Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 2

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Talk75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 2

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Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 1:16pm

Artwork by Catrin Welz-Stein. Here: "Carmen", and "The Untold Story". She posts her work at:

Table of Contents:
Books Completed in Jan-Feb
Reading Plans
AAC, BAC, ANZAC Reading Challenges
Reading Stefan Zweig
Picked for Me! Challenge
Booker Prize Books
A Century of Books!
Reading Bingo
Ongoing Series
Books Purchased Jan-Feb

Currently reading, listening to, and occasionally browsing through:

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (tutored read with Liz)
Slightly Foxed: No. 28: Happy Ever After by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey


Favourites of 2015: (★★★★½ and up, by reading order)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (review)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen
Clockwork by Philip Pullman (review)
Lamentation by C. J. Sansom
The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (review)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★

Favourites of 2014:
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★★ (review)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (review)
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
Lady Susan by Jane Austen (review)
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (review)
Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★ (review)
The Quick by Lauren Owen (ARC) ★★★★★ (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 ★★★★★
Treehorn Times Three by Florence Parry Heide & Edward Gorey
Merivel by Rose Tremain (review)
A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull (review)
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (review)
The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens (review)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar (review)
Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister (Volume II) (tutored read)
Breakfast With Lucian: A Portrait of the Artist by Geordie Greig (review)
The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth ★★★★★ (review)
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming (review)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Le joueur d'échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig ★★★★★
La Petite Bijou by Patrick Modiano

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

Reserving first 9 posts for organizational and planning needs. Also helps in post rankings ;-)

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 1:16pm

Books completed in March
31. ♫ Lamentation by C. J. Sansom ★★★★¾
32. ♫ Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch ★★★
33. ♫ The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier ★★★★½ (review)
34. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 27: Well Done, Carruthers! by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
35. ♫ What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris ★★★★
36. ⓔ The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★½
37. ♫ Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½
38. ⓔ Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood ★★★★⅓
39. ✔ Slightly Foxed: Part 45: Frankly, My Dear by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
40. ♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★
41. ♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ★★★★⅓
42. ⓔ Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim ★★★★⅓

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Books completed in February
16. ❉ An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓
Rêves oubliés (Vergessene Träume) by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Un redoublant by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½ (short story)
17. ❉ⓔ Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast ★★ (review)
18. ♫ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓
19. La Guinguette à deux sous / The Bar on the Seine (Maigret #11) by Georges Simenon ★★★★
20. ♫ The Europeans by Henry James ★★★
21. ♫ Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★⅓
22. ♫ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓ (review)
23. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 26: A Nightmare on Wheels by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
24. ♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters ★★★★⅓ (review)
25. ♫ Vol de nuit / Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★½
26. ♫ Clockwork by Philip Pullman ★★★★½ (review)
27. ♫ A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★⅓
28. ✔ Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ★★★ (review)
29. ✔ Diary Of A Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield ★★★★
30. ♫ Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel ★★★

Books completed in January
1. Slightly Foxed: 44: My Grandfather and Mr. Standfast by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½ (review)
2. ♫ Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½ (review)
3. ✔ Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally ★★★★ (review)
4. ♫ Chocolat by Joanne Harris ★★★★⅓ (review)
5. ♫ Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ★★★★⅓ (review)
6. Slightly Foxed: No. 24: A Pash for Nash by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½ (review)
7. ♫ Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★½ (review)
8. ⓔ Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively ★★★½ (review)
9. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 25: A Date with Iris by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
10. ♫ Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
11. ❉ⓔ The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel ★★★¾
12. ✔ The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
13. ♫ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy ★★★★
14. ❉ Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
15. ♫ The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)

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: Mar 28, 2015, 2:37pm

Reading Plans for February:

✪❉ An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - BAC, TIOLI #5: Read a book with a number in the first sentence, A Century of Books!, Booker Prize Books - COMPLETED
✭❉ⓔ Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast - #10: Read a non-fiction comic - COMPLETED
✪♫ The Europeans by Henry James - TIOLI #8: Read a book with something you could love in the title - COMPLETED
*✭♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters - British Authors Challenge, Picked for Me! (by Paul), TIOLI #3: Read a book that won or was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award - COMPLETED
✪✔ Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - BAC, A Century of Books!, TIOLI #11 - COMPLETED
✪♫ Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh - BAC, #12: Read A Book With a Three Word Title - COMPLETED
✪♫ A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - BAC, TIOLI #22 : Read a book whose opening line is a question - COMPLETED
Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) & Un redoublant
✪✔ Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield - shared read with Liz - TIOLI #15: Read a book that has something to do with time - COMPLETED
✭♫ The American Lover by Rose Tremain - TIOLI #2: Read a book that you wanted to get as soon as it was released
✭♫ Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel - Booker Prize Books, TIOLI #11 - COMPLETED
✭♫ Vol de nuit / Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - TIOLI #4: Read a book with a French connection - COMPLETED
✭♫ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling - TIOLI #13: Rolling Challenge: Read a book which title starts with the letters H, A, R, or T - COMPLETED
✪❉♫ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - TIOLI #13 - COMPLETED

Spur of the moment:
La Guinguette à deux sous / The Bar on the Seine (Maigret #11) by Georges Simenon - TIOLI #4 - COMPLETED
✭♫ Clockwork by Philip Pullman - TIOLI #20: Read a book in the horror genre


Reading Plans for March:

✭♫ Lamentation by C. J. Sansom - TIOLI #4: Read a book with a 2015 copyright - COMPLETED
✭♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro - TIOLI #4 - COMPLETED
✭ⓔ The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng - TIOLI #15: Read a book of which at least three books in the "LibraryThing Recommendations" section are featured in your collections - COMPLETED
✪♫❉ The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - AAC, TIOLI #10: Read a Book Where the Author's Last Name Could also be a First Name
*✪♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - BAC, Picked for Me!, TIOLI #2: Read a book whose title includes the name of a country - COMPLETED
✪♫ The Scapegoat - Daphne du Maurier - BAC, TIOLI #6: Read a book where the author's last name has more syllables than his or her first name, A Century of Books! (1957)
✪♫ Railsea by China Mieville - BAC, TIOLI #6
✪✔ Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz - TIOLI #9: Read a book that describes the preparations for a theatrical performance - Reading
✭ⓔ Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood - Booker Prize, A Century of Books! (1977), TIOLI #15 - COMPLETED
✭♫ The Collector by John Fowles - A Century of Books! (1963), - TIOLI #15
✪♫ A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley - TIOLI #3: Read the third book in a series
✭♫ To Let by John Galsworthy - TIOLI #3, A Century of Books! (1921)
✭♫ Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - TIOLI #3
✪ⓔ Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim - TIOLI #1 Read a book whose title contains the first three-letter combination in your city’s name (shared read with Heather - Leighton Buzzard), A Century of Books! (1907) - COMPLETED
✪♫ The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson - TIOLI #6 (shared with Heather)

Challenge #1 possibilities: Read a book whose title contains the first three-letter combination in your city’s name (mon)
A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

Spur of the moment:
✭♫ Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch - TIOLI #3 - COMPLETED
✭♫ What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris - TIOLI #19: Read a historical novel written by a woman - COMPLETED
✭♫ Small Gods by Terry Pratchett - TIOLI #11: Read a book with something you should beware of in the title - COMPLETED
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - TIOLI #20: Read a book in which one of author's names begins with an "A", "J", or "E" - Listening


Reading Plans for April:

✭✔ Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz (cont'd), TIOLI #2: something to do with 'green'
*ⓔ The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich - AAC, Picked for Me!
✪✔ The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter - BAC, A Century of Books!, TIOLI #4: Read a book whose title or author includes a job title or occupation
✪✔ Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham - BAC, A Century of Books!, TIOLI #7: Read a book originally published in 1915
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff - ANZAC
*✭♫ I, Dreyfus by Bernice Rubens - Picked for Me!, TIOLI #3: narrator is the opposite sex from the author
✭♫ Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - TIOLI #11: Read a book with a four-letter word in the title, Booker Prize
✭♫ The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - TIOLI #5: by an author from the Iberian peninsula
✭♫ The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford - TIOLI #7
✭♫ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan - TIOLI #7
✭♫ The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman - TIOLI #1: one word in the English version rhymes with "rain"
✭♫ Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman - TIOLI #1
✭♫ The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne - TIOLI #1
✭♫ Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie - TIOLI #12: written when the author was the same age you are now (give or take 2 years)

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

Edited: Mar 21, 2015, 2:57pm

American Authors Challenge (AAC)
January:Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers - COMPLETED
February: The Europeans by Henry James - COMPLETED
March: ❉♫ The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
April: *ⓔ The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich - Picked for Me!
May:Dodsworth or Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
June:Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
July: (Ursula K. Le Guin)
August: *♫ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry - Picked for Me!
September:Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O' Connor
October:Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (reread)
November:Flight Behavior, ✔ The Lacuna or ✔ Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
December:Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow


British Authors Challenge (BAC)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - COMPLETED
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - COMPLETED
*♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters - Picked for Me! - COMPLETED
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - COMPLETED
*✔ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - Picked for Me!
Railsea by China Mieville
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge
A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Bell by Iris Murdoch
Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
The Long Song Andrea Levy
The Siege by Helen Dunmore
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark
An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd
(TBA) by Hilary Mantel
Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse


ANZAC Author Reading Challenge 2015
April: Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff
May: Short Stories Katherine Mansfield
June: Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
July: Oscar and Lucinda, Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
August: The Bone People by Keri Hulme
November: Phryne Fisher mysteries Kerry Greenwood


Reading Stefan Zweig
I discovered Stefan Zweig in April 2012 and found a soulmate. I've since acquired a treasure in the form of a luxurious La Pléiade leather-bound two volume collection of his complete novels and stories in French translations. Since all his novels are quite short, I'd like to read at least one per month. I'll list what I've read here.

January: Dans la neige (Im Schnee), 1901
February: Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) & Un redoublant


Other Reading Plans
February:Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield - shared read with Liz - COMPLETED
March:Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz - Reading
May:Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - shared read with Ellen

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

Edited: Mar 24, 2015, 7:07pm

I'm running this personal challenge for the fourth year in 2015. It's a real treat reading something that was specifically chosen for me from my TBR by this wonderful bunch of passionate readers, and of course helps reduce that pile which I seem to never stop adding to. I asked participants select a book from my "To Read" collection then tell me, in a few words why you they though I should read the suggested work. I really look forward to the following bunch this year:

1. ♫ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy - picked by Ameise1 - COMPLETED / January
2. ✔ The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace - picked by luvamystery65 - COMPLETED / January
3. ♫ Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - picked by lunacat
4. ⓔ The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom - picked by lyzard
5. ♫ I, Dreyfus by Bernice Rubens - picked by avatiakh
6. ✔ The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson - picked by LizzieD
7. ♫ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry - picked by msf59 (August - AAC)
8. ♫ A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute - picked by DeltaQueen50 (ACoB!, 1952)
9. ♫ The Lost City of Z by David Grann - picked by drneutron
10. ⓔ The Round House by Louise Erdrich - picked by Donna828 (April - AAC)
11. ♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters - picked by PaulCranswick - COMPLETED / February
12. ✔ Catharine and Other Writings by Jane Austen - picked by souloftherose
13. ✔ The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher - picked by LauraBrook
14. ♫ The Bell by Iris Murdoch - picked by @sibyx (August - AAC, ACoB!, 1958)
15. ✔ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa - picked by @Ireadthereforeiam
16. ✔ The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - picked by jolerie
17. ✔ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - picked by kidzdoc
18. ♫ Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier - picked by Fourpawz2
19. ♫ Chocolat by Joanne Harris - picked by Crazymamie - COMPLETED / January
20. ♫ My Antonia by Willa Cather - picked by jnwelch
21. ♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - picked by @Cee- (March - BAC) - COMPLETED / March
22. ♫ Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (reread) - picked by cameling (ACoB!, 1985)
23. ✔ The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat - picked by Deern (ACoB!, 1957)

Extra Picks (optional)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - picked by lunacat (reread)
Dessins d'écrivains by Pierre Belfond - picked by @Cee-
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - picked by @Cee-
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - picked by @Cee- (reread) (ACoB!, 1908)

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: Mar 21, 2015, 2:40pm

Booker Prize Books

Read in 2015
(in reading order)
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (Booker Prize 1982)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Booker Prize 1987)
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 1986)
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel Longlist 2005)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Longlist 2007)
Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood (Shortlist 1977)

On my TBR
Bruno's Dream by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1970)
*Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Shortlist 1970)
14The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (Booker Prize 1970)
14Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (Shortlist 1971)
14The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (Booker Prize 1973)
*The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (Booker Prize 1974)
*The Children Of Dynmouth by William Trevor (Shortlist 1976)
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (Shortlist 1977)
14A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (Shortlist 1978)
13The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Booker Prize 1978)
14A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (Shortlist 1980)
*Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (Shortlist 1980)
13Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (Shortlist 1981)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize 1981)
*An Ice-cream War by William Boyd (Shortlist 1982)
*Waterland by Graham Swift (Shortlist 1983)
The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1985)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Booker Prize 1985)
13The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1986)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Shortlist 1988)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (Booker Prize 1988)
14Restoration by Rose Tremain(Shortlist 1989)
The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Shortlist 1989)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1989)
13The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro(Booker Prize 1989)
Possession by A.S. Byatt (Booker Prize 1990)
*Two Lives by William Trevor (Shortlist 1991)
14The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje(Booker Prize 1992)
*Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (Booker Prize 1992)
Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer (Shortlist 1993)
13Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (Shortlist 1995)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 1996)
*Last Orders by Graham Swift (Booker Prize 1996)
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (Shortlist 1998)
14Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan (Booker Prize 1998)
13Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Booker Prize 1999)
Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (Longlist 2001)
*Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 2002)
*Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 2003)
Astonishing Splashes Of Colour by Clare Morrall (Shortlist 2003)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Shortlist 2003)
13What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller(Shortlist 2003)
The Master by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2004)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 2005) - reread
The Accidental by Ali Smith (Shortlist 2005)
14The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth (Longlist 2006)
Mother's Milk by Edward St. Aubyn (Shortlist 2006)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (Booker Prize 2006)
14Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Shortlist 2007)
*Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Longlist 2008)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Shortlist 2008)
13The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (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)
Trespass by Rose Tremain (Longlist 2010)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Longlist 2010)
14Room by Emma Donoghue (Shortlist 2010)
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Shortlist 2011)
14The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Shortlist 2012)
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)
13The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2013)
13Harvest by Jim Crace (Shortlist 2013)
13The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Booker Prize 2013)
*Orfeo by Richard Powers (Longlist 2014)
*The Blazing World by Siri Hustdvedt (Longlist 2014)
14The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Booker Prize 2014)

13 = read in 2013
14 = read in 2014
* = recent additions

(Much more on the wishlist of course!)

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 1:18pm

A Century of Books! 1900-1999
I stole this challenge idea from Heather/souloftherose. I'm trying to read a book published in every year of the 20th century; I've been at it for a couple of years already, so obviously haven't set myself a time limit to complete it. Hopefully I'll put a good dent in this one in 2015!

1904 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
1907 Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
1913 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
1918 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
1920 In Chancery by John Galsworthy
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
1930 Le Bal by Irène Némirovsky
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
1941 Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers
1942 Le joueur d'échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
1943 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1944 Dragonwyck by Anya Seton
1945 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
1946 Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
1947 Wolf Story by William Mccleery
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
1954 Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
1957 The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
1960 The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning
1961 Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
1962 Cover Her Face by P. D. James
1964 Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
1965 Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
1966 The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1969 The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
1971 Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
1973 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
1974 Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
1977 Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood
1978 A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens
1980 A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
1981 Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini
1982 Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
1983 The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
1986 An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1988 Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
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
1999 Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 3:12pm

A NEW BINGO LINE with the vertical on the right!

I got this card from the 2015 Catergory challenge, where there are three fun designs to choose from. Unlike last year, I'll count any book that fits the criteria, as opposed to counting only books that I rate 4 stars and up, to give myself a chance to complete the challenge...

✭1. With a protagonist of the opposite gender: Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally ★★★★
✭2. Chosen by someone else: Chocolat by Joanne Harris ★★★★⅓
✭3. That I've owned for more than one year: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively ★★★½
✭4. With scientists: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭5. On a subject I'm unfamiliar with: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓

✭6. Translated from a language I don't speak: Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½
✭7. With a natural disaster: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★½
✭8. About Autism: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭9. With an LGBTQ character: Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
✭10. Set in a country other than my own: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ★★★★⅓

11. About language:
12. Published in 1915:
✭13. Category Challenge - FREE Space!
14. That reminds me of my childhood:
✭15. Where prophecies or portents are part of the plot: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★½

16. Based on a fairy tale or myth: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½
✭17. Inspired by another piece of fiction: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
✭18. With correspondence or letters: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
19. By an LT author:
✭20. Where an animal is of importance: Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½

✭21. With a mythical creature: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓
22. Centered around a major historical event:
✭23. Whose author shares an ancestor's first name: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★
24. That is a Genre Bender: Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
✭25. That is completely outside my comfort zone: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast ★★

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 3:29pm

Ongoing Series
An idea Heather (souloftherose) borrowed from Liz (lyzard), which caught on like wildfire. Ongoing series that I am more or less 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)
The Australian Trilogy - Next up: Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (⅔)
*ⓔ The Balkan Trilogy- Next up: The Spoilt City by Olivia Manning (2/3)
Bartimaeus Trilogy - Next up: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (Prequel)
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)
*♫ Cazalet Chronicles - Next up: Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard (2/5)
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 (2/10)
Chocolat - Next up: The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (2/3)
The Chronicles of Barsetshire - Next up: Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (2/6)
The Chronicles of St Mary's - Next up: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (2/4)
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 (5/23 - read out of order)
Commissario Montalbano - Next up: August Heat by Andrea Camilleri (10/19)
Corfu Trilogy: The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (3/3)
The Cousins' War: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (2/6)
*✔ The Dark is Rising Sequence - Next up: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (4/5)
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 (5/10)
Dublin Murder Squad - Next up: The Likeness by Tana French (2/5)
Easy Rawlins Mystery - Next up: White Butterfly by Walter Mosley (3/11)
Elizabeth and her German Garden - Next up: The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim (2/2)
*✔ Empire Trilogy - Next up: The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (3/3)
❉♫ Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström - Next up: The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/9)
❉♫ Flavia de Luce - Next up: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/7)
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 Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (reread) (5/7)
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 (2/5)
Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries - Next up: The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/10)
Jack Reacher - Next up: The Enemy by Lee Child (8/20)
Jackson Brodie - Next up: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
John Russell - Next up: Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/6)
Joseph O'Loughlin - Next up: Shatter by Michael Robotham (3/7)
Kenzie & Gennaro - Next up: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/6 - read out of order)
Kurt Wallander - Next up: The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/11)
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 Mystified by Georges Simenon (12/76)
*ⓔ Mapp and Lucia - Next up: Lucia in London by E. F. Benson (3/8)
Matthew Shardlake - Next up: Lamentation by C. J. Samson (6/6)
Miss Marple - Next up: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (2/12)
Night Soldiers - Next up: Dark Star by Alan Furst (2/13)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Next up: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (6/15)
The Obelisk Trilogy - Next up: Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
Oxford Time Travel series - Next up: Blackout by Connie Willis (3/4)
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 3/6)
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 Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (5/9)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/7)
Sookie Stackhouse - Next up: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (3/14)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: The Nixie's Song by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (6/8)
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)- Completed in December
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
*♫ Albert Campion: The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (1/19)
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)
*♫ Cicero: Imperium by Robert Harris (1/2)
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)
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (1/2)
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston (1/3)
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1/2)
*♫ Harry Hole: The Bat by Jo Nesbø (1/10)
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)
*♫ The Inheritance Cycle: Eragon by Christopher Paolini (1 of 4)
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)
*♫ Leo Demidov: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (1 of 3)
Leonid McGill: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley (1 of 4)
*♫ MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (1 of 3)
✔❉♫ The Magicians: The Magicians by Lev Grossman (1/3)
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 (1/5)
*✔ On Foot to Constantinople: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (1/3)
Outlander: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1/9)
*♫+ⓔ Patrick Melrose: Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn (1/5)
The Psammead Trilogy: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1/3)
Quirke: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (1/6)
Revelation Space: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (1/7)
*✔ Sacred Hunger: Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (1 of 2)
Shanghai Girls: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (1/2)
*♫ Small Change: Farthing by Jo Walton (1/3)
Sprawl: Neuromancer by William Gibson (1/3)
Swallows and Amazons: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1/12)
Sword of Honour: Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh (1/3)
The Vampire Chronicles: Interview with the Vampire (reread) by Anne Rice (1/10)
❉♫ The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (1/4)
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (1/2)

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

Edited: Mar 11, 2015, 4:13pm

Books Purchased in 2015

362 Books purchased in 2014. That's almost 1 book a day and definitely excessive. But then, books are my major indulgence and I have no plans to vastly reduce my book-buying habit. Would be nice to generally buy less this year, if only because I worry I won't ever be able to read all of my vast and ever-growing tbr (1,638 titles strong as I write this), but then I guess there could be much worse things. This is where I keep track of the damage.

1. The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self - Bloomsbury edition (AbeBooks)
2. Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood by Angelica Garnett (Amazon seller)
3. Slightly Foxed: No. 3: Sharks, Otters and Fast Cars by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
4. Slightly Foxed: No. 5: A Hare's Breadth by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
5. Slightly Foxed: No. 6: Taking the Plunge by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
6. Slightly Foxed: No. 15: Underwear Was Important by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
7. Slightly Foxed: No. 27: Well Done, Carruthers! by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
8. Slightly Foxed: No. 31: The Return of Grouse by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
9. ⓔ Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
10. ⓔ The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
11. ⓔ Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
12. ⓔ You Can't Go Home Again / Of Time and the River / Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (Kindle Deal)
13. ⓔ Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
14. ⓔ McTeague by Frank Norris (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
15. ⓔ The American by Henry James (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
16. ⓔ The Green Mill Murder: Phryne Fisher #5 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
17. ⓔ Blood and Circuses: Phryne Fisher #6 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
18. ⓔ Ruddy Gore: Phryne Fisher #7 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
19. ⓔ Urn Burial: Phryne Fisher #8 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
20. ⓔ April Lady by Georgette Heyer (Kindle Daily Deal)
21. ⓔ The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer (Kindle Daily Deal)
22. ⓔ The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
23. ♫ The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier
24. ♫ A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
25. ♫ Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
26. ♫ Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault
27. ♫ Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
28. Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (AbeBooks)
29. The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor (AbeBooks)
30. ♫ The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith (Audible Daily Deal)
31. ♫ The Collectors by Philip Pullman
32. ♫ Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris
33. ♫ Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Audible Daily Deal)
34. ♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Audible Sale)
35. ♫ Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstoreby Robin Sloan (Audible Sale)
36. ♫ The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (Audible Sale)
37. ♫ Faithful Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 3 by Tana French (Audible Sale)
38. ♫ Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh by Joseph Conrad (Audible Sale)
39. ♫ I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Audible Sale)
40. ♫ Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Audible Sale)
41. ♫ The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Audible Sale)
42. Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden (Taschen Sale)
43. Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra (Taschen Sale)
44. Mark Ryden. Pinxit (Taschen Sale)

45. ♫ Eragon by Chirstopher Paolini (Audible Sale)
46. ♫ Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Audible Sale)
47. ♫ The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (Audible Daily Deal)
48. ♫ Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
49. ♫ Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant by Tracy Borman
50. ♫ Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin (Audible Daily Deal)
51. ♫ Possession by A. S. Byatt
52. ♫ Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
53. ♫ Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin
54. ♫ Dirty Story : Arthur Abdel, Book 2 by Eric Ambler
55. ♫ The Odyssey by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation
56. ♫ The Iliad by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation
57. ♫ Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
58. ♫ Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
59. ♫ The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
60. ♫ The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volume I: 1660 - 1663 Samuel Pepys
61. ⓔ+♫ A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor (Kindle+Audible Deal)
62. ♫ Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (Audible Daily Deal)
63. ♫ A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
64. ♫ Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh
65. ♫ Clockwork by Philip Pullman (Audible Daily Deal)
66. ♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (pre-order)
67. ♫ The American Boy by Andrew Taylor
68. ♫ The Colour by Rose Tremain
69. A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor (NYRB BookDepo)
70. The Runaways by Elizabeth Goudge (BookDepo)
71. The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (BookOutlet)
72. ♫ The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
73. ♫ Orlando Virginia Woolf
74. The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig (NYRB from
75. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (NYRB from
76. ⓔ Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig (Kindle Daily Deal)
77. Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II (
78. ♫ There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz (Audible Daily Deal)
79. ⓔ+♫ Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (Kindle+Audible Deal)
80. The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman (AbeBooks)

81. ⓔ+♫ Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens (Kindle+Audible Deal)
82. ⓔ+♫ The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Kindle+Audible Deal)
83. ⓔ+♫ Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy (Kindle+Audible Deal)
84. ⓔ+♫ The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev (Kindle+Audible Deal)
85. ⓔ+♫ The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace (Kindle+Audible Deal)
86. ⓔ+♫ Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
87. ⓔ+♫ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
88. ⓔ+♫ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
89. ⓔ+♫ The Last Man by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
90. ⓔ History of the Rain by Niall Williams (Kindle Daily Deal)
91. Dead Man's Land Robert Ryan (Book Depo)
92. ⓔ Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill (Kindle Deal)
93. ♫ Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Audible Daily Deal)
94. ♫ Victoria: A Life by A. N. Wilson
95. ♫ The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Audible Sale)
96. ♫ The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Audible Sale)
97. ♫ I, Claudius (Dramatised) by Robert Graves (Audible Sale)
98. ♫ Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell
99. ♫ What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris

♫ = audiobook
ⓔ = eBook

Feb 10, 2015, 12:54pm

And next one's free!


