Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 8

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Talk75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 8

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Edited: Aug 26, 2014, 1:19pm

Winslow Homer, The New Novel, 1877. I'm sure this image has made the rounds on LT, but I love this artist and it's so summery!

Table of Contents:
Books Completed May-August
Books Completed January-April
Reading Plans
Picked for Me!
American Authors Challenge
WWI Centenary Reading
Additional Books I'd like to read in 2014
A Century of Books!
Ongoing Series
Booker Prize Books
Reading Bingo
Books Purchased Jan-Mar
Books Purchased April-June
Books Purchased July-September

Currently reading, listening to, and occasionally browsing through:

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins
Slightly Foxed: No. 22: Don't Give Up the Day Job by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri


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)
The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey ★★★★★
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★★★
Treehorn Times Three by Florence Parry Heide & Edward Gorey
Merivel by Rose Tremain
Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (reread)

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)
★★★★★ : Brilliant!—will read again, and again... and again! (All-time favourite)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

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

Edited: Aug 25, 2014, 8:41pm

Books completed in August
142. ♫ The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri (reread) ★★★½
143. ❉ The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan ★★★★½
144. ❉ Aya by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★½ (review)
145. ♫ The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtennay
146. ❉ Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★⅓
147. ♫ Cinder by Marissa Meyer ★★★★ (review)
148. ❉ Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume 3 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★
149. ♫ Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter ★★★½ (review)
150. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 42: Small World by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
151. ❉ Aya de Yopougon: Volume 4 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★
152. ♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★ (review)
153. ✔ A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull ★★★★½ (review)
154. ♫ The Burning Bridge: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 2 by John Flanagan ★★★½
155. ❉ Le Chien Jaune / The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon
156. ❉ The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís ★★★★ (review)
157. ✔ Amsterdam by Ian McEwan ★★★★½ (review)
158. ♫ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (reread) ★★★½ (review)
159. ♫ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓ (Reread)
160. ✔ Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey ★★★★
161. ♫ Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★
162. ❉ Amphigorey Again by Edward Gorey ★★★★⅓
163. ♫ The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens ★★★★½
164. ❉ Aya de Yopougon, Tome 5 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★
165. ❉ Aya de Yopougon, Tome 6 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Books completed in July
114. ♫ Au bonheur des dames / Ladies' Paradise by Émile Zola ★★★ (review)
115. ❉ Amphigorey Too by Edward Gorey ★★★★⅓
116. ❉ The Little Prince Graphic Novel by Joann Sfar ★★★★⅓
117. ✔ Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken ★★★★ (review)
118. ❉ Monsieur Gallet décédé / Maigret Stonewalled by Georges Simenon ★★★★ (review)
119. ♫ Legend by Marie Lu ★★★⅓ (review)
120. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 21: All Washed Up by by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
121. ✔ Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger ★★★⅓
122. ❉ Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini (review)
123. ♫ Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst ★★★★ (review)
124. ❉ Le pendu de Saint-Pholien / Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets by Georges Simenon ★★★★ (review)
125. ♫ The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith ★★★ (review)
126. ✔ My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier ★★★⅞ (review)
127. ♫ Merivel by Rose Tremain ★★★★½ (review)
128. ❉ La Tête d'un homme / A Man's Head by Georges Simenon ★★★⅓
129. ♫ The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★½
130. ♫ The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★ (reread)
131. ✔ Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett ★★★
132. ♫ Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling ★★★★½ (reread)
133. ✔ Sketches from a Hunter's Album by Ivan Turgenev ★★★★⅓
134. ♫ Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ★★★★⅓ (review)
135. ♫ The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri ★★★½ (reread)
136. ♫ Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig ★★★★
137. ✔ The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler ★★★½
138. ♫ Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier ★★★★ (review)
139. ♫ Lost for Words by Edward St. Abyn ★★★★
140. ♫ To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ★★★★ (reread)
141. ✔ Mister Pip by Lloyd Jone ★★★⅞ (review)

Books completed in June
94. ⓔ Revelation by C. J. Sansom ★★★★⅓
95. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 20: Shrieks and Floods by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
96. ♫ Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson ★★★★ (review)
97. ♫ The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan ★★★★
98. ⓔ Heartstone by C. J. Sansom ★★★★
99. ❉ Amphigorey by Edward Gorey ★★★★½,
includes (among 15 others):
The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey ★★★★★ (review, sort of)
The Listing Attic by Edward Gorey ★★★★½ ('review' coming up)
The Curious Sofa by Edward Gorey ★★★★½ ('review' coming up)
100. ♫ The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir ★★★★ (review)
101. ✔ The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper ★★★½
102. ✔ Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers ★★★★⅓ (review)
103. ✔ The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott ★★★⅓
104. ♫ In the Woods by Tana French ★★★½
105. ♫ A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★★ (review)
106. ✔ A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Robert Capa ★★★½
107. ♫ Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed ★★★★ (review)
108. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★★★ (review)
109. Treehorn Times Three by Florence Parry Heide & Edward Gorey ★★★★½ (review)
110. ❉ Pietr le Letton / Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon ★★★★ (review)
111. ✔ Cover Her Face by P. D. James ★★★½
112. ♫ The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning ★★★½
113. ❉ Le charretier de la Providence / Lock 14 by Georges Simenon ★★★★⅓ (review)

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

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) ★★★★ (review)
81. ✔ Small Island by Andrea Levy ★★★★ (review)
82. ♫ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ★★★★ (review)
83. ♫ The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ★★★★ (review)
84. ♫ The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith ★★★½ (review)
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 (review)
89. ♫ Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer ★★★★
90. ♫ The Pale Criminal by Pillip Kerr ★★★ (review)
91. ⓔ Sovereign by C. J. Sansom ★★★★ (review)
92. ⓔ The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (tutored read) ★★★½
93. ♫ Room by Emma Donoghue ★★★½ (review)

The Bees by Laline Paull

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 2:25pm

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: Aug 26, 2014, 1:09pm

Reading Plans for August:

☀✔ Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright - TIOLI #1
☀✔ Dream Days - Kenneth Grahame - TIOLI #1
☀✔ The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - TIOLI #2: Read a book with a Top 50 Event listed in its CK - Reading
☀♫ The Dog Stars by Peter Heller - TIOLI #3: animal in the title does not refer to animal in the text - UNFINISHED
☀❉ The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan - TIOLI #3 - COMPLETED
☀✔ Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey - TIOLI #4: set in or about Scotland, by a Scottish author, or by a writer with a Scottish surname, A Century of Books! - COMPLETED
☀♫ The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith - TIOLI #4
☀♫ Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue - John McWhorter - TIOLI #5: text only on the cover - COMPLETED
☀♫ Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #6: Read a book whose title contains an element - COMPLETED
☀♫ The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #7: a book by an author who has written at least two other books you've read - COMPLETED
☀♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
☀❉ We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - TIOLI #8: a book with an amusing LT tag
☀❉ⓔ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - TIOLI #8
☀♫ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling - TIOLI #8 - COMPLETED
☀♫ The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtenay - TIOLI #9: starts with "The" then 1, 2, 3 or 4 words after in rolling order - COMPLETED
☀♫ Cinder by Marissa Meyer - TIOLI #10: a book with a title that is also catalogued by a different author - COMPLETED
☀♫ Pain Parties Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder - TIOLI #11: Day, Month, or Year in the title
☀ⓔ All the Dogs Of My Life by Elizabeth Von Arnim - TIOLI #14: words "Dog", "Days" or "Summer" in the title
☀♫ Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor - TIOLI #14
☀✔ A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull - TIOLI #15: from the bottom of your tbr pile - COMPLETED
☀♫ Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger - TIOLI #16: Read a book where the title or author includes a Q
☀♫ Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem - TIOLI#18: Read a book in which one (and only one) word in the title contains a suffix

Spur of the moment:
Amphigorey Again by Edward Gorey - TIOLI #21: published posthumously - COMPLETED
Aya by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie - TIOLI #19: a book that you told someone you would read - COMPLETED
Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie - TIOLI #19: a book that you told someone you would read - COMPLETED
Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume 3 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie - COMPLETED
Slightly Foxed: No. 42: Small World by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) - TIOLI #3 - COMPLETED
Aya de Yopougon: Volume 4 by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie - COMPLETED
The Burning Bridge: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 2 by John Flanagan - TIOLI #10 - COMPLETED
Le Chien Jaune / The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon - TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - TIOLI #8 - Picked for me by Ellen - COMPLETED
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís - TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan - TIOLI #15, A Century of Books! - COMPLETED
The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens - TIOLI #10 - COMPLETED
The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon - TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #7 - Listening


September Series & Sequels:

The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1/6 - read out of order)
Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (2/3)
Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (3/4)
Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (2/12)
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (2/3)
The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri (6/18) - Listening
Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri (7/18)
The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri (8/18)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (2/3)
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3/15)
Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/9)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (2/3)
The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/8)
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/7)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (3/7)
Sons Pearl S. Buck (2/3)
The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (3/4)
The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/9)
The Enemy by Lee Child (8/19)
Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/5 - read out of order)
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/6)
The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/10)
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/15)
Maigret at the Crossroads by Georges Simenon (7/76)
Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon (8/76)
The Full Cupboard Of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (5/14)
Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (3/12)
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2/4)
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (3/5)
La joie de vivre / The Joy of Life by Émile Zola (12/20)
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (2/3)
The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (3/9)
The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (4/8)
The Wind on Fire by William Nicholson (3/3)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (2/4)
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (1/14)
Night Soldiers Alan Furst (1/13)

Audible Reminders:
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett 09-08-13
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham 09-11-13


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

Edited: Aug 23, 2014, 10:33pm

This is my third year running this challenge, for which I asked my fellow LTers to pick books from my vast tbr. I'm falling a little bit behind with this challenge, but still have plenty of time to catch up.

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 - Completed July/14
4. ♫ The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman - picked by PaulCranswick - 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 - Completed June/14
10. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - picked by souloftherose - Completed June/14
11. A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull - picked by Deern - Completed August/14
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 - Completed June/14
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 - Completed August/14
19. Dissolution by CJ Sansom - picked by Chatterbox - Completed May/14
20. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - picked by DejaVoo

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 some of 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 - Completed July/14
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 - Completed July/14
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
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden - picked by Chatterbox - three extras from Suz

Edited: Jul 28, 2014, 11:45am

American Authors Challenge

Not doing so well with this one lately... This is Mark's/msf59 baby. 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 - Completed
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


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
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
Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig - Completed July
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
The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally (rec'd by Chatterbox) - Completed March
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

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: Aug 25, 2014, 1:45pm

Bedroom selections from my tbr

Additional Books I'd like to read in 2014

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) - Completed in July
The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon (on my shelf for over 10 years) - Reading
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) - Read in May
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (waited to read Great Expectations, on my reading list for a couple of years) - Completed in July
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 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) - Completed in July
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) - Completed in July
Jamrach's Menagerie Carol Birch (on last year's list)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (wanted to read forever) - Completed in July
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) - Completed in August
Felicia's Journey by William Trevor (an author I want to discover)
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - Reading
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 - Read in April
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)


Edited: Aug 25, 2014, 1:51pm

A Century of Books! 1900-1924

I stole this challenge idea from Heather/souloftherose. 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.

1913 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
1918 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
1926 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
1928 Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayer
1929 Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig
1931 Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon
1932 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
1934 Miss Buncle's Book bu D. E. Stevenson
1936 The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler
1938 Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
1939 Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
1940 Native Son by Richard Wright
1943 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1944 Dragonwyck by Anya Seton
1946 Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
1948 A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Robert Capa
1950 Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert
1951 My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
1953 The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey
1960 The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning
1962 The Light of Day by Eric Ambler
1964 Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
1966 The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1973 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
1989 Restoration by Rose Tremain
1990 The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
1991 The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
1994 The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
1995 Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
1996 The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri
1997 Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
1998 Amsterdam Ian McEwan

Edited: Aug 23, 2014, 10:40pm

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) - Completed in July
Anton Rider - Next up: The Devil's Oasis by Bartle Bull (3/3) - Reading
The Australian Trilogy - Next up: Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (2/3)
Bartimaeus - Next up: Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (3/4)
Bernie Gunther - Next up: A German Requiem by Philip Kerr (3/9)
Bloody Jack Adventures - Next up: Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (2/12)
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: The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri (reread) (6/18)
Corfu Trilogy: The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (3/3)
The Cousins' War: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (2/5)
The Dark is Rising Sequence - Next up: Greenwitch by Susan Cooper (3/5)
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 (5/8)
Dublin Murder Squad - Next up: The Likeness by Tana French (2/5)
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)
❉♫ Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström - Next up: The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/8)
❉♫ Flavia de Luce - Next up: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/6)
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)
Harry Potter - Next up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (reread) (3/7)
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)
Inspector 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: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/15)
Maigret - Next up: Maigret at the Crossroads by Georges Simenon (7/76)
Maisie Dobbs - Next up: Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear (4/10)
Mapp and Lucia - Next up: Lucia in London by E. F. Benson (⅜)
Matthew Shardlake - Next up: Lamentation by C. J. Samson (awaiting publication) (6/6)
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)
Parker - Next up: The Mourner by Richard Stark (4/24)
Philip Marlowe - Next up: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (6/9 - 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 Towers Of Silence by Paul Scott (3/4)
Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (3/12)
❉♫ 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) - Completed in July
Les Rougon-Macquart - Next up: La joie de vivre by Émile Zola (12/20)
Ruby Trilogy - Next up: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (2/3)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Next up: The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (3/9)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/7)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (4/8)
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: Unknown title by Lyndsay Faye (awaiting publication) (3/3)
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: The Wind on Fire by William Nicholson (3/3)
Wolf Hall Trilogy - Next up: The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (awaiting publication) (3/3)
Wolves Chronicles - Next up: Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken (3/11)
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)
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (1/3)
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (1/9)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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: Aug 23, 2014, 1:57pm

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)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Shortlist 2010)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Shortlist 2007)
Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan (Booker Prize 1998)

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)
A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (Shortlist 1978)
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)
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)
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: Aug 23, 2014, 1:58pm

Reading Bingo
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: A Café on the Nile ★★★★½
Book my friend loves: Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat ★★★★
*Book that scares me: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ★★★★⅓
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: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier ★★★★
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: Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson ★★★★
A book set in the summer: Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom ★★★★⅓
A book with a dragon:
A book that made you cry: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ★★★★½
A graphic novel: Amphigorey by Edward Gorey ★★★★½
A book based on a myth: The Quick by Lauren Owen ★★★★★
A "classic" YA book: Bloody Jack; Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer ★★★★
*A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe: Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling ★★★★½ (reread)
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

* = Most recent additions

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 2:35pm

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: Aug 23, 2014, 2:01pm

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 - Completed in July
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 - Read in May
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) - Completed in August
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 - Read in May
130. ♫ The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - Read in May
131. Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen (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) - Returned for exchange
144. ♫ The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (Audible 2 for 3) - Returned for exchange
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) - Completed in June
150. ♫ The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan (Audible 2 for 3) - Completed in August
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 - Read in May
154. Animal Farm by George Orwell (FS sale)
155. ⓔ Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban (Kindle DD)
156. ♫ A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin (Audible DD)
157. ♫ The Curse of Chalion ( sale)
158. ♫ Shards of Honor ( sale)
159. ⓔ Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert (Amazon Deal)
160. ⓔ Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther ($1 Kindle)
161. ⓔ Revelation by C. J. Sansom - Completed in June

162. ⓔ Heartstone by C. J. Sansom - Completed in June
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (Audible - exchange)
The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (Audible - exchange)
163. ⓔ The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer (Kindle sale)
164. ⓔ Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (Kindle sale)
165. ⓔ Venetia by Georgette Heyer (Kindle sale)
166. ⓔ The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer (Kindle sale)
167. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (VDC from Abe)
168. The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey (Hardcover from Abe)
169. ⓔ Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (Bello editions deal)
170. ⓔ To War with Whitaker: Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly, 1939-45 by Hermione Ranfurly (Bello editions deal)
171. ⓔ Madensky Square by Eva Ibbotson (Bello editions deal)
172. ⓔ The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson (Kindle Deal)
173. ♫ Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst - Completed in July
174. ♫ The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning - Completed in June
175. ⓔ Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Completed in June
176. ⓔ Correspondance by Paul Cézanne
177. ♫ The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan (Audible DD)
178. ♫ The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood
179. ♫ Sold by Patricia McCormick (Audible DD)
180. ♫ Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
181. ♫ Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
182. ♫ Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon - Returned for refund

Edited: Aug 22, 2014, 9:37pm

Books Purchased in 2014 (cont'd)

183. ⓔ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurty (Kindle Monthly Deal)
184. ⓔ What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan (Kindle Monthly Deal)
180. ⓔ Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Kindle Deal)
185. ⓔ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Kindle Deal)
186. ⓔ Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (Kindle DD)
187. ⓔ The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Kindle DD)
188. ⓔ The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
189. ♫ The Smell of the Night by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
190. ♫ Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
191. ♫ The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
192. ♫ The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
193. ♫ The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
194. ♫ The Age of Doubt by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
195. ♫ The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri ( sale)
196. ♫ The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri ( sale) - Completed in July
197. ♫ The Terra-Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri ( sale) - Completed in July
198. ⓔ+♫ The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (Audible/Kindle deal)
199. ⓔ+♫ Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (Audible/Kindle deal)
200. Bliss and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield (Bloomsbury Classics)
201. The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield (Bloomsbury Classics)
202. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Bloomsbury Classics)

203. A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (NYRB - used)
A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (Audible replacement)
The Waiting Game by Bernice Rubens (Audible replacement)

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

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 3:14pm

I get three new Bingos!

On the first card with "A book that scares me" with Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. It had been sitting on my tbr pile for ages because I didn't like American Gods and being in the same series I was scared it wouldn't do much for me. But I was wrong! My review is on my former thread but you can link to it on this thread from message #2.

On the second card with "A book set in a high school" with Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, partially set in a high school. I'll be reviewing it soon. And Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling for "A book with a lion, a witch, or a wardrobe" (Hogwarts is for witches too!)

Three more excuses to buy books!

Jul 26, 2014, 3:14pm

Book #138:Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier ★★★★
Source: Audible
Read for: July TIOLI #4: Start a series and continue if you want
Series: Ruby Trilogy (1 of 3)
Edition: Macmillan Audio (2011), Unabridged MP3, 8h50
Original publication date: 2009

Gwyneth and her entire family has always believed that her much more beautiful, better poised and much better educated cousin Charlotte had inherited the time travel gene, as Isaac Newton had foretold. The onset of the symptoms first appear during the gene-carrier's teens; headaches and dizziness and then out of the blue he or she is transported sometime in the past (never the future since it hasn't happened yet) for no longer than a couple of hours. Charlotte has been meticulously prepared all her life for this, but when Gwen suddenly discovers the hard way her mother has held back secrets from her and she lands in another century much to her surprise, the family is forced to accept this reversal of fortune. There's some allusion to an alchemical secret and a circle of 12 which Gwyneth completes with her arrival which I guess gets worked out in the course of the next two books. Of course, she has a love interest, in the shape of a fellow time traveler and distant cousin, Gideon de Villiers, who at first seems to despise her and to show a marked admiration for the ravishing Charlotte, but soon comes to appreciate Gwen's spunk and ability to handle situations on the fly. I don't always appreciate YA literature, but this summer my teen self seems to be enjoying the diversions I'm offering it, and this first book in the trilogy was so much fun that I immediately suggested the library order up the next two audiobooks as soon as I'd finished listening to this audio version. I'll even go as far as spending Audible credits if they turn down my request to find out how Gwen fares in the end and what the 'ultimate secret', which one of her cousins is working hard to kept hushed up—supposedly for the good of all—is.

Jul 26, 2014, 7:07pm

Happy New thread, Ilana! I love that topper. I've used it before myself. Nice Homer! Hope you are having a pain-free weekend.

Jul 26, 2014, 7:32pm

Happy new thread, Ilana! I have Ruby Red in the stacks - Birdy loves that trilogy, and has been urging me to "please, read it!" You are flying through the books this year, and I noticed that you had recently finished The English Patient - I NEED to get to that one!

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 7:39pm

I'm in lots of pain today, and can't take any painkillers as have met my quota for the month. I had a nap for an hour and had two separate one-hour drawing sessions, but nothing has provided relief so far. I had really bad nausea too a bit earlier, which is rare thankfully, but I think it's subsided enough to allow me to consider having supper now.

Just finished listening to Lost for Words as I was working away on my drawing. My timing couldn't have worked out better, since the Booker Prize longlist was announced this week, and the book deals with a fictional literary award. Very amusing book. There'll be more St. Aubyn in my future since he's already on the tbr.

>Hi Mark, welcome! I have this other contemporary artist I thought of showcasing, but for some reason really felt like using this image as my thread-topper, even though I knew it had been around. Go figure. Thanks for the wishful message, but unfortunately pain is very much on the menu today. Let's hope tomorrow is a different story.

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 7:41pm

>18 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! What a nice surprise! I've been very neglectful of your thread lately and it's completely run away from me. I look forward to getting to the other two books in the Ruby Red trilogy and hope the library acquires them and thus helps save me a couple of Audible credits. I didn't in fact read The English Patient yet, just acquired a highly covetable Bloomsbury Classics edition of it, a now out of print series of small hardcover books with lovely cover designs I just discovered this week (you can see a few of them at the end of my last thread).

Jul 26, 2014, 7:49pm

Oops! I misread the list title - I have The English Patient sitting right here, and I keep thinking that I really do want to get to it, but I keep not picking it up. I think I will make it a priority for August. DOn't worry about catching up with my thread- I will be starting a new one soon, and you can just jump onto that one.

SO sorry to hear that you are not feeling well, dear. Keeping you in my thoughts and sending you gentle hugs.

Jul 26, 2014, 7:58pm

Thanks Mamie. I'll still make a point to drop by to see the highlights soon.


I'm off to prepare a light supper and will start listening to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee narrated by Sissy Spacek. I've had the audiobook from the library for quite a while now, but when I found out this month that this book had originally been released on the day of my birthday, July 11th, I decided I needed to do a reread this month for sure!

Off I go to it then!

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 9:45pm

Hi Ilana,
I see you have not gotten to the bingo card selection "a book at the bottom of your tbr pile". I'm missing that one myself. Well, what the heck. There's a reason it's at the bottom of the pile. Right?

Happy New Thread!

Oh, I just went back to finish up your old thread...
" I'm thinking pencil portraits based on photos. Whaddaya think? Do you think anyone would be willing to pay for those?"

Well, yes. I think that's a good idea. And maybe even portraits of pets, too!

Jul 26, 2014, 9:37pm

Hi Ilana, sorry to hear you're feeling poorly. I love the thread topper. To Kill a Mockingbird narrated by Sissy Spacek will be really good I think.

Jul 26, 2014, 11:03pm

Happy New Thread!!!!
I'm sorry that you're still not getting relief. Do take care of yourself!
I'm very happy that you like "Willow." I do too, for all the reasons that you mentioned. She is the one of our new cats that I'm sure that we named perfectly.

Jul 27, 2014, 12:00am

Dear, dear Ilana congratulations on your latest thread tempered a little by seeing that migraines are again intruding upon your well-being. Trust that a good rest will see you well.

Thanks so much also for your love, kindness and support during my difficult times recently - I think I am just about healed. xx

Jul 27, 2014, 11:39am

Happy New Thread! You are going great guns with your Bingo challenges!

Jul 27, 2014, 12:29pm

Woke up with a nasty headache again. I'm tempted to just give up today and lay on the couch alternating between a light sleep/coma and reading/listening to books. I may yet do that because somehow I've found being in a horizontal position is the least uncomfortable one for my head. Sorry about all the moaning, I'm just more than a little bit fed up is all.

Loving Mister Pip on the reading front. I think I actually preferred reading than listening to To Kill a Mockingbird. Sissy Spacek is fine, and of course she does a good Southern accent (how could she not?), but I wouldn't say she gives a stellar performance, just a straight reading mostly which isn't anything special at all, not bothering to differentiate between the character's voices hardly. Bleh. But I'll persist. She doesn't take away from the novel's brilliance, to be sure.

>23 -Cee-: Hi Claudia, the "book at the bottom of the pile" category is reserved for A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull, which is literally at the bottom of one of my bedroom bedside tbr piles and was picked for me by Nathalie this year. I'm actually looking forward to it because I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy; it's just a bit of a doorstopper is all. I was planning to start it this month, depending on when I finish Mister Pip.

I just spoke to my carpenter neighbour yesterday about installing my shelves (I'm kind of pressing him to do it this summer), who was saying he'd give me a really good price for his time because it was for a good cause (i.e. books!; he's a reader too) and I was telling him about my project to offer my portrait drawing services. They have a 14 year-old cocker spaniel his wife is very attached to who won't be around forever and Paul was saying maybe we could exchange services and I could draw a portrait of the dog in exchange for his time installing the shelves. Obviously, he's a really nice guy and if he wasn't married already, I'd totally be flirting with him. To be continued...

>24 brenzi: Hi Bonnie, nice to see you in these parts! As you see from my comments above, I'm a little underwhelmed by Sissy Spacek's delivery. Maybe I was expecting too much from her?

>25 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, welcome to my new digs. As soon as I'm done posting, I'll take Coco out across the street to wander around the little park for a short while and then come home and lay down on the couch for as long as I need to until comes time for his next walk again. I woke up just a couple of hours ago, but I already feel pretty worn out I must say... dragging this migraine around night and day certainly makes things harder than they need be. On the other hand, I'm almost convinced I've somehow traded in emotional pain for these migraines, and I honestly couldn't say if I'd go back to the former. But this current state of affairs isn't really workable either I'm afraid. Sorry to gripe so much today.

