drawing of the lady on the metro and I love the idea of a series of drawings around that concept.

#123 Re high church and low church, you may already have done some digging about this but Liz covered those subjects briefly for me during my tutored read of The Warden here. I don't know how much that will help as high and low church in Trollope's time were probably slightly different to the high and low church in Pym's time about 100 years later.

#130 Oops, I see Liz has already pimped The Warden thread - oh well, I'll leave the link anyway.

#138 Oh, so sorry to hear about the crummy day, the big D and the cold. Hugs and take care of yourself my dear.

Oct 12, 2012, 2:04pm

I was just going to say, wow, that's a pretty open hospital if it lets you visit a patient while you have a cold! In the end, it's the thought that counts. I'm sure your cousin appreciated the gesture. :)
Hope your cold is feeling better as you head into the weekend. Rest lots and do the things that bring you the most comfort, Ilana!

Oct 12, 2012, 2:23pm

Sorry about the cold. Hope you are better soon.

Oct 12, 2012, 5:38pm

#160 I'm surprised you didn't already have that book on your wishlist already Heather!

I went back and looked at the definition of High vs Low Chruch that Liz had given us, and it was much as I remembered it. In Excellent Women, it seemed in particular to refer to the closer relation to Catholic practices. I tried to read the entries in Wikipedia on both High and Low and got more confused than ever, because really religion and it's practices is far from my scope of understanding and I must be about as familiar with the Hindu religion as with Christianity in general, so... there we go. I must admit that I haven't yet read Liz's blog entry on the topic and will make a point of doing so before we get into Barchester Towers.

Spirits are ok today, as well as can be with low energy and various physical discomforts, including the discovery that none of my large selection of corduroy pants, which I wear in through fall and winter fit me at present as I've obviously been indulging too much with the sweets. I really don't know what to do as the expense of buying more clothes is quite out of the question, but so is dieting. I'll start by trying to curb a new habit which has formed which has me waking at pre-dawn and stuffing my face with cereal!

#161 Valerie, sometimes my brain runs in funny ways, and while I knew you shouldn't visit a hospital with a cold, I somehow temporarily forgot that I had a cold myself and this applied to me. Not sure how I forgot, what with my stuffy nose and achy throat, but all I was thinking about is how important it was that I visit my cousin. She was completely understanding and said I'd do her the larger favour by staying home!

#162 Thanks calm. I shouldn't complain too much about this cold, because it could be much worse. My nose is slightly stuffy, but doesn't prevent me from breathing quite freely, and while my throat is sore, I'm not having to cough and hack away all the time. Ears are delicate, but again, no agonizing pain. So overall, slight discomfort and little aches and pains all over, but I'll take this over a migraine almost any day! That being said, I went out earlier and started getting one as Coco and I were taking our walk when I recognized the smell that was bothering me came from a nearby building were they were working on the roof. Somehow the smell of roofing tar always sets off a migraine. Isn't that stuff toxic??

Edited: Oct 12, 2012, 5:50pm

Lay on the couch afternoon and finished In Dubious Battle. Sorry Paul, sorry Mark, but while I enjoyed it more than I expected for a while, about halfway through it became quite a chore. I was never bothered by Steinbeck's man's world before but in this novel it confronted me on every page. So much unpleasantness too, it's just overwhelming! Then at one point, he compares the women in the striker's camp to rats and I got truly mad. I would probably have given up on it if it had been an audiobook, but print books seem to demand a bigger investment somehow, since I'm such a slow reader. Anyway, I'm done with it and good riddance!

I'm publishing these comments on the relevant Steinbeckathon thread too.

Not sure what I'll follow up with. Possibly My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell to fill up my non-fiction category for the 12/12 challenge. Will get cracking on that review I was working on earlier today. I hadn't used post-its as I was reading (rarely think of it), and wanted to find a quote to use. Now have a few to choose from after skimming through so I should be all set!

Oct 12, 2012, 6:33pm

I thought you were going to come down on the winning side of In Dubious battle. LOL. Sorry, the 2nd half got tedious for you. It ALL worked for me. One of his best.
Hope you are feeling better. Gentle Hug!

Oct 12, 2012, 7:35pm

Sorry to disappoint Mark! Gentle hug back to you.

Edited: Oct 12, 2012, 8:34pm

For some reason, I had my mind on the word propinquity today. Of course I must have come across it in my various readings, and finally decided to look it up: "In social psychology, propinquity (from Latin propinquitas, "nearness") is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people. Propinquity can mean physical proximity, a kinship between people, or a similarity in nature between things ("like-attracts-like"). Two people living on the same floor of a building, for example, have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors, just as two people with similar political beliefs possess a higher propinquity than those whose beliefs strongly differ."

Strange that this word in particular stuck considering how forgetful I am. I guess I'll have to find opportunities to use it! Easy: it's obvious that us 75ers tend to have a high degree of propinquity, which is why we get along so well. Now I wonder if I can slide it into a conversation naturally? :-)

Just did my budget tonight (why does doing my budget take precedence to that darn review?) and nope, have not a cent to spend on non-essentials. But there's a 25% off sale until tomorrow on Audible, and I want to buy some of those lower cost audiobooks on my wishlist because I always wait for just this kind of sale to buy them. So. Books are essential, right?

What's that other wonderful word Darryl taught us in Japanese?

Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 12:17pm

Ok. Yes, I am going to publish my review for The Headmaster's Wager tonight. At least, that's what I intend to do. I've been working on it through the day and hope I get it right because I want to get more people to read this book. In the meantime, I've gone ahead and purchased some audiobooks that I decided I can no longer live without:

The Old Maid by Edith Wharton, narrated by Eleanor Bron - not sure why, but stories about spinsters intrigue me nowadays...

Lehrter Station by David Downing - book 5 of the John Russell WWII series, narrated by Simon Vance

Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi - I just found out about this book which came out this summer and read a bunch of Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin, narrated by Dion Graham
This author has been on my wishlist for quite a while. These short stories "detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which [the characters] try to keep their heads above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob."

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Secondary Phase (Dramatised) by Douglas Adams - this is the original BBC Radio production which preceded the books. I've been looking forward to the next instalment.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - I believe Kerry recommended this one, and it was also featured on a "best of newly released YA novels" this summer.

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy, narrated by my future husband, Samuel West 💜

A Dubious Legacy by Mary Wesley, narrated by Anna Massey - a new favourite author and a favourite narrator.

Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane - I have the next book in the series, so needed to fill the gap.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens - at that price, it was a must.

