Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 5

This is a continuation of the topic Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 4.

This topic was continued by Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 6.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 5

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Edited: May 22, 2014, 10:15pm

Dame Elizabeth Violet Blackadder (born 1931, Falkirk) is a Scottish painter, watercolourist and printmaker. I have a couple of books of her works I need to spend time with.

Table of Contents:
Books completed
Reading Plans
Picked for Me!
American Authors Challenge
WWI Centenary Reading
Additional Books I'd like to read in 2014
A Century of Books! 1900-1924
A Century of Books! 1925-1949
A Century of Books! 1950-1974
A Century of Books! 1975-1999
Ongoing Series
Booker Prize Books
Reading Bingo
Books Purchased
Books Purchased (cont'd)

Currently reading, listening to,
and occasionally browsing through:

The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
Slightly Foxed: No. 20: Shrieks and Floods by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (GR)
Sovereign by C. J. Sansom
The Pale Criminal by Pillip Kerr


Favourites of 2014: (★★★★½ and up)
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★★ (review)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - reread tutored read
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (review)
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
Lady Susan by Jane Austen (review)
Love and Freindship (sic) by Jane Austen (review)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - reread (review)
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (review)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (tutored read)
Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★ (review)
The Quick by Lauren Owen (ARC) ★★★★★ (review)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (review)
Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson (review)
Dissolution by C. J. Samson (review)

My 31 Most Memorable Reads of 13

My rating system:
★ - hated it (may or may not have finished it)
★★ - it was just ok
★★★ - enjoyed it (good)
★★★★ - loved it! (very good)
★★★★½ - loved it—must read again! (excellent)
★★★★★ - all-time favourite (blew me away—will read again, and again... and again!)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 22, 2014, 10:23pm

Books completed in May
78. ♫ March Violets by Philip Kerr ★★★★ (review)
79. ♫ Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye ★★★★ (review)
80. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 19: A Lonely Furrow by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
81. ✔ Small Island by Andrea Levy ★★★★
82. ♫ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ★★★★
83. ♫ The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ★★★★ (review)
84. ♫ The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith ★★★⅓
85. ⓔ Dissolution by C. J. Samson ★★★★½ (review)
86. ♫ The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley ★★★★
87. ♫ The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell ★★★★
88. ⓔ Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom ★★★★⅓
89. ♫ Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer

The Bees by Laline Paull

Books completed in April
52. ♫ The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope ★★½ (review)
53. ⓔ The Quick by Lauren Owen (ARC) ★★★★★ (review)
54. ✔ Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz ★★★★⅓
55. ♫ Frog Music by Emma Donoghue ★★★★⅓ (review)
56. ✔ Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark ★★★⅓ (review)
57. ♫ Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan ★★★★½ (review)
58. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 41: Cellmates by Gail Pirkis ★★★★ (review)
59. ❉ Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (tutored read) ★★★★½
60. ✔ The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith ★★★¼ (review)
61. ♫ Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★ (review)
62. ❉ⓔ Wolf Story by William McCleery ★★★⅓ (review)
64. ❉ⓔ The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★½ (review)
65. ♫ These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★ (review)
66. ♫ In Chancery by John Galsworthy ★★★★
67. ♫ A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★★★
68. ♫ Home by Toni Morrison ★★★½
69. ♫ The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill ★★★¾
70. ♫ The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood ★★★★
71. ✔ Pot-Bouille/Pot Luck by Émile Zola ★★★★ (review)
72. ❉ The Herbarium of the Fairies by Benjamin Lacombe ★★★★
73. ♫ The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich ★★★★
74. ✔ Coventry by Helen Humphries ★★★★ (review)
75. ✔ Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson ★★★★½ (review)
76. ♫ The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin ★★★★ (review)
77. ✔ King Lear by William Shakespeare (reread) ★★★★⅓

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller

Books completed in March
34. ❉ Goliath by Tom Gauld ★★★★
35. ♫ The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman ★★★★ (review)
36. ♫ Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler ★★★★
37. ♫ Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty ★★★ (review)
38. ♫ The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler ★★★¼
39. ♫ The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov ★★★½
40. ⓔ Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat ★★★★ (review)
41. ♫ All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy ★★★★⅞ (review)
42. Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin ★★★★ (review)
43. ✔ The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott ★★★
44. ✔ Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout ★★ (review)
45. ✔ Slightly Foxed: 18: The Sensation of Crossing the Street by Gail Pirkis ★★★★ (review)
46. ♫ The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas ★★★★
47. ✔ Native Son by Richard Wright ★★★★ (review)
48. ♫ How It All Began by Penelope Lively ★★★
49. ♫ Le Bal by Irène Nemirovski ★★★★
50. ✔ The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood ★★★★⅓ (review)
51. ♫ The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally

Books completed in February
17. ♫ Longbourn by Jo Baker ★★★★⅓
18. ✔ Nana by Émile Zola ★★★★⅓ (review)
19. ♫ Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch ★★★½
20. ✔ Slightly Foxed: 40: Mellow Fruitfulness by Gail Pirkis ★★★★
21. ♫ The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★ (review)
22. ⓔ 420 Characters by Lou Beach ★★★¾ (review)
23. ♫ An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine ★★½ (review)
24. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret Mary Elizabeth Braddon ★★★★ (review)
25. ♫ Tenth of December by George Saunders ★★★¼
26. ✔ Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household ★★★★½ (review)
27. ✔ The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton ★★★★½
28. ♫ Lady Susan by Jane Austen ★★★★½ (review)
29. ⓔ Love and Freindship (sic) by Jane Austen ★★★★½ (review)
30. ♫ Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope ★★★★⅓
31. ♫ Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch ★★★¼
32. ✔ The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West ★★★★⅓ (reread)
33. ♫ The Light of Day by Eric Ambler ★★★★

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
♫+ⓔ An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Books completed in January
1. ♫ The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell ★★½
2. ♫ Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert ★★★½
3. ✔&♫ Bleak House by Charles Dickens ★★★★
4. ❉ Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett ★★★★
5. ♫ The Weed the Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley ★★★¾
6. ♫ The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★★ (review)
7. ✔ Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons ★★★½
8. ♫ Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ★★★★½
9. ♫ 1914: A Novel by Jean Echenoz ★★★★
10. ❉ You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld ★★★★
11. ♫ Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris ★★★★
12. ⓔ O Pioneers! by Willa Cather ★★★½ (review)
13. ♫ The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard ★★★★⅓ (review)
14. ♫ Hygiène de l'assassin by Amélie Nothomb ★ (review)
15. ✔ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz/lyzard ★★★★½
16. ✔ Coriolanus by William Shakespeare ★★★★

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (will try again)
Hygiène de l'assassin by Amélie Nothomb

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 22, 2014, 10:42pm

Reading Plans for May:
☀ⓔ The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (tutored read) - TIOLI #1: mentions a tree on any page with double numbers - currently reading
☀✔ The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (GR) - TIOLI #12 - currently reading
☀✔ Small Island by Andrea Levy - TIOLI #2: two embedded words - Completed
☀♫ Room by Emma Donoghue - TIOLI #6: a title that looks like handwriting
☀*✔ Sketches From a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgeniev - TIOLI #3: title is somebody's something
☀*✔ The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - TIOLI #5: a word in the title that could be something good
☀♫ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - TIOLI #12: Black or White in the title - Completed
☀♫ English Creek by Ivan Doig - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - TIOLI #5: a word in the title that could be something good - Completed
☀♫ The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - TIOLI #6 - Completed
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty - selected stories (AAC)

TIOLI Options:
*♫ Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed - TIOLI #5
*✔ Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant - TIOLI #2
*✔ Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - TiOLI #3
Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola - TIOLI #5
The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor - TIOLI #5
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace - TiOLI #3
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens - TIOLI #2, A Century of Books! (1969)

May Murder & Mayhem Options:
☀♫ The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - TIOLI #5
☀♫ The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - TIOLI #6 - Completed
☀✔ Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - TIOLI #2
☀♫ A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine - TIOLI #5
☀✔ Cover Her Face by P. D. James - TIOLI #2
☀♫ March Violets by Philip Kerr - TIOLI #2 - Completed
☀♫ Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
☀✔ My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
☀✔ The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene - TIOLI #2
☀✔ The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Looking Glass War by John Le Carré - TIOLI #2
☀✔ A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler - TIOLI #2
☀♫ Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - TIOLI #15: letter "Y" somewhere in the title
☀♫ The Enemy by Lee Child - TIOLI #15
☀✔ Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey - TIOLI #15
☀♫ Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - TIOLI #18: a book that has a connection to the number 5 - Completed
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
☀♫The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley - TIOLI #2 - Completed
In the Woods by Tana French
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
All Shot Up by Chester Himes

Spur of the moment:
☀ⓔ Dissolution by C. J. Samson - TIOLI #12: use a past challenge from the month of May (2010: a book with a one word title) - Completed
☀♫ The Bees by Laline Paull - TIOLI #18: released this May; 05/14 - Unfinished
☀ⓔ Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom - TIOLI #12 (2011: A book set in London, England) - Completed
☀♫ Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer - TIOLI #2 - Completed
☀ⓔ Sovereign by C. J. Sansom - TIOLI #12: use a past challenge from the month of May (2010: a book with a one word title) - Currently reading
The Pale Criminal by Pillip Kerr - TIOLI #2 - Currently listening


Audible Reminders:
Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley 05-30-13
The Looking Glass War by John le Carre 05-30-13
Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson 06-05-13
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card 06-05-13
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir 06-08-13
The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir 06-08-13
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald 06-16-13
The Chateau by William Maxwell 06-16-13


* = Picked for Me challenge
** = Picked for Me challenge extra picks
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 16, 2014, 2:00pm

This is my third year running this challenge, for which I asked my fellow LTers to pick books from my vast tbr. The first year I asked people to select books by a 'blind' method, choosing at random based on a complex algorithm I'd come up with (no, not really). For the past couple of years, I decided it would probably be more satisfactory to ask people to choose a book they loved and particularly recommend.

1. ♫ Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan - picked by Fourpawz2 - Completed April/14
2. ♫ The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng - picked by Donna828 - Completed January/14
3. Sketches From a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgeniev - picked by sibyx
4. ♫ The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman - extra from Paul - Completed March/14
5. Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister by Aphra Behn - picked by lyzard
6. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - picked by phebj - Completed March/14
7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - picked by Crazymamie - Completed January/14
8. Coventry by Helen Humphreys - picked by Claudia - Completed April/14
9. A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck - picked by avatiakh
10. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - picked by souloftherose
11. A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull - picked by Deern
12. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - picked by luvamystery65 - Completed January/14
13. Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz - picked by Polaris- - Completed April/14
14. ♫ Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed - picked my msf59
15. Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky - picked by SandDune
16. Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant - picked by calm
17. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel - picked by kidzdoc
18. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - picked by EBT1002
19. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden - picked by Chatterbox
20. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - picked by DejaVoo
21. Extra spot reserved for my RL friend Kristyna
22. Extra spot reserved for my mum

Extra picks
Some people couldn't pick just one book. This secondary list of extras is one I'll very gladly refer to in guiding my reading choices in 2014. I may end up switching items from one list to the other, the point being I'll read at least one book for each person who's done the picking.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (reread)
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger - both extras from Lucy
Watership Down by Richard Adams (reread) - extra from Paul
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - extra from Paul
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling
The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll - both extras from Liz
The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (reread) - extra pick Kerry - Unfinished
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - extra pick Kerry - Completed February/14
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - extra pick by Roberta - Read in November/13
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton - extra pick by Roberta - Completed February/14
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - both extras from Paul Harris
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim - extra from Rhian
Sula by Toni Morrison
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Babbit by Sinclair Lewis
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson - Completed December/13 - all 9 extras from Ellen
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian - Read January/14 (unfinished)
Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert - Completed January/14
Dissolution by CJ Sansom - three extras from Suz - Completed May/14

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 1:55pm

American Authors Challenge

This is Mark's baby (msf59). Each month will be devoted to a specific author, but as I want to read from my tbr, I've substituted some of the *official* selections with other equally deserving auteurs américains. Here's the list for now:

January: Willa Cather - O Pioneers! - Completed
February: William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner - Gave it up, wasn't in the mood
March: Cormac McCarthy - All the Pretty Horses (reread) - Completed
April: Toni Morrison - Home - Completed
May: (Eudora Welty) Louise Erdrich - The Master Butcher's Singing Club
June: (Kurt Vonnegut) Paul Auster - Moon Palace
July: Mark Twain - Huckleberry Finn (reread) or The Autobiography of Mark Twain
August: Philip Roth- American Pastoral
September: James Baldwin - Going to Meet the Man
October: Edith Wharton - The Custom of the Country
November: (John Updike) Sinclair Lewis - Elmer Gantry (could be another title)
December: (Larry Watson) Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God

Edited: Apr 25, 2014, 11:37am

World War I Centenary Reading: Fiction and Non-Fiction about the war and it's aftermath

Possibilities from my tbr:

Anthem For Doomed Youth: Poets Of The Great War
Birds Without Wings Louis De Bernieres
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian
Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence
The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (reread) - Completed February/14
Regeneration by Pat Barker (reread)
1913: The Year Before the Storm by Florian Illies
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 by Barbara W. Tuchman
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman - Completed March/14
Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
1914: A Novel by Jean Echenoz (rec'd by kidzdoc) - Completed January/14
The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally (rec'd by Chatterbox) - Completed March/14
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan (rec'd by Chatterbox and brenzi)
The Beautiful Visit Elizabeth Jane Howard
The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich - Completed April/14

Other options:

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart (rec'd by calm, Chatterbox)
The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek
The Radetzky March By Joseph Roth
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin
An Ice Cream War by William Boyd
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Rec'd by Chatterbox)
A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

Edited: Apr 27, 2014, 8:12pm

(Just a few of the)
Additional Books I'd like to read in 2014
(most already set aside on the bedside table)

In no particular order:

Caravan of Dreams by Idries Shah (blindly picked by PiyushChourasia in 2012)
Arabian Nights: Four Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Marc Chagall (blindly picked by picked by Donna828 in 2012)
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - (blindly picked by picked by LauraBrook in 2012)
Nana by Emile Zola - Read in February
Pot-Bouille by Émile Zola - Read in April
Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola (to continue with the Rougon-Macquart series)
The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon (on my shelf for over 10 years)
Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt (loved the movie, want to read my Byatt)
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafizi (want to read more about Afghanistan)
Seven Gothic Tales by Izak Dinesen (wanted to read seemingly forever)
Small Island by Andrea Levy (recommended a million times)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (waited to read Great Expectations, on my reading list for a couple of years)
Kaspar by Michael Morpurgo
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo (love Morpurgo for not so light children's books)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (reread) - Read in March
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy (finally want to finish the trilogy)
A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes (on the shelf since forever)
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (reread on audio this time to see if I like it better)
Amsterdam Stories by Nescio (started in 2012 and unfinished)
The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor (want to read more Taylor)
Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark (want to read more of one of my favourite authors) - Read in April
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (reread in the original French this time)
Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins (wanted to read forever)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace (much recommended)
Moon Palace by Paul Auster (on last year's list)
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (on the shelf for ages, might get the audio which is supposedly very good)
✔ Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood (blindly picked by picked by MickyFine in 2012)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (wanted to read forever)
Howard's End is on the Landing by Susan Hill (much recommended)
Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken (to continue the much recommended series)
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (to start reading Rubens, much recommended by Kerry/avatiakh)
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (on last year's list)
Jamrach's Menagerie Carol Birch (on last year's list)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (wanted to read forever)
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble (wanted to read forever)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (wanted to read forever)
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (haven't read him in a while)
✔&♫ 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (maybe this year, maybe not)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith (want to pick up where I left off years ago) - Read in April
✔&♫ 2666 by Roberto Bolaño (meant to join the group read last year, didn't.)
The Master by Colm Toibín (wanted to read forever)
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (been meaning to read more of his work for years)
Felicia's Journey by William Trevor (an author I want to discover)
Zarafa by Michael Allin (stories about animals a must)
The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (on my tbr for ages) - Read in March
The Colour by Rose Tremain
Restoration by Rose Tremain
Ru by Kim Thúy (have seen her around lots and highly rec'd by Lori/lkernagh
Alys, Always by Harriet Lane (strongly Rec'd by Prue last year)
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (left over from 2012 Steinbeckathon)

Also: Group Read of The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott – March, May, July, September

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 2:00pm

A Century of Books! 1900-1924

I decided to steal this challenge from Heather/souloftherose. She's been doing so beautifully. The following, copied almost verbatim from her thread: I'm going to try and read a book published in every year of the 20th century. This is just for fun, but as I know I won't manage it in one year, I'll extend it for as long as it takes me. Books listed are suggestions only and may be switched for something else.

Books I've read are bolded.

1900 Claudine at School by Colette The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
1901 The Benefactress by Elizabeth von Arnim , The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit, Claudine in Paris by Colette
1902 Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Reed, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Claudine Married by Colette
1903 Claudine and Annie by Colette, The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
1904 The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, The New Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit, The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen by Elizabeth von Arnim, The Love of Erika Ewald by Stefan Zweig
1905The Princess Priscilla's Fortnight by Elizabeth von Arnim
1906 The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit, The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
1907 Retreat From Love by Colette, Cautionary Tales and other verses by Hilaire Belloc, Fräulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
1908 The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame (reread), A Room With a View by E. M. Forster
1909 The Innocent Libertine by Colette, Three Lives by Gertrude Stein
1910 The Vagabond by Colette
1911 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (reread), Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
1912 Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (reread)
1913 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather ★★★½
1914 The Pastor's Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim
1915 Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
1916 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (reread)
1917 Christine by Elizabeth von Arnim
1918 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (reread) ★★★★⅓
1919 Christopher and Columbus by Elizabeth von Arnim
1920 This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1921 Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim
1922 Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence, Amok by Stefan Zweig, Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith
1923 Whose Body? Dorothy L. Sayers (reread)
1924 A Passage to India by E. M. Forster, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, The Old Maid by Edith Wharton

Edited: May 11, 2014, 7:04pm

A Century of Books! 1925-1949

1925 An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (reread), The Trial by Franz Kafka, The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
1926 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★
1927 Amerika by Franz Kafka, Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
1928 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Orlando by Virginia Woolf
1929 A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
1930 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (reread)
1931 The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson, All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West (reread)
1932 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons ★★★½ (will reread and like it better!)
1933 Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
1934 Miss Buncle's Book bu D. E. Stevenson ★★★★½
1935 Full House by M. J. Farrell (Molly Keane)
1936 The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler
1937 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
1938 Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler ★★★★
1939 Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household ★★★★½
1940 Native Son by Richard Wright ★★★★
1941 The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (reread), The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier
1942 Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, L'Étranger by Albert Camus, West with the Night by Beryl Markham
1943 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (reread), The Two Mrs. Abbotts by D.E. Stevenson (on wishlist) Claudius the God by Robert Graves
1944 Dragonwyck by Anya Seton ★★★★½
1945 The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (reread), Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, At Mrs Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor
1946 Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey, Palladian by Elizabeth Taylor
1947 Speak Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, The Path to the Spiders' Nests by Italo Calvino
1948 The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
1949 The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 2:00pm

A Century of Books! 1950-1974

1950 Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert ★★★½
1951 Tempest-Tost by Robertson Davies, My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
1952 Treasure Hunt by M. J. Farrell (Molly Keane)
1953 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clark
1954 Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, Leaven of Malice by Robertson Davies, The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins
1955 On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
1956 The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
1957 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
1958 The Bell by Iris Murdoch, The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
1959 The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
1960 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread), A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell, All Shot Up by Chester Himes
1961 The Chateau by William Mawell, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, No Fond Return Of Love by Barbara Pym, Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
1962 The Light of Day by Eric Ambler ★★★★ & The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
1963 The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
1964 Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken, A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor
1965 Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin, The Looking Glass War by John Le Carré
1966 The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
1967 The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1969 Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene
1970 The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens, Zelda: A Biography by Nancy Milford, Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (reread), Deliverance by James Dickey
1971 The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
1972 Watership Down by Richard Adams (reread)
1973 The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene, Sula by Toni Morrison, The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
1974 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 2:00pm

A Century of Books! 1975-1999

1975 World of Wonders by Robertson Davies, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
1976 Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
1977 Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood, The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré
1978 Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
1979 Sophie's Choice by William Styron
1980 Music of Chance by Paul Auster, The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (partial reread)
1982 The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
1983 The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
1984 English Creek by Ivan Doig, Neuromancer by William Gibson
1985 The Bone People by Keri Hulme, Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennis, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, The Cider House Rules by John Irving, The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire by Anne Rice
1986 Count Zero by William Gibson, A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine
1987 The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George, The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1988 A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark (reread), Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler, Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
1989 Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★
1990 The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard ★★★★⅓
1991 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
1993 Trainspotting by Irvine Welch, Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo, Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer
1994 Felicias's Journey by William Trevor, The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
1995 Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson ★★★★½
1996 Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane, The Green Mile by Stephen King
1997 Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
1998 Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy, Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge, Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro, Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan
1999 Timbuktu by Paul Auster, Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Interpreter of Maladies by Juhmpa Lahiri

Edited: Apr 28, 2014, 10:30pm

Ongoing Series
An idea Heather (souloftherose) borrowed from Liz (lyzard), which caught on like wildfire. Ongoing series that I am actively reading; this doesn't include series I have in my TBR but haven't started reading yet (that is covered in the next list!)

African Trilogy - Next up: No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (2/3)
Alan Grant Mysteries - Next up: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1/6 - read out of order)
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)
The Australian Trilogy - Next up: Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (2/3)
Bartimaeus - Next up: Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (3/4)
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)
The Chronicles of Barsetshire - Next up: Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (2/6)
Claudius - Next up: Claudius the God by Robert Graves (2/2)
La Comédie Humaine - Next up: Le curé de Tours by Honoré de Balzac (31/88 - 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)
Corfu Trilogy: The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (3/3)
The Dark is Rising Sequence - Next up: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (2/5)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Next up: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (2/3)
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)
The Dresden Files: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3/15)
Dr. Siri Paiboun - Next up: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (⅝)
The Earthsea Cycle: The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin (2/6)
Easy Rawlins Mystery - Next up: White Butterfly by Walter Mosley (3/10)
Elizabeth and her German Garden - Next up: The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim (2/2)
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)
❉♫ Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström - Next up: The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/8)
❉♫ Flavia de Luce - Next up: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (4/6)
Forsyte Saga - Next up: To Let by John Galsworthy (3/3)
Green Town - Next up: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (2/2)
The Harlem Cycle - Next up: All Shot Up by Chester Himes (4/8)
Hercule Poirot - Next up: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie (8/39 - read out of order)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dramatization - Next up: Tertiary Phase (BBC Radio Collection) by Douglas Adams (3/5)
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)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place - Next up: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (3/4)
pector Yashim Togalu - Next up: The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin (2/4)
Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries - Next up: The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/9)
Jack Reacher - Next up: The Enemy by Lee Child (8/17)
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)
Kurt Wallander - Next up: The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/10)
The Last Lion - Next up: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 by William Manchester (2/3)
Leviathan - Next up: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (2/3)
The Lord of the Rings - Next up: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (3/4)
Lord Peter Wimsey - Next up: Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers (4/15)
Maisie Dobbs - Next up: Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear (4/10)
Mapp and Lucia - Next up: Lucia in London by E. F. Benson (3/8)
Miss Marple - Next up: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (2/12)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Next up: The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (5/14)
The Obelisk Trilogy - Next up: Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
Oxford Time Travel series - Next up: Blackout by Connie Willis (¾)
The Palisser Novels - Next up: Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope (2/6)
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: Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood (4/20)
The Power Of One - Next up: Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (2/2)
The Prairie Trilogy - Next up: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (2/3)
The Raj Quartet: The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (2/4)
The Raven Cycle Next up: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2/4)
Rivers of London - Next up: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch 3/5)
Robert Merivel Next up: Merivel by Rose Tremain (2/2)
Roderick Alleyn - Next up: Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh (8/32 - read out of order)
Les Rougon-Macquart - Next up: Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola (11/20)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Next up: The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/7)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black (3/8)
Tales of the City - Next up: Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (3/6)
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 - Next up: Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (2/2)
Tom Ripley - Next up: The Boy Who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (4/5)
Victor Legris - Next up: La disparue du Père-Lachaise by Claude Izner (2/11)
Wind on Fire Trilogy - Next up: Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson (2/3)
Wolf Hall Trilogy - Next up: The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (awaiting publication) (3/3)
Wolves Chronicles - Next up: Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken (2/11)
Wyoming Stories: Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx (2/3)

First in Series on my TBR
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)
Aubrey-Maturin: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (1/21!)
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)
Calder Art Mysteries: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (1/3)
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (1/3)
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (1/9)
The Complete Novels and Stories: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I by Arthur Conan Doyle (1/2)
The Cousins' War: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (1/5)
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)
Divergent: Divergent by Veronica Roth (1/3)
Dublin Murder Squad: In the Woods by Tana French (1/4)
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (1/2)
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston (1/3)
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1/2)
Harry Potter: Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (reread) (1/7)
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)
James Bond: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (1/14)
Joona Linna: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (1/3)
The Kingkiller Chronicle : The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (1/3)
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)
✔❉♫ The Magicians: The Magicians by Lev Grossman (1/2)
McCaskill Trilogy: English Creek by Ivan Doig (1/3)
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)
The Psammead Trilogy: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1/3)
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)
Sword of Honour: Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh (1/3)
The Vampire Chronicles: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (reread) (1/10)
❉♫ The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (1/3)
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (1/2)

✔ = in my TBR
♫ = audiobook (in my TBR)
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 2:02pm

Booker Prize Books Read in 2014 (in reading order)
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Shortlist 2012)
Restoration by Rose Tremain (Shortlist 1989)

Booker Prize Books Read in 2013
Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (Shortlist 1981)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1986)
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Booker Prize 1999)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booker Prize 1989)
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2013)
Harvest by Jim Crace (Shortlist 2013)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Booker Prize 2013)
What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller (Shortlist 2003)
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Shortlist 2008)
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Booker Prize 1978)
Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (Shortlist 1995)

Booker Prize Books on my TBR
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (Booker Prize 1970)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (Booker Prize 1973)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Booker Prize 1985)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Booker Prize 1987)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Shortlist 1988)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (Booker Prize 1988)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1989)
Possession by A.S. Byatt (Booker Prize 1990)
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Booker Prize 1992)
Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer (Shortlist 1993)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 1996)
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (Shortlist 1998)
Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan (Booker Prize 1998)
Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (Longlist 2001)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Shortlist 2003)
The Master by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2004)
The Accidental by Ali Smith (Shortlist 2005)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (Booker Prize 2006)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Shortlist 2007)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Shortlist 2008)
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Booker Prize 2008) - reread
Heliopolis by James Scudamore (Longlist 2009)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Shortlist 2009)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Longlist 2010)
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Shortlist 2011)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Longlist 2013)
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (Longlist 2013)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Shortlist 2013)

(more on the wishlist of course!)