Willow. Just thinking of the name gives me a small measure of peace. x

>26 PaulCranswick: Paul, very happy to hear you are on the mend my friend. I saw on my last visit to your thread (probably in lurking mode) that you've certainly been burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Thanks for dropping by my humble online abode. The migraines really are relentless again, but I still have hope that the new medication I started taking just before my b-day will start working soon.

>27 lkernagh: Hi Lori! Yes, the Bingo challenges aren't all that far from completion. Mind you, I treat them as an afterthought so it's anyone's guess when I'll actually complete them. I've grown quite fond of my colourful little bingo cards though and will miss them when I'm done with them! :-)

Edited: Jul 27, 2014, 7:25pm

Well, I went to the ER finally today. The pain was pretty bad with nausea too, which I don’t get very often, and I was dizzy and disoriented, so I thought I’d try out this new ER wing they’ve just opened up this winter at the Jewish General where the service is supposed to be much more effective with less waiting and good care for migraine sufferers.

I called my friend Kristyna, who used to be a nurse and has often offered to accompany me if ever I decide to go to the hospital. I’d been told they mix up a potent cocktail for migraine cases which includes dihydroergotamine which they give you in an intravenous solution. Seems it’s hard to get these days, because they wanted to try two steroid treatments before they’d give me the DHE, whereas in the past they didn’t mess around and just gave you the DHE right away. The first steroid treatment didn’t work (as I knew perfectly well it would’t), and I was sure the second wouldn’t either. It was a very quiet day, it being a nice day this Sunday, and the service was horrid, with these young nurses that were dripping with unpleasant attitude. Had to wait a whole hour after the first treatment failed to work and still no signs of being looked after, and the steroid just made me feel aggressive, and it being 6 o’clock by then (I'd checked in at 1:30) and feeding time for my kiddies, I decide I was done waiting, so unplugged myself and came back home. Maybe had I waited for the next useless treatment, and then another couple of hours for the DHE, it might have given me relief for a few days or even a few weeks with some luck, but I guess I’ll never know. I just can’t stand sitting there and being ignored and being given second line treatment and being made to wait for the real stuff, as if I had nothing better to do. And this from a supposedly super duper newly improved hospital wing on a quiet day. I’d rather be in a coma on my sofa given the option, now I know what I’m up against.

My friend K was a real angel though, so that was something.

Edited: Jul 27, 2014, 7:27pm

Congratulations on the new thread, Ilana. That Winslow Homer is charming, and hadn't made the rounds with me, anyway.

Hope you've been enjoying the weekend.

ETA: we cross-posted, Ilana. Sorry to hear the pain has been bad, and you had such a lousy experience at the hospital. Kudos to Kristyna; having such a good friend helps I'm sure.

Hope the pain eases up on you asap.

Jul 27, 2014, 7:31pm

Thanks Joe, yeah, the hospital experience was far from encouraging, but I felt blessed to have such a good friend. I do wish they'd given me decent treatment though. Maybe if I'd made a scene and screamed and moaned they'd have taken me more seriously, but as it was I was probably too quiet. Ah well.

Thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed the Winslow Homer. I find it very restful to look at.

Edited: Jul 27, 2014, 10:14pm

- Andy Kehoe

^ Hope this puts a little smile on your lips! Sorry, to hear about the continuing discomfort. Gentle hugs!

Jul 27, 2014, 10:27pm

Heavens! That was a horrible experience. My vindictive self would like to require all nursing candidates to experience a variety of ills including a killer migraine just for an hour or so to induce empathy - with refresher courses.
Anyway, here's your own pic of Willow and Sparks, who wish you equal calm.

Edited: Jul 28, 2014, 12:42pm

Thanks for the kitties. So sweet. Shaping up to be another couch day. Horizontal is the only way to be in this case. My mum sent me an email sort of scorning me for having abandoned the ER yesterday. Maybe 'scorn' is too strong a word. But I can't find any other right now. All I know is it wasn't helpful. What's done is done and I felt I wasn't getting the treatment I needed, period.

Jul 28, 2014, 8:27pm

So sorry you are feeling so bad, NOT FAIR!

Jul 28, 2014, 10:28pm

Thanks Lucy. Today was pretty well a write off. I'm totally useless. Can't think beyond the pain. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Edited: Jul 30, 2014, 2:53am

Hi Ilana, I've slowly been reading my way through the last thread and now I arrived here, and I am so sorry to see your migraines have even worsened. I've been racking my brains for any alternative solutions (don't know anything about pain meds) - but I assume you already tried everything years ago. So I can just wish you'll feel better very soon.

Like everyone else in your last thread I loved that drawing, and thanks for posting it also as work in progress!

Last weekend I got the chance to see that Budapest Hotel movie, it was on Sky primafila, which means I still had to pay extra, but at least I got it in English and not in bad Italian dubbing. Loved it - although I would have liked to see more grand hotel scenes, especially pre-war. I didn't know it was based on a book, I must read that soon.

Mr Pip? Ew.. Have you been warned? I found that book really disturbing and wouldn't touch it again unless someone paid me ... well a lot of money for it. But I am easy to shock with graphic violence (wouldn't touch Little Bee again for the same reason) and I know many readers enjoyed it a lot.

Lost for Words is on my tbr already, I'll read it as soon as I am done with the Booker candidates.

Edited: Jul 29, 2014, 1:32pm

I'm thinking of taking myself to the ER again today. Only, I'm also running out of foodstuff and needing essentials like meds and milk. Decisions, decisions. Most likely I'll just end up on the couch again, path of least resistance and so on.

>37 Deern: Nathalie, nobody warned me about Mister Pip and so last night I had the immense 'pleasure' of seeing Matilda's mother and Mr Watts being fed to the pigs. I've been angry with Matilda ever since she decided not to speak up about the book being hidden in her home. Doesn't make sense that she'd rather see her own house and everyone else's burned rather than put up with the shame, or at least come up with some clever way to have it 'discovered' somewhere else?? On the one hand I'm really impressed with the way story is shown to have such power, both for good and for evil. On the other hand, I don't think you can make me reread this one again either, and I really hope to finish it asap.

I've tried many things over the decades for my migraines. Trouble is, when they're there, I'm too weakened to want to try much, and when they're not, there's nothing I can do anyway. All I know is it's never been as bad as it has been this year.

I'm all caught up with your thread, which I visited a few times in lurk mode on my iPad, but I don't often comment from that device because typing is a bit of a bother. I'll drop by to comment soon.

Edited: Jul 29, 2014, 2:57pm

>38 Smiler69:: So sorry I wasn't here a day earlier... :(

Don't worry about posting on my thread. I am a bit embarrassed about sharing all that personal stuff there, but it influences my choice of books and/ or the way I interprete them, so I often feel I owe explanations for that. Since my latest return to LT I am taking a more relaxed approach and for the first time really unstarred old threads unread because I'll never catch up. There are also still some actual threads I still need to visit.
Lurking is fine, LT should be absolutely stress-free.
Typing this on my stupid ipad mini keyboard. Those things are great for reading, but like you I most often avoid posting from it. Correcting is the worst part..

Jul 29, 2014, 5:57pm

>39 Deern: No need to apologize Nathalie, how could you have known?? In truth, apart from the very beginning, the whole book so far has been a rather traumatizing experience, but then it doesn't take much to traumatize me these days considering in in constant pain to begin with. I don't think I'm sorry to have read it (think I'll finish it today), and I guess some part of me must have known it wouldn't all be sweet and joyful given the context of war and rebellion which is described in the book blurb, but it almost seems like the extreme brutality is brought on by Mr. Watts, Matilda and her Mother's collective wills. Very strange.

You should feel free to share however much you want on your own thread. Goodness knows I've shared plenty on my threads over the years too, and I'm sure it's made some people feel uncomfortable about commenting or even coming back for visits, because it's not made for a relaxed kind of "hey, how are ya" kind of spot to drop by casually I guess, but so be it. I'm alone so much of the time, and I guess I need to have a space where I can share some of my thoughts and aspects of my life with a few people I know will be receptive to them, in their own time.

You are brave to be typing more than just a sentence or two on an iPad Mini! I wouldn't even attempt it! :-)

Jul 29, 2014, 6:04pm

Went to market with Coco today and I guess his wool is at this optimal length that makes him look exactly like a plush toy because people were going nuts over him. It certainly made me a happy and proud mamma, especially since the whole time he was being admired and petted by various strangers he had eyes only for me. Talk about true love!

The picture is at least a couple of weeks old, so I guess the cuteness factor has exponentially increased since then. :-)

Jul 29, 2014, 9:28pm

" his wool is at this optimal length "

I agree! All lengths are cute on Coco - but this is SO sweet!
OH! Coco!

I'm glad to hear you are trying to take care of yourself but so disappointed in the ER. If you have someone to take care of your furkidz for a day, maybe you ought to go in expecting it to take forever and try again. I know what you mean about being too quiet. When I am in terrible pain I work very hard to meditate, breathe slow, and take myself to another place. It helps the pain a bit. Getting upset, making noise, and thrashing around just make it all worse. The downside to being still and quiet is you get passed over. People don't think you are really in much pain. I know. It happens to me too.
Sorry you are going through this. Keep trying. Having a good friend to help you is important too. Gentle hugs xoxo

Jul 29, 2014, 10:01pm

Wish today had been better. I don't see how Coco could be any cuter!

Jul 29, 2014, 10:09pm

You should be a proud mama!!! Coco is such a sweetie! Hope you start feeling better. :(

Jul 29, 2014, 11:14pm

In bed on the iPad. Just to say I've made arrangements with a neighbour who is a professional dog walker and generally nice woman (wife of the carpenter who will put up my shelves), who's agreed to look after Coco tomorrow, take him on walks, feed him and spend time with him while I go to the ER and try to get proper treatment for this monster migraine. The pain level is on high every day and I can't keep going like this.

Just finished listening to To Kill a Mockingbird. Now about to finish Mister Pip. I think some light reading will be in order after those two.

Thanks for the visits and comments. I'll update as soon as I'm able to.

Jul 29, 2014, 11:29pm

Good! You need to have that migraine checked out. I'm sure Coco will miss you, but he'll be well cared for and he wants you well!

Jul 30, 2014, 6:42am

Thinking of you today and hoping that the ER visit brings good results for you.

Jul 30, 2014, 11:13am

Wishing you well, Ilana. Good for you for arranging to go back to the ER - hoping that this time you get excellent treatment that eases your pain. And Coco!! SO cute! What a sweet photo of him. Sending you hugs from all of us at the Pecan Paradisio.

Jul 30, 2014, 10:37pm

Oh my. It's late and no word on how you're doing. I think you're doing right to have gone and to be sticking it out. I'll look forward to hearing from you in the morning.

Edited: Jul 31, 2014, 2:51pm

Well, I just got home (now about 12:30 at night) and migraine is still with me. The option was to stay at the hospital in the waiting room overnight till the morning when the neurology team was in or go home and sleep in my own bed and go back in in the morning, which was a no-brainer really. They tried 2 treatments of Maxeran + Decadron + Advil + Tylenol, and then one treatment of DHE (Dihydroergotamine), the last of which I was pinning my hopes on, but if anything, it made things worse. This last is usually what they use as the "big guns" treatment, following a strict protocol. All this after waiting 9.5 hours to be seen by a doctor.

I started reading A Café on the Nile, but in the 8 hours I held it on my lap, only managed to read some 65 pages. Go figure. Too many distractions, and having to read every sentence twice to make sense of it didn't help much. But it's a great read so far all the same.

Thanks for your encouraging messages. I'll respond individually when I've got my strength back.

eta: added specifics on pharmacological treatment.

Jul 31, 2014, 8:21am

Thanks for letting us know how it is going. I pray you find some answers today. Wishing you some comfort.

Jul 31, 2014, 9:01am

Thanks Katie, Amber, Mamie, Peggie and Claudia for cheering me on. I deeply dislike hospitals and have a natural mistrust of doctors to conquer*, so your encouragement is much appreciated. I'll be headed back there in just a few minutes this morning.

Last night, I also briefly picked up a 'new' audiobook, which is actually a reread of The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri.

Currently reading, listening to, and occasionally browsing through:


Slightly Foxed: No. 42: Small World by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors)
The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan
A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull
The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri (reread)

*That being said, the doctor I saw last night was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Move aside George Clooney! He was definitely movie star material. Ouch!

Jul 31, 2014, 11:53am

I am so sorry to hear that you still have not gotten relief from this headache. I am hoping that the visit today with the neurologists will bring that relief. (BTW, Maxeran is known in the US as Reglan, used primarily for nausea that can accompany migraines.)

There has been so much discussion here on LT about the Camilleri books that I have to get mine out again. A long time ago I read his first two (The Shape of Water and The Terra-cotta Dog - now, so long ago, it is hard to remember what they were about. Thanks for spurring me on.

Jul 31, 2014, 12:23pm

Hi Ilana! I am so sorry to hear about the continuing pain. What a bummer, my friend. I hope they can give you some relief, SOON!
Gentle Hug!

Edited: Jul 31, 2014, 2:57pm

Here's the latest news: I'm back home after having seen the neurology team around lunchtime (so, only a couple of hours waiting). They've done their standard neurological tests on me and after a series of questions, have established that I clearly present a migraine case, but unfortunately, am part of the 30% of migraine sufferers who are drug-resistant. That's the bad news. The good news is they agreed to give me a prescription for Fiorinal 30, so I'll be able to have 12 days of almost guaranteed pain-free days a month (which is more than I've had in a while) and which might give the Topamax I started on 3 weeks ago (a preventive medication) a chance to work, so that's something at least. A blessing I didn't have to stay all day again, I must say. Talk about home sweet home!

Answering individual messages next.

Edited: Jul 31, 2014, 3:04pm

>42 -Cee-: Claudia, I'm glad I stuck it through this time and gave it a go. I was lucky to have Susie, my neighbour and professional dog walker as a resource (only discovered recently), which made the whole process a lot more feasible. I must have had a sixth sense about the ultimate futility of the exercise though, or maybe I brought on the resistance to medication myself by not really believing in the treatment? In any case, you won't catch me going to the ER again anytime soon if I can help it *knocking on wood*. At least this time, I must say I came across some very kind and caring nurses and doctors (good looking ones, at that!), which made things easier to take.

>43 LizzieD: Peggy, the fur on Coco's head is a bit longer, which gives him a bit of a rounder face. I'll try to grab a snap soon. No hope of that today, as it's very dark with loads of rain and I only take photos in daylight.

>44 cammykitty: >46 cammykitty: Katie, Coco is my pride and Joy, and Susie, having taken care of him yesterday, obviously found him a delight to be around because she said she'd be only too glad to look after him again anytime I needed her too. As you can imagine that made me quite proud!

>47 scaifea: Well, at least it brought me a much-needed prescription that would have been hard to get otherwise, since most doctors don't want to prescribe Fiorinal at any strength, so that's something!

>48 Crazymamie: Thanks for the hugs Mamie, and thank all your gang for me please. The visit wasn't conclusive obviously, but at least now I now I need not bother with the whole ordeal again, so that's something I guess. I'll be getting a ride to the pharmacy shortly, saving me a walk in the driving rain today and look forward to that dose of Fiorinal for a bit of much-needed relief, the only meds that seem to work so far!

>49 LizzieD: If anything Peggy, I'm proud of myself precisely for sticking it out, because I'm not known for my great patience in that sort of situation, and now I know I needn't put myself through that particular trial again. Every time I've gone to the ER I've been horrified at the misuse of our tax dollars and at how understaffed this essential part of our healthcare system obviously is.

>51 -Cee-: Claudia: I got some answers, that's for sure; I definitely suffer from migraines; They are definitely intractable. Also, as a bonus: no need to bother going to ER for my migraines again.

>53 catarina1: I keep forgetting to mention that with the first dose of Maxeran, they also deliver a dose of Decadron (Dexamethasone), and that they also gave me Advil and Tylenol as part of the cocktail. Also, the DHE really should have been the big gun to have shot this thing down good and proper, but no go. I was amazed to find out they had nothing to offer beyond that, but so it seems. At least the Fiorinal has proven to work, even if it's not always reliable and can only be used for a limited amount of days.

I read the first 4 Camilleri's kind of spaced far apart and didn't get that much out of them that way, and now with my new project of getting through the series within a limited time, I find I'm enjoying them more, since my low capacity for recall is being helped along and I can better enjoy recurring characters and running storylines. The next book, The Voice of the Violin will also be a reread and then I'll be onto new ground.

>54 msf59: Thanks so much Mark, very sweet of you. Hopefully the pills I'll be getting within the next couple of hours will bring the relief those 12 hours in the emergency room couldn't do anything about...

Jul 31, 2014, 3:27pm

Sigh. It's a bummer. I would have said I'm drug-resistant to -- I certainly am to those protocols -- but I do respond sometimes and to varying degrees to the reglan/toradol/benadryl combo (all IV) which they sometimes supplement/follow with morphine (the low-strength version). My analogy with this is that it feels as if the pain is pushed out to around the fringes of my head, like a tiny thin line of a tonsure. It becomes bearable, and then I sleep, and ultimately it vanishes. I think it did once trigger a rebound, but only once. But prior to this particular treatment, nothing I got an ER -- and nothing ergotamine-based -- ever worked for me. Nor do the triptans work for me.

Do ask your neurologist about this combination of drugs; had I not kept asking I would have assumed that mine were intractable and would have suffered a lot more than I needed to in my final years in NYC. It may simply be a matter of finding the ER that uses this regime.

I am very lucky with the Topamax; hoping you will be, too. I suspect that with me it's a combination of age and Topamax, though.

You are going through precisely what I went through during my 20s, 30s and 40s. That's no consolation, I know. The Fiorinal, however, does help. And if you need to shop around to find a doctor who is willing to prescribe you the quantity you need to cope, then do that. Don't put up with BS from the physicians about it. You are VERY late in discovering it -- I was 16 or 17 when I was first prescribed this, and have been taking it ever since -- so it's not as if your migraines are a pretext to cover up an addiction to barbituate-based painkillers (which is what Fiorinal is).

Good luck...

Edited: Jul 31, 2014, 4:19pm

Stopping by to say sorry for taking so long to visit your new thread and about the migraine - I really thought an ER visit might zap it. I hope the Fiorinal 30 does something.

Jul 31, 2014, 7:01pm

>57 Chatterbox: Suz, I tried calling around the various hospitals to find out what their various treatments were before presenting myself, but mostly met with very unhelpful and unwilling people at the other end, so that wasn't much help. I don't have the will or the energy to do the rounds of all the hospitals to find out if any of them diverge from what seems to be the common path. The typical emerg experience is just so demoralizing, and being there is about the worst place to be with a migraine really. If there was a way of asking around at least, but that option doesn't seem open to me. Thank goodness for the Fiorinal. And I know my regular neurologist is now willing to prescribe it to me, as I've made my case for being a responsible user who won't abuse of it.

>58 souloftherose: Hi Heather, wish my new thread was a more cheerful place to greet you! The Fiorinal only half worked today, sort of dulling the pain a little, but I'm only too conscious it's still there. All the same, it's lessened, which is still something. I'm extremely tired after my hospital ER saga, so will be taking myself to bed extra early tonight no doubt and see what tomorrow brings, though I'm prepared to take Fiorinal during the middle of the night if it might mean relief when I awake.

Edited: Aug 1, 2014, 12:14pm

Reading Plans for August:

☀✔ Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright - TIOLI #1
☀✔ Dream Days - Kenneth Grahame - TIOLI #1
☀✔ The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - TIOLI #2
☀♫ The Dog Stars by Peter Heller - TIOLI #3: animal in the title does not refer to animal in the text
☀❉ The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan - TIOLI #3 - Reading
☀✔ Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey - TIOLI #4: set in or about Scotland, by a Scottish author, or by a writer with a Scottish surname
☀♫ The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith - TIOLI #4
☀♫ Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue - John McWhorter - TIOLI #5: text only on the cover
☀♫ Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #6: Read a book whose title contains an element
☀♫ The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #7: an author who has written at least two other books you've read - Listening
☀♫ The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #7
☀❉ We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - TIOLI #8: a book with an amusing LT tag
☀❉ⓔ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - TIOLI #8
☀♫ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling - TIOLI #8
☀♫ The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtenay - TIOLI #9: starts with "The" then 1, 2, 3 or 4 words after in rolling order
☀♫ Cinder by Marissa Meyer - TIOLI #10: a book with a title that is also catalogued by a different author
☀♫ Pain Parties Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder - TIOLI #11: Day, Month, or Year in the title
☀ⓔ All the Dogs Of My Life by Elizabeth Von Arnim - TIOLI #14: words "Dog", "Days" or "Summer" in the title
☀♫ Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor - TIOLI #14
☀✔ A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull - TIOLI #15: from the bottom of your tbr pile - Reading
☀♫ Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger - TIOLI #16: Read a book where the title or author includes a Q
☀♫ Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem - TIOLI#18: Read a book in which one (and only one) word in the title contains a suffix

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

I just received The Rosie Project as an eBook from OverDrive today, though they approved my purchase suggestion for the audiobook narrated by an Australian who really appealed to me, so I'm not sure if I should play to waiting game or jump right in. I've made tonnes of purchase suggestions, and so far they're approving almost everything I ask for, it's just a question of waiting patiently for the titles to come in!

Off to work on my drawing while listening to the latest Camilleri and then getting ready for bed. Have some sleep to catch up on!

Jul 31, 2014, 9:52pm

It's too bad about the high level of addiction fear your doctors have with fiorinal. I've been taking it for years - not as much lately since I don't need it as often. I think since it worked for me where nothing else did, I was more addicted to just making sure I always had it with me - "just in case". Knowing it was there to take gave me much anxiety relief.

I always had to take it at the very first hint of a migraine. (Hopefully you can get to that point...) If I let it get away from me, it was not as effective and I'd need more than I wanted to take. Most of my migraines start when I am asleep and by the time it wakes me up enough, it is sometimes too late. I always want to go back to sleep w/o taking anything which is always the wrong decision. Also, I made a deal with myself right from the beginning, that if I needed to take fiorinal I would not touch alcohol at all for at least 24-48 hours.

So... anyway... I hope you can get to the point of being able to take a preventative and anticipate when a migraine is lurking. Maybe that will make it all more manageable. You were very good to go back and get more help from the neurologists. It's hard when you feel terrible. But you did it!

Your reading plans for August are quite ambitious! Good luck!

Jul 31, 2014, 11:10pm

I'm glad you're home at least and looking forward to at least 12 days when you can function without headaches. Hope you're able to get some good rest right now!

Aug 1, 2014, 12:34am

What a journey! Those of us who suffer from this terrible illness can relate. Hang in there dear one!

I've learned my triggers, and they are red wine, lack of sleep and too much over stimulation.

I can always tell when a bad one is coming on. Sound bothers me. The least bit of noise is bothersome.

I hope you find the right doctor who is willing to sympathize and assist. Sadly, I've found that migraines are perceived by some in the same way as back pain, ie they cannot see it, and therefore it doesn't exist.

Edited: Aug 1, 2014, 12:40am

You know, Ilana, I don't experience migraines and feel lucky for that. But I'm sorry your docs are so worried about the addiction aspect of medication that, for you, is in the works-better-than-most category. From my perspective, the pain needs managing. Addressing the addictive qualities of the meds needs to go with providing you what you need to manage the pain.

But I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on t.v. :-|

I see that your August plans include some TIOLI reads. I need to go over there and see what this month's challenges are!

Hang in there, my friend.

Aug 1, 2014, 6:49am

Here's hoping, hoping that this combination of medications does work for you, Ilana. You deserve to feel better!

Aug 1, 2014, 12:11pm

Arggh. So sorry the migraine pain is continuing, Ilana. You've probably thought about this, but is there any value in seeing a migraine specialist?

Aug 1, 2014, 12:22pm

>61 -Cee-: Claudia, with the Fiorinal, there is fear of addiction, yes, but also that if you use it more than 12 days per month, you'll suffer from rebound headaches. I know Suzanne argues this hasn't been the case for her, but all the same, I won't take a chance for that, and so won't use it more than those 12 days. I woke up with another doozey, besides which the dose I took yesterday wasn't that effective. Couldn't have been I guess, since it's most effective when you catch the bugger in the beginning, but of course it's much too late for that. I took two more pills 45 minutes ago and hope it'll have some effect. Otherwise it's another zombie revival kinda day ahead for me. Trouble with catching them as they start occurring is they usually hit me in the middle of the night like you, and don't always wake me up, so it's kinda hopeless that way.

Yesterday I felt like I'd invested so much time into this ER thing already, I may as well see it through till the end. One friend on FB who says she discovered after 20 years the cause of her migraines (hormonal, I think) is pushing me for tests and whatnot to discover the cause of my migraines, but honestly, that requires a whole lot of energy and motivation and drive which I just don't have to spare. And what if there's nothing to find after all?

I just hope I'm all better for your visit. If I'm not, I'll get to you by hook or by crook, but I just won't be as good company unfortunately. All the same, I very much look forward to meeting you.

Aug 1, 2014, 12:40pm

>62 LizzieD: Peggy, the advantage to having something taken away, however temporarily, is that when you get it back it feels like such a blessing, so that right now being able to enjoy my home is a real joy. Coco was quite freaked out about having been left in his crate all that time, even though he had a dog walker come by and keep him company, but now he's back to his secure old self and all is well again in his world.

>63 Whisper1: Linda, trouble with me is there don't seem to be identifiable triggers. Sounds, smell, bright lights and sometimes barometric pressure (but not always) certainly aren't helpful and sometimes set things off (especially the first two), but as I've said, they often start at night too. I need to call my insurance to see if they'll finance a night guard as I also grind my teeth at night which certainly can't help matters. Will do that in a moment. Lucky for me, I've got one of the best specialists on my side, who himself has suffered from migraines all his life, which doesn't mean unfortunately that he can easily find a cure for me. Seems 'cure' isn't really a word we can shoot for, especially as my situation is hereditary and handed down from at least two generations that I know of.