Oct 12, 2012, 10:47pm

Good little haul of audiobooks, Ilana. I'm glad today was a somewhat better day for you. I've been really struggling with my own mood lately. It's "just" job stress but it has wreaked havoc on my sleep and attitude. Ugh. I'm going to try to have a do-what-I-want-to-do weekend and hope that my mobile does not ring with news of an urgent matter that needs my attention.

I love your playing with words. Propinquity has long been one of my favorite words but it is hard to use naturally outside academic psychology circles....

I like sesquepedalian, too.

Oct 13, 2012, 11:41am

#169 Ellen, it was indeed a good haul, but even if I got them all on sale, I can't say they were truly "bargain" prices either, so it was a bit nuts. All the same, all titles I really look forward to listening to.

I'm really sorry you're going through a rough time these days. Our work takes up so much of our lives (hope you don't mind me including myself here too), that there is no such thing as "just" job stress. It represents a huge investment of our time, energy, brain power and impacts our financial stability or lack thereof and all that is affected by this. I hope things get easier for you soon and that you can get the rest you need.

I believe I fist cam across the word "sesquipedalian" in Ex Libris if I'm not mistaken. I've always wanted to be the kind of person who could get away with using sesquipedalians in normal speech, but the trouble is that I usually can't remember those fancy words in the heat of conversation, or indeed, remember most words at all! I just looked it up again and loved the word's etymology:


Latin sesquipedalis, literally, a foot and a half long, from sesqui- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot
First Known Use: 1656

Oct 13, 2012, 11:54am

Ilana, I hope you have a decent week end. With all the talk of a cold that is hanging on, migraines, and the recurring Big D, I suppose that decent would be an improvement for you. I hope the audiobook therapy helped!

Seriously, I commiserate with your lack of energy these days. Maybe you could somehow work that into a book and write it out of your system? I hope you do participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I hope I got that right. Your writing is consistently good - no matter how rotten you feel. It's certainly something to think about.

Feel better soon!

Oct 13, 2012, 12:05pm

LTers also of course love words Ilana and you are coming up with some good ones for sure dear lady. Have a lovely and healthy weekend.

Oct 13, 2012, 12:22pm

Hi Donna! Well, while I don't feel absolutely brilliant physically, things aren't too too bad on that front, so I'm not complaining. As far as morale goes, I think there's been an improvement in the last few days. I think finding out about the passing of my friend was quite a big blow, plus consistently bleak news from my mother really dampens the spirits, but I do what I need to and try to focus on the here and now as much as I can and it really helps. So all in all, I definitely feel decent, and you're right, "decent" and "content" are plenty good enough for me.

The audiobook therapy certainly didn't help the Visa bill, but I'm excited about the selection I got, so that's all that really matters...

I'll give some thought to your comments about writing and NaNoWriMo. It's hard to find time for everything, all the more so now that I've decided to make room for artwork every day, but apparently if you want to get something done, you have to get a busy person to do it... I do wonder what you saw of mine that would make you think my writing is "consistently good", other than my mad scribblings all over LT!

#171 Thank you Paul. It's a beautiful day out there today, and a cold one too, so I'm quite happy staying in doors as much as possible and puttering about. Tomorrow is my father's birthday, so I'll probably invite him over so we can spend a little bit of time together as it's been a while.

Oct 13, 2012, 12:37pm

I love the audios of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio shows, Ilana. I listen to them on car trips. Sorry about your friend. I'm glad your spirits are okay in the midst of everything.

Oct 13, 2012, 1:09pm

Had to think of you when I saw this in a circular that came in the mail today. Not quite as funky as the one at the top of your thread, but probably a lot cheaper. I could see myself reading on this.

Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 2:25pm

#174 Joe, I discovered the BBC recordings of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the late 80s, and the were one of the highlights of my week when the serial came on in the evenings, so I was quite disappointed with the books, which in comparison didn't have quite as much sparkle. Once again, I had many laugh out loud moments when I listened to The Primary Phase last year, so really looking forward to a few more hours of pure entertainment with The Secondary Phase.

#175 Roni, that does look like a mightily cozy reading chaise and very likely much cheaper than the one-of-a-kind handmade version up top. Thanks for thinking of me and posting it here!

After I take Coco out for a walk in a few moments, I plan to put the finishing touches on my review of The Headmaster's Wager, which I've been working on more or less since I got up at 10 this morning. I haven't worked this hard on a review in quite some time. I really do fervently hope the efforts will have been worthwhile and my review helps to win this book more readers!

It's cooooold out there, so I'll have to bundle up, and of course put a sweater on Coco. I might go with this one, which I just got for him last week. Too cute, right? :-)

Also, don't know how I could forget, but I shot a short video clip of my bunny boy being playful on Tuesday, when we had a gorgeous day with pleasantly comfortable weather:

Oct 13, 2012, 4:19pm

That first radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is the one I grew up on, so naturally to me it's the one "right" version.

Speaking of snazzy words, in The Monk we've just had a haunting that happens every five years - "He was not a little pleased to find his mansion would be no longer troubled with the phantom's quinquennial visits."

Oct 13, 2012, 5:12pm

That first radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is the one I grew up on, so naturally to me it's the one "right" version

I feel the same way about it Liz! I'll have to add "quinquennial" to my arsenal! :-)

Oct 13, 2012, 5:55pm

>167 Smiler69: That's very interesting. Always nice to learn new words! ;)

Oct 13, 2012, 6:40pm

#179 I like learning new words too, though my brain is usually too lazy to store them there for any length of time...

Oct 13, 2012, 6:40pm


133. The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam ★★★★★
(Read for September TIOLI #9: 9 words in the title or a word in the title or author name that is 9 letters or longer, 12/12 #8: Hot Off the Press)

"From then on, Percival took the hoard of metal out of the safe at night and slept with it under his mattress. This required two trips up the stairs, lugging one valise each time. He kept the pistol under his pillow. Two weeks after the meeting in the hut, the night before an ancestor worship day, Percival dreamt of his father. It was an old dream from his childhood, one of flying. They soared high over a cold, jagged peak. It was the Gold Mountain for which Chen Kai had abandoned his home, a mass of sharp glittering angles and dagger crags of lustrous wealth. Percival congratulated his father on his success, but bragged that he himself would become yet more wealthy. Even as Chen Kai nodded with approval, saying that a son must surpass the father, Percival began to fall from the sky. His power of flight was gone. He hurtled towards the ground, calling out in terror to his father, but falling alone to be impaled by gold shards." — Chapter 7