Edited: May 10, 2014, 9:55pm

Finally had to jump into the fun Reading Bingo action!
I'll only count books I really loved toward this challenge (4 stars and up).

More than 500 pages: Bleak House by Charles Dickens ★★★★
Forgotten Classic: Coriolanus by William Shakespeare ★★★★
Book that became a movie: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - tutorial ★★★★½
Published this year: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue ★★★★
Number in the title: 1914: A Novel by Jean Echenoz ★★★★
Written by someone under 30: Love and Freindship (sic) by Jane Austen ★★★★½
Book with non-human characters: Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett ★★★★
Funny Book: You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld ★★★★
Female Author: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ★★★★½
Book with a mystery: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon ★★★★
One-Word Title: Nana by Émile Zola ★★★★⅓
Book of short stories: The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton ★★★★½
Set on a different continent: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★★
Non-Fiction: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin ★★★★
First book by a favourite author: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen ★★★★½
Heard about online: The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard ★★★★⅓
Best-selling book: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris ★★★★
Based on a true story: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan ★★★★½
Book at the bottom of TBR pile:
Book my friend loves: Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat ★★★★
Book that scares me:
More than 10 years old: Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
Second book in a series: In Chancery by John Galsworthy ★★★★
Blue cover: The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin ★★★★

For the following, I'll be counting any kind of books, not just YA.

A book with a female heroine: Lady Susan by Jane Austen ★★★★½
A book set in a high school:
The last book in a trilogy:
A book with a colour in the title: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ★★★★
The first book in a series: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★
A book set in the future: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ★★★★
A book with a breakup: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy ★★★★⅞
A book without a love triangle: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood ★★★★
A book that became a movie: Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household ★★★★½
A book set in Paris: These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★
A book set in the past: Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★
A book with magic:
A book set in the summer:
A book with a dragon:
A book that made you cry: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★½
A graphic novel:
A book based on a myth: The Quick by Lauren Owen ★★★★★
A "classic" YA book:
A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe:
A book with an incredible fight scene: Goliath by Tom Gauld ★★★★
A book you heard about online: Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler ★★★★
A book set in another world: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★★★
A book with an epic love story: Longbourn by Jo Baker ★★★★⅓
A book with music: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue ★★★★⅓

* = need to add a circle in Photoshop.

Edited: May 10, 2014, 9:47pm

Books Purchased in 2014

1. Prospero's Cell by Lawrence Durrell
2. ♫ The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally - Read in March
3. ♫ The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth
4. ♫ The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth
5. ♫ The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914 by Barbara W. Tuchman
6. ♫ Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
7. ♫ Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - Read in May
8. The Book of Common Prayer (2nd hand FS)
9. ♫ Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Audible Daily Deal)
10. ⓔ The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (Kindle deal)
11. ⓔ Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace by Kate Summerscale (Kindle deal)
12. ⓔ The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey Through a Century of Biology by Bernd Heinrich (Kindle deal)
13. ⓔ Voltaire Almighty by Roger Pearson (Kindle deal)
14. ♫ The Trembling of a Leaf by W. Somerset Maugham (Downpour Sale)
15. ⓔ Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh by Sheridan Le Fanu (Kindle 99¢)
16. ⓔ Ham On Rye by Charles Bukowski (Kindle Daily Deal)
17. ⓔ Post Office by Charles Bukowski (Kindle Daily Deal)
18. ⓔ The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann (Kindle Daily Deal)
19. ⓔ 420 Characters by Lou Beach - Read in February
20. ⓔ The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (Kindle Daily Deal)
21. ⓔ The Spider's House by Paul Bowles (Kindle Daily Deal)
22. ⓔ Ask the Dust by John Fante (Kindle Daily Deal)
23. ⓔ The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land by Thomas Asbridge (Kindle Daily Deal)
24. ⓔ D.V. by Diana Vreeland (Kindle Daily Deal)
25. ⓔ Hotel de Dream by Edmund White (Kindle Daily Deal)
26. ⓔ The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare (Kindle Daily Deal)

27. ⓔ Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (Kindle DD)
28. ⓔ When We Were Bad: A Novel by Charlotte Mendelson (rec'd by Bonnie)
29. ⓔ The Light Years (The Cazalet Chronicle 1) by Elizabeth Jane Howard
30. ♫ Marking Time (The Cazalet Chronicle 2) by Elizabeth Jane Howard
31. ♫ Fools of Fortune by William Trevor (rec'd by Paul)
32. ♫ The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan (rec'd by Suz and Bonnie)
33. ♫ Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (rec'd by Suz and Mark) - Read in February
34. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Everyman's Library)
35. ♫ Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch - Read in February
36. ♫ The Dinner by Herman Koch (Audible Daily Deal)
37. ♫ An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine - Read in February
38. ♫ Selection of Katherine Mansfield
39. ♫ Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (read by Juliet Stevenson)
40. ♫ Realms of Gold: Letters and Poems of John Keats
41. ♫ The Beautiful Visit by Elizabeth Jane Howard
42. ♫ The King's General by Daphne du Maurier
43. ♫ The Two Destinies by Wilkie Collins
44. ♫ The Complete Barchester Chronicles by Anthony Trollope - (Dramatisation)
45. ♫ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
46. ♫ Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon - Read in February
47. ♫ The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
48. ♫ Fraud by Anita Brookner
49. ♫ The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine
50. ♫ The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (Dramatised) - Read in March
51. ♫ Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty - Read in March
52. ♫ Imperium by Robert Harris (Rec'd by Suz, $5 on
53. ⓔ+♫ Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence (for reread) - (special deal w/ Kindle)
54. ⓔ+♫ Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence (for reread) - (as above)
55. ♫ The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope - Read in April
56. ♫ Tommo and Hawk: The Australian Trilogy, Book 2 by Bryce Courtenay
57. ♫ How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively - Read in March
58. ♫ Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
59. ♫ The Light of Day by Eric Ambler - Read in February
60. A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen by Harold Bloom (used)
61. High Rising by Angela Thirkell
62. Sanditon and Other Stories by Jane Austen (Everyman's Library)
63. ⓔ+♫ Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - (special deal w/ Kindle)
64. ♫ Philomena by Martin Sixsmith (Audible Daily Deal)

65. ⓔ+♫ Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope - (special deal w/ Kindle)
66. ⓔ+♫ Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope - (special deal w/ Kindle)
67. ♫ Firesong by William Nicholson
68. ⓔ+♫ Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (Kindle and Audio for special price)
69. ♫ Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler - Read in March
70. The Raj Quartet: v. 2 by Paul Scott (Everyman's Library)
71. ⓔ A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Kindle DD)
72. ⓔ Flannery O'Connor: Complete Stories (Kindle DD)
73. ⓔ Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie (Kindle DD)
74. ⓔ The Natural by Bernard Malamud (Kindle DD)
75. ⓔ Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury (Kindle DD)
76. ⓔ Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (Kindle DD)
77. ♫ The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler - Read in March
78. ⓔ Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat - Read in March
79. ♫ Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith
80. ♫ The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin - Read in April
81. The Reef by Edith Wharton (Everyman's Library)
82. ⓔ The Complete Northanger Horrid Novel Collection (9 Books of Gothic Romance and Horror) (all for $1!)
83. ⓔ Marcovaldo: or the Seasons in the City by Italo Calvino (Kindle DD)
84. ⓔ Italian Folk Tales by Italo Calvino (Kindle DD)
85. ♫ I Am David by Anne Holm (Audible 2 for 1)
86. ♫ The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin (Audible 2 for 1)
87. ♫ Maurice by E.M. Forster (Audible 2 for 1)
88. ♫ Society's Child by Janis Ian (Audible 2 for 1)
89. ♫ Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Audible 2 for 1)
90. ♫ The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Audible 2 for 1)
91. ♫ The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren (Downpour)
92. ♫ A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren (Downpour)
93. ⓔ The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christies (Kindle DD)
94. ⓔ Death on the Nile by Agatha Christies (Kindle DD)
95. ⓔ 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christies (Kindle DD)
96. ⓔ The Body in the Library by Agatha Christies (Kindle DD)

Edited: May 22, 2014, 2:50pm

Books Purchased in 2014 (cont'd)

97. ♫ The Bees by Laline Paull - Returned for refund
98. ♫ Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler
99. ♫ The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
100. ♫ Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
101. ♫ The Wall by Marlen Haushofer (Strongly recommended by Rhian)
102. ♫ The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn
103 ⓔ The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn (Kindle)
104. ♫ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I by Edward Gibbon
105. ♫ Frog Music by Emma Donoghue - Read in April
106. ⓔ The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning (Kindle)
107. ♫ Merivel by Rose Tremain
108. ♫ Chocolat by Joanne Harris
109. ♫ These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer - Read in April
110. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Everyman's Library)
111. Emma by Jane Austen (Everyman's Library)
112. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Everyman's Library)
113. ♫ Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer
114. ♫ The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood - Read in April
115. ♫ The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill - Read in April
116. ⓔ Virgin Soil (with Biographical Introduction) by Ivan Turgenev (Kindle Deal)
117. ⓔ Stoner by John Williams (Kindle Deal)
118. ⓔ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Kindle Deal)
119. ⓔ Sadler's Birthday by Rose Tremain (Kindle)
120. ♫ Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter (Audible DD)
121. ♫ A Town Like Alice by Nevile Shute (Audible DD)
122. ♫ March Violets by Philip Kerr - Read in May
123. ⓔ The Complete Works of Josephine Tey (Kindle Deal)

124. ♫ The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker as the (Audible DD)
125. ⓔ Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson (Kindle)
126. The Fortnight in September by R. C. Sherriff (Persephone Books)
127. They Knew Mr. Knight by Dorothy Whipple (Persephone Books)
128. Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes (Persephone Books)
129. ♫ The Pale Criminal by Philip Kerr
130. ♫ The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - Read in May
131. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (FS sale)
132. ⓔ Dissolution by C. J. Samson - Read in May
133. ⓔ Dark Fire by C. J. Samson - Read in May
134. ♫ The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years After by Alexandre Dumas ( deal)
135. ♫ Louise de La Vallière by Alexandre Dumas ( deal)
136. ⓔ A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell (Kindle Deal)
137. ⓔ Summer Knight: Book four of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Audible DD)
138. ⓔ Death Masks: Book five of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Audible DD)
139. ⓔ Blood Rites: Book six of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Audible DD)
140. ⓔ Dead Beat: Book 7 of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Audible DD)
141. ♫ The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (Audible 2 for 3)
142. ♫ Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (Audible 2 for 3)
143. ♫ The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin (Audible 2 for 3)
144. ♫ The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (Audible 2 for 3)
145. ♫ Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Audible 2 for 3)
146. ♫ Dog on It by Spencer Quinn (Audible 2 for 3)
147. ♫ Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (Audible 2 for 3)
148. ♫ Under the Jolly Roger by L. A. Meyer (Audible 2 for 3)
149. ♫ The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (Audible 2 for 3)
150. ♫ The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan (Audible 2 for 3)
151. ♫ The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (Audible 2 for 3)
152. ♫ You're Next by: Gregg Hurwitz (Audible 2 for 3)
153. ⓔ Sovereign by C. J. Samson
154. Animal Farm by George Orwell (FS sale)
155. ⓔ Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban (Kindle DD)

♫ = audiobook (Audible or
ⓔ = eBook
FS = Folio Society

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 9:26pm

Book #71: Pot Bouille / Pot Luck by Émile Zola ★★★★⅓
Read for: TIOLI #3: an author of which you have multiples on your TBR/wish list, Reading the complete Rougon-Macquarts
Series: Les Rougon-Macquart (10 of 20)
Edition: Librairie Générale Française (1974), Mass Market Paperback, 510 pages (French Edition)
Original publication date: 1882

I was rather amused to find that in the introduction to this cheap, badly printed paperback, Mr. D'Armand Lanoux, a writer who had received the Prix Goncourt, in very typical French fashion, rather than telling the reader what delights are in store for him or her, went about explaining everything that was wrong with this novel, and how this work was the 'dark' counterpoint to Zola's next novel in the Rougon-Macquart series, Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Paradise). It seems Pot Bouille was not included in the original master plan for the Rougon-Macquart series which Zola had given his publisher from the outset, but was inserted once it was completed. According to this plan, Au Bonheur des Dames was to be an optimistic novel. However, Zola was feeling anything but when came the time to write it, over a decade after the first novel of the series, The Fortune of the Rougons (click for review), had been launched in 1871. Lanoux explains that Pot Bouille was written when Zola was into his 40s and generally unhappy with life, somewhat retired from society and raging and fulminating about everything, though by then a successful author. With this novel, Zola was at the apogee of Naturalism: "Émile Zola's works had a frankness about sexuality along with a pervasive pessimism. Naturalistic works exposed the dark harshness of life, including poverty, racism, violence, prejudice, disease, corruption, prostitution, and filth. As a result, naturalistic writers were frequently criticized for focusing too much on human vice and misery." (Wikipedia). There is plenty of all that to be found here, and Zola's original readers were no doubt shocked by his approach. Zola spelled out his agenda for this novel in a personal note: "talking about the bourgeoisie is to formulate the most violent accusation one can direct toward French society" (my translation). According to Lanoux, Zola did this much too successfully indeed, and he leaves us as his final words that the bourgeoisie in Pot Bouille was no more representational of that hated social class than L'Assommoir (click for review) was of the working classes of the faubourgs.

True enough, it's impossible to read this novel without getting a clear sense that Zola thought the middle-classes of business owners and their wives and children were nothing but hypocrites of the worst kind, touting the virtues of religion and fidelity while living completely depraved lives in private; keeping lovers on the side, even installing their mistresses in comfortable secondary households, and all the while harshly speaking and acting against anyone who's immoral activities were revealed, especially those of the lower classes. This novel is about the inhabitants of a posh Parisian building, with a grandiose staircase with false marble walls, where a wealthy shopkeeper and his married children live in different apartments. On one of the upper levels, lives Madame Josserand and her two unmarried daughters, Berthe and Hortense, whom she's been dragging around Paris from one sitting room to another, desperate to find them husbands. Her alcoholic and rich business owner brother has promised to provide a handsome dowry for the girls, but has never actually given them the money, and the Josserands are struggling, barely being able to afford to feed themselves and their undernourished maid Adèle, never mind having a decent dowry to offer potential husbands, so the prospects are few. But Madame Josserand is willing to make any sacrifice to keep up appearances, and she doesn't miss an occasion to berate her overworked husband, who, because of his too honest temperament, has never managed to advance much in his career, and is now forced to bring home piecemeal work at night to pay for the women's luxurious necessities. Into this building, Octave Mouret arrives from the provinces. He has great plans and intends to take Paris by storm. He's an attractive young man and intends to arrive to his ends by becoming the lover of the woman who is likeliest to advance his cause, though there is a bit of trial and error involved before he finds the right one, and a major scandal erupts in the process. What follows is a wonderful upstairs/downstairs spectacle (only in this case, the maids all live on the topmost level of the building in minuscule hovels) with the bourgeois apartment dwellers misbehaving in the most conspicuous ways, while the servants berate and abuse them behind their backs, with daily meetings at the windows of the inner courtyard, where all the master's dirty laundry and plenty of personal insults fly from one floor to the next.

The 'realities' exposed here are sordid enough, but to me it seemed like a logical progression from the world or prostitution and high-class mistresses described in Nana (click for review). Zola's powers as a fabulous writer of fictional drama are undiminished here, and to me this novel read as a great entertainment. In Madame Josserand, he creates a truly villainous woman, vociferously berating her husband at every turn in her rage about her lack of material comforts; in fact, she continues berating him until he is literally on his death-bed. I found myself thinking about Jane Austen's novels, since Madame Josserand's avowed main concern is to see her daughters well married, which is of course one of the main themes in Austen's stories, though in her defence, there were little to no other options for well-bred girls in Jane Austen's day. Zola makes it clear here that this transaction among the bourgeoisie differed little from outright prostitution, and as I read, I felt like I was possibly getting an insight into what Jane Austen's personal notes might have been (had it been possible for her to keep any), on how her characters truly acted, had she allowed herself, or indeed been able, to give all the details of how crassly humanity can behave in its quest for the comforts of home sweet home.

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 9:04pm

Hi Ilana, I should have taken notes on your last thread. First, let me say that I am so sorry you continue to be plagued by migraines. My theory is that you have so much creativity in your head that it hurts. I'm not trying to be funny. You are one of the most talented and creative persons I know! I love that book cover you designed!

You also got me with at least one book bullet. Restoration is firmly on my WL. I have really liked the few books by Rose Tremain that I've read. I'm glad you are enjoying your first Erdrich book. She is one of my favorite authors. I think I've read most everything she's written and have even visited her bookstore in Minneapolis.

I hope I'm not too early to post on your new thread. You put much effort into your setup, and it is appreciated!

ETA: Congrats on completing your 71st book. I don't know where you find the time. I know it helps that you listen to many of them, but still...

Apr 23, 2014, 9:34pm

>18 Donna828: Hi Donna! Looks like you're my first visitor, welcome! I must say I like your theory on why I have headaches. It does seem like talent always comes with a great price, so you might be onto something.

I meant to write a review for Restoration tonight, but then my review for recently completed Zola novel, just finished today, ended up taking quite a bit of my time. But I'm glad it made it onto your wishlist all the same and I'm almost certain you'll find it to be a great read. I'm an instant fan of Erdrich. Do I take it you've read The Master Butcher's Singing Club?

As I mentioned to Lori on my previous thread, of those 71 books so far this year, more than half (39) were audiobooks. I have a lot of listening time when I'm around the house, drawing, cooking, doing chores, taking Coco out for walks, all of which is possible since I live alone, and honestly makes for great company and maybe even makes me shun people as I jealously guard my listening time. Otherwise, I usually spend time reading print and ebooks in bed at night, with 1 hour to 90 minutes per day at most, but I never miss it, no matter how late it is by the time I lie down. Compared to others of course (Suz, not to name anyone!), my reading total is very humble indeed, but then I'm also a slow reader.

Apr 23, 2014, 10:15pm

Happy New thread, Ilana! I stopped by earlier but I wasn't sure if you were done posting. It looks safe now. Good luck hitting 75! You are getting very close.

Apr 23, 2014, 10:25pm

Something very scary happened today. I was out on our walk with Coco, on a path well away from traffic where I let him run around off the leash. Sometimes he drags a long way behind, but then I stop and wait for him, or he comes running to me, but usually he sticks around close enough. Today were were walking along and a woman passed us going the other way with her little girl in a stroller. I saw Coco continue to follow me and continued walking. Next thing I knew, he was nowhere to be seen, and I finally spotted him a long way away, running after the woman and child. I called and called, but he rarely answers to his name anyway (as if he never learned it), but the woman must have heard me and she stopped, so I caught up with them. He's done this just once before, a couple of years ago; spotted some people he decided to follow. I guess I should keep him on leash all the time, but I so love to let him run around and scent out stuff as much as he likes.

Starting a new book tonight. I think I'll choose Coventry. It's short and it's on my Picked for Me challenge.

Apr 23, 2014, 10:27pm

>20 msf59: Hi Mark, it occurred to me only after I saw Donna's comment that I should probably have put up a last post saying it was now open for comments. Thanks for dropping by! I think I might choose a few short reads and audios to hit that 75... kinda tempting to hit it by the end of the month.

Apr 23, 2014, 10:29pm

Oh boy, I am among the first ones to post on your new thread Ilana, and happy am I to be here. I love that thread topper. No matter what you do I think you will be way ahead of me in total books read. I'm also a slow reader but this year I'm even slower than usual. I've had Restoration sitting on my dhelf forever it seems. Maybe your review will push it to the top of the teetering tower:-)

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 11:40pm

Book #61:Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★
Read for: TIOLI #3: an author of which you have multiples on your TBR/wish list
Series: Robert Merivel (1 of 2)
Edition: Blackstone Audio (2013), Edition: Unabridged MP3, 13h00
Original publication date: 1989

This was my third five-star read so far this year; I don't hand out that rating very easily, and when I do, it's because the book has surpassed any expectation I may have had, made me want to start again right from the beginning as soon as I'd finished it, and opened up a universe which was somehow magical to me. As far as expectations go, they were pretty high, as this novel first came to my attention because it had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and I had read very positive reviews for it, so it had been on my wishlist for a long time. My first book by Rose Tremain, which was among my favourites of 2013, was Music & Silence. There's a certain quality about Tremain's writing, or about the way she tells her stories, or about the characters she creates or all of these put together, which I find very exciting. From the first words, I'm willing to follow her wherever she wants to take me.

The story is set in the England of 1665 and is told as a first person account by one Robert Merivel, who relates the events as they are happening, probably in the form of a personal journal. All the events take place over the course of approximately one year, and it's a year filled to the brim with events for Merivel in the England of the Restoration. Introduced by his father, a glovemaker to the King, Young Meviel, a student in medicine, meets Charles II for the first time and immediately falls under his spell, so that when King Charles asks Merivel to save one of his dying dogs (his beloved spaniels of course), Merivel jumps at the chance to be part of the inner circle of Whitehall Palace and successfully cures the dog, mainly by doing nothing. Merivel further captures the king's favour with his comical antics, and the king comes to affectionately call him his Fool, which delights Merivel, as being in the king's favour and among his friends is a privilege he revels in. He is given a grand estate, and immediately sets about decorating his large house in an effusion of baroque colours, in the most vivid hues, then takes an interest in painting and music, and indeed he observes all around him with an artist's eye. One day the King tells Robert that he would like him to wed one of his mistresses, Celia Clemens. Merivel is a rather ugly man and uncouth in his manners, liking to amuse the court with his frequent farts, among other things, but the king likes his last name and likes to think of his mistress as the future Mrs Merivel. The one condition he sets it that the marriage must not be consummated, and so enamoured is Merivel with his monarch that he immediately accepts the arrangement. Merivel is a great lover of all the finer things in life; along with the decorative arts, fine cuisine and wines, he also enjoys the company of women and rarely denies himself anything, so of course it follows that he is bound to fall in love with Celia, even though the latter detests him to the core. The trap is set, and what rises must fall, and throughout this novel we follow Merivel's progress from King's physician to wannabe artist and musician, to his time spent in the New Bedlam hospital, in Norfolk, where he tries to cure the insane once he has fallen from grace, a place from which he manages to fall from grace even further. Merivel is a fascinating character and though he doesn't dwell much on why he is so obsessed with the king or any of his inner motivations, he doesn't lack in observational skills and describes his daily life and the happenings among these unusual circles of people in a very amusing manner, though the novel doesn't lack for depth.