>64 EBT1002: Ellen, I tend to rely on the TIOLI challenges to guide me in my reading choices, or rather, to help me fit my reading choices to various challenges. In any case, they help me narrow down the possibilities month by month, which is not a negligible benefit!

Hanging in there is really the best I can do at this point. Thanks for the encouragement my dear! xx

>65 scaifea: Amber, at this point I worry that the migraine's been going on so long and so strong that even the extra strength Fiorinal won't do much good. The only upside in this situation is I'm so used to the pain that I've learned to cope with it, but it's been an hour since I've taken my dose of pills now and still no relief, which can't be a good sign... doesn't help me be very active on the threads or want to write a whole lot of reviews on my own, as you can imagine.

>66 jnwelch: Hi Joe, trouble is, I have been followed by one of the most reputed specialists in town for the last 4-5 years now. Migraine is just one of those conditions that continues to stump the best of 'em though. Too many possible causes and not enough cures around.


Reading I'll be finishing The Snack Thief early on today I imagine. Then I think I'll move on to Bryce Courtenay's The Persimmon Tree, if only because it's still within the 1-year purchase period with Audible and I can still return it for a credit if it doesn't end up to my liking. But so far I've LOVED the two books I've read by him as he seems like a great storyteller. My only hesitation is his books tend to be on the very long side and I've planned for quite a lot of reading in August... I've updated my August plans in #60 as had forgotten a few titles I'd planned ahead or already had going. As I always say, those are always more loose guidelines than firm goals.

Aug 1, 2014, 3:17pm

>8 Smiler69: I have a suggestion for 1958. Things Fall Apart. I just finished it and it is very very close to being a 5 star read for me. I will let it settle before giving it a final rating.

Your migraines sound utterly hideous. I am sorry you have to go through it, and with little to relieve the pain, it must weigh on you.

Edited: Aug 1, 2014, 3:37pm

Finished The Snack Thief, which was a actually a reread. So will The Voice of the Violin when I get to it soon, but then all the others will be new to me. Starting on the Persimmon Tree soon. A Café on the Nile is proving to be hugely diverting, just as the first book in the trilogy was.

>8 Smiler69: Thanks for the suggestion Megan. I actually read that book a few years ago and agree with you it is excellent. Guess I'll either have to reread it or find another one for that year to fit that particular challenge though!

Aug 1, 2014, 4:13pm

July Stats

Total books: 28

Mystery / thriller: 11
Literature: 5
YA/Children: 3
Historical fiction: 3
Classics: 3
Graphic Novels: 3
Fantasy: 1
Quarterlies: 1
Series works: 12
Male : female authors: 15 : 10
TIOLI: 27, across 13 different challenges, 10 shared reads

Audiobooks: 14
Off the shelf: 8
Library: 6
eBook: 0
Unfinished: 0

5 stars: 0
4 & up: 15
3 & up: 11
Unrated: 2

Longest work: The Silkworm (455 pages / 17h22 audio)
Shortest work: Journey Into the Past (100 pages / 1h50 audio)

Oldest work: Au bonheur des dames / Ladies' Paradise by Émile Zola (1883)
Newest work: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (June 19, 2014)

Aug 1, 2014, 7:00pm

Multiple trips to the ER just to have them finally confirm you are suffering from migraine pain and have are resistent to drugs is not helpful. I hope the new drug they have proscribed makes things easier for you, Ilana and I agree, rebound headaches would concern me too.

Take care of yourself and I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Edited: Aug 1, 2014, 9:05pm

Hi Lori, I don't know what the ER situation is like in BC, but here in Quebec it's pretty disastrous. They're always terribly understaffed which means an incredible amount of waiting and all too often provide inadequate care which doesn't make all that waiting worthwhile. I've always stayed away unless really forced to go under duress, and will continue under that policy from now on.

On the other hand, it was wonderful to see how caring and helpful my friend Kristyna was and how willing to help my neighbour was with Coco and the cats, which was terribly encouraging. Thanks for your sympathy!

Aug 1, 2014, 9:57pm

I don't know much about the BC ER situation but I understand that there have been some vocalizations of long wait times and lack of beds - patients lying on gurneys in ER hallways for hours at a time. I have noticed that some of the lower mainland hospitals that are part of the Vancouver Coastal Health region display ER wait times on a website. According to that site, 90% of patients of those hospitals have seen a doctor in under 2 hours after being admitted.... but I live in Victoria and there doesn't appear to be a website tracking ER wait times for hospitals in the Greater Victoria Region. :(

You are lucky to have such a caring and helpful friend as a neighbor!

Aug 1, 2014, 10:23pm

You've been living through a nightmare Ilana and I'm so sorry there's no available quick fix for your migraine. That ER situation is just awful.

Thank goodness you have a great neighbor to help out.

Aug 1, 2014, 10:29pm

Just wish those migraines would go away and leave you pain free.

Aug 2, 2014, 10:44am

>74 lkernagh: In this latest situation, there were patients, including myself, who had already received care who had to sit in the waiting room with IVs and such because there weren't enough beds. Talk about ridiculous! And waiting more than 8 hours to see a doctor just isn't acceptable. In any case, I'll have to find other things to talk about, even if these migraines persists because I'm getting really bored with them as a topic of conversation, as you can imagine...

Susie turned out to be a real heart of gold, and her husband, if he ever ends up putting up my shelves will be equally valuable in my view!

>75 brenzi: Bonnie, I often thought I was all by myself, but this latest situation proved there were people willing to help me when I needed them most, which was what meant the most to me in all of this.

>76 avatiakh: Kerry, that really would be awfully nice. In the meantime, at least I'm able to do some really nice reading. Bryce Courtenay has a gift for entertainment and I can't understand why Bartle Bull's books aren't more widely read. Goes for both writers in fact.

Edited: Aug 2, 2014, 1:16pm

Picked up another Edward Gorey anthology borrowed from the library, always a treat, that; Amphigorey Again. This is the 4th book, so they're actually missing book 3, which takes nothing away from the enjoyment. Maybe I can convince them to purchase the missing volume?

Aug 3, 2014, 2:32am

I am sorry that there still has been no remarkable relief for you, Ilana. Can't do anything but hope you'll very soon feel much better and that the Fiorinal will help you in future situations.

Well, I guess ERs worldwide are suffering from cost restrictions and being understaffed. I hope and pray never to need one, and Merano is said to be the best public hospital in Italy's best-serviced region in matters of health, quite German standard (which is far from what it used to be famous for).
They have a traffic light system, on checking in you're diagnosed a red/yellow/green or white case. Red is heart failure or similar (you'll probably die unless treated immediately), yellow would be a broken bone (treatment is absolutely necessary, but you might have to wait some time), green is all kinds of "sickness" and a migraine would be white, i.e. you'd have to sit there until everyone else has been treated, and you have a good chance to catch some nice bug from all the sick people waiting along with you.
The general health service isn't that bad, but the ER is something to avoid if possible.

28 books is pretty impressive! I should also continue with the Zola, but don't feel like it yet. The last I read was Nana. Glad you enjoy A Cafe on the Nile - it really was an absolutely random choice and I feared it might become "worst read of 2014".

Edited: Aug 4, 2014, 12:40pm

Book #144:Aya by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★½
Source: Municipal library
Read for: August TIOLI #19: A book you told someone you would read
Series: Aya (1 of 6)
Edition: Gallimard Jeunesse (2005), French edition, Hardcover, 112 pages
Original publication date: 2005

Glad I finally picked up this first book in a series highly recommended by Kerry/avatiakh a few years ago. Set in 1978, it tells the story of Aya, the most beautiful girl in Yopougon—a popular section of Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast—and of her friends and their families. Though she gets plenty of unwanted attention (i.e. harassment) for her looks, unlike her girlfriends who only think about going dancing and fooling around with men, Aya is serious about her studies and contrary to her father's wishes, wants to become a doctor and have her own career instead of trying to find a rich husband. I really felt I was transported to another time and to an Africa beyond all the warring and the famines and to what everyday living must be like for young city people like Aya. But what makes this graphic novel shine are the drawings; full of energy and colour and hilariously expressive. No sooner had I finished this first book that I hurried to reserve the second in the series. Highly recommended (and available in English translation).

Aug 4, 2014, 12:51pm

>79 Deern: Thank you Nathalie. I suppose I should make efforts to see naturopaths and nutritionists and the like to try to find the causes for the migraines and alternative treatments, but I do find that thinking about the headaches makes them much worse, so I try to give them as little attention as possible during my day, which is feasible when the pain isn't too bad. I just don't want to be forced to make this a full-time occupation, but if things continue this way, I may have little choice in the matter. It's not even a question of expenditure, as my insurance covers quite a lot of specialists, it's just I'm more or less the opposite of a hypochondriac and hate spending any time at all worrying about my health more than is absolutely necessary.

I should have specified when I wrote my monthly statistics, because I'm sort of being dishonest by writing just the numbers; almost all those 28 books in July were on the very short side, which has certainly helped inflate my numbers for the year.

No worries at all about A Café on the Nile. I wouldn't call it great literature, but it is very good storytelling and I'm enjoying it a lot. I'll definitely look out for the third book in the trilogy. Now if only I could stay awake beyond 11:30 or so when I read in bed at night, I might make progress on it a little bit faster, but it seems I'm needing almost 12 hours of sleep each day lately. Probably my body needing to recuperate.

Aug 4, 2014, 2:57pm

Just stopping by to say hello and repeat my wishes for migraine going. As you are also planning to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves this month I wanted to add a little warning that there are some scenes of animals in distress (and emotional distress as well as physical which I find particularly heart-wrending). I think it's a good book but maybe one that you'll need to be in the right frame of mind for?

Aug 4, 2014, 3:37pm

I recently read Aya because of Kerry's enthusiasm, and had the same reaction you did, Ilana. Really well done. I want to get to the second one soon.

Edited: Aug 4, 2014, 4:17pm

>82 souloftherose: Hi Heather, I had one of the more mild variety going earlier today, but then took Coco across the park, where, as is his usual habit, he completely ignored me when I called to him. I let him roam around off leash when we're there and he seemed to be munching at something in a portion I couldn't get to him. I don't know if he just ignores me of if he genuinely can't hear me, but I had to shout and raise my voice for him to hear me more than once and lost my temper and then of course the migraine got much worse. By the time we crossed the street back to my house I was disgusted with him and just wanted him out of my sight and there was nothing for it but to just lay down on the couch and wait for things to get a bit better. I really must learn not to lose my temper. It certainly doesn't help matters any. And Coco is so oblivious, it's not like it makes any difference to him!

I'm not sure I'll be reading WAaCBO this month, now you've warned me off. I'd like to read some books from the Booker Prize Longlist and also have Blazing World from the library, but then I kind of resent cutting into my tbr piles because of the prize, so we'll see if I end up making them a priority or not.

>83 jnwelch: Hi Joe, I thought the drawings for Aya were really brilliant, and when he showed people getting furious especially, with red/purple faces and bulging eyes, it just made me laugh! It seems my library branch had the second book on their shelves as I've just been notified it's available to pick up already—yay!

eta: In fact, I've just checked and my local branch has the whole series, which will make borrowing them a cinch. No waiting time and I get first dibs!

Aug 4, 2014, 4:25pm

That's a tale of frustration for sure, and I'm sorry that your headache is worse. Male cats in the neighborhood (or something) have made Willow start yowling again. If I had migraines, I'd have one now.
And you'll just have to excuse this ---- it means nothing, but being a Southerner, I'm not going to be quiet mentally until I tell you that my cousin from Tucson called yesterday to say that she is in the Laurentian Mountains with her new man friend who was going to ride/run in a biathlon yesterday. And I thought, but didn't say, "Ooo. Ilana is in Montreal." That's the kind of thing that makes me happy. I'm easy.

Aug 4, 2014, 5:33pm

Love the Aya love! I mentioned in my last thread when I finished the series that the illustrator had worked on the animated series for Aya and also worked in collaboration with Joann Sfar for the animated series on The Rabbi's Cat.

Aug 4, 2014, 5:59pm

Oh, darn!!! I've been thinking of you and I'm borrowing my daughter's computer to check in and see how you are. I hate that you are still suffering. Gentle Hugs!

Aug 4, 2014, 7:10pm

Sorry. I just cannot join you in being upset with sweet little Coco (please see >41 Smiler69: above) and had to chuckle a bit to myself at my mental vision of the two of you. Of course, I didn't have to get him out of the park and home again.

At any rate, you are right. Yelling at a dog means very little to them from what I can tell. I'm about ready to start dog training again with Loki - even tho he is 7. They say a dog is never too old to learn. We'll see.

Aug 5, 2014, 4:58am

>84 Smiler69: Frustration like that often gives me a headache so I can only sympathise that it made yours much worse. I don't want to put you off WAACBO but didn't want you to start it unwarned, particularly as you're suffering from headaches so much.

Aug 5, 2014, 12:14pm

Woo! Lots of visitors! Headache mild this morning, even though I've had a terrible night, waking up over and over again either because of being hot and uncomfortable or because of unpleasant and stressful dreams (will have to speak to my shrink about that next week, seems one of my meds could be causing that), and despite the sky being terribly overcast with looming rain. I have learned my lesson about keeping my temper in check though, which in itself requires lots of work because I do tend to be quick to anger over little nothings, but then quick to forget too. Moody moody moody, forever and always.

Reading's going well. Two really fascinating sagas going with A Café on the Nile and The Persimmon Tree. In both cases, much underrated authors, though I know Bryce Courtenay enjoyed great success in Australia where he lived, but not elsewhere, which I can't understand because he was an amazing storyteller. The Anton Rider trilogy is really captivating, from what I can see from the first two books, yet is hardly known here on LT, and isn't helped on the audiobook front by a really bad narrator (as I learned with book 1), so that I'll be continuing in book form with the third book too.

Have a huge bagful of audio CDs to return to the National Library today, so will probably bring back more to make the trip worthwhile. But have also promised myself that I'll start fitting in a drawing session early in the day to make sure I get some drawing done every day, because sometimes in the evenings I'm just too fagged out and ready to call it a day by 9 p.m. which used to be the time I'd start drawing before.

Replying to messages and off to work I go then.

Aug 5, 2014, 12:45pm

>85 LizzieD: Sorry about Yowling Willow, Peggy. That has got to be maddening. I know my Mimi drives me nuts every day; I put a cup of dry food out every night, which is what Ezra prefers. But Mimi really likes her tinned wet food, so in the afternoon I put out a portion of that, but it has to be out by 6 pm exactly (even though the dry food, which she also eats, is out all day), and she starts asking for it around 4:30 and her requests become more and more vocal as 6:00 approaches and God forbid I should exceed that deadline because then I'm really in for it. Yesterday I was obviously being a grumpy old biddy, because I was late and she DID drive me nuts and I gave her a tiny little tap on the head to which she reacted as if I'd skinned her alive and ran away from me every time I came near her all the rest of the evening. So that'll teach me for abusing my cat and showing her I don't like getting nagged at, eh? They sure like reminding you who's boss, just in case there's any confusion.

Your story about your cousin up in the Laurentians made me smile because I can totally relate. I'd be the same way too. It's a really beautiful spot up there. I hope they've had nice weather to enjoy the biathlon. He must be a very fit man. Mmmmm. :-)

>86 avatiakh: I must have seen your comment about the link between Aya and The Rabbi's Cat, Kerry—I haven't been commenting lately, but I have lurked on your thread pretty regularly. But besides that, I was struck when I was looking at Aya at how much the illustrations brought to mind Sfar's work somehow. I'm sure if I put them side by side I wouldn't think that, but there certainly is an esprit, a kindred spirit kind of thing, which I meant to bring up in my review, but then not finding the words in my reduced state, just let go. I look forward to the next instalments.

>87 Whisper1: Thanks so much Linda. I'm so sorry to be causing you worry. I think somehow the physical pain has replaced the emotional pain. There is probably some correlation. Eventually I'll figure out a way to deal with it. In the meantime, please don't worry. For the most part, I can manage just fine. I have all my time to myself and so can arrange my days allowing for lots of rest; have all the amenities I need very nearby; Coco doesn't require lots of exercise and on really bad days is ok with just being taken to the back alley or across the street to the little park and not on longer walks. I always stock up with loads of fresh produce and groceries with my shopping cart and have everything I need in my cozy home and having lived on my own most of my life, really manage just fine. When things are unmanageable, I just sleep till things get better, and they always eventually do. And knowing there are loving caring people here on LT on top of loving caring people in RL makes is all ok. xx

>88 -Cee-:

Sorry. I just cannot join you in being upset with sweet little Coco (please see >41 Smiler69: Smiler69: above) and had to chuckle a bit to myself at my mental vision of the two of you.

Now you have to know that made me laugh. And of course I had to go and see >41 Smiler69: again. And again. And of course: how can anyone get mad at > 41? Well, Smiler69 does, that's who. But then, I get to live with him 24/7 and anyone, no matter how cute can get aggravating at such close quarters. And well, he is a guy after all, no matter what. And a real MACHO one at that, like you wouldn't believe! You should see him around other males! Well, you will see him. I'll bring him along when we go to market. I'm not really supposed to, but they tolerate small dogs there. And you've got to meet him in person. There's a little gourmet pizzeria there... oh but then, Sam can't eat there, can she?? There's other options too. Sushi? Can she eat sushi? There's a Thai place too. Lots of options. Anyway, yes, he's good enough for me to trust him off leash, but stubborn and/or deaf enough to drive me nuts too. Go figure.

>89 souloftherose: I never know how walks with Coco will go. Some days he's a real dream dog and behaves as if he reads my mind, but most of the time he just does as he pleases and acts as if I'm a distant acquaintance he faintly remembers having met at some point, which of course never fails to enrage me. Or sometimes amuses me, if I'm in the right frame of mind, which usually doesn't involve a raging migraine, as you can imagine! :-)

Aug 5, 2014, 3:25pm

Stopping by for a little visit, a chat mayhaps, and a pot of tea.

Heard you've been feeling a bit poorly, for which I am very sorry. Migraines are the most horrible things, aren't they? (How do you pronounce that? I always thought MY-grains, but a friend recently said ME-grains. Hmmm.)

Hang in there, Ilana!

Aug 5, 2014, 3:25pm


Went to market for basics just now, among other things at the pharmacy to get some magnesium tablets, which my ex-nurse friend Kristyna suggested might help for the migraines. I'm willing to try it, all the more since it's a natural solution and might have other benefits which are very desirable (to counteract one of the more unpleasant side effects from all the meds I take, i.e. constipation), and wouldn't you know it, just a few minutes after walking into that overstimulating environment, even with my sunglasses on—all the neons and bright colours and packaging and so on—my headache got worse. Now I'm back in the quiet of home and it's receded somewhat again. Solution to migraines: never leave the house. I'm just joking of course. Sort of. ;-)

I picked up the next 3 Aya books at the library on the way and will go enjoy at least one them on my balcony shortly. Didn't work on my drawing yet but will, though not going to the National library today. It involves a 20-30 minute busy metro ride and seems like more effort than I should be making in one day.

Aug 5, 2014, 3:33pm

>92 michigantrumpet: Hi Marianne, welcome! Looks like we've cross-posted! Interesting question about the pronunciation, because being bilingual, depending on which language I'm speaking (or thinking in) I rigidly pronounce it one way or the other, i.e. MYgrain, for English and MEgraine for French and never thought to do otherwise.

Do you like Earl Grey tea? I have several kinds, but haven't had the Taylors of Harrogate in a while and would definitely recommend it!

Aug 5, 2014, 4:48pm

So Mimi has time demands when it comes to her wet food - just like Willie! This is part of the reason that I am dragged out of bed at such a repulsive hour in the morning - His Highness deems it a law of nature, or some such, that he get his first bit of Fancy Feast by 5:15 or thereabouts (earlier if he catches me with a full bladder!). Cats can be SO inflexible.

Adding my wishes to everyone else's that there is a solution re: your horrible migraines out there somewhere. Personally I don't know how you cope with them as well as you do. I've had a few headaches in my time that I thought were pretty awful, but after reading about how much you and others on LT suffer with them, I can see that mine must have been mere child's play by comparison - plainly nothing more than your average garden-variety headaches.

Aug 6, 2014, 11:23am

>95 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, you are WAY too good to your Willie. Early on, Ezra and I had territorial battles about who was going to rule the roost, and though I'd had many cats before in my life and should have known better, I decided I was going to be boss, no matter what. I suspect his inappropriate peeing problem stems from that—his way of showing me no matter what, he still gets his own way, but I must say on the whole my brood are all rather well-behaved. There is no climbing on countertops and tables for instance, or at least, not when I can see it happen. When the big cat's away, the little ones may play as they like, but they were never going to get me out of bed at pre-dawn to feed them. You poor, poor thing!

I think probably the key to me coping with the migraines is the pain level on the whole isn't too horrid, and I've built a lifestyle around them. Right now, the pain level is what I consider a 6, but to some people might just be a 3 out of 10. I have no way of knowing if I have a high tolerance to pain or an incredibly low one, it's one or the other, in either case, the pain is just enough to be hard to bear, but not enough to drive me completely insane. Just enough to be a burden, but allows me to function for the most part, as long as I don't run around and hang out in noisy or overstimulating environments.

As I said to Linda, I can lie down or sit down whenever I need to and stay in the quiet of my own home for the most part doing non-stressful activities, but there is no question that I could never go out and do the kind of work I used to do, with all the responsibility, the long hours and deadlines and budgets and stress involved. I've been wanting to offer my services as a volunteer to the local community centre close to my home just a few hours a week for years now, but can't even do that because I can't work with a schedule, given the migraines make me unable to be around people or talk and interact much of the time, and of course I never know when they'll hit (lately, always) so in that sense, I guess I can't cope, no, but I guess I choose not to think of it that way because that would just be way too depressing.

I try to look at how lucky I am in many ways. Someone in my position could easily find themselves on welfare, living hand to mouth, whereas I'm quite comfortable. I have debt, sure, but I also have a large, cozy apartment and lovely things and a regular fixed income, which is more than many people in reduced circumstances can count on, and given I have so many hobbies, having all this time on my hands is a kind of blessing. Though I won't lie to you—I often feel guilty about it and wonder what I could/should do about improving my lot and whether I shouldn't find ways of getting myself 'functional' again, if that were possible. But for now, that's moot. Makes my head hurt too much to think about it. :-|

Edited: Aug 6, 2014, 11:59am

Go Aya! I'll look forward to hearing what you think of 2, 3 and 4, Ilana.

>96 Smiler69: It's understandable that you would think about doing more, but you're starting from such a tough place. Before hip surgery, for me, it was tough to do much and getting tougher - I could really understand folks a hundred or so years ago being driven to drink or drugs. The pain just drove out everything else. If you can get that to a moderate level some day, that would be different. But I wouldn't feel bad about something you never asked for, that you keep trying to address, that makes it so hard.

Aug 6, 2014, 11:52am

Let's hope the Fiorinal does help - I hate thinking of you having these terrible headaches. My fingers are crossed!

Temper tantrums with pets..... well..... I've had a few of those...... and really they can be so maddening! thank heavens dogs are so forgiving or oblivious or whatever they are, living in the NOW, as they do. Posey's latest thing is to run off after this huge rafter (ok people I just looked that up!) of 2/3 grown up turkeys and mom and dad running around down by the gate half way down our drive and every day she scatters them squawking. I could put her on the leash but..... the good thing is that she is at least getting it that deer are a) really big b) really really fast and she only pretends to chase them. And this is a sign of doggie maturity..... but the birds are too much fun; they make so much noise! Every time I think they've all found a roost and try to call her back one of them decides to move, flap flap squawk etcetera.

Ernie our b&w cat 'prefers' 'my' chairs - and he has a sixth sense about which of them I plan to sit in next..... my family all laugh at me when I leave him and pull up a different chair, but he is so fast, sometimes I move him, but when I get up for something, he moves right back, quick as a flash.

Aug 6, 2014, 12:15pm

Seems that Ezra approves of my reading material. Onward with Aya, book 2 then. I'm about halfway through and will finish it today.

Aug 6, 2014, 12:34pm

>97 jnwelch: Hi Joe, thanks for the encouragement. Sometimes I just think at 45 I'm way too young to be retired from an active career, as I should be in the thick of it, but I guess you can't plan these things, and according to all the therapists and shrinks I've seen over the years, they've all marvelled that I've turned out as functional as I am, given the genetic mental baggage my parents have handed me down on both sides. I don't like to just rest on that and say I've done my bit though, but must admit I feel like the fight has gone out of me. I used to be terribly driven and ambitious, and now, I think it's mostly a question of not having the energy. If I had, then I'm sure I'd still be full of plans and schemes. I did all the boozing and drugs earlier on in my life, trying to assuage another kind of pain, so now I know better than to try to turn to those crutches that only end up turning into additional problems, but probably if I hadn't done all that 'experimenting' earlier on, I might have turned to it now. I'm just happy to be clear-headed when I can be these days! :-)

I just met a neighbour yesterday who was telling us about being assistant manager to the Rolling Stones for 12 years and having to fly to Amsterdam every month to get Keith Richards his pure grade heroin. A junkie of the highest grade. Talk about messed up lives!

>98 sibylline: Lucy, I had a not too too bad head this morning, but decided to pop a couple of Fiorinal since that's when it works best to stave off anything worse coming on later, and I do feel better now. It's weird though, because it acts more like a veil than anything. I know the migraine is there and can feel it behind the veil, but it's at a remove so I can sort of ignore it. Whatever works; at least I have that, which is the only relief I've found so far. I'm hoping the magnesium might help me as I increase the dosage in the next week.