Feb 10, 2015, 1:11pm

Happy New Thread, lady!

Feb 10, 2015, 1:15pm

Thanks Amber! :-)

Feb 10, 2015, 1:16pm


*big grin*

Feb 10, 2015, 1:19pm

Lovely new thread, Ilana!

Feb 10, 2015, 1:31pm

>15 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks Liane, I was writing a couple of new messages, which I'll post right away, maybe you can help me with a little issue I'm having with the latest book I finished yesterday...

Edited: Feb 10, 2015, 1:34pm

I finished listening to The Rosie Project last night while I was working on my drawing and must say I really enjoyed the journey. The one and only hitch is I totally, but I mean absolutely did not understand the resolution at the end, even if I listened to it a second time to try to figure it out. So who is Rosie's dad then? Please someone either write me here with that spoiler thingie or send me a PM because I'm utterly bemused and seriously questioning whether my capacity for understanding basic concepts is gravely compromised or if it's really not made all that clear in the book.

Taking Coco out for our night walk I started on Sarah Waters' Affinity and basically just listened to the intro and part of chapter 1 and was quite charmed by her writing and description of the very gothic sounding Millbank Prison in 1874 London, which, according to wikipedia was 'originally constructed as the National Penitentiary, and which for part of its history served as a holding facility for convicted prisoners before they were transported to Australia. It was opened in 1816 and closed in 1890.' So far seems promising.

Millbank prison's burial ground, with the Houses of Parliament in the background. The image was published in 1862.

Edited: Feb 26, 2015, 12:42pm

Books completed I want to review in very near future

Books completed in January
6. Slightly Foxed: No. 24: A Pash for Nash by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½ (review)
9. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 25: A Date with Iris by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
10. ♫ Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
11. ❉ⓔ The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel ★★★¾
12. ✔ The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
13. ♫ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy ★★★★
14. ❉ Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
15. ♫ The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)

Books completed in February
16. ❉ An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½ (short story)
20. ♫ The Europeans by Henry James ★★★
21. ♫ Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★⅓
22. ♫ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓ (review)

I've got my work cut out for me! Needless to say, some of these will have to be mini-reviews. Will write them out of order as inspiration dictates.

For now am going back to the drawing board and Affinity.

Feb 10, 2015, 1:50pm

Happy new thread, Ilana. I have The Rosie Project waiting for me on one of bookshelves. Super happy to see you enjoyed that one.

Feb 10, 2015, 1:52pm

Lovely new thread, Ilana! Those images up top are striking - I think the first one is my favorite.

Feb 10, 2015, 1:57pm

I'm about a quarter of the way through Affinity and, while not completely taken with it yet, I do like that image of Millbank Prison so thanks for sharing it.

Edited: Feb 11, 2015, 12:17pm

>17 Smiler69: Rosie's Dad is Phil - he's the one who sends Don the ring he gives Rosie for their anniversary and then shows up unexpectedly for the party at the end of the book.

Does that help?

Edited to conceal the name of Rosie's father.

Feb 10, 2015, 4:24pm

Happy new thread Ilana!

>17 Smiler69: I remember googling for more information about Millbank prison when I read Affinity too.

I have this fixed idea that I won't like The Rosie Project despite the fact that everyone else has enjoyed it. Don't know why.....

Feb 11, 2015, 5:02am

Love the new digs dear lady. Lisa (kiwiflowa) sent me The Rosie Project last year so I better get cracking and read it soon.

Feb 11, 2015, 7:22am

Happy New Thread, Ilana! Love the Catrin Welz-Stein toppers! Thanks for turning me on to her. Glad you are enjoying The Rosie Project. It is a lot of fun on audio.

Feb 11, 2015, 11:20am

Happy new thread, Ilana! Don't mind me, I'm just admiring your beautiful organization. :)
Hope you are starting to feel better now?

Feb 11, 2015, 12:57pm

>19 lkernagh: Thanks for the visit Lori. I hope you enjoy The Rosie Project as much as I did when you get to it, though be warned the ending can be confusing. If so, there's is a helpful Goodreads thread to set you straight.

>20 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie, glad you like my latest CW-S images. I always try to pair two of her images I think will go well together. Agree 'Carmen' is very striking.

>21 lunacat: I haven't made as much headway as you with Affinity yet Jenny, but I'm really enjoying the narrator, Juanita McMahon on this audio version, which helps a good deal in getting involved with any given book. I felt from the first Millbank Prison was as much a character in this book as any person Waters might describe, so it was good to look it up, and of course I'm glad to share my findings. Hope you enjoy the book as you get settled into it... and me too!

>22 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks Liane—I also googled for additional comments and found a Goodreads thread devoted to the ending, and found out I was far from being the only one who found it confusing, which was reassuring. It was summed it up so quickly, and even if I went back and listened to it twice over, I couldn't for the life of me understand what the resolution was. Now that I know for sure who the father is, I'll go back and listen to the ending again and try to see if it makes more sense to me this time.

Thanks for hiding the name by the way for the sake of our LT friends who haven't read the book yet!

Feb 11, 2015, 12:58pm

>23 souloftherose: Heather, as I said when I set out to read The Rosie Project, I had no idea whether I'd like it or not, because I couldn't base myself on the fact that everyone else had liked it as a reliable indication that I would love it too, but in those cases the only way to find out is to read it oneself of course! (hint, hint!) ;-)

>24 PaulCranswick: Paul, I'll be writing a short review of the book shortly, for what it's worth. I think it's a light and fun read. It's also a very quick read, so you'll probably get through it in no time at all.

>25 msf59: Hey Mark, I really loved Dan O'Grady narrating The Rosie Project. I can only hope we'll be hearing more audiobooks from him in near future.

>26 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Don't be fooled by my so-called organization. I put all those lists together once and then it's just a question of keeping them up-to-date and copy/pasting them from one thread to the other.

Every time I think I've got this stupid flu kicked, I wake up in the night with a coughing fit and have to take some syrup, but I guess it's basically over at this point and I'm just dealing with lingering after-effects at this point. Still really fatigued and having to blow my nose all the time and all that nonsense, but then we are at the heart of winter and I'm definitely suffering from winter blues, so bound to have the sniffles...

Feb 11, 2015, 3:43pm

>4 Smiler69: I have never heard of Stefan Zweig, but on his author page photo he looks very dignified, and as I like the look of his titles too, I may look out for him.

Re: your ongoing illness, maybe its a winter thing as last winter I had a cold seemingly endlessly. I only became fully aware of how long I had had it as the blood donation people call me up once every 6 weeks to see if I can donate, and I had to reject them 3 times running because of ill health. It dawned on me that I was sick too much. I hope for that not to be the case this winter!

Feb 11, 2015, 3:46pm

>29 LovingLit: Wow, you can donate every six weeks? Blood donation over here can only occur every 12 weeks for men and every 16 weeks for women.

Feb 11, 2015, 5:29pm

Hi, Ilana - flu, yuck! I had a what was really only a bad cold towards the end of last year but it hung around for weeks and made everything a struggle; I completely understand what you mean about fatigue. :(

I was actually dropping in to check that we're still on for the tutored read of Mansfield Park next month? I was about to start "advertising" but then thought I'd better run it by you first.

Edited: Feb 11, 2015, 8:46pm

>29 LovingLit: Megan, I hadn't heard of Zweig until around 2012, when I think Darryl and Suzanne mentioned him with The Post Office Girl, which was published by NYRB. He's since become one of my favourite authors of all time, but he also seems to be growing in popularity lately. His novels are all novella-length. The most recent one I read and highly recommend is Chess Story; I also loved Confusion, Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman, Fear, Letter from an Unknown Woman and would recommend them all (all 4.5 to 5 stars for Chess Story).

I dearly hope I can rid myself of this pesky thing I've been dragging along, but considering I haven't been the healthiest person for these past few years I guess it isn't so surprising I'm still coughing three weeks on after catching that bug.

>30 lunacat: I can't donate blood because it makes me too weak for several days afterward and immediately after I feel dizzy for several hours, so I must leave it to others. That being said, maybe now Pierre has me on a regular protein diet I might be a better candidate, though I'd have to try to find out...

>31 lyzard: Given I'm already fatigued all the time, it doesn't take much to drag me down. :-|

I'm definitely up for Mansfield Park next month Liz! Been waiting for this one for a bit, so quite looking forward to it. However if you are overloaded with other things and would rather push it forward another month I'd be ok with doing so too, not like another month would make a difference at this point! :-)

Feb 11, 2015, 9:17pm

Book #22:The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
Source: National Library OneClickDigital Collection
Read for: TIOLI #13: Rolling Challenge: Read a book which title starts with the letters H, A, R, or T & Reading Bingo
Edition: Recorded Books (2013), Unabridged MP3; 7h32
Original publication date: 2013

Lots of people have read this book and are already onto its follow up, The Rosie Effect and we can now all have fun confusing both book titles and getting the story lines mixed up. But The Rosie Project is where it all starts, when genetics professor Don Tillman accidentally falls on what he thinks is the ideal device to find the perfect wife in the form of a questionnaire which is bound to eliminate all the unwanted candidates to avoid dating disasters, such as women who insist on eating only one specific flavour of ice cream (when he is scientifically certain that the taste buds once frozen can't differentiate between one ice cream flavour and another). One thing which becomes clear from the very beginning is that Don is a peculiar guy with very rigid habits and zero sense of what appropriate interpersonal behaviour should be like. His best friend Gene sends him off as a replacement to give a talk on Asperger's Syndrome to a bunch of kids and their parents early on in the story, by which time it seems everyone in the book and the reader has figured out Don must have just that syndrome, but meanwhile Don himself feels incredibly clever to have figured out the kids in the room must be 'aspies' themselves, but meanwhile seems clueless that he must be one himself too. Rosie walks into his life and Don assumes she's passed his test, yet she doesn't meet a single of his requirements. She is looking for her real father though, and Don takes on her quest like it's his own life mission. Before long, he and Rosie are spending loads of time together and devising all kinds of unlikely feats to dredge up DNA from likely candidates and... even while Rosie shakes Don up considerably, could it be that they're falling in love, even though Don isn't actually capable of empathy or feeling emotions like love?

I knew everyone else had loved this book, which to me wasn't an indicator that I would love it too, but I picked up the audio version narrated by Dan O'Grady and pretty much started enjoying it and not wanting to stop to listen from the get-go. Don narrates the story from his point of view and his perspective on life is both incredibly stilted and very amusing. Rosie is a strong character who doesn't let anyone jerk her around and the result of their time spent together is surprising and heartwarming. I'm not a fan of romance novels, nor of romantic comedies in general, but this one was very well done and I was more than willing to be led along. Only caveat is the ending was wrapped up so quickly that I couldn't figure out who Rosie's dad was in the last couple of sentences finally, but I found a Goodreads thread to help me figure it out and this detail didn't really affect my overall appreciation of the book finally because the search for Rosie's father finally became secondary to Don's unique character and a budding relationship.

Edited: Feb 13, 2015, 11:28am

Book #6: Slightly Foxed: No. 24: A Pash for Nash by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½
Source: Fairlane Books via AbeBooks
Series: Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader's Quarterly
Edition: Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader's Quarterly (Winter 2009), Paperback, 96 pages
Original publication date: 2009

This edition, which I became really keen to get my hands on when I saw the lineup of books covered in the synopsis turned out to be a real treat and one of my favourite issues thus far. Definitely a keeper I will return to for a spot of comfort reading.

There's 'Anarchist in a Tie' by Michael Barber, an article about the books of Eric Ambler, whom I discovered in the past couple of years thanks to The Folio Society with The Mask of Dimitrios and then several audiobooks like The Light of Day and Epitaph for a Spy (both highly recommended). Of course the article only makes me want to finally pick up my Folio Dimitrios and several other audiobooks and keep going with Ambler.

A discovery: The Education of H*y*m*a*nK*a*p*l*a*n, out of print but surely obtainable via Abe, a hilarious sounding book from 1937 about the travails of a Jewish immigrant who seems determined to remain impervious to his English teacher, the long-suffering Mr Parkhill's lesson's: 'How much will cost refrigimator?' writes Mr Kaplan in a business letter assignment which he has chosen to address to his uncle Hymie. 'Is axspensif, maybe by you is more cheap a little. But must not have short circus. If your eye falls on a bargain please pick it up.'

'A Very Rising Man' by Roger Hudson, which finally got me truly interested in reading The Complete Diary of Samuel Pepys, which may be a lifetime project considering it is 11 volumes in length in the unexpurgated version. Roger Hudson, according to his brief bio, worked for many years at John Murray, the firm that had the chance of publishing Pepys in the 1820s but turned it down.

'Divine Spark' by Emma Hogan is about one of my great favourites, Dame Muriel Spark and covers her brilliant Memento Mori which I believe I am due to reread (but can I wait till November for the BAC?) as well as her Curriculum Vitae, which I haven't yet had the pleasure of discovering—what joy awaits!

Who doesn't love 84 Charing Cross Road? Maggie Fergusson tells us how she discovered that book in 'We All Love Your Letters...' and now I feel sure a book could be written about how various writers came to discover that particular epistolary jewel.

'Plain Jane? Plain Wrong' by Daisy Hay is about another reader favourite, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, in which she tries to explain why contrary to Mark Twain and Charlotte Brontë, she thinks it is the perfect English novel.

Edited: Feb 11, 2015, 10:52pm

I do love H*y*m*a*n*K*a*p*l*a*n, and I'm glad that you did too.
I just ordered the Clair Tomalin bio of Samuel Pepys.......... We are chugging right along together because I was paging through *Rosie* to introduce it to the f2f book club.
If it's not too old, Happy New Thread. I hope every day is seeing you better and better with your upper respiratory problems.

Feb 12, 2015, 6:42am

Ooof, lingering coughs at night are just awful. I've been there and I certainly sympathize. Hoping you can kick this sickness all the way out the door soon!

Feb 12, 2015, 12:29pm

I've been enjoying the first third of Affinity; Sarah Waters is really great at setting mood and her writing is beautiful. In this instance I'm listening to the audio version and the narrator Juanita McMahon does a marvellous job and is really pulling me in, but I'm sorry to say this... I'm already dreading the lesbian love story that is about to emerge, and as much as I've enjoyed the other two Waters novels I've read so far (Fingersmith and The Paying Guests), I'm already getting a bit tired or her formula of lesbian romance historic fiction for the masses. I wish she didn't have an agenda of always pushing this lesbian romance angle. Of course I guess there is a public for this genre and it's as valid as straight romance, but considering I'm not fond of that genre either it just makes me doubly wince. Sorry if I'm being politically incorrect or offending sensibilities. I'll still be reading her, but it is becoming a pet peeve and I needed to vent.

Making my way through Brideshead Revisited, and perhaps starting with Vile Bodies and following through with more of his early fiction such as Black Mischief and Decline and Fall has spoiled me for Waugh's more serious later work, but I loved the hilarious absurdity and manic energy of his early work so that I can't help but feel this novel is a bit too melancholy for my liking at this point, but perhaps it'll grow on me eventually.

Went to the National Library with Pierre on Tuesday to return a very late audiobook, and as he encouraged me to seek out more audiobooks (not that I need encouraging in the first place, but I was going to abstain for his sake to save him the wait), I brought back the following:

Madame Maigret's Friend (Maigret #33) by Georges Simenon
Three Beds in Manhattan by Georges Simenon (Non-Maigret novella)
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (French translation)
The Plague / La peste by Albert Camus (original French text)
Memories of Childhood trilogy in original French text narrated by Marcel Pagnol:
My Father's Glory / La gloire de mon père by Marcel Pagnol
My Mother's Castle / Le Château de ma mère by Marcel Pagnol
Le Temps des Secrets by Marcel Pagnol
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (for a reread of WH and this one before the 3rd book comes out)

Feb 12, 2015, 1:05pm

>35 LizzieD: Lucky you Lizzie that you got to read Hyman Kaplan, it's not that easy to find nowadays and used copies aren't exactly going for cheap. So far I've only read Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen, but I've got four other books of her's on the wishlist, including Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, and Katherine Mansfield. I've just added Samuel Pepys to the lineup as well, which seems to be her most popular work on LT, though I'll await your feedback to see whether you recommend it. The thread is just two days old, so definitely still young! :-)

>36 scaifea: Thanks Amber, may the power of group thinking work!

Feb 12, 2015, 4:29pm

>32 Smiler69: Not a problem at all, Ilana - I just wanted to check with you before going public.

However, I think it's your turn to come up with a self-indulgent TIOLI challenge to slot it into! :)

Feb 12, 2015, 4:39pm

>39 lyzard: LOL! I think I come up with a self-indulgent TIOLI challenge just about every month!

Feb 12, 2015, 9:05pm

>39 lyzard: Liz, I always wait first to see if a book will fit into a challenge someone else has come up with; not in any great hurry to be one of the first on the wiki pages! But otherwise I'm sure I can think something up to fit a few planned reads of mine. ;-)

Edited: Feb 12, 2015, 9:37pm

Well, I'm not sure what that was all about, but I raided Audible today, even though I'd just brought back a bunch of audiobooks from the library and got myself no less than NINE new titles. Some of them had been on my wishlist for a long time and I decided not to wait for them to retire those recordings from circulation. Others are brand new and I can't wait to get listening:

Possession by A. S. Byatt
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (for eventual reread, only recently made available in Canada)
Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin
Dirty Story : Arthur Abdel, Book 2 by Eric Ambler (LOVED book 1!)
The Odyssey by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation (narrated by Dan Stevens)
The Iliad by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation (narrated by Dan Stevens)
Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volume I: 1660 - 1663 Samuel Pepys. Over 119 hours of listening time for 1 credit—quite a deal! Of course prompted by my exchange with Peggy today, which was prompted by my review in >34 Smiler69:

Also got earlier today:

ⓔ+♫ A Second Chance (The Chronicles of St Mary Book 3) by Jodi Taylor (Kindle+Audible Deal)
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (Audible Daily Deal)

eta: Also just noticed I forgot to list a Kindle purchase at the end of Jan: ⓔ The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, which looks like good fun.

Total books purchased to date: 62

Edited: Feb 13, 2015, 1:29pm

Nice review of The Rosie Project, Ilana. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Good for you for keeping an open mind. When the time comes, you'll likely enjoy The Rosie Effect, too, as it has many of the same charms as the first.

>42 Smiler69: Possession (great book) and A Second Chance (what a fun series) stand out for me among your Audible raid.

Feb 13, 2015, 11:30am

>37 Smiler69: Know what you mean, Ilana, but her writing transcends the stereotyping don't you think? I'm not a romance fiction fan and I guess that as someone hugely heterosexual I wouldn't feel the need to write about love between the sexes with quite as much ardour as Waters does about love between ladies. I guess she feels it is a voice that is lacking an audience and she does write so splendidly.

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Feb 13, 2015, 11:31am

>43 jnwelch: Hey Joe, The Rosie Project really was as much fun, and even more as some people were saying I should expect, which was a real treat!

Truth is, I've had Possession as a Vintage ppbk on the stacks for a few years now, but I'm hoping having it on audio will encourage me to get to it faster... though by this point I have such a huge audio collection that doesn't necessary hold true any longer! ;-)

Edited: Feb 13, 2015, 1:14pm

I started writing a review, but it proved to be too much work for my weary brain, so I've shelved it for now. One day maybe I'll post a review for The Hare with Amber Eyes. It may or may not end up being worth reading. I'm off to work on drawings. Safer not to deal with words sometimes. They are far too treacherous.

Feb 13, 2015, 1:42pm

Hi Ilana! I hope you are doing well. I'm just trying to catch up on Threads. That seems to be a never ending story!

Happy Weekend!

Feb 13, 2015, 2:09pm

Hi Connie, we all know that particular never ending story! Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the weekend too!

Edited: Feb 14, 2015, 2:15pm

Valentine's Day Book Dilemma

I have a huge dilemma today which I'm sure my fellow LTers can relate to. Pierre asked me yesterday what I'd like for Valentine's day, and as I've never celebrated it before and he's been sick with a 24-hour stomach virus this week which has left him weak and quite a sorry thing, I said 'nothing', because for so long it's really been a day I'd rather forget more than a day of rejoicing, besides which he doesn't seem to be in any shape for celebrating either.

Then at some point in the evening he saw me going nuts and racing to my computer every hour to check out what my library had just added from the OverDrive collection (they get new stuff every Friday and I hurry to be first in line to download new audiobooks), and seeing how I was smiling and joyful about getting new releases, he offered to give me a very large dollar amount to buy myself books as my Valentine's gift—be they audiobooks or art books or Folio books or a combination thereof, because he says I'm completed book-mad and he can see how happy they make me and he want to encourage this gentle madness of mine. What a guy! So now the big job of figuring out what I want MOST.

Of course I can never have too many audiobooks. And then Folio has just released a new edition of Emma published as a series with their Pride and Prejudice which I acquired last year and love (click on the image above to see the Folio page with more views on the their Emma publication). I've also been drooling at Folio's Limited Edition of the completely out of range Temple of Flora priced at a cool CAN$ 1,495.00 with only 600 numbered editions available ( which I discovered Taschen has released in a much more affordable NON-limited edition (as below).

Decisions, decisions...

Feb 14, 2015, 4:16pm

And now you want us to decide on what to buy?

Feb 14, 2015, 5:10pm

I can't decide when it comes to buying my own books, let alone for someone else! Although the Folio edition of Emma is absolutely gorgeous (and I say that, not liking the Brontes so with no bias).

Feb 14, 2015, 5:10pm

I have been drooling over that Emma myself! I think I do HAVE to get it to go with my only other Folio, which is Pride and Prejudice. I did just read (well, listen) to Emma for the first time last year, and I loved it.

Nice haul of audios up there, my dear! And I loved your reviews - the Slightly Foxed is always so fun to read when you review it like that. I have The Rosie Project in the stacks, so looking forward to that one.

Hoping that you have a weekend filled with fabulous!

Feb 14, 2015, 5:37pm

>50 connie53: Connie, that's not really a requirement, I was just sharing my delightful problem. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our problems were always of that nature?

>51 lunacat: Jenny, choosing what books to buy is always a gentle torture for me. In this case I think I'll come up with a happy mix, because Pierres's given me quite a healthy budget to work with. That being said, I think I'll try to pull in the reigns and not spend quite as much as he's offered because sometimes he's a little too generous for a man making a living as an artist.