I was very happy to discover that Tremain wrote a sequel in 2012, simply called Merivel, and it won't be long before I pick it up. I listened to this book narrated to perfection by Paul Daneman, one of those narrators I liked so much that I immediately tried to find what other books I could get by him, but unfortunately, this is the only one on offer at present. There will be more Tremain in the near future for me. Other than this follow-up novel above-mentioned, I also have The Colour and just got hold her first book Sadler's Birthday, and she is one of these writers by whom I would love to read the complete works.

Most highly recommended!

Apr 23, 2014, 10:34pm

Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much for dropping by my new place! I think you're in for quite a treat with Restoration. As you can see, I'm working at the review right now. Hope to get it out tonight, but it's already pretty late, so we'll see how it goes. I never set myself specific goals in terms of how many books I want to read, but the size of my tbr (1,302 books as of today) is motivation enough to read all I can! :-)

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 11:29pm

Hi, Ilana! Was amused and sympathetic to hear of your purring troubles. My own Kara (who looks rather like your Mimi) insists on having a BIG CUDDLE every night at bedtime, which is okay if she goes to bed when I do (I can skritch with one hand and hold a book with the other), but not so much if she joins me at about three o'clock in the morning, still intent upon her BIG CUDDLE. I try foxing, but it doesn't work - she just boops me gently until I cooperate. :)

Edited: Apr 23, 2014, 11:29pm

Just posted my completed review of Restoration above in >24 Smiler69:

>26 lyzard: Welcome Liz, and thanks for dropping by this as well as my former thread. I'm glad to find someone who can sympathise with me for having to endure an overly affectionate critter. Of course, I wouldn't want it otherwise, as I much prefer having a loving cat than an indifferent one, but I just wish she'd let me sleep at night, though in all fairness she doesn't repeat the performance every night.

Apr 23, 2014, 11:50pm

Happy new thread, Ilana. Restoration sounds very good. It's been on my wishlist for a long time, another book that I really need to fit in.

Apr 24, 2014, 7:21am

Terrific review of Restoration. I have yet to read Tremain, although she's been on my To-Read list for years.

Edited: Apr 24, 2014, 11:07am

>I picked up Coventry by Helen Humphreys last night, and as it's a short book (around 170 pages), I'm nearly halfway through already. It's really very very good. I think I might have picked up on reading speed a little lately from 2 mins per page to almost half that, which is encouraging. Not sure how that would've happened though.

Meeting my friend Kristyna at the museum today to see the Peter Doig exhibit again. She told me she and an acquaintance of mine had sat in front of my favourite painting (as below) for 45 minutes on her last visit (this will be her third time seeing the show) and when I asked her if she'd mind sitting in front of this giant canvas for a while again today, she seemed more than happy to comply. Looking forward to it.

>28 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, welcome to my new haunts. I hope you love Restoration even half as much as I did when you get to it. I don't think 5 stars is enough to convey how much I really loved this book.

>29 msf59: Thanks Mark. You should make room for Tremain sooner than later. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Apr 24, 2014, 12:17pm

Two audiobooks added to the tbr (or tbL in this case) this morning:

Eleanor & Park from the library's OverDrive audio collection
Recommended by Linda, Mark, Joe and many others.

A Town Like Alice from the Audible Daily Deal
It's on the 1001 Books (2006/2008/2010 editions) and Guardian 1000 (War and travel), AND BBC's Big Read lists... a must-read, obviously,

Apr 24, 2014, 9:39pm

I think I hear an echo in here.

Visit to the museum was great, we sat in front of all our favourite paintings and contemplated for a long while. It was a great day out with nice company and an early dinner at the end, but for some reason I got back home in a funk. I'm not sleeping well, so that might have something to do with it.

I finished The Master Butcher's Singing Club today and wasn't all that fond of the last bit, but it still remains a great novel and Erdrich writes gorgeously. I started listening to A Quiet Life by Beryl Bainbridge afterward, but it just didn't work for me, so I'll pick up something else. I'd forgotten to add a reread of King Lear to my reading plans—I'm going to see a National Theatre Live screening of that play next week and want to have the text fresh in my mind when I go so I can catch all the subtleties, so I'll start on it tonight. I have several editions of it, but will read from my Oxford Shakespeare this time as I'm trying to find out what edition works best for me in terms of annotations.

Apr 25, 2014, 3:43am

Coupla great reviews of books I also liked to greet me on my return into the fold so to speak, Ilana.

Pot Bouille is often overlooked in Zola's oeuvre but I think it has stood the test of time very nicely. Restoration is a very good historical novel and was the first thing I read by the magnificent Ms. Tremain.

Congratulations on your new thread my dear, by the way.

Apr 25, 2014, 7:21am

Hope you enjoy Eleanor & Park. I loved it and it was a very good audio.

Apr 25, 2014, 9:08am

Happy new thread, Ilana! Two lovely and thoughtful reviews up there, and I have added Restoration to my WL. I have only read one Tremain, a gift from Paul, but I loved it - The Road Home. Also interested in Coventry, so I'll be awaiting your final thoughts on that one.

Hoping that your Friday is full of fabulous!

Apr 25, 2014, 9:40am

Happy new thread!

Apr 25, 2014, 11:34am

I started listening to The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin last night, and so far we're off to a great start. This book had been on my wishlist for years and I finally picked it up a couple of months ago from Audible during a sale. Love the narrator Stephen Hoye, whom I first listened to reading The Martian Chronicles, so am happy to have him reading to me again.

I'll be finishing Coventry shortly this this morning as I want to spend part of the day reading on my couch. It's been fascinating reading so far.

>33 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! What a nice surprise! You've been missed in these parts as you are normally such a ubiquitous presence on LT, and I thank you for dropping by my humble online abode. I'm happy I've finally gotten to the halfway point with the Rougon-Macquart series. I had planned to get through in within a couple of years, but then life got in the way. I predict there will be plenty more Tremain in my future.

>34 msf59: Mark, for some reason I hadn't been taken with the premise of Eleanor & Park even though you and others seemed really excited about it, but it had been available from the library for a good while and I finally decided to get a hold of it. Not sure when I'll fit it in, but I'm sure I'll be mentioning it when I do.

>35 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! So far the two Tremains I've read have been a delight. I'm glad you liked my reviews and hope you get to more of her books soon too.

>36 Thebookdiva: Hi Abigail, thanks so much for dropping by!

Apr 25, 2014, 11:58am

Popping in for a quick hello Ilana.

Apr 25, 2014, 1:51pm

Wow, another new thread, Ilana! And a colorful one!

Back to part 4

>268 That's what I call a REVIEW, Very good

>286 Ahh, What a lovely photo of Mimi.

Apr 25, 2014, 2:16pm

Hi Connie! Thanks for dropping by my new thread, and for taking the time to catch up with the last one. I'm really glad you liked my review for Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. That book really impressed me and I wasn't sure at all that writing about why it did from a personal angle would be in good taste, but with a little encouragement I went for it anyway.

Mimi is my little princess and she certainly knows how to make me feel loved! :-)


Just woke up from an hour-long nap. I haven't been able to nap much for a long time, even though I'm continually exhausted, and usually end up just lying down with my eyes closed for 15-20 minutes to give my mind a rest, but then all the things I could be doing swirl in my brain and keep me awake. This time, I'd just finished reading Coventry and the lure of sleep was irresistible. I feel just as sleepy now, but more rested, if that makes sense. Will post my comments on the book soon, once I've digested it a bit. For now I can say it was very good.

Apr 25, 2014, 9:05pm

Happy new thread, Ilana! I love the free spirit feeling of your thread topper pic. I don't know if I am brave enough to venture into Zola's books just yet, but I found your review of Pot Bouille / Pot Luck very informative. I am not as leery/cautious about adding the Tremain novel to my future reading list, although that one sounds like a book I should save for the winter months. For some reason, I do better with detailed period pieces like Wolf Hall in the dead of winter when I don't have the chirpping of birds and the lure of warm weather and sunshine to distract me from my reading. ;-)

I am looking forward to your review of Coventry. The weather right now on here on the island is warmish with lots of sunshine so I hope you have a wonderful weekend, weather-wise and otherwise!

Apr 25, 2014, 9:15pm

>21 Smiler69: argh! My son did that same thing when he was 2....and I was heavily pregnant. We were walking home - were 2 houses away from our driveway- and he turned and followed a kid and his mum who were going the other way. I ended up chasing him down the road, seeing as like Coco he didn't stop when I called, running like a hefty lunatic. I was really cross when I finally caught up to him. He was sitting 2 blocks away on a fence. Apparently he had just wanted to sit on that fence. I wish the other mother had had the foresight to stop so that he would have too!

Edited: Apr 25, 2014, 11:43pm

>41 lkernagh: Hi Lori, and welcome to my new thread. I figures out sometime last year that historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, so I'm happy reading it year-round, but I see what you mean. You're reminding me I can't wait for Hilary Mantel's last book in the trilogy to come out. I'll probably reread the first two before getting to it once it's on the tbr. Zola... you need to be ready for his kind of fiction, but he is definitely a master.

The weather prediction for the weekend is rain and more rain, but I don't mind. As long as I don't get bad headaches because of low pressure systems.

>42 LovingLit: Oh goodness, that must have been really scary, having your son run away like that. I never leave Coco tied up outside a shop because I'm too scared anyone could just grab him and make off with him, so this was pretty scary too. One of the dangers of having a really cute dog. I can't believe the woman in your case didn't think to stop!


In reading, I just started on Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson, a Persephone edition (my only one so far) I've been wanting to get to since I got it a couple of years ago. I was in the mood for something comforting and the first couple of chapters read in the tub this evening are promising.

Going to a Metropolitan Opera screening with my dad tomorrow. Hope it goes well. I'd better get well rested. Wish me luck!

Apr 26, 2014, 6:01am

Reading in the bath. One of life's greatest pleasures! I simply love reading that way. And I have only dropped the book once ;)

Apr 26, 2014, 10:12am

Reading the bath tub is a wonderful thing. Especially because the bath tub is one of the places people don't disturb you in. Family is fabulous, but sometimes you just need you time, know what I mean? Nothing says 'you time' to me like soft music, a good book, and bubble bath.

Apr 26, 2014, 1:30pm

>45 Thebookdiva: I know what you mean, but I don't dare to read in the bath tub. I fall asleep in there! And my book will get wet.

Apr 26, 2014, 3:12pm

Hi Ilana.

I wondered why the number of unread messages on your last thread had suddenly stopped increasing - lo and behold, a new thread!

Erica has also been known to wake us up by purring. She seems to have two purrs: one quite low which she does when she's happy and a higher-pitched one which should not be taken to mean she is a contented cat.

>24 Smiler69: Really enjoyed your review of Restoration. I still haven't read anything by Rose Tremain but I need to.

>32 Smiler69: "I think I hear an echo in here." It's definitely been quiet on LT the last week.

I'm also hoping to go to one of the NT Live screenings of King Lear - Darryl made it sound really good (although it's another tragedy and I tend to come out of those feeling completely wrung out).

>43 Smiler69: I hope you enjoy Miss Buncle's Book and the Met Opera screening.

Apr 26, 2014, 6:31pm

Well finally, neither my dad nor I felt like sitting through 4 hours at the opera screening, so we went to the cinema to get the tickets refunded (I got passes for two tickets to any upcoming event of my choice), then came back to my place and watched Amal (a 2007 Canadian drama set in modern-day New Delhi, India, it tells the story of a poor autorickshaw driver, Amal Kumar), one of the movies in my iTunes collection. I'd watched it once before but it's really good so I was happy to watch it again.

I'm exhausted again today and need to lie down for a while as feeling dizzy all of the sudden. Will respond to messages when I'm up again.

Apr 26, 2014, 9:15pm

>44 LovingLit: It's a pleasure I've only just rediscovered recently Megan, having avoided taking baths for over a decade because of how tiny my bathroom and tub are, which used to make me feel claustrophobic, but I definitely look forward to it now.

>45 Thebookdiva: I can certainly see the added appeal of withdrawing to a peaceful, solitary space like a soothing bath when you live in a busy household Abigail!

>46 connie53: No danger of me falling asleep in my tub! It's really too small and not all that comfortable, and I can't even get enough water in it to cover my tummy (it's not flat, but not gigantic either!). So no danger for the books really, as I need to remain somewhat upright, which keeps me alert, though I am really paranoid about getting them wet, so there's no way I'll ever take one of my fine editions, like my Folio Society books for bathtime reading!

>47 souloftherose: I don't know if I can identify different messages from Mimi's purring like you can from Erica's, but I'm sure purring in general must cover a lot more messages than just "I'm so happy and life is perfect right now".

I noticed the activity in the group seems to have lessened lately. My first thought is that with Paul away, that's probably thousands of posts less, just from the reduced activity on his own thread, and then several other people, like Mamie and others have been busy with RL and not posting so much either.

Really enjoying Miss Buncle so far!


Off to grab a late bite and work on my drawing while listening to The Janissary Tree now.

Apr 27, 2014, 8:39am

Happy New Thread, (belatedly)! I hope your Sunday is going well!

Apr 27, 2014, 8:43am

Hi Ilana- Hope you had a nice time with your Dad. I also hope you had a good night's sleep and feel better today.

Apr 27, 2014, 7:06pm

I'm happy to say my headache continues to be bearable. Not gone, but I'm so used to a certain amount of pain that I hardly notice it lately, except when I stop to think about it, so I don't. Really exhausted, but luckily I can lie down and take naps whenever I like. I got up at a reasonable hour (for me, though probably not for most people!) today and took up Miss Buncle's Book, which I'm really enjoying. Read for maybe just over an hour and then was too fatigued to continue or do anything at all, so I let myself sleep for nearly 3 hours, well into the afternoon. That doesn't leave much time to do much, but I did fit in 90 minutes of drawing, and I've been steadily listening to The Janissary Tree which I'm also been enjoying—should finish it today maybe. In a few minutes I'll pick up where I left off with King Lear, and then I look forward to the next episode of A Game of Thrones on HBO. All in all, a pretty good Sunday, I'd say.

>50 scaifea: Hi Amber, welcome to my (still new) digs! Hope you've been having a great Sunday too.

>51 msf59: Hi Mark, my dad and I did ok overall, thanks. As for sleep, well as I said above I can nap when needed, and managed a really good and restful one today!

Apr 28, 2014, 3:44am

Hi Ilana. It sounds like a lovely way to spend a sunday. Glad to hear your headache is bearable.

Edited: Apr 28, 2014, 12:14pm

That does sound like a lovely Sunday! so glad your headaches are manageable.

Terrifying story about Coco - I am glad you spotted him and the lady noticed him and stopped for you. I was lucky in Philadelphia, I think, never had a truly terrifying incident like that, although perhaps corgis with their herding tendencies don't ever let their shee... uh I mean human, out of their sight. Here I've had some who stick to me like burrs in the woods, responsible about being with me rather than running off after chipmunks and deer and so on - usually the males (neutered of course) are better about that. Miss Po is a bit of a naughty girl although she has figured out the deer are a) really big b) really fast - she she runs about fifty yards and then stops and comes back, but a year ago it was a bit scary. We are so far from any roads that is not the issue, just that she could get out of earshot and get lost. All my girl corgis have been a bit more casual in this regard - and come back with this patient look on their faces that says Chill lady! What is your problem? I knew where I was, and I knew where you were!

Back to say - remarkably similar to the look on the LD's face sometimes!

Apr 28, 2014, 12:17pm

It seems like taking that 3-hour nap was far from prudent yesterday, as I paid for it last night with very long bouts of insomnia. Sleep management is tricky business, but instead of feeling panicky about how terrible I'd feel next day (i.e. today), I reminded myself I had absolutely nothing on the agenda, and that no matter how wretched I ended up feeling, I'd manage fine one way or another. Best of all, I picked up Miss Buncle's Book where I left off before attempting sleep a few hours before and finished it. I think Heather described it as a perfect comfort read and I have to agree with her. Would love to write a few reviews, including for this book, but I'll just see how the day goes.

I should point out that Miss Buncle's Book is my 75th book this year.

>53 connie53: Hi Connie, it really was a very nice Sunday, and at least the upside of the bad night that followed it is it gave me the opportunity to finish a book I enjoyed very much.

Apr 28, 2014, 12:22pm

>54 sibylline: Hi Lucy! Thanks for sharing your Miss Po story. I can just imagine that look you speak of. This time was really very out of the ordinary with him chasing other people like that, but my main concern is the same as yours; I know he doesn't want to lose me, but he's so distracted that I worry when he falls far behind that he'll completely lose track of me and start going the other way, which did happen once. Really, it isn't very prudent of me to keep him off the leash, but I so prefer it for both of us. I hate being tied down to his every sniffing opportunity and like walking at my own pace and stopping to wait for him, and seeing how much he enjoys himself and runs and clowns around is also very precious.

Apr 28, 2014, 1:02pm

>55 Smiler69: The trick is not to panic. I had a period last year with sleeping problems through pain. And I really got frantic when I was awake for hours (or so it seemed) in the night. And I had to get up at 7.00 am to get ready for work. But I learned how to try and stay relaxed and just lay there, resting (that's what my mom used to say when I was small and could not sleep: "If you can't sleep you stay in bed, you will at least rest").

Apr 28, 2014, 2:05pm

>57 connie53: Yes, my father says something similar. That's what my naps during the day end up being like usually. I can't fall asleep, so I just keep my eyes closed and rest for 10-20 minutes. Yesterday was an exception with actual deep sleep. Up until just a few years ago I could pretty well sleep on command though almost anything, but something's changed and now the slightest little thing, like one of the cats purring wakes me. I suspect if I did vigorous exercise it would probably take care of the problem, but I'm not much tempted to with constant headache around. Still, I need to start incorporating some kind of exercises into my routine.

Apr 28, 2014, 2:57pm

my husband has great benefit from relaxing methodes. Just letting his muscular tension go.

Edited: Apr 28, 2014, 3:56pm

Book #75: Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson ★★★★½
Read for: TIOLI #23: Read a novel by a British author, A Century of Books! (1934)
Series: Miss Buncle (1 of 4)
Edition: Persephone Books (2008), Paperback, 344 pages
Original publication date: 1934

Miss Buncle was born and raised and has lived in the quaint English village of Silverstream all her life, and now in her late 30s, a frumpy old maid who dresses badly and whom no one takes seriously or pays much attention to, she's arrived at a crisis point. The dividends off which she had always lived in relative comfort have now dwindled to nothing, and she must find a way to increase her revenues. Taking a job isn't an option for a proper lady, and her old servant Dorcas won't allow her to take in hens or lodgers, and instead suggests she write a book. But Barbara Buncle claims she has no imagination, so if she writes a book, it will have to be about people she knows and her life experiences, which is how the village of Silverstream becomes the fictional Copperfield, and each of her acquaintances has a part to play in the story. She sends the manuscript to the first publisher she finds in the directory, under the pen name of John Smith. Mr Abbott of Abbott & Spicer Publishers is delighted with it and feels sure he's got a best-seller on his hands, only he can't quite figure out if the book is a satire or whether the author is simple-minded and writing about such witty anecdotes completely in earnest, but he's willing to gamble that this enigma will only keep the readers of Disturber of the Peace all the more interested. As he predicts, the book is in fact a success, and nowhere more so than in Silverstream itself, where several residents read it and are mortified to recognize themselves, hairy moles and all. No one more so than Mrs Featherstone Hogg, fictionalized as Mrs Horsley Downs. Up until now she has firmly held on to her superior social position in the town by sheer force of will, and she has everything to lose by the revelation in Disturber of the Peace that she was a chorus girl when her husband first met her. Unaware that each book sold means royalties for the author, she purchases copy after copy of the book, pressuring all the townspeople to read it immediately so she can launch her libel campaign against John Smith, and if no lawyer is willing to take on the case, then they will unmask the miscreant who will be horsewhipped (Mrs Featherstone Hogg's preferred method of punishment, though she's not sure what it actually involves) and driven out of Silverstream. Among others joining her cause are Mr Bulmer, a bad-tempered bully who mistreats his wife (who in the book leaves him for another man), and old Mrs Carter, about whom John Smith has had the audacity to suggest her perfectly styled hair is in fact a wig.

And so the stage is set for a great entertainment, and we see how the residents of this small community react when a mirror is held up to them, showing all their quirks and flaws and revealing secrets they never imagined anyone could know about their lives. This might not be the stuff of award-winning highbrow literature, but I loved this story, which is so very cleverly written, and peopled with an entertaining set of characters in this book within a book. D. E. Stevenson, whose father was first cousins with Robert Louis Stevenson, became a popular writer in her day, publishing nearly a book a year from 1923 to 1969, though most are now out of print. Persephone Books of London, which specializes in "mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women" (their biggest seller is the delightful Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, a personal favourite), has printed three of the four Miss Buncle books, originally written between 1934 and 1946. Need I say I'm absolutely dying to put through an order for the next two books?

Apr 28, 2014, 3:26pm

That sounds awfully like a book I've read last year or the year before. But I loved that one too. So enjoy part two and three!

Apr 28, 2014, 3:35pm

>60 Smiler69: Connie, it's one of those books I'll probably read again eventually. I'm going to make myself wait as long as I can for my next Persephone order, because they have a deal for 3 books, but it doesn't come out cheap all the same and my credit card is hurting as it is...

Apr 28, 2014, 4:02pm

You have my creditcard, Ilana? ;-)))

Order! ohh I'm just thinking i need to order a book that is due one of these days. good tip!!

Apr 28, 2014, 10:10pm

I finished The Janissary Tree earlier today. I enjoyed the adventures of Yashim the eunuch in 1830s Istanbul, who is trying to resolve a string of obviously connected murders. Tempted to continue with the series. Have now started on the audio for A Red Herring Without Mustard. Will be starting on a new paper or ebook tonight, though haven't fixed my choice yet.

AbeBooks published a great Literary Bucket List today. I went through it quickly and came across lots of titles I'll be adding to my wishlist soon.

>63 connie53: Of course I want to know what book Connie!

Apr 28, 2014, 10:12pm

Happy 75th Ilana!
Congrats on reaching the magic number :)

Apr 28, 2014, 10:31pm

Thanks Megan!

Apr 29, 2014, 12:06am

Congratulations on reaching your first 75 of the year, Ilana, and with a 4.5 star book as well. I have both the Miss Buncle books on my shelf so something for me to look forward to.

I see we have a joint read in May with Room which is appropriate. It was your conversation with Suzanne about it and Frog Music that reminded me that I have had Room on the shelf for far too long.

Apr 29, 2014, 12:25am

I love looking through reading lists so will check out the abebooks one, our internet connection has been playing up so some pages just don't load up for me at present.
A friend posted the link to this YA list on FB today, I've read 55 out of the 72.

I've added a Persephone Book to the MAy TIOLI, Reuben Sachs, it will be my first one.

Apr 29, 2014, 6:51am

Congrats on reaching 75 books so early in the year!!

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 7:19am

Yah, for hitting 75! And yah, for Miss Buncle! I am not familiar with that one. I listened to the first 2 Flavia de Luce. I liked them well enough but not enough to continue.

Apr 29, 2014, 9:40am

Happy 75th! And it's only April!

Apr 29, 2014, 11:58am

>64 Smiler69:.

The translation of part 5 in The chronicles of Riyria by Michael J. Sullivan called 'Wintertij'

Apr 29, 2014, 12:34pm

Ah, yes. Miss Buncle! A great book for #75. Congrats! I liked that book a lot too. Also, glad to see you liked Coventry.

Anxious story about "our" little Coco. I know what you mean about loving to see a dog happy and free of restraint. I can't even think about letting Loki off leash. He is very naughty. He would w/o doubt run off toward anything that caught his interest with great speed and gusto. He gets so focused in a "red zone" of singular purpose, he would potentially place himself in the path of a moving vehicle or wild animal. I don't think he would get lost, but I do question his survival skills. Not only that - I don't relish the thought of running straight through the woods after him. That would be a little too much close-up nature for me.

Apr 29, 2014, 1:31pm

Oh, congrats! I just saw that you've got 75!

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 2:30pm

Oh yay! Lots of visitors to help me celebrate my first 75! Thanks for all the congratulatory messages!