Temper tantrums with pets: dogs are forgiving, cats are another matter. Mimi, after that tiny tap I gave her the other day, once again was running away from me yesterday when I came to give her her food. I don't want this to turn into a phobia for her, so I'll take the time necessary to work it out of her system and train her to see she is absolutely safe and it was just a one-time thing, by bringing her back on the ledge and petting her and only giving her her food once she stays there and doesn't run away. She really behaves as if I'd given her a terrible walloping. I guess that shows how overprotected and coddled she's been all this time. Ezra loves my Aeron chair, and I used to sidle up to the front to let him sit there, but then I realized it's completely ridiculous; after all it's supposed to be a top of the line ergonomic chair and here I am making myself uncomfortable for my cat, so now I gently make him get off when I want to sit in front of my computer. It's not like he's lacking for spots to lay about in with all the other couches and chairs about the place!

Edited: Aug 6, 2014, 1:28pm

One of my Facebook friends posted this recently:

I personally think it's BS. In fact, my comment was "I think that's what people who swear a lot like to think of themselves. I used to swear a lot. Now I don't. Same person, and now I like myself a lot more."

What do you think?

Aug 6, 2014, 3:56pm

I save the swear words for choice moments, like when I'm frustrated fixing some gizmo or our kids take me on a teeth-rattling water ride of death.

Otherwise the swear words lose all meaning, as far as I'm concerned. I want them to have some oomph when I use them. Not that they make a bit of difference when I do. It just lets off some steam.

Going back to your original question, I think it's a lot of bs, too. Nothing to do with honest and trustworthy.

Edited: Aug 6, 2014, 7:39pm

reposting in >108

Aug 6, 2014, 4:29pm

>102 jnwelch: Oops, sorry Joe, I was busily posting my work on my blog and so on, and didn't notice your message, and now Coco is whimpering piteously for a walk, but I'll be back to answer soon.

Aug 6, 2014, 4:43pm

>101 Smiler69: - Nope. My mother swore like a sailor (she was the first person I ever heard use the oh so lovely words "m****r f****r" when talking to me about someone. I was 13.) and was neither honest or trustworthy. Human behavioral studies are waaaay off base, I think.

Aug 6, 2014, 6:00pm

Hi Ilana! Just checking in. I read Aya, the first one, a couple years ago and remember liking it quite a bit. I did not realize the story continued...I'll have to check it out.

Aug 6, 2014, 6:57pm

Ilana, please check my thread. I finished an incredible book regarding the wife of Theo Van Gogh. Knowing your love of art, and your incredible talent, I think you might like this one! If so, let me know and I'll send it your way.

I hope today is a good day for you.

And, regarding the issue of swearing, my grandmothers were night and day. My mother's mother (the wonderful, incredible lady who raised me when times were tough) was gentle, kind and I never heard a swear work slip from her mouth. On the other hand, my paternal grandmother swore, and acted like anything but lady like.

I didn't like to spend time with her, but I did like the fact that she took me to The Repulbican Club in our small town. Each Saturday afternoon, I spent hours in a smoke filled bar, sitting at a table while she sat at the bar with men folk. They bought me jax (a form of cheese curls) and orange soda. I remember a line of five-six sodas at one time on the table.

One of her friends also taught me to play shuffle board. I can still feel the sand on my fingers and the smooth way the quate slid down the wooden board, smaking the other round quates in the sidelines.

I had to lie to my mother when she asked if "that grandmother of yours took you to the bar again." I wanted the soda, the snacks, and to perfect the game of shuffle board. I was seven years old a the time.

Aug 6, 2014, 8:02pm

>102 jnwelch: I save the swear words for choice moments, like when I'm frustrated fixing some gizmo

I'm the same now Joe. But in my rebellious early teens and onward, desperately wanting to be admitted into the cool crowd and not be singled out as that weird loner, I took on lots of pathetic habits, one of them being swearing like a lumberjack and making sure to use an expletive every second word or so for effect. Not pretty. Needless to say, I've really cleaned up my act since then, but I must say I whooped with joy when my therapist, who is a real Lady (noticed capital L) told me a story about someone being really rude to her to the point where she told that person to F-off (using the full word), when they really deserved it, in response to one of my stories about having lost my temper with someone rude and feeling bad about it.

Sometimes it's just what is needed to express extreme frustration so people know you're not some dumb wallflower. I'll never forget though the time I was driving to Florida and going very fast (I think we were around Georgia at that point) when a van with a family cut me off so abruptly and in such a way that I was forced to drive off the left-hand lane and very nearly drove into a concrete structure. I was maybe 19 and had a mouth on me and shouted at them what the hell where they thinking and they damn well could have killed us, thinking this was pretty mild language (it really was, relatively speaking for me), and was astounded when the wife reprimanded me saying there were children in the van and I should be ashamed of myself. The nerve, when they truly did very nearly cause our premature deaths!

>105 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, from what I've gleaned from previous comments you've made, your mother was generally an unlovely person and using that kind of language in front of you as a young teen was certainly no way to set a good example. My father didn't hesitate to use bad language, but then he is generally uncouth and probably shares Bob Marley's opinion that good manners are just another form of hypocrisy. In fact, I'm pretty sure he must have expressed that opinion at one time or another or more than once. My mom never really swore much, though she did say s*** once in a while when she got upset, and now she seems to use it quite often. She was never what you'd call a lady and never aimed to be one either, but I'd say she was pretty decent on the whole for a rebellious spirit. I used to swear like a truck driver and then sometime in my early 30s I became conscious that women using that language all the time really seemed ugly to me, so I starting to curb what was then a long-standing habit. Like Joe, I now usually keep it for when it's needed and feels most satisfactory or really expresses true frustration and not just a passing slight annoyance, though I must admit the f word having become one of the more common English verbs it does tend to slide into regular conversation when I'm talking to younger folks sometimes, though on the whole I keep it pretty clean nowadays, in keeping with my squeaky-clean living. :-)

Aug 6, 2014, 8:08pm

>106 msf59: Mark, I'd suggest you pick up the first book again when you're ready to continue with the Aya series (6 books in total now) because the storyline continues from the first book and you'd probably enjoy it more with the first part fresh in mind.

>107 Whisper1: Wow Linda, that grandma sounds like she was quite a character, and I can see how hanging out at that bar for your seven-year-old self would have been a total blast! I got to hang out with adults all the time when I was a kid when my parents each separately invited their friends over having drinks and joints and whatever (joints at my dad's mostly). My dad would bring me to bars too and I felt so grown up and sophisticated, though I didn't like the stares I got from some of the creepier old guys. But then, they were all 'old guys' to me when I was 7-12 years old, obviously. I can also see why your mom would not have approved. My mom didn't either, especially when she found out my dad and his pals had been taking drugs or let me drink from their beer bottles, finding it really funny.

Edited: Aug 6, 2014, 8:10pm

I'm reposting this because I think I made it too small before and nobody noticed it!
My latest drawing project:

Aug 6, 2014, 9:26pm

Your drawings are wonderful. Do you draw them from memory? Do you have photos? I admire your ability.

I have taken several drawing classes, in various places, in the past, but just never kept it up, never practiced. I keep thinking that now that I am retired, I should have the time to take it up again, but there have always been so many other projects to work on, let alone reading time.

Aug 6, 2014, 9:32pm

>111 catarina1: Thank you so much. I work from photos. Most artists who work in a realistic style do. If they say they work from memory, 99.9% of the time, they're lying. Very few people have the kind of photographic memory that enables them to put in that much accurate detail. If they're drawing in a looser style it's a different story altogether of course.

I never make enough time for drawing or artwork in general, and have gone years and years without doing anything at all, but I guess it's like riding a bike. And there are just so many ways to be creative and do art. Realistic work is one end of the spectrum, but by no means the end all and be all. I like to explore lots of other styles, but this happens to be the one I chose for this project.

Edited: Aug 6, 2014, 10:13pm

Reading: Finished The Persimmon Tree this evening, which is no small thing in just 6 days, as it was 28 hours of listening time (the eBook is just over 700 pages). I like Bryce Courtenay a lot. He's really got a gift for storytelling. I think I probably started with one of his best, which was also his first, with The Power of One, and then The Potato Factory, the first book in the Australia Trilogy was really amazing too. He was a modern Dickens for sure. Sadly passed away two years ago in November. I'll try to write a review tomorrow if head cooperates. Took a bunch of Fiorinal today, but was busy hawking my portraiture services all over the internet today, so no time for reviews.

Now started on Cinder. I'm just on the 2nd or third chapter, about an hour into the audiobook. So far so good—we'll see how it progresses. YA, like fantasy is always iffy with me, and this is both, PLUS Sci Fi, but this summer I've been pleasantly surprised to like most of what I've read in that vein. I really love the cover art. Seemingly simple*, but so striking!

*not so simple typography, probably custom designed, really cool.

Aug 7, 2014, 11:41am

I liked Cinder - rushed right into Scarlet - but holding off on Cress till the price comes down. A fun series.

btw, I am saving The Power of One to read on the train.
*waiting impatiently*

Aug 7, 2014, 3:49pm

Rainy and grey today and then sometimes sunny and I truly didn't get enough sleep, waking up v v early this morning. Head was relatively good when I woke up, but then construction work just a few triplexes down, with them backing up a container in the back alley into which they started dumping contents from the 2nd level which made a lot of noise for over an hour ratcheted up the pain relentlessly so I had to close doors and windows and migrate to the front of the house and onto the couch, away from the relentless banging. Not too bad though; both Coco and Mimi snuggled up on the blanket and I picked up and finished Aya of Yop City and right after, Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume 3, which I'm about halfway through now. After watching a short clip of the animated movie trailer (, in French, which gives an idea of how the Ivorians pronounce the French in the books, I'm now able to better imagine their accents and speech patterns and travel further somehow. Very cool. I want to write a review, but then I also want to lie on the couch. Head not good. But I'll make an effort and go work on my drawing for a while instead.

>114 -Cee-: Claudia, I think Cinder is going to end up working for me too, if things keep going this way, which would be really cool. I know they have Scarlet available on audio from the library's OverDrive collection too, so I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to convince them to get the third book as well, if they don't get it automatically anyway. Hope it becomes more affordable for you soon.

I hope you end up enjoying The Power of One a lot, but if not, no worries, I know we all have our moments and reasons for loving books or not. xx

Aug 8, 2014, 9:17pm

Finished Cinder earlier this evening on audio and have now started on Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter. A completed change of pace, but that's the way I like it. Really enjoyed the first Meyer book, making allowances for the more cheesy and unlikely elements of the story, this being YA and a modern retelling of a fairy tale. I've put myself on the reservations list and am next in line for Scarlet.

Got two audiobooks from the library's OverDrive collection today:

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Been in lots of pain all day, Fiorinal not working, though accepted an invitation for dinner at my cousin's who lives 15 minutes away next to the market as my our aunt is in town from Ottawa and they said they were fine with me not being the life of the party and leaving early and doing what I needed to do to be comfortable. The stew was great and so was the strawberry rhubarb pie, which I'll be buying from the market too next time I go.

Made the following recipe last night found on Pinterest for dessert, only added brandy to the butter/sugar mix; was to die for:

Aug 8, 2014, 10:42pm

Hi Ilana

I'm simply checking in to see how you are feeling. Headache? Any better???

Aug 8, 2014, 11:09pm

My goodness, Ilana, you have been through the wringer the last few weeks. I am so thankful that I don't suffer from migraines and I truly feel for those that do. I admire the way you are carrying on through the pain, I'm such a baby I would probably take to my bed and that would be that.

I also read the first Aya a couple of years ago and really liked it. I will have to pick up the next ones in the series. I was working on my categories for next years Category Challenge and I have put in a Graphic Novel one as I have a lot on my list and haven't been able to fit them in on any kind of a consistent basis.

I hope there is some relief for you soon.

Aug 9, 2014, 9:51am

>117 Whisper1: Hi Linda, well, since you ask, yesterday was pretty dreadful, with lots of pain which the Fiorinal couldn't help reduce or take away at all. Today is worse with a real monster to grapple with, and I know the Fiorinal will be equally useless. I tend to wake up not quite knowing yet how I feel, sort of suspended for a blessed hour or so till I'm fully awake, but this time was woken up from comfortable sleep by the unrelenting pain of the throbbing behind my eyeballs. I may end up spending part of the day on the couch, which would be a shame because it's a gorgeous day outside. Staring at a computer screen can't be doing me much good though.

>118 DeltaQueen50: Judy, after spending the first couple of years after I left work in bed most of the day with clinical depression, I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't spend daytime hours in bed anymore, but I do end up on the couch with my migraines more often than I'd like to these days.

I wonder if I should join the categories challenge again next year? I just found that maintaining two threads in two separate groups was difficult to do; hard enough keeping up with this one, but it is a fun challenge for sure. A GN category is a great idea, there are so many great ones around nowadays that it's hard to keep up.

Hope you enjoy your weekend and thanks for dropping by and keeping up with me!

Aug 9, 2014, 10:26am

Morning, Ilana! You are up early. LOL! Glad you enjoyed Cinder. Scarlet is also very good. I still have to get to book 3 but I have it saved on audio. This series works great in that format.
Have a great weekend.

Edited: Aug 9, 2014, 1:06pm

>120 msf59: Mark, Cinder was good fun and I look forward to the next book.

About waking up early today, I find I complain enough as is it and don't want to add more to the pot, so please read the message I wrote just above to Linda to see why I was up with the crows this time. Had a nap and a few nice dreams just now, but I'm back to square one with the migraine now I'm awake again.

Aug 9, 2014, 2:55pm

Oh dear. I'm sorry that today is the worst so far, but I'm thankful that you could nap.
I love the change to your #5's expression and tried to say so on the blog, but somehow couldn't remember how I had registered to follow you. So I'm saying it here. I like the Mona Lisa smile!
Swearing......... My DH was a sailor and cusses like one. He is the most honest and trustworthy person I know. I, on the other hand, save my profanity (which I mostly learned from him although I don't use all of his favorites) for times when I'm alone and clumsy or frustrated or whatever. If that's hypocrisy, I'm a hypocrite.
The animals mostly rule, and mostly the cats.
I've done my bit of volunteer typing for the humane society and hope to read for a good part of the afternoon.
Take care of yourself!

Aug 9, 2014, 3:30pm

Sending healing thoughts your way Ilana!

Here is a lovely illustration to make you smile:

Edited: Aug 9, 2014, 4:24pm

On our first walk with Coco right after my nap, we went to the library were I picked up the last two volumes, 5 and 6 in the Aya series.

I just finished Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume 3 which was good fun.

Only had a bit of a hard time focusing because of an angry squirrel who's been making his infuriated squirrel noises at me every time I sit out on my balcony for the past 6 weeks or so, as he's decided to build himself a nest in the structure of the underside of my balcony. I've alerted my landlord to this, and I hope he doesn't kill the squirrel to take care of the problem, but in the meantime, the little guy doesn't seem to understand I was there first. Makes me feel for the natives of every country that's ever been invaded. Back to reading, Will be picking up Aya de Yopougon: Volume 4 Next.

>122 LizzieD: Liz, I guess the nap brought back the pain level from very very high to just very high as it was yesterday, which is something I guess. I'm glad you got to view the changes on my illustration. I always get the impression nobody sees that blog, and am glad to be proven wrong (looking at my stats just now, I guess I'm very wrong, with an average of 40 viewers a day in the last 3 days—a sudden spike with the new posts—with about 250 views/day of various posts & images, not bad at all!).

Funny about your husband being a sailor and swearing like one. I guess it's not just a stereotype after all eh? I guess when you have as many cats as you do at this point, they are bound to take over. I guess typing is something I could do as a volunteering thing, and I'd definitely be happy to work for an animal-related society. Will have to look into that. I was just considering volunteering time to be with people because I spend so little time socializing as it is and thought it might be a good idea to combine the two, but it's not really happening, obviously.

>123 Whisper1: Really lovely Linda. Do you know where that image comes from or what it's related to? It looks like it's telling a story of some kind.


eta: oh ya, also got We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves from the library, though don't know if I'll actually make time for that one.

Aug 9, 2014, 6:04pm

I agree with you that maintaining two threads in two separate groups - especially busy groups like the 75ers and the category challenge - is a challenge in itself. The category challenge group is currently discussing their challenge plans for next year and most seem to be going for scaled back variations on the theme. I cannot remember if you have seen the thread already, so here is a link to that discussion:

Aug 9, 2014, 6:57pm

I totally agree with you and Lori that keeping two threads in two separate groups is difficult, but I have become attached to both and couldn't possibly give up either one. I just resign myself to falling behind on one or the other periodically.

Aug 9, 2014, 8:50pm

"the little guy doesn't seem to understand I was there first. Makes me feel for the natives of every country that's ever been invaded."

LOL... (or not so lol) but you are funny. Such a sensitive philosopher. Have you read The Secret River? Just read that. It's about the English prisoners that were shipped to Australia displacing the natives. Sad.

I remember... some of my worse migraines were on the most beautiful sunny days! :p I hated that I was missing a great day.
hugs xoxo

Aug 10, 2014, 7:38am

So sorry about the on-going struggles with the migraines, Ilana. It just makes me sad and mad for you. I'm completely smad about it on your behalf - it's just not fair!
Also, I'm sorry, but the squirrel story is hilarious and adorable. Maybe you could make a friend out of the savage native by offering him some nutty treats - ha!

Aug 10, 2014, 11:26am

I love that illustration from Linda in >123 Whisper1:, Ilana, and I had to track it down. The artist is Alexander Jansson. I'm not sure which illustrated book it's from. He's got some very cool illustrations:

Aug 10, 2014, 12:39pm

On audio, finished Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter yesterday evening and picked up The Voice of the Violin, the last of my Montalbano rereads, before I finally move into new territory with that series. Re-listening to all first four books has really helped me appreciate the series a whole lot more though, so it's been worth it.

Just now sat out in the little park across the street with Coco, finishing my latest Summer 2014 edition of Slightly Foxed Quarterly. I know I get my dose of book lover's comments here on LT, but there's something about the small format and beautiful paper printing and tiny spot illustrations and the quality of the articles that make that publication really special to me, and I think I'll continue to be a subscriber for as long as I'm not living out on the streets. Sitting out in the little park and letting Coco roam about is the next best thing to having my own back yard I guess.

Nasty head again today, but some few degrees less bad than yesterday, which is something.

Lots of lovely messages again! Thank you so much, I'm always so grateful. Answering those next.

Edited: Aug 10, 2014, 1:37pm

>125 lkernagh: Hi Lori, thanks for providing that link, I'll swing by soon and see what the discussion is like, which will no doubt help me decide whether I want to join up next year or not. I know those few years I did participate I was doing so and managing badly, hardly visiting threads in the categories group, but still enjoying it because I felt like at least I was getting more mileage out of the reviews I wrote, which I was able to share in two groups, and it's always fun to feel like every book you pick fits into that many more challenges for some reason, isn't it?

>126 DeltaQueen50: I can certainly see why you'd want to hang on to both groups Judy, the categories challenge is a lot of fun, and I've missed it these past couple of years. Of course I've sort of made up for it by taking on a bunch of other challenges, so if I did join again, I'd sort of have to make sure the categories accommodated those ongoing challenges too, otherwise it would all get out of hand!

>127 -Cee-: Claudia, I read The Secret River a couple of years ago and found it excellent, but almost unbearable to the point where I almost abandoned it in the end, but did force myself to finish it, and was glad I did, but as much as I loved it I don't think I want to put myself through the brutality of it again, not so much for the physical violence of it, which was horrendous, but because of the psychological component of it, where the white ex-cons really thought of these aborigines as even 'lesser' beings than wild beasts, taking pleasure in their pain and suffering. It was really sickening. I don't like the idea of hunting for nourishment even, so imagine that. So ya, the story of the squirrel is both funny and extremely tragic to me. I can see the cartoonish aspect to it on the one hand, and on the other, how this is a question of survival for the little guy and how, in the blink of an eye we humans could just kill him for mere convenience to get rid of this 'pest'. So every time he makes his strange aggressive, though also cute sounds at me, my mind keeps working, working...

I didn't tell the whole story about my squirrel yesterday though. He's really incredibly bold, because when he sees me and Coco and the cats aren't going anywhere, he runs up the stairs, and right in front of us all, just a foot in front of Mimi and Ezra (the balcony is very narrow) to reach his nest). He's so fast nobody has a chance to catch him, and I guess he startles us all with his boldness. I've grown quite wary of him, especially as I know lots of squirrels have rabies, and seeing how bold he is, I worry sometimes he might decide to attack me or one of the furkids. So yesterday I actually doused him with water every time he came near, which made him even more furious, as you can imagine. It was all pretty funny actually, this all-out war with the local squirrel. :-)

Image taken from the web, but close enough.

Edited: Aug 10, 2014, 1:38pm

>128 scaifea: Amber, 'Smad' is a pretty good word, especially as both emotions do often happen to occur at the same time, don't they?

Believe me, it did cross my mind that maybe I should try to construct my little 'friend' an alternate nest so he'd have a home when the balcony was closed off to him, but I wouldn't know where to begin, and it's not like I have any space up on my 3rd floor spot which is tiny to begin with. Trouble is, there's a chance he might chew through some wiring or something structural down there, or else I'd be happy to allow him to stay.

I did make friends with a squirrel when I was still living with my parents before I left. I'd trained him to come right up to my bedroom's window ledge, by leaving nuts for him, and my parents told me after I moved out the squirrel still came every day for months, looking for his treat.

>129 jnwelch: Thanks for that link, Joe. If I'd had my head about me, I would have thought to search for the artist through Google images, but I'm not fully functional these days, so it's nice my buddies can do some of the thinking for me. :-)

I'm pretty sure I've seen this one by Jansson somewhere before:

I love this one because it's got elephants in it:

Aug 10, 2014, 5:58pm

I'm counting lots of smaller publications some people might not count toward their reading totals this year, like the Aya GNs, but I've hit the 150 mark all the same. I wonder if I can make 250 this year?

Aug 10, 2014, 8:20pm

Just finished Aya de Yopougon: Volume 4. I should really make time to review these, and the latest books I've read. Migraine hasn't been too bad this afternoon. A 5.5 or 6 out of 10 as opposed to 7 or 8. If tomorrow is the same, I may be able to write reviews. Fingers crossed.

Off to work on my drawing for as second session today as I finish listening to The Voice of the Violin.

Edited: Aug 11, 2014, 9:59am

Book #152:The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★
Read for: August TIOLI #7: A book by author who has written at least two other books you've read
Series: Commissario Montalbano (4 of 20)
Edition: Blackstone Audio (2008), Unabridged MP3; 5h17
Original publication date: 1997

This was a reread for my summer project of reading the Montalbano series and the last of the first four books I've previously read. I picked this one up in 2012 and wrote a review then which I think still applies for the most part:

When Montalbano accidentally discovers a murdered woman naked and suffocated on her bed, there are plenty of complications and likely suspects. One of them is a slow-witted young man who was seen at her home. Another is her husband, who was fully aware that his wife had lovers on the side. And how come she had a home built just for herself? And why did she always carry a fortune in jewels in her purse? As he questions various acquaintances and friends of the deceased beauty, he can't help but fall for her friend Anna, a younger woman who clearly likes him a lot. Meanwhile, things aren't going well with his girlfriend Livia, who is putting on the pressure to get married. I enjoyed the ride, but must admit the resolution of the murder left me quite confused. But that could be because my mind was wandering. Not an ending anyone is likely to guess at, in any case!

Only this time around I must have been paying closer attention because the answers became clear to me to me at the end, though I still say I don't think anyone would be likely to guess at them. Enjoying the series a lot more this second time around as I read them closer together and am paying closer attention to details. Looking forward to the next book, Excursion to Tindari, which will be wholly new to me and which I have in both French and English translations.

Edited: Aug 11, 2014, 10:45am

Book #147:Cinder by Marissa Meyer ★★★★
Source: National Library OverDrive Collection
Read for: August TIOLI #10: Read a book with a title also catalogued by a different author
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (1 of 4)
Edition: Macmillan Audio (2012), Unabridged MP3; 10h02
Original publication date: 2012

Lots of people I like and respect in this group have taken a great liking for this series in the last couple of years, but still, I was skeptical: YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi are three categories that are always iffy at best with me, with no dependable formula to rely on to guide me on whether any given book in those genres is likely to work for me or not. Well, I needn't have worried, because the overall effect worked it's charm on me. Loosely based on the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, our heroine, here renamed Cinder is a cyborg and the best young mechanic in New Beijing in a dystopian new world which has been rebuilt following WWIV. According to the author Marissa Meyer, the first version of Cinderella was written in China in the 9th century, where small feet were considered sexy, so she wanted to bring the story full circle by setting it in China again, only this time she plays around with the small shoe trope, because from the very first moment we meet Cinder, she's fitted herself out with a new mechanical foot to replace the previous one, which was much too small, so right from the beginning, you know our heroine is a take-charge kinda girl who isn't going to wait around for her fairy god-modther to make the magic happen for her. All the other elements are there: the Charming Prince, only in this case he insists Cinder call him by his first name Kai and practically hounds her so she'll accompany him to the ball, which she's determined not to got to; the evil stepmother, who treats Cinder like the second-class citizen she is, because cyborgs don't have rights like normal human beings do in this society, and who at one point commands Cinder to leave her foot in the hall in a bit of surrealistic sadism, and of course the ball itself which Cinder ends up attending, but not just so she can capture to prince's heart, which she's done already without trying to, but so she can save the earth from the threat of the Lunars and their Evil Queen, who threatens to dominate humanity with her mind-control form of totalitarianism.