"The big Peugeot floated through the streets, and Percival reflected on his luck at winning it back. The Americans were close to giving them the special certification, Mak had recently reported, and good luck came in threes. The Sun Wah Hotel was just a few blocks away. The proceeds of the money circle sat in an envelope next to Percival. It was due at the Teochow Clan Association by the end of the next day. In the glancing headlights, a girl's smile flashed, plucked out of darkness. Others walked nearby. Through his fluid cognac haze, he saw their light steps, their slender thighs quick in darkness. If nothing else, this war had brought miniskirts to Saigon". — Chapter 9

This is one of those books that connected with me on such a deep level, that it is difficult for me to explain why I loved it so much. It is not by any means a happy story with likeable characters. In fact, it takes place at a time and place plagued by bitter conflict and brutality: Vietnam during the 60s and 70s. The novel's protagonist is a deeply flawed man who prefers to hold on to his old, outdated mode of thinking and his unrealistic ideals rather than allowing even a glimpse of reality to sink in, so that I was sometimes tempted to shake him by the neck to snap him out of his stupor. He has the arrogance to believe he is the master of the little world he inhabits, while willingly ignoring the forces that have the power to take it all away. He is a man who can love deeply, but who's attempts at filling a great void might impel him to quite literally gamble everything away. Yet there is also charm here, with glimpses of a beautiful place; Vincent Lam paints sceneries with his words that are so vivid, I sometimes had the impression I was watching it all happen before my eyes. And not least of all, there is the presence of a woman who beguiles us, who cannot do otherwise than make the reader fall a little bit in love with her.

Percival Chen would probably define himself first and foremost by his Chinese heritage, which identity informs his every decision. He is also a businessman, a father, a gambler and womanizer, and the owner of the Percival Chen English Academy, located in Cholon, Vietnam. Born in China, he has always fervently held on to his Chinese values and culture, which he has scrupulously handed down to his son, Dai Jai. Percival's own father established what became a thriving business in Cholon, and built a large and well appointed residence, Chen Hap Sing, which also accommodated storerooms for the rice he made his fortune on. Now in Percival's hands, Chen Hap Sing houses his English Academy, which is run with the help of one of the teachers he employs, his friend Mak. Through a network of mysterious contacts Mak maintains and the discreet bribes he hands out to the authorities, Mak is instrumental in ensuring that the academy keeps it's elite status, making it a highly profitable enterprise.

The story takes off in 1966, when an official new directive is given that every school must include Vietnamese language in it’s curriculum. The Vietnam war is raging and tensions are high, and Percival's refusal to make this concession will have far-reaching consequence. When Dai Jai, wanting to make his father proud gets in trouble with the local authorities and is put in detention, Percival rightfully fears for his son's life when it is suspected he is being kept at the National Police Headquarters, where prisoners are routinely tortured and put to death. As usual relying on Mak and his connections, Percival is willing to pay any price to free his son. An anonymous contact is found; he may be able to rescue the young man, a nearly impossible mission, but demands an extortionary fee. With no other options and time being of essence Percival empties his coffers and borrows heavily against the value of his property to ensure Dai Jai's safety. But following his rescue, the authorities are still hell-bent on making an example of Dai Jai, and Percival sees no other choice than to send him away, once again having to rely on highly costly contacts and incurring yet more debt. Dai Jai is to go to China, where Percival is absolutely certain he belongs, against his ex-wife's better judgment. He has always focused solely on making money in order to finance his taste for gambling and whores, choosing to ignore the political turmoil that surrounds him. Therefore, Percival has no notion that in the re-baptized People's Republic of China, sons of businessmen and landowners are prime targets for punishing measures, once again firmly holding on to his romanticized memory of a homeland he left long ago and where he likes to think he will join Dai Jai eventually.

With his son gone and Mak taking over the administration of the school, the lure of gambling as a means to pay off his debts proves impossible to resist, and before long Percival is spending all his spare time playing high-stakes mah-jong tournaments, where alcohol and beautiful women add fuel to his obsession. When he first sees the exquisite Jacqueline at a casino, he is willing to risk all his gains for one night of pleasure with the splendid creature, never imagining for a moment the consequences such an encounter will have for him and everyone he holds dearest. All the while, as the war gets fiercer day by day and the fall of Saigon becomes imminent, Percival is far from suspecting the harsh realities he will eventually be forced to face.

Might there be hope for a sequel? Probably unlikely, but I will certainly look forward to Vincent Lam's next literary effort.

Oct 13, 2012, 10:15pm

Just short notes on the following books, having put all my efforts in the above review for the past couple of days...

134. ♫ South Riding by Winifred Holtby ★★★½
(Read for TIOLI #7: title starting with these letters (in rolling order): J*A*S*P*E*R)

I wanted to love this book, but a huge cast of characters involved with local Yorkshire politics—politics being a topic which I shrink away from—did not exactly win me over in the beginning. Soon, some key figures emerged, namely Sarah Burton, the new and youngish headmistress at the local high school and Robert Carne, a broke and principled landowner and descendant from a venerable family regarded locally as a lord, if not in actuality, then figuratively. Little by little, the politics took a secondary place and the various individuals became more fleshed out and I was eventually pulled in to their individual stories and struggles, in this poor community between the wars struggling to improve the lot of it's residents. I eventually found myself truly caring about Sarah and Carne, the modern and independent clever woman falling in love with the older man who is defeated by personal tragedy. And County Alderman Mrs Beddows, at first a mere figurehead to me, though an exception for being the first Alderman woman (apparently as Holtby's own mother was), a married septuagenarian more than a little bit in love with Carne too, earned my affection in the end. A book I feel I should have appreciated more than I did—and I did, just not to the full extent—which I may eventually revisit. There are a couple of excellent reviews for this novel, and the one just below mine on the main page expresses all I could not manage to here.

Oct 13, 2012, 10:17pm

*waving* at Ilana

Edited: Oct 13, 2012, 10:45pm

135. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Collin Cotterill ★★★½
(Read for TIOLI #17: Read a contemporary book set in the 1970s)

I've been a great fan of this series, but for some reason, likely to do with my own uninspired state of mind, I couldn't engage fully with this episode in the coroner's career in which he finds himself trying to prevent a plot to overthrow the government from coming to fruition with the help of Dtui and Phosy, and also tries to resolve the suspicious death of a young boy found drowned. Still this is Siri and one can't help but root for him and his crew. And is it possible he's actually found true love?

136. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym ★★★½
(Read for TIOLI #8: Read a book by a dead author)

Was much looking forward to my first Barbara Pym and at first was disappointed to discover the story centred on a 30ish spinster who is an active member of her parish. All things to do with religious practices rebuke me a little, because so very hard for me to understand, especially when it comes to the Anglican church with it's notions of "High" and "Low" church. It also took me a while to find humour in what is described as "high comedy" on the book cover, but I eventually got in on the joke. In any case, Mildred Lathbury is excited and a little apprehensive when she discover a handsome young woman has just moved into the apartment below hers. There's a shared bathroom in the building which instantly creates propinquity (!) whether the individuals actually like each other or not. At first she is rebuked by Helena Napier and her flippant attitude to all things domestic. But Mildred can't help herself from getting involved in other people's business and she soon finds herself enmeshed in the turmoils of friends and neighbours alike. Her best friends are the rector and his sister, Julian and Winifred Malory, who have always lived together since he has sworn off marriage, and Malory is dedicated to her brother, but Julian has suddenly become engaged to a widow, creating a flutter or conjecture with the local parishioners. Then Helena and her husband Rockingham (!), (a dashingly charming though probably superficial rogue Mildred takes a liking to) have a huge falling out and she becomes their intermediary to comic effect. One of these little books that will no doubt make for even greater comfort reading the second and third time around.

Oct 13, 2012, 10:38pm

Hi Stasia!

Oct 14, 2012, 11:55am

Ilana - some lovely reviews; especially the one of the Vincent Lam which ha whetted my appetite for it nicely.
A bit jealous of the chill in the air in Montreal but not so much given that when it gets much colder I would hate it with a passion. Happy birthday to your dad.

Oct 14, 2012, 12:06pm

Thanks Paul! I like fall weather, but not so much when it rains as today because it's practically impossible to stay warm and chills to the bone.

I was hoping to get together with my dad today, but my cold has really taken a turn for the far far worse since yesterday and I'm at that stage where you're blowing your nose every 2 minutes and hacking like a lifetime smoker. I was too cocky in thinking I could hold this one at bay and though I've almost finished two big jars of honey which have provided some relief, no miracles were accomplished either.

Finished Tess of the D'Urbevilles last night. Such a tragic story and so beautiful too. Sigh. Not sure what I'll follow up with on the audio front, we'll see. Today calls for laying on the couch and reading from the very amusing My Family and Other Animals. Wish I could pay someone to take Coco outside for me.

Oct 14, 2012, 8:12pm

Terrific reading and reviews, the Lam sounds really intriguing. - I had a thing for Pym when she first showed up on this side of the Atlantic.

I'm always very hungry at this time of year, it dies down when it finally actually gets cold, but it's a dangerous time for me usually. This year has been no exception. So I'm very very sympathetic.

Edited: Oct 14, 2012, 8:32pm

Hi Ilana- Great review of The Headmaster's Wager. Big Thumb! I've never heard of this one or the author. It looks like a Must Read!

Oct 14, 2012, 9:45pm

My thread, I think, has died. Oh, but look! A couple of visitors YAY!

#188 Hi Lucy, today was spent mostly on the couch snoozing and reading, so not a whole lot of moving around. Zero interest in food too, one of these days I'd gladly have taken a "meal pill". Glad you liked the reviews.

#189 Mark, please read it so you can get excited about it and tell everyone else they should read it, because yes, it's a Must Read!

Oct 14, 2012, 10:05pm

Hi Ilana - I'm guilty of lurking on the threads and not posting that much lately.

Oct 14, 2012, 11:02pm

I've been doing much the same Kerry, no worries.

Oct 15, 2012, 5:46am

Ilana - There has been a decided drop in activity in the last few days. Partly we can trace this to Mamie's Honda Odyssey slowly winding it's way to Georgia, my computer giving up the ghost doesn't help either. There was an almost 20% drop in activity over the weekend.

Oct 15, 2012, 9:08am

Hi Ilana!
Big wave across many km of Canada! You have a beautiful country up here ;-)
Hope you have a lovely day...

Oct 15, 2012, 1:23pm

#193 Thanks for the explanation Paul. I figured it must be something like that. I was just perplexed as to why I had had no messages at all for a couple of days in a row. It's hard taking a tumble from being in the top 10 to... well, less than a handful of visitors per day. Mind you, I know there are lots of lurkers, but when there are no messages at all it's easy to feel ignored. I wouldn't normally mind so much, except having posted my review of The Headmaster's Wager which I laboured over so much, I was kind of hoping to get people excited about it so it would land in the hot reviews so the book would get even more coverage. But oh well. I guess you can't plan these things. Sorry about your computer letting you down by the way.

#194 Dear Claudia, as you'll see, I've left you a lengthy message on your thread. Of course with this message I HAD to go see what the heck you were talking about. Feeling very sheepish now. I do envy you as would love to visit Nova Scotia too. And as I said on your thread and in my PM, you MUST somehow make a stop in Montreal so we can meet up!

Oct 15, 2012, 1:30pm

Oh my dear I saw your review of the Lam book and will post later concerning it. I'm still mulling it. The response, not the review, which was great.

I took Mom to the dentist this Saturday to get a tooth pulled. I also got my flu shot and I feel like a truck ran over me. I had hot chocolate for breakfast this morning to make myself feel better.

Excuse my incoherence. Attribute it to the sugar high and remnants of flu shot. :)

Oct 15, 2012, 1:37pm

What with feeling under the weather and spending most of the day on the couch yesterday, I was definitely needing comfort reading more than anything. I finally picked up my Avedon book and made progress on that (it's been just sitting there, looking good on my coffee table and on my threads!) and on audio, picked up Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey, a very short Persephone book at less than 2.5 hours. Followed that up with The Mysterious Affair at Styles and while I'd grumbled a lot about not appreciating Agatha Christie anymore the way I did as a teenager, I'm finally feeling the benefits of a cozy mystery this time. Being surprised is good, but it's so very nice when a book delivers exactly what you want and expect from it sometimes isn't it? That's what My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is like. I knew before picking it up what it would be like, in tone and general feel. I get the feeling I'll be picking up quite a few other books by him.

I've officially given up on my third book for the month, Teach Yourself to Dream by David Fontana. It's a very nice looking book with lots of beautiful illustrations and interesting exercises in it, but I don't feel motivated at all to try any of them, so there's really no point in going on with in at this time. I'll still hang on to it, if only because my dad gave it to me (albeit he did so only because he was moving back to Israel at the time and was getting rid of stuff), and I may want to give it a go eventually? Unless I can find a good home for it? Either that or I might donate it to a local library. Let me know if you're interested!

Today I'm feeling just as wretched, but I also think I might get over this cold soonish and besides, can't complain about it really since there are such worse things and I have all the leisure of just laying about and doing nothing, unlike most people.

Today: a few reviews/notes maybe? Posting artwork and bits and bobs on my blogs? Starting on a new drawing for my class! I just finished on last night and was quite happy with it. I'd like to bake an apple crisp, but worried about getting my germs into it at this time...