I'm no major statistician like our friend Paul, though I do keep track of things with an extensive tagging system and was able to compare my reading numbers from the first 4 months between 2011-2014. I do see from my figures that it seems like I consistently hit the 75 mark in April, save for last year, when I'd tackled several big bricks at the beginning of the year:

Jan: 20, 21, 13, 14
Feb: 17, 14, 8, 18
Mar: 20, 22, 10, 18
Apr: 20, 24, 10, 30

2011: 77
2012: 91
2013: 41
2014: 80

The numbers are slightly off because I tag more books than I actually keep tally of on the threads, including children's picture books (I read several this month, hence the inflated figure there). Regardless, these figures aren't accurate predictors of the year-end total, since 2012 would have been my biggest year according to the above (actual total: 189), but I beat that number by a few books in 2011. In the end, it's nice to achieve a stated goal, but of course it's the quality that matters more than anything.

Individual answers follow.

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 2:48pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, I think we were inspired by the same conversation on Suz's thread to tackle Room. I also got a PM from Joyce (Citizenjoyce) who told me if I was able to handle Slammerkin I shouldn't have problems with it. Then when I saw you'd listed it on TIOLI... so it seems May will be the month when I finally face that great big bogeymonster! :-)

I think you're in for a great treat with the Miss Buncle books. I can't wait to get my hands on the second and third ones!

>68 avatiakh: Kerry, one thing I liked about the AbeBooks lists is that other than those familiar titles that keep cropping up on so many lists, this one featured books I'd never heard of before, even in well-known categories. I'll have to check out that YA list. Not surprised you've read so many from that one since you are a fairly consistent consumer of YA literature, whereas I'll probably spot a mere handful I've read since I only dabble once in a while. I'll let you know how I fare.

>69 scaifea: Thanks Amber! :-)

>70 msf59: Mark, I'm not so crazy about Flavia De Luce either. In fact, as I'm listening to them I always wonder whether I wouldn't prefer listening to something else instead, but there's a certain charm to them that encourages me to "just listen to one more". Also, I've gotten them all free from the library's OverDrive audio collection and I guess I must have a soft spot for that little tyke!

>71 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abby! A nice way to celebrate Spring, dontcha think? ;-) Especially since there aren't much signs of it arriving here, unlike where you are living!

>72 connie53: I hope you enjoy that Connie. I picked up the audio version, called Theft of Swords, which contained the first two books and for some reason couldn't get into it. But that doesn't mean much, because I often fail to get excited with fantasy stories, with several notable exceptions, so I keep trying and don't give up!

>73 -Cee-: Claudia, I liked Coventry a lot and intend to do a little writeup on it soon. I can see why you were worried about me reading it, because of course it's a sad story, but I don't think I have a problem with sad or bleak stories per se—it's all in the manner of the telling, and when I look back on the Katherine Boo book, I still think my main issue with it was how GRAPHICALLY she described all the garbage and s*** and grime and disgustingness. It was just a sensory overload for me. I can cope with misery intellectually, as long as I'm not made to smell it and feel it's exact texture, you know what I mean? I owe you a double thanks for Coventry, both for sending me a lovely copy of it and then encouraging me to finally read it. I think I got through it in just a couple of days... it was hard to put down!

>74 drneutron: Hi Jim! I did it after all. I think your encouragement a short while ago gave me that extra incentive to reach that goal sooner than later. xx

eta: typos and more typos!

eta: Forgot to mention I started on Small Island by Andrea Levy last night. It's been oft recommended and so far so good!

Apr 29, 2014, 3:13pm

>76 Smiler69: I love the books by Michael J. Sullivan so it will work out fine. Maybe you should try again.

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 4:39pm

Miss Buncle makes a perfect 75th book - congratulations!

I need to spend some time with those abebooks lists - I love the pictures of the older books they use.

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 5:01pm

I'm so glad you had a good time with Miss Buncle's Book, Ilana. I loved it, too. The second one, Miss Buncle Married, is a lot of fun, too.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day also is a favorite of mine.

Apr 29, 2014, 5:50pm

>77 connie53: Connie, maybe once I've read and loved more fantasy titles, enough to say I'm really comfortable with the genre I'll return to that book, but for now there are too many others on the tbr! :-)

>78 souloftherose: Miss Buncle makes a perfect 75th book

I thought so too Heather!

>79 jnwelch: Ah! Miss Pettigrew! I think I'll be due for a reread soon. Mind you, I've got the audiobook narrated by Frances McDormand which makes for a pretty great listen.


Speaking of too many books on the tbr to read stuff I'm not excited about, I think I'll drop A Red Herring Without Mustard. I really want to like it, and I've got the other books already in my audio library from OverDrive, but I just can't get excited about it and mostly wanting to get it over with. Never a good way to approach a book, that.

Apr 29, 2014, 6:39pm

I bet the audio of Miss Pettigrew is great with Frances McDormand doing the honors, Ilana. Did you see the movie? Good cast, and yet for me it unfortunately fell flat. I really wanted to like it.

Apr 29, 2014, 6:52pm

Belated congrats on reaching 75, Ilana!! :D

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 6:59pm

>81 jnwelch: Joe, I only found out about the book because of the movie actually. I fell upon it several years ago when it was playing on HBO. I had just switched the tv on, as it happened, right at the beginning of the movie; I didn't know the first thing about it and only decided to watch because I saw Frances McDormand was in it, so given I had zero expectations I really loved it, and only discovered afterward it was based on a book.

eta: and yes, obviously the audio is great!

>82 jolerie: You're just in time Valerie! Thanks!

Apr 29, 2014, 7:06pm

I might well have liked the movie more if I had come upon it the way you did, Ilana. I read the book first, and the book is so good, that probably affected me.

Apr 29, 2014, 7:20pm

Haha! I just figured by the time you posted your 75th review, you are probably already reading your 80th book or something since you are so fast!! ;)

Edited: Apr 29, 2014, 7:30pm

>84 jnwelch: Joe, as you say, it was really quite serendipitous (how I love the word 'serendipity'!), the way I fell on the movie, and I doubt I'd have enjoyed it as much if, like you, I'd read the book first.

>85 jolerie: Valerie, almost, but not quite! I've got 2 books going at the moment, vying for the 77th and 78th spot and just abandoned another which would have been the 79th probably. I'll see if I can get to 80 by tomorrow midnight, but that's highly unlikely! Welcome back by the way. Haven't seen you around in ages. I hope all is well with you and your little family.

Apr 30, 2014, 6:22am

>80 Smiler69: I know exactly what you mean, Ilana. My TBR pile is larger than three bookcases. Of course you have to read whatever you want.

Edited: Apr 30, 2014, 2:24pm

Currently Reading:


King Lear by William Shakespeare - finishing today in time to watch the play tomorrow.
Small Island by Andrea Levy - FINALLY got to this much-recommended book. Just 3 chapters in but it's great so far.
March Violets by Philip Kerr - had been wanting to start this series for a long time and really enjoying it.

I think I've abandoned The Colossus of Maroussi. I was not inspired to continue, and I've apparently taken it off my reading list in post #1 up top, though I can't recall actually doing it. So that's that. Not the same on second visit as it was when I read it just returning from a 5-month stay in Crete. As Kerry said on her thread, I think that strongly influenced my appreciation of it the first time around.


Aforementioned March Violets, which I spent a credit for on Audible.
The Complete Works of Josephine Tey as a Kindle book, at just $3.08 CAD. Unfortunately it seems that price is only good in Canada.

I'll be placing an order with Persephone Books any day now. Just waiting to put it on my May book allowance (even though I always end up blowing it every month anyway!)

Total books purchased to date: 123

Feeling rather wretched today, on the physical plane. Have a bunch of errands to do later this afternoon, and running on low energy right now, so think I'll go take a long soak in the tub and do some quiet reading for a while.


>87 connie53: Connie, as of yesterday, my TBR includes 1,308 titles. I'm not sure when I'll manage to get to them all, but certainly being part of a group of avid readers is helping prompt me on, even though it's also helping steadily continue growing that TBR... we're all in the same boat aren't we? ;-)

Apr 30, 2014, 1:56pm

Sorry to hear you're not feeling good today.

I may join you with Small Island this month - I didn't get round to it last month but I was reading all the positive reviews on the book page at lunchtime and I'm tempted to give it a go.

Edited: Apr 30, 2014, 2:37pm

Thanks Heather, it's nothing too awful or unexpected, and at least I know this particular malaise will be over within a day or two. I feel lucky that I can pamper myself all I want in the meantime.

DO join me for Small Island! I've listed it under Liz's challenge in May. As I said, I'm only about 3 chapters in, but so far it's very good going, and I'm liking that there are (again, so far) two narrators telling the story from their perspective. I can easily see already why it received so much attention.


Long bath over. I read a couple of articles in my current Slightly Foxed (Slightly Foxed: No. 19: A Lonely Furrow), where there was a great article about The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-Fiction 1909-1959. Apparently out of print when the author wrote the article, but I see it's available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats. The excerpts given (too lengthy for me to transcribe right now) definitely made me want to look into it: onto the wishlist it goes!

Edited: Apr 30, 2014, 8:50pm

Our present business
Is to general woe.

~King Lear, Act 5, Scene 3

For some reason, that quote above, delivered so solemnly by the Duke of Albany in the final act of the play makes me smile every time. There are so many dead bodies piled on top of one another and the drama is so compounded of endless miseries, that his words somehow being so redundant make the unendurable tragedy of it funny. But that's probably just me.

I just blogged about it:

Edited: May 1, 2014, 12:57pm

Here are my (as usual, no intention to actually complete the list, which would be impossible. They are just options)

Reading Plans for May:
☀ⓔ The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (tutored read) - TIOLI #1: mentions a tree on any page with double numbers
☀✔ The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (GR) - TIOLI #12
☀✔ Small Island by Andrea Levy - TIOLI #2: two embedded words - currently reading
☀♫ Room by Emma Donoghue - TIOLI #6: a title that looks like handwriting
☀*✔ Sketches From a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgeniev - TIOLI #3: title is somebody's something
☀*✔ The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - TIOLI #5: a word in the title that could be something good
☀♫ The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - TIOLI #6 (rec'd by Bonnie)
☀♫ White Queen by Philippa Gregory - TIOLI #2
☀♫ English Creek by Ivan Doig - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - TIOLI #2
☀♫ Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - TIOLI #2
Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty - selected stories (AAC)

TIOLI Options:
*♫ Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed - TIOLI #5
*✔ Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant - TIOLI #2
*✔ Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - TiOLI #3
The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor - TIOLI #5
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace - TiOLI #3
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens - TIOLI #2, A Century of Books! (1969)
Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola - TIOLI #5

May Murder & Mayhem Options:
☀♫ The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - TIOLI #5
☀♫ The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - TIOLI #6
☀✔ Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - TIOLI #2
☀♫ A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine - TIOLI #5
☀✔ Cover Her Face by P. D. James - TIOLI #2
☀♫ March Violets by Philip Kerr - TIOLI #2 - currently listening
☀♫ Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
☀✔ My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
☀✔ The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene - TIOLI #2
☀✔ The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Looking Glass War by John Le Carré - TIOLI #2
☀✔ A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler - TIOLI #2
☀♫ Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - TIOLI #15: letter "Y" somewhere in the title
☀♫ The Enemy by Lee Child - TIOLI #15
☀✔ Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey - TIOLI #15
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey or White Butterfly by Walter Mosley
In the Woods by Tana French
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
All Shot Up by Chester Himes

* = Picked for Me challenge
** = Picked for Me challenge extra picks
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Apr 30, 2014, 10:14pm

Started writing a review for Coventry, which I was hoping to knock out in 30 minutes, but no, it wants more time, and I'm a goner. I'll finish it tomorrow. G'night friends!

Apr 30, 2014, 11:37pm

Good on you for ditching the Colossus book, I only finished it so I never have to revisit it. I had been looking forward to reading it but the philosophical ramblings were not as interesting as the scenery. And I would have had to keep it on my 'guilty' shelf alongside The Magic Mountain which I got halfway through and a couple of other unfinished classics.

Wow, that's an impressive to read list for May! I have some of those books but won't commit to a shared read as I'm still reading at a snail's pace.

May 1, 2014, 2:59am

Congrats on the 75 Ilana!

I love your May plans. I loved The Blind Contessa's New Machine. I also plan on The Man in the Brown Suit audio.

I so relate to the small tub and wanting to bathe in a luxurious tub.

May 1, 2014, 10:23am

Yay for reaching 75 Ilana!

May 1, 2014, 1:03pm

>94 avatiakh: Kerry, one of the reasons I was able to just shrug off the book was because I knew you of all people would understand. I couldn't bear to continue, considering just how much I'd loved it the first time around, and how much it bored me this time. And thinking back on it, I would guess that the philosophical ramblings appealed to me then because there was a lot of that going on in my conversations with my Cretan friends while I was there, so it seemed a fitting continuation. But that's all much too far away now.

I've added a caveat to my reading plans above. It's always clear to me when I'm making lists that I'm just narrowing down my seemingly endless tbr to mere options for that month, but my visitors often mistake that for actual plans I mean to stick to. Would be great if I could, but of course I couldn't complete those lists even if I was to read 24/7! :-)

>95 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta, and thank you! Sometimes I think I should take myself to a luxurious hotel for one night so I can take advantage of a giant tub and a truly luxurious soak. But of course that seems like a pretty expensive option. All the books I could get for the same price!

>96 Thebookdiva: Thank you Abigail! :-)

May 1, 2014, 1:22pm

>97 Smiler69: Sometimes I think I should take myself to a luxurious hotel for one night so I can take advantage of a giant tub and a truly luxurious soak. That is exactly my mini fantasy very often. A huge tub to soak away in is my kinda heaven.

May 1, 2014, 1:28pm

>44 LovingLit:, >49 Smiler69: etc, etc etc
I am another who loves to wallow in a hot bath and turn over the pages - Hani is a shower person although she does occasionally suggest we share a tub - not the greatest idea in the world with the amount of water displacement the two of us together are able to conjure up.

Congratulations on passing 75 already - the old Ilana is back and here for good, I hope.

Thanks for keeping my little spot ticking over whilst I was absent in cooler climes. xx

May 1, 2014, 1:58pm

>98 luvamystery65: Yes indeed, and it sure sounds like you could do with a little pampering these days Roberta.

>99 PaulCranswick: I did figure out that if I was half the size I currently am, then I might be able to get completely covered in water when I soak in my tiny tub. I had several apartments that had those giant ancient clawed tubs and I certainly wouldn't mind having one of those now, even if they do take forever to fill up so that you usually run out of hot water well beforehand.

Edited: May 1, 2014, 4:32pm

Just finished my first book of May with March Violets by Philip Kerr as I was working on my drawing. Liked it a lot, although the endless similes drove me a little nuts. I'm not sure why genre writers feel the need to pepper every single sentence with them. All the same, a really great start to the Bernie Gunther series which I definitely want to pursue. Off to do some errands with Coco and will start on a new audiobook. I'm not lacking for options, obviously!

May 1, 2014, 4:34pm

>88 Smiler69: Yes we all are in the same boat!

Edited: May 1, 2014, 11:39pm

>102 connie53: :-)


I'm rather annoyed right now. Took Coco out for a walk, during which I started listening to The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. I've been wanting to read that book for a long time, and Bonnie recently gave it such high praise that I went to the top of my tbr. But the narrator really, really doesn't work for me. She was ok during the short sample I listened to, but I could barely stand her for 15 minutes, never mind the whole novel. I'm pretty sure I have a paperback version of it somewhere, but can't find it in my mess. So setting it aside for now. Life's too short to listen to a narrator who totally ruins the experience for you. Going to watch King Lear in an hour. Too bad I'm not feeling up to watching a tragedy right now, as feeling just as gloomy inside as it's looking outside, but I'm sure it will be time well spent.

May 1, 2014, 11:43pm

Lear was great, and as can be expected, incredibly intense. Glad I went, even though I wasn't in the mood. I don't get to see theatre productions of that calibre here in Montreal. Not that I got to the theatre much, if ever.

Have started on Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye on the audio front earlier this evening. The first book, The Gods of Gotham was a really great yarn, and so far, this one promises to be equally entertaining.

May 2, 2014, 7:27am

Hi Ilana- Just checking in. I loved Small Island and I hope you feel the same way. I also enjoyed March Violets but have not continued the series, for some reason. I WANT to get my hands or ears on Seven for a Secret. That has been on my To-Read list for months. I was crazy about The Gods of Gotham.

May 2, 2014, 7:34am

>103 Smiler69: Ooof, that *is* a problem - I've abandoned several audiobooks for that reason. How do these people get jobs as readers?! Why can't people like Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry just narrate All The Books?!

May 2, 2014, 9:21am

Ilana & Mark IMHO Seven for a Secret was even better than The Gods of Gotham and I loved the first one. You are in for a treat Ilana. Towards the end, I wanted to smack Timothy on the back of the head for being, well Timothy, but then he went and surprised me. Good man.

May 2, 2014, 10:14am

>97 Smiler69: Ilana, I have several favourite books that I refuse to reread as I don't want to be disappointed. I could see the merits of the Colossus but I wanted more of a travel book and just wallow in my own memories of Greece as I read along.
Audio book narrators really have to appeal, I've listened to the first 5 mins of so many and then ditched them.

Edited: May 2, 2014, 12:40pm

>105 msf59: Mark, Small Island is very good, but it's also making me very angry. Gilbert's accounts of how he was treated in the army as a black man is just revolting. Of course it's not the first time I read about the unfair treatment of black people (or any oppressed people, for that matter), but this narrative in particular is really getting under my skin. All the same, that's no strike against the book, but it does make my blood boil.

I know what you mean about having trouble keeping up with all the series. I've let the last book in the David Downing sit on my TBL unlistened to for wayyyy too long already for no good reason at all since I liked that series a lot too. But I'm really keen on continuing with Berlin Noir, if only for those first three books of the Bernie Gunther series.

I think you're in for a treat with Seven for a Secret!

>106 scaifea: Amber, the trouble for me is, many narrators are really fine, but for personal preferences, and sometimes it's just a question of such small subtleties that it's really impossible to pinpoint exactly what bothers me about them, other than finding they're not making me enjoy the material. Often I think it's just a question of proper casting. You're right about Neil Gaiman, I love listening to him narrate his own books. I'll take your word about Stephen Fry as I don't know him other than as a familiar name, but I think I should probably check him out now you've given him such high praise.

>107 luvamystery65: Roberta, that's quite a recommendation for Seven for a Secret considering how good the first book was. Did you listen to the audiobooks? I find the narrator is just perfect for Timothy. Really convincing as the basically good guy he is.

>108 avatiakh: Colossus is definitely one of those books I should have let alone and let live on in my memory Kerry. I did suspect as much before tackling it again, but I really did want to revisit it too. I'm glad to say though that even though I was let down with the 30% of it I reread, it hasn't affected my fond recollection of how it affected me the first time, so all is not lost. I'll look forward to the two Lawrence Durrell travel books, Prospero's Cell and Bitter Lemons as close relations.

I often am able to rule out narrators based on the useful samples available on Audible (even for library audio books when no sample is available from that site), but this is obviously not foolproof, and in the instance of Esme Lennox, I bought it without sampling it since I got it from a bricks and mortar store. First and last time I'll have done that.

May 3, 2014, 7:12am

Congrats on passing the 75 books read mark!

Insomnia is something I don't suffer with but I agree with you that naps can throw one off their usual sleep patterns.... as I sit here typing out this post at 4:00 am. ;-)

Happy to see you enjoyed Miss Buncle's Book. The second book in the series was quite charming but not as fun as the first book, IMO.

Narrators really do make or break an audiobook for a listener. I have abandoned audiobooks because I found the narrator either 'droned' the story like some bored university professor or they had a pitch to the voice that grated with me.

May 3, 2014, 7:33am

>107 luvamystery65:- That is great news about Seven for a Secret. I better start looking a bit harder. I also plan on getting to Dust and Shadow, which I do have saved on audio.

Ilana- I also dropped the ball on the first David Downing series, after loving the first one. I will return one of these days.

May 3, 2014, 12:42pm

>110 lkernagh: Lori, I'm really thinking for the second Miss Buncle book, I should probably get the $5 Kindle version instead of splurging on a precious Persephone edition. I really like their books, but they aren't cheap and given I have quite a few on my wishlist, I should probably save my money for the most recommended ones.

I'm having more and more sleep troubles, and something tells me if I can get my act together and start exercising I'll probably find relief that way.

>111 msf59: Mark, too many series, too little time, is the way I see it. That's how I dropped the ball on Dr. Siri a while back, even though I really enjoyed him. Just mentioning that one, among many, many others on the list. I'm waiting for Dust and Shadow to come back on one of the Audible sales since I've seen it turn up often in the past, before I made the connection it was written by that Lyndsay Faye. Today's offering, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats looks like it might be worth the small splurge.


Off to the hairdresser's this afternoon, which is a major big deal since I haven't been since February of last year and my hair is now so long it's always getting in the way, and I've never felt more like a boring plain Jane than I do now. I haven't been doing much in the form of pampering of self other than my recent return to the taking of lengthy bath reading sessions, so I've also booked myself a 90 minute session with a therapeutic masseuse the acupuncturist I saw last year strongly recommended to me. She charges a small fee for coming to your home, so I've opted for that luxury too. That'll be in two weeks and I think it should be very helpful because my back and shoulders and neck are constantly hurting from hours and hours sitting at the computer and sitting some more to draw every day, and to read and to... etc.

Spent almost 9 hours listening to Seven for a Secret yesterday as I tidied and did a bunch of things around the kitchen and drew and went to market and walked Coco and whatnot. A really good yarn tends to encourage me to create lots of listening time like that. Might finish it today.

Going to go sit at my drawing until my appointment... really itching to finish it already, more than 100 hours into it now!

May 3, 2014, 3:30pm

Hi Ilana, I hope you feel much better after your appointment at the hairdresser's. That always works for me!

May 3, 2014, 11:56pm

Hi Ilana,
I'm waaaay behind but wanted to check in and say hello.

I have Small Island on the TBR shelves and noticed on TIOLI that several people are planning to read it this month (including you!) so I may try to get to it. I hear what you are saying about it making you angry even while you are appreciating the writing.

I hope May is a good month for us both. xo

Edited: May 4, 2014, 2:30am

Hi, Ilana - the thread is up for the tutored read of The Italian - here. Look forward to seeing you there! :)

Edited: May 4, 2014, 12:29pm

Glad you enjoyed King Lear, Ilana. I'm hoping to go to an encore screening this Thursday but it will depend on work and energy levels.

You've reminds me that I wishlisted The Gods of Gotham when you reviewed it and still haven't got round to getting it out of the library.

>109 Smiler69: I wanted to say thank you for the nudge about Small Island because I am really enjoying it, although maybe enjoying isn't quite the right word given the subject matter. Gilbert's narrative about his time during WWII was difficult to read and then there was a very distressing scene with a donkey...

>112 Smiler69: I think go with the eBook of Miss Buncle Married - I wrote a longer post on my thread but I tend to only buy Persephone editions for books I can't get elsewhere. The exception was their reissue of Provincial Lady but it's a lovely book and had the original illustrations.

May 4, 2014, 1:05pm

>113 connie53: Connie, I'm about six inches of hair lighter today than I was yesterday. My hair was almost to the middle of my back, and I was ready to get sheared. I'm happy with it now.

>114 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, I'm glad you dropped by, especially knowing how busy you are. I think you'll like Small Island, but I won't be surprised if you have a similar reaction! And yes, wishing us both a good month ahead!

>115 lyzard: That's great! I'll go and make sure to star it in a minute, thanks for letting me know Liz!


Really happy about my new haircut. Coco was a big hit at the hairdresser's, as he tends to be everywhere I bring him. I wanted to take a long walk home after my appointment, but it started pouring, so no go. Last night started a worrying migraine again, and this morning woke up with a raging one. I'd been enjoying a good 10 days or so of minimal pain. It was nice while it lasted. Rain all night and all day, so I'll blame it on the weather.

I started writing a few notes on the latest book I finished and it seems to be turning into a review, so I'll post that next.