This story is full of surprising twists and turns, and for one expecting just a few quirky takeoffs on a familiar tale, it's like a ride around a theme-park on a strong dose of LSD. There's not denying it's a fairy tale first and foremost and a teen one at that, so that suspension of disbelief must be set in place so the show can magically go on. But I joined along in the proper spirit, wanting to be fully entertained, and so the magic worked on me too. End result: I was charmed, and I've now put the second book, Scarlet on hold at the library. Perfect summer reading fun.

Aug 11, 2014, 10:22am

>99 Smiler69: Ezra is looking very handsome in that picture :-)

>101 Smiler69: I personally think it's BS. Well, that made me smile :-) I don't think that's a trend I've noticed.

>113 Smiler69: I tried Cinder a couple of months ago and couldn't get past the first 20 pages. Young adult novels don't really seem to be working for me very well at the moment so it may well just have been that.

>133 Smiler69: I'm counting lots of smaller publications some people might not count toward their reading totals this year I think one year I read and counted every 48 page Asterix comic as a book. Why not? And you're balancing it out with chunksters like The Persimmon Tree. I saw a hardback copy of that in my local library and it's enormous!

>134 Smiler69: I'm glad the migraine is a little better this afternoon. I so wish you could get off the pain scale entirely rather than a 5.5 or 6 being a good day :-(

Edited: Aug 11, 2014, 11:58am

Book #149:Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter ★★★½
Source: Audible (Daily Deal)
Read for: August TIOLI #5: Text only on the cover
Edition: Audible (2009), Unabridged MP3; 5h22
Original publication date: 2008

Foreword: I should start out by saying that the last few days were probably not the best time for me to be reading or listening to a book about language and grammar. At the best of time, the notion of grammar seems like Chinese to me, having missed all or most of the lessons on grammar in the three languages I was fluent in at any point as I was travelling from one continent to the other, and for another, one of the features of my migraines is I tend to "lose" words, that is, perfectly familiar words disappear into a black vortex and become temporarily irretrievable unless I go searching for them via a thesaurus equivalent, making the simplest of concepts difficult for me to comprehend when I'm in serious pain.

This being said, McWhorter has managed to write a short book which is obviously aimed at the public at large and in the audio version at least, is a narrator who is engaging and fun and obviously doesn't take himself too seriously, which kept me going even the more arduous bits (I've always had a hard time with grammar). He uncovers some links in the English language which are surprisingly overlooked by most linguists, among others, the connection between the spoken languages of the Celts as well as the Welsh and Cornish who had populated Britain before the invasion of the Germanic tribes, pointing out that not only words, but grammar itself was influenced by these origins. Why historians have ignored these particular linguistic connections is anyone's guess, and he advances some theories which are interesting.

A noteworthy reminder is for the modern reader is the fact that language was transmitted purely orally and on the fly, with no formal schooling in existence and was almost never put in writing, with the bulk of the population being illiterate, besides which written and oral versions of languages were often vastly different (for example, Latin exclusively in many Mediterranean countries for written matter, and Arabic, even to this day different in daily speech and printed matter).

He also goes over quite a bit of ground in this section about the use of "unnecessary do" in the modern English language, as in "do you think this is a good idea?" It took me a while to understand this concept, because we use (unnecessary) 'do' so much in our regular speech that we don't even think about it, but it seems no other Germanic languages use it this way.

The end section was of particular interest to me, because having studied in grade school in Israel, I learned how Hebrew was a semitic language which at one point evolved from Phoenician, and here McWhorter makes the argument that even the proto-Germanic language, from which modern languages such as English, German and Dutch evolved, through the sea travels of peoples such as the Phoenicians, probably had similar influences as well.

An overview more than anything, but fascinating in parts.

Aug 11, 2014, 11:03am

>137 souloftherose: Hi Heather! Sorry to have skipped over you, I was obviously putting together my latest review.

Lovely to see you over here! I lurked on your thread and saw you'd had another fatigued/fatiguing weekend. Sorry not to have posted, I was probably fatigued myself and/or in bed on the iPad. I've been doing lots of lurking on the threads lately, as you might already know.

As you might have guessed from my latest scattering of reviews, I seem to be doing much better this morning, so far at least (knocking on wood). Though I hear lots of trucks and beeps and big noises starting up outside, which is never a good thing for my head. Yes, being tied to a pain scale is unfortunate, but I've learned to function with one because my neurologist has asked me to keep a log so we can track the efficacy of meds and see how the pain progresses from one appointment to the other. Right now, I'd say I'm maybe a 3 or 4, which hardly registers for me and which I can conveniently ignore and function with completely normally.

Glad you find Ezra handsome. I find him rather gorgeous myself, but then I'm completely biased! :-)
Before I got him, I somehow had this fixation on wanting a grey tabby cat and he turned out exactly how I'd imagined him to be. His eyes, when seen in person are absolutely enormous.

As far as YA reading goes, I'm usually the one who has trouble with it and doesn't connect, but this summer I'm finding I'm on the opposite end of the scale and enjoying everything I've picked up in the Young Adult genre so far. Go figure! I'm taking advantage of it and cramming in as much as I can while the mood prevails as I never know of course whether I've actually made a breakthrough or if it's just a passing thing and am more inclined to think it's the latter, considering how moody I am and how often I've changed my mind about things over the years...

The Persimmon Tree was quite a brick, yes. I guess one could count it as several books, if one was inclined to, which I won't do of course. I want to write a review for that one, because I'd like to, in my modest way, get more people to read Bryce Courtenay or at least get curious about him.

Aug 11, 2014, 11:09am

Hey lady! How are you today? Almost afraid to ask - I want you to be ALL better but it will probably take some time to climb and conquer that mountain.
And - How's the weather shaping up? Are your weather forecasters any better than ours?

I'm so glad you were able to have fun with Cinder. Reading your review (excellent) makes me realize I missed some key points. This is why I love LT and my RL book group... broadens my horizons. Now I can't wait to see what you have to say about Scarlet. You're making me want to get Cress sooner than later.

I had picked out The Power of One to read on vacation, but I'm reconsidering. It looks a bit longer and more serious than I might want for vacation reading. I'm bringing my Kindle so I can choose from a variety - according to my mood. But I did want to bring a real book - just in case Heaven forbid something goes wonky with my Kindle. You know how nervous a reader gets about having something to read. Decisions, decisions.

Loki is being a very bad boy this morning and driving me nuts. He is also acting guilty about it all (running around, barking, getting crazy about every little thing). I haven't started packing yet, but he knows something is up.

Hope you have a nice day :-)

Aug 11, 2014, 11:22am

>140 -Cee-: Hi Claudia dear! You were probably typing up your message when I posted my response to Heather above, but anyway, thanks to the noisy trucks and construction/destruction out back, the pain level has ratcheted up in the last 20 minutes or so, and I'm now up to a 6, close to 7. Still sort of manageable. I'll make myself another iced coffee and it might help calm the flare up, if I combine it with Fiorinal? Will try it RIGHT THIS MOMENT, brb.


Aug 11, 2014, 12:04pm

>132 Smiler69: I love those illustrations, especially the elephants!

Hi Ilana! I hope this turns out to be a quiet, relatively pain-free week for you. I see that you are working your way through the Andrea Camilleri novels. I think you have now caught up with my slow progress through them. I enjoy them and they always make me want to go out to one of our favorite Italian restaurants. We're doing to one, called Barolo, next Wednesday as a delayed birthday treat for me. I'm already salivating!

Aug 11, 2014, 12:18pm

>138 Smiler69: the connection between the spoken languages of the Celts as well as the Welsh and Cornish who had populated Britain before the invasion of the Germanic tribes, pointing out that not only words, but grammar itself was influenced by these origins

I'd be interested to see exactly what connections he is referring to? As someone who learnt Welsh in school (and whose grandparents spoke it as their first language) I was always brought up to believe that there was very little borrowing from Welsh to English. There are similarities, as there are similarities between Welsh and French for instance, but more because they are both Indo-European languages. The only vocabulary borrowing I can think of is the word 'afon' (river) accounting for the number of River Avon's in the UK.

Aug 11, 2014, 12:22pm

>140 -Cee-: Back again, I waited a bit to see if the combo might work, and I definitely feel the pain has receded a bit, Hallelujah!!! Still there, but less, and that's all I ask for. Maybe I'm not demanding enough??

I'm really glad I was able to enjoy Cinder too. I guess it's a sign of my relative mental stability this summer, in terms of my not being overly blue, that I can enjoy so much lighter fare this season, so I'm taking in all I can. I think I'll jump on Scarlet asap when it becomes available to me, because I'm finding I'm getting a lot more out of series when I'm reading the books closer together and am able to recall more details from one book to the next. It looks like book #5, Winter is coming out sometime in 2015; I'm going to guess sometime in... Winter for marketing purposes. ;-)

The Power of One is an interesting combo, it's serious in a way, but also such a great adventure that I think it falls into what Suzanne would call the "thumping good read" category. But I've done my bit already to encourage you to read it and I don't want to pressure you anymore so that you're bound to hate it when you get to it, so pick it up whenever you feel inspired to, which is the best way to give it a fighting chance. That's a pun by the way, which you'll see when you read the book. Good idea to bring some physical book options in case the Kindle decided to conk out, god forbid.

You're right about Loki, animals have a way of figuring long in advance when any change is ahead. I need to get motivated to tidy up my place, as I'd really love to show you my home base when I bring you down to Atwater Market and at least make it somewhat presentable. No matter what, I warn you it'll be messy, it's just a question of what the proportion of cat hair will be! :-)

>142 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, I have no doubt the excitement factor must be increasing almost hourly as your departure time approaches, eh? I love food, but having been raised by a woman obsessed with it, it follows that I'm only moderately preoccupied with it, so it didn't strike me so much at first in the Camilleri books. But after seeing so many comments about it here on LT, I pay more attention to it now. I think I'm less attentive to it too because my mom is an amazing cook also, and I haven't eaten that well in many many years, so instead of mourning over something I can't have, and have little patience to make for myself, I'd rather more or less ignore it, though my friends assure me I'm a good cook.

Sounds like you're in for a treat at that Italian restaurant. I trust you'll share your menu on your thread, Montalbano-style once you've enjoyed your meal! :-)

Aug 11, 2014, 3:01pm

Just finished A Café on the Nile. Loved it. Ordering the next book now. Definitely must write a book report. But not now as want to have a drawing session asap.

Aug 11, 2014, 3:40pm

Happy that you are enjoying the Montalbano series more this time around, I have the latest one home from the library at present. I also have Cress here but still not sure if I have the reading time to get to it as I have piles of other reading to get through. Donna Jo Napoli wrote a retelling of Cinderella, Bound, which is set in old time China, I liked it very much.

Aug 11, 2014, 4:46pm

You might get some head pain relief while I am up there. Looks like a few days of rain - so maybe the construction will abate for awhile. My umbrella is found and ready to pack. Interestingly, when I moved to Maine from Connecticut I learned that real Mainers do not use umbrellas. I stuck out in a crowd for a few days till I realized it. As I recall though, they are fairly easy to operate - and even to lose, for that matter.

Oh, please. Do remember that I have a dog and a cat - both of which shed all over. I am in the group that considers you are not fully dressed without a few cat hairs...
And let me tell you a little story (maybe I told it before): When I was first married and invited my parents in-law over, the first thing my MIL did was reach up and run her hand along the top of my refrigerator! Of course, it was dusty. I couldn't even SEE up there! What? I was supposed to clean that too? :p~ That was the beginning of a very rocky relationship till the day she died and pushed me over from behind (when I was in Nova Scotia) which resulted in my broken shoulder. Oh yes, she was dead - but apparently not gone. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway - I don't care if there is no sparkling, shining aura surrounding an ever-so-neat and organized home. Stay natural and normal. I will be more at ease... if I even get that far. Don't worry. We will only do what you feel up to. I don't want to be a bother.

Hmm... a "thumping good read", huh? Maybe I will take it along.

Edited: Aug 11, 2014, 9:19pm

Oh. Just found out about Robin Williams's apparent suicide. He was only 63 and had been battling with depression recently, though as I understand it, this probably wasn't his first bout, and I know he had battled with drug addiction in his life too. Very sad, and I always feel like I've lost a brother or sister in arms when someone decides to take their own life. I'm sure he leaves behind many people who are sad to see him go so soon. May he rest in peace.

Aug 11, 2014, 9:19pm

>147 -Cee-: Hi Claudia. My place is just beyond messy usually, and I wouldn't want you to get totally grossed out. And at the same time I'm quite proud of my apartment, which is my little cocoon and quite lovely in its own way, so I'd like to invite you over. Only I basically wash the dishes every couple of days and have my cleaning lady come in every 4-6 weeks, but otherwise don't do much else, so it's pretty well a disaster zone, though visitors usually tell me it seems surprisingly clean and tidy, considering everything. I guess they don't know as well as I where all the dustbunnies are lurking and how long those piles of stuff everywhere have been around!

I'd never heard (see) you mention you MIL before and that theory about her pushing you and causing that shoulder injury, but it's just as likely as not.


Off to take Coco for a walk and get ready for bed shortly. I've packed in as much as I could today and thankfully the Fiorinal has made the pain level completely tolerable today. Thank God for small miracles.

I'll be starting on Maigret book #6 tonight: The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon.

Aug 12, 2014, 6:59am

>138 Smiler69: Oh, that one sounds interesting - thanks for the review!

Aug 12, 2014, 7:09am

Hi Ilana! I am glad you enjoying some lovely weather. It cools off deliciously here today. I am so glad you loved Cinder. I still have book 3 to get to and will probably line it up soon, once my Booktopia books are complete. I also hope to bookhorn another Montalbano in too. I do not want to much time to pass.

Aug 12, 2014, 12:14pm

I'll be off to the dentist's shortly to get fitted out for a mouth guard. If I grind my teeth at night, as the dentist says, this should hopefully keep me from doing so, which might help reduce the frequency of migraines. Only I'm not 100% convinced I won't continue grinding on top of the mouth guard, but it's worth a try for sure.

Will be finishing The Burning Bridge today. Totally not the sort of book I thought I might ever enjoy, YA fare about rangers and adventure and ghastly monsters and war and generally, boy things, but enjoy it I have been. I don't think I reviewed book 1, which is a shame. Maybe I'll try to do a 2 in 1 when comes reviewing time.

I was so glad to be well enough to deliver those three reviews yesterday! Not feeling too badly today, but can't linger too long now.

>150 scaifea: Glad you enjoyed the review Amber. Glad I was able to write it, and hope you enjoy the book if ever you get to it.

>151 msf59: Hi Mark, we're having a lovely day, though it looks the end of the week and the days following will bring lots of rain, which is a shame as Claudia, our one and only, will be visiting with her granddaughter, so I'm hoping the forecasters are wrong about that one.

I'm glad I agreed with the crowd about Cinder too, and look forward to the next book. I'm pretty sure I put in a purchase suggestion for book 3, and if I didn't, I'll hasten to do so asap. I'll be getting to Excursion to Tindari within the month for sure. I know you're always really excited about Booktopia, happy for your you are going again!

Aug 12, 2014, 5:34pm

Finished listening to The Burning Bridge on my walk with Coco. Now for a complete change of pace, will start on The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers on both audio and reading from the book. This is a reread—first time was when I was 21, and this time it was a pick by Ellen for my Picked for Me! Challenge. I thought somehow it made for a perfect August read, though I couldn't begin to say why.

Aug 13, 2014, 11:57am

This really says it all. It seems many of us who have suffered from lifelong clinical depression have been hit pretty hard by Williams taking his own life. He was much too young to go, but while he amused the crowds, who was there to take his mind off the Black Dog? RIP Robin Williams.

I'll go distract myself with some books now. Head's not too bad, but feeling pretty gloomy.

Aug 13, 2014, 1:18pm

Just finished The Yellow Dog by Simenon. I'd review it, only I have no idea how to. Will shortly finish The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís, borrowed from the library, which I started on yesterday. It's late, and I can't renew it as it's a new title and has been reserved, but I don't mind paying late fees for a few days. Cheaper than buying it by a long shot after all. After that, will start on something new, or work on my drawing project while listening the Carson McCullers, then start on something new.

It's raining raining raining out there today. Poor Coco wants to go outside, but it's no fun for either of us to go out there when it's pouring like this. Still, it must be done, so off we go for a short while.

Aug 14, 2014, 6:30am

Catching up after my busy week. So good to read that you're finally feeling better, yay! :)

Had a discussion with my mother on Monday about depression (caused by RW's suicide of course). I should better have just let her talk until she got tired instead of answering. Well, it's a different generation...

Yes, it was a shock everywhere in the world. I read somewhere he checked into rehab regularly to prevent relapses, the last time just some months ago.

I'll sure rewatch "Good Will Hunting" this weekend. I had also completely forgotten he'd been "Mork from Ork", one of my childhood's favorites.

The weather this summer seems to be bad everywhere. Can't remember that much rain in an August (and after a rainy July and June). Everything is muddy here, and such wind together with the rain. I feel sorry for our tourists, Merano has nothing to offer in bad weather, not even a movie theater.

Edited: Aug 14, 2014, 9:51am

-Pinzellades al món

^Thinking of you! Smiles...Hope you enjoyed the Sis. What an interesting life Antoine de Saint-Exupéry led.

Aug 14, 2014, 11:14am

>156 Deern: Hi Nathalie, nice to have your visit. I fell behind on your last thread again. Will have to go catch up and then come visit your new place. I don't know if I can say I'm really better as far as the migraine goes. It's still there, but the past few days have been lesser pain while I was feeling more depressed.

As far as weather, I've been generally very happy about our summer. The weather has been cooler than in past summers, which means no major heatwave that lasts a full month or longer, which I've found really hard to handle in the past, and this year we've had lots of warm, sunny days, that weren't too hot and then some rainy days, as is normal here, but this weeks seems we're getting lots of rain all of the sudden. I wouldn't mind, but it's a shame because Claudia is coming over for a visit with her granddaughter and I worry it'll ruin their trip, though unlike Merano as you describe it, there is still plenty to do indoors here, since of course we're all set up for the winter season.

>157 msf59: Love those reading cats Mark, thanks for posting them here. I'll go back to the Sís in a short while—didn't finish it last night after all because opted to watch a movie instead: The Big Sleep, which I'd been meaning to watch after finishing the book recently, and then seemed like a good choice to mark Lauren Bacall's passing.

Aug 14, 2014, 12:05pm

>129 jnwelch:...Yes, Joe, that illustration was one I hunted down after seeing your wonderful opening images of this incredible artist. Thanks Again!!!!!

Aug 14, 2014, 2:10pm

My pleasure, Ilana. Finding great new illustrators thanks to folks like you and Linda has been a surprising side benefit of LT life.

I love The Big Sleep! Book and movie. What atmosphere. I had a crush on Lauren Bacall as a youngster - as an oldster, too, I suppose. She had a good, long life, but I'll miss her.

Edited: Aug 14, 2014, 6:48pm

For those of you not of Facebook, where I posted the above, this is a photo of Coco taken this afternoon as we left the groomer's after he got freshly shorn of his lovely golden locks. I had him weighed-in at the vet's below and he's now at 7 lbs 5 oz, or 3.3 kg, so he's lost 4 oz or 100 g since I've reduced his portions about 3 months ago. He was getting a bit pudgy. I'd like him to lose another 5 oz or so. Easier to put him on a diet than my own self, and he's easier to carry too.

Picked up Amsterdam by Ian McEwan last night, which has been on the tbr since 2008. Made progress while I was waiting for Coco today at a café.

Getting a massage in a couple of hours, right here at home. Ultimate luxury, especially as it's covered by insurance. Head's not too bad today, and I'm hoping this will offer additional relief. In fact, I'm well enough to write some reviews, but need to feed myself first and put in time on my drawing, we'll see if there's any time left over after that... if not, tomorrow's another day.

Aug 14, 2014, 6:47pm

>159 Whisper1: Hi Linda, we all like to share the good stuff here!

>160 jnwelch: Joe, one of my first sources for illustrators here on LT was Kerry, who is also very fond of artwork and reviews many of the visual books she reads.

As for The Big Sleep, of course I couldn't help but draw comparisons with the book, having read it so recently, and I knew they would change the ending when I saw how little time was left, and must say I was disappointed with the way they chose to conclude the story, but that's Hollywood for you. Still a great movie, and I must say I was surprised with how closely they stuck to the original story in other ways. Still, I was wondering how they'd deal with the nudity and homosexuality... you'd think for the photo session, they'd have had Carmen wearing something a bit more... alluring, like a bathing suit or something?! Of course they couldn't do full nudity and pass by the censors, but how to explain why those photos were worth blackmailing them over? All the same, I'm sure I'll watch it again sometime.

At least Lauren Bacall lived a long life and died of natural causes, which makes it easier to accept. We all have to go at some point.

Edited: Aug 15, 2014, 2:01pm

Book #156:The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís ★★★★
Source: Municipal Interlibrary Loan
Read for: August TIOLI Challenge #7: a book by an author who has written at least two other books you've read
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 48 pages
Original publication date: 2014

I guess you could say I'm somewhat of a Peter Sís enthusiast by now, having read over a dozen books he's contributed to in one way or another, either solely as illustrator or as both writer and illustrator, and it's safe to say he's evolved a signature style when it comes to biographical subjects (Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin immediately come to mind) which is uniquely his, telling the stories with words and pictures, and pictures within pictures that give the impression at first glance of complex tapestries that you can stare at for a long time to discover endless fascinating detail. For this reason, I find I can never take in his books in one short sitting, no matter how slender the volumes are as they are intellectually stimulating and pack a lot of information.

Here the subject is the author of that iconic children's book The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whom Sís introduces to us from his birth onward and who seems to have led a fascinating and adventure-packed life, devoting most of it to flying and writing in more or less equal measures. Unbeknownst to me, he had made a name for himself as a hero for his flying adventures on the one hand and as a successful author on the other well before the publication of his iconic little book about the prince from another planet, with his books based on his flying adventures, one of which became an international bestseller in 1931 and won him the Fémina Prize and which inspired the venerable French perfume house Guerlain to issue a perfume named after that novel two years later, Vol de Nuit, (known as Night Fligh to English readers).

A gorgeous book, much recommended to lovers of Sís and/or Saint-Exupéry. I was already interested in reading more work by the famous author/adventurer, but I think I'll seek out his other books more actively now.

Edited: Aug 17, 2014, 2:13pm

Book #157:Amsterdam by Ian McEwan ★★★★½
Source: My bedroom tbr, Mooched in 2008
Read for: August TIOLI Challenge #15: a book from the bottom of your tbr pile (define this as you like)
Edition: Vintage Canada (1999), Paperback, 178 pages
Awards & Distinctions: Booker Prize (1998), 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 Edition)
Original publication date: 1998

Sometimes going into a book knowing little to nothing about it reserves great surprises. I picked this one up more or less unplanned as I was needing a dose of literature, having indulge plenty in lighter fare this summer with plenty of YA and detective mysteries and promising myself since long ago to read more books by Ian McEwan. This one did not let me down.

The story starts at the cremation site of Molly Lane, which is attended among others by two of her ex-lovers and longtime friends, Clive Lindley and Vernon Halliday. One thing that has united them through the decades, other than their devotion to the lovely Molly, who was taken too early by a mysterious illness which robbed her of the control of her body and mind at the age of 46, is a common hatred of her hugely wealthy husband George Lane, who took advantage of her reduced state by taking over her life and keeping all her friends at bay. Clive is a renown composer who has been commissioned to write a symphony to bring in the new millennium, while Vernon is the latest editor of a newspaper which has been struggling to remain competitive. Also there is the much reviled Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony, who was also one of Molly's ex-lovers, though the two friends can't understand what she ever saw in him. They are both horrified at the prospect of being struck down with a debilitating illness as Molly had and like her, unable to make decisions for themselves as the end approaches, and agree that should the worst happen and either one lose his mind, the other would ensure to end his friend's death in a humane way, with euthanasia a procedure which has been legalized in Amsterdam.

When George, who owns a 1.5% share of The Judge, Vernon Halliday's paper, calls the editor up and says he's got photographs which will make his sales positively explode, things become complicated. The photos were taken by Molly and they are intimate photographs of Garmony in feminine wear. Vernon immediately sees their potential for sending sales through the roof, though Clive, whom he shares this story with, is appalled. Surely Molly would never had wanted to make those photos public and cause a scandal, or to disgrace Garmony; therefore wouldn't George and Vernon be dishonouring Molly's memory by publishing them? Meanwhile Clive is under pressure to deliver his symphony within a tight deadline, even though the millennium itself is still years away, and he is hell-bent on delivering a piece that will mark him as a genius. He works night and day and makes his composition his only priority, to the point that when he witnesses a rape taking place in the Lake District while he is struck by a moment of inspiration while on an outing, he decides to ignore the despicable crime and keeps taking down notes.

From there the stage is set for the drama to unfold. I was reminded, once again of why I enjoy McEwan so much. This seems like highbrow entertainment, but also makes for highly entertaining reading, with everyone out for themselves at first, and then everyone out for revenge in the end, a combination which I'd say is impossible to resist. I'm putting it straight on the 'to reread list'.

Aug 15, 2014, 5:44pm

Stopping by....

Sorry the headaches continue, but sounds as if it is abating a little now?

The McWhorter is tempting! I find I prefer non-fiction when I am listening and driving - it's less stressful and that sounds like a winner.

It is indeed so sad about Robin Williams, and then the added twist of Parkinson's.

Aug 15, 2014, 10:20pm

Love the photo of Coco, and hope your massage was heavenly and helped with your migraines. I can see how it might if the headaches are caused by muscle tension in the neck. I had whiplash a while ago, so I know it sounds like a little thing but it can cause a lot of pain! Glad Amersterdam didn't let you down. I still haven't read McEwan but I'm sure I have a book of his somewhere.