Oct 15, 2012, 1:39pm

#196 Hi Roberta! Sorry I didn't see your message as I was typing the above. Sounds like you're having a bit of a strange time, between mom's tooth and flu shot and sugar high making you feel wonky! Hope you feel better soon!

Oct 15, 2012, 4:40pm

Hi, Ilana. I've fallen behind, darn it. Great review of The Headmaster's Wager. I loved Tess of the D'Ubervilles, too, with all its sad beauty.

And I remain a big Agatha Christie fan. The Mysterious Affair at Styles was my first of hers, and opened the door to many, many hours of enjoyment. After my daughter became a fan growing up, I re-read a lot of them, including that first one. She's a clever author, and is likely to still be read in the next millennium.

Oct 15, 2012, 4:56pm

Hi Ilana, I'm tempted by The Headmaster's Wager but my ginormous Mt tbr has other thoughts. I'm trying to cut down on library books in favour of reading more of what I own. This seems to be a constant battle as due dates always win over shelving space.
I read a lot of Agatha Christie in my teens and earlier this year got my daughter a Miss Marple omnibus which she still hasn't cracked open despite expressing the wish to read Christie (mainly due to the Dr Who episode 'The Unicorn & the Wasp'). Anyway I thought I might have a read of it for my 12in12 challenge before year's end.

Sorry to hear about your cold. My son is suffering from a similar lergy, not sure if he'll head off to work this afternoon or not. Glad to hear that Durrell is providing the necessary comfort reading.

Oct 15, 2012, 5:58pm

Oh, Ilana, you're spoiled! You should read obscure books like I do, and live a compleyely boring life like I do, and then getting even a single thread visitor would be THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER!! :)

Oct 15, 2012, 7:08pm

Ilana, what a wonderful review of The Headmaster's Wager. I absolutely have to add to this my obese wish list.

So sorry to hear you're under the weather. Having just got over the horrific cold myself, I can and do surely sympathize. Drink plenty of hot fluids and rest.

Edited: Oct 16, 2012, 10:35pm

Woo hoo! A bunch of comments! I must say I've been bored out of my mind these last few days and have been dying for more diversions. Not sure how come, since I never seem to have enough time on any given day, but I guess what with all the wheezing and sneezing and whatnot, every minute of every hour just seems to pass by much slower somehow.

So. Now for a bit of fun: I need your help, be you a commenter or a lurker. I'm trying to put together my 2013 challenges and am having a hard time coming up with categories, but I do know a) I need to read more from my tbr and b) I'd like to have people choose a selection of books for me. Last year, I made people pick at random, but this time, I'll give you the option of actually choosing what specific books from my tbr you think I should read in 2013. The only caveat is that I'd like you to tell me, in a few words (or a few lines!) why you think I should read it (or direct me to your review if you've written one). One pick per person. To select a book, just pick my "To Read" collection, where you'll find nearly 750 titles to choose from. I'll allow for up to 20 selections or so (I've also posted this request on the 12/12 group); books selected more than once will simply be given higher priority.

Answering individual comments next.

Oct 15, 2012, 9:46pm interesting challenge: pick a book for someone else and say why.

Had a marvelous visit with my daughter; just hanging out and being us, which is what we do best.

Nice reviews in this batch!

Oct 15, 2012, 9:49pm

#199 Joe, Tess of the D'Urbervilles had a quality to it that felt very familiar. It might have to do with the fact that I've seen the movie with Nastasja Kinski and loved it, but it's also that beautiful melancholy that 19th century doomed heroines evokes. That world was my first attraction in literature, and I guess it still remains attractive to me now. I'll be rereading Zola's Nana for the third time soon, partly because I'm reading the whole series in order, and partly because I just want to (since I could easily skip it. Now there's another example of a doomed heroine!

This year and last, when I reread (listened to, actually) Agatha Christie novel, they somehow felt really bland and colourless... unoriginal to the point of being boring. I guess I was comparing the experience to when I first discovered her books, when I felt so excited about picking my next read by her because she seemed so very... well, original to me in my young age. With this book, it feels like sliding into a cozy pair of slippers. I don't know if the fact I'd never read it before has anything to do with it. Doubtful. I think it's mainly my state of mind. Which proves once again how critical that is in determining how we'll like any one book.

#200 Kerry, first of all, I understand your tbr woes, but you really must make an exception for this book. Secondly, I can't help but wonder why you say due dates are a factor... can't you just borrow less library books? Don't answer that. I know. Practically impossible; in the same vein as not buying books altogether.

I don't know Dr Who, nor The Unicorn & the Wasp, but I do love Miss Marple and look forward to reading her too. I would have gotten audiobooks of hers during this current sale (ending tonight), but I don't think I want to listen to that narrator for hours on end. It's Joan Hickson, who's apparently played Miss Marple in the miniseries, but I haven't seen her and her voice grates somehow... though I may yet change my mind about that!

Oct 15, 2012, 9:52pm

I've had a look through your list and picked out a number of great books but will go for a thriller by John Hart, The Last Child, which I found to be an engaging page turner.

Oct 15, 2012, 10:09pm

Ilana, I don't have to pay to request books and so the library books all seem to pile into the house. I request a lot of children's books and then decide once I have them at home whether I'll read them or not.

'The Unicorn the Wasp' was a Dr Who episode that featured the time-travelling Dr and his companion, Donna, gatecrashing a 1920s English house party. Agatha Christie is one of the guests and one of the mysteries they solve is that of the Unicorn, a jewel thief. The episode ends with Christie's famous disappearance. It was quite a fun episode as Donna was an Agatha Christie fan and had read all her books, but when they meet Christie she hadn't written them all.

Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 10:32pm

#201 Oh, Ilana, you're spoiled! You should read obscure books like I do, and live a compleyely boring life like I do, and then getting even a single thread visitor would be THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER!! :)

Of course, you know how wide that made me smile Liz. And you're right, of course I am spoiled. I guess I got such a kick out of getting a bazillion messages each day the first few months of the year that I was sort of hoping it'd keep up. But of course... reciprocation is the name of the game, and I tend to hide in my corner a lot. So I guess I should count myself lucky I get any visitors at all. And... I can't say from here what kind of life you lead, but I know for a fact you are not a boring person. And yes, I should drop by at least to say hi once in a while. Mea culpa.

#202 Drink plenty of hot fluids and rest.

Caro, I've been following your instructions to the letter. See, aren't I a good girl? :-)
Drinking tea loaded with honey all day long (why does it always cool off so fast?) and grogs in the morning and at bedtime (lemon, a half jar of honey and a splash of Cuban rhum) to soothe the throat, and I've been a genuine slug for the past 3 days at least. Make that a sea slug. I've just read about them in the Durrell book today and they can look so darn interesting, even beautiful (not that that is the case with me!)