Edited: May 5, 2014, 11:57am

Book #79: Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye ★★★★
Read for: TIOLI #18: a book that has a connection to the number 5
Series: Timothy Wilde (2 of 2)
Edition: Penguin Audio (2013), Edition: Unabridged MP3, 14h02
Original publication date: 2013

Finished Seven for a Secret last night. Another harrowing story by Lyndsay Faye, as a follow up to The Gods of Gotham, which had one of the first New York City "Copper Stars" Timothy Wilde chasing after a ring of child murderers during a wave of Irish immigrants escaping the great potato famine. Faye certainly knows how to write a compelling story and this novel takes place just six month later, in 1846, in and around the same neighbourhood of NYC formerly known as Five Points, notorious for it's squalid conditions*. This time a beautiful young woman charges into Timothy's police station to declare that her family has just been abducted. It turns out the young woman in question is born from a white father and black slave mother, and the plot centres around the "blackbirders", Southerners who snatch free black people from the North and, claiming they are escaped slaves, deliver them to plantation masters for a large fee. This is presumably what happened to Solomon Northup, who later went on to write Twelve Years a Slave, though I've yet to read that book (currently sitting on the massive tbr) . Our good Timothy is of course an abolitionist at heart, and does all he can to find and release Lucy Adams' little son and her sister, but in the process gets tangled in a messy and dangerous political quagmire, not least because the practice of returning escaped slaves to their owners is what the law of the time is designed to enforce. With the best of intentions, he is horrified when he comes to realize that by his very actions which were aimed at protecting those coloured people he'd taken under his wing, he managed to lead them all instead into an awful tragedy. Timothy's older brother Valentine has a large role to play here, as he did in the first book. Heavily involved with the Democratic party, Valentine has pull and is the one who got Timothy a job in 1845 with the newly founded New York police force, when Timothy had lost everything to the fire which burned out a large part of the city, Timothy's workplace and home and savings, and also part of his face. Where Timothy is essentially a good guy with high moral standards, his older brother is completely dissolute; a morphine addict who sleeps around with prostitutes and anyone he takes a fancy to, including men—at a time when such sexual practices were punishable by death; but all this of course makes him a very intriguing character, not least of all because he also happens to be a brawler and a volunteer firefighter (when both brothers have lost their parents to a terrible fire), and though he is tough with his younger brother, he is also obviously very devoted to him.

I believe we're in for another instalment sometime in future. I was a bit shocked just now when I googled to see if I could find any info on the next book, that several reviews panned the first book unmercifully, including at, whose reviewer was of the opinion that it should never have been written in the first place. Along with the Edgar Award committee (The Gods of Gotham was an Edgar Award Nominee in 2013), I obviously don't agree with Sam Ashworth ("Lyndsay Faye's mistake is that she has staged a generic episode of Law and Order: SVU in a setting that demands far more authorial spine and ambition than she is willing to commit."), and where he finds Faye spilled too much of her research onto the page with little discernment, I find on the contrary that the historical details ring true and add much to the story, and especially enjoy her inclusion of quotes and passages from news articles and publications of that period pertaining to abolitionism and the treatment of slaves, as she did in the first book, which focused on the Irish immigrants who were reviled by locals at the time, all of which adds a factual historical dimension to her narrative. But beyond all that, for my money, she writes the kind of compelling story that I just want to keep reading with as few interruptions as possible.

The audio version narrated by Steven Boyer is also highly recommended.

* Charles Dickens described Five Points in 1842 in his book American Notes for General Circulation:

"What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points."

"This is the place; these narrow ways diverging to the right and left, and reeking everywhere with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here, bear the same fruit as elsewhere. The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at home and all the world over."

"Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken forays. Many of these pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright instead of going on all fours, and why they talk instead of grunting?"
(From Wikipedia)

May 4, 2014, 2:15pm

>116 souloftherose: Sorry Heather! I was so busy typing up my review that I missed your message. I agree about how distressing the donkey incident was. Makes me shudder just thinking about it. Poor beast! Poor bees too for that matter! Thanks for the advice on Miss Buncle Married. I was truly waiting to get your feedback on it to make my decision. And I think I'll follow your example, given how expensive Persephone editions are to get here with the shipping cost—I'll only get those editions of titles that are exclusive to them, especially when you consider they are softcover and perfect-bound, as opposed to stitched bindings. I never thought I'd find stitched bindings with softcover editions but found out that Oxford University Press does just that with their Shakespeare Series. I might not have noticed it had they not pointed this out as a feature on their back cover!

Edited: May 4, 2014, 3:30pm

Book #74: Coventry by Helen Humphries ★★★★
Read for: April TIOLI#10: match at least one TAG from the person above you, Picked for Me by Claudia/-Cee-
Edition: W. W. Norton & Company (2009), Edition: 1st American Ed, Hardcover, 192 pages (Christmas swap gift from Claudia)
Original publication date: 2008

Continuing right along with my new 'tradition' of reviewing books out of reading order to free up my reviewing muse...

I read this book in just two sittings—yes, partly because it's very short, but also because it made for compulsive reading and was very difficult to put down. It's my first book by Helen Humphreys, and I think the others currently on my wishlist will end up on the TBR sooner rather than later. Two women and a young man are at the heart of this novel which mostly takes place during one terrifying night, during the worst and most destructive of a series of German blitzes on the city of Coventry, UK, this one occurring on November 14th 1940. Our first glimpse of Harriet Marsh, the lead character, is when she is perched on the roof of Coventry cathedral on firewatching duty just before the bombs start raining down. As a woman, she shouldn't really be there, but she's replacing her injured neighbour that night, which is how she meets the young Jeremy Fisher, another firewatcher who, unbeknownst to her at this point will end up spending the better part of the night with her, as they both try to reach their homes, which are located close to each other and where Jeremy hopes to find his mother Maeve. As they make their way through the city, the are forced to walk through the burning inferno that Coventry has become, with the constant pounding of bombs, buildings toppling at every moment, trying to help victims who are instantly buried in the detritus in front of their very eyes, and hoping not to get exploded to bits themselves, or to find their homes annihilated either. Harriet had already lived through the first war twenty-six years earlier, to which she lost her young husband, both only eighteen years-old and just married at the time. He'd gone missing and probably killed a few weeks after he'd enlisted and left for the front on September 1914, just one month into the war, and Harriet has never gotten over the grief of her loss. He only had the chance to send her one letter, and she holds onto this relic like a talisman, and when the novel begins, she is convinced that this second war with the Germans can't possibly have such a devastating impact on her as did the Great War. But in this she is mistaken of course, and at that point she can't possibly know that Jeremy is the son of a woman she'd casually met 26 years before, on the very day she'd seen her newlywed husband off at the train station.

I found this short review by the Guardian, which I thought did a better job at resuming the book than I ever could, though I should say that it's written from the perspective of a British person who is familiar with the history of the war as it happened in her own country, unlike myself, to whom the events of that night were formerly mostly unknown and therefore did not seem quite as inevitable, which took nothing away from the story—quite the contrary in fact:

"To set a character on the roof of Coventry cathedral on the night of 14 November 1940 leaves no doubt about the path the narrative will take. The inevitability of the firestorm sounds ominously from the first sentence of Coventry, but Helen Humphreys makes of that certainty a subtly crafted, surely paced novel. From Harriet Marsh looking up at a "bomber's moon", we slip back to a meeting between her and another young woman on a tram at the outbreak of the first world war. Long before either Harriet, Jeremy, the young man with whom she shares firewatching duties, or his mother, fleeing the desperate bonhomie of drinkers in a pub cellar, realises, the reader is aware that the bombing of Coventry will tie up the loose ends of that earlier encounter. Bleak images of death are counterpointed by moments of escape. As Harriet and Jeremy pick their way through collapsed buildings and burning streets, a fleeing horse embodies the possibility of survival. Coventry hauntingly depicts the nightmarish power of chance." (Isobel Montgomery, The Guardian, 12 September 2009)

Edited: May 4, 2014, 4:14pm

Book #65:These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★
Read for: April TIOLI #13: Read a book in a genre you haven't yet read from in 2014 (historical romance), A Century of Books!
Edition: AudioGO (2009), Unabridged MP3; 11h03
Original publication date: 1926

I'd been hearing about what a wonderful experience it is to read Georgette Heyer's novels ever since I joined this group. Perfectly researched with great period details, and a great comfort reading experience is mostly what I gleaned from the various comments and reviews I've read by many of my favourite LTers. I'd have to agree with them. As it happened, I was very much in the mood for something comforting and not too demanding either intellectually or emotionally on the day I picked this book up. I had just moments before decided to abandon The Orphan Master's Son, even though I was one-third of the way through it, because it was brining me down horribly and I didn't see the point of continuing to emotionally torture myself in the name of literary proficiency. I already had another Heyer novel in the listening stacks, but that day I was determined to find both the storyline and the narrator that most appealed my momentary whims, which is how I came to choose Heyer's third among her Georgian and Regency novels. The description on the Audible site was short and to the point: "Society believes the worst of Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon who is clearly proud of his Sobriquet, Satanas. It is he who buys Leon body and soul from a scoundrel in a Paris backstreet." And from the first 11 minutes of the novel, available on the audio sample, I decided this would do the trick very well (though in retrospect, I don't know why Cornelius Garrett made the Duke sound like an old man, when he's only 40). As can be expected, there are beautiful and lavish details of costume, an interesting cast of characters with comical quirks, a deep intrigue, and plenty of romance. No, this is not a work of great literary merit, but it's well written, has a great plot, and it's so much fun... who cares?

May 4, 2014, 10:24pm


Just realized I've made my first line with A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin in the "A book set in another world" square (middle of bottom row).

A book with a female heroine: Lady Susan by Jane Austen ★★★★½
A book set in a high school:
The last book in a trilogy:
A book with a colour in the title:
The first book in a series: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★
A book set in the future:
A book with a breakup: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy ★★★★⅞
A book without a love triangle: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood ★★★★
A book that became a movie: Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household ★★★★½
A book set in Paris: These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★
A book set in the past: Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★
A book with magic:
A book set in the summer:
A book with a dragon:
A book that made you cry: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★½
A graphic novel:
A book based on a myth: The Quick by Lauren Owen ★★★★★
A "classic" YA book:
A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe:
A book with an incredible fight scene: Goliath by Tom Gauld ★★★★
A book you heard about online: Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler ★★★★
A book set in another world: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★★★
A book with an epic love story: Longbourn by Jo Baker ★★★★⅓
A book with music: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue ★★★★⅓

Just have 2 squares left to finish the other card.

May 5, 2014, 7:24am

Hi Ilana- I only skimmed your review of Seven for a Secret, since I hope to get my grubby paws on it, in the near future. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for the NetGalley assistance! I will only be requesting sparingly, since it is so hard to keep up, but if something jumps out at me...oh, well.

Have a good day!

May 5, 2014, 12:07pm

Congrats on your bingo Ilana! Are you going to reward yourself for accomplishing that goal?

Edited: May 5, 2014, 1:05pm

>123 msf59: Mark, that's how I use NetGalley too. They send out emails when there are new titles on offer, and they have to seem like something I really don't want to miss for me to go for it. So far I've only requested 3 titles in the last 2 years or so. But I've been really bad, as last year hardly wrote any reviews at all, and didn't review the one book, and have yet to read the other, Bellman & Black. And still, they let me have The Quick a couple of months ago, which I was honestly very pleasantly surprised about!

>124 jolerie: Thanks Valerie! I'm really not sure what to do about that. Of course I'm tempted to say yes, but the trouble is I've been so overindulgent with book-buying as it is ( that it hardly seems reasonable to create additional excuses for buying yet more! I have yet to visit your most recent thread. Will make my way there soon!

My most recent purchases this weekend were The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker as the Audible Daily Deal and Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson on Kindle.

Total Books Purchased to date: 125


My father is leaving on June 10th to return to live in Israel permanently, which leaves us just under 5 weeks to spend any time together. My last two encounters with him went well which I'm very grateful for. We're just about to get together now to go see The Railway Man. The trailer looks great and I'm happy to see anything with Colin Firth in it!

May 5, 2014, 1:36pm

Ilana, that is why I can't keep a list of purchased books because the guilt would be crippling. It would probably keep me much more accountable and my wallet would thank me for it, but then I'd much rather just be ignorant and continue to blissfully buy my new books. At the same time, I do try to limit to 3 a month, or at least I try... ;)

May 5, 2014, 7:08pm

I'm all about rewarding oneself so I say definitely a reward for each Bingo! Whether it's a book, a chocolate bar or a double mocha latte, I am all for indulging.

You've definitely sold me on Coventry, Ilana, and I am adding it to the list.

May 5, 2014, 8:21pm

Hi Ilana- I have another NetGalley question: You haven't tried a GN yet, have you? I have one downloaded to my iPad but it is not formatted correctly and a bit difficult to read. I will toy with it some more.
I don't know if this helps at all but Bellman & Black sucked. LOL. I received an ARC of it. I did enjoy The Thirteenth Tale though.

May 5, 2014, 8:49pm

The Railway Man was very good, and thankfully, there were less torture scenes than I had expected after seeing the trailer. Colin Firth can do no wrong in my book, and Nicole Kidman isn't hard on the eyes, so that was nice. Based on a true story about a British soldier held captive by the Japanese during WWII—I couldn't help but shed a few tears at the end. My dad liked it too, and we had another successful outing. 3 in a row must be a record and I'm hoping to maintain and continue improving on it!

I'd been doing really well with the migraines for nearly 2 weeks, with only 4 or 5 (or even less) out of 10 on the pain level, as opposed to 7-8 all the time, but the past couple of days have been rather more rough again. Ah well, I'll take relief when it passes, but I'll definitely be talking about the Botox option with my neurologist. Chronic pain really sucks, and I have to work at it harder too because I've become so used to it all the time that I'm rather apathetic about it, which isn't a good thing.

Enjoying my first Philippa Gregory with The White Queen. It's teaching me about a period in English history I didn't know much about and wanted to inform myself on, the Wars of the Roses, and interestingly enough, I'd mentioned to Paul on his thread that I hadn't really enjoyed The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (which he reviewed very recently) as much as I would have if I'd known more about the major events and players which led to the famous disappearance of the "Princes in the Tower". Then I picked up this book purely on a whim, not thinking that was exactly the episode the story would lead to. Not nearly there yet, but it's fun going and I'll probably want to continue with the Cousins' War series.

Small Island is full of surprises and I always have a hard time putting it down when I'm reading it in bed at night. Always a good sign, that. I'll probably finish it in a couple of days and will be sure to post comments about it.

>126 jolerie: Valerie, I think I must get some kind of masochistic pleasure out of listing all my book acquisitions! Also, I do believe it helps keep me in line... somewhat. Checking on my credit card balance also tends to have a sobering effect lately, which can only be a good thing. Every time I try to set a limit for myself, like one book per week or whatever, I end up blowing that resolution in a spectacular way, so I won't be trying that method till I'm sure it won't backfire!

>127 DeltaQueen50: Oh yes, Judy, we are both long-term members of the self-indulgence club I think! One other thing sort of keeping me in line as far as not going too crazy on book-buying lately is there are so many selections to choose from in my shopping basket that I don't know what to order, and ordering everything is completely out of the question because would surely lead to bankruptcy!

Glad I managed to hit you with a blue bullet! :-)

>128 msf59: Hmmmm.... I'm not sure you disliking Bellman & Black is much of an incentive for me to read it, considering you're the guy who likes almost everything! I've had The Thirteenth Tale on the tbr for years now, but I think I'll still probably read B&B first so I can honour my commitment. Better (really really really) ridiculously late than never!

Haven't ever gotten a GN from NetGalley, so can't help you there. Have you tried their FAQ?

May 5, 2014, 9:44pm

Hello lovely - so glad the Heyer hit the spot. Lot of fun! You got me with Coventry too - it's on the WL, you siren.

Edited: May 5, 2014, 9:55pm

Hi Ilana! You got me with Coventry.

Last evening I visited friends I had not seen for over 20 years. They have two dogs, one of whom is a Whippett-Lab mix. She is a sweetie! I tell you this because you mentioned Coco being a hit wherever he goes (of course). It was fun for me to spend the day with a couple of really nice dogs.

ETA: it was good to see my friends, too!! :-D

May 5, 2014, 10:38pm

>130 PrueGallagher: Hi Prue my lovely! I'm really sorry, as I realize now I never responded to the link you sent me on FB the other day. I started reading the article about Richard Ford but then got distracted by something, so it dropped from my mind. I really am quite the scatterbrain! But I do have several of his books on the wishlist because of you. I would say Coventry is probably a must for anyone interested in reading about important moments in history and/or about how the English managed during WWII. Or just a story very well told, for that matter.

>131 EBT1002: Yay! Another blue bullet hits a target! :-)

I love how the dogs are what came to mind first when you mentioned the visit with your friends, Ellen. It's good to have your priorities in the right place! I certainly remember my time with animals more than I do with the humans usually! ;-)


So many visitors today! I feel blessed! Calling it a night now. A bit of The White Queen and a good chunk of Small Island to look forward to next!

May 6, 2014, 3:34am

>120 Smiler69: ah yea. I have had that one on my library WL for ages, even picked it up there once but left it there feeling I could not squeeze it in. One day!

May 6, 2014, 7:12am

Congrats on the Bingo! And I hope you find some relief today from the headache.

Pictures of the haircut? I need one pretty badly, too. It's been about 8-9 months, I think. I may try to get one before we leave for Florida...

May 6, 2014, 7:19am

Congrats on the bingo thing, Ilana.

I hope you and your dad will spend some more succesful outings before he leaves for Israël. That way you will have some fun memories.

May 6, 2014, 7:34am

I scrolled madly looking for your review of Coventry, got snagged on Miss Buncle which I simply have to hurry up and get and read, and then was delighted to see that you have joined the society of appreciators of Georgette Heyer. Those books got me through late adolescence!!! It's been so long that I am thinking seriously that I could reread them now! I collected all the regency novels and read them over and over through my twenties and then impulsively gave the whole collection to a friend who was having terrible problems who, thankfully, still has them and treasures them and credits them for having helped her through that bad time! Maybe not literary works of genius but they have something very special and healing in them.

May 6, 2014, 8:03pm

>133 LovingLit: Megan, Coventry will be there for you when you're ready for it!

>134 scaifea: Hi Amber, headache was a bit more bearable today, but more present than I'd like. I tried to grab a few selfies with my new haircut, and didn't manage it very well, but here is one anyway:

>135 connie53: Thanks Connie, I really hope me and my dad manage to have more good times before he leaves too. The bingo is fun, though I still haven't rewarded myself!

>136 sibylline: Lucy, I look forward to my next Georgette Heyer romp, which will probably be with Frederica as that one has been on my listening stacks for quite a long time already. I can see how her books could take someone through difficult times as she certainly did the trick for me when I was looking for something comforting and fun.


I saw my occupational therapist today after a long 2-month break, because I kept missing appointments due to bad migraines. She's the one who helped me start incorporating artwork into my daily routine and also try to get me to bed at a more reasonable hour (1:30 being more reasonable than 3-5 am!) and today we've decided I'll spend 15 minutes a day writing (other stuff than talk posts and reviews) and 10 mins min. per day organizing my artwork in view of eventually getting me to do more artwork and finishing pieces so I can start selling some. Baby steps. Always, really tiny baby steps.

I got Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall this morning as the Kindle Daily Deal, which I've decided doesn't really count as a book treat. I'm dying to order some physical books but where to put them???

May 7, 2014, 7:29am

Hi Ilana- Nice selfie! Nice haircut. Are those stacks and stacks of books in the background? LOL.

I did read my first NetGalley GN yesterday and it did work out pretty well. I'll draw up a mini-review tonight. I was checking out their upcoming literary titles and there are some real gems on there but I am being cautious.

May 7, 2014, 9:02am

Hi Ilana, nice hairdo! It suits you well.

May 7, 2014, 11:57am

I like that selfie, too, Ilana. Very flattering haircut. The photo almost has the look to it of Richard Linklater's Waking Life movie - is the lighting modified at all?

I liked Legends of the Fall a lot, way back when.

Edited: May 7, 2014, 12:22pm

>138 msf59: Are those stacks and stacks of books in the background?

You know it Mark, what else, right?! What you see there is just a teeny tiny portion of the stacks too. I have three side tables each with 6 to 8 very tall stacks in that part of the living room alone. I've taken to fantasizing about bookshelves at this point. I just refuse to get those Ikea Billy bookcases, no matter how convenient they are as just don't like them because they remind me of my former work environment too much.

I visited the NetGalley site to look over their offerings a couple of times, but don't dare go back there—too much temptation and goodness knows I'm overloaded as it is! Glad that GN ended up working out for you. Now of course you've given me the temptation to go have a little peek anyway... but I... must... resist!

>139 connie53: Thanks Connie! My hair was down the middle of my back last week and I almost always kept it tied back, so it's quite a change, but I've had a similar hairstyle many times in the past and it feels just right!

>140 jnwelch: Hi, Joe, glad you like the haircut, thanks! The selfie is kind to me as all my features are blasted out, always a good look for women of a certain age who no longer have such smooth and rumple-free faces! I didn't use special effects, but I took the photo from my computer screen and turned it toward my darkened living-room to show the books in the background, and the camera overcompensated for the darkness by whiting out my face, which I thought wasn't a bad thing at all!

I've got several Jim Harris books on the tbr now, including two audiobooks from the library's OverDrive collection. Have you read other things by him?

May 7, 2014, 12:54pm

Some of the best photos - like inventions - happen by accident, don't they?

I did read a couple of more short stories by Jim Harrison, but I have to admit I never got sufficiently motivated to go further. There's been a continuing feeling of "I should read more of him" that I haven't acted on. He seems to be a writer much appreciated by other writers.

May 7, 2014, 1:00pm

I finished Small Island last night. I'll try to write comments on it a bit later today. I've got a friend I haven't seen in ages just popping over to say hello in a moment.


Currently reading, listening to,
and occasionally browsing through:

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
Slightly Foxed: No. 20: Shrieks and Floods by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (GR)

I'll actually be picking up The Day of the Scorpion later at bedtime. I'm 1 chapter in into The Italian, and it's official, I really do love Gothic fiction! I'll probably be finishing The White Queen today or tomorrow. Started another back-issue of Slightly Foxed to keep me company for a while; looking forward to articles on The Histories by Herodotus (on the tbr), Nancy Mitford and Maurice Sendak, among other offerings.

May 7, 2014, 2:36pm

Just chiming in to say that it is indeed and lovely haircut, Ilana! And just in time for warmer weather so you will be all nice and cool on your walks. :) The older I get, the more I realize how much I enjoy a shorter bob then my once long hair because it doesn't take as much to maintain and the kids aren't tempted to yank it..haha!

I will also confess that the second thing my eyes were drawn to were the piles of books in the background, which makes me laugh because in a group such as this, one doesn't see clutter, but happy possibilities when books are lying around! :)

May 7, 2014, 9:22pm

>142 jnwelch: Joe, sorry I missed your message earlier, I was obviously posting around the same time as you. So many authors to read... hard to make time for those that don't motivate us especially. I'll try to at least fit in one of the audiobooks soonish.

>144 jolerie: Thanks Valerie. I hadn't been able to style my hair at all for a couple of years, since it was so long. It's kind of wavy and if I don't treat it right or straighten it properly it looks really awful, but it was much too long for me to be able to give myself a proper blow dry, so I just ended up tying it in a ponytail or twist all the time. Today it was easy-peasy and took maybe 4 minutes to style with the blow dryer and my big boar bristle round brush after I washed it. Gotta love that!

Since both you and Mark have mentioned my piles of books in the background of my selfie, I thought I'd do some of my stacks the honour of featuring them in all their messy glory on my thread today.

This first lot is partially hidden behind my tv (bunches of art books are on the coffee table in front of the couch too):

On the side table to the right (partially seen above):

On the side table next to the window and under my "proper" Folio shelves:

I've read 2 or 3 from the stacks above, but they are all for the most part very much on the tbr.

May 7, 2014, 9:54pm

Oh...glorious, glorious piles of books! Even though it doesn't look like there is any organization going on, I know you know where each and every one of your books are located....right?? ;)

May 7, 2014, 10:29pm

Even though it doesn't look like there is any organization going on, I know you know where each and every one of your books are located....right??






May 7, 2014, 10:43pm

Just catching up...I love the new 'do!

May 8, 2014, 6:37am

Oh, your hair looks lovely! And I love your glasses! And look at all of those BOOKS!!!
I'm just gonna come right out and say it - I love it here on your thread!
(Sorry for the shouting - I got excited.)

May 8, 2014, 7:17am

Oh, my! The books! That is one advantage to living alone. No one to intrude. My wife would never allow it. She would call in the SWAT team.

Do you even have anymore room for more shelves?

May 8, 2014, 9:15am

I like the stacks of books too. I can't imagine some folks might call those stacks 'clutter'.

>150 msf59: My husband feels the same about my books!