Aug 16, 2014, 11:49am

Pretty exciting stuff today: I'm getting together with Claudia / -Cee- in less than an hour, who is in town on vacation with her granddaughter Sam and is dropping by my place so I can show her my little abode and we'll walk from here to the farmer's market to have lunch. On Monday I plan to take her out again to The Word, my favourite English language 2nd hand book store which is in another neighbourhood altogether.

Also, on the audiobook front, made a huge score yesterday on OverDrive, with no less than 8 titles I'd made purchase suggestions for which arrived all at once. There was the Ruby Red Trilogy, so I grabbed:

Sapphire Blue and
Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (supposedly this year's answer to Gone Girl)
Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young (narrated by Dan Stevens)

Finished listening to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I'd been looking forward to rereading for years and years, this having been my favourite book around 1990, but I somehow failed to enjoy it this time. Now I'm onto Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and in print, have picked up Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey.

Answering messages, then must wash hair and get ready for my visitors!

Aug 16, 2014, 11:55am

>165 sibylline: Hi Lucy, I wish I could say the headaches are abating, but not really. It's just I was able to catch them one day when they were less violent and treat myself with Fiorinal which gave me a break for that day, and then had a couple more days of more tolerable ones, but we're back with the regular routine now. I just have to keep trouping along.

I only found out about the Parkinson's angle ono Thursday via my massage therapist. He probably felt he had more on his plate than he could deal with, poor man.

>166 cammykitty: Katie, I do have constant muscle tension in my shoulders and neck so was hoping the massage would help, and while it felt good while she was doing it, it unfortunately didn't provide the relief I was hoping for. Ah well. I'm sure whiplash can cause a lot of pain too. I have several other McEwan books in the tbr and definitely recommend him. I would definitely suggest Atonement, it's a great novel.

Right. Off I go!

Aug 16, 2014, 3:16pm

Where have I been??? I have no idea, but somehow I've missed 46 posts on your thread.
I don't really have anything beyond my normal nothing-much to say........ Lovely photo of Coco. Alarming one of the squirrel. Our last 3 dogs have all been great squirrel hounds. May at least doesn't have them all spotted before she goes out in the yard to give chase as Sierra used to.
Robin Williams - such a sadness.
Enjoy Cee and company for all of us! That's great!

Edited: Aug 16, 2014, 7:03pm

Meetup pic!

So that's Claudia and me & Coco earlier today at Montreal's Atwater Market. I suggested we meet up at my place initially as it's just a 10 minute walk from there. The photo was taken by the lovely 14 year-old Sam, Claudia's granddaughter. We were going to have more photos taken later with Sam in there, but of course forgot all about it. We ended up spending quite a bit of time at the farmer's market, getting some fruit and cheeses and other fresh goodies and then having a late lunch in the food court where there's a really popular Thai place. We had mixed satai with shrimp and chicken grilled skewers and a green papaya salad for Claudia and I. The adults talked books & more while Sam had her head buried in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling which I'd given her, along with Chasing Vermeer. We had a lovely time and plan to get together again on Monday to go to The Word, a second hand English language bookstore specializing in literature.

Aug 16, 2014, 7:07pm

>169 LizzieD: I wouldn't worry too much Peggy about having fallen behind, considering how much posting I do on my own thread. I like to keep a tally of what I'm reading at any point and probably post here more than I should in general about goings on in my life. I have a blog I should use for that purpose, but I like knowing there are more people I know reading my thread once in a while, minus my parents...

Edited: Aug 16, 2014, 8:01pm

Book #158:The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers ★★★½ (reread, originally ★★★★★)
Source: Municipal library
Read for: August TIOLI Challenge #8: a book with an amusing LT tag, Picked for Me! Challenge - picked by Ellen/EBT1002
Edition: HarperAudio (2004), Unabridged, Audio CD; 12h28
Awards & Distinctions: Guardian 1000 (Love), Time's All-Time 100 Novels selection (among many others)
Original publication date: 1940

“People felt themselves watching him even before they knew that there was anything different about him. His eyes made a person think that he heard things that no one else had ever heard, that he knew things no one had ever guessed before. He did not seem quite human.”

“She wished there was some place where she could go to hum it out loud. Some kind of music was too private to sing in a house crammed full of people. It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.”

I first discovered this book around 1990, when I was 19 or 20 and it felt like a true revelation. I was relatively well-read at that age, or so I thought, but I don't think I'd ever read anything about the Deep South or by a Southern writer, and certainly nothing by a such a young female writer (McCullers was 23 at the time of publication), and though when I was rereading it this time I realized I remembered little to nothing of the story, what I do recall is the awe and reverence I felt for what I felt to be a brilliant masterpiece on the one hand, and on the other hand, feeling like I'd finally discovered an author who knew how it felt to be different inside from the others. For those reasons, it had stayed with me, for over 25 years as a shining memory, and I was often to name it as one of my all-time favourites.

For these reasons, I can't describe the disappointment I felt when, listening to the audiobook this time, perfectly well narrated by Cherry Jones, I hasten to add, I found it slow going and rather dull, even rather didactic in parts, failing to find all the beauty I'd seen in this novel the first time around. But first, I'll describe the book a little bit for those who aren't familiar with the story. It takes place in a "large" town in the Deep South (pop. 30,000), and the opening pages focus on the intense relationship between two deaf-mute friends who live together, John Singer and Spiros Antonopoulous. Spiros starts to behave more and more erratically, getting in trouble with the law more and more frequently and is eventually committed to an insane asylum, forcing John Singer to move from their home to a rooming house. From there the novel describes the events of four of John Singer's acquaintances, for the man becomes a magnet to some of the locals, who see in him whatever they wish to see, and consider him their best friend, jealously guarding their relationship with him from anyone else. There are Mick Kelly, a fourteen year-old tomboy and the daughter of the impoverished owners of the rooming house, who has a passion for music, discovers Mozart and Beethoven almost by accident and dreams of composing music and having a piano of her own one day. There is Jake Blount, a hard drinker, drifter and labour agitator regarded by most as a communist. Biff Brannon is the owner of the New York Café where most of the characters in the story go to have drinks and meals, and he seems to have a soft-spot for people who find nothing but trouble, such as Jake, to whom he loans a lot of money knowing perfectly well he'll never see it again. Finally there is Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland, a black physician who despises all whites, and who worked hard to have a proper education, and raised his children to have high values and ideals, only to be bitterly disappointed in their obstinacy to remain "like their own people" in their mannerism, speech and deeds.

As I write this, and as I was looking for quotes to include in this review, I was wondering why I wasn't more moved by this novel this time, because it has so very much going for it, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a great piece of literature. But I guess I've read a lot since I was 19 and recently have read quite a lot about communist agitators, and those parts of the novel, when Jake Blount speaks up tend to be rather bold, and perhaps more pronounced in the audio format. Steinbeck serves up quite a bit of that, then Native Son which I read recently was basically a Communist Manifesto, so that the social-political aspects of the novel took away from my enjoyment of the purely poetic aspects. Then again, it could have purely been a timing issue. Maybe I'm just happiest reading YA these days. Or maybe I'd have been better off finding my paperback copy and reading it at my own pace, savouring the sentences as I can do with those two quotes up above. Who's to know. Maybe a reread in another 20 years will prove more satisfying? Only one way to find out...

Aug 16, 2014, 8:14pm

>170 Smiler69: Great photo of the Meetup, Ilana! How wonderful. Sounds like you had a very nice lunch, with Claudia and Sam.

Great review of Amsterdam. I did not have that on my To-Read List, but I do now! I have only read one McEwan.

Aug 17, 2014, 6:48am

Hooray for a meetup and lovely meetup photos! I hope you all enjoy yourselves tomorrow too.

Aug 17, 2014, 11:29am

Not ever managing to sleep through the night, even though I tried taking sleeping pills these last two nights, even increasing from the suggested dose last night. I always wake up just as tired in the morning as I felt going to sleep and ready to take a nap again. Surely that can't be right. Headache is more or less tolerable right now, all things being relative; a 6 out of 10 instead of typical 7. Of course I'd rather not have any at all, but I think I'm well enough to try to catch up on at least a couple of reviews, coming soon.

>173 msf59: Hi Mark, we had a great time, though I know Claudia worried I was overdoing it and pretending I was better than I was claiming to be. My second meetup ever! I guess living in Montreal and not being very mobile limits the options, but it was lovely.

What McEwan have you read so far?

>174 souloftherose: Heather, I guess tomorrow is the more 'traditional' meetup in the sense we're going to a bookstore!

Aug 17, 2014, 11:36am

Hmm, I wonder about your Heart experience - if it isn't a book that pleases the younger but precocious reader. I read it perhaps a year or two earlier and was also mad for it.... I have no idea what I would think of it now.

How DELIGHTFUL that you and Cee met up! You two are 2/3 of the LTers that I have met in person (Tad being the 3rd) so I am particularly tickled to see you together!

Edited: Dec 27, 2014, 6:57pm

Book #127:Merivel by Rose Tremain ★★★★½
Read for: July TIOLI #13: A book by a living author older than you are
Series: Robert Merivel (2 of 2)
Edition: Audiogo (2013), Unabridged MP3; 12h34
Original publication date: 2012

This book picks up 15 years after King Charles II has restored Robert Merivel to his former grand house, Bidnold, in Norfolk. Both the King and Merivel, as well as his faithful servant Will Gates, are aging; Merivel is now 56 and his daughter Margaret has grown into a graceful beauty whom he is very attached to. When their neighbours propose to take her away with them to Cornwall for a time, the notion of this separation depresses Merivel so much that the King suggests Merivel set out to Versailles for a change of air, and to seek the patronage of his cousin Louis XIV as one of his court doctors. But when Merivel arrives at the French palace, he is discouraged to find his letter from King Charles does not help to discern him from the masses of supplicants equally looking from favour from the the Sun King, and he is obliged to share a garret with a Dutch clockmaker and subside on a diet of peas and jam, with drinking water supplied from the public water fountains, and to add insult to injury, he also has to put up with ridicule from the courtiers who find his clothes and accessories aren't up to the latest standards of Versailles fads.

Things start looking up when he meets with a Swiss beauty called Louise de Flamanville who proposes to bring him to a couturier to outfit him with the necessary bows and ribbons. She happens to dabble in chemical experiments and quickly takes on Merivel as her lover, until her wrathful husband, a homosexual guardsman, eventually provokes him into a duel. Later on, Merivel is forced to make a choice which reminds him too much of the past in the form of a marriage of convenience which is to bring him great wealth and splendour, but that choice has led him down the wrong path once before, making him indebted forever, and he had promised himself not to repeat that mistake again.

Instead, he rescues a captive bear from certain death, which is later christened Clarendon by the King, and brings him back to Bidnold. Now Merivel hopes to make something of his life by starting work on a treatise inspired to him by Clarendon, and which seeks to prove that animals have souls, which of course, he eventually abandons. Clarendon himself comes to a bad end, first escaping his pen, then pursued by the angry countrymen who's animals the bear has eaten during his escape, he is eventually caught and put to death, then cut into pieces to be eaten in equal shares among the country folk.

Merivel's daughter Margaret almost dies from Typhoid fever, but is brought back home in time, and through his attentive care, he manages to rescue her, only to be discouraged by the the fact that King Charles has taken an interest in her during her recovery. Would the King actually betray him, his most valiant and loyal supporter, by ruining his daughter's reputation? When the King asks Margaret to join his household as lady in waiting to his favourite mistress, Merivel is in no position to refuse. Life is certainly never dull in Merivel's world, though it is fraught with many risks.

When we initially met Robert Merivel in Restoration, the first novel, it was clear he was a misguided man with a melancholy disposition, but also an essentially a good person with a good heart who seeks to enjoy life to the utmost, at the risk of making terrible blunders which were comical to the reader. By this second novel, he's become that much more reflective, and he has his notebooks from the past which his faithful Will has preserved for him to look back on and to measure his progress up against. He knows that both he and his King don't have much longer to live and that he is at the end of an era, so his overall tone can't help but be that much more melancholy as he reflects on mortality, yet he seems that much more human for it too.

Very highly recommended, but must be read in sequence following Restoration.

Aug 17, 2014, 12:43pm

>176 sibylline: Hmm, I wonder about your Heart experience - if it isn't a book that pleases the younger but precocious reader. I read it perhaps a year or two earlier and was also mad for it.... I have no idea what I would think of it now.

I'm not deliberately trying to be obtuse I promise you, but not sure I understand, as I think I'm reading you read the book just a couple of years ago, but that doesn't seem to fit with what your saying. Care to clarify Lucy?

I did think you'd enjoy seeing evidence of our meetup, since I remember you meeting up with Claudia as well and how much I would have loved to be in on that one! :-)

Edited: Aug 17, 2014, 1:59pm

Book #141:Mister Pip by Lloyd Jone ★★★⅞
Source: My bedroom tbr
Read for: July TIOLI #10: Read a book that has won the Alex Award
Edition: Publisher: Knopf Canada (2007) Second Impression; 272 pages
Awards & Distinctions: Alex Award (2008), Booker Prize Shortlist (2007), ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2008) (among many others)
Original publication date: 2006

I'm going to start by saying that this book felt like a prolonged nightmare. Not at first. But then nightmares, my nightmares at least don't seem like nightmares at first either, they sort of lure you in, seem full of promise and charm so that by the time you go "Uh-oh, I'm not sure I want to keep watching this, it's getting too weird/scary/morbid/violent/sordid" you name it, you can't look away anymore, because you've got too much invested somehow. I'm not sure, now that I look back in retrospect why it is I went into this book so naively, without any notion at all of what to expect from it, because right there on the book jacket, on the interior flap of that very attractive slipcover, it did talk about an island where revolution is happening... here: I'll quote word for word what that flap said, because I'm sure I willed myself to ignore what it said and just kept in mind "Great Expectations" and how 'cute' "Mister Pip" sounded and just refused to acknowledge that things were bound to get ugly:
In a novel that is at once intense, beautiful, and fable-like, Lloyd Jones weaves a transcendent story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of stories to transform our lives.

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, from which the teachers have fled with almost everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens's classic Great Expectations.

So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. While artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, "A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe." Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination—it turns out—is a dangerous thing.

Matilda is our narrator, and much to her chagrin, is forced to choose sides between her religiously zealous mother and the atheist Mr. Watts, whom everyone on the island has always called Popeye because of his physical appearance, though he decides at one point in the story, to his great hazard to call himself Mr. Pip. Matilda's mother is out to get revenge, because she feels Mr. Watts has turned Matilda's mind from her family and God, and made her believe instead in this imaginary world of Great Expectations, and to exact her revenge, she is not above putting the wellbeing of all the villagers at risk. Later on, Matilda, finds out what her mother has done, and though she disapproves of her actions, when given the choice of revealing her mother's treachery and keeping the villagers safe or instead keeping her mother free of shame, chooses the latter, and the repercussions just keep building up to greater and greater horrifying impact.

This is a story very well told, and for those who love fiction, it is a meaningful reflection on the power literature has on our lives. It is a great tribute to Dickens's work of course, and definitely made me want to revisit that specific work of his (that dear of Miss Havisham is so memorable!), though I'm not sure I'll be able to reread Great Expectations again without thinking of the horrors which happened in another fictional story on an unnamed island inhabited by a girl named Matilda, which I guess is a testament to what a powerful story Lloyd Jones put together here. Just be prepared for some difficult to swallow pieces here and there.

Aug 17, 2014, 5:24pm

Hmmm. Have had Mister Pip on my wish list for almost 5 years. Sounds, from your review, as if I ought to keep a serious eye out for it.
Lovely pic of you and Claudia - and Coco, of course. Seeing him in your arms points up how truly small he is. In his solo portraits he looks bigger...

Aug 17, 2014, 5:33pm

>164 Smiler69: I was surprised, in a great way, by this book too, Ilana.
Having no prior knowledge can really help sometimes, its why I avoid reviews of ones I think I might want to read.

>170 Smiler69: aw! I love that photo of you two. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love LT meetups!

>179 Smiler69: and the movie is as uneasy to watch as the book was to read, no less great though. I loved them both.

Aug 18, 2014, 5:08am

Lovely picture of you 3! Have fun at the bookshop!

I'll have to get to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter eventually, but now maybe better later than sooner.

Don't read Little Bee (unless you already did so of course), that was in a similar way even more nightmare-inducing than Mr Pip for me, maybe because in that case I was unwarned like you with this one. I bought Mr Pip just for the reasons you named (loved Great Expectations and thought the name was cute) but then thankfully left it unread on my shelves long enough to stumble over some warnings here on LT in time.

Edited: Aug 18, 2014, 9:24am

That's a great pic of you and Cee and Coco!
I think that what Lucy means (forgive me for intruding) is that she read it when she was 17 - a couple of years earlier in her life than in yours....... I've never read it although CMcC was living in a neighboring town when she was working on it, and that should have been enough to send me into a reading frenzy.
Meanwhile, I think I can skip Mr. Pip. Thanks, Ilana.
Oh, and I'm enjoying but not in love with Restoration at the moment. Sounds like I like Merivel more, and I'm happy to have a copy at hand!

Aug 18, 2014, 10:47am

I was feeling really off yesterday, had a two-hour nap among other things because was so fatigued, and so called Claudia and we agreed to put off our get-together today. I sort of feel like a truck rolled over me, though it's no great mystery—just that time of the month rolling around and making me feel generally ill. Nothing plenty of rest and Advil can't take care of, but I'm definitely not up to running around downtown, so we agreed to do it on another day. Sooner than later obviously, since she's leaving on Thursday already.

On the other hand, I'm very happy Claudia and Sam are getting nice weather. It's sunny but cool today, just as my Maine friend likes it I'm sure.

The head's not good today, but I might try to knock out a couple of reviews again: I do feel like I get a load off my shoulders when I manage to publish a few here and there, and they're fodder for my much-neglected blog too.

Answering lovely messages next.

Edited: Aug 18, 2014, 10:57am

>180 Fourpawz2: Hi Charlotte, always fun to see meetup pics, isn't it? AND you get to see proof of that thin hair I was talking about on your thread, with my scalp making a nice unwanted appearance up front. As you can see, Claudia certainly doesn't have that problem. It's hard to gage a dog's size, especially a small one, when it's not in context. Even I forget how small Coco is sometimes until I see him laying next to one of my standard-size cats and seeing how small he is by comparison. When I get him shaved, it's always like getting a different dog, and an even tinier one if possible, because all those curls do take up a lot of volume otherwise.

>181 LovingLit: Megan, what had brought Amsterdam to my attention was the Booker, honestly, and I'm glad I didn't try to delve too much into what it was all about.

It was really great to finally meet Claudia in person this weekend. And I'm really grateful that she's here for a few more days so I can afford to take a sick day today and not miss her altogether for another visit.

I didn't know there was a movie version of Mister Pip until I posted my review on the main page and looked at the CK info there. I must admit I'm not at all tempted to see it, the book was enough for me. Unless you tell me there's some actor in it that makes it a must-see, but then, it doesn't look like they have it at the library anyway, which will make it hard for me to track down anyway.

Aug 18, 2014, 11:01am

>170 Smiler69: Love that photo, Ilana! For me, that haircut brings out a bit of "little bear" in Coco.

Lots of good reviews, too. I hadn't thought of Native Son as so Communist for some reason, but I read it a long time ago. It may be time for a re-read.

Edited: Aug 18, 2014, 11:09am

>182 Deern: Nathalie, my intention really wasn't to deter anyone from reading THiaLH, and in fact, as I think back on it, and as I was writing my review yesterday, I was appreciating it a lot more than when I was listening to it. I do think I would have gotten more out of it this second time around had I read instead of listened to it, no matter how good the narrator was. Sometimes there really is no substitute for seeing the words written on the page, and this from a BIG fan of audiobooks!

I had meant to tell you from your previous comment, but forgot, that I read Little Bee as an ER, I think it was the first Early Reviewer book I received, back in 2009 and before I joined this group, and reading my review again, I did say the original events were harrowing, but somehow I ended up really loving that novel. There's really no telling how each novel will affect us. So much depends on timing I think.

>183 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, not intruding, just helping me see sense when I was being a bit obtuse obviously. So why haven't you read THiaLH then?

Well, enjoyment is something. I was hoping for love, of course I was, we want all our friends to fall in love with our favourite books, but such things don't happen on command, so enjoyment is something to be glad about as a second-best. :-)

Aug 18, 2014, 11:19am

>186 jnwelch: Hi Joe, sorry I skipped over you, somehow I was concentrating on answering all the previous messages. I love Coco when he's freshly shorn—so so soft and kissable all over! And somehow he seems that much more fragile too.

The "Communist Manifesto" part of Native Son really comes out at the end, during his trial, when his lawyer makes speech several pages long about the kinds of issues Bigger is facing as a Black Man in America. The lawyer is a known Red, and then when you know that Richard Wright was also involved with the Communist party, it's very obvious he was trying to advance the Cause. But I guess that wouldn't be what would be most memorable about the book, given how sensational the violent components of the story are. But I was raised by a left-winger mum, so I'm probably more sensitive to all that than most. If you're curious, you can read my review here for a refresher:

Edited: Aug 18, 2014, 1:42pm

>175 Smiler69: The only McEwan I have read is On Chesil Beach, which I did like. I have a couple of his in my print stacks and a couple more in my audio stacks, including Sweet Tooth. Have you read/listened to that one? I really need to read more of his stuff. He seems to be a polarizing author and I would like to see which side I come down on.

I did not like Little Bee. It started out good but I did not care for the 2nd half.

Aug 18, 2014, 5:35pm

I was surprised to see you and Cee wearing jackets in your picture, Ilana. Montreal in August shouldn't be jacket weather, it really must be unseasonally cool there.

I would hazard a guess that I liked Mister Pip a little more than you did but I think I probably like darker books overall.

Aug 18, 2014, 7:09pm

>189 msf59: Mark, I think On Chesil Beach was my first McEwan too. I didn't totally go nuts for it, but I was deeply impressed by the beauty of his prose and it made me want to read more of his books for sure.

>190 DeltaQueen50: Judy, you were right to be surprised about seeing us wearing jackets; it's indeed been unseasonably cool for the past several days here, though I'm happy for Claudia's sake about that as we usually have very hot weather at this time of year and she has a hard time with that (as do I), so it's almost as if the cool weather was here on special order.

I also think you liked Mister Pip more than I did on first reading, but then it's also been growing on me in retrospect. I don't mind darker books sometimes, but in this case it really too me by surprise, though again, I don't know how I didn't see it coming!

Aug 18, 2014, 8:21pm

Book #153:A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull ★★★★½
Read for: August TIOLI Challenge #15: from the bottom of your tbr pile, Picked for Me! Challenge - picked by Deern
Series: Anton Rider (2 of 3)
Edition: Da Capo Press (1999), Paperback, 480 pages
Original publication date: 1998

Packed shock-full of adventure, this novel definitely falls into the 'thumping good read' category and I was thrilled to revisit some characters I had grown fond of on discovery in the first book in the Anton Rider trilogy, The White Rhino Hotel. I would definitely recommend new readers start with that first book, but in a cinch, one could just as well pick up from here if one were, say, stuck somewhere with only this book on hand for some reason; I could wish a much worse fate upon anyone, trust me.

All the action takes place in 1935 on the African continent, mostly in Cairo, Egypt and in Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was mostly referred to back then. The novel begins on a luxurious café barge permanently moored on the bank of the Nile in central Cairo, where most of the actors in the drama that is about to unfold are present at a special event. Owned by the Goan dwarf Olivio Fonseca Alavedo, whom we'd met in the first novel, and who's ambition is as large as his features are small; the pleasure seeking Olivio has made a fortune with his unfailing business instincts and now has plans which include his friends to enlarge his fortune exponentially, as he buys up fertile land along the Nile, but as he does so he attracts some dangerous enemies.

Meanwhile, his old friend Anton Rider's business running Safari hunts for rich tourists has all but dried up, no thanks to the ongoing Great Depression, but he's finally secured some rich American clients: a pair of twin Kentucky heiresses and the artist fiancé of one of the very sexy Mills girls, who are not above dressing alike and (Bernadette being the engaged one) claiming to be Harriet while looking for a good time. Ready for any kind of adventure, they insist on being taken to Ethiopia for the incomparable sights and unique wildlife, even though Fascist Italy has been showing signs of an imminent invasion, or what to the modern reader is to become the second Italo-Ethiopian war. They get their money's worth as far as showing their mettle and prove to be tough cookies indeed.

Anton's estranged wife Gwenn has taken up medicine studies in Cairo, as well an Italian lover, the Colonel Lorenzo Grimaldi, who just happens to be the leader of the Italian air squadron. He is on his way to Ethiopia to, among other things, launch poison gas on the natives, though of course his lady friend isn't to know this, though she has more than strong suspicions that war is coming. Therefore, Gwenn on her side is determined to join up with the Red Cross in Ethiopia and use her medical studies, combined with her nursing experience from the first war to help the victims of casualties which her lover insists won't take exist since he denies there is to be an invasion to begin with. They are dancing a dangerous dance as Lorenzo has been putting her and her children up at his house and paying all their expenses, including the children's schooling, yet with this looming war he is not above making some heartless decisions while claiming to still care for her. It goes without saying that when Anton and Grimaldi briefly come face-to-face, the two men are bound to become archenemies.