>52 Crazymamie: Mamie, I will get the Folio Emma for sure. It's just a question of when. I've read it once (the audio version by Juliet Stevenson of course), and will probably reread it after we're done with our tutored read of Mansfield Park, when I will read it from my new Everyman's Library edition, which I am also collecting. Glad you enjoyed the Slightly Foxed review. Those little quarterlies are such a treat! Hope you have a great weekend too! I'm now waiting for Pierre to get here any minute with the goods he's collected from the market for our gourmet dinner we'll be augmenting with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne each!

Feb 14, 2015, 6:05pm

I hope you're having a splendid weekend, Ilana! And I'm looking forward to learning what books you choose!

Feb 14, 2015, 6:59pm

Your evening sounds fun, Ilana! Enjoy!

Edited: Feb 14, 2015, 7:13pm

I came across this link today; thought you might be interested because of the connection to Schindler’s List. Amon Goeth’s granddaughter (hmm, link doesn't work; try this:, who was adopted unaware of her biological heritage until in her 30s, has written a memoir in German, to be published soon in English.

>49 Smiler69: Temple of Flora
Ooh, pretty!

Edited: Feb 15, 2015, 7:31am

Hi Ilana, sorry for being late for the new thread. Yours is one I prefer reading (and commenting on) with a proper keyboard in front of me, jumping back and forth between my post in writing and your detailed reviews, beautiful illustrations and updates on your life. And since I don't want to post from work anymore, I usually read LT on my ipad or phone now. Especially the latter one is still difficult for me, I feel I am missing so much with that small screen, now that many threads have all those interesting pictures. But now it's Sunday, the weather is bad and here I am on the couch with my notebook on my lap with 4 hrs akku time. :)

Want to chime in to everyone's praise of your Liselotte in the last thread. It's so beautiful, and I love what you're doing with the light. It really makes her come to life.

If it was for me, you could well continue opening your threads with Catrin Welz-Stein. I could look at her paintings for hours.

I need to get another audio book for the hospital next week because the Waugh has only 6.5 hours. I might get Affinity although I hadn't been planning to read 3 Waters this month. Or should I go for The Rosie Project which I hadn't noticed before reading your review? Which would you say is easier to follow?
Edit: For me, TRP unfortunately is available in Danish only. :) And Affinity is longer than my average audio. Must find sth else, I guess.

I must start looking for those "Slightly Foxed" things. This one sounds too good.

My Waugh experience was different from yours - I started with BR and after that Vile Bodies and Decline and Fall felt like written by a different author. I'll listen to A Handful of Dust this week, which according to Paul builds a kind of bridge between the two writing periods.

Wow for the Valentine gift! I never had one and never cared, because in Germany until some years ago it was an unimportant day. Here in Italy it is celebrated a bit more, so I gave myself a visit at the hairdresser, 2 new recipe books, and then invited my best friend here for a pink lady lunch with pink prosecco and pink gnocchi.

>56 qebo: This sounds like an interesting book. Wondering if my library has it.

Feb 15, 2015, 7:32am

Have a great Sunday, Ilana! I hope the cough finally leaves you alone.

Feb 15, 2015, 8:47am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! I hope you have fully recovered. Fingers crossed. Those Folio editions are so gorgeous. I saw The Martian Chronicles edition on FB. Wow! So far, I have resisted the temptation. Honestly, I can't afford it.

I hope you have a very pleasant day!

Feb 15, 2015, 9:40pm

Sounds like Pierre has figured out the personal nature of books - each reader having their own preferences. Good for him! My other half will not buy books for me unless he 100% knows it is something that I want/covet and haven't already bought for myself. Saves for a lot of aggravation of books inappropriately purchased, even if the intentions were to please, that is for sure. ;-)

Feb 16, 2015, 1:32pm

Book #24:Affinity by Sarah Waters ★★★★⅓
Read for: British Authors Challenge, Picked for Me! (by Paul), TIOLI #3: Read a book that won or was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award
Edition: Recorded Books (2012), Unabridged MP3; 15h11
Awards & Distinctions: ALA Stonewall Book Award Winner, Lambda Literary Award Nominee, Somerset Maugham Award, Guardian 1000 (Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Original publication date: 1999

When Margaret Prior accepts to become a 'Lady Visitor' at Millbank Prison in London, she is far from suspecting what tangled skeins await her in the endless corridors of the dank and cold prison, with it's wing holding women prisoners who are there for crimes as diverse as attempted suicide, infanticide, arson, petty theft, and fraud. Recovering from an undefined illness brought on by the grief following the death of her father, she believes this will be a worthwhile occupation to fill her time away from home and her overbearing mother, and will bring much-needed relief to the women prisoners who are living in deplorable conditions in the jail, where the emphasis, typical of the times, is on punishment. Her presence gives the prisoners a rare opportunity in the day to speak to someone, for they are expected to be silent at all times otherwise, and it gives them a small break in their continual chores, as well as a chance for some empathy from a stranger rather than the harsh treatment they can expect from the prison matrons who seem to delight in taunting them continually.

Margaret is only interested in listening to the women speak of their experiences and describe their crimes rather than giving pious sermons to the women, as other lady visitors tend to do, and she is taken by the matrons around the jail to see how it is run, which allows the reader to get a comprehensive view of how things stood for women prisoners in 1874. It is rather obvious that Waters did thorough research for the novel and the details are many and quite striking. She writes beautifully and sets the mood perfectly so that one is carried along fascinating scenery in expectation of events to come. To some readers these scenes might seem too prolonged, but I found the details fascinating and as I listened to the audio version beautifully narrated by Juanita McMahon, was all too happy to be carried along the story at a deliberately observant pace.

When Margaret first sees Selina Dawes alone in her cell with her pale face turned to the sun, her attention is arrested. Selina is holding a violet, which she can't possibly have obtained from within the prison, so that its very presence there seems almost miraculous. Selina herself has a delicate and mysterious beauty, and soon Margaret visits her regularly and learns she is a spirit medium who is continually in contact with ghosts. Selina claims the ghosts bring her gifts, such as that violet Margaret saw her with. Furthermore, she says they can spirit her out of the jail anytime they wish to, but that they have a purpose for having sent her there, and soon it emerges that the purpose is for Margaret and Selina to have come together, for they are each other's Affinity.

But this is no simple lesbian romance story. And if one is patient enough and can enjoy the journey, the novel becomes a suspenseful ride which is impossible to put down in the second half and promises a big reveal in the end.

Edited: Feb 16, 2015, 1:36pm

Thanks for all the visits and comments Liane, Mamie, Katherine, Nathalie, Stasia, Mark and Lori I'll be back to comment individually later, but right now need to get away from the computer and get some tea, work on my drawing etc.

Feb 16, 2015, 4:12pm

>30 lunacat: (re: frequency of blood donation) I was probably on a call-back list seeing as I was unable to donate. I am not sure how often we are allowed to donate. I get turned down from time to time because I have a naturally gravelly voice too. They think I have a cold when I don't!

Hi Ilana, how are you feeling re: starting The Gift of Rain? I am thinking maybe in the next few days? I can start up a GR thread in case anyone else is keen to jump aboard.

Feb 16, 2015, 4:41pm

Excellent review of Affinity, Ilana! I'm getting ready to start Tipping the Velvet by Waters very shortly. Fingers crossed it goes over well (though I don't know how it wouldn't)!

Feb 16, 2015, 7:18pm

Good review of Affinity, Ilana! That is a Waters book, that I was not familiar with. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Congrats on grabbing the audio of Trigger Warning. I also managed to snag it. Big Smile...

Feb 16, 2015, 9:33pm

Hi Ilana. I have to make sure I have some time available to sit and absorb all that you have to say on your thread. It's always so interesting. I hope someone helped you figure out the end of The Rosie Project. I didn't want to read too carefully as it's one I have waiting for me on my Kindle. And how great to have a guy who is generous and has figured out what you love. You can't beat that. Great review of Affinity. That's one Waters I haven't read yet. I do like her writing though.

Feb 16, 2015, 11:10pm

That Pierre --- WHAT a Man!!! Enjoy the wonderful dilemma of what to buy.
Thanks for your review of Affinity. I haven't read it or *Velvet* or *Guests*, but I'm about to finish The Little Stranger, which is totally different from anything else I've read of hers...... No lesbian lovers.....
The Temple of Flora --- gorgeous and totally out of reach!

Feb 17, 2015, 12:02pm

>28 Smiler69: 'in those cases the only way to find out is to read it oneself of course! (hint, hint!) ;-)'

Well, that and your review >33 Smiler69: have convinced me to look for it the next time I visit the library. Hope you're happy.

>34 Smiler69: 'finally got me truly interested in reading The Complete Diary of Samuel Pepys, which may be a lifetime project'

I've added that to my list of Slightly Foxed issues to buy. If you ever want to start that Samuel Pepys project just let me know :-) :-)

>49 Smiler69: 'he says I'm completely book-mad'

Well, we knew that already, but hooray for Pierre offering to buy you some!

>61 Smiler69: Really pleased you ended up enjoying Affinity so much. I was thinking over your earlier comment about wishing she didn't focus so much on the romance aspect and realised I don't have that perception of Sarah Waters as a writer but realised that's because I started with a couple of her later novels, The Night Watch and The Little Stranger, which focused on that a lot less (or not at all). The ones with more of a romance focus haven't been my favourites (The Paying Guests, Fingersmith) - I wonder what I'll think of Tipping the Velvet which I'm still hoping to get to later this month.

Anyway, a thumb for your review.

Feb 17, 2015, 1:44pm


I've finally decided to buy four natural history books with half my book credits from Pierre. I just got an email from Amazon that I should be getting them all tomorrow. They are:

Insects and Flowers: The Art of Maria Sibylla Merian
A small catalogue from an exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum
Robert John Thornton: The Temple of Flora by Taschen
Birds: The Art of Ornithology
A lovely edition just released today by Rizzoli
Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America
An absolute marvel from Rizzoli

I hope they all arrive in good shape, as Amazon doesn't bother to package even the nicest coffee table books with any additional padding, but at least they have good customer service for exchanges when they arrive damaged.

And because I've never been one to hold back when it comes to book purchases, I also went ahead and got more audiobooks on Audible today:

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh
Clockwork by Philip Pullman (Audible Daily Deal)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (pre-order)
The American Boy by Andrew Taylor - rec'd by Suzanne today
The Colour by Rose Tremain

Total books purchased to date: 68

On the reading front, I finished Night Flight on audio by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry last night. Unfortunately the producers thought it was a good idea to break up each chapter of this dramatic story about a mail delivery pilot caught in a night storm with cheerful latin music (I supposed to give us a flavour of the place, since this is taking place close to Buenos Aires), which had the effect of totally ruining the mood.

Not making much headway with Brideshead Revisited, as I keep falling asleep after a few pages every night, so obviously it's failing to grab my attention much. This is a problem as I have other books planned for this month I really do want to get to, such as The Gift of Rain. Not sure what to do about that. Maybe make room for it in daytime to get through the 100+ pages I have left?

Feb 17, 2015, 2:22pm

Those books look really lovely, just judging by the cover!

Feb 17, 2015, 2:23pm

>54 Dejah_Thoris: Liane, guess I could not answer you fully till today, so please see above for your answer! :-)

>55 Crazymamie: We had a lovely evening Mamie. For dinner we had grilled halibut, glazed carrots and mushroom-flavoured rice with our champagne, and for dessert, a blueberry pie. Then we started looking at some book options. All in all, pretty good, I'd say! The overall mood was quite romantic too.

>56 qebo: Thanks for the link Katherine, I started reading the article and will be taking it in in bits and pieces as it's all rather overwhelming. I can't imagine what it was like for her to discover as a personal history. Must make for a very interesting book.

>57 Deern: No need at all to apologize for being 'late' to my thread Nathalie, you drop by when you can and I am happy when you do so. I'm not very active on the threads myself so can hardly demand from people to visit me all the time! I'll have to visit your thread soon too to see how you've prepared for your hospital visit and what audio you chose.

I also went to the hairdresser's for Valentine's day. I was much overdue for a haircut, as I only seem to go twice a year or so, and I couldn't seem to find any special occasion other than this day. Pierre was very pleased with my new look of much shorter hair, and I was happy to have professionally done hair as it always looks sort of messy, though it only looked good on that one day.

>58 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, the cough is slowly clearing away, but my lungs aren't complete clear yet, so I still rely on cough drops once in a while. That was one nasty flu and it's certainly taking time to fully recover from it.

>59 msf59: Mark, I did see the Folio Martian Chronicles too, and would have been tempted, but I'm not overly fond of a cartoon style of illustration for crazily expensive books. As I keep saying, I can't afford Folio Society books either, which is why I get most of them on the second hand market, which still makes them expensive, but less so, but regardless of that, it's simply a form of madness which I can only 'afford' because of that magical word: credit. Also: no children.

>60 lkernagh: Lori, Pierre has told me more than once that part of the attraction for him is my love of books; for some reason he finds my mad passion for them very appealing. He's smart enough to know not to try to go out and buy any for me by himself since I have so many and he's likely to get the selection wrong, which is why he simply gave me a budget to work with and left the choice up to me. Gotta love that, right? ;-)

Feb 17, 2015, 2:43pm

>63 LovingLit: Hi Megan, I'm really looking forward to starting The Gift of Rain... if only I could finish Brideshead Revisited already! Do go ahead and start on it whenever you like and I'll join in as soon as I can.

>64 LauraBrook: Glad you enjoyed my review Laura! Enjoy Tipping the Velvet. I have that one on the tbr and will get to it eventually.

>65 msf59: Goodness knows Mark, I have no lack of audiobooks to listen to these days. I used to say I could get to any given book faster on audio, but now I have so much backlog that no longer necessarily holds true!

>66 brenzi: Hi Bonnie, lovely to have your visit. It's certainly a big change in my life having a partner in it, but we seem to share a lot of interests so it makes for a good fit. I love the fact that he lives nearby which makes it easy to get together, and then we each spend a good part of our days doing our own thing, which allows me to carry on as I always have and devote time to all the things I love.

I've read three Waters books so far, which leaves me three more to go, two of which I have on the tbr and The Night Watch is available to borrow on audio from the library, so I'm sure I'll get to them all eventually.

>67 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, I guess I've got half the book dilemma resolved for now. I might keep the other half of the funds to help me buy another set of Audible credits. Or not. I don't need to spend it all right away, so I have time to decide. The Temple of Flora is indeed out of reach if you go for the limited edition, but the one I got as a mass-market coffee table book is much more affordable, if not exactly cheap.

Feb 17, 2015, 2:47pm

>68 souloftherose: Hope you're happy.

Only if you actually end up enjoying it. You'll keep us posted I'm sure.

Re: Samuel Pepys, I did snag The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volume I: 1660 - 1663 on audio last week, all 119 hours and 6 minutes of it. It's a Naxos recording, and on their site they advise listeners to approach it by listening to one entry a day, which I think would be a reasonable way of going about it, or I could see it being a monumental and totally overwhelming project. I'm ready when you are! :-)

Re: Sarah Waters I guess I formulated my early impressions on Affinity based on my having only read The Paying Guests and Fingersmith till then, and also having heard about Tipping the Velvet, so my comments were completely uninformed. I'm certainly glad I stuck it through, which I had every intention of doing anyway since I was enjoying the book from the start, it's just that that whole romance thing did take a very large part of the novel in Guests, and indeed formed the basis of the book, so that I was sort of dreading this would become the case here too. It's not that I have anything against that angle really, just that it doesn't make me uncomfortable when romance takes over as the most important aspect of a novel. I certainly caused a stir on the BAC thread when I expressed my opinions over there!

>70 connie53: Connie, I agree the covers are certainly lovely, but I also researched what the interiors looked like (you can see quite a lot of the Audubon's Aviary on the Amazon site) and I'm almost certain I'll be happy with my selections!

Feb 17, 2015, 3:27pm

I've only read Vingervlug by Sarah Waters and I really liked that book. It got ****1/2 from me.

I've got Affiniteit, Fluwelen begeerte and De kleine vreemdeling on the TBR.

Feb 17, 2015, 4:06pm

I'm glad to see your perseverance paid off in the end and you ended up enjoying Affinity. I've only read one book by Waters and it doesn't sound like any of her other books but it has definitely perked my interest in reading at least one other one just to compare.

Feb 17, 2015, 4:19pm

Hi Ilana, what gorgeous book covers you have picked out in >69 Smiler69:! Looks like turning the pages of those books is going to be a real treat. :)

Thumbs Up on your thoughtful review of Affinity so far I have only read two of her books but I enjoyed both of them (The Night Watch and Fingersmith), but I do think she does take a certain amount of patience as her books are rather wordy.

Edited: Feb 17, 2015, 4:45pm

>72 Smiler69: that could work well, seeing as I might be slow with it anyway :) Ill post the link when I have it up.

eta: here you go:
I will start as really soon....just as soon as I have done my jobs for the maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Edited: Feb 17, 2015, 8:35pm

Book #26:Clockwork by Philip Pullman ★★★★½
Read for: TIOLI #20: Read a book in the horror genre
Edition: Audible Studios (2013), Unabridged MP3; 1h31
Awards & Distinctions: Whitbread Shortlist, 1001 Carnegie Medal Shortlist, 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
Original publication date: 1996

A young apprentice clockmaker is morose and desperate as he sits in Glockenheim's White Horse tavern on the last day of his apprenticeship; he has not been able to deliver a clock figure as all apprentices over the ages have done before him and his reputation is about to be ruined and he shares his despair with the town's storyteller, young Fritz. Fritz assures him that his difficulties are nothing compared to the hardships of creating stories, as he is expected to tell the townfolk gathered there his latest story in a few minutes, and though he has a new tale to tell them, he hasn't managed to write an ending for it in the night, but must somehow invent it as he goes along. And so begins a fantastic dark tale featuring a prince and princess and a dark forest and a suspicious ghastly death which features a mysterious character... who very suddenly appears in the tavern as Fritz introduces him in his storytelling and offers the apprentice a Faustian pact which promises to solve all his problems and bring him great fame and wealth, but will also put the lives of two innocent children in mortal danger. A wonderful tale in the tradition of the best germanic storytellers of old such as E.T.A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm, this is a tightly paced novella which is here wonderfully narrated by Anton Lesser on the audiobook version.

Edited: Feb 17, 2015, 8:35pm

>74 connie53: Connie, I should probably reread Fingersmith because I read it five years ago now and I only rated it 3.5 stars and I wonder if I would feel differently about it now. But I think I'll read her other books now on the tbr before rereading anything. Enjoy her other works!

>75 jolerie: Valerie, it didn't require any great effort to be honest, because I really enjoyed her writing and the details she gave about the jail and its workings and the narrator was a real pleasure to listen to. Where I had to be patient was in my unwarranted squeamishness about it turning into a love affair novel, which turned out to be for the most part unfounded and only made for a small part in the story.

>76 DeltaQueen50: Looks like turning the pages of those books is going to be a real treat.

I definitely agree with you there Judy!

And thanks for the thumb for my Affinity review. Must say I get quite a kick out of seeing my efforts right there on the front page among the Hot Reviews!

>77 LovingLit: Just starred the thread and left a little message there Megan. I'm longing to finish Brideshead Revisited so I can move on to TGoR already!!!

Edited: Feb 20, 2015, 12:14pm

Finished listening to A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh yesterday, which I found excellent. The ending, although rather bleak was somehow very satisfying. A proper review may follow soon. That is, a proper review WILL follow soon. I may even finish Brideshead Revisited in the foreseeable future, with just 40 pages left now. I picked up Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel yesterday and now wish I hadn't made the mistake of reading a handful of reviews about it to figure out what it was all about as it's now skewed my view on it, with many people emphasising how bleak it is. To be expected I guess with a title like that. I figured it was a good entry for Fantasy February AND qualified as a Booker read at the same time.

Going to watch Still Alice at the cinema with my friend Kristyna in a couple of hours. Haven't been to the cinema or seen my friend in a couple of months now with this blasted flu keeping me out of commission for such a long while, but I'm fit to be out in public again. I did NOT love the book because found it endlessly depressing, but I do love Julianne Moore and am always happy to watch her in anything.

I sat and leafed through Birds: The Art of Ornithology yesterday for an hour which was a real treat, as it's truly a gorgeously produced book which covers bird illustration obtained from the British Natural History Museum from the Renaissance till today, and I can see the next problem will be that I'll want to acquire more books by some of the artists they showcase. Namely Edward Lear's famous Illustrations of the Family of the Psittacidae, or Parrots, which is impossible to find unless you're willing to dish out about $1,000 for a reproduction of the original, but I'll write to Taschen and BEG them to reissue it and if I'm lucky...

A parrot Macrocercus aracanga, now Ara macao by Edward Lear (around 1830)

Feb 20, 2015, 12:13pm

>80 Smiler69: Oh, lovely parrot illustration, Ilana. I'll have to look for that book.

Feb 20, 2015, 12:18pm

>80 Smiler69: Joe, that illustration is showcased on a full page, but I think there's only one other parrot by Lear shown, and rather small. You can see most of them on this google page here where I've narrowed down the selection to only show large images. The book is well worth getting considering the high quality of the reproductions; I've also read some excerpts here and there and it seems very interesting as well as a good read too.

Feb 20, 2015, 12:21pm

>82 Smiler69: Thanks for the link. Nice!

Feb 21, 2015, 5:11am

Very lovely and colourful! I love the red feathers with the green tips!

Feb 21, 2015, 7:28am

Happy weekend, Ilana. Hope you are feeling well. I plan on starting Brideshead Revisited later today. I think this is the one with Jeremy Irons.

How was the movie?

Feb 21, 2015, 7:58am

>69 Smiler69: Those natural history books look beautiful.

>78 Smiler69: Clockwork sounds really interesting. I'm a fan of Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy but have never gone on to read any of his other books for some reason.

>80 Smiler69: That's beautiful. I've only heard of Edward Lear as a writer of humourous poetry - was this drawn by the same person?

Feb 21, 2015, 2:14pm

That parrot is beautiful. I may not have seen enough real life parrots, but I reckon the illustration might just be more gorgeous than the real thing!
That reminds me of a woman I saw the other day, she was a fashion designer or something and was wandering about with a bird perched on her tshirt. She was breezing about, all preoccupied and faux-inconspicuous. It was hilarious.

I am 100p in to The Gift of Rain and will get on to the thread soon to comment!

Feb 21, 2015, 2:57pm

FINALLY finished Brideshead Revisited last night. I had to force my eyes to stay open as I was very tired and would normally not have been able to read more than 20 pages before falling asleep, but couldn't endure the thought of having to live with this book even one more day. I very much wanted to love the book since I'm such a fan of his other writings, but what a slog! Can't say how glad I am it's finally over. I've enjoyed all of Evelyn Waugh's earlier novel's immensely up to now: Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Black Mischief, A Handful of Dust, are all books I can't wait to reread. I've also got Scoop on the tbr I look forward to getting to. In all honesty though, I must say part of me is a little bit glad I ended up almost hating BR though, because the person who initially recommended it to me ended up being incredibly rude and said really silly things to me on my thread and in an unprovoked PM last year, sort of thumbing her nose at me in public then telling me I'd 'disappointed her' privately when I'd done no such thing, so it's somewhat pleasing I ended up not liking her favourite book—rather a relief really.

I should logically be moving straight on to The Gift of Rain, which I've been wanting to start on since the beginning of the month, but I'm absolutely longing to read something short and sweet which I can finish up in just a few days, maybe even a couple of short and sweet things... that I can hope to finish this month, which won't be the case with TGoR I don't think as it's quite a big book, so I think I'll take up Diary of a Provincial Lady next, which I'd planned as a shared read with Liz this month.

Feb 21, 2015, 3:36pm

>83 jnwelch: Only too glad to share the bounty of the net, Joe!

>84 connie53: Connie, I think that is probably his best-known illustration precisely because of how bright and colourful it is.

>85 msf59: Mark, the weekend started out ok, until I had a run-in with one of he who must not be named's minions today. I was really hoping deluding myself that whole gang had decided to take their angry selves elsewhere and let me breathe in peace, but seems not, and this individual is still as rabidly hateful towards me as ever. Kind of ruins an afternoon. Shame really. I'll move on and move on.