Oh, look at that Caro... could almost be a frog, no? *evil laugh* ;-)

Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 10:39pm

#204 Gail, I'm so happy that you got to spend a lovely time with your daughter. Suddenly I had a pang of wishing I could sit with my mum in the same room and just be. Hadn't thought of that in so long since I feel so stressed about her most of the time (and with good reason, I should think). Thanks for the comment on the reviews.

#206-7 Kerry, I made a note of your pick in the top post, thanks for playing along. That Dr Who episode sounds like lots of fun!

Oct 15, 2012, 10:42pm

Last thing before I go do my obligatory hour of artwork:

There are less than two hours left for the Audible sale, and I couldn't help myself, which is really really bad of me considering. *Sigh*

Anyway, here's what I got:

What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
In Darkness by Nick Lake (YA, rec'd by the Book Case blog)
The Murder at the Vicarage: A Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie, narrated by Joan Hickson (couldn't resist after all that talk!)

Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 10:57pm

>203 Smiler69: Oh! How fun! So, I am de-lurking to play (by the way, I love the picture) your "pick the books for me" game.

On top of my list for you would be Le fantôme de l'Opéra because I read it 18 years ago and LOVED it. It was romantic, creepy, and downright scary at times. (I like the modern movie too but it's not as suspenseful as the book). When I read the book I hadn't seen any movies and didn't really know what the book was about that probably made the reading of it better since I had no preconceived notions. I envy you as you will get to read it in its original language!

>208 Smiler69: What an odd & beautiful little creature!

Edited: Oct 15, 2012, 10:50pm

And yes, I should drop by at least to say hi once in a while. Mea culpa.

That wasn't a hint, I promise! Just teasing. :)


I can't see your pictures at work - need to wait until I get home. Are they nudibranchs? I love nudibranchs!

Oct 16, 2012, 5:10am

Hope you are having a good day - love the sea slug:)

My pick for you to read in 2013 is A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot.

Reasons - I thought it was a very good story; you have it down as recommended by me; it is on audio and you read/listen to a lot of books in that format; also I would be interested to find out what it is like in the original French as I read it in translation.

Oct 16, 2012, 12:53pm

I have an appointment with my OT this afternoon and as I started a new drawing last night and have just 24 minutes left on The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I want to draw a bit and listen before I go. All this to say thanks for your comments and suggestions avidmom and calm, and Liz, I didn't know what nudibranchs were until you mentioned and I googled them, but they do look gorgeous. Doubt this little guy is but hope you like him all the same (what's not to like?). Oh, and what's your suggestion Lizzie? I'll be back to comment individually when I get back later today.

Have a great day everyone!

Oct 16, 2012, 3:47pm

Looks like a nudibranch to me! Nudibranchs are a sub-set of the sea slugs, the ones with those "frills" that are actually their gills. They come in lots of different sizes and shapes and colours.

Yes, I shall have to think carefully about your reading! :)

Oct 16, 2012, 6:25pm

Ilana my computer is still a bit crotchety but I was able to trawl your impressive shelves and am almost spoilt for choice to recommend books to you.
Would go for I, Claudius though as it is history brilliantly written with a wonderfully gossipy narrator. It has a bit of everything: farce, murder, sex, politics and family in a heady, witty brew. One of my personal top tens.

Oct 16, 2012, 6:26pm

By the way a thumbs up to Liz's thread which is far, far more popular than I think she realises!

Oct 16, 2012, 7:02pm

You could have said that ON my thread! And that IS a hint!! :)

Edited: Oct 16, 2012, 7:38pm

Okay, Ilana - I've decided to go easy on you: after toying with several of your choices from a purely selfish perspective ("Ooh, I'll pick that, because then she might need a tutored read!"), I've settled on Dragonwyck by Anya Seton, since that came up in our conversation about Gothic literature, and because I should have read it too, and this should inspire me to finally pick it up. Perhaps we can do a shared read?

I might also have picked I, Claudius if Paul hadn't, so you can consider this a second vote.

Oct 16, 2012, 7:44pm

Hi Ilana- Just checking in with you! It looks like things are hopping along here at a good pace. Hope your current reads are exceptional ones.

Oct 16, 2012, 9:54pm

#216 HA!!! I like that! You calling my shelves impressive! Too funny! This from the man of the ten thousand books! Ok, not quite 10,000 yet, but it's probably just a matter of a few months! :-)

Anyway, great selection. I've been really looking forward to I, Claudius and even put it as one of way too many possibilities for this month, but I'll be happy to wait till the new year to get to it.

#218-9 You could have said that ON my thread! And that IS a hint!! :)

LOL. You go girl!

I've decided to go easy on you: after toying with several of your choices from a purely selfish perspective ("Ooh, I'll pick that, because then she might need a tutored read!")

So. My dear Liz. This is too funny, because I had you firmly in mind today. Even had a bit of a conversation with you at one point :-)

This is why:

After my OT appointment, I went to The Word, my favourite second-hand book store (Coco was with me and he hates going there poor dear... he gets so bored!) and the first book I picked out was a lovely copy of Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister by Aphra Behn... (I wrote more on this topic which I'll go post on your thread) :-)

Dragonwyck is a great pick. I really loved Katherine when I read it this year, and definitely want to read more of her novels, so onto the 13/13 list it goes!

Oh yes, I also wanted to say that even if you had picked a book knowing I'd want tutoring, that would have been totally fine of course!

#220 Hey Mark! I'm guessing you just dropped by and didn't look at the latest messages, because if you go to #203 you'll see why things have been hopping over here. I'm sure you'll want to join in the fun too!

Oct 16, 2012, 10:37pm

Really exciting meeting with my OT (occupational therapist) today. I was in a really good headspace today and things were just really clicking. I always get along great with her because she's a lovely girl, super smart and on the ball, and totally willing to try things (well, that's part of her job description actually!)

The short of it is I'll be joining NaNoWriMo for the 4th time this November. But I'll write more about why I'm so fired up about it... tomorrow if I have time and energy after my drawing class and errands and whatnot.

Edited: Oct 16, 2012, 11:08pm

I've done my homework and checked your to read list. My choice for you was easy! I highly recommend The BFG by Roald Dahl

Here is my review:

I loved this book for many reasons, some of which are the creativity, the genus of the story and the warm, wonderful feelings it generated long after the last page was read.