Another of Anton's old friends, Ernst von Decken, has decided he will steal a cache of Italian silver coins and will eventually attract the savage attention of Grimaldi for his efforts. All these players make their separate way to Abyssinia toward their individual or group adventures, all of which involve plenty of danger, sex, and violence with just the right amount of daring and thrills, though lives aren't spared and plenty is sacrificed along the way. Olivio for his part remains on the Cairene home front to host a German specialist in dwarfism and fight off his murderous enemies with the help of his ever-loyal giant Nubian servant Tariq, while the other characters in this drama all somehow cross paths in Ethiopia during a horrible war, during which, among other things, Gwenn's Red Cross station is attacked and gassed by the Italian air forces, and the Mills twins capture some of the mustard gas attacks on film, and then have to run for their lives, while Grimaldi and his men hound them down, intent to kill them and destroy the film to ensure word doesn't get out on the international front that poison gas has been used and bring on sanctions for Italy. Bartle Bull has done his research well, though he's changed some dates, locations and details which he reveals in the closing pages. Among other things, his descriptions of the nature and wildlife which Anton Rider and his American clients encounter along the way proved to be especially rewarding as I kept the iPad nearby and looked up the many creatures and trees and plants until then unfamiliar to me, making me feel like I was on a nature discovery show. Thrills and chills provided as an extra bonus!

The pace is unrelenting and though I reluctantly had to put the book down because of sheer fatigue at night, I couldn't wait to get back to it as part of my nightly routine for a few days and was sorry when this riveting adventure was all over. Thankfully there's one more book in the trilogy to look forward to.

A few critters encountered along the way: Ibis, Serval, Simien fox, Euphorbia candelabrum tree, Gelada baboon, Goliath heron, Klipspringer, Reedbuck, Southern masked weaver, Turaco

Edited: Aug 18, 2014, 8:46pm

Just finished revisiting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on audio this evening, which was good fun.

I'd been working on that review of Café on the Nile on and off for a while, so glad it's out of the way.

About to start on a new audiobook, overburdened with choice, but I think I might stick to my August plans and go ahead with The Dog Stars, which I've been planning to listen to for several month, though not sure I'm in the mood for dystopia right now, so we'll see how that works out.

Aug 19, 2014, 12:22am

>170 Smiler69: - What an awesome meetup you had with Cee, Ilana!

>172 Smiler69: - Oh dear. Is the McCullers book more of a 'read' than a 'listen to' kind of book? I know there are certain books I have attempted in audiobook format that just didn't work for me. Carson McCullers stays on my radar screen for a future read, especially since it was a 5 star read for you on your original read.

>179 Smiler69: - Excellent review of Mister Pip, which, IMO, is not an easy book to capture in a review. I loved it, even though it made for a difficult read in places.

Aug 19, 2014, 6:58am

>170 Smiler69: Oh, just beautiful! I love meet-up photos: lovely people looking happy together.

Aug 19, 2014, 12:50pm

So I did indeed start on The Dog Stars last night, and though not in the mood for dystopia, must agree with others that Peter Heller writes beautifully and furthermore really am enjoying the narrator Mark Deakins, therefore, so far, so good.

Really enjoying Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey as well and should probably have finished it by now, only am keeping it as bedtime reading and can't stay awake long enough to get much reading done, so it's going rather slower than I'd like. Oh well.

Must start getting ready asap, as am shortly off to meet Claudia again, this time at the lovely heritage house she has rented in Old Montreal to pick her up with Sam to make our way to The Word, a second-hand tiny bookstore I love where I've gotten most of my best ppbk literature. I'll try to be sure to get another pic to post later.

>194 lkernagh: Hi Lori, I still have in mind those yarn bombs I saw on your thread a bit earlier, and the neighbourhood we're going to with Claudia is the McGill ghetto where all the college students live and where I've seen several examples of those, so I'll keep an eye out for them today.

I'd definitely advise you read rather than listen to the McCullers. The audiobook is excellent, but I think in this case it's best to let the written word sink into your mind at it's own pace to better appreciate the full poetry of her prose. Glad you liked my review of Mister Pip. Obviously, I needed some distance on that one before I was ready to sum up my experience with it.

>195 scaifea: Hi Amber! I hope I'm able to satisfy your love of meet-up photos with at least one more later today, as long as Claudia cooperates and we don't forget!

Aug 19, 2014, 1:06pm

Hi Ilana! I am glad you are enjoying the Dog Stars. And have a great time with Claudia. Give her a hug for me.

Aug 19, 2014, 2:09pm

Now, there's a book we both agree on, Ilana. A Cafe on the Nile was great fun and you've written a marvelous review.

Aug 19, 2014, 3:44pm

Marvelous review is right, Ilana. Thumb from me. I read and liked the first one, so at some point I need to pick this one up.

Aug 19, 2014, 10:09pm

Meetup #2 pics


Today was a proper LT meetup, i.e. a bookstore outing at not one, but two stores. We made our way via the lovely McGill campus grounds and started with The Word, as second-hand shop, where they were pulling in customers with brand new copies of the latest Murakami book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, at cost (same price as Amazon, basically), so Claudia and I quickly grabbed one each from the window display, plus a few other books each (a NYRB edition of Manservant and Maidservant by Ivy Compton-Burnett and a nearly new The Sisters Brothers for a reread for me).

Heading back through McGill again, we stopped by a Second Cup and had smoothies and iced coffee for me and a bit of a break and chat. The second store, was right next door. Paragraphe is one of the very few independent English bookstores in Montreal (not sure there are any others, actually...

Claudia picked up a couple of the 2 for 1 books for Sam while I went nuts over their book-bag collection and got the Alice one x2: one for me and one for Claudia as a souvenir. It's even got the Mad Hatter on the other side! Below is a vintage series of Montreal-based pulp fiction that has be re-released, and I thought the titles were amusing, all referring to local places. I've already reserved Sugar-Puss on Dorchester Street* from the library!

Claudia insisted on carrying a very full book bag (mine: it's got the Folio Society logo on it), and Coco was a good sport about our shopping, as he's not a great book fan himself, but you can tell he wanted outta there by the end. Sam got a nice pic of us three, but it's on her camera, so it'll be a while till we get a hold of it.

*Dorchester street is just a few blocks up from where I live!

Aug 19, 2014, 10:12pm

>197 msf59: Hey Mark, hug duly delivered!

>198 DeltaQueen50: I really loved that book Judy. I'll probably want to reread at least those first two at some point, they really are tremendously entertaining! Have you read the third book yet? I'll be borrowing it from the library before the end of the year for sure!

>199 jnwelch: Thanks for the thumb Joe, always appreciated! You really do need to pick up Café on the Nile if you enjoyed the first book. I look forward to seeing how the series wraps up by year's end, and I'll probably check out his other books at some point too.

Aug 19, 2014, 10:29pm

It looks like another wonderful Meet-Up! Everyone always seems to shine. Glad you had a good time with Claudia. Love all the book acquisitions.

Aug 19, 2014, 10:49pm

Love the pics from your meet-up with Claudia. From those smiles I would guess you both had a great time Ilana. And of course sweet Coco always adds his own sweetness to any picture.

You're making me want to get to the Bartle Bull trilogy sooner rather than later, especially since I own the first two books.

Aug 19, 2014, 11:34pm

Sounds like a great meetup with lots of new books all around. Lovely photos.

Edited: Aug 20, 2014, 2:40am

Oops forgot to refresh. Love the photos, the book bags and the pulp book covers.

Aug 20, 2014, 7:03am

Yay! More meet-up photos!

You know, I interviewed for a position at McGill once. Clearly that didn't work out. Ha!

Aug 20, 2014, 4:12pm

I have read the third book, The Devil's Oasis, Ilana. It was my least favorite of the three althought it was still a fun read and dealt with events in WW II.

Aug 20, 2014, 7:36pm

Meetup#2 pics, top right- cool bags!! The Clockwork Orange one is so iconic now....a very bold image alright.
Oh, and cool pic of you two again too- in your rightful place of worship at last :)

Aug 20, 2014, 8:24pm

What great photos of you and Claudia. After your wicked weeks of nasty migraines, I'm happy to see you up and about and enjoying yourself.

Aug 21, 2014, 12:04pm

>200 Smiler69: Love the photos! Especially the one of you and Claudia and Coco. Happy booksters having a good time. Can't beat it.

Aug 21, 2014, 3:35pm

Meetup #3 last words

Well, Claudia and Sam are well on their way on their train at this point, and should be arriving home this evening, hopefully not too late. I met with them a third time yesterday for dinner at Crudessence, a vegan restaurant where Claudia insisted she wanted to treat me and Sam was free to sample from anything she wanted since everything was gluten-free to accommodate her special needs. I think the biggest hit with all three of us were the desserts. Sam took some pics, but I didn't, so I grabbed the above photo on the net of what looks closest to the "banana split" Sam and I shared (the photo is of an actual Crudessence dessert made with non-dairy ice-cream). We had a big group hug and parted ways promising each other we'd see each other again. It was really lovely being able to see Claudia a few times while she was here. And Sam's a lovely girl too.


In book news, I've been terribly excited in the past couple of days, having discovered a new (to me) source for FREE downloadable MP3 audiobooks via the library from a collection called OneClickDigital. These have to be taken out on a loan basis, but from what I see, lots of them seem to be readily available, so shouldn't be hard to obtain at any time. I'm all set up with an account and have downloaded the apps so I'm ready to listen and have spent the past couple of days scouring their database and filling up my wishlist with any and all title they have I might be interested in. They have all the of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, as well as all his Sunday Philosophy Club, so I may take advantage of that during September Series & Sequels to move forward on those. Also, all the Sookie Stackhouse, the first of which I got on Audible, so I may get started on that one.

Aug 21, 2014, 3:37pm

Poor Coco is looking extremely pitiful right now, having been stung by a wasp for the SECOND TIME since the weekend, and both times on the same foot too!!! I wasn't absolutely sure it was a wasp the first time, but today we were going down the stairs and he had the exact same reaction and I swiped his foot gently after he started keening and sure enough, there was the nasty thing in my hand. What bad luck. At least he's not showing any signs of allergic reaction, thank goodness.

Edited: Aug 21, 2014, 4:09pm

>202 msf59: Hi Mark, don't know if you'll get to see this since I'm sure you're busy with Asheville, though I did update Claudia about that so at least she won't be completely behind on LT news!

>203 brenzi: Oh Bonnie, meeting Claudia was so great, as I said to her, it was like meeting a old friend and a new friend at the same time.

If you're up for a non-stop adventure, then definitely pick up the Bartle Bull books sooner than later. Only, once baby arrives, I don't think any book, no matter how unputdownable, will keep you reading very long!

>204 avatiakh: Glad you enjoyed the photos Kerry. Of course the book shopping was a tradition we enjoyed and had to uphold, but it was also nice that we got to do a variety of things together.

>205 souloftherose: Heather, I do think I got the best of the book bags (as did Claudia of course!) and the best part about those pulp books is I can get them for free at the library! :-)

>206 scaifea: Guess McGill wasn't the right thing for you at the time Amber. Montreal winters too cold for you maybe?

I'm sorry I didn't grab photos of our 3rd meetup with Claudia and Sam, but I knew Claudia was really NOT enjoying having the camera out the first couple of times, and honestly, I had to violently step on my ego to post that second photo with me looking so short and very broad compared to what my mirror reflects back at me (which I hope is one of those "camera adding the pounds" things, otherwise I'm in big trouble). So ya, I think we were happiest with no pics being taken yesterday.

Edited: Aug 21, 2014, 4:10pm

>207 DeltaQueen50: I do imagine that the 3rd book can't be a "rollicking good fun" sort of affair considering how things ended with A Café on the Nile. Still, I'll be glad to revisit the characters I've grown to love, as well as those I've grown to hate, from the first two books in The Devil's Oasis! Are you tempted at all to read anything else by this author Judy?

>208 LovingLit: You're right Megan about that image of A Clockwork Orange having become iconic. That being said, I can't say I'm much interested in actually reading the book. I started reading the first pages very long ago and was sort of repulsed and figured I'd do okay and could still die relatively satisfied with my reading life having skipped that one.

Of course you can't see from the photo, but that bookshop where we were is rather nice. Couldn't have taken the photo at The Word though, the shop we were at just before, as it's basically cupboard-sized, more or less! :-)

>209 Whisper1: Must say Claudia that since the weekend, the pain has lessened quite a lot. I do get the odd few hours where it's a bit more difficult, but overall much easier to take, which has been a blessing and helped me enjoy Claudia's visit that much more. Very happy about that, as you can imagine!

>210 jnwelch: Hey Joe! It was only my 2nd LT meetup, but I must say it felt completely natural. Claudia and I had been wanting to meet up for quite a while and I dare to think she went a bit out of her way to make it happen. She seemed to have liked the town enough to want to come back with Ron sometime, which would be really lovely!

Aug 21, 2014, 4:21pm

Finally (for now) in reading news: I had to give up The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. Sorry to fans of the book, but it just got way too depressing for me when the protagonist's aging dog died in the first third of the book and the already mourning narrator now became even more sorrowful. With two-thirds more of the book to go, I didn't feel I could endure it. I have to be very carful about exterior elements plunging me into gloomy moods, with my pre-disposition toward depression and I could see this being a real risk here. However, it's beautifully written, so I may give it another go at some other time. I did have a feeling this might not work before getting started on it.

I've gone ahead with the audio version of Excursion to Tindari, Montalbano #5 for now. Great fun and a good diversion.

Aug 21, 2014, 5:53pm

>214 Smiler69: Ilana, I have also read the Count Alexander Karlov books, Shanghai Station and China Star, both were rollicking adventures with manly men, sexy women and lots of action - much like his Anton Rider series.

Aug 21, 2014, 7:52pm

>216 DeltaQueen50: Oh glad that you are recommending them Judy. That means I'll have more of his action adventures to look forward to when I've finished with Anton Rider, though I'll probably reread that one eventually—I really enjoyed the first two books that much, and 4.5 and up usually means it's worth a reread for me (whether I'll ever be able to fit it in is another story altogether!)


I get really obsessed whenever I find a new source for free audiobooks, so this afternoon continued digging through the catalogue and found the first 5 Night Soldiers books available on OneClickDigital. Guess I'll be starting that series for September Series & Sequels too!

Aug 21, 2014, 8:07pm

Wait. I was going to say "Poor Coco," but honestly ---- with me looking so short and very broad ---- I must not see the photo you're looking at. Both of you are lovely in the one in post 200.
"Poor Coco." I'm sorry. Mommy's sweater is obviously comforting. Have you been able to spot a nest? I'd hate for either of you to be stung again.
Great looking dessert!!! Glad that your head has let you enjoy the visits.
Lovely that you've found OneClickDigital. I just can't quite give myself to being read to, and I don't do that much driving or housework (!).

Aug 21, 2014, 8:57pm

>218 LizzieD: Peggy, I'm sorry for coming off so vain. It's just that my mother has always been very overweight and I grew up seeing her struggle with her weight (which gave me that as model of sorts) though when I was younger I was lucky to be relatively slim though always curvy. But somehow U was obsessed with wanting to be skinny (maybe because of my obsession with ballerinas at a very young age, and consequently struggled with eating disorders from pre-teens till well into my 30s. My body images has always been an issue, and though I'm happy enough with what I have, what is reflected back at me in the mirror nowadays is quite a bit more slender than what I'm seeing on that photo.

There are always quite a lot of wasps around in the summer, and Coco was stung in the same area, but not in the same spot, so I don't think a nest is the issue. Or I hope not.

It was pure luck that I ended up liking to be read to so much. I never knew I'd become an audiobook fan until I tried it, after seeing that Mark was happy with that medium as an every day means to get his dose of reading while he worked. I do very little house cleaning, but I do spend lots of time on my own and don't use my head much, which leaves me plenty of listening time! :-)

Aug 21, 2014, 11:11pm

Oh, Ilana, no! I was not suggesting that you are vain in the least. I was sort of generally deploring our inability to see what others see when they look at us and remembering pictures of myself when I was 30 years younger and 20 pounds lighter. At the time all I could see was huge tubbiness. Now I look and marvel at how trim I was. Sorry to project my problems on you! (But you do look lovely.)

Aug 22, 2014, 2:08am

Lovely photos Ilana, and OMG poor Coco!! And on the same foot twice, can he walk at all?
That banana split, although it's a stand-in for the real one, looks delicious! How great to find a place that's not only vegan but also respects intolerances, so you don't have to do that annoying questioning of the waiter who has to run back to the kitchen x times.

For me you didn't come off vain at all. Isn't it normal to be extra-critical with pictures of oneself? My mother is rake-thin, so I felt fat all my life and somehow manifested the belief that I have that huge head and that my cheeks look extra fat when I smile. So when I see pictures of me I still think "fat legs", but also "hm... that face looks so much thinner than in the mirror".
Yes, being curvy wasn't exactly what was asked for in the 80s, was it? Short hair and androgynous body was the thing. When the curvy super models and the wonderbra came up here in the early 90s the damage in my head (and countless others I guess) was already done.

Aug 22, 2014, 7:04am

Oh, Coco! I hope he's feeling better soon.

Edited: Aug 22, 2014, 11:06am

>220 LizzieD: Peggy, I know you weren't suggesting it, I'm just sorry I had to bring attention to it at all. Women and body image issues though... it's a never ending story, isn't it? I'd be curious to know what the percentage in the Western world is, but guessing it is very tiny, of women who are satisfied with their bodies, no matter what shape they happen to be. I know my mum used to get really frustrated with me when I was comparatively much thinner than I am now and I was still complaining about my curves, but then I'd always had Audrey Hepburn as a role model in my mind and was never going to be able to achieve that, while she would have been happy to just be slightly plump instead of obese. We're all striving for something all the same.

>221 Deern: Nathalie, it's amazing what a trouper Coco is, because just a few hours after he got stung, I had to take him for his evening walk and amazingly enough, shortly after we left the house he started walking on all fours again! I was really impressed, even though I could tell he wasn't entirely comfortable. I'm sure a wasp sting must hurt for a couple of days at least, but dogs tend to suffer without showing a sign of it at all.

The body issues, as you probably know being from the same generation as me, started very early on. I discovered the ballet when I was around 5 years old, and though was not at all fat, always had curvy little features and a well-defined muscle mass, when this was not at all what was wanted. Then as a pre-teen discovered Elle and Marie-Claire and Vogue and all those fashion magazines which my mother bought (even though she was a feminist, go figure!) and became obsessed with those waif models, thinking looking like them was the only way a woman could hope to be elegant, and all the girls around me seemed to be naturally skinny, while I had those darn muscles, I didn't see as such and thought were just fat. I was actually happy every time I got sick and couldn't eat for a few days or weeks at a time, and that what started the eating disorders. My cousin became anorexic and I wanted to and dabbled with that, but became bulimic instead. It lasted for decades, and of course I kept it hidden from everyone and never talked about it. Now of course it's become an open secret that the majority of girls and women have struggled with eating disorders at some point or other. I guess my obsession with magazines up till my late 30s didn't help me at all in that sense, with all this obsession on image. But now I can barely look at them at all, and I've come to accept my curves when I look in the mirror, but must admit when I look at certain pictures of myself I always get a shock and dearly hope it's the camera adding pounds. Considering my mother has always struggled with her weight, I'm lucky to be of a medium size considering I eat everything I want, but then my father was always slender, so really, if and when I get my act together and ever cut back the sweets or even just start exercising again a little, I'm sure I'll be able to trim my waist in again, at least a little, which would help me fit better into some of my old clothes and help me feel like I'm not falling victim to "middle age spread". I'm sure you know all too well how hard it was growing up and comparing ourselves to all those supermodels, and then all those waifs who came along afterwards. Kate Moss, anyone? It's been hopeless from the start for me, never had the bone structure to begin with, those French Canadian women were historically made to last and pump out babies!

>222 scaifea: Hi Amber, Coco is amazingly resilient. You can hardly tell anymore he got such a shock so recently. I'd be really curious to know how dogs process pain, because for the most part, they don't display any signs of feeling it at all, when you know it has to be there.

Edited: Aug 22, 2014, 11:56am

In Reading:
Finished Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey last night. Will pick up something new to read from the tbr stacks tonight. I'd write reviews, but I'm going to see Colin Firth in the latest Woody Allen at a matinée showing soon, so another time. Also, head isn't so good today, yuck!

Returned some Audible books I didn't like yesterday and got instead, from newly released audio Bernice Rubens offerings:

A Five Year Sentence (Sept. 1 release)
The Waiting Game

Both highly recommended by Kerry, and also by Heather for the 2nd title.

Aug 22, 2014, 5:16pm

Popping in to clear up the misunderstanding - I read the book a couple of years earlier in my adolescence - say 16-17? than you and also loved it then and have no idea what I would think of it now.

Sorry for mixup!

Aug 22, 2014, 5:49pm

Just dropped by to see how Coco was doing as I saw about his bad experience on FB. I'm sure I read an article somewhere that discussed the differing reactions of animals to pain but I have no idea where I saw it. Anyway, it was to do with how quickly animals become accustomed to pain, and how fast they heal in comparison to humans.

I vaguely recall the suggestion that humans have evolved to be socially able to show pain or disability for a lengthy time, with others of the group generally caring for that member in the hope the energy they give will be returned once that person is fit again. In more isolated, predatory animals, they have to be able to bounce back quicker as they have either only themselves, or a small pack at most, to be able to care and provide for them, so their thresholds are much higher. As I said, I'm only sort of remembering it off the top of my head but it makes sense to me.

And no helpful comment on the body image thing as I have a horrendous body image and struggle daily with it, particularly now that a new medication has lead to me putting on weight for the first time in my adulthood. I was incredibly proud of my ability to eat anything I wanted and not gain weight so this development is extremely difficult. Others say I look healthier, I just know I feel fat, and not being able to fit into clothes proves it!

Aug 22, 2014, 6:57pm

I was one of the waifs (5'8", 115 lbs). I could eat all I wanted (but I didn't want much) and still not gain an ounce - and how I wanted curves! Then I hit 30-something and here came the fat. I still feel thin inside, especially when I'm getting out of the pool after my laps, so my actual image in a mirror or a photo is always an unpleasant shock. How sorry I am that we do this to ourselves!
I move that we table the conversation.
And I hope that Colin Firth is wonderful enough to make you forget your head!

Aug 22, 2014, 8:58pm

The Woody Allen movie Magic in the Moonlight starring Colin Firth was lots of fun, and while I watched it I forgot all about my migraine, though it made itself felt as soon as the movie credits started rolling at the end. Emma Stone's acting was a bit stilted, but I didn't mind as I was just charmed to bits by Mr Darcy acting as a deep sceptic who finds love where he least expects it. A charming end of summer movie, though I see from a quick glance at a Guardian review they didn't see it in quite the same light. But what do I care? My friend and I went to watch Mr Darcy first and foremost and figured if we ended up liking the movie that would just be the cherry on the sundae, and we got quite a bonus as we both were enchanted with it.

Just finished Excursion to Tindari as I somehow contrived to spend the rest of the afternoon being plugged into my earphones, though not quite sure how I occupied myself all the while, but somehow did. Really enjoyed this one, a new Montalbano to me. Will start on something else soon—haven't drawn the whole week and am determined to put pencil to paper today, even if only for a short while and even if I work a bit past my normal bedtime these days.

Aug 22, 2014, 9:16pm

>225 sibylline: Hi Lucy, thanks for clearing that up. I guess Peggy read into your message perfectly. I'm having a bit of trouble with texts that have any kind of very serious or depressing elements to them lately, so it was probably just me and this particular timing, though I'd be very curious to find out what you would make of it if you were to reread The Heart is a Lonely Hunter now you have gained some life experience.

>226 lunacat: Heyyy Jenny! Lovely to hear from you! Your explanation of how animals must experience pain compared to human beings makes good sense. Their nervous system must obviously be wired very differently from ours for all kinds of social and survival reasons. In any case, looking at Coco today, you'd have no idea he'd been stung by one of those vicious little beasties just yesterday. The thing about dogs though is they can be in a lot of pain or be sufffering and just not give any sign of it, as owners find out when they discover their pooch has been very ill and has given no complaint for weeks or months at a time.

I don't think it's possible to get any two women together talking about body image and get a positive outcome. Just doesn't happen somehow. Which is too bad really. One thing I found about life drawing classes is it did help me celebrate the female form as models came in all shapes and sizes and derobed with apparently no compunction at all, even those that were very obese, which made them that much more beautiful in my eyes. There was a time when womanly shapes were celebrated and there are cultures where they still are, which is encouraging to remind oneself about on days when one is feeling down in the dumps.

>227 LizzieD: Peggy, see above paragraph, as I could have written it to you just as well. I'm sorry I brought up a painful topic. It was bound to come up on one of my threads at some point, considering how much space this topic has taken up in my life. To think of all the other things I could have devoted all that energy to... and then when you multiply it by the power of ALL us women who obsess over this night and day over our lifetimes, surely there's a world conspiracy out there to keep us thinking about this to keep our full womanly powers in check?!?

As you might have seen from the message just before this one, I really enjoyed Colin Firth. Unfortunately though, even he doesn't have the power to melt away the migraines, though he can at least make them vanish temporarily! :-)

Aug 23, 2014, 6:51am

It is interesting, although somewhat infuriating at times, to look at nearly all societies the world over, even those that had little contact with the 'civilisations' of the ancient world, and see similarities in the way men and women are perceived, and therefore consider themselves.

Although the ideals of beauty differ dramatically, there does appear to be the underlying theme that men are prized for their strength, power and ability to command (and overpower) other men and protect themselves and their families, and women gain social standing by their beauty, irrespective of what is considered beautiful within a particular tribe or culture. Of course, I'm overgeneralizing as I know there have been instances of extremely strong women who haven't needed to use beauty and sexuality to gain standing, Boudicca being the most obvious example popping to mind, but they appear the exception rather than the rule.