I ended up rating BR a 2.5, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it, as you enjoy virtually everything. :-)

>86 souloftherose: Heather, I'm sure many people, just like you have read Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy but not any of his other fiction. I started reading his Sally Lockheart books, but have yet to pick up the second one from my tbr, The Shadow in the North. I don't know why though, as I really enjoyed the first book, The Ruby in the Smoke.

As for Edward Lear, the illustrator of Illustrations of the Family of the Psittacidae, or Parrots, he is indeed the very same one who later became known for The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense and The Owl and the Pussycat. Obviously he was a man of many talents! :-)

So when do you want to start on the Pepys project? See >73 Smiler69: again. I'm willing to start any day, especially as Naxos have just released the audiobook of The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volume II: 1664 - 1666, which is only 37 hours. Very short in comparison to the first volume!

>87 LovingLit: Hum! Obviously that lady wasn't looking for any attention at all was she?! :-b

I'm really keen on getting to The Gift of Rain, but then my latest Waugh was such a long slog to get through that I really need a break from long novels, so I hope you won't mind me taking a short detour with something light and fluffy before I jump in. I really want to be in the right frame of mind for it, which I am not right now and I know it's going to be a great treat when I am.

Feb 21, 2015, 3:41pm

I didn't know that Pullman wrote other books, silly me! I did read his Dark Materials book and enjoyed it till the last book. I forgot why I didn't like but I remember wanting to throw my book across the room after I'm done. Ha, maybe I should read it again to refresh my forgetful brain.

Feb 22, 2015, 1:53am

I also love the parrot illustration and think it's wonderful that your Valentine's gift was for books. I've mentioned before that in Barcelona they celebrate their day of love, Sant Jordi Day - 23 April, with roses and books.
Enchanted Lion Books posted some gorgeous illustrations by André François from the book Little Boy Brown on FB this morning, I have to read this book.

I've read most of Philip Pullman's books, have a few left including his retelling of Grimms which my daughter enjoyed. You might like his standalone YA The Butterfly Tattoo, long time since I read it but remember it being quite different from his usual fare.

Feb 22, 2015, 5:38am

>88 Smiler69: Sorry Brideshead Revisited was such a slog - that is a book I want to try some day and I did have it lined up for this month but in the end I didn't feel like reading it. I hope The Diary of a Provincial Lady is a good antidote!

>89 Smiler69: 'So when do you want to start on the Pepys project?'

I've just had a look at my local library's catalogue and they have the Robert Latham and William Matthew's versions in reserve stock which I think are annotated and unabridged so I will order Vol I which covers 1660 and let you know when it comes through (they normally take about 1 week). (If I get into them I will probably buy them but I want to be sure I will read them first.) I've also moved Claire Tomalin's Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self closer to the top of my read next pile.

And my local library has Pullman's Clockwork as well as some of his other children's books so I will look out for those too :-)

Feb 22, 2015, 10:10am

>89 Smiler69:, >92 souloftherose: Pepys project
Oh? If there's a group thing, I might tag along.

Feb 22, 2015, 2:40pm

From Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II

Today's book purchases:

A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor (NYRB from BookDepo)
After a stressful online exchange with someone with a monumental chip on her shoulder,
the appeal of a story about repeated visits to monasteries where vows of silence are observed
seemed irresistible somehow.

The Runaways by Elizabeth Goudge (from BookDepo)
Also known as Linnets and Valerians, this children's title from 1964 was warmly recommended
by Suzanne and Heather. A lovely edition from Hesperus Press.

The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (from BookOutlet)
Heartily recommended by Paul, I'll be reading this title by one of my favourite authors
for the BAC come November.

Yesterday's book purchases:

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
For a read-along with the Kindle version Daily Deal I got, altogether at a bargain price
for a reread of a book I greatly enjoyed the first time around.

Orlando Virginia Woolf
For the July BAC, a title I already own in print but fear a little; hoping the audio will
somehow make it more approachable.

The Post-Office Girl
Chess Story
Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig (all NYRB from Amazon)
Have been reading and listening to Zweig exclusively in French translation since I discovered him and am
curious to find out what he 'sounds' like in English. Two books were a Kindle Daily Deal yesterday.

Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II
A small exhibition catalogue from the J. Paul Getty museum similar to the Insects & Flowers
one I got for Valentine's in >69 Smiler69:.

Total books purchased to date: 77

Feb 22, 2015, 2:43pm

Thanks for the messages, Valerie, Heather, Kerry and Katherine. Pierre is now waiting for me, and I'm late as always. It's the first warmish day in quite a while and we're going out to visit the National Library to look at their copy of All the World's Birds: Buffon's Illustrated Natural History General and Particular of Birds and possibly borrow it, then taking a walk to a second hand bookstore today.

I'll be back to respond as soon as I'm able. Enjoy your day!

Edited: Feb 22, 2015, 11:26pm

Our visit to the library meant bringing back a 17.6 lbs (8 kg) book home, as the original French Buffon version of All the World's Birds at 672 pages is also a huge tome measuring 15 x 12 x 2.75 inches (38 x 30.5 x 7 cm), which we were very surprised to find we could well and truly take out of the library, but as a valuable document, the condition is we are responsible for replacing it if there is any damage (no big surprise there) so it is understandably in great condition. When I got home, Pierre didn't have to work very hard after we leafed through it for a while to convince me that I simply had to order it with the remaining balance from my Valentine's book credit and a contribution from my own purse, so I should have a copy coming my way sometime in April (Amazon stipulates 1 to 2 months delivery time). My rapidly growing natural history collection should have a whole special dedicated wing in my humble apartment somehow. I'll have to think on it.


>90 jolerie: Valerie, I know a lot of people were bothered in the third book with the overt anti-religious message, and to be honest, it was far from being my favourite book in the trilogy either. I remember it being heavy going and lots of it going over my head too, but I do plan on rereading the trilogy sometime relatively soon.

>91 avatiakh: Hi Kerry, I haven't heard of Sant Jordi Day before, but it sounds rather lovely. Thanks for the link to the André François illustrations, I enjoyed those. I took down your recommendation for Pullman's The Butterfly Tattoo some years ago and have tried to get my hands on it ever since but it's been really difficult to get a hold of. Neither library system has it, it's impossible to buy new, and I've been weary of getting a used copy, but I've just ordered one from the UK from the same place, as it happens, as where I got Mr Wakefield's Crusade last year, which got here in perfectly good condition.

>92 souloftherose: Heather, I went to bed extremely late last night, but still made time to start on Diary of a Provincial Lady and found it to be the perfect comfort read and great fun to boot. Can't wait to get back to it tonight!

Pepys: I can only envisage going about his diaries in small daily morsels considering what a huge undertaking the whole works are, or else one could easily become crushed and overwhelmed by the sheer weight of words, but I am rather keen to start experiencing this work I've heard so much about. As for Tomalin's bio, I can get it from the library, but I don't think I would undertake that until I'd read at least the first volume of his diaries, or else I wonder if I would understand some of the references she's likely to make to them in that book, don't you think? But of course how you choose to go about it is a personal choice.

>93 qebo: Katherine, if you decide to join along, that would make us three, which I suppose would make it a group thing, and of course you'd be welcome to join us, though as I've mentioned to Heather above, I envision this *project* as a slow reading of just one long entry or a few short ones per day to be read alongside other things. Do you think that would work for you? If so, I suppose we should have an eventual thread to comment on maybe?

Feb 22, 2015, 11:45pm

77 books already for the year and many of them so pleasing on the eye.

>61 Smiler69: I enjoyed your review of Affinity and have wondered in the last week or so whether I should have chosen it for you - but what the heck.

I won't re-hash the controversy from elsewhere but will exercise my right to wish you a lovely week, dear lady. xx

Feb 23, 2015, 12:09pm

Oh, I loved Diary of a Provincial Lady way back when, Ilana. What a treat!

Another great bird book. It's ridiculously expensive (well, maybe appropriately expensive, but high!) on Amazon. I'll bet our library isn't as willing to lend it out as yours (I suspect we've got a lot more inept book handlers here), but I'll check.

Edited: Feb 23, 2015, 2:14pm

>97 PaulCranswick: Paul, there's definitely been a not-so-small fortune spent on coffee table books so far this year, though most of that doesn't come out of my own pocket so isn't part of those 77 books I'm counting on this thread, believe it or not.

I ended up enjoying Affinity quite a bit more than you did, from what I saw from your review when I went lurking on your thread just now, so not a bit sorry that you suggested it to me.

However, I could have done without all the drama caused by my original desire to vent to be honest because it's taken a lot out of me, but not sure that I should or shouldn't blame myself at this point, and for what portion. All I know is things got out of hand and people certainly got overexcited and I find this terribly ironic in view of the fact that I quoted Sarah Waters without even knowing it. In retrospect I'm not sure I understand why I kept participating to the discussion at all, which was certainly a mistake, though I do recall an attempt to make my original message understood, which has so often in my life gotten me into more trouble than it's been worth. But I assure you this does NOT make me want to contribute to any more discussions in future, be it on BAC or anywhere else other than on my own thread from now on, especially now I know that very real enemies are out in droves again and looking to corner me at every opportunity (which is not just paranoia speaking, as evidenced by the latest incident on the BAC thread thanks to that lovely lady K and her little friend B barking up at me again).

Looks like personal drama abounds thanks to the young men in your life. Knives have been drawn around you both literally and figuratively lately!

>98 jnwelch: Joe, Diary of a Provincial Lady is just the thing I'm needing right now. Comforting, quaint, funny, satirical, so far it's hitting all the right notes.

Agree that Buffon bird book is ridiculously expensive. Somehow the current price on is more advantageous for us this side of the border, though I couldn't begin to understand how that could be, though of course it's still horrendously expensive for us too. All the same, since Pierre funded the better part of it and was all too glad for me to have it, I could hardly refuse to add it to my collection as it's a real marvel and one of those keystones in an ornithological art and natural history art collection. One day if I'm desperate and have to make hard choices, I'll always have my book collection as an investment to trade on...

Feb 23, 2015, 2:53pm

>96 Smiler69: group thing
It's your baby to arrange as you please. If the plan wasn't for a group, that's fine. If there is a group, or a thread, a leisurely pace would be my preference too.

Feb 23, 2015, 2:58pm

Popping by to say that I'd be up for a read of Pepys as well, as long as it went slowly!

Also, I don't know if it is available to you but there is a BBC radio drama adaptation of Pepys on Audible that is hilarious. I know Pepys himself isn't particularly amusing but they've added enough to it, and manipulated some of what he says, to make it very entertaining. It might be worth a credit if you want another approach on top of the main diaries.

Edited: Feb 23, 2015, 3:22pm

>100 qebo: Katherine, if a leisurely pace is what you're up for, as Jenny is saying she's wanting as well below you, then a group is looking like just the thing we want then and a thread is easily arranged. I'll get one started asap, so that way anyone who is interested in our arrangement can join in as well.

>101 lunacat: Sounds like we're got a small group forming for Pepys and we're all up for a nice n'slow pace, which is just what I had in mind from the start. I'm more interested in the process of actually reading him as a daily thing than on the goal of determining a date to finish him.

I just now looked up BBC + Pepys on Audible and found this BBC Radio 4 full cast drama, which I'm fairly sure must be it, with the audio sample starting with Pepys arriving home drunk and his wife informing his she has to us piss for the wash as there is no soap or washing blue to do the laundry with... Lol. It's on my wishlist at the moment, but something tells me it won't have to remain there too long! :-)

Feb 23, 2015, 3:37pm

>102 Smiler69: Yup, that is it. It's very funny and I highly recommend it.

Feb 23, 2015, 8:50pm

>99 Smiler69: I think that your raising of your views of Waters' stated agenda was a brave one unintentionally or otherwise. Jenny, Benita and myself (amongst others) were quick to defend your comments on the same and to be fair I received a fair amount of flak for reiterating the same view. I had forgotten in truth Waters' own statements on her writing and wished I had brought it up immediately as it would certainly have defused the situation. I also believe that there was no criticism inherent or implied in anyone's comments regarding homosexuality and I did feel that it was simply misconceived to have taken such a meaning.

I also think it would be wrong/unfortunate for you to retreat into your shell and allow debate to be stifled. You will always be welcome at my thread or any challenge I am involved in and I do hope that your presence will remain there. xx

Feb 23, 2015, 9:13pm

I was completely oblivious to the discussion that went on over on the BAC Feb thread until today. Sorry to see you went through all of that to defend what shouldn't have required defending in the first place. Thankfully, Jenny, Benita and Paul - and I think one or two others - did weigh in to help set the record straight.

How is your February going, weather wise? On the west coast we are being suspiciously blessed with unseasonably wonderful weather...fells like mid-April, not mid-February. Wondering if we will be in for a drought this summer....

Take care of yourself and be happy!

Feb 23, 2015, 11:19pm

Staying away from BAC!
I've only skimmed your thread, but I love all your beautiful new acquisitions. Wish you'd post a picture of your haircut, unless like me it is literally good only for one day.
I just got a copy of C. Tomalin's Pepys biography. That's as close to the man as I'll get right now. I did read a one volume condensation of his diaries long ago.
Be well, friend Ilana!

Feb 24, 2015, 2:28am

All good on the delay for The Gift of Rain - it is a meandering story, as opposed to a page-turner. But I am finding myself dying to pick it up each day, so that says something. I am half way through it and have class starting tomorrow (Advanced Theory in Resource Studies) so may be taking it slow from now :)

Feb 24, 2015, 12:17pm

>105 lkernagh: and earlier... I completely missed the exchange on the BAC thread as well. I have to say I don't really understand why folks had an issue with what you said. I think I'll keep a closer eye on the discussion going forward.

Edited: Feb 24, 2015, 12:24pm

>96 Smiler69: Wow - that is a big book!

'I can only envisage going about his diaries in small daily morsels' Yes, that's what I was thinking too. On Tomalin's bio, my assumption is that whilst she probably expected her readers to be broadly familiar with who Pepys was (17th century diarist), she wouldn't expect them to have read his diaries. I've moved the Tomalin bio to my bedside table but haven't started it yet. There's a long list of who's who at the beginning (similar length to the GRR Martin lists in the Game of Thrones books!) and it's quite a chunkster but I normally find her books very readable.

>96 Smiler69:, >100 qebo: I was thinking it might be nice to have a separate thread for the Pepys read so people can comment on where they are, any bits that have struck them etc. Not exactly a group read but I thought the Pepys' comments might otherwise get lost in busy personal threads. I'm happy either way though (and happy to set a separate thread up if people think that's a good idea).

>99 Smiler69: 'I could have done without all the drama'

Goodness, yes.

Feb 24, 2015, 1:27pm

Hi Ilana,
Beautiful thread :-)

I had thought about joining the BAC this year. It just didn't happen due to my own inabilities. Anyway, since I don't read that thread I missed all the drama too. But wondering what the heck happened I popped over to check it all out.

So sad you were taken to task so severely for some things you didn't even mean. I believe you originally stated what you wanted to say in a civil and straightforward manner. Allowances must always be made in communication for the possibility that all words may not mean the same to all people. Context and sensibilities must also be considered. You did your best to explain yourself and that needs to be accepted. I support your right (or anyone's) to state an opinion - whatever it is - without being harassed.

One reason I like you is because you do tend to be outspoken (e.g. my taxi cab woes, remember? haha !). Unfortunately, that sometimes draws unwanted criticism and strong overreactions from others. Whew!

Happy I am to see your life has been upbeat. I admire your art and your reading, as always. I just started The Gift of Rain. Overall, I am enjoying it. I do so like to meander through books that are rather well written. I am longing for something short and sweet to read, too. It's just not happening. That's ok.

Hi to Pierre. Hugs to you, Coco, and the kitties!

Feb 24, 2015, 1:43pm

I've been getting to bed very late these days, which doesn't leave me as much time as usual for reading, so it's slow going for physical books. Slow going for audiobooks too as I've been sort of neglecting my drawing this week as well, and am not very happy about this since Lamentation is out today but I'm barely halfway through Beyond Black to I won't be able to jump into it right away as I had hoped, but no question that will be my next listen.

Am quite nervous right now, as am going to meet my banker this afternoon for what should be our routine yearly meeting. I usually take out a loan to buy RRSPs to help me avoid paying additional income tax (a Registered Retirement Savings Plan is a type of Canadian account for holding savings and investment assets which is tax deductible). Obviously the banks are always pushing their clients to buy as much RRSPs as possible as a form of investment for their retirement, but my bankers, who for 20 years now has supposedly been my 'friend' as well as my 'financial advisor' has let me carry a debt which has grown to a point which is now quite terrific, and is now charging me high interest on it to boot, when all along he should have advised me to use my savings to clear my debt, since I do still have 20 years to save up, instead of which he keeps pushing me to borrow more and more.

I sort of had a wake-up call this week after a conversation with my friend Kristyna after I described to her an incident with my banker 6 months ago when a phone appointment had been booked 3 months in advance, after which he called me 2 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. I couldn't answer as I'd taken a bathroom break at that moment. When I called him back exactly at the scheduled hour and left him a message, and when he still hadn't called me back 40 minutes later (when we'd booked an hour for our phone meeting), I had him called to the phone and he informed me that since I was *LATE* to our phone appointment, HE'D MOVED ON TO HIS NEXT APPOINTMENT, and this in a completely unapologetic tone, very coldly, making it sound like I was the party at fault. To say I was furious doesn't begin to describe how I felt about this incident and it left me with the distinct impression that he probably did not in fact have my best interest at heart since other clients were obviously more important to him.

So. I am the biggest money dummy there is. Obviously my banker has had ample opportunity to take advantage of this and has now decided I'm not worth his wasting his time with. But today I won't be helping them making more money off my interest rates and I'll be clearing off the better part of my debt with my not insubstantial savings, which will be reduced by roughly half as soon as I take them out, since they will be added on to this year's revenues and will be tax deductible, but considering what I'm paying in interests, and the stress of carrying this debt for another 5 years to come, I think it's the best decision.

Now I must go shower and clear my head and get ready to go deal with things that are completely beyond my ken. Needless to say, all I really want to do is cuddle up on the couch and read Diary of a Provincial Lady. Pierre said he'll prepare a nice cozy dinner for me tonight. What a sweetie.


>103 lunacat: Jenny, I'll go spend that credit on it right away. Much-needed for stress relief.

Paul, Lorie, Peggy, Megan, Jim and Heather: thank you so much for your visits and comments. I'll be back as soon as I can for individual replies.

>109 souloftherose: Heather: by all means do go ahead and start up that Pepys thread with my blessing.

Feb 24, 2015, 1:45pm

>110 -Cee-: Claudia! What a lovely suprise! Almost missed you! I'll get back to you as soon as I can too of course! Gotta run to the show for now! Mouah mouah mouah!

Feb 24, 2015, 1:57pm

>109 souloftherose: A separate thread sounds great, and I'll pop by as soon as it is up.

>111 Smiler69: I hope all goes as well as possible with the bank person. It certainly sounds like you'll be making the best decision by reducing your savings in order to pay off a high interest debt.

There has been a fair amount of publicity about that very issue in recent years over here, as with such low interest rates on savings, people have been looking for ways to get more for their money. The advice the impartial money advisors give is that if the interest paid on your debt is more than the interest gained on your savings+any tax rebate/allowance you gain, pay off the debt. So many people try to put money into savings while still carrying credit card debts which is, of course, what the companies want us to do.

I think there is much more of a culture of credit cards in the US than the UK, but I don't know how that compares to Canada. I have only ever had a credit card once, which I used for the period of my 0% interest (9 months was the welcoming offer), made sure I'd paid it off (I used it for a holiday I think) and then cut it up. I might have to resort to another at some point but now I try to just spend the money in my account. I've been very lucky far.......I've been able to balance things and had no huge expenses to deal with.

Anyway, I hope it all works out for the best.

Edited: Feb 24, 2015, 2:19pm

Just had a brilliant idea in the shower—showers tend to help with those, which was to ask Pierre to come with me to my bank appointment to be a *silent presence*, which will help me feel more secure, help reduce my stress level, and probably induce a higher level of respect from my banker, especially once I present Pierre to him as the artist he is (this being a bank which caters the Artist's Union), and being a *silent presence*, they will assume he knows more about finance than he does of course.

Being the wonderful man he is, Pierre agreed to accompany me even though he had a sleepless night and is on his way here.


>113 lunacat: Jenny, will answer you in full later. And thank you. xx

Oh, and I've gotten the BBC Pepys Dramatisation. :-)

Feb 24, 2015, 5:22pm

Exelent idea that Piere went with you to see your banker.
I hope it all went well. xx

Feb 24, 2015, 6:30pm

I also hope that it went well. I'll be interested to hear how you feel when you get back here.

Feb 24, 2015, 7:23pm


Feb 24, 2015, 8:08pm

British Author Challenge starting here:

Feb 24, 2015, 9:50pm

Thanks for the link.

Feb 24, 2015, 10:22pm

>114 Smiler69: good idea. Another pair of ears can help, and especially if your bank dude is likely to be dismissive of you. No one wants witnesses to poor customer service.

I was thinking last night about the comments on the BAC thread, it troubled me. I want to be impartial, but then I feel torn. I hope it doesn't dissuade you from commenting on other threads, Ilana, you have a good many friends here!

Feb 25, 2015, 1:08pm

Woke up with migraine today. Can't say whether meeting with banker went well or not, because he predictably advises against taking out savings, saying I'll get slammed with income tax to a much higher degree than I was expecting. They'll be calculating scenarios for me today and sending me an email this afternoon so I can make a decision. Right now I just want to crawl back into bed, but I'll keep it brief and go work on my drawing instead.

>104 PaulCranswick: Paul, I can't say how I'll feel a few days for now, but at the moment my shell is where it feels safest to be, as I'm sure you'll understand.

>105 lkernagh: Hi Lori, thanks for dropping by. I was immensely grateful there were a few people who saw common sense over at the BAC who didn't just jump at the mention of a word they imagined had just been thrown at them for mere provocation.

Weather here has been rather harsh overall, but we've had an occasional milder day here and there, such as today, with just -6, which is much easier to handle than -20...

>106 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, I don't much like taking pictures of myself lately, but my haircuts always end up looking pretty much the same, so if you go look at my picture gallery, there's a photo of me looking white as a ghost I've just identified as "new haircut" which looks very close to what it looks like now.

I can understand not everyone wanting to pick up the Pepys diaries... quite a major undertaking. Not sure when I'll pick up the Tomalin bio myself, but it's in the plans for sure.

>107 LovingLit: Megan, I'm glad after all our planning you're not bothered I've decided to put off TGoR for now. I was really needing a comfort read and a short book at the moment, though it's taking me a while to get through it all the same. Good luck with your new class!

>108 drneutron: Jim, I'd imagine there's won't be any more trouble surging up on the BAC thread anymore. I don't intend to participate in anymore discussion there, at least not in February, to ensure there aren't any more unnecessary flareups.

Edited: Feb 25, 2015, 1:40pm

>109 souloftherose: On Tomalin's bio, my assumption is that whilst she probably expected her readers to be broadly familiar with who Pepys was (17th century diarist), she wouldn't expect them to have read his diaries.

Good point. In that sense you are probably right to read the bio before the diaries then—good planning. I'd do the same if the bio wasn't quite such a big volume to get through as I have such trouble getting through print books lately... which take me seemingly forever now I can barely get through my 30 pages per day as I used to.

>110 -Cee-: So lovely to hear from you Claudia. It had been a while. I just realised yesterday that I had somehow totally overlooked your thread until now, so I've got it starred now. But I am in lurking mode at this time and dare not comment where two friends of yours in particular make their presence felt most because it just feels wrong, so I'll keep lurking for now till I've gathered up my courage again. Hope you understand. I am very happy to have Pierre in my life. He really is a very good man. I've missed you. xx

>111 Smiler69: Jenny, credit cards here are just as prevalent as they are in the States, which is how I got into so much financial trouble. Same story too here, with savings not getting nearly as much interest, so that the advisable thing to do is to get rid of debt first, but in my case the kinds of savings I've got is liable to lots of penalties as far as income tax as it is added to my current income and is taxable at a higher income bracket.