May 8, 2014, 11:08am

Ah, my day is much improved having gloried in the photos of your stacks of books, Ilana! Like Mark, there's no way I could get away with that, but I sure do enjoy it vicariously. Nothing better than being surrounded by good books.

May 8, 2014, 12:26pm

>148 drneutron: Hi Jim, and thanks! I'm pretty happy with it too! :-)

>149 scaifea: Amber, my good friend K picked those glasses for me, whereas I was about to go with the most dowdy and boring frames ever. I'll be forever grateful to her for picking out what are undoubtedly my best glasses ever. I get complimented on them by complete strangers, how cool is that? Glad you liked them too.

So glad you found stuff to shout about! ;-)

>150 msf59: Mark, you are right, I doubt a live-in partner would agree to share space with all those stacks. I do have room for shelves, but just not entirely sure how to go about getting them since my friend who built the first set for me keeps saying she is too busy, but I'm really dying to get all those books a decent home!

>151 connie53: Connie, my mom is a huge reader and growing up with her, I got used to seeing book stacks everywhere, so to a certain extent they are just a normal part of the scenery to me I guess!

>152 jnwelch: Joe, glad you enjoyed the stack photos. I did think some of you in this group might appreciate those, unlike my cleaning lady, who is always horrified to find I've added yet more books to the collection (nothing gets past her). I love being surrounded by all my books, but I also dream of neatly organized shelves where I can easily find all my titles!

May 8, 2014, 8:18pm

Wow! Books everywhere! Do your kitties ever perch on top of a stack? If so, grab a picture ;-)

And I do love your hairdo. It fits you just right - as do the glasses. But then, I suspect anything would look good on you... really.

May 8, 2014, 8:58pm

>154 -Cee-: You know Claudia, it never occurred to me that the kitties would want to go on those stacks. They never have as far as I know, probably because they are clever enough to realize they would probably topple down if they attempted it!

Thanks for the lovely compliment. You're much too kind!


I finished listening to The White Queen today and have started on The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. I wasn't sure at all whether this YA books would work for me, but I got properly hooked in right from the beginning. I predict I'll probably finish it pretty quickly because it's short and I'll likely create lots of listening time for the purpose too.

May 8, 2014, 10:57pm

LOVE the book stacks!!! In fact, forget the tub! Plopping down among those books would be my idea of heaven.
I'm glad that you also liked Coventry, and I mean to read *Miss Buncle* soon. Book and Wed are both cheap for Kindle here, so I have them waiting.
I'm not seeing a reading reference to The Day of the Scorpion yet, but I've started it. I've only just had the characters introduced and am at Susan's wedding to Teddie Bingham. Is there a discussion thread yet? I don't have anything to discuss - I just like to know.
AND you are so pretty! Even if the camera loves you, it doesn't lie.

May 8, 2014, 11:41pm

Ilana, Ilana, Ilana - LOVE THOSE STACKS!!! Love the hairdo and glasses and YOU. Love YOU!

May 9, 2014, 2:19pm

>156 LizzieD: Peggy, I started on The Day of the Scorpion too this week. I was a bit dismayed when it started with politics, because I'm really allergic with most things to do with politics, but now I'm at the part about Susan's family and it's getting more interesting for me. Didn't get to the wedding yet though. I don't know if there is a discussion thread, and honestly I'm not sure who started this whole group read to begin with. Maybe if you post on the previous discussion thread someone can help you better?

You're really very kind. It took some work to get a picture I felt I could show here without making myself look really bad. It's all about hitting the right angle and the right lighting tricks!

>157 PrueGallagher: My dear Prue! You are such a sweetheart! xox


I'm really loving The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Am halfway through already. I really wasn't sure it would work for me because YA fiction, like Fantasy, is always a hit or miss in my case, but this one has a really intriguing premise and is well written too. In fact I'm really keen on getting back to it just now.

I was supposed to go get blood tests at the hospital today in time to see my doctor for my annual checkup next week, but couldn't be bothered somehow. So I'll reschedule the checkup and force myself to go to the hospital sometime soon. If only I could bring Coco with me, I don't think I'd be as reluctant to go. I might just sneak him in in his carrier bag. I've brought him into hospitals like that before with no one the wiser, but of course it's always a gamble. Does make things more interesting though!

I'm off to work on my drawing. It's getting harder to motivate myself to finish it now I've just got retouching to do, after working on it for over 110 hours already, but a good audiobook is always a good reason to set down to work.

May 9, 2014, 2:37pm

Ilana, I love that selfie you took. It almost looks like a painting! As much as I love your picture, the stacks of books were almost as gorgeous. What's not to love about piles (and piles) of books waiting to be read.? No wonder you've reached that 75 goal already! I'll be there sometime this fall. Yes, I'm a slacker in the book department compared to many around here. But at least I'm caught up with your thread now!

Thanks for reminding me about The Day of the Scorpion. I forgot to pull the book from the shelf and now I'm concerned that I won't finish it in May as I have several others that I've promised to read first. I hate to let my books down. :-)

May 9, 2014, 3:21pm

I liked The Adoration of Jenna Fox a lot, too.

May 9, 2014, 7:57pm

>160 jnwelch: Joe, for some reason I had you in mind when I picked up this book. I think I must have looked through my friends' collections to see who had liked it before I got the audiobook and must have see you'd given it a good rating. But then, just checking on that now, I find you don't have a rating for it a all. Maybe I saw you mention it sometime? Or maybe I just guessed this would be a book you'd like?! Do you think you'll continue with the series?

Just finished listening to The Adoration of Jenna Fox a little while ago. I was hoping to write some comments and reviews today, but am totally exhausted for some reason. So I think I'll go sit on the couch and read for a while before turning in early.

May 9, 2014, 7:59pm

Oh oops! Sorry Donna, didn't mean to skip over you. Always nice to see you in these parts. You're right about all those stacks of books acting as a strong motivation to get me reading as much as possible! I love my stacks too, but wish I could get more shelves so I could put them up and start on new piles!

May 9, 2014, 10:52pm

>137 Smiler69: - What a great haircut and selfie! That look totally suits you!

> 145 - BOOKS! I love the book piles... pictures like that make my fingers inch wanting to sort through them to see all of the books.

May 10, 2014, 12:20pm

>161 Smiler69: I'm surprised I didn't review it, Ilana, but I definitely miss on some because of RL. I know I did mention The Adoration of Jenna Fox on my thread, and liking it, so that's probably what you're remembering. My bibliophile sister liked it, too.

Edited: May 10, 2014, 12:36pm


I ended up sitting on the couch and watching Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet which I'd borrowed from the library last night. I had never watched this 1995 movie before, as mostly steered clear away from anything Jane Austen until recently. What a great movie adaptation! I'll likely want to watch it again.

Started on the audio version of The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling). It had been on the TBL for quite a long time, but with May Murder & Mayhem and Bonnie's recent praise, it shot up to the top of the listening pile. I listened for just 20 minutes or so, so too early to form an opinion, but so far so good. I see the next book in this Cormoran Strike series is coming out in June.

>163 lkernagh: Thanks Lori, I've been with this hairdresser for about 10 years now, and I trust her with my eyes closed. I met her when we hired her for a fashion shoot when I was working at the magazine, and she's a no-nonesense Swiss lady and an avid reader, so we usually end up talking about books.

I did think I'd have an appreciative audience here for my book piles, and glad to see I wasn't mistaken! :-) Feel free to peruse my LT library to find out what titles are among all those piles!

>164 jnwelch: Joe, that must have been it; I must have seen you talk about it on your own thread or someone else's at some point. Do you think you'll look out for the next titles in the series?

May 10, 2014, 12:37pm

Somewhere I read or heard the one after was disappointing - maybe my sister?, and I liked the way the one you're reading ended. So I haven't tried going further with it.

Edited: May 10, 2014, 12:44pm

I think it was a pretty good stand-alone. I liked the way it ended, which was rather unexpected. I believe the other books are about different characters altogether and I'm happy not to pursue yet another series!

May 10, 2014, 12:53pm

Ha! Yeah, I know what you mean. There are plenty of good series out there to take up our reading time.

May 10, 2014, 10:01pm

Double Bingo!
With the addition of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson in the "A book set in the future" category (Far left, second row).

A book with a female heroine: Lady Susan by Jane Austen ★★★★½
A book set in a high school:
The last book in a trilogy:
A book with a colour in the title: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ★★★★
The first book in a series: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★
A book set in the future: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ★★★★
A book with a breakup: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy ★★★★⅞
A book without a love triangle: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood ★★★★
A book that became a movie: Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household ★★★★½
A book set in Paris: These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer ★★★★
A book set in the past: Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★
A book with magic:
A book set in the summer:
A book with a dragon:
A book that made you cry: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★½
A graphic novel:
A book based on a myth: The Quick by Lauren Owen ★★★★★
A "classic" YA book:
A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe:
A book with an incredible fight scene: Goliath by Tom Gauld ★★★★
A book you heard about online: Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler ★★★★
A book set in another world: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ★★★★
A book with an epic love story: Longbourn by Jo Baker ★★★★⅓
A book with music: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue ★★★★⅓


I'll definitely order a book or two tomorrow to celebrate the occasion. For now, I'm calling it a day. Completely done in. I did spend 4 hours on finalizing my drawing today. Should be finished sometime next week.

May 10, 2014, 10:33pm

One of the first things I was going to ask for was a shot of your new hair-do so I was pleased to see you have already obliged - very nice too, if I may say so and far less dramatic than my own change.

I hope you are able to spend some good time with your Dad prior to his leaving for Israel. The Railway Man looks like it was a good start. I remember reading it a good while ago and thinking that it would make a good film but I wouldn't have placed Colin Firth in the role.

Also hope you are able to speak to or otherwise communicate with your mum if it is indeed Mother's Day in Canada.

Have a lovely weekend, dear lady.

May 10, 2014, 11:27pm

I also really liked The Adoration of Jenna Fox and after reading a couple of pages of the sequel decided I'd rather not.

Already said on my thread that I love your book stacks. Very user friendly being able to browse your book collection while you sit on the sofa.

May 11, 2014, 11:24am

Happy Mother-of-furkidz Day!

May 11, 2014, 11:37am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! I hope you have a nice day planned. Looking forward to your thoughts on The Adoration of Jenna Fox. I am always up for a good YA. Did you read Child 44? I just started his new one the Farm and it is begins very well.

I think I might acquire a couple Everyman Library editions. They are a bit more cost effective than the Folio editions. I have my eye on the Patricia Highsmith and one of the Camus books.

May 11, 2014, 12:46pm

Hello everyone! Happy Mother's Day to all visiting mothers and children of mothers! :-)

We have a beautiful spring day here, very sunny, warm enough to leave my back door open and air out the house, which also gives the cats and Coco a chance to go in and out and lie out in the sun on the balcony whenever they wish. I called my mum, even though it isn't Mother's Day in France and I think she was happy about that. My dad just called and offered for us to take out our dogs by the Lachine Canal which is just 15 minutes from my place by the Farmer's Market, which should be a nice outing today. We'll be going later this afternoon as I want to write a few book reviews and work on my drawing if possible first. The leaves are slowly unfurling from the trees outside my window and it always cheers me to see that lovely tender green sprouting.

And aren't those ranunculus fields up there glorious?? One of my favourite flowers as it happens.

>170 PaulCranswick: Paul, dramatic is relative I guess. I think my change is pretty dramatic considering we cut off maybe 6-8 inches of hair and I now wear it loose, when it used to be tied back all the time, but of course you've had quite a transformation (which I think suits you very well by the way). You were influential in inspiring me to call my mother today, though of course it had been on my mind. It's Mother's Day here in Canada, but not in France, besides which she never keeps track of those things, so it came as a total surprise to her.

I was sort of glad I hadn't read the book before seeing The Railway Man because I was able to enjoy the movie for it's own sake, and I really do love Colin Firth. Don't know if I'm motivated to read the book now, though I imagine it must be quite good. The movie was very affecting and I did shed tears at the very poignant ending.

>171 avatiakh: Kerry, I really love my bookstacks, as you can imagine, but they are also quite daunting. I always feel like whatever I'm doing, I should be plunging into those stacks, even when I happen to be reading already! My art books especially are suffering from neglect. I need to make a habit of pulling them off the shelf or the coffee table and just browse through them to enjoy the images and not worry about reading them just yet, which is another commitment level altogether.

Jenna Fox was really good, and I think I'll follow your example and not continue with the rest of the series, as it worked very well as a stand-alone.

>172 -Cee-: Aw... thanks so much for thinking of me and my furkids Claudia! Coco and Ezra gave me big Mother's Day Hugs already, Ezra especially (he's a great hugger). Mimi is all for cuddling, but no so much into the hugs, so I'll have to fit in special cuddling time with her to mark the occasion.

>173 msf59: Mark, I'm sure you'd really enjoy Jenna Fox. I'll try to write a few words about it shortly, though I'm not sure there's much I can say since I never like to give away any spoilers and the plot hinges on a really big one. Haven't read Child 44 yet, though it's in the eBook stacks. Got it for maybe $2 recently when it was available at a special price kindle offering.

Everyman's Library books are definitely more cost-friendly than Folio Society books. They are very well made, with stitched bindings and good paper like Folio, but they aren't illustrated or have special printed cloth bindings like Folios, which is a great part of the appeal for me. All the same, I've been slowly (or not so slowly) growing my EL collection since last year. I have several Jane Austen titles now, Edith Wharton's The Reef, Pnin (as you know), and also Paul Scott's Raj Quartet in two volumes. Lots and LOTS more on the wishlist obviously!

Edited: May 20, 2014, 12:56pm

I've been really good about book-buying this month and decided I needed to go for a little splurge today to celebrate my recent bingo achievements, so have ordered three books from Persephone in London as an extra-special treat (all with the grey covers):


The Fortnight in September by R. C. Sherriff
Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

Really excited about receiving my package in the mail!

Total books purchased to date: 128

eta: replaced 1 title and cover (Good Evening)

Edited: May 11, 2014, 3:00pm

Book #83:The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ★★★★
Read for: TIOLI #5: a word in the title that could be something good
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles (1 of 3)
Edition: Macmillan Young Listeners (2008), Unabridged MP3, 7h44
Original publication date: 2008

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Jenna Fox is still trying to figure out who she is. Only she probably has more existential questions to deal with than most teenagers, because Jenna has just woken up from a year spent in a coma following a horrific car accident that nearly killed her, and she can't remember anything at all about her past or who she was. She has to rely on a bunch of videotapes recorded over the years by her parents to see for herself what she was like growing up, and she's not sure she can continue being the perfect and adored child she seemed to have been for the first 16 years of her life. Her grandmother Lilly seems to mistrust, even dislike her, though Jenna has no idea what she's done to deserve this cold reserve. Day by day, she begins to recover memories from her past, including some memories which she shouldn't have, such as when she was baptized when only a few months old. She's curious to know why they are now living in California when her and her parents had spent all their lives previous to a few weeks ago living in Boston, where her father is still working. Little by little, she recovers her memory, but still things don't seem to add up, and she isn't quite sure there is a connection between the Jenna before the accident, and the one who has woken up a year later. There's very little else I can say about this book without revealing a major spoiler.

A very well written story with an intriguing premise and and intelligent development which is suitable for young and old adults alike. It's a short novel to begin with, but I created lots of listening time and finished it in just two days because I was dying to know how things unfolded. Jenna Lamia, who narrates the audio version, is a great narrator and is convincing as a teenager with her girlish voice and the maturity she brings to the reading of a complex character. This is book is part 1 of a trilogy, but it's great as a stand-alone and I think I'd rather just stick to this one rather than continue with the trilogy which delves into other characters. I've had lots of great 4-star reads lately, including this one, which is definitely recommended.

Edited: May 11, 2014, 3:31pm

Book #78:March Violets by Philip Kerr ★★★★
Read for: TIOLI #2: two embedded words in the title, May Murder & Mayhem
Series: Bernie Gunther (1 of 9), Berlin Noir (1 of 3)
Edition: Books on Tape (2008), Unabridged MP3; 9h18
Original publication date: 1989

A gritty, noir thriller, and the first of what promises to be a gripping series. Bernie Gunther has left the police force and struck out on his own as a private investigator. What makes his work interesting is the time and place: Berlin, 1936 when the Nazis are in full power and preparing for the Summer Olympics. His services are more or less forcibly retained by a millionaire industrialist who has just lost his beloved daughter and her husband to a fire in their home. Both bodies are found in their bed, and the safe containing a priceless diamond necklace has been broken into. Was this a straightforward murder and burglary or is there more than first meets the eye? As Gunther investigates local jewelry vendors, he can't help but be horrified at how the Jews are being taken advantage of, with glaring anti-semitism at it's peak. Desperate to sell their valuables to get away from the repressive measures taken against them (most professions are banned to them, and everyone is quick to add "German" as a preface to their profession on their business cards to indicate they are of good Arian stock), they are forced to sell their belongings well below the market price. Trying to find out anything in this repressive system is bound to bring about all sorts of complications, and when Bernie's widowed secretary is too scared to return to work after being bullied by Nazi police officers, he's delighted to find a beautiful and single replacement for her in ex-journalist Ilse, but their romantic involvement is bound to render him that much more vulnerable. “March violets” was a term used for late-comers to the Nazi Party after the passage of Hitler's Enabling Act which rendered him a dictator on March 23, 1933. In May, the Nazi Party froze membership, and those with the lowest membership numbers were given preferential treatment, though everyone was eager to be seen as a Hitler supporter. Not so Bernie, who has Jewish clients and doesn't care for the views of a party he never chose to support, which is dangerous in and of itself because dissidents are daily being sent to concentration camps, where few are expected to survive the harsh conditions. I loved every bit of this private dick story set during a very dramatic period in history. Those who've enjoyed the more recent John Russell series by David Downing are bound to find this precursor highly satisfying. I'm very much looking forward to the next book!

May 11, 2014, 4:46pm

Those are beautiful flowers, Ilana! Where in the world is that?

I haven't heard of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but your review has perked my interest. Will have to check it out some more and more likely than not, it will go on my library list.
Hope your having a pain free weekend. :)

Edited: May 11, 2014, 8:01pm

The walk with my dad turned out to be extremely stressful. I was ready for a nap by the time he got here, and his dog is always hyperactive, and immediately jumps up on me when she sees me, which is a big no-no in my book, so when he saw my reaction (which was to try to calm her down and make her sit and take a petting), he suggested we take a shorter walk, which was a good idea. He's always adamant that his dog is in her "natural wild state" and that's the way he wants her to be, with the result that she's running around wild all over the place and chasing after cyclists and random people and dogs while barking at them hysterically. He claims he's not worried because she listens to him, but I've seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. That type of behaviour just drives me nuts. I like her, she's a really friendly little dog (a miniature pincher), but I'd forgotten how upset I get at my dad for letting his dog behave so badly, thinking it's "natural" and really cute. I'm always worried she'll run into a road and get hit, or someone will beat her up when she chases barking after them. Some kids kept chasing after Lulu today, thinking she was a stray dog and my dad said that happens all the time. Interestingly enough, Coco was off leash too, but nobody ever thinks for a second he's abandoned and he's so laid back and well behaved it's like they're not the same species. Anyway, I did my best to keep my temper and minimize my comments, and mostly succeeded doing so, so I'm happy about that, even if I know my dad was disappointed we didn't have a nicer time.

Getting home a few minutes ago, I really needed to compensate for all the stress somehow, so I went on Audible and spend a credit I'd gotten as a bonus and a $10 voucher on:

The Pale Criminal by Philip Kerr (Book 2 in the Bernie Gunther series)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - narrated by a different person than the version I had, as I really want to get to it this month.

Total books purchased to date: 130

I'm off for a much-needed nap in a minute after I've fed the kids.

>178 jolerie: Valerie, I'm pretty sure that's somewhere out in California. Around San Diego maybe? It seems they have lots of ranunculus fields out there. Imagine being there in person?! Dreamy!

Edited: May 11, 2014, 7:43pm

Book #76:The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin ★★★★
Read for: April TIOLI #18: written by an author born in 1964
Series: Yashim the Eunuch (1 of 4)
Edition: Tantor Media (2007), Unabridged MP3, 11h22
Original publication date: 2006

In this historical novel set in 1836 Istanbul, a eunuch named Yashim is asked to investigate into several cases. There are four officers who have gone missing (one of which turns up dead in an oversized cauldron a short while later); the sultan's most recent concubine is murdered in her bed; and the sultan's mother's jewels have gone missing. In the case of the officers, Yashim finds clues that seem to point toward the Janissaries as being responsible for the abduction and it's aftermath. The Janissaries had had a powerful presence in Turkey until 1826, just a decade previous to the start of our story. An elite force created by Sultan Murad I in 1383, they formed the Ottoman Sultan's household troops and bodyguards, but Sultan Mahmud II found them to be an unruly and disruptive presence, and wanting to create a modern army to keep up with the Europeans, he disbanded and slaughtered the Janissaries. But it seems there were survivors after all, and Yashim needs to figure out what they are up to to stop more bodies from turning up dead. Aiding him in his search for clues are his colourful and somewhat eccentric friends, the Polish ambassador and a transsexual dancer. A complex plot and an entertaining mystery set in an exotic place which is undergoing a great transition from ancient traditional customs to European modernization. I would have liked to find out more about Yashim himself, but perhaps more is revealed about him in the following 3 novels.

May 11, 2014, 8:03pm

>145 Smiler69: wow, those piles of books look so so inviting. Wouldn't it be great to have a month or two house swap between LTers and have access to each other's libraries for the duration? I would have fun in those piles! And they make me feel better about my own book-stacks :)

May 11, 2014, 8:07pm

>177 Smiler69: So pleased you liked the first Bernie Gunther. One of my favourite series.

May 12, 2014, 9:15am

>145 Smiler69: Impressive!

>179 Smiler69: He's always adamant that his dog is in her "natural wild state"
Aaagh! I’ve been bitten by dogs three times while running. Never seriously, just nips, but I’m always on high alert when passing by jumpy dogs.. “she won’t hurt you”.. “he’s just being friendly”...

Skimming... but I wanted to read the review of Zealot that you mentioned in another thread... It’s already on my wishlist, so mostly interested in how it meshed with your personal background.

May 12, 2014, 11:50am

>181 LovingLit: Glad to oblige Megan, i.e. that my obscene stacks make you feel better about your own (I assume more modest) collection. The next best thing to being able to trade homes to enjoy each-other's libraries is to visit our LT ones. I've visited many a member's collection here, which inevitably leads to many additions to the wishlist and sometimes directly to the tbr too.

>182 PaulCranswick: Paul, I liked it so much that I went right ahead and got the second book, The Pale Criminal yesterday. The narrator on the audio version does a great job, so I'm happy to stick to that format, which also means I'm likely to get to it sooner rather than later.

>183 qebo: Hi Katherine! Yeah... the thing about Lulu is she's a really nice girl and never bites, but how is a person who sees her charging or chasing after them barking wildly supposed to know that? He insists that people find her behaviour 'amusing'. I certainly don't, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, but he's always been incredibly stubborn about some of his (and his dog's) most anti-social behaviour. I'm just really happy I managed to keep my temper considering how stressful that outing was, something I haven't always been successful about.

My review for Zealot was posted on my last thread, glad you're interested in reading it!—here's the link:

May 12, 2014, 12:36pm

Great haircut Ilana, love the book stacks as well.

Sorry to hear about the difficulties with your father and his dog, That would annoy me as well, pet owners have a responsibility to their animals and other people.

May 12, 2014, 1:07pm

>185 calm: Thanks for dropping by Calm, it's a real treat hearing from you, but I hope you don't wear yourself out with too much typing today.

The whole issue with Lulu, my father's dog has long been a great point of contention between us. In fact, the very day he arrived on my doorstep from Israel nearly 4 years ago now, they'd had a terrible drama at the airport because he'd unthinkingly let Lulu ride the escalator and she got her foot caught in it, resulting in a terrible injury and a traumatized dog and owner. That sort of thing is so typical for him... just not ever thinking through possible consequences. Just a few weeks before that had happened, an acquaintance of mine, a yoga teacher I'd had, had done the same thing with her dog, who had ended up losing a toe, and I'd had a hard time not judging her for being so stupid as to let a small dog ride on mechanical stairs.

May 12, 2014, 1:13pm

Morning, Ilana! Did you see the limerick contest posted by The Folio Society?

Edited: May 12, 2014, 1:16pm

No! I'll go check out their FB page—is that where I'd find it? I have no talent whatsoever for limericks though, so it's pretty hopeless for me I guess.

eta: Oh! and how I'd love to get Edward Lear's Complete Nonesense! But as I said... no hope, unless someone helps me out! :-)

May 12, 2014, 1:18pm

Yep, that's where I saw it.