Oct 16, 2012, 11:16pm

Ilana, I've seen The Headmaster's Wager in my bookstore when it first came out and from the very beginning it caught my attention. Both my parents are immigrants from Vietnam so that alone is enough to make me want to grab a copy of my own, but I'm waiting for a PB version to come out, or at least a bargain version of the HB. Thanks for your thoughtful review, as always. :)

Based on your To Read list, my vote would be for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. The book is funny, irreverent, and most of all, truthfully funny! I rarely LOL when reading a book, but the first couple pages of this one absolutely did that for me. I gave it a five star when I read it earlier this year.

Oct 16, 2012, 11:52pm

Thinking, thinking, thinking......
Deciding between:
The Bad Girl because Darryl recommends it and I recently acquired it and plan to read it in 2013 if not before.
Anna Karenina because I have it on my TBR pile and it seems like we should read it.
Year of Wonders because I read it a few years ago and loved loved loved it.

And working on 13 categories for my own 13 in 13 challenge, although I tend not to follow through.

I'll read Native Son with you in November or December if that will help. :-)

Edited: Oct 16, 2012, 11:53pm

Hi, Ilana! I just saw your message on my thread. I looked at your entire To Read list, and I decided to choose a book that was also on my TBR list, so that we could encourage each other to read it. Two books stand out for me: The Sea, the Sea, Iris Murdoch's 1978 Booker Prize winner, and Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, which was longlisted for the Booker in 2010. I have a slight preference for the Murdoch, but if you choose the Murray I'll read that one instead.

Oct 17, 2012, 6:37am

#181 Well done on a great review of The Headmaster's Wager! It's definitely gone on my wishlist.

Sorry for not posting sooner, I was away at the weekend and it's taken me a few days to get back into the threads. Also sorry to hear about your cold - I feel like I've had this one for ages now and although I didn't think it was too bad at first, it's refusing to go away and I almost wish it had been a worse, shorter cold.

#203 Ooh, fun! My choice from your TBR pile would be The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken because it's one of my favourites and it's a relatively short, easy and fun read. (My other choice would have been William Boyd's A Good Man in Africa because it's in my TBR pile too and it might prompt me to read it!)

#208 Wow, that's a beautiful creature with an unfortunately ugly name - not sluglike at all!

#222 Oh that's good news :-)

Oct 17, 2012, 7:39pm

Ilana- Okay, picking something for you is tricky. I want it to be something I love and you would like too! The first one I thought of was the Handmaid's Tale but I thought it might be one that might not work for you.
So I settled on, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This is one of my top reads of the year. Yes, it's YA and yes it's a tear-jerker, about dying kids but I also think it's wonderful.

I also agree with Ellen on Native Son. It's outstanding book, one of my favorites of all time.

Oct 17, 2012, 8:44pm

>228 msf59:: Couldn't agree more; picking a book for Ilana is tricky, as you want it to be something she would love. I've given it thought, gone through your list twice, seen several posibilites, but finally decided on Le Liaisons Dangereuses. I read it in English, not having any sort of command of French, and thought it one of the most compelling books I've ever read. Not nice characters, but a fascinating look at one section of French society.

I'd second I, Claudius, but I gues that's not allowed.

Love the pic. of the nudibranch. Sea creatures are so odd, mystifying, beautiful, and bizarre, all at once.

Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 9:36pm

How wonderful to drop in after what felt like a very long day and find all these wonderful suggestions! I should do this "pick for me" thing every month! :-)

Interesting drawing class today. Ran a bunch of errands feeling really out of it, more than likely due to my cold. Stocked up on more 3-ply kleenex, bought three different kinds of Earl Grey tea to refill my depleted stock, and got a big bottle of Cuban rhum for my hot toddies, so now I'm all set to wait this one out. One thing which was especially pleasant today was the weather, a perfect autumn day again, the way I wish they all were. Beautiful and sunny, cool enough to warrant a jacket, but comfortable enough to amble along and stand outside gossiping with a neighbour for 30 minutes.

#223 That's a great pick Linda. I saw you gave it 5 stars, so obviously it's a great favourite of yours. I have the audio version narrated by Natasha Richardson, which should be an extra treat.

#224 Valerie, I don't usually buy hardbacks, but I didn't want to wait for this one so just got it from the library.

Thanks for what sounds like a very entertaining pick. So many people have recommended this book that I'm almost worried it won't live up to expectations! But something tells me it will. Thanks for playing along.

#225 Well Ellen, I'll narrow down the options straightaway, since Anna Karenina was already picked for me. And since you were thinking of suggesting The Bad Girl based on Darryl's recommendation, I'll eliminate that one (since he gets to pick a book for me anyway) and choose the one you loved loved loved, Year of Wonders. That being said, I'll happily join you this year for The Bad Girl if I can.

And yes, if you read Native Son with me, it'll definitely give me an extra incentive to pick it up!

#226 Darryl, that's a good move choosing a book that's on your tbr too for the opportunity of a shared read. Since you have a slight preference for the Murdoch and I can't wait to read it, I'll pick that one. Also, Skippy Dies intimidates me for some reason, so I'll be happy to read along with you to give me an extra push eventually.

#227 Heather, no reason to apologize my dear, of course I love for you to visit and comment as much as possible because... well because you always have fun comments to make, but I take you when you come. We all struggle to keep a balance between RL and LT and keeping up with this talkative bunch is more than a full time job! I'm sorry to hear you're stuck with a lingering cold. My father was in a panic this morning when he called me because he's always had this idea that colds are life-threatening (I think his brain is stuck somewhere in the 19th century still!) and when I told him I'd had a dry cough all night which kept me awake, he immediately jumped to the conclusion that it must be bronchitis or every... pneumonia and insisted I should go have myself checked out at the clinic. Of course I didn't go and I reassured him by saying I felt sure if it was pneumonia I'd be feeling much worse and probably have a fever too.

So here's the thing: I can't wait to read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and was really wanting to get to it this year, so how about I opt for A Good Man in Africa and then as you say, it might give you a push to read it too? I look forward to it because it was the first William Boyd book to land on my wishlist some years ago when I saw it mentioned on some list or other and felt sure the story would appeal to me, and now of course he's among my favourite authors...

Re: NaNoWriMo, yes, I'm sure I'll be kicking myself come November for taking on too much, but it's a good incentive to get a first draft together for a story idea. Too tired to go into details right now of the how and why, but I'll write more about it as my OT had a really amazing suggestion.

#228 Mark, I'm not sure why you would have thought The Handmaid's Tale wouldn't work for me. You probably don't remember when we talked about it on your thread once long ago, but I'd mentioned it was one of my all-time favourites. I've read it twice over the years and got a gorgeous Folio edition a few months back, which I'll probably be reading next year anyway. The Fault in Our Stars it is then, thanks for playing along! :-)

Oct 17, 2012, 9:57pm

Ilana- I completely forgot you read the Atwood and you still had it on your To-Read list, which also threw me. LT opinion has been divided on this one, that's the only reason I thought it might not work for you.