Don't really want to think about it any more than that for the moment, all terribly headache-inducing really. I just want the debt and all the rest of it to go away. But of course it doesn't just happen all on its own, does it? :-|

>116 LizzieD: See above (eta: and below), Peggy.

>120 LovingLit: Megan, Pierre did not like my banker one bit. He found him arrogant and dismissive and hell-bent on selling RRSPs. Every time I tried to speak to him about my concerns at the beginning, he would somehow divert my questions , until I finally made it clear to him I wasn't backing down and I was refusing to buy RRSPs until we were going to deal with my debt situation, which he flubbed off on a junior girl, and when I told her I wanted to sell off all my RRSPs, he came back into the room and started taking me seriously again. Pierre was NOT impressed with his performance.

BAC and other threads: for the moment I don't feel like commenting anywhere. I know I have lots of friends here, but I also know I have very real enemies who have no decency whatsoever, and I'd rather steer clear of them for now, until I've gathered up the strength to brush them off and ignore them completely, although I've I blocked them a long while ago and do in fact ignore their comments (that is, most of the time, when I want to remain sane of mind and spirit). But just seeing their screen names pop up all over my friends' threads is enough to make my blood pressure go up. So best keep entirely silent.


Sorry for all my nonsense.

I'm off to do some real work... a few hours of drawing while listening to my latest audiobook.

Feb 25, 2015, 5:25pm

Ilana, I just discovered your review of *Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth* and really found it helpful. I'm glad you included your religious background which was interesting and also provided your frame of reference. I had been wavering about whether to read the book or not and you helped me make the decision. Definitely on my TBR list.

Feb 25, 2015, 5:32pm

Hi Ilana, sorry to hear abut the migraine, hope it doesn't hang around too long. I am sorry for the brouhaha that happened over at the BAC, but I hope it doesn't discourage you from expressing your opinion in the future.

Feb 26, 2015, 12:33am

>123 Oregonreader: Jan, I'm very glad you found my review of Zealot, including the personal background I provided helpful to you, and especially that it made you want you to read that book. Your comment made me want to go and read my review over again, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed Aslan's book and how much I got out of it too, and that indeed, I do look forward to reading it again as I'm sure I'll pick up more out of it I might have missed the first time around.

>124 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, I took one Fiorinal pill today to help deal with the migraine, which was a weak dose and not 100% effective, but did lessen the pain. I'm sure the events at the BAC will become ancient history soon enough. For now, I feel the need to remain cautious, but I'm sure my outspoken nature will take over soon enough. For now though, I'm staying in my corner and gathering up strength. A lovely evening with Pierre tonight with a really delicious dinner and wine and a good movie has certainly put me in a much better mood on which to end the day.

Feb 26, 2015, 4:03am

I'm very glad to see that the evening was a big improvement over the day, and I hope the good mood has carried forward to today :).

Feb 26, 2015, 4:28am

>121 Smiler69: , >122 Smiler69: & >125 Smiler69: Don't worry too much about the B.A.C.; I always said at the beginning of the year that it was one to dip in and out of as you feel comfortable (I was talking in general terms about everyone and anyone) and that remains the case for me at least. I had one or two PMs from friends a little concerned that I might give up the challenge all together because of the "discussions" - I won't do that as I believe that the challenge itself is a good one and has been fairly popular if posting numbers and data on challenge books read is anything to go by.

Please join in as you wish, whether you comment on the group page, here on your thread or over at my thread - I don't think it matters. As I stated on the B.A.C. thread at the time I will always defend your right to an opinion or a point and I did use the "A" word myself as well because
1 I generally agreed with you; and
2 I thought by also using the same phrasing I would either defuse the situation or take the flak away from you to myself as I am thicker skinned.

It didn't really work as a strategy but don't let your voice be lost to the group just because you're not able to rub along with everyone. Take your time though my dear. xx

Edited: Feb 26, 2015, 1:11pm

Book #15:The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★
Read for: January TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book whose title contains "yes" or a synonym thereof
Edition: Macmillan Audio (2012), Unabridged MP3; 10h42
Awards & Distinctions: Galaxy National Book Awards, Ondaatje Prize, Costa Award, ALA Notable Book
Original publication date: 2010

When Edmund de Waal inherited a priceless collection of 264 netsukes—japanese miniatures made from ivory depicting animals and scenes of everyday life—from his great uncle, Iggie, who told him how he had played with them as a child in his mother's dressing room with his siblings, the author decided to set aside his own work as a world-renowned potter and curator to travel to the places which would help him uncover the rich family history from which he descends, and of which the netsukes were the only memento of the dynasty which were the vastly wealthy Jewish Ephrussi family, rich grain merchants originally from Odessa who had become powerful bankers in Europe and who were peers to the Rothschild family, only to lose everything to the Nazis.

His tale is a sweeping saga, which starts in the 19th century with the magnetic Charles Ephrussi, the original collector of the netsukes, an art collector and patron who admired and promoted the impressionists when they were still considered as radicals, and who purchased some 40 works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and Pissarro, among others, and became part-owner and then editor and contributor to the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the most important art historical periodical in France. As such, he was a welcome guest at some of the most famous salons in Paris and is known to be one of the inspirations for the figure of Swann in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). He also appears in Le déjeuner des canotiers (Luncheon of the Boating Party) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir as the figure seen from the back wearing a hat. But things abruptly changed with the Dreyfus affair in 1894, when the French took sides and anti-semitism became widespread. Suddenly, many old friends were lost and became sworn enemies.

De Waal continues the family history, following the path of the nestukes, who came into the hands of Charles's niece as a wedding present. Iggie's mother and the author's great grandmother was a great one for going to the opera and dinner parties wearing fashionable gorgeous dresses with perfectly matched hats and gloves, which her maid Anna always knew how to help her choose and bring off with the perfect piece of jewelry, and always, as she dressed, the children were allowed to play on the yellow rug with the priceless collection of tiny netsuke she kept in the cabinet placed in her dressing room which uncle Charles had given her. The First World War had been hard enough to get through, but then the Nazis came into power and for all of them, the enchanted world at the Palais Ephrussi was shattered forever, as they were turned out of their living quarters and their possessions taken over by the Reich, and the horrors of the holocaust forced them to flee in all directions. I rarely cry when reading a book, but I cried when Anna, after the war is over, reveals to Elizabeth, the author's grandmother, how it is she managed to smuggle the netsuke figures one by one from under the Natzi's very noses in safekeeping as a valuable memento she could salvage for the family for which she had worked all her life.

Left (top): Palais Ephrussi, Vienna (2006). The ruined palace has now been converted into shops. Middle: Rat clutching its tail with forepaws. Ivory with eyes in dark buffalo horn. Signed Mitsutada. Kyoto, c.1800. Length 3.7cm. (netsuke) Right (bottom): The disappointed rat catcher. Ivory. Signed Ono Ryomin, c.1880. Length 3.3cm. (netsuke)

Edited: Mar 15, 2015, 1:39pm

Book #28:Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ★★★
Source: AbeBooks
Read for: BAC, A Century of Books!, TIOLI #11: Read a book with a 'pitch' or a 'catch'
Edition: The Folio Society (1995), Edition: First Thus, Hardcover, 296 pages
Awards & Distinctions: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006/2008/2010 Edition), BBC's Big Read, Time's All-Time 100 Novels selection
Original publication date: 1945

Charles Ryder, engaged in the army during WWII, comes upon a great big palatial house fronted by a neglected ancient Italian fountain during a manoeuvre which brings back memories of his youth. As a young Oxford student, he fell in love with the equally young Sebastian Flyte, a strange young and beautiful aristocrat hailing from the Marchmain clan inhabiting Brideshead castle, where Charles eventually came to meet Sebastian's family, including older brother Brideshead, sisters Julia (who is very elegant and practically a Sebastian lookalike) and the youngest, Cordelia. Sebastian's mother was deeply religious and had raised her children in her Catholic faith, but Sebastian seemed to hate her and take after his father who had left them all behind to take up with his mistress in Venice, and like him soon sinks into deep alcoholism from which there is no helping him and into which he escapes from his troubled family and especially his overbearing mother. As Sebastian accuses his friend of spying for his mother, the friends inevitably grow apart. Later, Charles's career as an artist expands. He eventually comes to meet again with Julia on a transatlantic journey, and though they are both married, they have a passionate extramarital affair and plan to eventually marry. The story follows the travails of the young men as they travel around and evolve throughout the 20s and 30s, and through Julia's marriage to a rich Canadian politician who has made his home in England, though the main focus is on Sebastian's on again, off again relations with the Marchmains over the years.

I came to know Waugh's writing through his earlier works which all have a distinct manic and satirical humorous tone and found this book to have a very ponderous and slow serious pace, which in itself would have been fine, but Waugh's insistence here on making the Catholic question one of prime importance in the story became overbearing and took away much of the reading pleasure for me. Perhaps I'll read it again sometime, if only because I've become a fan of Waugh's and I know this is recognised as one of his finest works. But at this time I cannot say I was overly impressed. Loved my Folio Society edition with fine Leonard Rosoman illustrations, but perhaps another time I might try Jeremy Irons narrating the audio edition.

Edited: Feb 26, 2015, 1:54pm

>126 lunacat: Thanks Jenny, though I'm not so sure about the mood carrying over as the Russians arrived today and are now wreaking havoc as one can expect.

>127 PaulCranswick: Thanks, friend. xx


Two reviews in one day certainly beats my usual average of none per week. Making reading plans for March as TIOLI thread is finally up, so I'll be running back and forth adding titles here today.

For now I'm off to work on drawing and get closer to finishing Beyond Black.
Lots of Advil for cramps today. Eek.

Feb 26, 2015, 1:54pm

>128 Smiler69: I started The Hare with Amber Eyes a few weeks ago and was interested in the Proust connection but I don't have your art background so I suspect much of it is lost on me; I set it aside as less engaging than other options. I'm interested in the family saga / historical context though, so I'll pick it up again.

Feb 26, 2015, 2:48pm

>111 Smiler69: I'll probably set up the Pepys thread at the weekend. Will post a link when I've done so.

>121 Smiler69: Sorry to hear about the migraine, although I'm not surprised with all the thread stress and bank stress at the moment. I hope it clears up soon.

>122 Smiler69: Ugh. The banker does not sound helpful - I'm glad Pierre was there.

>128 Smiler69: The Hare With Amber Eyes has been lurking on my wishlist for a while and I think your review has made me think it's really one I need to try to get from the library soon.

Persephone books recently published The Exiles Return by his grandmother, Elisabeth de Waal, which is set in post WWII Austria.

Feb 26, 2015, 2:55pm

I was just on my way over to tell you I'd created a challenge for Mansfield Park and I saw your post on my thread! I guess it doesn't matter where we end up...can I think of a second book for #9...??? :)

Feb 26, 2015, 3:06pm

>128 Smiler69: I also didn't get far into The Hare with Amber Eyes before putting it to one side, but your review has definitely reignited my interest in the book. Thumbed your review.

Feb 26, 2015, 3:12pm

Ahh, the joys of womanhood. Aren't we lucky? Apparently they think oestrogen is the main reason women live longer than men, because our hearts are protected more during our pre-menopausal years. Sometimes I don't think it's worth it though!

Hope it all calms down soon.

Feb 27, 2015, 4:38pm

Gosh, slept away the last two days, mostly. Lost to dreams. Not sure which world I'm in any longer, which is real and which not. Not sure this is really a problem, to be honest.

In this world, managed to finish Diary of a Provincial Lady in a very long soak in the tub last night. I think it was last night as seems ages ago now. Not sure what I'll pick up next. I meant to start on something last night, but I was dead to the world by 11:30.

Feb 27, 2015, 4:48pm

>131 qebo: >132 souloftherose: >134 avatiakh: Katherine Heather and Kerry, I'm happy my review got you all interested in getting to, or getting back into, The Hare with Amber Eyes. I'd started writing it a while back and I had a not at all hidden agenda to get others excited about this book as I thought it was absolutely splendid and was hoping to spark interest among those who haven given it a chance yet, though I concede some interest in art is helpful, but not a must as the human interest angle alone should be enough to sustain one through what is a rather fascinating story, I should hope, plus, as you say Katherine, the historical aspect of it as well.

Heather, the migraine is history now, taken over by female troubles which have been quite disruptive these past couple of days, with Advil barely taking away the pain, but mostly fatigue being extreme with the need to sleep taking over absolutely everything. In and of itself it isn't a real problem I guess since I can arrange for sleep however much I need, though I am confused from all the strange dreams I'm having all the time.

I guess The Exile Return must be the book de Waal mentions as having read in manuscript as probably being unpublishable because so extremely emotional and personal, but I was quite confident when he said that that there would indeed be a publisher who would be more than willing to publish it, and hurrah to Persephone for taking it up!

>133 lyzard: Liz, Heather and Mamie had listed their books after me on the TIOLI, but I hurried to move us all three over when I saw your challenge newly listed as I knew they wouldn't mind one bit.

>134 avatiakh: Thanks for the thumb Kerry, I didn't know just one thumb was now enough to land a review on the "Hot Review" section, but so it is! :-)

>135 lunacat: Yes yes, and all that. :-| I'm looking forward to the joys of menopause, I am.

Feb 27, 2015, 5:59pm

>137 Smiler69:

Thanks, Ilana! I didn't want to touch anything until we compared notes. :)

Feb 27, 2015, 7:40pm

The real world is over rated. I'd rather live in the dream world, except the nightmares of the real world follow me there. Is there a world where I have no nightmares? Or is that heaven? If so, I choose that please.

Feb 27, 2015, 11:45pm

>138 lyzard: So easy! Don't mention it!

>139 lunacat: I don't know Jenny... waking, dreaming... they're both utterly confusing to me. Then again, I watched Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchet tonight, the role for which she won her second Oscar award, and I was resolutely happy to be my confused self and not that woman. Which really... doesn't mean anything, as there are plenty of people I would rather not be. The point being I guess, that if I'd still rather be myself on a day when I am utterly dazed and confused, then things can't be all that bad, I guess.

Great film by the way.


Starting on The Gift of Rain tonight.

Feb 28, 2015, 3:55am

>137 Smiler69: 'Liz, Heather and Mamie had listed their books after me on the TIOLI, but I hurried to move us all three over when I saw your challenge newly listed as I knew they wouldn't mind one bit.'

Not at all - thank you!

I'm glad the migraine is history but not that it's been replaced by the Russians :-(

Feb 28, 2015, 7:27am

Happy Saturday, Ilana. Just checking in. Great review of The Hare with Amber Eyes. I've not heard of this one. Thumb!!

And you were right! I did love Brideshead. LOL. It wasn't always perfect but the wonderful prose, saved the day.

Feb 28, 2015, 7:57am

Morning, Ilana! Repeating the same thing that Heather said - thanks for taking me with you to the other challenge. I never attempt a sweep, so it never matters to me which challenge I am in. Sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling great, and hoping that this weekend provides some relaxing carefree moments for you.

I have The Hare With Amber Eyes out from the library and i am hoping to squeeze it in to an already packed lineup for March - we'll see. Like mark, I loved your review of it and gave you my thumb. I still am needing to get to Brideshead Revisited, and I am hoping that I like it more than you did if only because it is a time commitment! I have the Jeremy Irons audio, so if nothing, I'll get to listen to his beautiful voice.

Happy Saturday, dear!

Feb 28, 2015, 1:36pm

Read the first two 'setting the scene' chapters in The Gift of Rain last night and would gladly have kept going if it hadn't been very late already, because it promises to be a very beautiful novel, as I suspected all along.

On the other hand, have only 25 minutes to go on Beyond Black, but decided to cut that short last night because that book is very heavy going indeed and I felt I wanted to pass on to other things before bedtime (such as the former). As soon as I polish that off today I'll be starting on Lamentation, the just-released book 6 (here in North America) in the Matthew Shardlake series.

I'm not sure where the Russians are in their manoeuvres as concerns me, but apparently they've been busy assassinating dissenters over in their homeland, so they're more or less letting me breathe a little in the meantime, though they've left behind some troops all the same as they're apparently not ready to decamp fully yet. At least I've recovered a little bit of my energy while they've been away on their murderous spree, though I wish the reason I was feeling better wasn't at the expense of someone else's life... Blood for blood, type of thing. How awful.

Edited: Feb 28, 2015, 1:43pm

>141 souloftherose: Hi Heather dear, I just sent you a PM about our Pepys project. I'm quite keen to get started, especially now I got the BBC spoof, which I can only listen to once I've got through a fair bit of the actual diaries so I can fully savour it I guess. I may start in on the diaries at any moment in fact, since there is so much of them to get through and I do mean to listen to very short bits at a time, plus I'm wondering now about getting the just-released Volume II on audio by Naxos as well.

About the Russians... see my note above. I shouldn't be joking about that sort of thing, it's just my way of dealing with the real horror I felt when I read the headlines yesterday, which ties in with how Pierre started joking about 'The Russians' when we started dating about how relentless and vicious they've been since Putin has been in power.

>142 msf59: Thanks so much for the thumb Mark! I see that review has gotten quite a few thumbs already, which is really gratifying considering I did work at that review quite a bit and I was really hoping to raise interest in that book among those who hadn't heard of it or read it yet.

I think I'll probably revisit Brideshead eventually (pun intended), only because I've become quite a Waugh fan and I could objectively see there was a lot of interesting material there. I'll just have to time it right, and maybe read some backstory about the religious aspects of Waugh's life beforehand so I'm better prepared to deal with that side of things.

>143 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie, thanks for the sympathy, but when it's something as simple as hormones I don't get too worried because I know it's just a matter of getting plenty of rest and that things are bound to get settled within a couple of days. As for the challenge I figured I may as well move us three over before other people joined in and we had the book split over two TIOLI challenges for no good reason at all.

Thanks for your Hare thumb too; as I said to Mark, always especially gratifying when you've given a review that extra little effort. I might get Jeremy Irons for an eventual reread of Brideshead, but meanwhile I have him on Lolita, which I've been meaning to reread for absolute ages. And I do mean AGES: I read that one when I was sixteen, so that's been almost 30 years now! I guess sometime this year wouldn't be rushing it too much!

Edited: Feb 28, 2015, 3:13pm

(eta: slightly unrealistic)
Reading Plans for March:

✭♫ Lamentation by C. J. Sansom - TIOLI #4: Read a book with a 2015 copyright
✭♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro - TIOLI #4
✭ⓔ The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng - TIOLI #15: Read a book of which at least three books in the "LibraryThing Recommendations" section are featured in your collections
✪♫❉ The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - AAC, TIOLI #10: Read a Book Where the Author's Last Name Could also be a First Name
✪✔ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - BAC, Picked for Me!, TIOLI #2: Read a book whose title includes the name of a country
✪♫ The Scapegoat - Daphne du Maurier - TIOLI #6: Read a book where the author's last name has more syllables than his or her first name, A Century of Books! (1957)
✭♫ Railsea by China Mieville - BAC, TIOLI #6
✪✔ Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz - TIOLI #9: Read a book that describes the preparations for a theatrical performance
✭ⓔ Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood - Booker Prize, A Century of Books! (1977), TIOLI #15
✭♫ The Collector by John Fowles - A Century of Books! (1963), - TIOLI #15
✭♫ A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley - TIOLI #3: Read the third book in a series
✭♫ To Let by John Galsworthy - TIOLI #3, A Century of Books! (1921)
✭♫ Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - TIOLI #3
✪ⓔ Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim - TIOLI #1 Read a book whose title contains the first three-letter combination in your city’s name (shared read with Heather - Leighton Buzzard), A Century of Books! (1907)
✪♫ The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson - TIOLI #6 (shared with Heather)

* = Picked for Me challenge
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook
✪ = Shared TIOLI

Feb 28, 2015, 2:55pm

*sigh* And Putin says he's taking 'personal charge' of the hunt for the killer, and that he's appalled by it. Let's play a fun game of how quickly every mention of this assassination and the motives behind it will be suppressed.

I'm sure Putin will turn round and ask 'why would he want to arrange for someone to be killed when it would draw attention to what he was campaigning against', but he's such a vicious, devious, manipulative and power hungry ***tard it seems unbelievable that, if you could wiggle your way through the layers, it wouldn't all come back to rest at his feet.

Typing cannot properly express my furious and pointless rage and frustration at it all.

Feb 28, 2015, 2:55pm

>128 Smiler69: >134 avatiakh: I also started and put down *Hare* and will pick him back up sooner than I had expected. Thanks, Ilana!
Uh oh. I need to check out March TIOLI. Off to do that little thing.

Feb 28, 2015, 3:15pm

>147 lunacat: Let's play a fun game of how quickly every mention of this assassination and the motives behind it will be suppressed.

I know dear, I know. And never mind that the first though in everybody's mind who read that headline around the entire world yesterday was probably one and the same: that Putin was behind it from the first.

>148 LizzieD: Oh, so glad! I did my job right this time, to be sure! :-D

I'll be checking to see what you've added to the TIOLI wiki later.

Feb 28, 2015, 3:33pm

Just added these recently from the library's OverDrive collection:

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt
Why he outs himself right on the book cover is a mystery.
Lush Life was on my wishlist an age ago, then off again (why?) It's on again.

All the Light We Cannot See by Antony Doerr
Must decide for myself if it's All That Great of not. Also decided the French
place names with American accent won't bother me so much on a free audiobook.

The Shining by Stephen King
Now to see whether I'll have the courage to actually listen to it.
Not sure I was ever able to sit through the whole movie...

The Nightingale by Kristin Hanna
Not sure this popular writer is exactly my cup of tea, just judging from the
type of narrator they've picked for this... a bit sickly sweet. Hmmm... Any fans?

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
A Tudor historical novel which Suzanne seemed to like quite a bit, along with it's follow up.
I requested it ages ago, and patience seems to pay off. Now to make time to listen to it...

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paul Byrne
A recommendation from one of the JA tutorial threads. Requested at least a year ago,
again, patience pays off, and I saved another Audible credit.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Lots of people singing the praises of this one. Must find the courage
to face my mortality first to listen to this one.

Gotten today as Audible Deals:

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz
(Audible Deal of the Day)
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (Just $2.99 with FREE Kindle book)

Total books purchased to date: 79

Feb 28, 2015, 9:39pm

Hi, Ilana! The thread is up for Mansfield Park, here. Ready whenever you are! :)

Mar 1, 2015, 12:01pm

I'm going to be reading The Real Jane Austen, too, Ilana, having been caught by that same JA thread recommendation.

>151 lyzard: Yay! Over I go to star it.

Edited: Mar 1, 2015, 12:53pm

>151 lyzard: Thanks Liz, I've dropped my star and just left a message. I'll be starting reading Mansfield Park probably tomorrow or Tuesday and will start posting my questions and comments soon after that. Thanks for starting the thread, and I'm looking forward to another informative and fun tutorial.

>152 jnwelch: Joe, there's a good chance I'll want to follow up the MP tutorial with The Real Jane Austen. Those tutorials tend to give me a taste for yet more Jane Austen somehow...


As mentioned above, we'll be starting a Mansfield Park Tutorial this week with Liz and I. Everyone welcome to join in or just lurk.
Click here and star the thread for future reference!

Mar 1, 2015, 1:58pm

I have gotten so behind here on LT that I am reading your thread all in one big gulp, Ilana.

>99 Smiler69: I read the BAC "discussion" while I was in Florida and thought you did well giving your honest opinion. It's too bad that you had to explain and defend it in such great detail. I truly don't understand why some people get so riled up about words. I like being able to express myself without worrying too much about the effect on others and tend to be very forgiving of other comments because they can so easily be misconstrued on a forum like this. I hope the incident won't keep you from sharing your honest feelings with us.

>144 Smiler69: I have Lamentation checked out from the library. I am looking forward to spending some time with Matthew Shardlake and quite delighted that a series I thought was over is continuing.

Good luck with your many challenges, Ilana. I am trying *pant pant* to keep up with all that is going on but my reading time has slacked off considerably. I need to "listen" more frequently than I do…either that or sleep less!

Mar 1, 2015, 3:05pm

>154 Donna828: Hi Donna, how lovely to hear from you! Sorry to hear you have less reading time though, but sleeping less surely isn't an option... But I do see whenever I visit your thread (though admittedly it's been a while now) that you've been picking up audiobooks more often, so that seems like a kind of tradeoff of sorts.