May 12, 2014, 1:25pm

> I hate is when dogs run up to me while riding my bike to school. I once had a large dog (Labrador size) coming down the corner, no owner inside, so I stopped and tried to avoid hitting the dog. And calling for any body to get the dog away, so I could continue my ride. The man came around the corner telling me: 'He is just enthusiastic. He doesn't do anything'. And telling the dog: 'The lady is afraid of you, she is so afraid of you, and you are such a good dog, but the lady is afraid of dogs.

I told him I was not afraid of the dog just afraid I might hit the dog while cycling and I did not know where the owner was. He just kept telling the dog I was just a frightened women over and over again. I could hear him telling the dog that for minutes after I got on my bike. I really hated that man!

May 12, 2014, 1:31pm

Oh Connie, that sounds awful. I would have been really upset had I been in your shoes. That's totally the kind of thing my father would do too. He can be incredibly maddening. Some people just have no notion of respect to strangers, or others in general.

Edited: May 12, 2014, 8:48pm

I just started reading Dissolution by C. J. Sansom this evening. I'd been wanting to read it for years, got a copy back in 2011 which seems to be lost (or maybe I gave it away or sold it because it was a mass market paperback edition, which I really dislike reading from). Anyway was in a bit of a mood and it just jumped in my head as something I really want to read right now, so I downloaded the kindle book and three chapters in, I'm completely amazed. Very cool that with the ebook I can google and look things up on wikipedia as I go. And having gotten tutoring on Wolf Hall with Suzanne gave me a lot of useful background for this novel set during the reign of Henry VIII with Thomas Cromwell in power.

May 12, 2014, 9:01pm

>187 scaifea: & >188 Smiler69: Did anyone say Limericks? I must go and have a go seeing as I have produced one or two on occasion.

May 12, 2014, 9:40pm

Hi Ilana- Good review of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. I've added it to the list. I really need to add The Pale Criminal to my audio list. I have it in print.
I have also had Dissolution sitting in the audio wasteland for a couple years now. I know several LT pals are fans of these books.

May 12, 2014, 9:51pm

>193 PaulCranswick: Paul my dear, I was rather hoping I could recruit your talent and use you (yes, use you!) as a ghostlimericker, but of course I fully understand if you'd rather not be used and put your talent toward obtaining that beautiful book yourself! ;-)

>194 msf59: Mark, I'm glad my review encouraged you to add Jenna Fox to the list. I predict you'll really love it when you get to it. I only found out about Dissolution and the Matthew Shardlake series when I joined this group and heard lots of great things about it, and now I've just started, I can already begin to see why!

Going back to it now before calling it a night and further reading in bed!

May 13, 2014, 2:07am

>195 Smiler69: I'll have a look at it for you my dear. Can't promise to produce the goods but if I do it will be for you not myself.

May 13, 2014, 2:16am

Ilana - I realised that the deadline for the competition is imminent so I dashed something off a little hurriedly for you, just to submit. Use it as you will my dear.

I have sent it via PM for you. xxx

May 13, 2014, 12:14pm

>196 PaulCranswick: >197 PaulCranswick: My dear Paul, your limerick is just perfect! I had no doubt you'd come up with something good, considering your innate talent. You're a real pal, many great thanks. xx

For those who are curious, this was Paul's entry:

Collecting good books leads to notoriety
With loved ones expecting fiscal propriety
So I thought it most wise
To attempt for this prize
Through this limerick to the Folio Society.


I'm quite cheered this morning, what between Paul's effort to win the Folio Society's limerick contest for me (we didn't win because we just missed the deadline, but I feel like a winner all the for having such a great buddy!) and just now getting responses from the library following my purchase suggestions. I figured out this weekend how to submit purchase forms for the OverDrive collection and sent no less than 31 requests (all taken from my Audible wishlist), and was amazed to find they responded to them all in the last couple of hours. They're agree to get 16 of those downloadable audio titles, if they're available for public libraries, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed:

Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain's Great Modern Painter by Geordie Greig
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Hild by Nicola Griffith
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (for an audio 'reread')
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

I'd asked for 10 other Georgette Heyer titles, which they've turned down this time, but I'm quite happy they're willing to consider all the above! I'm thinking of all the Audible credits that'll save me! :-)

May 13, 2014, 12:43pm

>198 Smiler69: You are always welcome my dear. A little ironic considering the rushed effort that we missed the submission deadline.

May 13, 2014, 12:48pm

Wow! That's an incredible list (which I have favorited for a look when I'm in a mood to explore). If the ones I haven't read are as good as the ones I have, you've done your library quite a favor.
I always feel like whatever I'm doing, I should be plunging into those stacks, even when I happen to be reading already! Yep. That's it exactly - and often I do plunge for a page or two. Then, most of the time, I replace the book, but sometimes I find such a gem that it pushes everything else I'm reading to one side.
I'm delighted to have another Shardlake fan already. You are encouraging me to go ahead with Bernie Gunther since I do own the first two books - and *Violets* doesn't seem to have made it into my LT catalogue. Off to repair that error.

May 13, 2014, 12:56pm

Oh, dang! I'm so sorry that the limerick didn't make it in on time, as it was sure to have won!

May 13, 2014, 1:20pm

>199 PaulCranswick: I used to check out Folio's FB page quite regularly, but hadn't done so in a while and when Amber told me a bout the contest yesterday, I failed to take note of the deadline. But truly—I'm not just saying this—I really do feel like I came away a winner all the same. xox

>200 LizzieD: Peggy, I was so encouraged by their acceptance of all those titles I felt inspired to go ahead and try to ask for a bunch more from my seemingly endless wishlist, but then I reasoned I may as well not completely overwhelm then and see which titles actually become available before asking for more. But yes, I did think to ask for those they were likeliest to appeal to lots of people or at least benefit their catalogue and not just my personal tastes. I wish they'd given me reasons for the titles they turned down because there doesn't seem to be any specific rule as far as recent titles or not. I remember you being among those who had recommended the Shardlake series some time ago now. I'm really excited about this first book. Somewhat reminiscent of The Name of the Rose, which I adored and mean to reread this month if I can fit it in (last time was maybe 25-30 years ago).

>201 scaifea: Amber, I DID win! Just not the book, that's all. :-)


No problem at all that I didn't win the Folio book as I have several coupons I can use with them to get up to $40 rebate per book (for two books). I used a couple of coupons just now to purchase their recent edition of The Great Gatsby ( which features illustration I love, and cost me just $15.08 including shipping—less than some trade paperback editions! I'm also considering getting the last of the Charles Dickens titles I didn't yet get from them, David Copperfield, as I have all 6 others, and with combined coupons and the fact it's already on sale at 50% off (for members only) it would only cost me $7.88 including shipping (full price $71.95 + $7.50 shipping). But then I'm thinking maybe I should get another more expensive book, such as the full price Lear's Complete Nonesense for example. Decisions, decisions... I'll put it off to another day when I need a treat badly.

Off to take Coco to the groomer's in the next hour. He's at his ultimate cute frumpiness right now and I'm almost sorry to shear it all off, but he's also picking up dirt like a vacuum cleaner. I took a couple of pics of him last night and will show 'before and after' shots later today or tomorrow. I'll be reading Dissolution while I wait for him at a café nearby. It's always such a huge joy seeing him all shorn like a little sweet lamb and sweet-smelling when he's all done!

Edited: May 13, 2014, 8:50pm

Just posted the following on my blog:

My little lamb. aka Coco went to the groomer’s today and got all shorn for spring. I couldn’t resist
doing a before & after shot. I think he looks pretty adorable in both cases. Poor thing is winking
because his eye is bothering him, probably some form of hay fever.

May 13, 2014, 8:56pm

In audiobooks, I just finished The Cuckoo's Calling a short while ago. It was good, but I can't say I was blown away by it. I won't spend another Audible credit to get the follow-up novel, but if I can get it from the library I'll be curious to see where Rowling goes with it next. Will write further comments soon. Now I'll be starting on The Bees by Laline Paull, which was just released last week.

May 13, 2014, 8:56pm

>201 scaifea: & >202 Smiler69: So sweet. At least we can remain in blissful ignorance of what might have been.

May 13, 2014, 8:59pm

At least we can remain in blissful ignorance of what might have been.

Yes, that's often the best possible scenario, isn't it? :-)

May 14, 2014, 7:12am

>203 Smiler69: Ohmygosh, look at those ears! Adorable!

Edited: May 14, 2014, 8:30am

The Jenna Fox novel is very enticing! And I think we have The Janissary Tree around here somewhere (but where??) and now I'm reminded why I bought it and want to read it!

Coco looks adorable!!!!

Back to add - I just sat down yesterday and read through most of my beautiful little Slightly Foxed - loved the essay on Iris Murdoch. Simply loved it. Made me realize I've 'got' her as much as one can and that I have become a big fan. There were several other pieces I enjoyed too, but they have fallen right out of my head at this moment!

May 14, 2014, 10:07am

Coco is adorable, both before and after! :)

May 14, 2014, 10:16am

Coco is so cute!

May 14, 2014, 12:16pm

>207 scaifea: I know eh? Aren't they humongous? Most obvious when he's freshly sheared of course. My mom commented on the blog that he looks like he could fly off if he started flapping them. Lol!

>208 sibylline: Lucy, I would called you an Irish Murdoch fan long before today (which is why I chose to send you that particular issue), but I'm glad to see you confirm it! :-)

Of course I'll be happy to bring Coco along next time you're in town, if you don't mind him joining our meetup. He won't have much to contribute to the conversation, I don't think, but as you know, for cuteness factor he's aces!

>209 jolerie: Coco and I both thank you Valerie!

>210 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigail. I think so too! :-)


Going to my yearly checkup at the doctor's soon. It's been two years since my last one, so I'm due. Not sure I'm liking The Bees so much, finding it a bit too 'cutesy' for my liking so far, but maybe that's the narrator's fault? I'll keep listening for a while, but if it doesn't work for me I won't hesitate to ask for my credit back from Audible. Gotta love them for that. On the other hand, I can't seem to put down Dissolution. I'm already 43% of the way into the ebook (out of 464 pages), just 36 hours after picking it up, which has got to be some kind of record for me (I typically read only 20% by day 2). Unfortunately, it's also influenced me to put The Day of the Scorpion to the side. I just can't get excited about it the way I am about Sansom's book, and at this rate, I might want to read the whole series back-to-back!

Off to draw and listen to The Bees now. Have a great day everyone!

May 14, 2014, 12:19pm

Coco is charming before and after, Ilana. Our daughter recently got her toy poodle Sherlock trimmed, with a similar long-locked before for the cold months and close-cropped after for the warmer weather. He looks so much smaller with the trim!

May 14, 2014, 2:49pm

Hi Ilana- Looking forward to your thoughts on the Bees. I was intrigued by that one too. I finally landed a copy of Frog Music, but have no idea when I'll get to it.
I hope the check-up goes well and the rest of your day follows suit.

May 14, 2014, 5:19pm

Hi Ilana. Coco does indeed look very charming but I also think he looks very appealing in his longer coat as well. With the warmer weather coming though he must be a lot more comfortable. I am currently reading The Day of the Scorpion and finding it quite a slow read.

May 14, 2014, 8:41pm

There is no way Coco doesn't look adorably sweet. The scruffy long look is my favorite. I used to have a little dog that looked very similar. We could never afford grooming, so I did what I could myself, ie she always looked a bit scruffy. She had the biggest little heart... so loving and loyal. I miss her still.

But who can resist the shorter teddy bear look? He looks very dapper in his new do.
Hugs and snuggles for Coco!

May 14, 2014, 9:29pm

Love the Coco look. I'm always surprised at how many of my suggestions for purchase are successful at the library. I haven't asked for any Overdrive books, I have a fair backlog to get through already.

You might like Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy, I managed to get the audio from the library and rather enjoyed the first book.

May 14, 2014, 10:56pm

>137 the new haircut. And, of course, I love all the images of books, books, and more books.

So sorry to be out of touch. I hope to catch up this weekend.

Thinking of you and sending lots of love

May 14, 2014, 11:09pm

Quick drive by with hugs...

May 15, 2014, 9:47pm

I've spent the last two days lost in a book. Just can't put down Dissolution, which I will probably finish tonight. I forgot to take a dose of my meds yesterday, with the result that I had some nasty withdrawal symptoms today with drugged-out dreams which I couldn't seem to wake up from, and when I did felt too confused to get out of bed (though I remember moving to the couch at some point), so I alternated between sleeping and reading until 4:30, then went off to get a pedicure (the first since last summer!), and came back home for my massage appointment, which just finished around 9. A most self-indulgent day. Needless to say I'm feeling very spaced-out right now. Will respond to messages and then shower or bath and go to bed. I was invited to my friend Kim's birthday get-together tomorrow evening which is nice, but not so nice is that she doesn't want me to bring Coco along. I've become so used to being able to bring him everywhere and having him with me that it feels weird to all of the sudden be told to leave him at home. Not very happy about that, I must say, but then I can't impose him where he's not wanted (seems unbelievable to me that should be the case though).

>212 jnwelch: Joe, I know what you mean—Coco is about half the volume he was last week with his haircut.

>213 msf59: Thanks Mark, the checkup went fine. Lowish blood pressure as always, 90/70 this time. Drag about forgetting my meds though. It doesn't happen very often thank goodness, mostly because I really want to avoid the effects I'm suffering from today. Not much to say about The Bees. It really didn't work for me. Seemed sort of silly, maybe it's meant as a children's title? I don't know. I was just annoyed with it because had expectations of good literature but didn't feel like continuing after 2.5 hours. I think it needs to be approached as fantasy maybe, but there's no going back for me. I'm listening to The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey now.

>214 DeltaQueen50: Judy, I've completely put aside The Day of the Scorpion for now. Don't know if I'll pick it up again. I think I might end up doing lots of mood reading again this month. I loved Coco's look before the haircut too, but the advantage of short hair is he doesn't pick up every single mote of dust he walks by.

>215 -Cee-: I'm glad you like Coco both ways too Claudia. I never brush him, partly because I like the scruffy look better than the puff ball look, partly because I can't be bothered and Coco makes such a big deal out of it that I decided long ago it wasn't worth the trouble. Means I'm more or less forced to have him shaved because of the clumps he gets when his fur gets long, but it's all good this way.

>216 avatiakh: Kerry, I got Men at Arms, the first book in the Sword of Honour trilogy from Audible not very long ago. I look forward to it.

>217 Whisper1: Thanks for dropping by Linda. Absolutely no need for apologies. We all have trouble keeping up with each other, and real life has a way of butting in too, doesn't it? Wishing you all the best. xx

>218 PrueGallagher: Hugs to you too Prue. xox

May 15, 2014, 10:05pm

Wow I had a lot of catching up to do here Ilana but I am now officially caught up and I did it over a period of days. I wish you had liked The Cuckoo's Calling as much as I did but as I said, I don't read much in the crime genre so maybe I wasn't the best source of opinion on it. I did like it an awful lot and have pre-ordered The Silkworm. And I'm sorry Esme Lennox didn't work out for you either but maybe when you locate the book you will find the real thing to your liking. I hope so anyway. Maybe I'm not a good source of recommendations for you.

Love, love the new haircut and the glasses look great on you. Love Coco's new haircut too. Don't you love it when they come home from the groomer all soft and shiny and sweet-smelling?

But the highlight of this thread were the shots of your book piles. Very, very lovely even although I'm struggling to read all the titles, or as many as possible.

May 16, 2014, 9:57am

Good morning, Ilana! I love the photos of your stacks of books! I recognized one or two....

I really enjoyed Dissolution when I read it a couple of years ago. I have the next one in the series somewhere around here and keep wanting to read it and keep not getting to it.

Sorry I've been so awol. I hope you and the darling Coco (and the furcatz) are doing well!

May 16, 2014, 12:06pm

>220 brenzi: Hi Bonnie, I've been delighting in Coco's sweet groomer's smell and burying my nose into his soft little body every chance I get. Glad you enjoyed the book piles. I wish I had more light to work with in the living room so that the titles would have come out more clearly, but my living room is always a bit dark. Good for the books, mind you, especially those precious Folios.

Please don't worry about my not having loved The Cuckoo's Calling as much as you did, it doesn't mean anything. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, and honestly, if the library offers the follow-up book on audio too, I'll probably get hold of it to see where Rowling goes with her characters next. I did spend a credit to get a different recording of Esme Lennox with a narrator I think will do the book justice and plan on fitting that in this month. I always love your reviews, and more often than not agree with you on lots of books, but I've found there is no telling what will make me enjoy a book or not. So much comes into play, and we're all bound to react differently.

>221 EBT1002: Ellen, it was all I could do last night when I finished Dissolution to keep myself from getting the next kindle book and jumping into it immediately. I might just do so today, we'll see. No apologies needed, I know you're a very busy lady and am happy when you do manage to find time do drop by and leave a note.


As I just mentioned to Ellen above, I finished Dissolution last night and came very near to purchasing the next book in the series Dark Fire as a kindle and jumping into it right away. But I resisted as it was really very tired and ready for sleep by then. Woke up with a nasty migraine, I think partly as an after-effect of forgetting my dose the other day and also because we're expecting rain today. I don't think I'll be able to make it to my friend's party in this state. I just hope she doesn't think I'm feeding her an excuse because I don't want to leave Coco alone this evening. Socializing when the migraine is bad is the last thing I want to do though.

May 16, 2014, 4:49pm

Sorry to hear about the migraine, Ilana! Hope you feel better soon and that your friend will understand. :)

Edited: May 16, 2014, 5:47pm

I just finished listening to The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley, which I found very good. I finished it while walking around the block with Coco in the rain, which seemed like the perfect setting for the bittersweet and not altogether unexpected ending. I finally did purchase the next Matthew Shardlake book today, and having just now called my friend to excuse myself from the get-together—with migraine having gotten worse over the afternoon—I think I'll go lie on the couch and start reading Dark Fire, if my eyes will permit me.

eta: I started writing a review for Dissolution earlier today, but couldn't concentrate through the migraine enough to finish it. So... coming soon.

>223 jolerie: Thanks Valerie. Kim gets migraines quite often too, so she does understand, but she was really disappointed when I called her just now. I'm sorry to let her down, but there's no way I can spend 30-40 minutes in a loud rumbling stinking bus to get there and then hold conversations with several women at once with music playing. My personal idea of hell right now, when it should be quite the contrary, so staying home on the couch and reading it is on this Friday night!

Edited: May 16, 2014, 6:54pm

Take 2

As I was just telling Bonnie on her thread, I just started on another version of the audiobook of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox narrated by Danielle Nardini, who is a Scottish actress of Italian descent with a great Scottish accent, and she certainly is doing it justice. The prose is rather poetic and the other narrator from the audiobook I'd started on earlier this month was reading it without much inflexion and totally killing it. I think I'm really going to like it based on the short bit I've started on; the same material I'd listened to once and just didn't 'lift' now sounds completely different and really appealing!

Ok, that was while I was preparing and eating dinner (yummy market-bought lasagna and swiss chard, my favourite greens with a side of spicy olives). NOW I'm setting myself down on the couch with Matthew Shardlake, book 2.

May 16, 2014, 7:14pm

Oh please, Ilana and Judy, do keep on with The Day of the Scorpion. When you get beyond MAK and his politics and into the Layton family, the whole thing picks up. I have to say (without spoiling if I can) that when Lady Manners sees Hari Kumar, I cry. If you liked *Jewel* at all, you will find this one at least that good, and I think it's better.
Ilana, I'm tickled that you are so in love with Dissolution. I think it's the weakest one of its series, so you are in for a real treat. And #3 is better than #2!!!
Glad you're feeling better!

Edited: May 16, 2014, 7:15pm

Dear Ilana - C.J. Sansom is a writer who draws you in and the Shardlake series is an atmospheric one for sure. Also look out if you can for the alternative history one-off Dominion. I read it last year on the recommendation of Rhian's husband and absolutely loved it.

Have a wonderful weekend my dear and I hope your dreams are pleasant ones with no withdrawal effect adding to the cinematic experience. xx

May 16, 2014, 8:27pm

Hi Ilana- I remember Joe also singing the praises of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. I have it saved on audio. Maybe, it's time to add it to my iPod queue.
You may have inspired me to finally get to the Shardlake series, which I've been putting off forever. I have the first 2, saved on audio.

May 16, 2014, 10:43pm

>226 LizzieD: Peggy, just to please you I'll pick up The Day of the Scorpion for my bedtime reading shortly, though I'm finding it really hard to put down Dark Fire and tempted to just keep reading it through the night. But I'll be reasonable as don't want to have to pay for such reckless behaviour. I keep looking things up on wikipedia and googling, which I do a lot more on ebooks, which is slowing me down, but I'm already 23% of the way into the second Shardlake book and it is. so. good!

>227 PaulCranswick: Paul, I'll definitely add Dominion to the wishlist based on your recommendation. I take quite a few meds for my daytime dose and the combined withdrawal effects from just missing one day are extremely nasty and surprisingly long-lasting. I'll do my very best not to repeat the experience anytime soon! Wishing you a great weekend too, now that you're well into it already!

>228 msf59: Mark, I'm surprised you have the Shardlake series on audiobook, because I didn't think it was available otherwise than in the abridged version. Make sure you check that before you get started. I wasn't in love with Ptolemy Grey the way Joe was, but then I don't have the personal associations with dementia he does, so I can see how it would have impacted him so much more. But it's a great book and I'm sure you'll love it too.

May 16, 2014, 10:48pm

I received my 3 beautiful Persephone books in the mail today. I'm always amazed at how quickly airmail gets here from the UK. I'll take a pic of that particular book pile which I had left out of the batch I showed earlier this month (can't just show everything at once!).

May 17, 2014, 7:32am

My audio version of Dissolution is 9 1/2 hours. That doesn't sound abridged but I'll have to double check. It doesn't come up on Audible, either.

May 17, 2014, 10:11am

I did like The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey a lot, for sure. I also come from the background of being a big Walter Mosley fan. His Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned is one of my favorites.

On the other side of the balance, I was underwhelmed by Dissolution, which I know so many people, including one of my sisters, have liked. I wanted to like it, and I did finish it, but it never got my reader adrenaline going.

May 17, 2014, 1:11pm

>231 msf59: Mark, Suzanne was just telling me yesterday that the audiobooks of the Shardlake series are great, and I know for a fact she wouldn't be talking of the abridged version, and doing further search online I see they are indeed available in full in the USA after all, you lucky dog! I hope you enjoy them when you get to them. I'll be content reading the books in print of eBook, as I find they're well worth the extra time.

>232 jnwelch: Joe, I've read a couple of other books by Walter Mosley and enjoyed them, but I also saw you comment on... I think it was Claudia's thread on the topic of dementia? Which was what I was referring to, though I didn't want to make an indiscreet comment on my own thread.

I'm really partial to historical fiction and have taken a great interest in the Tudors over the last few years, which probably explains my passion for the first Matthew Shardlake book, Dissolution and now with Dark Fire too. Very beguiling to know they just keep getting better!

Edited: May 17, 2014, 2:17pm

Book #85:Dissolution by C. J. Samson ★★★★½
Read for: TIOLI #12: use a past challenge from the month of May (2010: a book with a one word title)
Picked for Me! extra pick by Suzanne/Chatterbox
Series: Matthew Shardlake (1 of 5)
Edition: Vintage Canada (2012), Kindle eBook, 464 pages
Original publication date: 2003

When Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer at the employ of Thomas Cromwell is ordered to investigate a murder in a Benedictine monastery, he finds he is quickly enmeshed in a mystery that just keeps getting more complex, more tangled up and more dangerous day by day. Cromwell, known as a harsh master and a tough man to please, expects to get a quick resolution to avoid having to relate the incident to King Henry VIII, as the details of the crime are sure to displease the monarch. The year is 1537 and England is in the midst of Reformation; the Catholic religion, which had been practiced in England for countless generations is now out of favour, ever since King Henry decided to divorce himself from the Roman Pope and declared himself the head of the Church of England, to enable him to rid himself of his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn in accordance with his pious beliefs. At this time, Anne has been gotten rid of well over a year ago—a beheading which Matthew was ordered to attend much against his will—and Henry's third wife Jane Grey has just died in childbirth. King Henry's men, all ardent Reformers, with Thomas Cromwell at the helm as vicar general, and the newly formed Court of Augmentations (created expressly for the purpose), are busily closing down all the smaller monasteries to replenish the royal coffers and take over land which is to be given over to prominent landowners as royal favours. But Henry VIII and Cromwell's sights are now set on the large monasteries, from which there are countless riches to be gained, and the monastery of Scarnsea on the Southern coast of England is their next target. The political situation is fragile however, and the king's men are in no position to force the monks to abandon their holding as they've done with the smaller monasteries since a revolt in the North has forced them to reconsider their strong-arm tactics, and they must employ finer stratagems now to encourage the abbots to give up the monasteries willingly.