Oct 17, 2012, 10:56pm

No sweat Mark. I know it's confusing that I've already read it and it's marked "To Read", but I've done that with several books that I want to reread in near future. Usually I have more than one edition of those books and mark the one I have currently at TR, as many books I read long ago have long departed my shelves and been replaced and I like to keep track of the various editions when possible.

Oct 18, 2012, 8:39am

I definitely pick you to re-read The Handmaid's Tale then, as it's one of my favourites, and the only book I studied at school and actually enjoyed delving into. In fact, it's the only book I studied that I enjoyed full stop!

Oct 18, 2012, 5:30pm

Good pick Jenny, I'll look forward to that reread, thanks.

Feeling absolutely miserable today. Kept up all night hacking again. Slept till 1, and didn't feel any better or more rested and throat is really sore. I feel like a big baby today and just wish I could lay in bed and have a mommy to take care of me. Having a bunch of computer troubles too, so I'm generally not a very happy camper today. Will try to focus on reading and drawing the rest of the day, though I also need to drop by the National Library to pick up a book I put on hold... but that seems like more than I can handle today. A friend of mine suggested I should get some codeine cough medicine to at least get me through the night for the next few days and I think I might go that route. I don't think I'm making any sense right now... can't seem to hold on to any one though long enough to type it out. Oy...

Oct 18, 2012, 5:43pm

#234 I always think it's amazing that in the 21st century there isn't a reliable treatment that will stop coughing, and having suffered from bad coughs all my life I have pretty well tried everything. A doctor once told me that the only thing that would do any good at all was to take the entire days allowance of a codeine based medicine in one go at night-time, but I've always been too worried about any possible side-effects to try it.

Oct 18, 2012, 5:44pm

The last few days I've gone through a few pages of yr. 'to read' booklist - but so many things already are marked with a check which I assume means that you have read it. The top of my tiny list is the Anthony Powell Dance to the Music of Time which should be on my Top Ten Novels by Men list, don't know why it isn't. Why read it? Great story, great writing, great characters, and a thoughtful view of the middle-decades of the last century. (1930-1970ish).

The wretched copy editor in me noticed too that Coventry is there twice, once spelled as Conventry. That will help reduce your list by one book. Everything helps.

Oct 18, 2012, 5:44pm

Hear hear for the absolutely miserable. Although mine isn't because of anything as reasonable as an illness, but is 'just because'. In fact, it's because my worst time of the year is coming up, but I'm refusing to acknowledge it.

Surely it's healthy to stay in bed forever. Right? We can live our lives that way, yes?

Oct 18, 2012, 5:57pm

Ah, hacking coughs are rotten - hard to rest, hard to sleep, hard to do anything. I hope it lets up on you, Ilana.

I wanted to suggest a book, too. I'm another fan of The Handmaid's Tale, which I see you read, and The Fault in Our Stars is an outstanding YA, the best thing that popular author has done by a long shot IMHO.

My suggestion: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. Why? It's a wonderful nonfiction book about his trying to bring wind electrical power to his impoverished Malawi village in Southern Africa. It's eye-opening to read what challenges they face in that part of the world, and inspiring to read about his efforts to overcome those challenges, educate himself, tune out the doubters, and help his village.

Oct 18, 2012, 7:47pm

#235 Rhian, sorry to hear about your chronic cough, that's got to be unpleasant as well as painful. My friend who suggested the cough medicine, Kristyna, was a head nurse for a long time and said I could take a much higher dose than what the label said without risk. My first thought when you mentioned taking a whole bottle of couch medicine wasn't so much about the side effects, but rather the fact that one would necessarily build up tolerance to the drug and keep increasing the dosage, which would get out of hand. I just looked up the side-effects of codeine on wikipedia:

"Common adverse effects associated with the use of codeine include drowsiness and constipation. Less common are euphoria, itching, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, miosis, orthostatic hypotension, urinary retention, depression, and pardoxical coughing. "

#236 Lucy, I'm not sure what you mean when you say many of my books have a check on them. There is a small selection of books in my "To Read" collection which I've read before (a dozen books or so, in all), but I've labeled them that way because I want to reread them in near future. I needed extra incentive to pick up Dance to the Music of Time, so thanks for picking it. I'm glad you spotted the typo on the Coventry book. I have two copies of it, both of which were gifts last year, which probably should be a double incentive for picking it up in near future!

#237 Jenny, oh how I know what you mean. I must say I'm quite grateful that I seem to have less truly miserable days than I have done in the past, though of course I hit a patch here and there and never know how long it'll last. Hours, days, weeks, months? But I get enough of them to know just what you mean when you talk of staying in bed as a lifestyle option. When I was very young, I saw a movie called Alexandre le Bienheureux, with Philippe Noiret about a man who decides to do just that—spend the rest of his life in bed. I was a mere child then, but I remember thinking how wonderful that must be. Looking it up just now made me want to watch it again, and it so happens there are several copies of it available at the library, so guess what I'll be watching soon?

Oct 18, 2012, 7:57pm

#238 Joe, I'm glad you decided to participate and I'd love to read a book you've selected for me. I'm sure The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is great. The only trouble is, this book is currently on my wishlist only, and as such isn't a valid selection. Make sure you select the "To Read" collection, which will only list those books which are actually currently in my home. I've added you as a recommender of TBWHtW, along with Stasia, who's short review had originally inspired me to put it on the ever-growing wishlist.

Oct 18, 2012, 9:23pm

#229 Gail, I hope you'll forgive my grave omission. I somehow missed your message as must have been typing something and posted it, then missed yours... anyway, I'm repeating myself. Of course I wasn't ignoring you, is what I'm trying to say.

Want to thank you for your very thoughtful choice. Of course I saw the movie more than once, and of course I found it absolutely brilliant and want to see it again. I'm intrigued by this particular audiobook because it's read by an ensemble cast, and each correspondent is voiced by a different actor. Should be interesting!

And yes, of course you're allowed to second any book you like!

Oct 18, 2012, 9:28pm

Gee, it seemed like more than twelve..... but rilly, you have been reading some great books, all worth revisiting.

Oct 18, 2012, 9:59pm

Maybe you're looking at a different list somehow? When I select the "to read" collection and sort it by rating, I see only 13 books have gotten a rating. I rate all the books I've read systematically, so really, there shouldn't be more than that. Maybe you can give me some examples? I'm really curious to find out what you mean...