I guess there is always a danger of people getting tangled up in words when the topic being discussed is one which is a politically fraught one. I mistakenly took for granted that this group was open-minded and forgiving and that this sort of misunderstanding wasn't likely to happen, with the consequences we all saw. Of course I can't help being the outspoken person I am (thrice burned, a hundredfold more shy), which is why I'm keeping from commenting on the threads much lately, but I'm sure my fingers will be doing the talking for me soon enough. Thanks for your supportive words though, they mean a lot to me Donna.

I'm really thrilled about the new Shardlake as well. I'd never listened to him before, so it's a new experience on this format, but not a huge stretch either. I've barely begun this huge book (just 1.5 hours out of 25!), but already I'm hoping Sansom will keep the series going! Not sure how he'll do that if HVIII dies at the end though, as I suspect he might since he's badly ailing by then, because the whole series is based on his reign, though there's plenty more exciting times after his passing too!

My challenges are just little tactics to spur me on and keep things interesting, but I don't feel like a great failure if I don't meet them either, so it's not a 'win or lose' type of situation, if you see what I mean. Just good fun. :-)

Mar 1, 2015, 3:07pm


I've posted the Pepys thread:

The Diary of Samuel Pepys - A Leisurely Daily Reading, Join as You Like

Mar 1, 2015, 3:48pm

>155 Smiler69: I recall Sansom saying that he was fascinated by the period after Henry VIII's death and that he specifically wants to continue to write into Elizabeth's reign (although I can't find the source, I've definitely read or heard him say it), so I'd assume that as long as the ideas keep coming, he'll carry on.

I really enjoyed Lamentation, though it might not be my absolute favourite Shardlake, it's certainly not the worst either!

Mar 1, 2015, 3:51pm

>155 Smiler69:

Ahh, I found the quote. It's here, from an interview with the Guardian in 2010, so the one more Shardlake novel with Henry is Lamentation.

"The way I see it developing, if I'm spared, is one more Shardlake novel under Henry," Sansom says. "After that, I've one idea for Edward's reign, on the huge social revolt in Norfolk in 1549. Under Mary, because of his Protestant connections, he might end up in exile, perhaps even in Calvin's Geneva. And it would be nice to carry on into Elizabeth's time, and have someone I actually like on the throne. Shardlake meets Elizabeth in Heartstone, when she's just 11. By the time she comes to the throne, he will be long in the tooth and so will I, but I'd like to develop their relationship."

Mar 1, 2015, 4:29pm

I read some Pepys years ago (decades) and remember enjoying it hugely.

Your March list looks like fun! I'm a Ford fan.

Had to thumb your review of Hare - I loved it too.

And... I think I am going to cave soon and subscribe to Slightly Foxed. I just can't help myself.

Be well!!!!

Mar 2, 2015, 6:55pm

Hi Ilana, I had t giggle at your (slightly unrealistic) reading plans for March. I have over-booked myself already, and yet there are still TIOLI Challenges that I would like to participate in!

Mar 2, 2015, 11:51pm

You will be gratified to know that I couldn't hold out. I've at least ordered the first volume of Pepys. I'm sure that the selections I read in the 80s were bowdlerized, so I've gotten the real thing. I can't promise to read it with the group, but I look forward to it, and meanwhile, the Tomalin bio looks really good!
I am also reading *All the Light*, so maybe I'll have something to say about it eventually.

Mar 3, 2015, 1:00pm

>145 Smiler69: Actually, I hadn't seen the news and just assumed your reference to the Russians was because they are referred to as the Red Army or something.

>146 Smiler69: Lots of shared reads between us in March :-)

>152 jnwelch:, >153 Smiler69: I haven't read The Real Jane Austen either and will probably also feel inclined to do so after revisitng MP. Just need to read my current pile of library books first....

Mar 3, 2015, 1:23pm

Just catching up here Ilana! I've been tempted by The Hare with the Amber Eyes several times. I've seen some positive reviews for it, yours amongst them, but for some reason, the book just seems daunting?
Looks like you have a great month of reading lined up for March. It's wonderful to have lots of options to choose from right?! :D

Mar 4, 2015, 10:03am

Sorry to see that Brideshead wasn't a great read for you, Ilana. Sometimes I am just not in the mood for a certain style of writing or plot and that can really impact what I think about it. The Folio edition sounds lovely!

Mar 4, 2015, 12:06pm

I've had two issues keeping me stressed and aggravated for the past few days, one being a lower leg pain that started over the weekend, which is either a tendinitis or sciatica nerve flareup or phlebitis between the ankle and lower calf which is making walking painful and difficult. I've had an acupuncture treatment which has brought no relief and am trying to book an appointment with my family doctor, though getting through to the secretary is always an exercise in patience.

The other issue is that I was called for jury duty last month, with 20 days to supply evidence I was unfit for it, which of course went completely out of my mind, though I HAD most earnestly meant to take care of it immediately. The 20 days came and went and it was only a small detail which reminded me of it, or I may very well have let the day I was supposed to show up in court (March 11th) go by forgetting about it altogether, which would have had disastrous consequences of course. How I could let this escape my mind is beyond me, but only goes to show just how bad my memory is. I've been trying to get papers to send at the last minute but depending on my doctor and his secretary and it's looking like I'll have to spend part of the day in court next week to show my papers to the judge and lawyers in person next week after all. But at least I'm almost 100% certain I'll be excused from jury duty with the papers I'll have to support my case.

Have just started reading Mansfield Park last night for my tutorial. Only managed to take notes for chapter 1 last night, so will read chapter 2 in a moment and start getting the tutorial with those two soon.

Making progress with The Gift of Rain which is a real pleasure to end the day on. Tan Twan Eng is a marvellously gifted writer and I already look forward to seeing what he'll come up with next.

Lamentation is another great treat. Pierre and I spent a day apart yesterday so I could get on with my drawing and reading and he with his latest painting and I was able to progress and listen to a good 6 hours of it and what a great story! I dearly hope Sansom won't keep us waiting too long with the next episode in this saga.

Pepys: I started listening to the audiobook over the weekend, and was very amused to all the references to the man's problems with "emitting farts and shitting and pissing" but of course missed all the references to who all the people were he was visiting and talking to and the places he was visiting, so am realising there's no going around the fact I'll have to read the diaries and look up reference notes if I want to get anything out of the experience. As amusing as the audiobooks are, I wonder now if I should return them since they are mostly useless to me in terms of providing useful information.

Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 12:36pm

>157 lunacat: >158 lunacat: Jenny, thanks for the link to the interview, I started reading it and will certainly get back to it now I've bookmarked it as it look fascinating. I'm extremely satisfied, as you can imagine, to know Sansom intends to keep the saga going into Elizabeth I's era and much looking forward to seeing where he'll be taking us next, even though I'm barely halfway into Lamentation as yet. Can't get enough of Shardlake!

>159 sibylline: Yay for another Slightly Foxed subscriber, and yay for another Hare thumb! I see it's still on the Hot Reviews page, which of course is enormously pleasing—that review is getting an awful lot of traction! :-)

I do hope I get a good way through my March plans, or a good part of the way at least as I am eager to get to most of those. The 3rd in series I put there mostly because I want to get ahead, so I doubt I'll get to them all, but otherwise all the other books I've been dying to get to for a long time.

>160 DeltaQueen50: I have over-booked myself already, and yet there are still TIOLI Challenges that I would like to participate in!

Gosh, I know what you mean Judy! I have to stop myself, because I'm still looking up to TIOLI wikis daily and looking to see what other books I could match this month! It's an illness really! ;-)

Mar 4, 2015, 12:24pm

>161 LizzieD: Peggy, I wouldn't worry about 'reading with the group' as far as Pepys goes. I foresee we'll all be going at it at our own idiosyncratic ways and touching base once in a while to exchange notes. I have these great intentions of doing daily readings, but I started over the weekend with the audio and then switched to the web version and am already slipping because of the switch. But the intention is there, and that's already something, so a group situation, however tenuous, is already a great encouragement. Enjoy All the Light. I'll get there eventually.

>162 souloftherose: I hadn't seen the news and just assumed your reference to the Russians was because they are referred to as the Red Army or something.

That was the initial reason Pierre started referring to them that way, yes. But then the news item played into it as well.

Some of the shared reads happened more or less by happenstance (if you can call it that), while others were deliberate, because I looked up the TIOLI and sought out what books you had listed and doubled up with you. Not sure I'll actually have time to read them all though!

>163 jolerie: Valerie, half the fun at the beginning of every month is having all those options to pick from. Actually getting to read the books is of course wonderful, but being able to even imagine being able to fit in all those titles is the most fun of all!

>164 lkernagh: Lori, in retrospect and after having written my review, I think I was a little bit harsh with my rating on Brideshead and I'll probably raise it to three stars now. There are books like that where I need time to think them over because their impact takes time to filter down, and this is certainly one of them. It was just so hugely different from everything else I'd read by Waugh and I'd grown hugely fond of his cynical offhanded style so this was a huge step to come follow him down to, and he'd obviously gone through a huge religious conversion in the meantime I hadn't had time to follow him through either.

Mar 4, 2015, 2:59pm

>165 Smiler69: re: what Tan Twan Eng will come up with next...Suz/chatterbox mentioned the similarities in plot theme between The Gift of Rain and The garden of Evening Mists, so I hope that next he will come up with an 'out of the box' book. Not that I wouldn't read it if it weren't......

Mar 6, 2015, 12:15am

A bit of a shocker today: went to the hospital to have a scan of my leg to eliminate the possibility of a thrombosis, after my acupuncturist instructed me to go see my family doctor, whom I saw yesterday. She didn't think it likely because of where the leg pain is (lower calf, above ankle, outside side of leg), but arranged for an ultrasound scan today, which is unheard of with our medical system which usually has us waiting weeks if not months, but it seems they don't mess around when they suspect thrombosis, as it can be a major cause of death. I went in this afternoon, not really in a hurry as they were going to fit me in between patients and I was absolutely sure they wouldn't find anything. The technician, very friendly guy, scanned my whole leg, then called in the doctor right away and they informed me I needed to go down to emergency immediately because I had a 15 cm (6 inch) blood clot in the vein of my lower leg. Which explains the cramp I had in my calf 6 weeks ago and the ankle pain this weekend.

The good news is because it's situated below the knee the chance of any of the clotting reaching my lungs is very low and my condition is unlikely to be life-threatening, but they still treated me as a high-priority case. I saw a doctor within a couple of hours and got an anti-coagulant injection in the stomach maybe two hours after that. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at 7:30 am. I'll be seeing a hematologist and they'll probably instruct me on a course of self-administered treatment, which is basically more anti-coagulant injections or pills. I'm just grateful they didn't find a reason to have to hospitalise me, thank heavens.

I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done while I waited between one thing and another today, so that's something. Bringing in plenty of reading material tomorrow as well, just in case. You always know when you go into hospital, but can never be sure when you'll come out again, but I trust tomorrow will be a short visit.

Mar 6, 2015, 1:32am

Oh wow, Ilana. Really good that this was caught before you were really in trouble. Hope that the treatment is straightforward and that you get the necessary rest and recuperation that you need. Plenty of time for reading is an added plus. I haven't been reading much of late, it seems that me picking up a book is a signal for a family member to begin an extended conversation with me. I probably need to set the alarm for 5am so I can read on my own for a couple of hours.

Mar 6, 2015, 3:30am

>169 Smiler69:

Good God, woman! - and yet you posted all those question!?

Take a breather, please! I can call an early intermission, if you like? At any rate, please don't feel pressured to "perform".

Mar 6, 2015, 9:07am

Wow, Ilana! I am glad they were able to find the clot when they did. Yikes. I hope you start finding some relief quickly. Gentle Hug...

Mar 6, 2015, 9:13am

They'll be keeping me at the hospital a number of hours possibly into the afternoon for some routine tests, but I'm not a critical case; breathing and looking good according to my kind nurse Kathy (who initially thought I was in my twenties), which of course is good to hear, though she did say even in her experience a 6 inch clot sounds rather large, though she was being as reserved as could be about it.


>168 LovingLit: Megan, I guess I haven't gotten far enough to judge how close to his second book this story is yet, but I'm enjoying the journey quite a lot so far.

>170 avatiakh: Oh my Kerry! 5 am sounds way too early! Can't you create a sign that says "busy reading, please talk to me later" or something? You'd think they would know better by now...

>171 lyzard: No worries Liz, reading from Mansfield Park and taking notes while waiting in the ER yesterday provided a welcome distraction, and then typing out the questions before going to bed once back home brought me a sense of normality which was rather calming after a day which turned out to be rather more eventful than I had expected it to be when I woke up in the morning...

Mar 6, 2015, 9:15am

Thanks Mark. Not feeling pain any more. I'm sure the hot compresses Pierre got me helped a lot. Now I just want to make sure to prevent further complications. xx

Mar 6, 2015, 10:06am

Wow, glad they caught it and it's not life-threatening, Ilana! That seems like a huge clot, though. No wonder your leg was bugging you.

I'm really enjoying the Mansfield Park tutored read. The tutored reads are some of the best things on LT, IMO.

Mar 6, 2015, 10:34am

So glad things went as they did to get you treatment for that blood clot.
6 inches!!?? yikes
That was indeed a dangerous situation and needed immediate attention.

One of my daughters had same symptoms - diagnosed and treated immediately for a blood clot. They ultimately inserted an umbrella-type screen to prevent clot from traveling to lungs.

It sounds like you are getting good care for which I am thankful. Wishing you good recovery and sending hugs and more hugs.

Mar 6, 2015, 11:00am

Good heavens! I'm glad you went and got treatment, and isn't it great the way the healthcare system springs into action when there is something serious like this?

Relieved that they caught it and that you'll be able to monitor it without getting stuck in hospital for too long.

A little too much drama, methinks!

Edited: Mar 6, 2015, 11:32am

Ilana, sorry to hear about the clot but I'm glad that they were able to help you so quickly.

Does Canada have a banking ombudsman or any organisation that you can complain to about the very poor advice/practice shown by your banker?

Edited: Mar 6, 2015, 11:40am

Three questions they've been asking me over and over since yesterday: 1. Am I on the pill (not since over 15 years ago) 2. Did I injure my leg recently (no) 3. Have I been travelling (no but I sit around an awful lot all the same) 3. Is there a family antecedent; actually, I wrote an email to both parents last night when I got home telling them about the situation and asking them about this, and my mom responded about high cardiovascular incidents on both maternal and paternal sides of her family (which I knew about already) and also that she's been on anticoagulants for a number of years and they'd inserted a stent (whatever that is) in her leg because of restricted blood flow (which I'd forgotten about).

Still waiting to see the doctor and pharmacist.


>175 jnwelch: Joe, yeah, a clot is one thing, but the size of it is pretty freaky!

Really delighted you enjoy the MP tutorial. I think these tutorials are one of the best things about LT too. What an unbelievable resource eh?!

>176 -Cee-: I know eh? That's half my lower leg! I can't help but wonder how long it took to get that large. All these mysterious things happening inside our bodies we have no inkling about until we get some hint eventually, and only if we're luck enough or smart enough or aware enough or paranoid enough or whatever, do we pay enough attention to see a doctor and get him or her to take it seriously and follow up on it...

I wonder if what they put in your daughters leg is the same thin my mum has? I'll ask the nurse here as she's friendly and seems willing enough to answer my random questions.

>177 Chatterbox: Suz, heaven knows our healthcare system leaves much to be desired, but thank heavens they do have key issues they don't mess around with at the mere mention of, and thrombosis of the leg is one of those, which they treat as a priority, as I found out in the last couple of days.

Rather more drama than I was ever expecting, but at the same time it's all happening in a minor key, which suits me just fine.

Mar 6, 2015, 12:22pm

Necessary clarification after talking to a doctor: the blood clot is not 6 inches long after all, but is travelling back and forth along a 6 inch area of the vein. Sounds less scary now. Still waiting on word from hematologist and pharmacist.

Mar 6, 2015, 12:27pm

>169 Smiler69: blood clot
Yikes. And good that the acupuncturist directed you to seek attention.

Mar 6, 2015, 1:41pm

Actually I spoke to the doctor again and I had gotten it right the first time: 6-inch long clot after all. Sheesh. They're sending me home with a prescription in a few minutes.

Mar 6, 2015, 9:29pm

>169 Smiler69: - WOW! Good thing you went to the hospital! I am trying to visualize what a 6 inch blood clot would look like and failing miserably. I just know that our blood veins aren't that big, which makes me a bit surprised that they are sending you home with a prescription...

Mar 6, 2015, 11:14pm

Oh.My.Goodness! I can't imagine a 6" clot. I am SO grateful that your acupuncturist knew to send you to your doc and that the rest of the medical machine functioned well. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!
It also occurs to me that you'll really have jury-excusing material to take/send to court.

Mar 7, 2015, 12:00am

>169 Smiler69: and etc.

You will be in my thoughts even more than usual this weekend, dear Ilana.

Quite pleased with your clarification on the size of the clot. I am sure that they will have you feeling brand new in no time. xx

Mar 7, 2015, 10:47am

They tested Wendy (my daughter) for something genetic called Factor V Leiden". This makes one more susceptible to clotting. She was positive and I'll bet almost anything she inherited it from my Dad who had blood clot issues. I sometimes wonder if I am carrying it without effect and passed it on. She has not had any further problems, but I have to admit I'm not sure if she is taking anything to thin her blood a bit. I'll have to ask her.

Hope you are settled and feeling better today. Hugs :-)

Edited: Mar 9, 2015, 1:08pm

It's Saturday and I'm back doing my usual thing after a good night's sleep, and it honestly feels like this whole week has been a blur, a bit surreal, and I almost wonder if I dreamt it all. I'm taking a new medication, but otherwise there's no sign that anything is wrong with me in the least as I feel fine, which of course is just great.

As a great capper to the day at hospital yesterday which went by just fine even if it was a very long wait (they treated me like a VIP and were very nice to me the whole time), I came home to find a letter from the sherif's office in the mail stating I was excused from jury duty and from having to show up next Wednesday for the selection process. This in itself is almost unheard of, since they only got my paperwork on Wednesday afternoon, so they would have had to process it immediately or the next day and send off my letter in express mail the very same day for me to get it on the Friday. Huh. Talk about efficiency. Very happy all those taxi expenses and stress to get the paperwork to them paid off in the end, as I'd sent them, among other things, a truly solid medical letter from my neurologist no judge would have ever contested.

Now I can concentrate on what really matters again: books and drawing. I'm more than halfway through Lamentation, 40% into The Gift of Rain and up to chapter 6 of Mansfield Park and will read another 3 chapters or so today to post more questions as I skipped a day yesterday in my tutorial, though I was glad to see the thread is active and people are posting lots of interesting discussion points.

I'm moving along nicely with my "Woman with Headscarf" drawing, which I've privately taken to calling 'Afghan woman' because of all the patterns she's wearing, and now into the very intricate skirt which is rich in embroidery—took a picture a couple of days ago which I'm posting here from FB (now I've started adding blacks, those some areas where I haven't looked washed out, but that'll get fixed eventually):

Mar 7, 2015, 1:08pm

Wow. That's amazing. I wish I could draw!

Mar 7, 2015, 1:16pm

Good wishes Ilana. I'm so glad this clot was caught in time.

Edited: Mar 7, 2015, 2:11pm

>181 qebo: Katherine, my acupuncturist has gained newfound respect by encouraging me to seek medical help this week. I texted him from the hospital yesterday to thank him for it, and he responded he was very relieved I'd taken care of it and that he found the pain I was showing was very strange 'from the first look'.

>183 lkernagh: Lori, they helped me visualise it by mimicking the vein in it's full length and then how a 6-inch segment of it was clotted. So it's not wider, just skinny and sluggish, I guess. Maybe the hematologist I'll see at the end of the month will be able to explain it better, but then perhaps by then the blockage will have gone away too. As I understand it, because of the location of the clot (well below the knee) they aren't as concerned about a clot reaching the lungs, much less the heart or brain, otherwise they probably wouldn't have sent me home.

>184 LizzieD: I am SO grateful that your acupuncturist knew to send you to your doc and that the rest of the medical machine functioned well

Yes, amen to that!

As for jury-excusing material, my neurologist's letter is truly unassailable. He states clearly that my long-standing chronic migraine condition would render me ineffective to act as a jury member, which would be a convincing argument for any judge and lawyer I think. I added to that my paperwork stating I'd been granted monthly government support for lifetime disability payments (which didn't specify this was for bipolar disorder, though it would only have added another good argument), just to make sure they didn't have any niggling doubts...

Edited: Mar 9, 2015, 1:07pm

>185 PaulCranswick: Thanks dear Paul. I really feel completely normal now, which makes the fact I have such a large anomaly seem all the more bizarre. I'm glad I was treated as a top priority and given a course of treatment so quickly and can now rest assured that my problem is being taken care of, and all the more so that I'll be seeing a specialist in just a few weeks who'll be able to assess how things are progressing and what the next step should be, all within a reasonable timeframe.

>186 -Cee-: Claudia, I'll make a note of the test they did on Wendy and ask about it if they don't suggest it to me next time I go for blood tests and my visit with the hematologist. I still strongly suspect this clot is caused because of my lifetime habit of crossing my legs, again, just because the clot is situated exactly where the right leg rests over the left one when I'm in that position. That'll be a very hard habit to get out of, as I've always been most comfortable sitting that way. For all I know there's a corresponding clot in the left leg too, though the treatment is the same, so they weren't worried about that right now.

I'm feeling just fine today and mostly really glad I can do whatever I like with my time! :-)

>188 charl08: Thank you! I admit it's a fun skill to possess—I just wish I'd started doing more with it earlier on so I'd have more to show for it by now.

eta: By the way, anybody can get drawing, or improve their skills with a book I highly recommend and which I started learning from when I was between nine or ten years old, called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It was originally published in 1979 (as of April 2012, in its 4th edition), and has become such an effective teaching method that many art teachers now incorporate methods from the course into their own lessons, if not the complete approach of the book. I can guarantee it can vastly improve the skills of anyone—even someone who claims they can't even draw stick figures!


>189 catarina1: Thanks Catarina. So am I, if it weren't for Pierre and my acupuncturist insisting I get medical care, I might have let it go untreated for an awfully long time until a real emergency came up. As it was, it was only a small nuisance, but not a major disturbance or catastrophe, thank heavens.

Mar 7, 2015, 4:22pm

Adding my 'yikes' to the news about the blood clot - so glad Pierre and the acupuncturist persuaded you to get it checked out and glad they caught it and that you are off jury service. I hope the medication removes the blockage.

>187 Smiler69: Wow to the detail on her skirt and her bag.

Mar 7, 2015, 4:29pm

>169 Smiler69: Wow, Ilana, what a scare! I do hope that the medication has taken care of the clot by now. Sorry to be so far behind here.

Mar 9, 2015, 12:59pm

Finally finished my first book of the month (about time!), Lamentation by C. J. Sansom, and a fantastic book it was. I've been thinking about all the reviews I should be putting out over the weekend, but after the crazy week I had last week I just wanted to rest and do nothing of consequence and use my time as I saw fit for a couple of days, but I'll try to buckle down and play catch up this week though. Have too many great options to choose from for my next audio selection, so will just have to see what inspires me most as I settle down for my drawing session in a short while. As far as book reading goes, I'm kept plenty busy between my tutorial with Mansfield Park and The Gift of Rain, on which I stalled for the past couple of days, for no good reason at all, so it's looking like I won't be breaking any reading records this month, quite the opposite in fact.


>192 souloftherose: Heather, I'm also really glad I had a couple of people around me gently pressuring me to seek medical help as if it had just up to me I would have been inclined to just think the pain was annoying but nothing serious and definitely not gone to the bother of seeing my doctor about it. Not in a million years would it have occurred to me it was actually something that serious!

All that detailed drawing is slowly driving me nutters! I wanted to do an extra-long drawing session last night when Pierre and I took a break and each stayed home to work, but after 2.5 hours I just could not keep at it any longer! No choice but to do it in short sessions then, but it's an interesting challenge to be sure.