The royal commissioner recently sent to investigate Scarnsea has just met with a most violent murder on the premises, and Master Shardlake is expected to find the culprit and conclude the business his predecessor was sent there to take care of. Of course, he fully expects to be met as an unwelcome guest at the monastery; as the vicar general's man, he has unrestricted access and can question anyone he likes to enable him to find means to put all the monks and their servants, who have been living in the monastery in luxury and comfort for hundreds of years, out on the street. So he is all too aware that he and his assistant, the young Mark Poer, are putting their lives at risk in a place where a murderer has already dared to strike off the head of his predecessor, all the more so when other suspicious deaths take place and a long-dead corpse is discovered. Shardlake, as an ardent reformer, has his share of preconceived notions to contend with before he can see past his prejudices against the Catholic papist traditions of the monks and recognize when he is being told the truth and given clues he should attend to.

I'd seen many glowing reviews for this book and the Matthew Shardlake series in general, but am glad I followed my instincts and decided to put it off until I'd learned about the major players in King Henry's time and understood more about the political and religious situation of that particular period covered in the book. Reading Hillary Mantel's Wolf Hall with the assistance of a tutor (Suzanne/Chatterbox) who is extremely knowledgeable about that period, followed-up with Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, which treats specifically of Henry Tudor's displeasure with Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell's efforts to eliminate her so the monarch could move on to Wife Number Three, proved to be just the kind of high quality literary background that helped me appreciate this historical crime novel all the more. I also found reading this as an eBook very practical, as it made googling particulars and looking up biographical details on wikipedia available at the touch of a button, but that being said, I don't think deep historical knowledge is necessary to enjoy this series, with its countless atmospheric details which plunge you right into the 1530s and a fast-paced, complex yet riveting plot that certainly kept this reader completely engrossed. I've been told by fans of the series that the Matthew Shardlake books just keep getting better and have now moved on to book 2, Dark Fire, which is proving equally captivating. In fact, I think I'll go and read a few more chapters now, and am already hoping Sansom puts out more sequels to keep me going for a good long while!

May 17, 2014, 7:50pm


Sale on this weekend on Alexandre Dumas titles in the Three Musketeers series. I just purchased

The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years After (D'Artagnan Romances, 3)
Louise de La Vallière (D'Artagnan Romances, 4)

They weren't offering Twenty Years After, which is book two and I want to get another version of The Man in the Iron Mask than the one they're offering. I've never purchased English audiobooks of French literature before, but since this is essentially adventure and swashbuckling as opposed to great literature, and the books are very long, I'm more likely to get to them in audio format anyway.

May 17, 2014, 8:03pm

My father just called to let me know he's changed his ticket to Israel to the end of May instead of June 10th. I'll be glad when he settles somewhere, wherever in the world that happens to be. I fear the situation has been causing me more stress than I realized. That's what my masseuse told me the other day anyway.

May 18, 2014, 12:10pm

Quite a few book purchases between yesterday and this morning, mainly because of Amazon and Audible deals. Here are my most recent acquisitions:

A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell - Guardian 1000 selection, on my wishlist for a long time and friendly price
Summer Knight: Book four of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Death Masks: Book five of The Dresden Files
Blood Rites: Book six of The Dresden Files
Dead Beat: Book 7 of The Dresden Files - had the first 3 from Audible and these were all $1.99 on the Daily Deal yesterday.

Audiobooks (3 for 2 credits sale):
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne - classic comedy on both Guardian 1000 and 1001 Books (all three editions) lists.
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin - unexpectedly really enjoyed The Wizard of Earthsea, so want to continue with the series.
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin - book 3 in the Earthsea Cycle
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - so far had one hit and one miss with this author, trying again with nothing to lose*.
Dog on It by Spencer Quinn - not sure this'll work for me, but Charlotte really loved it recently, and again, nothing to lose*.

*Nothing to lose because of Audible's no questions asked return policy within a year of purchase, which as no doubt intended, encourages me to try things I might not otherwise.

Total Books Purchased to date: 146

May 19, 2014, 5:55am

>203 Smiler69: Coco is so cute!!!

Just breezing by and waving!

Edited: May 19, 2014, 3:21pm

Just finished listening to The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox a little while ago, and how have jumped into Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer, which I know lots of people in this group have enjoyed recently. I wasn't sure Katherine Kellgren's narration would work for me, but I think she's well suited to this material, and the first chapter is promising enough. I decided to listen to it now because the next two books are on offer on the current 3 for 2 Audible sale and I might get them if I decide I like the first book enough to continue with the series. Another YA series on offer (first 3 books), starting with The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan has got me intrigued. Is anyone familiar with those books?

I'll more than likely finish Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom today. After that, I'm already tempted to jump into book 3, Sovereign, but maybe I'll try to hold off a little so I can get back to some of my planned reading...

>238 connie53: Hi Connie! Must say I agree with you about Coco! :-)

May 19, 2014, 8:58pm

Feeling vaguely out of sorts today, though not sure why. My father called me at midday to tell me about the yard sale he's having to get rid of some of his stuff and make extra cash before he leaves. He's come and gone so many times over the decades and for some reason it continues to trouble me. I don't know why it should, but it does. We may have our share of difficulties, but it was somehow reassuring to know he was nearby.

Anyway, retail therapy seemed like a good idea, so I continued to take advantage of the current Audible sale. Got the next 2 books in the Bloody Jack series and the three first books in that Ranger's Apprentice series I mentioned earlier, though called their customer service first to ensure they wouldn't have a problem if I returned all three books in case I didn't enjoy the first one. They're more than happy to do that, so here are the titles I got:

Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer
Under the Jolly Roger by L. A. Meyer
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan
You're Next by: Gregg Hurwitz

Total Books Purchased to date: 152

Off to finish Dark Fire, and then no doubt will move on to Matthew Shardlake #3, Sovereign!

May 19, 2014, 9:09pm

Any friend who doesn't like dogs is no friend of mine (just sayin") Lots of great reading and buying there Ilana - boo hiss to the migraine. {{{}}}

May 19, 2014, 10:44pm

Ilana I left this for you on my thread but decided I should also bring this to you. My margarita from Saturday night. It was splendid. I had two! ;-)

May 20, 2014, 2:31am

>190 connie53: 'He is just enthusiastic. He doesn't do anything'.
Every dog owner says that about its dog- until it bites someone. I was bitten by a friendly fat Labrador. ANd my sisters lab was 'very enthusiastic'- he used to rush at people, I could see their fear and it wasn't good.
We have 2 dogs on properties a few doors up or down from us....they rush the gate (which is always thankfully shut) and bark menacingly, frightening the kids terribly. It is awful, we cross the street to avoid them. I dont see a place in the city for big dogs....being home a lot during the day I hear them barking (a lot) and feel sorry for them being cooped up lonely all day.
>241 PrueGallagher: Dogs with space and company? Sure- I am all for that!

I think I could handle that margarita, but could I handle the price is the question!

May 20, 2014, 10:11am

Whew! All caught up here. Have a great Tuesday.

Edited: May 20, 2014, 12:02pm

Hi Ilana. Catching up, catching up.... Lovely photos of you and your book piles

>143 Smiler69: " it's official, I really do love Gothic fiction!" Hurrah! I found the first chapter a bit slow but now things have started happening I'm really quite into it too.

>165 Smiler69: I really like the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet adaptation of S&S too. Emma Thompson was really too old to play a 19 year old but she's such a good actress that I don't mind. And Kate Winslet did Marianne so well.

>175 Smiler69: Excellent Persephone choices :-) I rated The Fortnight in September and Good Evening, Mrs Craven very highly. I haven't read They Knew Mr Knight but I enjoyed Dorothy Wipple's Someone at a Distance very much and I recently bought High Wages to read. Btw, the cover you're posted for Good Evening, Mrs Craven is actually Someone at a Distance (my eyesite's not good enough to read the title but I recognise the end paper of that book).

>177 Smiler69: My husband really enjoys the Bernie Gunther books. I've been meaning to read them but have been putting them off because, ack, another series but your review is tempting me...

>179 Smiler69: Your Dad's attitude to his dog would drive me nuts too. I love dogs but I'm not a fan of poorly behaved dogs and it's almost always the owner's fault which isn't fair on the dog or on the people the dog interacts with. Training a dog is hard work but if you're not willing to put the work in then don't get a dog. Grrr. Well done on keeping your temper!

>203 Smiler69: I was going to say that with the photos of you and the books already on your thread, all we were missing were some cute shots of Coco :-)

>234 Smiler69: Glad to see you enjoyed Dissolution. I think I saw a 6th book in the series listed on amazon for release in the autumn which I am excited about. I found having read Wolf Hall also helped me with this series although the portrayals of Cromwell are so different. Unlike Paul and Rhian I found his stand-alone Dominion to be quite a slog and I've put off reading his other stand-alone, Winter in Madrid as a result.

I can completely understand that the idea of your Dad moving to Israel is discombobulating even though things aren't always tickety-boo between the two of you.

And still waiting for a photo of your Persephone arrivals :-)

May 20, 2014, 1:04pm

I enjoyed the Ranger's Apprentice series over a period of many years, Ilana, reading each new one as it came out. I'll be interested to hear your reaction. I know no one else who has read it.

Edited: May 21, 2014, 12:26pm

We've had a really lovely long weekend weather-wise, and I spent much of my time reading, in bed, on my couch, on my back balcony and in the small park right across my little tree-lined street. What more can a booklover ask for? There's another really nice park with a large old fountain I like going to when it's nice out, just 10 minutes away, so I might make my way there with Coco today, or sometime very soon anyway. I've shown pics of it before but I'll take new ones when I go next.

Finished Dark Fire last night and had to restrain myself from getting Sovereign right away as it was quite late, but I don't think I'll be able to hold out much longer!

Heather reminds me just above that she'd like to see my (still small) Persephone collection, and I did omit one of my prettier "bookshelves" among the shots of books I've shown, this being the top of a cupboard I recently converted to this use. This shelf stores my Slightly Foxed collection of quarterlies and biography editions, my Virago Designer editions, and aforementioned Persephone books. Just took these shots a couple of minutes ago:

Slightly Foxed quarterlies on the left, Slightly Foxed limited edition hardcovers, and SF softcovers:

Virago 30th Designer Editions on the left and Persephone Books right:

eta: added photo captions

Edited: May 20, 2014, 2:27pm

>241 PrueGallagher: Prue, the thing is my friend DOES like dogs, and has always had dogs, and is the one who in fact drove me out of the city to the shelter where I got Coco, but she likes only big dogs, and really likes teasing me every chance she gets by saying Coco is a toy and not a "real" dog, which really gets on my nerves. She has a giant Poodle who's always been over-excitable and which I don't much like actually, because he's quite naughty and doesn't leave Coco alone and keeps trying to provoke him, so my friend Kim isn't very happy having my little one over and having to put Theo in his crate. So I guess she's got her good enough reasons, but I really hate it when I can't bring Coco somewhere with me, and in fact bring him almost everywhere, and I literally begged her to let me bring him (in tears actually, because I was feeling very emotional that day). And then there's a bit of a backstory as well because she and I hadn't seen each other for many months while she was going through difficulties and avoiding all her friends, and I guess I've felt hurt by that and really wanted to have Coco by my side as I was feeling insecure about this get-together with other friends of her in attendace. Anyway, she was adamant she didn't want him there, and wouldn't you know it I got a terrible migraine that day and so couldn't/wouldn't go. I'm not sure I'm fully conscious of the repercussions, because this has been a very good, and in fact my best friend for a long time (close to 20 years now), but we also have a complicated history and I think I decided to pick Coco over her, and damned the consequences! The migraine mercifully abated dramatically by the next morning.

>242 luvamystery65: Thank you so much for that lovely drink Roberta! It does indeed look delicious, and I don't know if I would've been able to stick to just two of them! :-)

>243 LovingLit: Every dog owner says that about its dog- until it bites someone

I totally agree with you Megan, in Coco's case though I can affirm that because he's had most of his teeth taken out, certainly all his front teeth (he's only got 6 teeth left in his mouth now, poor thing) so that even if he did try to bite someone, which is completely unlikely, it wouldn't at all have the effect of a bite, or even a nip.

>244 Thebookdiva: Abigail, thank you so much for taking the time to catch up here. I really appreciate it! I've fallen behind on your thread, so will make my way there to see all I've missed soon!

eta: typos

Edited: May 20, 2014, 2:25pm

>245 souloftherose: So nice to see you over here Heather! I think we were more or less cross-posting earlier.

I'm about halfway through The Italian now. Trying to read one or two chapters every day, though must admit the Shardlake books took over most of my print book reading time this past week. Speaking of that series, I see you're absolutely right about a 6th book being due soon, how totally great! It's called Lamentation, and according to, is due out 23 Oct 2014, though I fear it might be quite a while still before it's release in NA. Then again, sometimes British titles gets released in Canada much sooner than they do in the States. I guess now I'll know to stagger my reading of the next 3 books as much as I can not to have to wait too long for the 6th.

When we were having the S&S tutorial, Moprhy pointed out that the wikipedia article on the movie explained that Emma Thompson had adapted Elinor's character to be 27 years old and an old maid, mostly because the producer of the movie insisted she take on the role, even if she herself felt she was much too old for it at 35. She's almost believable as a 27 year-old, and I was glad I was aware about that aspect of the production as otherwise it would have bothered me to think she was supposed to be 19 all along, which is not at all creditable.

I think my father is a completely irresponsible dog owner and I feel very sorry for poor Lulu. I know her breed tends to be very excited and nervous by temperament, but I also firmly believe that dogs, much like children, benefit greatly from having discipline and boundaries, for their own sake as well as for everyone else's. Dogs especially need to have a leader and I feel strongly that Lulu is needlessly made to feel insecure by his recklessness. But then, I am also aware that I may very likely be projecting my own issues about what it felt like having him as a father when I was growing up (being equally reckless about me). It especially drives me up the wall that he lets her chase after people barking like a maniac. It. Is. Simply. NOT. DONE! Worst of all, she's especially hysterical about homeless people and people of colour, which is mind-boggling, but he makes no effort to stop her when she gets in a tiff, whereas when I order her to stop, she usually does so right away, which shows she's willing enough to listen. But there you have it in a nutshell: why my dad drives me to homicidal rage sometimes.

On the other hand, yes, it was nice to know that when we were both in the right mood for it, we needed only to call each other and were able to go to a movie together within the next 30 minutes. We had a nice conversation last night and I told him his leaving is quite upsetting to me, and he said it was the same for him and if he could afford it, would spend winters in Israel and summers here, which would be ideal and which I know lots of older people do, but having very little means, it's just not possible. So that's that. I'll try to see him at least a couple more times within the next 10 days, and then we'll be in touch by phone and skype and perhaps I'll make my way out there again, but we'll just have to see.

I completely bungled up my list of Persephone purchases! I'd put through an order at Amazon initially which I cancelled, and based myself on that order to list my acquisitions, forgetting that in the meantime I'd made some changes when I reordered the books directly from Persephone. I strongly based myself on your ratings and reviews for my choices too. So here are the actual books:


The Fortnight in September by R. C. Sherriff
Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

>246 jnwelch: Joe, I did see that you had 9 of the Ranger's Apprentice books, though didn't see any rating so am glad to know you really enjoyed them. I'll try out the first one soon and hopefully will like it too. Otherwise, no great loss, I can return all three and get my credits back. It's really nice having that option to try things risk-free like that. I already like the narrator, which is always a great start.

eta: typos

May 20, 2014, 3:14pm

Curretnly Reading


The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
Slightly Foxed: No. 20: Shrieks and Floods by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (GR)
Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer
Sovereign by C. J. Sansom - couldn't resist!

Book Purchases:
Sovereign by C. J. Sansom
Animal Farm by George Orwell - Folio Society edition bought on sale and with a coupon.

Total Books Purchased to date: 154

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
ⓔ = eBook


Off to go read in the park with Coco now. It's too beautiful out to stay in! Bringing The Day of the Scorpion and my iPad for my two current ebooks, The Italian and Sovereign. I'm seriously considering getting the Kindle Paper white to make reading outside easier. Hadn't at all accounted for how disruptive the glare is on the iPad until I tried reading outside on sunny days. That being said, the iPad is so much better for internet searches to look up stuff as one is reading...

May 20, 2014, 3:25pm

>251 jnwelch: When I started LT, I didn't rate many books, Ilana. I probably should go back and rectify that some day.

May 20, 2014, 5:12pm

Hi Ilana- I am glad you are enjoying some gorgeous weather. It is also very nice here, quite warm. It sounds like you have really taken off with the Shardlake series. I will have to get to this one, sooner than later. Since, I am on vacation, my audio listening has ground to a stop, so I will be back-logged when I get back to work. LOL.

I really like the Persephone books in #247!

May 20, 2014, 6:52pm

I am so happy to see you had a lovely long weekend, Ilana! I love the bookshelves shots and I instantly fell in love with the spines of the books in picture #1 - the books that are stacked as a tower. I cannot distinguish Persephone books from Slightly Foxes or Viragos so all I can say is I love 'those books'!

Oh dear... now I sound like a book illiterate, but I do love the spines of the books in the book pile. ;-)

May 20, 2014, 9:19pm

Trying to catch up and loving the book pictures. Good for you! Sorry about your friend and about your father's leaving.
Did I say that Sovereign is my favorite of the Shardlakes so far? It is! Enjoy!!!!

Edited: May 21, 2014, 12:54pm

>251 jnwelch: I probably should go back and rectify that some day.

Sounds like that might be a big job Joe, depending on how many books are involved.

>252 msf59: Hi Mark, we really have been getting beautiful weather, and I love how green everything is. I've sort of taken a break from my artwork in the past week or so (I think it coincides with when I picked up my first Matthew Shadlake book!) and wouldn't you know it, my audiobook listening is also suffering as a consequence (I already listen to books when I'm working), which shows in my numbers of completed books this month, which tends to be higher usually because of how fast I usually get through those audiobooks!

>253 lkernagh: Hi Lori, I've added captions to the book shots in >247 Smiler69: to identify the publishers. The books stacked in a tower are the Virago Designer editions, which are hardcover Viragos (as opposed to the green softcover they were best known for). They all have textile design covers which are really pretty. The book at the very top is actually a hardcover Penguin Classic, The Great Gatsby, which I'm collecting in several editions, but I thought it looked good with the others as is just the right size. For anyone interested in a Scott F. Fitzgerald collection, the whole series Penguin has put out is really gorgeous, with metallic Art Deco cover designs.

You are far from a book illiterate (and you know it!) :-)

>254 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, I think worries about my friend Kim and my father were probably preoccupying me more than I acknowledged to myself in the past year, and I wouldn't be surprised if the stress these situations provoked has something to do with the migraines. I started to write more about it, but I don't want to bore anyone with the details. I'm not sure the friendship will survive though after what has been a very trying year and I could have wished she had been more considerate of my needs (by just allowing me to bring Coco!) after such a long separation when she didn't want to have anything to do with her friends. The situation was complicated because there were some very serious health problems at play on her side, but it's brought things that have always bothered me to the surface. It's not like I can afford to lose a friend, since my RL circle is almost non-existent. You are very lucky to have had a group of great girlfriends for all these years. I guess I'm not very good at maintaining relationships.

Shardlake is proving to be an amazing distraction among all these troubling issues and yes, I do remember well you saying Sovereign was your favourite! :-)

eta: Peggy, re The Day of the Scorpion, I'm currently at the part part about the Harri Kumer hearing, just finished part 1 and about to start part 2. Very exciting stuff, even though I'm familiar with the particulars, but finally getting his side of the story!

May 21, 2014, 12:52pm

Blue today. as I was telling Peggy just above, issues with my friend Kim and sadness about my father leaving in just 10 days can't help but affect me. It's beautiful outside, so I think I'll take a couple of books and go spend some time in a park with Coco.

May 21, 2014, 4:09pm

>247 Smiler69: I spent much of my time reading, in bed, on my couch, on my back balcony and in the small park right across my little tree-lined street. What more can a booklover ask for?


The SF books, Virago designer hardcovers and Persephones do look lovely. I thought the Persephones you chose were all fabulous so enjoy!

Sorry to hear things between you and Kim are difficult at the moment. A hug for the blues.

May 22, 2014, 3:08pm

Slept half the day today. I'm not sure what's wrong with me... just felt too out of it to get out of bed... then did and wanted to read some on the couch but couldn't keep my eyes open. Now I'm up but feeling mighty strange, as if I'm having some kind of drug issue, though I didn't miss any doses recently. Perhaps not helping is they've started working on the basement again this week and trucks and drills lots of loud noises start up at 7 a.m. while I'm usually still fast asleep, but of course this disrupts my sleep greatly and the noise goes on for most of the day.

On a happier note, I'm going to see the National Theatre Live presentation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this evening with a friend. I expect it should be quite good. In reading, I finished listening to Bloody Jack last night, and will be starting a new audiobook later today.

I received my copy of The Great Gatsby in the mail from the Folio Society yesterday, and decided I don't like it, so I'll be returning it and have ordered Seven Gothic Tales instead, which they have edited with great gothic illustrations by Kate Baylay. It's a bit of a bother for them since I used two different coupons for the transaction for huge rebates, but I'm sure they'll work it out one way or the other. Here's the link to the books for those curious to see samples of the illustration and the binding:

>257 souloftherose: Yes, it was a very nice weekend and I got lots of reading done obviously! I'll be looking forward to weekends now while this renovation work is going on because seems that'll be the only quiet time to be had for a while until they finish with it. I think my sleep and mood troubles are probably connected, so will hope all that gets sorted out soon and doesn't turn into my usual bout of Spring seasonal depression...

Off to read Sovereign now.

May 22, 2014, 8:18pm

Enjoy Shardlake and take care of yourself, please!

May 22, 2014, 8:20pm

Have fun at the NPO viewing tonight!

Edited: May 22, 2014, 10:47pm

>259 LizzieD: Shardlake is a great person to hang out with Peggy—never a boring moment!

>260 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. The play was very good and very intense! I got tickets for Medea, which will be shown on Sept 4. I think we were among the very first to get tickets for that because we practically had the whole theatre to pick from to choose our seats!


I started listening to The Pale Criminal by Phillip Kerr this evening. Not sure why I'm systematically choosing to read and listen to things that weren't on my original monthly planning. I guess that's my way of being a rebel these days! Pretty tame stuff eh?

May 22, 2014, 10:58pm

Glad to see you had a nice evening Ilana, despite the day starting off on an off note. :)

Hopefully the things that are causing you stress will work themselves out soon rather than later. And in the meantime, at least the reading can be a source of distraction. ;)

May 23, 2014, 12:51am

Serious case of book envy for your 'pretties' Ilana! How gorgeous. Who needs friends when one can stroke and admire such beautiful volumes? And anyway, we ALL love you on LT which IS RL in my view. A sophisticated peck on each cheek to you!

Edited: May 23, 2014, 11:51am

>262 jolerie: Val, I'm glad I went to see the play, even though I really wasn't in the mood for it. I was just in really bad physical shape, barely able to stay awake. Then as I was just about ready to leave to meet my friend for the paly, I couldn't find my ticket anywhere, and had to sort through piles of papers and receipt I've accumulated over the last several months (I don't attend to these matters very often) and lost a whole lot of time that way, but then happily when I got to the movie theatre and asked whether there was any chance they'd have a trace of the transaction since I paid with my Visa, the manager looked it up for me and said there was no problem and let me in without me having to buy another ticket. Phew! One reason I love putting all my transaction on my credit card is because it's always traceable in case something like this happens.

The reading is an essential source of distraction! :-)

>263 PrueGallagher: My pretties? I take it you mean my bookshelf with the British editions? Didn't realize that's what it was, i.e. all British editions until just now. I'll be starting a new thread soon, and I think I might use one of those photos as my thread topper because I do rather like the look of that image.

It's a known fact my dear that NOT everybody loves me on LT, with a few very notable exceptions who've gone out of their way to make it clear to everybody I am persona non grata, but the love and kindness I get from lovely individuals such as yourself more than makes up for it. xx
This topic was continued by Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 6.