I wonder whether it is because we, as women, are inherently weaker, and so have needed to find a different 'selling point' in order to gain a mate and so procreate and pass on our genes. The strongest man who can win against other competitors not only creates stronger children, but also the best food, biggest house, most followers, most women? The women cannot offer the same protection through strength - they can't 'win' a man by the offer of protection, so they need something else to ensure they get a mate. And beauty, whatever that is, is one way of doing so.

I enjoy looking at some aspects of modern society and seeing how much we are still ruled by instinct and evolution, and how we are still animals at heart, but I only like it from a vague standpoint as being able to analyse it doesn't mean being able to change anything! Guessing at why women feel the need to compare themselves and aim for a 'perfect' body above other considerations doesn't mean I like the look of myself whenever I glance in a mirror. A series of lectures I've been listening to recently has been on 'Big History' and has gone from the Big Bang up to the present day, looking at overriding themes and ideas - the creation of matter, the birth of planets, the beginning of life etc. Part of this has been highlighting the incredible speed in which things have changed for humans in the last 10,000 years, and in the last 1000. We're all desperately fighting to cope with the fact society, technology etc have evolved far far faster than we as a biological species have - is it any wonder we're struggling?

Anyway, on less philosophical points, I'm glad you were able to enjoy the film. I was surprised, having seen you having a worse day with the migraine, that you were able to go - when I've got a migraine I certainly wouldn't be able to bear a cinema! It would be sure to exacerbate it, and is also a fairly good way of bringing one on if I didn't have one. It's good that you could push it to the back of your mind for a while.

Aug 23, 2014, 10:15am

I'll keep a close look out for Magic in the Moonlight. Sounds like the next thing I may go to a theater to watch, following Titanic....really.
Jenny, what your comments bring up to me is the wondering why otherwise intelligent alpha males of the human species continue to marry beautiful but stupid women. They are certainly not thinking about their progeny or about the quality of their commitment. And then I think of the beautiful, stupid women that I've known and realize how really smart some of them are - so never mind, I guess.

Aug 23, 2014, 10:24am

Body image is such a fascinating topic! I have, for the most part, come to terms with the fact that I don't have - and will no longer have - the thin coltish figure of my youth. I have never been a big fan of having my picture taken, even when I was young, but that was and is more due to shyness than any body image. I tend to be rather critical of how I think other people perceive me and I still have those mornings looking in the bathroom mirror wondering if I should crack down and try and lose that proverbial 10 pounds that I just know will make me feel all that more confident..... I then remind myself that a couple of pounds doesn't change who I am so I happily go and enjoy a guilt-free day of eating what I want to eat. ;-)

I was reading a great collection of poems last week by Judith Viorst entitled Unexpectedly Eighty for inspiration for a birthday card I am making for my mom. I love how her poems provide insight into the "Why do I look so old when I feel so young?" feelings people get as they age. I really enjoyed the poems and I am now on the hunt for her other books: How Did I get to Be 40 and other atrocities, Forever Fifty and other Negotiations, Suddenly 60 and other shocks of Later Life...

I hope you have an enjoyable weekend, Ilana.

Aug 23, 2014, 10:25am

Thinking of you and sending smiles.

Aug 23, 2014, 11:41am

Actually took a break from reading last night as I was between books, almost unheard of as I can't remember last time I didn't read a book before going to sleep. Felt like I was seriously playing hooky. But I've decided I'll be picking up The English Patient next. Been meaning to read it for years and years, it's a Booker winner, been wanting to see the movie also for an age, so it's time, really.

Woke up feeling almost pain-free, as sometimes happen when I awake, but also felt signs and twinges of imminent pain as I was coming to just now, so I've decided to fend off anything worse with a dose of Fiorinal. Fingers crossed that it'll work as pain is building up quickly as I type.

Beautiful day outside. Reading on the balcony is in the plans. Also working on my drawing for at least a couple of hours today to make up for not doing so all week (save an hour last night). Friend just called right now, reminding me we were meant to go to a vernissage by one of my former art teachers. I like him and I like his work usually, but really, I was looking forward to a day of unplanned activities and had completely forgotten about the show and very tempted to just skip it, especially if the migraine insists on being part of my day.

Listening to The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens and absolutely loving it. Helps that it's narrated by one of my favourites, Anne Bentinck, but it also reminds me of one of my favourite books by Muriel Spark, Memento Mori, as it's set in an old folk's home, where death is always around the corner and all the residents are interesting characters, most of them having secret facets only revealed to the lucky reader. I can see lots more Reubens in my future. A good thing, as I've got more on the tbr.

Aug 23, 2014, 11:55am

Enjoyed spending some time to finally catch up my dear. Cafe on the Nile is one I should have brought with me here to Egypt. I was actually on a boat on the Nile yesterday evening enjoying the night air and the vibrant city as backdrop.

Bit jealous that two of my favourite ladies got to meet up a couple of times and I couldn't gate-crash at all!

On self-image, I hate the pounds I have piled on in the last 15 years or so and am particularly averse to any photos which outline my bulging tummy. I am not vain but quite self-conscious.

Have a wonderful weekend. xx

Aug 23, 2014, 12:15pm

>230 lunacat: Jenny, I took some feminist studies courses in college, and then continued reading on the topic for a few years, but as you say, it still didn't detract me from my problems with body image somehow, even though I knew I should know better by then. I do think we've made a lot of progress in the last 40-50 years, as least in the Western world, though some attitudes take a long time to change and we still have to deal with ugly old fashioned mind-sets more often than we'd like. But then, as you say, biology doesn't evolve as fast as society does, so it's normal enough there should be a lag, I suppose.

All I know is that now I'm considered over the hill as far as procreating years, I don't have to worry about 'being in the market' anymore, which is a relief. All that energy I used to put into trying to make myself desirable and marriageable I can now just put into doing whatever makes me happy and when I think about the possibly of having a partner, I truly think of pleasant companionship first and all the other considerations second so that I'm sure if I ever met someone who interests me, I'd go about it quite differently that I have before, or so I hope. In any case, what's for sure is I wouldn't be playing any kind of seduction game, so perhaps my more than several added pounds are proof against attracting the kind of men who are looking for that kind of thing.

>231 LizzieD: Peggy, I know Magic in the Moonlight got quite low ratings from audiences too, though I didn't read what they had to say about it, because I was going first and foremost to watch Colin Firth, and I just happened to be charmed by it. Are you saying you haven't been to the cinema since Titanic?? And do you mean since the re-release of that movie or the original??

I've had powerful wealthy men explain to me their theory about looking for beautiful women to have their progeny with, saying that they relied on their own intelligence genes and the woman's beauty genes to take over in the mix when it comes to the progeny. As if nature always obeyed the will of men, right on cue like that... But yes, "dumb, beautiful women", often have learned that playing the part is the best way to ensure to get what they want. I learned at my expense that the really smart women are the ones who become skilled manipulators. Just never had it in me.

>232 lkernagh: Lori, I don't come across that many women who have maintained coltish figures past a certain age, but somehow, we always seem to notice them in a crowd and think we're the exception and not them when we see them, don't we? Like those women who have the genetics of supermodels or who are lifelong fitness addicts. I just personally hate them. :-) They are probably the only ones who like to have their pictures taken past their 20s. I really shouldn't complain, because I got over my eating disorders by stopping the diets completely and just allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted, even at the 'risk' of putting on an additional 20 lbs, and I've been very lucky in the sense that I really do eat whatever I want and haven't gained more. So far, I should say. I don't think I'm prepared to add on more though, so I really need to start seriously thinking of doing some sort of exercise regimen.

I visited your thread last night as I was playing hooky, but was on my iPad so just lurked, though saw the gorgeous card you were working on for your mum. Really gorgeous. My mum is turning 68 in a less than a month, just 2 years shy of the big seven oh, as she put it today on her blog entry, so I should probably put something special together for her too. I'd never heard of Judith Viorst before, but her poetry collections sound interesting, thanks for bringing my attention to them.

>233 Whisper1: Hello my dear Linda, smiling right back at you. And hugs and kisses too. :-)xox

Edited: Aug 23, 2014, 12:30pm

>235 PaulCranswick: Paul! Sorry I missed you dear! As you can see, I was busy typing up the above replies. Perhaps even better than reading the Café on the Nile book while you're on in Egypt (though I do heartily recommend it), you might be interested in writing your own adventure story and create your own hero there. You were off to a good start on your own thread the other day, and I'd gladly continue reading along those lines a whole novel's worth.

Meeting up with Claudia really was a lot of fun, and it was so great that she was here for a whole week and that I was able to get together with them a few times, so I felt I really got a lot out of her visit and we were able to do all sorts of things together. The only pity is that a week is so short and flew by much too fast. Hopefully she'll come back soon with Ron, or Coco and I will be able to visit them in Main in near future. Of course would have been wonderful to have you along too!

And yes, self-conscious is probably a more appropriate expression than 'vain' in this context. Perhaps I used to be vain when I was younger, but probably more self-conscious. I do think the price we pay for over-indulging in all our favourite foods is a bulging waistline and so we don't really have a right to complain too too much about it, though of course would be nice to have our cakes (or insert favourite dish here) and keep in slim too. Though I was thinking, after seeing a photo of Saad and his beloved 3-foot favourite chicken sandwich on FB that he wouldn't keep in trim much past his mid-20s if he kept eating those things!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend too dear friend. xx

Edited: Aug 23, 2014, 10:52pm

Well, I couldn't resist making one of my ridiculous lists for September Series & Sequels. I went through my "ongoing series" list in message #9 and pulled all those books on my tbr (plus a couple from the library) that I have an interest in pursuing sooner than later. It's not as unrealistic as it seems, seeing as most of these are audiobooks, so we'll see. Of course, I'll want to read a few books during the month that aren't part of series as well, so we'll see what happens.

Here are the possibilities so far:

The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1/6 - read out of order)
Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (2/3)
Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (3/4)
Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (2/12)
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (2/3)
The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri (6/18)
Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri (7/18)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (2/3)
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3/15)
Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/9)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (2/3)
The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/8)
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/7)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (3/7)
Sons Pearl S. Buck (2/3)
The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (3/4)
The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/9)
The Enemy by Lee Child (8/19)
Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/5 - read out of order)
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/6)
The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/10)
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/15)
Maigret at the Crossroads by Georges Simenon (7/76)
Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon (8/76)
The Full Cupboard Of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (5/14)
Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (3/12)
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2/4)
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (3/5)
La joie de vivre / The Joy of Life by Émile Zola (12/20)
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (2/3)
The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (3/9)
The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (4/8)
The Wind on Fire by William Nicholson (3/3)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (2/4)
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (1/14)
Night Soldiers Alan Furst (1/13)

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

Edited: Aug 23, 2014, 6:09pm

Finished Amphigorey Again by Edward Gorey today, sitting on the balcony. I took my sweet time with this one, as the library doesn't have the 3rd book in the series unfortunately. Will try to track it down.

Started reading The English Patient immediately after. Extremely promising.

Aug 24, 2014, 11:06am

>172 Smiler69:: Ilana, I love to reread favorite books but I limit it to two or three per year as there are so many unread books I want to read. You guessed it. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is on my reread shelf! I usually like a book even better the second or third time around. It will be interesting to see what I think about this one…when I get to it.

>177 Smiler69:: Excellent review of Merivel. I will be reading that one next month for September Series and Sequels. Can't wait.

I'm a bit green with envy that you had three meet-ups with Cee and the lovely Sam! That must set an LT record. Thanks for posting the pictures. It looks like a wonderful time was had by all, even though Coco is not a bookstore fan!

Oh, no. I sympathize with poor Coco and his wasp stings. I got one about a week ago in my own house reading a book. We occasionally get one in the house and this one brushed up against my arm, and I made the mistake of swatting it. Ouch! It's still red and itchy.

>238 Smiler69:: Wow, that is quite an ambitious list. Even if you get only half of them read or listened to it will be a good month's reading. I have to take a look at series I've begun and make my own wish list for September reading. I guarantee mine will be much shorter than yours, Ilana!

It was fun catching up with you. Sorry to get so far behind. I hope you are enjoying your Sunday. I imagine you and Coco out on that lovely balcony being chattered at by an obnoxious squirrel. Be glad you have only one to deal with. We have a legion of them around here…and they are winning! All my petunias have been pulled out of pots. Not eaten, just left to wilt and die. Aughhh!

Aug 24, 2014, 3:09pm

Just finished listening to The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens. My first book by her, and by no means my last. I'm glad Kerry brought this author to my attention some years ago. I'm thrilled they've recently released a series of her books on audio read by some very talented narrators. I'll definitely make time to review this one v soon. I'm not sure why it is I enjoy reading about elderly people so much, but it seems I do—only in the hands of skilled writers, goes without saying; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark and All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West are two of my all-time favourite books on the topic that immediately come to mind.

Good chance my next audiobook will be YA and part of a series for a change of pace.

>240 Donna828: Hi Donna, I don't give myself a quota, but don't usually have that many rereads in any given year for the same reasons as you, but so far this year there have been quite a few. The first 4 Montalbanos, THiaLH, TKaMB, the first two Harry Potters (and soon the third too, + half the fourth) spring to mind right now. I figure as long as I'm enjoying mysef and still clearing the tbr at a reasonable rate, all is well.

I hope you enjoy Merivel. I thought it was a brilliant conclusion. I will be reading lots more of Rose Tremain's work, including her non-historical fiction work, though as I'm partial to this genre, I hope she does put out more in future, though I still have The Colour to look forward to from my tbr.

My lists always seem ambitious, until you realize that half the fun i have is actually creating the lists and that I don't worry much about completing them. They're just guidelines, and I don't feel any qualms at all if I decide not to follow if my moods take me somewhere else altogether!

Sorry to hear what the obnoxious squirrels have done to your petunias. I wonder why they would have simply pulled them out like that if not to actually consume them. Mind you, I have to keep my gas hose the the BBQ well covered with tin foil, otherwise the squirrels have great fun gnawing holes into them. One year I had to replace the hose three times until I figured out what to do. I can't imagine they actually eat the plastic. Grrrr.

Thanks for taking time to catch up with me. I know my threads move quite fast considering how much posting I do on them.

Edited: Aug 24, 2014, 6:17pm


Started listening to Georges Simenon's The Strangers in the House, one of his non-Maigret books. It's got a musical score and musical effects, sort of like a radio drama, kind of neat. It's very short, so I expect I'll be done tomorrow.

Also started Aya de Yopougon, Tome 5 out on the sunny balcony. Very pleasant. Off to work on my drawing now. Will post an update very soon.

Aug 24, 2014, 8:15pm

Happy that you are enjoying Bernice Rubens, I still have 3 or 4 of her books left to go...and the Aya love.

Just started on Cress last night and finding it enjoyable, love it when each instalment rises to the challenge.

Aug 24, 2014, 11:08pm

Dangerous place, your thread. I have to add The Waiting Game to the old wish list.............. As to the elderly, (gulp), I see that I'm a couple of years older than your mother. I must say that I don't feel like your mother...... And yes, I believe that first-run Titanic was the last time I've been in a movie theater. I really do spend my recreational $ on books.
Sounds like you had a really decent day, and I'm glad!

Aug 25, 2014, 1:12pm

Woke up extra late today. I should say that my nights always involve waking up repeatedly, so that when a decent waking hour rolls around I'm totally worn out from all the interrupted sleep. And then Coco looks so cozy sleeping beside me... doesn't make me want to leap out of bed exactly. So sleep on I did, but probably overdid it, because by the time I got up, my head was not at all good. Took a couple of Fiorinal, and I think I headed off the worst of the pain. Will finish The Stranger in the House as just have an hour to go. The production value is excellent. I feel badly I didn't read the book, which I'd pilfered from my mum's shelves nearly 20 years ago, but this audio drama, unabridged, was really worth it.

>243 avatiakh: Kerry, somehow from your description of her books, I had a feeling I'd really enjoy Bernice Rubens, and this first book certainly was a smashing success. She sort of makes me think of Muriel Spark in terms of black humour. Aya is a joy, and of course is perfect to enjoy on warm summer days, closest I guess to what Abidjan weather must be like, though it must be very much hotter there. Good to know The Lunar Chronicles are consistently good with each instalment.

>244 LizzieD: I thought I should specify when I wrote that message Peggy, that when I say 'elderly', I do mean very old, as in needing to be in an old folk's home or at least not completely able to take care of oneself. Now that I'm in my mid-40s and have at least one parent well into his 70s, and then a friend in her mid-90s, my perspective on old age has changed quite a lot. Also, having taken art classes with mostly retired women between 70 and late 80s/early 90s who have all their wits about them. So please don't include yourself in that 'elderly' group. You are merely mature.

I did have a nice day yesterday, and was a bonus that I was able to head off the migraine with a timely dose of Fiorinal. I think today might be similar. Similar weather in any case, and I think Fiorinal was well-timed too, and as I didn't take much so far this month (thanks to almost a week with much reduced pain), I'm still allowed quite a few doses till month's end.

Aug 25, 2014, 2:30pm

Hi Ilana! Just checking in. Storms are moving through the area, so it has cooled things off considerably. Grins..

I have been enjoying A Month in the Country and hope to read a sizable chunk through the afternoon. I would think this would work well on audio too.

Aug 25, 2014, 5:02pm

Just finished Aya de Yopougon, Tome 5. So much fun. My only complaint is there's only one book left in the series and then it comes to an end. Why couldn't they have continued with it??

On audio, have started with A Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth. I'd been meaning to read more of his work for quite a while now. Unplanned, but there we go.

>246 msf59: Hi Mark, I got A Month in the Country as a NYBR edition in the mail last week, so will probably be reading it in September, audio or not.

Edited: Aug 25, 2014, 6:53pm

I think I'm going through a bit of an existentialist crisis (migraine not helping), because I decided to interrupt A Ruby in Her Navel 1h20 mins in purely because I was annoyed I couldn't fit it into any TIOLI challenge. I then tried Etiquette & Espionage and nearly an hour into that decided I'd had quite enough. It just didn't resonate with me in any way. Felt almost like a 'write by numbers' exercise, totally devoid of personality (see my first comment, so please don't get offended if you're a fan). Now because of head hurting (Fiorinal being sort of useless for some reason, probably due to what turned out to be intense heat today), I'm in a bad mood and have no idea what I feel like listening to, other than I want it to fit into the TIOLI, though don't know why that should be so important, and not in the mood for planned reads. Just silliness.

Aug 25, 2014, 8:38pm

Sat on the balcony in the near dark with just the one lightbulb on and finished Aya de Yopougon, Tome 6. One great series finished. Sniff. Will start getting ready for bed soon, as head is still quite bad and my drawing is at a very tricky stage, so that one 1h20 was all the time I was able to put on it today.

Aug 25, 2014, 9:08pm

Hi Ilana!
I'm having a heck of a time catching up with things here on LT and everywhere. I guess we had a positive influence on each other and both had a good time last week :-) So very glad you kept the hot day for after I left. It was pretty hot here too though. Went up to 85 F (29 C) today. Wish we used centigrade as it always looks so much cooler. At least the humidity was tolerable and we had a bit of a sea breeze.

You did such a great job with the pictures and describing our meet-ups. Thanks for that. Makes me want to do it all over again!
Have you started the new Murakami yet? I have. I just couldn't wait. Very clean, uncomplicated writing. It almost comes across as folklore. Up to pg 108 now and I think it's starting to get a bit deep/strange.

>212 Smiler69: poor Coco... still looking sweet though ;-)

I've requested the Montreal pictures on a disc from Sam. We'll see if I get a quick response.

Hope you get good sleep tonight and wake up pain free. I know. That's a big hope. xoxo

Aug 25, 2014, 10:30pm

Hi, Cee and Ilana! I am very envious of having the new Murakami ready to read - it's not as though I don't have unread Murakamis along with everything else on the shelves. *sigh*
I'm laughing. We had such a cool, lovely day: temps didn't get much above 85° - it's all relative (and so is the humidity - plenty of that).
I pick up and put down books all the time. Sometimes I'm wed to TIOLI and sometimes not. You sound completely normal to me.
I'm joining in the big hope. Get good rest and wake up pain free. We'd all rejoice!

Aug 26, 2014, 9:59am

Hello my dear! Sorry to hear about Coco's wasp stings :-(

I was just popping by to say that I am now a Slightly Foxed subscriber as I just spent a weekend at Gladstone's Library and they had some back issues I could browse through. So I now have a quarterly subscription and some additional books on my wishlist from the issues I looked through. I blame you enitrely :-)

Aug 26, 2014, 12:17pm

Off to the dentist in a little while to pick up my mouth guard. I don't know that I'm very excited about having to sleep with this thing in my mouth every night from now on, but if it helps prevent the headaches, then I'm all for it. Head is bothering me now, but I've only got one or two doses of Fiorinal left to meet my quota for this month and as there's still a week to go, am hoping the pain won't build up.

On audio, I finally settled for the latest Montalbano, The Scent of the Night, which is doing very nicely for me. This series has grown on me over the last couple of months, and though Montalbano himself is a strange and not altogether sympathetic character, I find myself chuckling out loud more and more often as Camilleri's unique brand of humour operates it's charm. It's a bit of a problem when I'm out in public!

>250 -Cee-: Hi Claudia, I'm sure after taking a week's break, trying to catch up must be a monumental task. Didn't start on the new Murakami yet, mostly because I'm sticking to my planned reads and have The English Patient going right now, which I'd been wanting to read for years and years! Not pain-free I'm afraid, but hopefully this headache will stay within tolerable limits. xx

>251 LizzieD: Peggy, I've got LOADS of unread Murakamis, but I figured I'd be more motivated to pick up a brand new one. I was a bit upset at myself for dropping the Unsworth because he's such a great writer and I'd been looking forward to picking up The Ruby in the Navel all year... and on a whim... but there you have it. Part of the pleasure is having the freedom to choose to drop a book if I feel like it (for any reason at all), and of course he'll always be there for me at some other time. I guess I was wanting something less intellectually stimulating, God help me.

>252 souloftherose: Ha! Now I feel like we're even Heather! SF for FS! I've got my ongoing subscription with Slightly Foxed, but have also acquired a good number of the back issues second-hand, so that I've always got one going, and yes, they do tend to add to the wishlist, don't they? Very glad to take the blame, I'd been actively trying to get converts for a while now! They are lovely publications, aren't they?

Coco's wasp stings: you wouldn't know they ever happened, really. Wish I had Coco's magical powers of recovery.

Aug 26, 2014, 1:00pm

Hi, Ilana. I think you'll have a good time with A Month in the Country. Quite charming.

I'm glad the Montalbano series is working its magic with you. I'm smitten, and can't get enough. The Italian tv movies based on the stories are mighty good, too.

Edited: Aug 26, 2014, 1:07pm

>254 jnwelch: Hi Joe, I definitely plan to squeeze in A Month in the Country into my September Series & Sequels month (have you seen my planning for that?!). I have a feeling I'll enjoy it.

I've heard much about the Montalbano tv series by now, mostly from you, and I think Caro and can't recall who else, but I've looked for them and they aren't available though our library systems (local or national) and getting them on Amazon is prohibitive, and forget Netflix: can never get anything through them here in Canada. Mind you, I just found out yesterday they have a new service at the library for inter-library loans, i.e. borrowing from out-of province or even from the USA as needed, so I'll look into that next. Takes time, but makes things formerly unavailable suddenly within reach.

Edited: Aug 26, 2014, 1:13pm

Caro and I are the main advocates for the Montalbano tv movies, for sure, though others do chime in.

They even show up on a cable station here in Chicago, but not in Boston. Sorry they're so hard to get a hold of where you are. I do ask for the dvds when it's my birthday or the holidays. I hope you have some luck with the intra-library loans.

Your planning for Sept. S & S is impressive! Lots of ones I like in there, including Jack Reacher and Precious Ramotswe. And I think you'll get a big kick out of Scarlet.

Aug 26, 2014, 2:44pm

As I keep saying about my lists Joe, they are more inspirational than actual planning, otherwise I would get way too discouraged, because there is no way I can actually achieve completion! I think I will indeed concentrate on series next month though, and then come October start focusing on literature, which I'd sort of let fall by the wayside all summer.

I'll keep you posted on the Montalbano videos. Wish me luck!

Edited: Aug 26, 2014, 4:39pm

Hope you can find a way to see Montalbano on dvd, I came to the books through the tv series just around when I joined the 75er group. Also try for the Young Montalbano dvd, I think there are just 6 episodes, but it is great for seeing how he got his job, housekeeper, girlfriend and his two sidekicks. (The actor is quite adorable as well!)

Back in 2008/9 I joined a dvd rental by mail company for a few months in order to watch their stock of Spanish films and came across Montalbano when browsing their foreign film catalogue. That rental company had many more films than the libraries seem to and was quite affordable for a short period of binge watching.

The ruby in the navel is also on my Mt tbr, maybe we could do a shared read later in the year. I've read a couple by Unsworth and really liked them and have several more on my tbr pile including Stone Virgin which also looks good. I need to concentrate on finishing my category challenge right now, I have about 6 books left to read.

Aug 26, 2014, 6:40pm

>258 avatiakh: Hi Kerry, my best hope for the Montalbano DVDs right now is the new intra-library loaning system, which I sort of found out about completely by chance. I'll call them and see if I can set it up by phone, or otherwise go over there this week to arrange it.

Will be happy to share a read for Ruby in Her Navel. I've only read one other Unsworth so far, but absolutely loved it (and highly recommend it): Morality Play. As soon as I'd finished the audiobook (also recommended), I sent a ppbk copy to my mum via BookDepo's international shipping and made her and insta-fan too. I've had his travel book Crete for a long time on the tbr, and also presently have The Songs of the Kings on audio. I'd love to read his Booker Prize winner Sacred Hunger sooner than later too.
This topic was continued by Smiler Marks Her Reading Spot - Part 9.