>193 alcottacre: No worry about keeping up with me or anyone else here Stasia, we all know you've been a busy lady. As for my clot dissolving, from what I understand that'll take a while to happen—a matter of weeks or months, though they can't predict how long because it varies from one patient to the other, but I gather they'll be doing another scan of my leg at the end of the month to see what the changes are at that point.

Mar 9, 2015, 9:33pm

>194 Smiler69: Good news that the clot can be slowly dissolved away. Hani was enthusing the other day to me about your Metro series of drawings. I also have to let you into a secret: as she was browsing your photos she said to me (echoes of Mark and I) - "you're right Ilana does look like Rachel Weisz." Thought it may cheer you up, xx

Edited: Mar 10, 2015, 12:07pm

Started listening to Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch yesterday, #3 in the Rivers of London series. I know #5 is out now, but I guess I'm not as keen as others on this one. It's good, but I don't get all that excited about it, so I may save up my credits for other things instead of sticking with this series. But then again, Lamentation and the Shardlake series in general is a pretty tough act to follow.

Drilling close to my building out on the street. Can't be good for my head. I think I'll have to huddle down in the back of the apartment, perhaps hide in my bedroom and do some reading there with the door closed to avoid a monster migraine as that's just the sort of noise to bring one on.


>195 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, I'm really glad we caught this medical problem in good time before it became a medical trauma situation, heaven forbid. Tell Hani she is an angel, but that most of the photos on FB are all old as I don't dare show what I actually look like nowadays. Nothing truly horrid, but just doesn't hold up to the Rachel-Weisz doppelgänger old me. Diana Vreeland said 'I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity'. Not sure I totally agree there, but I must contend with it. Mind you, I'm sure a professional photographer would manage to do something decent with me, as they used to do when I had daily access to them, but then when they know what they're doing they can also make a piece of cut-rate meat look great too with proper lighting...

Mar 10, 2015, 1:47pm

>196 Smiler69: I am sure that you sell yourself short Ilana whilst I am merely short. She did actually check the date of photos (I know she is incorrigible) and noted that some were seven years old but others were very recent. I am certainly in need of a forgiving lens these days myself and say so without any false modesty.

Mar 10, 2015, 6:48pm

Ilana, I read with some dismay about the blood clot but was very happy to see it has been attended to. Thank heavens you had it checked out! I have been on blood thinners since my heart attack last November and have found that I have to be careful as I bruise easily now.

Your "Woman with Headscarf" is simply amazing.

Edited: Mar 11, 2015, 12:38pm

Ilana, I'm glad you have reading and drawing to take your mind off that massive blood clot. So glad you sought treatment when you did! I developed a blood clot after the birth of my third child and had to stay in the hospital two extra days. They told me walking was the best prevention. I know you and Coco do lots of walking so I'm surprised that your clot got so big. Please keep us posted on how you are doing....

I am starting Lamentation later today. I've got some good reading ahead.

Edited: Mar 11, 2015, 3:39pm

Been exhausted and out of sorts since the weekend. I guess it's taking me a while to get over all the excitement of last week. I didn't consciously feel worried about the medical problems, and still don't really, because it just doesn't quite feel real to me at all or possible that this is a serious situation because I feel so normal, but my normal reaction to any sort of stress it just to be constantly fatigued and listless.

I'm managing to get some progress on my drawing, bit by bit, as well as reading a few short chapters of Mansfield Park day by day, but otherwise feel like an utter sloth. The weather has really warmed up outside and it's quite sunny out there, but with all the snow melting, all the dog poo is also melting and underfoot everywhere you look so that walking outside isn't as pleasant as it should be and with the constant fatigue I'm inclined to just stay in a lay about, even though I know I should be moving around. But then, spring is just around the corner and there'll be plenty of opportunities to do so.

The good news today is I would normally have had to spend the entire afternoon in court to face a judge and lawyers just do get a dispensation from jury duty, but then thank goodness the paperwork came in on time in the mail on Friday telling me I didn't need to go, so this is actually a holiday of sorts and I have my day to myself. Amen to that.


>197 PaulCranswick: Paul, no false modesty here, I assure you. I just don't feel great and consequently don't trouble to do much about my looks these days either so don't think there's much there to get excited about. But then that's really not where my head is at anyway. Thanks all the same. I know you mean well. I'm just a bit overwhelmed these days, plus Pierre is having all sorts of health worries as well and has gone off to see a doctor today finally.

>198 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, I've learned a lot of people are on blood thinners. I don't know if I'll have to stay on them permanently or not. Much too early to tell, but I'll know more when I see the hematologist at the end of the month. I have an appointment set for the 26th.

The drawing is great at taking my mind off things, especially since I listen to audiobooks as I do it too, so it's a double distraction!

>199 Donna828: Donna, yes about taking my mind off (see line just above!). I don't know that Coco and I have been doing all that much walking over the winter months; mostly just walking around the block for 10 minutes at a time twice a day and then getting back into the warmth asap, though luckily I do have a couple of flights up stairs to go up and down every time, so there's that too to keep me semi-active every day, but obviously it hasn't been enough. I won't be surprised if they find some pre-existing condition or hereditary thing since there's a lot of cardio-vascular problems on my mother's side.

I think you'll have a real treat with Lamentation. If you're reading it, then obviously enjoyed the 5 previous books, and this one is probably the best so far... now I can't wait for the next Shardlake instalment!

Edited: Mar 11, 2015, 7:20pm

Absolute LOADS of book purchases since the beginning of the month, albeit many of them are Kindle+Audible deals with Amazon, with the whole bundle ending up costing around $5 or so, give or take a dollar. The Award Winners 3 for 2 sale is currently on at Audible till March 12th at 11:59 p.m.

March Book Purchases
ⓔ+♫ Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Last Man by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
History of the Rain by Niall Williams (Kindle Daily Deal)
Dead Man's Land Robert Ryan (Book Depo) - series highly recommended by Suzanne
Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill (Kindle Daily Deal)
Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Audible Daily Deal)
Victoria: A Life by A. N. Wilson
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Audible 3 for 2 Sale)
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Audible 3 for 2 Sale)
I, Claudius (Dramatised) by Robert Graves (Audible 3 for 2 Sale)
Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell - Rec'd by Suzanne
What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris - series highly recommended by Caro

Total books purchased to date this year: 99

Recently dowloaded from Library's OverDrive collection:
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny - Book #3 in the Three Pines series
Now I just have to convince them to get #2 so I can continue with the series.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnely - lots of people recommended this one.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - again, lots of folks liked this one too
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - had the book, but the audio narrated by
the author is apparently awesome.

Mar 11, 2015, 7:25pm

but otherwise feel like an utter sloth

You say that like it's a bad thing! :)

Mar 11, 2015, 8:10pm

Wow on the blood clot front! So glad you got that acted on ASAP. Phew.
Look after yourself!

Mar 12, 2015, 8:50am

Hi, Ilana! I haven't been by in awhile, so I thought I better check-in. I see you are feeling sluggish. Sorry, to hear that and I hope it improves.

We are finally getting some terrific weather and I am loving it.

Mar 12, 2015, 9:12am

Just checking back in. It's suddenly spring (or even summer at 87° yesterday) here, so I hope that yours isn't too far behind.
That is an enviable book haul! I'm off to research the Bailey Prize nominees. Sometimes if I get in early, I can get a deal on a used or Kindle book!

Mar 12, 2015, 1:51pm

I won't review Whispers Under Ground and will in fact ask for my credit back, because the story went mostly over my head and I was basically looking forward to it finishing more than anything. I know there are lots of fans of this series here, and I can see that it's got lots going for it, but fantasy, as I keep saying, is always a dodgy proposition for me and if I'm not exactly in the right mood for it I mostly end up finding it tedious more than anything and this was mostly the case here, though I do admit I found lots of portions of it quite clever. It's a good bet I won't be continuing with the Rivers of London series, though I really did want to like it so I'm sorry about this state of affairs, but my heart just wasn't in it no matter what. So that's that.

On the other hand, I just started on Daphne du Maurier's The Scapegoat on audio last night for the BAC and I find the beginning of the story very promising, so looking forward to more of that.

Very frustrated with the eye-reading going so extremely slowly because I lined up quite a lot of books I'm looking forward to this month, including du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, which was picked for me by Claudia, and no matter who picks what (before Claudia starts saying 'don't worry about it, you don't have to read it if you don't want to'), I want to make sure I cover all the Picked for Me selections this year, so whether I manage to fit it in this month or not I'll be sure to read it very soon.

We'd been getting wonderful weather this week which contrasted sharply with the -20 celsius weather (-4 F) of last week, and peaked at +7 yesterday (45 F), but today we're back to -5 C (23 F), so nothing to write home about. Yesterday however, I took advantage of the clement break and donned a spring scarf with my winter coat to take a nice leisurely walk to market with Pierre and Coco which was the first time it actually felt pleasant to be outside in many, many months.

Edited: Mar 12, 2015, 1:59pm

Great book grab up in >201 Smiler69:, Ilana. I'm a fan of The Brothers Karamazov, although it may be a small fan club, I'm not sure. It's the only one of his I've re-read.

Sorry Whispers was a disappointment. I've read the ones before it, but not that one. I've been seeing positive comments about The Scapegoat. Jamaica Inn turned out to be a crackin' good yarn. Not up to the level of Rebecca, but what is?

Mar 12, 2015, 2:02pm

>202 lyzard: You say that like it's a bad thing!

Just wanted to check if you were reading. ;-)

>203 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. Pierre keeps saying it's probably due to the fact I spend so much time sitting in front of the computer, and the nurse at the day clinic did say she was seeing more and more young people show up with clots because of this sort of lifestyle, but that still doesn't explain a clot of quite this size I don't think, considering I'm am somewhat active. Very strange indeed.

>204 msf59: Hi Mark, and thanks for dropping by. I definitely look forward for more of that great weather we got a taste of this week so I can start getting out there and moving around more, which should help a great deal with the sluggishness. For the moment I'll keep enjoying doing my thing at home with the books and drawing, which really isn't anything to complain about.

>205 LizzieD: Thanks for wishing Spring to come our way too Peggy—I sure look forward to it! minus all the snow melt and accompanying unpleasantness of all the dirt and crud defrosting along with it. Can you believe I didn't know Orange had become Bailey? Or if I did I'd somehow forgotten all about it. So far I've only read The Paying Guests and Station Eleven, but I've been wanting to pick up Elizabeth is Missing just about every day for several months now. I tried The Bees and dropped it asap, and there are just a couple of others I'm familiar with on the list otherwise, so I'll be paying attention to comments about them.

Mar 12, 2015, 2:08pm

>207 jnwelch: Hey Joe, Rebecca was my first du Maurier as is probably the case for many readers, and it probably is a hard one to follow up, though I've learned to modulate my expectation and enjoy her style for what she has to offer with each different story.

I'm not saying Whispers was more disappointing than the first two, though I did enjoy the first book quite a bit more, perhaps because the whole premise was entirely new and the humour of it seemed so original to me when I picked it up, but after that the other two just didn't do much for me unfortunately. Oh well, they can't all be absolute winners and we can't all be ultra appreciative readers like our Marky-Mark!

Encouraging to know you read the Brothers K twice—I don't know of many readers who read Dostïevski books more than once! I've yet to pick up any of his titles... just have to gather up my courage, but I did like the narrator on this one quite a lot from the sample I listened to, which is always a good start.

Mar 12, 2015, 4:48pm

Just stopping by to say hello. I am a fan of the Aaronovitch series but if they're not grabbing you then I wouldn't worry about it. And from the looks of the book haul you one or two other things to listen to instead :-)

I'm also hoping to read The Scapegoat this month so glad that one's started off well.

Mar 13, 2015, 2:11pm

>210 souloftherose: Heather, I was thinking of you when it came to the Rivers of London series, as we so often have similar tastes with books, though I'd say this usually runs with women authors and classics and not so much with fantasy as you are MUCH more adventurous in that genre than I'll ever be. Though I knew of course you wouldn't take offence at me not being in love with them. It happens. I did wish I could love the books though, because I can SEE they have a lot going for them, but it just doesn't quite reach me unfortunately.

I'm almost halfway through The Scapegoat and really enjoying that. Hope you will too.

I've sort of dropped off the Pepys project for the moment, simply because I realised I'd bitten off more than I could chew, especially with the Mansfield Park tutorial taking place this month. Also, having listened to several days worth of entries on the audiobook, I quickly realised this was an amusing exercise as they are very funny to listen to, but quite useless in terms of information, so I will have to read them (probably online) with annotations if I am to get the most out of them, which is rather more work than just listening casually, so I just have to readjust my thinking around that and really think in terms of just ONE entry per day... or two maybe. A very long-term project indeed! Eek!

Mar 13, 2015, 2:14pm

Oh gosh, just catching up now Ilana! I know first hand how scary that blood clot situation can be. A couple of months after we got married, my husband was complaining of intense back pain. He said he wanted to go to hospital to check it out in the middle of the night and that's how I knew it was bad because normally he wouldn't even want to take medication for anything. Doctors ran a gambit of tests and were just going to give him extra strength meds because they thought he pulled his back. On a hunch the doctor last minute decided to check for clots and low and behold, he had one in his lungs. Long story short, we were so blessed that the doctor caught that instead of just sending him home, because if it moved to his heart, it would have been a heart attack or to his head and that would be an aneurism. He was on blood thinners for a couple of months and no reoccurrence since then.

Sending you hugs and healing thoughts!

Mar 13, 2015, 2:38pm

>212 jolerie: That's a pretty scary story Valerie! Thank goodness they decided to do that extra test as it could easily have turned into a dramatic situation. I'm glad there have been no further problems since. I'm mostly hoping I'll just have to take the blood thinners for a limited period of time and not for the rest of my life, because for one thing I'm already having to take a lot of medication 'for the rest of my life' for my psychiatric condition which I don't like having to do already, and seems to me I'm pretty young still to have to be taking blood thinners for the rest of my days. But I'll of course do whatever needs to be done to stay healthy and out of the hospital!

Edited: Mar 13, 2015, 2:47pm

Not much to say for myself today. I really should be reviewing books, because I did say I'd be doing that this week, and here we are, Friday already, but my head isn't there at all and I want to be spending time on my drawing (which has progressed quite a lot) and continue listening to The Scapegoat which I'm really liking. Love du Maurier's brand of deviousness somehow. Fridays are always exciting because the library always gets new OverDrive titles in the evenings. I used to go clubbing in my youth; now I look forward to staying home and looking up new OverDrive titles... times change.

This week, accidentally discovered they'd added a few titles I had requested long ago (*) but somehow missed in my daily inspections, so have added the following to my personal collection:

*♫ Eragon by Crhistopher Paolini - returned recently purchased version to Audible—no questions asked
*♫ The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt - borrowed this Longlisted Booker book from library twice, returned unread
*♫ Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - about time I get to this one
*♫ Jane's Fame by Claire Harman - another addition to my Jane Austen biography collection. Rec'd by Heather.
*♫ Marie Antoinette by Antonia Frasier
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - new to me title, apparently appreciated by lots of LTers
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri - Rec'd by Mark. I now have 3 books by her, all on the tbr.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré - the BBC radio drama version
The Tudors by G. J. Meyer - more fodder for my newfound fascination (with thanks to Hilary Mantel)

Mar 15, 2015, 11:47am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I hope to spend the afternoon with my books.

Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 12:40pm

Book #33:The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier ★★★★½
Source: Audible
Read for: BAC, A Century of Books!, TIOLI #6: Read a book where the author's last name has more syllables than his or her first name
Edition: Hachette Audio (2014), Unabridged MP3, 13h06
Original publication date: 1957

John is an Englishman who has spent years travelling to France to learn of its history and language, going back to England to teach about his favourite subject at university. One day while on vacation, he chances to meet a man who looks exactly like him, a Frenchman called Jean. The likeness is uncanny and the other man offers him to share some drinks and after a night of drinking in a hotel room, John wakes up the next day dressed in the Frenchman's clothes with the man's suitcase there instead of his own and not a single of his own belongings or identity papers left behind to prove he is anyone else than the Comte Jean de Gué. It becomes amply clear when this man's driver arrives and tells him he's probably had too much to drink after John tries to tell him what has happened that he won't convince anyone that he is not in fact the Comte. His French is perfect, and for some reason, seeing himself wearing the other man's clothes in a mirror he sees the illusion is faultless; he stands a little bit more erect and even finds himself smiling and talking like his doppelgänger, so he decides there is no choice but to go along and play the role he's been stuck with and lets the driver bring him to Jean de Gué's château to meet the family. The other man had told him he yearned to have a simpler life as John had, with less commitments and fewer belongings, while John felt he'd failed at his life, and now was a chance to try something else altogether.

Soon John finds himself enmeshed in a complicated web of lies and intrigues, with a grand house full of women, most of whom seems angry at him, though one of them seems more inclined to be friendly, and then there is a great big beastly woman upstairs he is astounded to find looks like himself but in drag with a huge amount of weight added on; Jean's mother, which he can't help but call 'maman' and feel real affection for. Nobody takes him seriously when he tells them outright he is not Jean, but an Englishman called John, and that the real Jean has made off with his clothes and his car; they all dismiss his story as yet another one of Jean's pranks, or a consequence of too much drink. Instead a man angrily demands from him how the trip to Paris went and whether he's gotten the papers signed. Over the course of a week, John slowly untangles the mystery, starting with figuring out who the various individuals are, what Jean was meant to do in Paris, why everyone is angry with him, and then taking a liking to the man's various family members and employees, trying to improve everyone's life.

But there is a sudden death in the family, which may or may not be accidental, which means that all at once the family has access to a great fortune which was previously out of reach. And now, the real Jean de Gué—whom John had been sure from what he'd learned, that he had decided to disappear for good—on reading the news of the death in the papers, decides he wants to make the switch again to take advantage of his newfound riches, and threatens to kill John to get him out of the way.

There is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief needed here to enjoy this novel as fully as I did. After all, how is it possible that the man's own family, his own mother and daughter not recognize the switch? Can his accent be truly so faultless? Can't they 'see' these are two completely different personalities? But this character-driven story about identity and how one man views another through the eyes of others and then tries to improve him according to his own set of very different values proved to be a fascinating journey for me. Highly recommended.

Mar 15, 2015, 2:52pm

>215 msf59: Hi Mark! I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday than hanging around with your books. Enjoy! :-)

Edited: Mar 15, 2015, 3:02pm

As can be seen from my review above, I really loved my latest excursion into Daphne du Maurier's strange world. Almost immediately after I finished that audiobook, I picked up What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris, which is the first book in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries series, which Caro has be reading furiously and raving about on her threads. I'd had a recommendation for it last year on my Kindle app after I'd finished my first Shardlake book and was vaguely curious about it, but then really sat up and took notice when I saw Caro repeatedly recommending each instalment in the series. Much too early to comment on it as I'm just a couple of chapters in, but so far I'm liking what I'm hearing.

Mar 15, 2015, 3:25pm

I'd neglected to fill out my bingo card in a while, so have scored a few bingos today!

✭1. With a protagonist of the opposite gender: Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally ★★★★
✭2. Chosen by someone else: Chocolat by Joanne Harris ★★★★⅓
✭3. That I've owned for more than one year: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively ★★★½
✭4. With scientists: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭5. On a subject I'm unfamiliar with: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓

✭6. Translated from a language I don't speak: Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½
✭7. With a natural disaster: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★½
✭8. About Autism: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭9. With an LGBTQ character: Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
✭10. Set in a country other than my own: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ★★★★⅓

11. About language:
12. Published in 1915:
✭13. Category Challenge - FREE Space!
14. That reminds me of my childhood:
15. Where prophecies or portents are part of the plot:

16. Based on a fairy tale or myth: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½
✭17. Inspired by another piece of fiction: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
✭18. With correspondence or letters: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
19. By an LT author:
20. Where an animal is of importance:

✭21. With a mythical creature: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓
22. Centered around a major historical event:
✭23. Whose author shares an ancestor's first name: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★
24. That is a Genre Bender: Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
25. That is completely outside my comfort zone: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast ★★

Mar 15, 2015, 5:13pm

>216 Smiler69: Great review of The Scapegoat. Sounds like that might be a good Du Maurier to try next.

Mar 16, 2015, 9:10am

Very good review of one of my two favorite Du Maurier books (the other being Rebecca). Glad you liked it so much. I need to go back and read it for about the 20th time. It never - so far - has gotten stale for me.

Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 1:55pm

Thanks for the thumbs on my Scapegoat review. In the middle of the night it came to me that perhaps it had contained a large spoiler and I very nearly got up to fix it right then and there, but then decided it was unlikely there would be many people reading it at that time and it could probably wait till today. I've fixed it now and I think it should be fine, even for those who haven't read the book and have already read my review as I am always doing my best to be discreet about spoilers, but sometimes I guess they do sneak out anyway. What is it they say about mistakes? To catch them as soon as you notice you've made them or something?

I've been in a foul temper all last week. I thought I was exhausted as a consequence of fatigue from all the stress of the previous week, but looking up the possible side-effects of the new blood-thinner I'm taking, it seems fatigue is one of them, as well as constipation, two things I've definitely already got problems with and noticed were extra problematic lately, which certainly don't help with my mood.

My drawing has vastly progressed and I'm almost finished with the woman's skirt. I also managed to get through two-thirds of the audiobook for What Angels Fear, which I guess was my regular speed when I was spending most days on my own, and now have just 3-4 hours left—really good stuff and I'll definitely want to keep going with this the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I guess I could have finished The Gift of Rain last night, but was just too exhausted to read much more than 10-20 pages once in bed and had to put lights out earlier than usual. Will finish today or tomorrow at latest.

Mar 16, 2015, 12:59pm

>220 SandDune: I'm glad I've inspired you to try out The Scapegoat next Rhian, it's my second favourite du Maurier after Rebecca at this point.

>221 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I can see why you'd want to keep rereading that book. The 4.5 rating for me automatically puts it in the category for books I want to reread as well. Once again, I'm really glad I followed up on your recommendation for it.

Mar 16, 2015, 2:37pm

Hi Ilana! Just trying to catch up and waving!

Mar 16, 2015, 5:40pm

>211 Smiler69: 'you are MUCH more adventurous in that genre than I'll ever be'

I don't really think of myself as adventurous when it comes to reading fantasy. Fantasy novels were my go to fiction when I was a teenager so they're still very much in my comfort zone now.

'I've sort of dropped off the Pepys project for the moment'

At least you started! I have the book from the library and I think I opened it briefly.... Sorry to hear the audio version didn't work out.

>214 Smiler69: 'I used to go clubbing in my youth; now I look forward to staying home and looking up new OverDrive titles... times change.'


>216 Smiler69: The Scapegoat sounds good. I am looking forward to it but I seem to be having a brief book funk where nothing (including the first few pages of TS) has clicked. I think I'm just tired.

>222 Smiler69: Fatigue and constipation - my two favourite side effects. I hope these are the sort of side effects that wear off after a few days/weeks rather than the permanent sort.

Mar 16, 2015, 8:32pm

>224 connie53: Hi Connie, thanks for dropping by!

>225 souloftherose: Heather, I guess I read some fantasy when I was a kid, but I don't think so much later on. There was The Hobbit and those kinds of classics with plenty of Roald Dahl, but I don't recall reading much about dragons or space travel and aliens and that sort of thing, which might explain why they're always a bit of a stretch for me now.

I don't know that the Pepys audiobooks don't work necessarily, it's more to do with the fact that I think you already have to have a lot of background about the man and his times to be able to rely on just the audio files to get everything you should out of them, if you see what I mean. The same way I guess someone might read his diaries in print free of annotations only having a good grasp on the material.

Sorry to hear about the reading funk, but if a book doesn't appeal, then it's just not the right one for the moment, tired or not. Sorry to hear about the fatigue though—I know only too well how hard it is to carry on with that dragging you down...

I hope the side-effects wear down too. Better yet, I hope I only have to take this medication temporarily—that would really be the best outcome!


I'm just minutes away from finishing What Angels Fear and off to work on my drawing for a good hour or two, so I need to choose what audiobook I want to start on next now so I don't interrupt my drawing session for too long between audiobooks. So much choice! and that's just in my March reading plans, never mind all the options I have if I decide to go rogue...

Mar 16, 2015, 8:42pm

>216 Smiler69: gah! You have me interested in this one now. I knew I needed my blue-blockers on ;)

Mar 16, 2015, 8:43pm

Skirt is nearly finished... off to work on it now.

Mar 16, 2015, 8:44pm

Mar 17, 2015, 8:14am

Mar 17, 2015, 9:06am

>228 Smiler69: WOW!! I mean, WOW!!!!
I think that she may be my very favorite so far --- Your work is exquisite, and she is so beautiful as to deserve it.
Oh dear. I don't have one single Du Maurier in my collection, and I haven't been able to find any at Mama's house either. I'm afraid I'm going to have to buy an omnibus West Country collection at AMP. I don't think a single one of her books is currently available at PBS, and that's a bit of a surprise.

Mar 17, 2015, 2:35pm

Very WOW!!

Mar 17, 2015, 6:53pm

Heather, Peggy, Connie, thanks for the encouraging comments on my drawing. I also got loads of positive feedback on FB, where I post the pictures first so I can post them here large enough to show details. It's really helpful to my overall process being able to show my drawing projects as I work on them—especially as this particular series is such a long-term commitment and getting cheered on along the way really helps remind me that I'm not just wasting my time on an obscure pastime!

>231 LizzieD: Peggy, she is also my favourite so far as well. Definitely the most intricate, and I can't see how I'll find a subject to beat her as far as detail goes. Thank you so much for your very kind and thoughtful comment. I find it hard to believe you don't have any du Maurier at all in your collection. About time you rectify that!, but then I'm saying that as a fan. I've managed to accumulate 9 works by her so far, 5 of which are still on the tbr, and I'm always wanting to add more. I see you use the acronym PBS quite often and keep meaning to ask you what it stands for?


I got the audiobook for Terry Pratchett's Thief of Time last night and am not quite halfway through at this point... there are things I enjoy about it, but I think I should have probably picked another title as a first book to discover him by. Not sure whether I should stick to it or go ahead and try something else by him right now or just move on to something else altogether and get back to Pratchett some other time. All I know is I'm feeling very low for reasons I don't feel are appropriate to share here, and I need some comfort reading. His sense of humour is definitely of the kind I find amusing but a lot of the story isn't doing much for me... decisions decisions.

Mar 17, 2015, 7:41pm

Ilana, I hope that Sir TP cheers you up. I am not a fan, and I'm not sure why. I recognize what is supposed to be funny, but I hardly ever laugh. I'll eventually try again, I expect, having only read the very first couple, which fans say are not the best.
I think I must have done all my DDM reading from the library as a young person. I'm surprised that between us, Mama and I don't even have Rebecca. There may be a copy in the house, but it would be a good one and not necessarily for, I did go ahead with my purchase of the omnibus. I'll hate holding up the big thing (5 books, I think, and all good ones), but at least I'll have it!
PBS is Paperback Swap. You may have read the disappointment expressed when they announced that they would have to start charging. I depend on them for a lot of stuff, and I have a lot of stuff from my own collection and from my friends' clearing out their mother's house, so I bit the bullet and paid them for this year.

Mar 18, 2015, 9:43am

>228 Smiler69: Adding my wow! Looking great, Ilana.

I've had the same "entry book" problem with Pratchett you're having, so I'll be looking for what people suggest to you. I loved his Good Omens collaboration with Gaiman, but haven't yet found one of his own to get me off and running on his books. The Colour of Magic was okay, but I'm told is not the best place to start. Mort was suggested to me, and I liked it, but again I didn't get that urge to read more. Ellie (mirrordrum) rec'd The Wyrd Sisters, so I'm going to try that one at some point. Seems like he was such a mensch, and so many people love his books so much, that I'm giving them multiple tries.

Mar 18, 2015, 12:19pm

Hi Ilana - also saying wow to your work. Looks really really great.

I've only read Pratchett's Good Omens and The Colour of Magic, enough for me to know I should read more but still haven't got there. I have collected from numerous sources most of his Discworld novels - almost all are older paperbacks. I'll wait for a Discworld reading challenge maybe, hopefully it won't be a one month TIOLI challenge but more of a year long one.

Mar 18, 2015, 2:29pm

I've finally, FINALLY finished The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. It's taken me exactly 18 nights to get through it, which I guess isn't surprising considering some nights I wasn't able to read much more than 10 pages at a time because I was just too tired, which isn't at all a reflection on how good the novel is—I thought it was excellent and quite captivating and am giving it 4.5 stars. I think I want to let it sink in a little before I do any sort of writeup on it though, but for now I'll just say I thought it was profound and very touching and I'm very glad I read it, though it was also filled with death and brutality, being mostly set during the WWII Japanese occupation of Penang.

Now I'm itching to read something short and sweet, so I'll probably pick up Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood tonight, which I'd originally planned to read this month.

Things aren't going so smoothly on the Terry Pratchett front so far. I decided to set aside Thief of Time (Discworld, Book 26), which had some side stories I found interesting, but the main story had to do with a secret sect of immortal Chinese monks whose actions and dialogues were more or less obscure and/or uninteresting to me. I decided to try Small Gods (Discworld #13) next, because I thought I might relate to a satire on religion better (and it had been recommended by Heather as well). So far I'm about an hour into it and I'm finding the premise amusing enough, but I'm not quite sure I'm really all that involved enough to want to follow through the full journey. I'll listen to another hour or two before I decide. I'd really like to really like Terry Pratchett's work, and I'll be happy to keep trying, but if this second book isn't a good fit right now, I may go back to him at some other time.

Mar 18, 2015, 2:36pm

>235 jnwelch: Joe, I had a discussion about where to start with Pratchett's Discworld series over on Heather's thread recently. I sort of jumped the gun and didn't ask for advice and got myself the first in series The Colour of Magic, thinking that was the logical place to start, but Heather informed me his first books were very different from how the series evolved and it wasn't generally recommended to start that way and there were actually many entry points into Discworld. I've copied here the titles she suggested to me with her comments about them:

Good places to start with the Discworld books are:

Wyrd Sisters - witches, politics and Macbeth

Guards!, Guards! which is the first book in the City Watch sub-series. It's a good introduction to the Discworld's largest city and to Sam Vimes who becomes one of my favourite characters over the series.

Small Gods - a very well done satire on religion and the ways in which religious belief can become corrupted.

The Wee Free Men - the first in a young adult series but they are very far from being whiney young adult books. This sub-series and the main character, Tiffany, are some of my favourites.

Monstrous Regiment - gender roles and war.

Also, Megan (evilmoose) posted an interesting 'reading order map' on Heather's thread, which you can refer to, though I'm not sure how helpful it really is... I've since returned the Kindle Colour of Magic and have been getting the other books on Audible where I can always return them for refund (or get my credit back) if they don't work for me.

Edited: Mar 18, 2015, 2:42pm

>236 avatiakh: Kerry, when I'm trying to figure out which book to get from any one author, I often look up the collections of my LT friends to see what books they've most liked and I did see you had a lot of books by Pratchett, mostly unread, so that explains it. As I keep saying, since fantasy isn't exactly my comfort zone, it's always a hit or miss proposition with probably more misses than hits, but I'm really wanting to find something to like in his work, because I figure if he's collaborated with Neil Gaiman and I like a lot of Gaiman's stuff, then I'm bound to like some of Pratchett's work too. Or something along those lines. And really, I usually love British humour, so there should be something in there for me. But we'll see. I see what you mean about a year-long challenge being more the thing than just a month-long one, considering his incredible output. I don't recall now if you're in the categories challenge, but they would probably be into it so I'm sure you could suggest it over there?

Mar 18, 2015, 2:49pm

>238 Smiler69: Oh, that's helpful, isn't it? Thanks. Heather's comments about not starting with CoM or the early books fits with what others have told me. I like the annotated list she gave you, and I'm going to copy it as a guide.

Mar 20, 2015, 7:54pm

Hi Ilana!

I actually have The Scapegoat on my WL and now feel urged to get to it. Great review ;-)

Your Metro lady is amazing! I just love how it is coming out... an ambitious undertaking! btw, I bought Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for Sam. She did a really good sketch while she was staying here this past week and I'm thinking she might like this book.

There was a lot of talk about The Gift of Rain and mixed feelings about how it evolved. I was nervous about book 2 - which did take a hard turn. However, as difficult as it was to read, I was fully involved to the end. For many, life is not a succession of easy choices and others cannot read your inner heart.

I'm hoping you are well and recovering your strength. xoxo

oh - and I just saw you in person a few months ago. You are very beautiful ;-)

Mar 20, 2015, 9:09pm

>239 Smiler69: I'm also swayed when I see books in other LTers libraries. I enjoyed The colour of magic, I think I listened to the audio, but like Heather can see it not being a good starting point for those less into fantasy.

>241 -Cee-: I went to a 2 day creativity workshop several years ago where one of the drawing components was based on Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The results were quite spectacular. The other thing I liked was being given my own sketchbook and pencil and then going out into the native bush to observe closely and then draw in detail a leaf, stone or whatever. One of the most important things we can give our children is time and space to just be themselves.

Mar 21, 2015, 9:17am

Morning Ilana! Happy Saturday. Just checking in. I hope your current reads are treating you well.

Mar 21, 2015, 3:19pm

I finished two wonderful books yesterday and started on another which is extremely promising yesterday, so everything is just dandy on the reading front right now.

On audio, finished listening to Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, which was recommended to me by Heather as one of several which were good entry points into Pratchett's Discworld series, and while the first hour left me scratching my head, I'm very happy I kept going with it because it proved to be a very worthwhile adventure which I ended up loving to bits. I definitely want to do a short writeup on it, but brain isn't fully functioning, so another time.

The other I finished just this morning Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood, who wrote an autobiographical short novel about her positively gothic aristo Anglo-Irish family featuring the matriarchal great granny in the lead, who was a forbidding old biddy nobody could ever love and surely drove her own daughter literally into the lunatic asylum. A true little gem. I'm surprised it hasn't be turned into a movie yet. Another writeup to do soon for the homework pile.

The audiobook I started on immediately after the Pratchett is Kazuo Ishiguro's latest, The Buried Giant, which is a fable based in an ancient England where giants and trolls still roamed the land, when an elderly couple decide to leave their close-knit mole-like community to find their long-forgotten son who lives in a nearby village. But this seems to be a journey potentially fraught will all kinds of lurking dangers. I'm only 90 minutes (less than 50 pages) into it, but really liking it so far. Plus, the narrator, actor David Horrovitch is one of my favourites, so it's a great treat.

Am having a day to myself today, as hormones are having a field day with Russians threatening to burst on the scene any day and making me feel low and depleted. Slept very badly too so am too tired to be talkative or friendly and do much beside drag myself around when absolutely needed to make myself tea. Otherwise, am happy to sit around and read. Draw. Sit. Drink tea. Repeat.

Mar 21, 2015, 3:34pm

>240 jnwelch: Joe, I'm very glad I jumped right into Small Gods even though Thief of Time didn't quite work for me, because that was a winner all around. A parody about organised religion and the inquisitors, I definitely recommend it. It makes me want to discover yet more or Pratchett's work, but for now I got an unabridged edition of Good Omens which was unavailabe on audio last time I looked, so I'm pretty happy about that acquisition for now.

>241 -Cee-: Claudia, I loved The Scapegoat so much it's now on my "To Reread" collection, so I hope you end up liking it even a fraction of what I did, which should please you quite a bit. My Woman with Headscarf might be ambitious enough, but what's really crazy is I want to do at least 15 to 20 of those drawings for my series for it to be worth having a show, which really is a crazy undertaking, but then I doubt any of my other models will be nearly as complex or detailed as she is!

I'm happy you decided to get Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for Samantha and I hope she likes it and decides to try out some of the lessons from it. If she does, she'll find it'll make a huge difference in her drawing skills pretty much instantaneously. It has a very clever approach. If you find out she's not using it after a while, you should arrange to steal it back from her and use it yourself for a new hobby, why not?!

I like your comments about The Gift of Rain. To be fair, reading between the lines of the very oblique and short and completely spoiler-free comments I read at the beginning of the group read thread, and then when I started part 1, I got a good idea very early on of what might transpire in the second part, partly also from having read in other novels what the Japanese had done when they had occupied other nations during WWII, so I can't say much of it came as a great surprise. I find Tan Twan Eng is a very good writer and he was able to make me feel Phillip's moral dilemma and also, to make me believe how Phillip, at least initially, could really believe he'd made the best choice at first. But the character evolves through the narration, and does so very convincingly, and I thought that made it a very strong novel.


You're sweet. :-)xx

Mar 21, 2015, 3:39pm

>242 avatiakh: Kerry, I've put the other books Heather recommended to me on my Audible wishlist, and it won't be too long before I try another one I'm sure considering how much I enjoyed Small Gods, but I don't think I'll be delving into The Colour of Magic anytime soon for the reason you state.

That drawing workshop you went to must have been lots of fun. I haven't taken art classes for a while and part of me really misses the interaction. On the other hand, I'm really pleased I've finally developed my private daily practice now, which has taken me decades to do, but I'm sure I'll want to take classes again in the not too distant future.

>243 msf59: Hi Mark, thanks for dropping by. I've lurked on quite a few threads this week, but not commenting all that much I'm afraid. Mostly don't have much to say lately. As for my reading, I had a really great crop, as you'll see if you read my post >244 Smiler69:. Hope you're enjoying your three-day weekend!

Mar 22, 2015, 12:44pm

Glad you had some good reading going on, Ilana!

Mar 22, 2015, 8:40pm

>244 Smiler69: Glad you ended up enjoying Small Gods Ilana - it's easy to understand why people would have trouble getting along with Pratchett, but it's still lovely to hear of someone loving him. And now I really want to find that Kazuo Ishiguro audiobook!

Mar 22, 2015, 9:13pm

Just speaking, Ilana, so you'll know I've been by. Hope your voluntary isolation has done the trick for you.

Edited: Mar 23, 2015, 1:50pm


I'll be finishing The Buried Giant today, with only 30 minutes or less left on the audiobook (less than 15 pages). The only reason I didn't finish it yesterday is I was doing very poorly and needed to get myself to bed early. I think Ishiguro delivers a wonderful English post-Arthurian folklore tale (Sir Gawain is heavily featured in it) which certainly has held me captive from end to end. Can't wait to get drawing today so I can finish it.

As an eBook, I started Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim on Saturday night as a shared read with Heather. It's an epistolary novel and we get to read the correspondence of Rose-Marie Schmidt, who at the beginning of the book has just been secretly engaged to Roger Anstruther who was a lodger in the house where she lives with her step-mother and father in Germany. He has just returned to England to pass his exams to work in the Foreign Office and she writes passionate letters to him daily. Within a month he's broken off the engagement, but somehow the letters still continue... really great book so far and I'm delighted to find again the Elizabeth von Arnim I fell in love with when I discovered Elizabeth and her German Garden.

The Mansfield Park tutorial is continuing as well as ever and definitely makes me want to continue rereading the following three Jane Austen novels along with Liz and other committed JA readers in this manner.

For the past three weeks or so, I've been addicted to a British TV serial called Foyle's War, about a police detective who must investigate murders during WWII. It stars Michael Kitchen as Foyle. Each episode is around 90 minutes. The series was nominated for best drama series at the BAFTA awards (British Academy Television Awards) in 2003 and has run on and off from 2002 to 2015. It's available on NetFlix and highly I recommend it.

Edited: Mar 23, 2015, 1:52pm

>247 connie53: Hi Connie, the good reading streak is still going, so I couldn't be happier! :-)

>248 evilmoose: Megan, I have a feeling it'll really depend on the subject when it comes to Pratchett for me. My first try wasn't so successful, and then the second was a total hit. I'll probably try Guards! Guards! next, though I'm not sure whether dragons will work for me, though that depends entirely on the sort of treatment they get. DO get you hands on The Buried Giant asap!

>249 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, I may just keep at this voluntary isolation for a few more days on and off this week. Pierre came over last night and we had a superb dinner; grilled filet mignon with old fashioned mustard sauce, kale sautéed with onions and smoked paprika (I normally HATE kale, but it's really tasty seasoned this way), fluffy mashed potatoes with fresh oregano; couldn't have eaten better at a top-rated restaurant, as everything was perfectly cooked too. Then we watched an episode of Foyle's War too. He's been on his absolute best behaviour these past few days and tiptoeing around, spoiling me and doing everything he can to please me, knowing I'm extremely emotional and prone to depression lately—which really must be a lot of hard work and isn't very fair, but somehow I still manage to snap and break down at the slightest provocation, and bless his soul, men are men and really have trouble understanding the most basic workings of women sometimes, don't they? All this while he's under quite a lot of pressure as has promised to deliver the painting he's currently working on—which is a very large and complex one—to his art dealer within a week, even though he normally should have reserved lots more time to work on it, so I figure this might be a good time for us to have more time apart. When my mood is off to this extent, I always do better when I isolate myself. As I told him, there is better chance of preserving harmony within our couple that way. He says he understands, but we'll see how it goes one day at a time of course.

Mar 23, 2015, 4:07pm

In my personal opinion, Foyle's War is a perfect TV addiction to have! ;-)

Mar 24, 2015, 7:01pm

I remember now how I used to go through audiobooks incredibly fast when I was on my own, often listening for 6-8 hours per day; I've finished Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier just now, which I started on yesterday afternoon. I have that novel in a lovely Virago designer edition, which I'll pick up for a reread, because as it happens I enjoyed the story very much, but I figured there wasn't any great chance of me getting to it anytime soon if I was to insist on reading from that Virago edition, given a lot of my planned reads for next month are also print books, so I spent a credit on the audiobook, and within 24 hours... voilà, done! another du Maurier story I can add to my repertoire or books I want to reread eventually.

That makes two entries for the BAC this month, and one for the Picked for Me! challenge (picked by Claudia, aka -Cee-). I was also going to listen to Railsea by China Mieville (gotten from the library), but the first ten minutes of the audiobook sort of threw me off with a bunch of strange names and nouns and not being in an exploratory mood that day I decided against it. I've spent a credit on Perdido Street Station in the meantime, which had been on my wishlist for quite a few years now, and I think I'm ready to tackle that one now, especially as I'm having another single gal day due to first day of Russian invasion with attending cramps and various discomforts and have lots of listening time while I work on my drawing this evening.

Mar 24, 2015, 7:03pm

>252 lkernagh: Lori, we're on season 3 right now, so still have quite a bit left! :-)
Unfortunately there aren't a lot of shows per season though... so it's a good thing we're not watching it every single day.

Edited: Mar 24, 2015, 9:13pm

Wow - scary about the blood clot, but I'm glad you got the care you needed promptly!

The new drawing is exquisite - the textures of the fabrics - how you've rendered them is wonderful.

And we're watching Foyle's War too. Isn't it amazing how Kitchen can express 50 different things with a twitch of his lip, or an eyeblink, or a raised brow.

Oh, and we also love Sam.

Mar 25, 2015, 9:57pm

Wow, The Buried Giant was a five star read for you! That one is definitely on my to read list at some point since I enjoyed both Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day.
Will be interested to see what you think of Perdido Street Station. I think you have to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy that one.

Mar 25, 2015, 11:17pm

I'm too sleepy to do more than speak, but here I am, so you know I was thinking about you!

Mar 26, 2015, 12:29am

As I just wrote in the BAC thread, I gave up Perdido Street Station today after listening to just a couple of hours of audio. Have asked for my credit back from Audible too, because no way am I ever going back to it either. It was so much like some of the most traumatising nightmares I've ever had throughout my life, what with creatures that are part human, part animal, part plant, part insect and whatnot (and a couple formed between a human man and an insect-like woman. There was a sex scene, and the idea of it absolutely made me want to puke!), and then I DID have nightmares about it last night reminding me of a really bad acid trip, and given the Russians are in town and I'm getting migraines that require Fiorinal to manage pain levels right now... just... NO. Going out of one's comfort zone is all fine and well, but I don't think I should be actually putting myself through mental torture for the sake of a broader reading range either! I want to be open-minded, but there are limits. I loved The City & The City to bits, but this is just too bloody weird for me.

I've switched to Elizabeth is Missing—only about 20 mins into it now. Been meaning to listen to that one for many months now, and given it's just been nominated for the Bailey's Women's Prize Longlist, the timing seems just about right.

Off to spend a half day at the hospital tomorrow for another round of blood tests and then seeing the hematologist to assess where we're at with this blood clot situation, and I guess she'll determine what course of treatment we'll follow from here.

Had an eye exam today, and not surprisingly my reading vision went down by 0.25 in the last couple of years, but distance has been the same for years now. Instead of changing the progressive glasses I have with prescriptions that cost a mint, I got a second pair with what they call a 'degressive' lens in French (not sure if it's the same in English?), which covers a range for computer and book reading distances, which calls for a prescription that costs a few hundred dollars less. I like the frames I've chosen, and they're more than fine for just wearing around the house.

Mar 26, 2015, 12:38am

>255 sibylline: Thanks for the comment about my drawing Lucy. At the moment I'm working on the floor on the right-hand side (have finished the floor on left-hand side and the bench), so it's nearing completion I guess, thought there'll still be quite a lot of details to work on.

Where at you at with Foyle's War? We've just finished the last episode of Season 3 tonight and found it really excellent. Good observation on how expressive Kitchen is with just the twitch of lips or eyebrows—I've found that too. Sam adds a lot to the show, much agreed.

>256 jolerie: I really loved The Buried Giant, and initially gave it 4.5 stars, but then, to disclose all Valerie, I read Neil Gaiman's review in the New York Times yesterday, which I found excellent by the way (but don't recommend reading because it reveals too much if you haven't read the book yet), and he says it's a great book, but he couldn't somehow actually LOVE it, and that helped me decided that I really DID love it, so I bumped it up to 5 stars.

As for Perdido Street Station, you'll have seen my comments above, and obviously you have much stronger nerves (and stomach) than I do. I just couldn't take it. It really seemed like I was putting myself through mental torture, even though I knew I was probably depriving myself of a really good story. There are places I just know it's best not to take my mind to.

>257 LizzieD: Pleased you've dropped by Peggy, and thanks for giving me a sign of life. Know the feeling of being too tired to say much, believe me! which is why I do a lot more lurking than commenting lately, but I should follow your example.

Mar 26, 2015, 6:32pm

I hope your testing brings positive results. Depression on top of illness makes it so much harder to cope with either.
Count me in as a huge Foyle fan as well. I think I've seen them all but I can sit through reruns without any trouble.

Mar 28, 2015, 4:44am

I missed the whole blood clot thing! I hope you are feeling better now!

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 1:19pm

The visit at the hospital ended up being more of a routine sort of thing than anything else, since apparently it can take many months for a blood clot to dissolve. Basically, I was there to see a pharmacist, who adjusted my blood thinner prescription, then saw the hematologist very briefly, who gave me said prescription and said we'd be seeing each other again in two months. I'll have another leg scan in a month in the meantime, and that's about it. She didn't seem at all worried about the clot, so I'm not either.

Just finished Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim last night, which proved a very enjoyable read, and I must say I was very satisfied with the ending, which I won't, of course reveal here. Not so much loving Elizabeth is Missing, but I'll stick to it till the end before forming an opinion I guess.


>260 Oregonreader: Hi Jan, as I said above, the hospital visit wasn't so much testing as a routine visit. The depression I'd been going through these past couple of weeks is probably a combo of winter blues and monthly hormone shifts, and I'm hoping that will all be lifting now. Foyle continues to be a real pleasure several times a week and I'm glad we're only halfway through more or less, and still have quite a few shows to discover, though I can see how they'd be fun to watch as reruns too.

>261 connie53: No worries Connie, I haven't felt anything really, beyond the initial leg cramps and random pains which led me to see the doctor in the first place, but since it was diagnosed everything felt normal, and I've only had to take pills. Thanks for your concern!
This topic was continued by Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 3.